Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Buck Gabriel and The Case Of The Naked Gunman

When I first moved to Cape Beach, I wanted to keep working in nightclub security. It didn’t work out too well. There aren’t that many nightclubs, and there are plenty of musclebound meat-heads to work them. I stand five-feet, nine inches tall, and weigh a lean one-sixty five. They figure I’m too small for the job.

I consider it their loss, but admit nobody needs an operator of my caliber. The local cops didn’t give a damn. If some asshole gets drunk, pisses off a bouncer, and winds up in traction, local sentiment maintains they had it comin. I half suspect they like the fights to help keep things interesting.

With that decided, I next set my eye on personal security, the kind of gig that pays better when you avoid trouble, only to find that the state required extensive licensing and bonding that I couldn’t afford.

So I became a cab driver to save up the money, and that’s how I met Buck Gabriel.

My first night on the job, the dispatcher took me outside, showed me how to run the meter and work the NexTel radio, ran through everything I needed to check and document before driving out of the yard, and handed me the keys.

"Now head down to the Bucket and pick up Mr Gabriel," he said.

"Yes, sir," I said as I opened the cab door.

"Don’t ’Sir’ me, dickface, I’m The Monster." With these words he flicked his right arm down sharply and a collapsible steel baton shot out from his sleeve like a cold, dark, blunt light saber.

At six-four and three-hundred pounds with a face like a boar’s ass and the fashion sense of a wino, it was an apt moniker.

Fear is an emotion that has been beaten, sweated, and trained out of me since I was old enough to walk. Other kids got to stand in a corner for five minutes. When I pissed my dad off I had to hold Qi Gong postures and fighting stances for hours on end. They all thought it was cool to be adopted by a world-famous chinese kung fu master, I can tell you first-hand it sucked giant hairy lu zi qiú.

First on the list of lessons my father beat into my head was politeness and respect for authority. Common sense dictated if Monster decided how much work I got, I should keep him happy.

"Sorry, si-, I mean Monster. Old military habit."

"Well break it quick, or I’m gonna break you."

I understood that he was trying me out, just seeing how much bullshit he could get away with before I lost my nerve, and that there was only one way to ensure his lasting respect and admiration. I closed the cab door and turned to face him.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

At least there's breath

If nothing else take comfort
in the fact you still draw breath
and while you may have tasted it
you still do not know death

pain and hell
your divine inheritance
may be all you see
misery and taxes
are all you're guaranteed

all things good will pass
and all love you know will die
evil demons lurk
behind each human eye

you will lie
you will hate
and offer penance
far too late

you will cheat
and you will steal
the numbness fades
again, you'll feel

a movie ends when credits roll
but life keeps marching on
make a moment justify
the breath that is still drawn
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Revelation (a poem)

I hope I never lose the memory
of what it felt like to hold you complete,
my infant son.

To know my arms
are the only thing
that kept the world from crushing you,
though I can barely save myself.
The fear empowers
and overpowers me.

To save us both
I whisper-sing into your ear
a military marching song
of boys graven in their father's image
grown,
staring,
sobered at a fun-house mirror
as the lights come on
and the D.J. plays the polka
to scare the bacchanalians into
stumbling out the door
blind and vital
alive in Christ
like no seminary alumnus
high on Eucharist
and Jesus juice
could ever hope
to give witness.

And I remember it
as the most divine rendition.
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