“A Mr. Craig to see you, sir.”
“That’s just fine, Ms. Chase. Send him right in.”
“He will see you now, sir. Right this way.”
As the very tall and slender beauty stood up, I could see she was older than I thought but her great looks made any judgment of just how much almost impossible to tell. She was impeccably dressed and save for a heart-shaped locket, she wasn’t wearing any jewelry.
“That’s a nice locket”, I said.
“Thank you. I wish I could say it was unique”, as she gave me a weary grin and ushered me through the door.
The office was quite large and ornate as I expected. But what I wasn’t prepared for were the ceiling to floor windows that created a half-circle around the room looking out on the wastelands below. There were two lounge chairs in front of a very stately-looking desk, the requisite bookshelves adorning the walls on both sides, and a large broad-shouldered man standing behind the desk backward as he looked out on the horizon.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?”
“Pardon me?”
I heard what he said, but I didn’t quite understand why he said it.
“The view. It’s like a blank canvas just waiting for an artist to start creating a masterpiece.”
“If you say so, sir”, as I slid into one of the most comfortable chairs I’ve ever sat in before.
“Do you know why you’re here, son?”
“Sir, I don’t even know where I am.”
“Don’t you?”, he remarked as he tilted his head slightly in my direction but not enough to give me a full profile of his face. “What’s the last thing you remember?”
“A bright light.”
No, son. What do you remember before that?”, he insisted.
I thought hard for a moment. There was a searing pain to go along with that light, but only for a quick second. Thinking back to what happened before evoked images of large metal containers…and the ocean! At least, I’m pretty sure it was the ocean because there were very large ships moving along the water with dozens of those containers on them. A dock, that’s where and I had a clipboard in my hand.
“I was working on a dock?”
“That’s right, my boy!”, he said as he placed his thumbs under his suspenders as if he were actually proud of what I just said.
“So, I was a dockworker?”
At this point, he turned to face me. I should have been afraid of what I was seeing, of the face that was standing not five feet in front of me. But the smile that was carved into the bust of this monstrosity was so soothing as it beamed at me like I was a favored child, gave me a sense of calm I hadn’t felt.
“Son, saying you were just a dockworker is like saying Gacy was just a clown!”, as he bellowed this horrifically loud laugh that shook the windows. “My boy, what you pulled off on that dock is nothing short of magical!”
As he spoke, I began to remember small flashes of moments in my brain. But to my chagrin, it was not necessary because the windows were now filled with videos of me on the docks.
“Take a look at this! Here you are smuggling in a shipment of pure heroin, over here it’s refugees with a dozen terrorists thrown in for good measure, and here you are signing off on a shipment of young boys and girls bound for destinations unknown! Son, while working on that dock as ‘just a dockworker’, you single-handedly did more in one week than most evil bastards would ever do in a lifetime! I loved it!”
“Well, if I did such a great job, then how did I get here?”
Just then the windows went back to showing the ground below us spanning out as far as the eye could see with devastation and smoldering buildings that showed not one bit of life anywhere along the way.
“Bad luck, son. I mean, sooner or later you had to know it was going to come back to bite you in the ass! I mean, how could you have known that the last container you would ever sign for was filled with dirty bombs? Ironically, it was them terrorists you brought in that was supposed to get ‘em. But when that crane cable snapped…”
“So, I died?”
“Son, you didn’t just die. You set off World War 3! When that dock went up in smoke with most of San Francisco with it, your President bombed the Arabs that were backed by the Russians, who were backed by the Chinese, and HOO BOY! We had a party!”
Looking out now on the view, I could only imagine the millions that were dead because of me.
At this point, I just bowed my head into my hands. “So, what now?”
“What now?! Well, Hell! I want you to come work for me! But all official-like this time. Got your contract right there in front of you. It’s pretty straightforward language. No need for a lawyer, but I got plenty of ‘em I could refer to you if you like?”
“Work for you? What do you want me to do?”
“I want you to be one of my top Account Managers! I mean, if anyone can influence a few wayward souls on the easier path to take, it’d be you! Now all you have to do is place your right thumb down on that tiny little needle there on the desk. You gon’ feel a small piece of pain, but just for a sec. Hell, you’ve felt worse. Am I right?! Then, just press that thumb down on the bottom of that piece of paper and you and I will have a deal!”
“Do I have a choice?”, I asked already knowing that I wasn’t going to like the answer.
“Son, everybody has a choice. You chose many times to look the other way and line your pockets. All I’m asking you now is to choose to lead more my way or you could choose to spend the rest of your time with me regretting the choice you make now. What’s it going to be?”
Of course, I didn’t take too long to make up my mind. Better them than me, right? As I placed my thumb down on the pin, a stream of blood pooled into the silver receptacle attached to it. I then pressed my thumb onto the bottom of the long document in front of me that I was very sure was not in my favor in the long run.
Just then, he walked over and shook my hand.
“I’m proud of you, boy. And here, just as a token of my appreciation, I want you to have this to commemorate this occasion.”
As he reached down to the desk, he picked up the silver receptacle that I had just impaled my digit upon to seal this deal. He clasped it within his hands and as he opened them, there was an exact duplicate of the object that received a compliment for Ms. Chase. A silver heart-shaped locket.

That’s the first principle of the Hippocratic oath better known as “First, do no harm”.

Now, most of the people I’m referring to in this post are not doctors, so they wouldn’t be subjected to the terms of this sacred tradition. But, almost all of them took another oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and it’s this one that they failed at miserably and, dare I say, criminally in some cases.

Loathe as I am to even say his name, it was clear before the election Trump was unfit to serve in office. But there was this push on the right to elect him to be their Manchurian Candidate, someone they can use to do their evil bidding. Unfortunately for them, he showed who he really was so much that they might as well have called him the Mandalorian Candidate.

Unfortunately for us, Life began to imitate Art on a constant basis throughout his Presidency even from the start. It seemed to be the newest reality show set at the White House with real-world consequences. One of the first examples of this was the ousting of a current staffer and former reality show “star”, Omarosa. She, of course, wrote her version of how dysfunctional the West Wing was and how she tried to do what she could to help stop the worst from happening.

Foreshadowing, an indication of something that will happen in the future, often used as a literary device to hint at or allude to future plot developments.

Oh, it’s a literary device, all right, because I’ve lost count of how many staffers, reporters, and confidantes have published books now spilling all the tea of how crazy this MF was and why they only stuck around because the next person might help Mayor McOrange to accomplish his evil plans. No accountability.

“But, we have recordings of statements you made where you clearly show your support for the President…”

“Yes, but if you paid attention, you can clearly see me winking and when the camera pans to the side, you can see my fingers crossed behind my back!”

They want us to think this was Weekend At Bernie’s (Sorry, Sen. Sanders) where they just carried a harmless body around that was not a threat to anyone, except that time he was spreading disease from his rotting carcass. Or, at the most, they would like you to imagine the movie Dave, where the lead character is an entertainer and puppet that they were only using to get their Ring-wing agenda passed without anyone getting hurt.

But, we all know it was not that. Instead, it was that aptly named Enemy of the State with people in front of the cameras and behind the scenes actively engaging in bald-faced lies, grift on a worldwide scale, domestic terrorism, and treason, in order to get what they wanted no matter who they hurt or killed. And spoiler alert…a lot of people died at the end. Except for Will Smith, who didn’t even hit anyone.

The phrase “25th Amendment” keeps coming up but none of these people ever thought seriously of using it because that would mean fucking up the party for everyone. You know, like Kavanaugh’s friend that jumped on the bed knocking all three to the floor so the almost raped victim could get away.

No, they are all trying to get rich while assuring us that they did all they could at the time. But the whole point of the 25th is to remove a threat to the office and the country before things get too far. Someone, preferably many of them, has to step up and honor that oath to defend “the Constitution of the United States”, i.e. US!

Us, We, Them…however, you cut it, when you raise that right hand and say those words, you are making a vow to stand up to the bully, to give up the position you hold to bring truth to the light, and to sacrifice yourself for the greater good. It does us no good to hear after the fact that things almost got way out of hand. It does not serve the country to know that the man who has changed the course of the Supreme Court for a generation or two wanted to shoot innocent citizens because they were exercising their 1st amendment right to protest him.

These words may be just that…and they most likely won’t be seen by anyone involved, let alone my own friends. But, I felt compelled to write them because I often feel the need to speak out, which has gotten me ousted, fired, and uninvited to more than a few places.

But I never took a vow. I never promised anything. And if I ever finish my book, it won’t have any revelations of any crimes that I could have stopped.

Jada “wants to be a superwoman
But is that really in her head
But I just want to live each day
To love her for what she is”

Apparently, Jada is suffering from alopecia. Hair loss. But as a casual observer, I will say that she looks amazing. I can only assume that her family, her husband, and her community is supportive of her.

Jada “wants to be another movie star
But is that really in her mind
And all the things she wants to be
She needs to leave behind.”

Jada is very good at certain roles but Viola Davis, she is not. There are certain roles she will never get nor should she. But Chris Rock joking that she could be GI Jane 2, a character that is strong, determined, smart, and fearless in her pursuit to show the world that she will not be denied her place in it because she is presently bald…was a compliment.

“But, very well, I believe I know you-very well
Wish that you knew me too-very well
And I think I can deal with everything going through your head
Very well, and I think I can face-very well
Wish that you knew me too-very well
And I think I can cope with everything going through your head.”

Jada latched on to a star, Will Smith, and has benefitted from the partnership. So much so that she has access, status, and clout that I dare say “Woo” would never have made on her own.

Jada “wants to be a superwoman
And try to boss the bull around
But does she really think that she will get by with a dream.”

Jada has had Will by the short and curlies since the jump, and at every turn, it seems, she has been in control of the relationship. So much so, that her “entanglement” was dealt with in a very public way to Will’s detriment.

“My woman want to be a superwoman
And I just had to say good-bye
Because I can’t spend all my hours start to cry.”

Will went thru a period of self-reflection that for a moment had rumors of them breaking up. But I can only infer that when it came down to it, she, he, they decided to stick it out and make it work.

“But, very well, I believe I know you
Very well wish that you knew me too
Very well, and I think I can deal with everything going through your head
Very well, think that I know you too
Very well, wish you knew me like I know you
Very well, but I think I can deal with everything going through your head
Your filthy head”

The shame, embarrassment, and emasculation that that brother had to endure…and probably still does to this day has obviously not been dealt with in his mind.

“Very well, dum dum da, dum dum da
Very well, wish you knew me too
Very well, and I wish I could think of everything going through your head
Very well, dum dum da, dum da, dum da dum dum da, dum da, very well
And I think I can deal with everything going through your head.”

She has her “Red Table Talk” where she has been able to talk openly about what’s going on with her, her family, and has garnered a large following that has strongly come to her defense in this latest debacle.

“When the summer came you were not around
Now the summer’s gone and love cannot be found
Where were you when I needed you-last winter, my love?
When the winter came you went further south.”

Where was Jada when Will needed her? Where was his community when he was going thru the feedback, memes, and jokes of her choice to pursue what she wanted without consideration of the damage it did to him and them?

“Parting from love’s nest, leaving me in doubt
Where are you when I need you, like right now?”

Will initially laughed at the joke but immediately after got the signal that she was not amused and decided he needed to respond…for her, and now faces the consequences of his actions.

“Our love is at an end
But you say now you have changed
But tomorrow will reflect love’s past.”

There’s always been talk and speculation that Jada loved Pac and has never really been totally into Will other than what his talent does for her. I can only hope that Love finds a way to overcome. Otherwise, these two should part…for his sake, if not both before another violent event occurs.

“When the winter came you were not around
Through the bitter winds love could not be found
Where were you when I needed you, last winter, my love?”

I have been alone and lonely these past years wondering where is my muse, my queen, my Love? But if the many responses I have seen from women applauding the insecurity, the toxic masculinity, and the insanity that it took for that Black man to slap another Black man on live tv in front of billions just to prove his…worth?…to her? I’m ok with being alone.

“La la la la la, la la la la la
La la la la la, la la la la la”

Lyrics by Stevie Wonder

The internet is blowing up with reports that Dave Chappelle is responsible for killing a plan for “affordable housing” in his hometown of Yellow Springs, OH. The headlines are written in a way that makes it seem that Dave does not want any “poor people” moving into his town and threatened to pull business projects of his own from the area.

Even The Root, one of my favorite sites, is usually supportive of not only Us but the truth. They also published their own hit piece on Dave:

Dave Chappelle Threatens To Pull Investments From Small City If Affordable Housing Project Goes Forward

In their post, they include a passage that states “Oberer Homes and the village of Yellow Springs initially worked together to produce a plan that would include duplexes and affordable housing along with single-family homes in a 53-acre area.” (Rawls, M., The Root, 2/10/22)

But what the writer doesn’t point out that can be found by clicking the link Dayton Daily News in the post is this memo:

The above proposal shows in Black and White that 140 of its homes would start at $200k with only 1.75 acres to be “Donated Land for Affordable Housing”. However, while it stipulates it would fit “20-30 units”, a quick Google search points out “One acre (43,560 ft) is enough space to fit about five single-family homes, given that nothing but the land for the lots is included.” (HomeX.com)

So, unless they are planning on building one large apartment complex with 20-30 units, that would backup the issues that Dave’s spokesperson, Carla Sims, pointed out in the New York Post:

“Neither Dave nor his neighbors are against affordable housing, however, they are against the poorly vetted, cookie-cutter, sprawl-style development deal which has little regard for the community, culture and infrastructure of the Village,” Sims added.

“The whole development deal, cloaked as an affordable housing plan, is anything but affordable. Three out of 143 lots would have been for ‘future’ affordable housing. The rest of the homes were to be priced between $250K and upwards of $600K. In Yellow Springs, and in many other places, that is not considered affordable housing. Instead, it’s an accelerant on the homogenization of Yellow Springs.” (NY Post)

I know Dave has already been on the hot seat for other issues well-documented and not necessary for me to rehash here. But the number of outlets and the way most of them have jumped at the opportunity to cast him in negative light points to a hunger for anything anti-Chappelle. Check out just a few more:

Dave Chappelle’s Latest Achievement: Helping Kill an Affordable Housing Development (Rolling Stone)

Dave Chappelle spoke out against affordable housing plan in his community (CNN)

Ohio village scraps plan with affordable housing after Dave Chappelle threatens to pull his businesses (NBCnews)

Dave Chappelle Helps Block Ohio Town’s Affordable Housing Plan, Threatens to Pull His Investments (People.com)

They’re coming for you, Dave. No joke.

Having gone to bed fairly early considering I don’t have to work tomorrow and after some vivid drinking-smoking-latenightfood dreams… I wake up.

Peeking over at the semi-hidden clock and only seeing 2 00’s and the slight curvature of the bottom of the second, I wonder to myself… “Wow, is it 6 or did I sleep until 8 with no alarm set?!”

As I feel a familiar push from within, I roll over to get up only to see that second number emerge as a taunting, but knowing 3:00.

Shuffling into my slippers, I meander to the bathroom and assume the first position while peering down into the dark. Suddenly, almost like an Edgar Allan Poe story, I hear a voice from deep within say… “You thought you slept all thru the entire night?!! Bless your heart!”

That was my bladder.

I think, therefore I am…

I drink, therefore I am dealing…

I regret, therefore I am dealing with…

I persist, therefore I am dealing with it…

I dream, therefore I am dealing with it subconsciously…

I wake, therefore I am dealing with it subconsciously successfully…

I want, therefore I am dealing with it subconsciously successfully alone…

They all came in uniform…of sorts. Each person wearing the outfit that most reflected the role in life that they now play because, at one time, they played for her. There were mostly basketball uniforms, both college and pro, a couple of military uniforms, the power suit of a corporate leader, and the robes of a judge. This last one spoke on behalf of the crowd as the casket was being carried by a few of the others. A few because the casket was not the normal size and length due to the petite size of the guest of honor. Only four people were needed to carry her from the hearse. But, looking upon the casket being placed, the judge couldn’t help but make a comment that erupted laughter throughout the crowd.

She would have gotten the joke, but she would not have laughed…at least, not in their presence. Not because she didn’t think it was funny. She would have thought it hilarious! But when it came to her girls, she stayed above the fray. It was of the utmost importance to her that they respect her and not worry so much whether they liked her. And it was not because she ruled with an iron hand or wanted them to fear her. On the contrary, she wanted every one of her girls to know they could come to her about anything…for any reason. It was just that she was already at a slight disadvantage being only 4’11”.

This initial impression sometimes gave her an automatic disadvantage with some of the ladies that walked into her gym being that almost all of them were at least a foot taller or more. But that did not last for very long. She had a calm about her when she spoke conveying a seriousness making you listen to every word. Also, it was the way she talked to you looking straight at you never swaying from eye contact even as she pushed her horn-rimmed glasses back in place. One can only assume these practices were honed to an expert level from the way she had to fight for any respect at all being one of the first female basketball coaches at the college level after the passing and implementation of Title IX.

Growing up with 3 brothers quite taller than her, mainly due to their towering father, and her, taking her height from her equally petite mother, one might think she would be more on the demure side. But then, you would have to know her mother. Lovingly called “The Warden”, the occupants of this house knew the fear of having your name called a certain way, the stare that made you abate your eyes like a frightened puppy, or the sting of a pinched piece of flesh when you have gone a bit too far. The thing that sealed the deal for the children was the fact that their father was never heard raising his voice to her and often had a smiling, “Yes, dear” for her in matters of discussion.

So, it was that when their little sister wanted to tag along or play with or get a turn, The Warden insisted on them treating their baby sister fairly and inclusively, something that wound up being quite a boon to the future men. Because while boys will be boys, each of the three will tell you quite honestly that their sister not the other two nor their parents are responsible for pushing them to play harder, study more and just be better people. Even if the rest of the world were not yet recognizing the equivalent potential of the female population, the men in this house could not ignore nor deny what they saw with their own eyes. Their smallish sister was the best basketball player of them all.

No, she couldn’t dunk, but she didn’t need to while raining down set shots like perfectly drawn arcs. No, she couldn’t block shots, but she didn’t need to while darting back and forth studying your every dribble until it was no longer in your hands but headed the other way in hers. And even when she was not in the game, she would watch so intently and uninvitingly offer advice on what her siblings could do to improve, which would often bring a scowl or two. Problem was…she was often right. There was only one real advantage her brothers had in basketball that she did not. They could realistically dream of being a pro ballplayer and she could not.

Though it is true that more than a few of the uniforms surrounding her casket were worn by former, current, and future All-Star WNBA Pros of the female persuasion, during her prime playing days that reality was a long way off. It was, however, that realization of her path forward that made her work as hard on the court as on the books that defined her coaching style and outlook on life. She had a tenacious work ethic and an equally driven desire for knowledge in all forms. Therefore, all women who became a part of her basketball program were not only encouraged but required to give as much effort to their studies as they were instructed to play ball.

She had an encyclopedia-like mind for the world of basketball, but she understood as lucky as she is to have her dream job, most of her players would not find the same opportunities. So, she dedicated her time, her wisdom, and her foot in the behind of any of them that she felt wasn’t giving their all to their own potential. It was probably partly this reason that none of her teams ever got the chance to cut down any championship nets, but it wasn’t for a lack of hustle or spirit of teamwork. When it came time for recruiting, she had a way of cutting thru the bull in that prospective player’s living room. She would simply advise the parents that while she is the basketball coach, she is also a college faculty member, and her players are students.

It had a way of reassuring the ones that were concerned about their daughter’s future aside from the game and weeding out the dreamers or singularly focused players that weren’t as serious about the books as the balls. No pun intended, but even on that subject she had a habit of keeping tabs and quiet console with most of her players to inspire them to see the big picture without sacrificing too much of the full college experience. This is not to say she was always right, or a saint, or that all her players felt gratitude or love for her. Hell, some of them probably wish that they were here today, if only to get the last word.

But it was the fact that she was honest and straight-forward in her ways and her words. You may not like what she said, but you knew why she said it. She also could have words with you one minute and the next she’s asking how your sick uncle from back home is doing and please give him her best. She volunteered in the community, she helped look in on her Dad after her Mom passed and was the best Aunt her brother’s kids could have…even if she was their only one. Every season she ran up and down that court shouting plays and giving refs the business. And year after year, she cheered for every one of her players that crossed that stage, shook those hands, and got that degree. As loud as she was over the crowds in the gym, she was just as boisterous out in the audience of graduating students.

So, although she never won a championship or crossed over to the professional side of coaching when the WNBA came to town, she would always show incoming freshman the news clippings, announcements and letters of her former players that are now lawyers, doctors, engineers, and various other professions as well as the ones that also got paid to play. She also didn’t have to make trips to living rooms anymore as she garnered a well-deserved, if not, ironic reputation as the basketball coach you send your kid to if you want them to have a better chance to succeed in life in something other than…basketball.

So, it was that as the years passed on and she aged as did the building in which she coached, it was a fact that now professional ball for women was not only a possibility but a desired outcome not only for the players but also the school. Current administrators, as much respect as they had for her legacy, now wanted a coach in that living room stressing that while “Yes, of course, a degree is important”, they would do all they could to get that student-player to the professional league. And while they did not dare come out and ask for her to step down, she was and always had been smart enough to see things very clearly.

Even as the NCAA money started to pour into the university coffers on behalf of the women’s program as well as the men’s, there were plans proposed and signed-off for the construction of a new sports facility. The old gym and the old grey mare weren’t what they used to be as one was being set to be torn down and the other was being put to pasture. Yes, there were the requisite plaques, dinners, and there was even talk for a moment of naming the new building after her. But some local business member who had a hand in donating a great sum of money and being a former alumnus who played for like five years or so with as many teams was also mentioned in the discussion.

She didn’t care about any of that though. Things like that just didn’t rise to the level of love and pride she had looking back at all the students that she helped to build into monuments of society that stand tall on their own. The fact that a short tenacious basketball player born way before her time to shine as one of the best to play the game made an even bigger impact on the lives of numerous female legal and STEM graduates as well as a couple future WNBA hall of famers. One who has become the most well-respected judge in the whole state and stands ready to eulogize her true hero who lies before her in this tiny box.

It was in that moment that the judge looking at all the living examples of this phenomenal woman’s life’s work remarked, “Not for nothing but we’d all be doing sprints now if she could see this tiny box we put her in!” There was immediate laughter and almost as suddenly another spoke up to fill the next silence, “You know, it’s not too late to fix that.” Some puzzled looks, but also a couple of knowing nods as another mentioned, “They just tore out the floor in the gym. It’s just lying there in two big sections out in the field.” That was where the plan really started to take shape and people started to huddle close. Several female engineers, construction workers, the funeral director and the judge leaned in for the huddle calling a last play for their coach.

“Ok, everyone else go home and grab something that you would like to contribute, and we’ll all meet back here at…”, as she paused and looked at the huddled crew. The funeral director spoke up, “It looks like it’s going to take until at least sunset!” “So, sunset it is everyone!”, the judge shouted, “Don’t be late!” So as the crowd dispersed and the judge walked off talking on her cellphone to a probably very confused university dean, the grave digger talked to the construction crew about getting a much bigger shovel. The funeral director loaded the coach back into the hearse and headed back to the parlor.

When the construction crew got to the parlor, the body of the beloved coach was already out of the original coffin and waiting patiently on a slab in the next room. The funeral director and crew worked as fast and as efficiently as they could taking the pieces of the court that had been played on by hundreds, but consistently walked up and down by one very small woman with a bigger than life stature. The original coffin had been disassembled and the pieces and handles would be attached to this newer, much larger version. Although, the handles would now be mostly for show as this one will be far too heavy to be carried by even a greater number of pallbearers and will more likely be on the back of a flatbed with a crane doing the lifting.

Meanwhile, at the cemetery, a large excavator has been procured from a local site and is in the process of expanding the original hole that will still be the final resting place of the beloved coach, if not just a bit bigger. There are also people in their homes pulling copies of diplomas from walls, trophies from shelves, and various pieces of mementos that they will donate to what can only be described as a modern-day tomb that will be filled shortly with the world’s biggest coffin in the biggest grave dug for one person.

As the original attendees gathered back at the site, word of the activities of the day had spread far and wide. Now the site of the grave was surrounded by most of the town, save for the group that is driving in with the now highly anticipated guest of honor. Before the crane is attached to place the coffin in its final resting place, the funeral director asks everyone who brought a memento to now place it in the newly built casket so it can be forever sealed. Everyone filed by, dropped their items in, and gave one last look to the coach. The judge now presiding back at the head of the crowd simply said, “You may have never won a championship, Coach, but your win record in our lives will never be beaten!”

The group lowered their heads in their last goodbyes as the crew closed the lid and secured each side. The crane carefully lifted the monument up and into a now much bigger grave that could easily be the foundation for a small home. But then again, that is what it is now. Because in a small town with a small college that once had a tiny coach, the world’s largest casket filled with trophies, diplomas, law degrees, ribbons, and medals of military honors was being lowered into its final resting place. The new home of a woman who taught each of her players to live life honestly, and with integrity to have a winning legacy.

I dream whenever I close my eyes for any significant length of time. It never ceases to amaze me. I quantum leap into some random situation and just play along until something happens. Last night was no different.

I’m in a small town. There aren’t very many tall buildings except for the insurance company, the police dept, the hotel and the hospital. I guess I work for the insurance company. It must be my first day as I’m being shown around the offices and being introduced to everyone. I’m shown to my cubicle. It’s my first day so there’s not very much for me to do. I’m given a puzzle of sorts to put together. It’s weird because the pieces are all black. Still, it won’t be very hard as the board is about 11 x 17 and the pieces aren’t very small. I figure it must be a noobie type of thing.

The day is over, and I’m invited to the bar after work. We are now at the bar and my crew is very lively for insurance folk. That’s cool. I’ve been known to tell a joke or two while drinking a few. The server is gorgeous and very familiar with the crew. There are a few other people in the bar/restaurant as well. I guess they’re all familiar with my crew too as nobody looks bothered or even surprised at the shenanigans. I sit at my table with my puzzle and finish it as I sip my beer. The crew is winding up and I look around at the neighboring tables. There are a few random groups here and there as well. There’s a couple across from me that are staring at each with the greatest amount of love I think I’ve ever seen. The man has a holstered gun on his hip and looks very much the part of the local constable. He catches my eyes and shoots me a smile.

The crew comes back down the aisle. They are putting their coats on to leave. One of the guys has a sandwich in his hand wrapped to go but the top is sticking out to allow for eating on the go. The female of the crew walks up, promptly places her mouth over the top of the bun and removes it with a very big bite. I think they are probably going somewhere together soon. Just at that moment, a guy comes running thru the aisle with another guy chasing right behind him. The second guy has the same holstered gun as the smiling constable. The constable, without moving anything more than his head and his lips, asks “You got him?” The second guy says, “Of course!”

I am running. The man in front of me is one of the local troublemakers and it’s just my luck that he starts shit on my shift. I just ran past my boss, so I have to make sure not to lose this asshole. He darts past a few cars and dips into alley. It’s well-lit so I don’t fret it too much. As he runs thru to the end, I’m thinking “This should be easy” as he now has nowhere to go. The alley stops at the back of a building with a locked door that he is pulling on but to no avail. Just as I get close to the guy, the door opens, and I’ve got 2 more assholes stepping out to greet me. The guy now with the courage of a punk with backup charges me. I sidestep the guy while lifting a knee into his mid-section for emphasis and toss him to the side. These other two won’t be so stupid. I’m not pulling my gun as I have no reason to kill anyone…yet.

The two ease up to flank me and the one to the left lunges to grab me as the one on the right does the same. I dip low and throw my shoulder into the left dude and spin him around to push against the right asshole. I thrust my shoulder deep into his ribs and push the two into the nearest wall. As the one behind is trying to grab forward, I bring my head up into the front guy’s jaw with enough force that he will lose a couple teeth and the guy behind will lose a bit of blood from the nose being smashed by the back of the head of the front guy. I now have a moment to breathe. But, of course, that’s when I hear a click from right as the first asshole has opened a knife. I turn to face him and notice my boss right behind him. The guy has no clue until he feels the brunt of a Billy club smashing down on his knife-hand and an arm now choking him very effectively.

“I thought you said you had it?”, says Boss. “I did. Did you see me pull my gun yet? Ok, then.”

We are at the station. The men are in the lockup and I’m getting a well-deserved cup of coffee while I notice the Boss’s family are here in his office with him. His wife is stunning and statuesque with no airs that she knows how fine she is while all at once being very comfortable in her skin. She’s holding onto their son who playing with a puzzle on the desk. It’s a weird puzzle because it seems to be all black. It’s not that big though, so the kid shouldn’t have too much trouble. He catches my look and shoots me the biggest, cutest grin. I return the smile.

Being a small town, we’re a small police force. So, we rotate overnight shifts, and the Boss takes his turn as well. The family looks like they came to stay with him tonight, so everyone hunkers down as the bunks are all in the same room. I had that late night cup of coffee and need to make a run to the bathroom as I pass the family on the way. In between the parents, the kid is still up and has his finished puzzle in his hands. As I pass by, he smiles and turns the puzzle around for me to see. In the dark, the black puzzle now has a picture. It is a beating heart that gets it movement from rocking it back and forth. The kid says, “I heart” as he beams that smile of his…but then it goes dim as he clutches his chest slightly. He tries hard to keep his smile as he seems to repeat “I heart” but it sounds to me like “I hurt”. I leap over to wake the Boss to alert him to the kid’s distress. Just as I reach out, the Boss grabs my hand in mid-air and looks at me,” Don’t do that.” The mother cradles the child closer in her arms and the Boss pulls them both close.

I am a nurse. I’m standing in a driveway with a clipboard in my hands. There are a couple of orderlies standing nearby as we wait for the cars to pull up. The first is the local sheriff. He’s with his wife and their son. I greet the parents as usual and as I look down, I get the best part of my day as their son gives me the biggest and brightest smile you could imagine. The orderlies grab their items from the car and the kid has his puzzle in his hands as they walk inside the hospital doors. Another car pulls up shortly afterwards as I make notes on my clipboard regarding the first family. This car has a pair of twins, boy and girl, dressed to the nines in a suit and dress, respectively. They both have cases with musical instruments…and their puzzles. The driver sets their luggage on the curb as another set of orderlies come out to assist. They twins greet me in the most fastidious way as they bow and curtsy but look at me like I should be jumping at that luggage myself. They walk inside as their car which of course is a luxury vehicle I will never have the chance to ride in…pulls away.

It’s a small town with not a lot of tall buildings except for the police dept. with a sheriff whose kid is suffering from a congenital heart disease. There’s an insurance company that covers all the costs for the hundreds of children that come to town for specialized care. There’s the hotel where the parents stay and there’s the hospital that has a ward dedicated to dealing with affairs of the heart.

I wake up with only one thought in mind:

Support St. Jude’s and your local children’s hospitals.




“What happens to a dream deferred?” (L. Hughes, “Harlem”)

I don’t know what happened, the 20’s were fun,

but the 30’s were a blur, the 40’s I just…gave up,

“Does it dry up, like a raisin in the sun?”

It feels like that, because I could no longer function…as a man,

as what society said was a Man, I was nobody’s provider,

the only security I gave to anyone was stopping a fight in a bar.

“Or fester like a sore—And then run?”

I ran…ran away to Indiana, left everything behind like a scared child,

beset by memories of mistakes made, loans unpaid,

Women I’d laid…but left disappointed

“Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over—like a syrupy sweet?”

The smell of failure reeks thru everything you touch, puts you to sleep at night,

and when you wake up…you have a feeling of maybe today, but that quickly goes away,

because you are the same you.

“Maybe it just sags…like a heavy load.”

Pushing 322…and 52, yeah, they sag, and you think maybe if I got in shape,

things would be different! But…for who? You left everybody and everything behind,

and even when you tried…these Sistas ain’t trying to wait. For who? You?!

You gave up long ago. Now you wanna make a comeback, but on who’s back…do you think is going to carry your big ass while you figure it out?

Or does it explode?


(Jonathan Baran, James Pace-Cornsilk/The Washington Post)

Tweets from the Dark Side… That is what we get from the President of The United States! All CAPS mantras about Making America Great Again which is an insecure plea from an Old White Man who sees the country growing, evolving into the Great American Melting Pot we were told…(1/7)

…it already was in the first place! “A Shining City Upon A Hill” (too many White ppl to cite here)…a place where all people from wherever they may come to seek shelter and opportunity to live free without persecution of their faith, culture, race, or ethnicity. Yes, We Can! (2/7)

That is still the motto of the day, year and for the rest of our lives, because as Americans and I say that as an American with backgrounds as diverse as the country itself. We have a shared experience and although that history has grave underpinnings in itself, it is the fear… (3/7)

of that reality that keeps us from being that Shining City! From state to state, city to city, millions of Americans work side by side, worship next to each other in the pews, and socialize on a daily basis. But, unfortunately, politicians of both sides use this diversity to… (4/7)

divide us, to guide us, to speak out against one another to get themselves elected in order to better themselves, gain power and, give us the scraps from their tables that we as Americans and taxpayers provide. This coming election may seem like we only have a choice between… (5/7)

one or the other. But, it’s more than that. We have the choice to stand together to make sure whoever fills that position of the highest in the land, the most powerful in the world hears us, responds to our demands, and works to make this country better for all of us. Because… (6/7)

if we continue to embark upon the same path of hatred and divisiveness then we only have ourselves to blame in this Land of the Free, Home of the Brave. No man or woman should have to fear from their neighbor, for their health, or their well-being in this Shining City on A Hill! (7/7)

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