Tag Archives: water

Hello Walter, goodbye Jack

Authors note: I love fiction and have been writing a ton of it lately. For some reason I have been sticking with the romance genre. I hope you guys enjoy this short story of life, memories and lost love. Please feel free to leave some comments. Music to read by: “Claire de Lune” by St. Marks philharmonic Orchestra

The old man hobbled softly towards a bench situated along the mighty Atlantic and took a seat. He held a bag of seeds in his left hand and a rolled up newspaper in the other. This is where he had first met her all those years ago, before cancer took her from his arms. God it must have been fifty, no, sixty years ago if it wasn’t a day. He remembered how she looked on that chilly, February afternoon. Her black hair was tucked into her wool collar and she wore a dark green scarf that accentuated her hazel eyes, her cheeks were rose-red from the bitter sting of winter. It had no effect on her personality because her laugh overpowered the noise of crashing waves and pissed off taxi drivers honking their horns in the background.

He removed a handful of bird food and gently threw it on the concrete sidewalk. The pigeons and crows would come, they always did. Food was scarce this time of year, the flying creatures ate whatever was available. They weren’t picky eaters, they were vultures. But he loved them dearly because no one else did.

He sat down and tried to remember what she had worn that day when she came trotting out of the woods like a lost angel. It was a black skirt, he was sure of it, a black skirt and a grey coat with ruffles on the hem. She was wearing red lipstick and brown buckled shoes. She was holding her school books and heading towards some study group he had long forgotten. She was extremely adamant about doing well in school and in the years to come, she pressed him to further his education. He had no use for school, but because she was the reason his heart beat, he wanted to impress her and in the process, become a better man.

Several pigeons made their way over to the stale pellets and decided hunger was the lesser of the two evils.

“BAH!”  The man shouted and swung a leg to scatter the herd. He laughed gingerly at their purple and silver bodies and tossed more feed on the ground with the hope of enticing other species to come and join the feast. He turned around and looked at the park where he had first encountered her. Two giant oaks to the left, a green cresting hill in the center, two more oaks on the right and the small waterfall cascading down the middle of it all. The town had erected a playground near the park’s entrance some years ago but other than that, not much had changed. She loved feeding the birds and in her memory, he made it a daily habit to befriend them.

He exhaled and a puff of smoke jutted out from his wrinkled jaws. It was cold, colder than he remembered and zippered up his fleece to stay away pneumonia. He laughed at the thought of getting sick because at this moment, and at this time, it mattered not.

His life had grown short and he had come up north to visit this special place one last time. He closed his eyes and pictured his darling in his mind. How precious she was to his heart, how beautiful and sweet and unforgettable. The woman had changed his life, gave him meaning and something to take care of. He cared little about himself and could have lived a bachelor’s life. But when he met her and saw the twinkle in her eye, he knew without a shadow of a doubt, this was a once in a lifetime happenstance. Oh how he loved her!

“Hello Jack.”

Jack bowed his head and sighed.

“Hello Walter.”

“What are you doing up here? You promised me you would stay put. What am I going to do with you?” The man with the devious smile questioned him without any emotion whatsoever.

Jack ignored him. He looked back towards the oak trees and tried hard to remember which one they had carved their names into. They were foolish romantics when they were young, and did silly things kids do when they first fall in love.

“Just wanted to get away for a few days, visit the old neighborhood. See some old sights.”

The invisible man sitting next to Jack reached down and grabbed a seed from the ground and popped it into his mouth. The thing pretended to enjoy it and rubbed its’ belly in mock fulfillment.

“I see you’ve chosen the cheap brand this time. I enjoyed the breadcrumbs you wasted last week. Have anymore?”

Jack remained silent as he pictured her ice skating for the very first time. It was their first date and they both had fallen more than once.

“I didn’t come here to feed you Walter. The birds need food this time of year, it’s cold and they have nothing else to eat. Giving food to hungry birds isn’t a waste. But then again you wouldn’t know about compassion, would you?”

Walter tilted his head skyward and chuckled. He was wearing a short sleeve shirt and dark jeans this time. A pair of sunglasses sat tilted on the bridge of his nose and a devilish smile formed on his whiskered face.

“Nonsense Jack, compassion is another flaw in the human species I will never understand. It’s a waste of time and effort and when it’s all said and done, you are deeper into poverty than you were at the start! And all in the name of helping someone else! Come off it old man, there is no room in this world for the likes of you.” Walter said matter-of-factly as he picked at his fingernails.

Jack thought about the day he purchased the ring and asked her to marry him. It was a happy day, a glorious day. She’d put it on her finger with tears streaming down her cheeks, and with quivering lips agreed to become his wife.

“Walter, if it’s all the same to you, can you just shut the fuck up and get on with it? I’ve been listening to your crap for the last seven years and to be perfectly honest, I’m tired of it. I want to see her.” The old man said with little anger and much hope. Her face was becoming much clearer now.

Walter glared towards his prey and took off his glasses, its’ eyes were pitch black with rage.

“So be it.” With one finger, Walter touched Jack on the neck and the lonely old man began to fade into eternity. Seeds fell to the ground and the pigeons began to fill their stomachs.

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It’s going to huff and puff before you loose electricity.

Hurricane Sandy is barreling down the East coast miles above the churning Atlantic Ocean right now. As you read this paragraph, a monster made of energy and all sorts of ferocious power is rotating in the heavens just waiting to crap down lightning and bullets of water against the inhabitants of this tiny globe. We must have pissed off the atmosphere one too many times and now, after several false alarms, this could be the proverbial mother-of-all storms. I believe the eye of the milky-way shaped natural wonder is hovering near the Carolinas. If you had the guts and, I would assume, supernatural powers to stand near the center of the storm and look up, you would probably see a red-eye full of malice and rage with no other purpose than to terrorize us for intruding its orbit.

Hurricane Sandy 2012

Meteorologists and laymen alike will never fully understand each other. It usually works in our favor to take the advice from the truly informed professionals. As opposed to your average bar room nonsense fabricated by way too much alcohol and a grandiose sense of knowledge. How about the guy standing at the bus stop looking at the clouds? Nine times out of ten he’ll give you his two cents worth. When someone lacks the proper education to give you a lucid and educated guess as to the proper trajectory of a category one hurricane shooting up from the south at a gazillion miles per hour, they will credit their theories on experience from previous storms. This is what I do.

The pros say one thing, our neighbors say something else and when it comes down to it, we fail to concur and wait for them to retract what they’ve told us. When Irene struck in 2011 we were told to shovel holes underground and hide like a pack of groundhogs with all the survival equipment we could strap to our backs. Not much happened. But we comply and prepare because not to do so would be asinine. The wind howls, rain falls, branches topple telephone poles, more huffing and puffing from the galactic phenomenon and boom, the power goes out. Back to the Middle Ages we go!

I am generally concerned about this pre-Halloween trick. When the weather guy on T.V throws his hands in the air repeatedly and when it’s obvious he has no power to force his eyeballs to blink, I guess it would make sense to heed his warning and haul ass. He just told us the subways in NYC will be forced to shut down tonight and the LIRR will be out-of-order, who knows? Maybe the National Guard will come rolling in next.

I like storms though. It has a way of breaking monotony and it makes me believe this is the way earth releases its stress. Through hurricanes and snowstorms and Wizard of Oz style tornadoes, the earth regurgitates its frustration and reminds us the fate of humanity lies within its ability to tolerate us, and we should be happy if it allows us to survive another uppercut from one of its roaming fists made of dark smoke and terrible thunder.

The markets are packed with little old ladies roaming for cheap canned goods, there are parents purchasing milk for screaming brats, single women are stocking up on God knows whatever it is they stock up on, bachelors like myself linger around the snack area trying to figure out if a box of crackers can last us three days and will it go well with my beer. A frantic call over the intercom, someone has slipped in frozen foods, people fight over a leg of lamb, a single roll of toilet paper flies over my head. It’s just your average end of the world crisis being played out in your local food store.

Gas stations are backed up down the road too. It’s amazing how confused the whole parking lot becomes once there’s a threat of a gas shortage. People just sit in their vehicles and stare straight ahead waiting for the guy in front of them to pull out, shake off and put the nozzle back in its place, and that’s not a euphemism.  It’s all good because someone in the Middle East is making money.  More good news for us Americans (um, yes this is dry sarcasm at its best). Some tough guy will get out of his car and yell at the person in front of him for not moving fast enough. I sit and think you can only go as fast as the pump allows you maniac. An old man bangs on his steering wheel; someone else overflows their tank and the flammable substance leaks dangerously all over their pants, but it’s no big deal, it’s just your everyday emergency.

Thankfully it’s an election month so gas prices have dropped considerably in our favor, just in time for the storm of the century.  Yet it doesn’t really matter because the officials have called a state of emergency for most of the coastline. Many people have to evacuate homes and leave their lives in the hands of a terrible situation in which they have no control. Please seek out proper shelter if you have to evacuate. Call your local Red Cross for more information.

This type of storm is a wonderful excuse to break out the survival gear your wife mocks you for owning. Short of a zombie apocalypse, this is the right time to use it.  I keep a bag near my bed and another in my vehicle in case I find myself in a situation where I have to be mobile. I thought about giving you a detailed list of what to keep in a survival kit, but I’m not going to. There are other websites you can visit which will probably be more beneficial to you than mine would. If you’ve been paying attention to this article I just finished telling you I was shopping for crackers and beer a day before a hurricane. All jokes aside, go buy Les Stroud’s book “Survived” and you will find yourself ready to take on anything Mother Nature has to throw at you.


Road Trip: Grease Monkeys and hot dog water.

Sometimes people ask me what I think heaven must look like. I would usually say something cliché about fluffy clouds and gold paved streets. Trees line a gurgling, crystal clear river all the way towards the Throne of God. I think there are millions upon millions of angels and departed souls singing and shouting and banging their tambourines all night long. I bet there is a never-ending buffet with all sorts of delicious foods and cocktails being served by smiling angelic beings. I am sure there are pools and flowing waterfalls, pearly gates and everlasting life. Free Starbucks for everyone. No hatred, no sadness, no greed. Eternity in a nutshell.

If you are looking for heaven on earth, I suggest driving through the Rocky Mountains. Start in Grand Junction, Co and drive West on I-70 for two hundred and seventy something miles. I can assure you its rugged cliffs and dragon like scales jutting out from earth will leave you in an ethereal state of mind. Streams of water cascade down from the mountains and flow over rocks and around tree stumps, horny squirrels mate under the shade of small bushes. Blue skies and wild flowers put the whole picture in a frame to hang on your wall. I’m sure I saw the ghost of Bob Ross sitting quietly on a boulder with his easel and paints talking to himself. I could be wrong because I was too busy keeping an eye on the road. My brakes were making funny noises, I was sure the oil was depleted because I couldn’t get the Grand Van to go over fifty.

Before I left New York, I had some “mechanic” at Wal-Mart change the oil on my ride. He told me there could be a minor leak. There was no leak. He didn’t help the situation either. I know nothing about cars except changing a flat or putting in water or Antifreeze. I can turn the key and put the transmission in drive if I have to. I know how to screw on a bolt. He does not. He put the oil pan bolt on crooked or something along those lines.

While chugging up a hill towards Frisco, I was too concerned with conking out and careening down the side of a cliff to really enjoy the scenery around me. I figured this is where the rich and famous hung out yadda, yadda, yadda. All the pretty people gather here and drink champagne and toast their millions, blah.

Anyway, I entered the fairytale town with gusto and a resolve to get my baby fixed. Found a cool little auto shop called the Grease Monkey and was greeted by a friendly chap who was in the process of helping some other wanderer. I always feel a bit foolish when it comes to mechanical stuff, even more so when the person is trying to explain things to me. I just stand there with my hands in my pockets, shaking my head up and down like I have any clue as to what’s being told to me. The nice guy started telling me about bolts and pans and what have you, I smiled and agreed. I think he knew I was clueless.

It was a bit chilly in between the mountains, so I grabbed my Orange County Choppers hoodie and walked a spell while my van was attended to. It’s August, but everyone in town was wearing long-sleeved shirts and some wore winter hats (a little too much in my opinion). Before I walked away, I grabbed a bottle of water from my cooler and took a nice, long chug to quench my parched throat.

Now, two days earlier I had cooked some Franks over an open fire and thought I had secured the rest of the dogs in plastic wrap. I was wrong. The bag of hot dogs mixed and mingled with the melted ice to create a lovely aroma of, I don’t know, crap. Unbeknownst to me, I grabbed an open bottle of H20. The juice invaded my Poland Springs and ruined the whole experience. I spit it out when I realized I had been poisoned by my own ineptitude. Some of the locals watched with fiery indignation and turned their snooty noses in the air. Even pet dogs turned their snouts skywards, dreadful New Yorker how dare he!

I don’t have much to say lately. To tell you the truth, I’ve been on edge the last few days because I’m in a rather interesting quandary. I won’t get into specifics, but I hope everything works out the way it’s supposed to. Let the wind take me where it wants, keep my eyes on the prize and move forward. When you are on the verge of a nervous breakdown, your body kicks into survival mode and everything around you moves outside of time. I think I lost it a bit yesterday, but it’s all part of the adventure. When you leave the comfort of a home for the great outdoors, or a van, you tend to remember how blessed you are.

The past seventy-two hours have tested and tried my mind and soul. I may have snapped, but I believe in that old saying, whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. My apologies to the people who had to listen to me complain, thank you for hearing me out. Thank you for being there.


Triton in the Sky.

Triton in the Sky.

Long Island New York circa 2012
Photography by Gabriel

As the result of unseen cosmic earthquakes beyond the clouded barrier, the sky cracked open with a flash and tossed the sea to and fro allowing both wind and reed to interlock in a perpetual battle for the ages.


In the Land of Ancients.

In the Land of Ancients.

Long Island New York circa 2012.