Category Archives: real life

A. K. A. Lamont Cranston

I’ve got headaches and toothaches and bad times too, but on the upside I have life, for what it’s worth. Yesterday over ten thousand people in China had their existence cut short by a cataclysmic earthquake that took lives and buried the dead in one fell swoop. A little over a week ago, the nation of Burma was devastated by a cyclone that washed more than one hundred thousand lives out to sea with the tide. Ken McDunn had it right when, after the accident onboard the ship he got a tattoo that says; “The Shadow of Death, A Fact Of Life”.

 

Mc Dunn is one of a kind and we met in boot camp years ago.  He got there a day before I did and we served our entire enlistment together, assigned to the same school, and later the same ship. McDunn was skinny and pale and a real life skin head, whose buddies were all on trial for murder. On Sundays, the one day that we were allowed to look at a newspaper, he would point out the articles that recounted the trial of his fellow skinheads who eventually wound up in prison. When we met, Ken had no tats, but by the time we had served our two year enlistment with the USN, his upper body was nearly covered with ink.

 

Like myself, Ken was not happy with his decision to enlist and chafed at the lunacy that is characteristic within the armed forces. We were in a drill company in boot camp and as a result tobacco was forbidden. Ken’s parents would send him chewing tobacco in the bottom of a Pringles can that they had removed all the chips from before replacing them and resealing the can. We would volunteer for the overnight watches so that we could indulge our nicotine craving while everyone else was sleeping.

 

The store on base was restricted for recruits that were still in boot camp, but McDunn didn’t care and would strut right in there like he belonged and buy cigarettes for the both of us that we secretly smoked at any chance we could get. It was big risk for him to break the rules and it could have resulted in an extra week in boot camp, but Ken was a genuine iconoclast who believes that authority exists only to be challenged and usurped.

 

When we graduated from boot camp Ken and I had one mission; like many freshly minted recruits in the armed services, we struck out to find some whores. The working girls that we came upon were supremely sketchy and he took the fat one, while I got the skinny one. They took us back to their filthy, one bedroom apartment and Ken and his girl went into the back bedroom while my gum cracking wraith and I took our place on the fold out couch. I’ll never forget the bored expression that she looked up at me with while my pale, skinny ass bounced up and down like an over revved piston. All the while she kept popping her gum and saying, “Are you finished yet”. It turned out that the experience did not match our expectations that had been eight weeks in the making.

 

When the ship was out at sea Ken would do something that, to this day, I find hilarious. Being assigned to a ship meant that when we were away from port we were on duty 24/7 and there was no way to escape, but Ken found a way to get time off even when the ship was in the middle of the ocean. Periodically he would collect up some snacks and soda pop and a book and then he would vanish into one of the ships many vacant crawl spaces for days at a time.

 

The first couple of times that  he did this it caused quite a stir, inspiring man over board drills and panic within the ship’s hierarchy, but after a few days Ken would reappear, rested and ready resume his duties, albeit in a lackluster fashion. Of course he would be punished for his unauthorized absence, but he didn’t care, and I knew that he would do it again regardless. They always came to find me when Ken pulled one of his disappearing acts and I would always assure them that he was still onboard and would come back when he was ready, he just needed a little time off to get lost in a book.

 

Authority can always be countermanded so long as there is a will that contends, but the power of nature is undeniable. When the earth shakes so mercilessly that humans are crushed under their own toppled creations, or the ocean encroaches upon the land to drag the living into its abyss there is little resistance that can be offered. There is nowhere to hide when the shadow of death stretches its pall across a landscape.

 

So long as we are the living we can continue to escape the things that displease us and avoid situations that are unpleasant. Eventually though, a bony, outstretched finger will tap every single one of us on the shoulder with a summons, and there will be nowhere to run. Until then, enjoy what you still have; life.

 

Down For The Keebler Kind

When I turned the T.V. on at six a.m. last Monday morning the screen was filled with the dramatic live images of a multi home fire that transcended spectacular. Three homes on the so called “Street of Dreams” had been completely consumed by the magnificent flames that roared into the sky, a fourth was nearly gutted and the fifth failed to ignite, leaving a wealth of evidence for the ATF and FBI boys to cull through. Immediately I knew that the Northwest’s #1 homegrown eco-terror group the Earth Liberation Front had struck again.

Their name is a misnomer. Really they should call themselves the Arson Liberation Front, because the only thing set free by their actions are some wicked flames. Fires that are rivaled only by the ones that supposedly burn down in Hell’s incendiary pit. If in fact these guys really want to liberate the Earth from human oppression they need to take up arms and start killing people. No joke, ELF should grow a pair and make it happen for real. There are many whose actions and decisions, Nature herself might consider as a personal effrontery. Get with it ELF.

Arson is a passive aggressive crime. Arsonists sneak in during the night to avoid confrontation and any rational challenge to their flawed reasoning. Setting a home gloriously ablaze makes for great television, but is hardly the way to rally the public behind a cause. Of course overly zealous cops/prosecutors/judges, along with Patriot Act style lawmaking is really all of the reason needed to avoid getting snatched up by the mechanical claw of the Federal Judiciary System.

ELF members are even more illogical and self righteous than the typical, run of the mill, granola types who clutter up the Northwest. Unlike many who believe that their worldview is morally superior and who aggressively push their ideology, ELF members have determined that the path to societal change is not by challenging the status quo with logic and reason, instead they create stupendous burning effigies of the culture that they revile.

Down in Portland right now there is a 34 year old ELF member named Tre Arrow who is facing life in prison for torching a bunch of cement mixers. Such heavy handed prosecution could only come about in the post 9/11 world. This guy foolishly placed himself in the crosshairs of an overly zealous legal system with his stupid, stupid actions. Now any opportunity that he might have had to make the world a better place is slipping away, along with his freedom.

Burn down hundred’s of homes with sleeping families in them in a suburb somewhere and then I will begin to think about being impressed by the beautiful flames that the ELF creates. That day will never arrive, because The Earth Liberation Front is the kind of faux terrorist group would never be willing to stage an actual legitimate attack against the American culture. ELF members need to remind themselves that making war against people is how you quash ideas that are unacceptable, and that if you make war by burning empty, model homes, it seems to indicate displeasure with some aspect of real estate, perhaps a hatred for the actual homes themselves.

Just think what could actually be accomplished if America wakes to the headline “Thousands Gone In Overnight Fire Bombings, L.A. Suburbs On High Alert”. Crawls on CNN and MSNBC would announce: “President To Address Nation About Fire Bombings” and “Country On High Alert Against Eco Terror Threat”. If things went really well the cause might get its own special eco terror, color coded, threat level thermometer. It is up to ELF members, the so called renegades against the American dreams and ideals to really jiggle America’s Fear/Change Throttle. So much can be accomplished when people think you are as serious as a murder and if they know that you are as serious as a mass murder it could really help change their minds about respecting the environment.

Worst Opening Move Ever

 “Anything to make you smile. You are the ever living ghost of what once was.”

From the song No One’s Gonna Love You by Band of Horses. 

The postmark says February 16th.

The return address is stamped on the upper left hand corner of the envelope, with the name and booking number filled in with a pencil, and it reads;

Name  Frank Kent – AKA Felix

Bkg. # 207002656 

King County Correctional Facility

500 Fifth Ave.

Seattle, WA 98104- 2332

And it is also addressed in pencil;

To The Gurl With Black Hair & 1 Blond StreekWho Works At:

City Market 1722 Bellevue

Seattle, WA 98122

Underneath the return address, also written in pencil, is a message for the mail carrier;

Dear, Mister Postman if This letter Gets lost Please Send it 2 Heaven Because it Belongs To A Angel

Inside are two notes written with red ink on wide rule notebook paper. 

This is what the first note says;

“Happy Valentine’s Beautiful”

To: The Very Pretty Gurl Who Works (Most Of The Time) The Cash Register Closest To The Candy Bars and lighter pully Things. you Have Black Beautiful Hair with 1 Blond Streek and A smile so sexy I Could Not Bring Myself To Speek To you. So Now all I Do is Dream and Think about you and Ask myself Why DiDNT I speak To her MABey i WOULDN’T BE WHEARE im AT NOW!

From: im Bout 6 Feet light Brown skin! Dreadlocks To About my MiD-Back I always came To you with A Big smile and you may Remember me by 1 or Two of These Incidents (1) I ASKED you for HOT Apple CIDeR mix anD you TOOK me to the Apple Juice lane & I SaiD Not This STUFF!  “THE only wAy I can GeT This HOT is The microwave AT your HOUSE”. I Belive you SAID IN RETUrN “U Can COME TO MY HOUSE BUT I may have been Dreaming AGAiN” If you DON’T  remember  me by that you sHould Remember me By (2) one Time I came IN with Apple CiDer “HOT” anD I HAD 2 lil NUGS on my cup and you came and smelled ‘em THAT was SO SUPER HOT! So yea all of THiS SHOULD RiNG A Bell if NOT YOU NOT THE GURL iN Witch I seek. i mean No DiS-RESPECT only Respect BUT My Heart is Broken Untill I FiND This BeAUTiFuL Gurl!!!!!!!

And this is what the second note says;

HELLO,

Im Going To KEEp THiS SHorT and Sweet To let you know I felt you every TiMe you looked aT me. If you Recive This PlEASE Take a Step To FUTHER THiS By WRiTiNG me I Go By Felix BuT My ReaL Name IS BELOW “0” By THE way im in JaIL FoR oNly Having A STolen cAR I STOLE a CAR BUT Please DON’T let THaT come BEETWEEN a possiABle FReiND SHIP. THeiRS so MUCH I Want To Tell you and let you know please contact me!

Frank Kent #207002656

500 5th Ave.

SeaTTle, WA 98104

WRitE me TODAY. i could NOT allow a woman oF your GRACE & BeAUTy Slip my GRIPS. So I TOOK a SHOT IN The Dark . A Hell of a SHOT . pleaseWRITE me I Have poems and all kind of stuff I Drew and wrote aBouT you. p/s im No WeirDO JUST a lil BiT IN love with BeAuty & Style

Really, we are all just little bit in love with beauty and style. Thanks Felix.  

Smacked, Back In The Day

 Until disease induced dementia inevitably overtakes my memories of a life lived poorly, I will never forget where I was on the day that Mike Tyson got knocked out for the first time. Those were the days. I was living in a pantry in New Jersey at the time. After my stint in the Navy I had somehow I had wound up in New Brunswick, living with two other guys on the second floor of a house, a couple of blocks from the campus of Rutgers University.

Al was one of the guys that I lived with, and it was because of a chance meeting with his girlfriend at the time, that I ended up sleeping in a room so small that the door had to be shut before you could lay a single mattress down. Today Al is a big time baller, he ended up as an editor at one of the major newspapers on the west coast, but back then he was just some burner who was into The Dead before I was. He is a great guy, now and then, and it is because of him, that I was watching the previously unheard of Buster Douglas, smack the snot out of the man who I, and many thought was unbeatable. His friends became my friends because we had formed a fast friendship based in common coolness.

You couldn’t torture the names of the guys that were there that day out of me, but I had hung around with them all many times and they were good bros. Their house was home to eight or maybe nine, and the common room had a large screen T.V. bordered with couches that made the space between them seem quite insignificant when we were all watching a movie or, as we were on that day, a big sporting event. It was a cool scene over at their place, and I had spent a lot of time with these guys, so it was a familial crowd that was present when I lost my mind watching Tyson’s unexpected demise.

Between us all was a pony keg that we could mostly all reach from our seats, and the room was packed, with standing room only spilling back into the dining room. We had all gathered early in honor of the squat silver tank with a spigot to refresh our thirst, but the occasion overshadowed the greatness of unlimited beer on demand. By the time the moment arrived, when Iron Mike’s big fat head hit the canvas, we were all primed and ready to see another Tyson knockout, but what we saw on that big screen in that little room surprised us all.

When it happened we all unanimously rose to our feet, and everyone had something different to add to the cacophony that filled the room after Buster Douglas struck his momentous blow. Some of us screamed hype at Buster and some defamed Tyson, but we all screamed and not because we were out of beer, because we still had plenty. We lost our shit because the Big Man who couldn’t be beat got his clock cleaned by some guy none of us had ever heard of before. Pandemonium ensued among us, as the replay of a man who, nowadays sports a snazzy black facial tattoo, incoherently tried to stuff his mouth guard, lying worthless on the mat beside his prone body, sideways back into his mouth. Good times.

Not So Righteous Indignity

“This record is not tainted at all, at all.” – Barry Bonds at the press conference following the game when he broke Hank Aaron’s longstanding homerun record. “I ain’t got nothin’ to hide.”   Barry Bonds to NBC News’ Jim Gray.  

Finally, after a prolonged investigation that took several years, Barry Bonds, the literally and figuratively, big headed baseball player from San Francisco, has been indicted on perjury and obstruction charges by The Feds. Three months ago, Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s longstanding homerun record, to the chagrin and dismay of sports fans everywhere, and then sat in front of the cameras swearing up and down that his achievement was acquired via natural ability and clean living. If he is convicted on all five felony counts, he’s looking at up to thirty years in prison and he can also kiss the record that was oh so precious to him goodbye. Additionally, if he is convicted, Bonds will be able to watch his hopes for a spot in Cooperstown go soaring away, just like one of the pitches that he hit out of the park on his journey from fame to infamy.

            Everyday that he came to the park and everywhere else that he went, Hank Aaron had to endure taunts and scorn because the culture he existed within is, even to this day, inherently racist. When Hank Aaron achieved a record mark, it marked advancement for people who were not equal in their society and his victories, though ultimately personal, were held up by many as a step toward stopping an evil tide. Hank Aaron didn’t play to be considered sublime, his greatness became as a result of his willingness to play despite having the wrath of hateful people directed his way.   

Icons become, they are not conceived. To an old timer like Hank Aaron, who wouldn’t even take vitamins during his playing days because he said they were ruining the game, the idea of using; adrenaline, insulin, testosterone, growth hormones, and modafinil (a narcolepsy drug that is a powerful stimulant)*, to enhance his performance and achieve personal glory, is beyond inconceivable. We’re not talking J.C. level martyrdom here and I don’t even like baseball, but really now, what even happened to dignity.

   

  

* see page 57, Game of Shadows, By Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams. Go Padres, (pages 61-62).