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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Drifting - Excerpt from Johnny Oops 11 - Timeless

Drifting, we’re just drifting through the sands of time. Ala and I are enjoying being together, discovering each other, laughing together and sharing our love together. One thing I discovered. This mind meld thing really helps making love a lot more passionate. Wow, just gets better each time. Poor Outy, my inner self, he has been trying to find a place to stay. He says the vibrations are driving him crazy. You’d think he’d get used to this by now. How come I’m enjoying this so much and Outy isn’t.

“Ala, I have to ask you a question, don’t get mad, but how old are you?”

“I could never get mad at you, Johnny. I’ve been thinking about this too. From what you tell me Human life expectancy is about one hundred years. Ours is two hundred years. I’m twenty in our years so I guess that’s about forty in your years. Does that make sense?”

“Sounds reasonable to me. I’m thirty in our years so that’s about fifteen in your years. Does that make sense?”

“I always liked younger men, Johnny. That’s fine with me. Just don’t tell my father. I don’t think he would approve.”

“When am I going to meet your parents, Ala?”

“As soon as I get up the courage to tell him about you. You’re so white and we are true blue. I don’t know how he’ll react, and you’re an alien. Might be too much for him to contemplate.”

“I understand. The Council didn’t seem to mind us being together.”

“They have their own agenda, Johnny. They have more of a galactic viewpoint. My Dad’s a farmer.”

“My Dad was a genius and a prophet and a charlatan and a sex maniac.”

“That’s wonderful, Johnny. No wonder you’re so brilliant, and good at making love too.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment, I think.”

“Johnny, what’s a compliment? Does it have anything to do with our love making?”

“Only indirectly. A compliment is when you say something nice about me or me about you. Makes me feel good.”

“I always feel good when I’m with you, except now I have a stomach ache. I don’t know why. I never get sick. All I want to do is go to sleep.”

“Ala, do you want to see a doctor?”

“No Johnny, I think I know what this is. I think I’m with baby.”

“You’re kidding me? That’s great. I hope it’s going to be a boy.”

“If you want a boy, Johnny, I can arrange that. Most men want girl babies.”

“You’re kidding me.”

“No, we women control these things, don’t yours?”

“No they don’t, or at least not all the time. How long do you carry the baby, Ala?”

“About seven months.”

“We better tell the Council, and I think its time I meet your parents.”

“Okay, Johnny, can we tell them tomorrow? I just want to go to sleep. They probably know already. They can read our minds.”

“Ala, I think that’s an invasion of our privacy. Don’t they need our consent to read our minds?”

‘What’s privacy, Johnny? Is that like when we make love behind the curtained wall? What’s consent?”

“That’s right Ala, and I like my privacy and didn’t give my consent or agree to the council reading my mind.”

“Why don’t you think to them, Johnny, and explain to them why you’re upset. They’ll understand. Can’t have them invading our privacy. We might as well be doing it out in the open with the whole council as our audience.”

“It’s not just about sex, Ala.”

“There is something more important, Johnny? What could be more important?”


The Sheriff says, “The good news is we’ve dredged the river up and down stream for half a mile and no sign of little Timmy.” The bad news is that a black bear and her two little ones have been spotted in the area. It’s going to start to get dark soon. If we don’t find Timmy in the next few hours, we are going to have to call off the search until daylight and I don’t know what the hell we are going to do with all the volunteers that keep piling in to join the search, some from as far away as upstate. There must be a thousand people here. They have no camping gear and no food and we have no accommodations for them except I can house about ten in our jail, which is empty because I let the drunks out to help search for Timmy.

When Cindy hears about the black bears she starts to sob again.
She says, “I can’t keep Amy out in this mess any longer—a light drizzle has started to fall—she’s tired and hungry. I’m going home. Billy, don’t you come back without my Timmy, do you hear me?”

I just nod wearily. This thing is really starting to take a toll on me.
When Cindy gets home she goes to the kitchen to make Amy something to eat. Then she hears the front door open and she runs into the living room thinking its Billy. Standing in the hall looking a little bedraggled and dirty is Timmy. She runs over to him and picks him up and hugs him.

“Timmy where were you? We were so worried. We have everyone out searching for you.”

“Sorry Mommy. I woke up early because I had to pee. That hot chocolate you made us was great. Dad and I finished all of it while he told me stories about the White Buffalo and my Ancestors. When I went outside I saw a deer. I started to follow it. Then I got a little lost. Then I got sleepy so I lay down to take a nap. I had a dream that the White Buffalo came to visit me. An Ancestor on a White Horse rode over on a big cloud and said, ‘go home,’ and pointed the way so I did. My Ancestor has different colored sequins on his bow and arrow. Why is that, Mommy? Walking home I saw the cutest little black bear. He yelped at me, but I didn’t stop because you told me never to talk to strange people or animals.  Looked just like the brown stuffed bear that Daddy got me. Can I try to catch it tomorrow and make the bear into a pet?”

The nanny says that’s when Cindy really lost it. Took her five minutes to calm down enough to call me to come home because Timmy has miraculously appeared. I come back with the sheriff who said we should keep that kid on a leash. I agree. After seeing that Timmy is all right I go outside to thank the crowd of volunteers who have gathered holding Timmy in my arms, but not before Cindy cleans up Timmy’s dirty cheeks and skinned knees. The volunteers give him a big cheer and start on their way home, or out to dinner if they can find anything left to eat in town, but not before I make a short speech about how grateful I am that so many people cared enough to come out and search for my son. Then I start to cry.
When we come back inside, Cindy says, “If you ever tell Timmy or Amy any more stories about your Ancestors I’m going to give you a White Buffalo that you will never forget.” Then she punches me in the stomach as hard as she can with her good hand.

After I stop coughing I say, “Think what you want. The White Buffalo and my Ancestors showed Timmy the way home. Can I have some dinner? I’m starving.”

Cindy says, “No.”

It takes Cindy the better part of a week before she speaks to me again in more than one word sentences, which for the most part are “no” or “dummy” or “idiot.” She refuses to let Timmy out of the house for the entire time, and when he finally does go out it is with Cindy holding his hand.

Timmy says, “What did I do?”

Like father, like son, I guess.

I feel like an idiot standing here scratching my head and looking at my son in wonderment, but in the final analysis I guess it’s all about friends and family and even strangers banding together to help you find yourself when you’re lost. If that includes White Buffalos and Ancestors riding on White Horses with colorful sequin feathers on their bows and arrows pointing the way home so be it. The real question in my mind is how did little Timmy have the intuition to recognize his Ancestors? Must be something in the genes, some instinct that God instills us with, that helps us find our way home to the people we love.

Everything happens so quickly. I’m at a meeting with a bunch of holdout gang members who aren’t participating in the New Horizons project to try and convince them to join. I’m arguing with one particular kid with tattoos on his neck and arms about the virtues of the program when a young thug pulls out a knife, rushes over to me and stabs me once in the stomach and once in my side before security and Sergeant O’Hara can subdue the young hoodlum. I feel this searing pain in my gut, see blood gushing and black out. I’m seriously injured and I’m taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital. I remember fading in and out of consciousness in the ambulance and then in the hospital—lot’s of white jackets and blurred faces working on me. I’m scared.

Cindy picks up the phone, listens for a moment to Sergeant O’Hara trying to explain to her what happened to me and starts screaming. Sergeant O’Hara says he never heard such a blood-curdling scream even in the Army. The nanny says she could hear her from the other side of the house. Cindy leaves our children with the nanny, calls a taxi and races over to the hospital.

I lose a lot of blood, but fortunately the stab wounds don’t hit any vital organs just my gall bladder. I’m in surgery for over two hours. After another hour in intensive care I’m wheeled back into a private room. I don’t even remember most of what happened to me until Sergeant O’Hara explains. Cindy sits at my hospital bed holding my hand and crying softly, my poor Cindy. When I’m stronger she makes me promise on our children’s lives I won’t go on any more recruiting field trips.

Evidently the kid who stabbed me has recently been released from juvenile detention for stabbing another kid in an argument over a gold chain and is shouting that no one was going to lock him up again in some camp. This time they try him as an adult and he is sent away for four years, which in my opinion is not long enough, God forgive me.

The Mayor comes to visit me later that day and says, “Enough is enough. You are going to have to slow down. We don’t want to lose you.”

Their Indian vows of marriage are taken in a quaint Native American custom as bride and groom each take seven steps around a small ceremonial fire set on stones, alternately making a different vow to each other about their responsibilities to each other. With every step they exchange gifts such as kernels of corn to symbolize fertility.

The Oneida spiritual leader borrows from a famous Apache Wedding Blessing while holding hands with Bull and Rose.

He says, “Now you will feel no rain, for you will be shelter to each other. Now you will feel no cold, as each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there is no more loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other.”

There is more to the blessing, but on that last phrase I’m afraid I start to cry and sob loudly. I guess the line about loneliness gets to me. I get distracted and don’t remember the rest, but I remember the sentiment is beautiful and poetic.

 I say to Cindy, “We should renew our vows in a similar ceremony.”

Cindy holds my hand and says, “We can renew our vows along with Bull and Rose if you’ll just stop sobbing and follow the ceremony.”

Sequin Boy and Cindy is the story of two young people who go to war, come home as disabled vets and their struggle to successfully reintegrate into civilian society. I think you will find it heartwarming and spiritually uplifting. Please check it out.

Cindy and I suffer a lot of phantom pain—when you think that the limb you lost is hurting—and when it rains our wounds hurt like hell, but other than an occasional over-the-counter extra strength Advil, we are pill free, and our love life is terrific again. I was a little shy at first about Cindy seeing my stump, but the heat of passion soon rids me of that hang-up. Cindy says she’s happy I haven’t lost any other body part. All of a sudden my gal has a sense of humor.

I think Cindy is getting used to the loss of her hand. She has an artificial one, but can’t really do much with the damn thing, which is really for cosmetic effect. Her face is another matter. The droop bothers her. She tries to hide it with her good hand. I keep kissing her face on the bad side, which only serves to make her remember that her face is deformed. Sometimes I’m not too swift.

Homecoming to the local community and our apartment is a gas. Our apartment is secure due to a liberal monthly disability allowance from the Army and a landlord that really feels sorry for the nice young couple who live there. When we get home, curtsey of Army transportation all the way including a direct flight on an Air force C 17 cargo plane to an Air force base in New Jersey, and door-to-door Army Jeep service, we find the apartment stocked with every conceivable kind of food courtesy of our local merchants and the building super who let them in.  The refrigerator is full of fine French meats from the local butcher and a beautifully roasted chicken. The fruit store stocked the place with melons, lettuce, string beans, and out of season white peaches. The community has gotten together and bought us a real king sized bed whose mattress goes up and down electronically. Of course there are more cigars, which Cindy secretly smokes, all the latest magazines, and a gift certificate for Cindy to the local beauty parlor. She at first refuses to go, but I eventually convince her. I grab Cindy’s good hand and say, “Life is good. We’ll have to take a walk tomorrow and thank everybody for our great welcome home.”

We needn’t have bothered. The local community is planning a big home coming parade for us. We are a little embarrassed, but we feel great to be home. The only problem I have is when the snows came later in the month. There are four steps out front leading to our apartment and I tend to slip on my artificial limb. I have to lean on the guardrail to go up sideways grasping the railing for support, and walking together as a couple at first is awkward. I have to walk on Cindy’s left side to hold her good hand and that means my artificial limb on my right leg is on the inside. I still use a cane. We practice together and work it out. Both of us use each other for support and I keep the cane in my left hand.

One morning, a few days after we came home, Cindy wakes to find me lying on my side of the bed facing her and listening to her breath. Tears are running down my cheeks. “I thought I lost you in Iran. I was so scared, I didn’t want to live without you,” I say.

Excerpt from Sequin Boy and Cindy

“I hate that bastard,” bubbles from my lips whenever the image of the beatings and the hurtful words I got from my stepfather cross my mind.
 I found a job working for ten dollars an hour at a pulp romance magazine with offices in Jamaica, NY as an article writer. I was always good at English and writing in high school. Any one could have written for that rag their standards were so low, but I’m digressing.
I live in a one room fourth floor walk up on Eleventh Street and First Avenue in New York City. I guess you could say it’s a dump, and am headed home when I see her. I wish I had the courage to cross the train platform and talk to that girl. I wish I had some faith in myself and wasn’t so shy.
Self-consciously I pull at the sequins on my upper lip.  I have a neat row of four gold colored sequins sewn on either side of my nose, one long row of nine sequins in red, yellow and blue sewn on my forehead, and a tinier row of six silver sequins above my upper lip. Why did I ever let some tattoo and piercing artist in the Bronx talk me into doing this as a eighteenth birthday present to myself? I guess I wanted to keep people away from me. How anti-social can you get? I must be an idiot. Maybe my stepfather was right about me.
I’ve never been with a girl before, never even kissed one. I haven’t had much interest until now. I’ve been more in a survival mode just wanting to be left alone, but this girl across the platform with the blond pigtails really turns me on. I think she is staring at me. I wonder how much of my face she can see while I’m wearing this hooded sweatshirt? Maybe I should step back into in shadows. Why did I get these damn sequins sewn on my face? Makes me look like a real weirdo. Guess that’s what I wanted. What am I going to do now?

Happy Times – Excerpt from Sequin Boy and Cindy

We decide we will stay home for the Holiday and greet our old friends and former staff on an informal basis for the whole week of Christmas through New Years. The local merchants on Eleventh Street send over all the fixings for an endless buffet and refuse to take any money, but they come and celebrate with us and renew old ties and friendships.

The French butcher sends over a huge Christmas goose and an eight rib standing rib roast and all kinds of fancy cheeses and salamis.  The Bakery sends over a huge chocolate Yule log and ten pounds of Christmas cookies. Everyone who comes brings a different dish. I make a gigantic bowl of eggnog every day heavily laced with brandy, and Cindy makes a steaming pitcher of hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows for the children and me. Many of my former staff come and give their best wishes. My old secretary comes and sits in a corner crying, “There will never be another one like this,” she says. Cindy can’t get her to stop bawling until she gives her a large glass of the spiked eggnog. That does the trick. From then on Mabel is all smiles. The twins have never seen so much food in one place and promptly got sick on the hot chocolate and too many cookies.

This is a magical time, a wonderful time, culminating with Cindy and me taking a walk on Eleventh Street on Christmas Eve to thank all our merchant friends before we go to the small local church. A light snow is falling, but that doesn’t stop me. I skid a couple of times on my sequined crutches, but Sergeant O’Hara and you know who are there to keep me from falling.

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