We have no reason to rejoice
As Mary exercised her choice
The tale I tell is sad and sordid
The baby Jesus
Has been aborted
No season full of joy and mirth
No laughter, cheer or peace on earth
From Bethlehem it’s been reported
The baby Jesus
Has been aborted
There will never be an end to strife
No hope for everlasting life
There is no savior as was slated
The virgin birth
Has been terminated
Copyright ©1993-2022 Stephen Paul Ellington
All Rights Reserved
They aren’t coincidences. They’re just acts of God in the knick of time.- Sam Giles
The man just showed up unannounced and asked if he could speak with me. I could not think of any reason not to hear the man out though I must admit I tried. I am usually very busy and my schedule is nearly always full. Yet at the time this stranger showed up there was an uncharacteristic lull in the action and, since he appeared sincere and coherent, and inasmuch as I am a counselor, I agreed to listen.
I settled back in my chair as the stranger recounted his tale.
“I was in treatment for drugs and alcohol and had just been released from detox, “ he said. “I was still pretty foggy though when a nurse informed me that I was required to attend and informal meeting in the ‘day room’ with the rest of the patients. There was a speaker from outside of the hospital who was there to share the AA message. Needless to say I was less than enthused. All I could think about was how I had ‘shot the wad’. No more fun for me. Without booze and dope how was I ever going to enjoy myself? So toxic and full of self pity I dragged myself out to the day room and took a seat.”
“The room was like a giant fake living room/dinette with awful bright colors soft chairs and couches and a refrigerator stocked with little single shot fruit juice cups and yogurt. I grabbed a cup of coffee and was soon further dejected when I realized all the hospital served patients was decaf. The man from AA was very dark African-American in a very bright yellow sweat suit. He buzzed around the room smiling and joyful, getting in the face of all the patients trying to cheer them up with his AA message. He reminded me of a carpenter bee.”
“A what?” I asked the stranger.
“ A carpenter bee,” he replied. “You know. A black and yellow insect buzzing around the room.”
“Oh, you mean a bumble bee.” I said.
“No,” the stranger countered. “A carpenter bee.”
“Whatever,” I said. “Please continue.”
“ Anyway. He buzzed around the room sharing the joys of his sobriety and encouraging others to join in. I really don’t remember much of what he said. At the time I really didn’t care. I was too self-absorbed and was more involved with staring at the girls from the women’s unit who had joined us. Lost in toxic fantasies I could not have cared less about what this man had to say. I just wanted his pitch to be over. Then he said something that snapped me out of it. Something I have remembered for over a quarter of a century and has helped me stay clean and sober to this very day.”
The man said that if a person quit drinking and using drugs one day at a time for his whole life… If he lived according to the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous… If that person admitted he had a problem. Turned his will and his life over to the care of his own conception of God. Took a searching and fearless moral inventory of himself and shared all his wrongs and defects with another human being… Then apologized, made amends and paid full restitution too all those he had harmed… If that person continued to take personal inventory and when he was wrong promptly admitted it… If he prayed and meditated and tried to help his fellow man on a daily basis for the rest of his life…
If a person did all these things and got to the end of his life, died sober and stood before God and God looked down on him and laughed and said, “Man you were never an alcoholic!”
Then, the man said, “You will not have lost anything. If you lived your life according to these simple spiritual steps and found out later you never really had to you will not have lost a thing. In fact you will have gained immeasurably!”
The stranger then got up and appeared to be about to leave.
I stopped him and asked, “Why did you come here to me today, stranger?”
He replied, “Something told me you needed to hear that.” Then he left. I had never seen him before nor have I seen him since. But he was right. I needed to hear that.
He was right about something else too.
It was a carpenter.
copyright©2016 Stephen Paul Ellington All Rights Reserved
He was born in tumultuous times. An era when beliefs and biology were changing and evolving at a rapid rate. That much was obvious to Jesus H. Poquito at an early age. He also realized at an early age that he loved people. On the other hand people had always eyed Jesus with concern and, while he had many acquaintances, he had no close friends. The reason was clear:
He shared too much
He was far too generous.
This made people nervous and people do not like feeling nervous.
In elementary school the children tormented Jesus H. Poquito. They called him a retard and a freak. Occasionally they would verbally slam the little Poquito with the worst of all possible insults. He remembered well the day that they had first chided him with chants of:
“Your parents never had sex!”
The inference that a person was a clone was the most obnoxious obloquy a man could muster.
“You would burn in hell,” they would holler, “except that you have no soul because your parents never had sex”
But Jesus H. Poquito responded to these taunts the same way he reacted to virtually all stimuli:
He gave flowers.
He gave white sage.
He gave of himself.
His parents were distraught for it seems the young Jesus had begun this perverse behavior in infancy. They feared their child was a mutant.
Some sort of deviant.
An effort was made at a young age to retrain the boy. His indoctrination was much more intense than the training normal children received. Normal children seemed to grasp the custom right away. Normal children seemed to have no problem with the idea that you gave on one and only one day of the year;
That holiest of holidays.
The most sacred of the state-sanctioned, paid days off.
The twenty-four hour period annually set aside to get things.
It was important to get things.
It was the ultimate satisfaction.
People spent their whole lives collecting the things they got at Getmas.
Everyone got good at Getmas.
Supposedly if you got good, you got more.
Then you got glad.
You got to experience the joy of getting.
Legend has it that in ancient times the ones who amassed the most got huge structures built for them to house what they got, so that when they finally got dead, they could be entombed for all eternity with the goods of their getting.
But under no circumstances was one allowed to get before the designated day.
The only acceptable exception was that families without children were allowed to get on Getmas eve.
Jesus H. Poquito was always a bit confused by this tradition.
“Father, to acquire goodies at Getmas means someone has to give, does it not?” the young Poquito innocently inquired.
“Ssshhh,” his father scolded him, “not so loud! Of course someone has to give. But the joy is in the getting! Just think. A whole years worth of acquisition in one day. Ah, Getmas!”
“I would like to give you a hug,” Jesus said to his mother.
“Wait for Getmas!”
I would like to give you this toy sailboat, Daddy. I made it all by myself.”
“Save it for Getmas, boy!”
The Poquito boy was sad, for he loved to give. It felt so good to give! He saw momentary flashes of joy on people’s faces when he gave to them. That is, until they had realized what they had done. Over and over he was chastised for this untimely and indiscriminate giving.
Once, while a teenager, he tried to follow the Getmas tradition to the letter, only to forget one of his aunts until the next day. As soon as he realized the oversight Jesus rushed across town to give her a Getmas gift.
His aunt, as well as his entire family, expressed their extreme displeasure.
“How dare you forget Getmas!” they all screamed at him. “You should be ashamed! How dare you attempt to give to your aunt after the designated day! The tradition is explicit.
Getmas is the deadline for getting!”
As soon as Jesus H. Poquito was old enough he left home. He continued his pattern of unrestrained giving. He espoused a way of life so foreign to most folks that he was ostrasized and even accused of being the devil. His family, humiliated at all the exposure, disowned him. The government harassed him and continually tried to arrest Jesus and his small band of caring converts. The feds were afraid of a drastic loss of revenue should everyday become Getmas. How would they keep track?
Jesus H. Poquito, fearing the feds would silence him and not wanting to cause his family anymore undo hardship, decided to discontinue using his surname and became:
Along with a handful of followers, Jesus X traveled the country and preached a gospel of unselfishness. Everywhere they went they brought gifts. And everyday they endured horrible prejudice. This adversity cemented the resolve of a few. Others became dismayed and departed. A few of these reformed givers got rich by publicizing to the general public the inside story of the life of the dissident Jesus X.
And yet, Jesus X continued to give.
He gave flowers.
He gave white sage.
He gave of himself.
He gave everyday, including Getmas eve and Getmas morning.
One day some of the ex Jesus Xmen concocted a scheme to lure the much loathed Jesus X to their home and do away with him. They would rid the world of this continual contributor and get rich from telling the story of his demise.
On that fateful spring day Jesus X approached the isolated ranch where he had been summoned under false pretenses. He was happy when the occupants opened the door and he recognized them as former followers. The ex Xmen, supplementing their income with the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine, were wired to the gills on their own product and also heavily armed. They directed Jesus X to the rear of their makeshift laboratory where upon they beat him soundly and then drowned him in a fifty-gallon drum of the flammable solvent commonly used in the creation of the crystalline stimulant. Jesus X died a speedy death.
For ridding the world of this nuisance the exterminators of Jesus X got riches and fame beyond their wildest dreams. And they even received their rewards immediately rather than having to wait for Getmas!
In fact, the whole nation was rewarded, for in honor of the dead givers demise a new state sanctioned, paid day off has been implemented. It is a time set aside to be grateful and to remember the day the chemical vapors rose from the dead Jesus X. On this holiday it is right and proper to return to the recipients of your Getmas giving and repossess all that you gave. This day has been named in honor of the now sacred solvent commonly used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. That light, flammable substance with anesthetic properties that was used to drown Jesus X.
Today is the day. So be advised. I am on my way over right now to take back everything I have ever given you.
copyright © 1999-2015 Stephen Paul Ellington all rights reserved
Can Warmwood and Hermaphroditic Extraterrestrials be far behind?
The Weismans are coming……………
Oh yea….another “I tried to warn ya” straight from the pages of CONDITION ONE
Please proceed with caution for no spiritual path is sanitary
And it’s all coming to pass. This Pope’ s visit reminded me of and excerpt from C1: The Eye’s Mind
“…… Whatever the catalyst was the Catholics took a turn a different and much darker direction. They were joined by followers of another failed and dangerous doctrine; socialism.
An affront to free men everywhere their combined crusade is now a potent political plague which has taken on a life of it’s own. The two have merged into the malignant movement now known as COMMUNIONISM”
I live in the desert
And my AC just quit
Then the fridgerator failed
Now my house spells like shit
But this ain’t the roughest
Of times that I’ve had
And the blues they ain’t nothin’
But good men feeling bad
I was tryin’ to save
The delivery fee
By movin’ the new fridge
Then I blew out my knee
Now I’m down on the good one
And I’m praying to God
To get rid of the smell
Of the chicken that thawed
But it ain’t the most putrid
Of odors I’ve had
And the blues they ain’t nothin’
But good men feeling bad
So I hired a man
To fix the AC
Now I’m cold and I’m broke
And I got one bad knee
And I ain’t got no woman
Or nothin to eat
And the old fridgerator
is still out by the street
But the new one runs good
’bout the coldest I’ve had
And the blues they ain’t nothin
But good men feeling bad…………
It’s been a rough couple of weeks. Figured I might as well write a blues song about it.
Who knows what will happen in the next exciting adventure?
I do know at this point my old friend Sam (God rest his soul) would’ve turned his face upward, shook a clenched fist at the sky and said to our Heavenly Father, “Anymore of this unseemly, unsportsmanlike conduct and the deal is off!”
I guess I’ll hang out for another 24 and see what happens, one day at a time.
Thanks for stoppin’ by
Y’all come back now
copyright©2015 Stephen Paul Ellington All rights reserved
I can smell the smoke from the barbecue pit as I walk up to the corner cafe in Idyllwild, California. It reminded me of where I was and what I was doing exactly one week before.
My long-time cohort and I had traveled to a large working cattle ranch in southern Arizona dedicated to managing the land while producing humane and sustainable beef. The flow of illegal aliens and drug smugglers through this rancher’s property not only disturbs the delicate ecosystem but presents a danger to the rancher’s family, the workers, the cattle and the United States in general. This trip my partner and I, as in many trips before, had hoped to do some camping, hiking and perhaps provide a little extra security.
But first things first.
I called the rancher beforehand to tell him we would like to stop by the house to say howdy before heading out onto the range. We didn’t want him to make a fuss as he is wont to do. We only wanted to check in, express our appreciation for letting us camp and hike there and obtain any useful information he might have regarding possible areas of illegal incursion. His reply was simple and predictable. There won’t be a fuss, but there will be steaks.
So, as we drove up to the ranch house we could smell the mesquite smoldering. As usual we were greeted with large t-bones and delectable dishes made by his wife from homegrown fruits and vegetables. The visit included intel regarding drug trafficking, areas that were being covered by the Border Patrol and areas that likely weren’t. Stuffed and satiated we shuffled off to the bunkhouse to get some sleep and prepare for the next day when the rancher would give us another tour of the ranch along with interesting tales of the history of the area. Once we parted company with the rancher and his wife we found a spot and made camp.
But this is not an AAR. Or at least not that kind of AAR.
At present I am doing a different sort of ‘camping’, house and dog sitting for a loved one at a little cabin in Idyllwild. While the weather is nice and the hiking fantastic I am almost overpowered by the contrast between last weekend and this one.
I have never seen more tie-dyed, pony-tailed geriatric hippies in all my life. During my hikes and walks around town I see them. They are everywhere. Clinging to the sixties. While hiking I smell skunk and have to wonder if it is Mephitis mephitis or cannabis indica. Each is equally revolting to me though the former only does what God intended him to do and the fragrance fades. While the latter has dumbed down a nation and lingers on like some fetid feedback from a long-haired, long-dead electric guitarist.
As I ease into a chair in the back corner of the outdoor cafe a band takes the stage. Aged and tie-dyed they start their set and play surprising good renditions of sixties and early seventies standards. I order a rib-eye and can’t help wondering if the beef I’m about to devour came from the ranch I visited exactly one week prior. I pretend that it did and it tastes that much better. The band begins a Stephen Stills ‘classic’. A man with a mandolin takes the stage.
I also can’t help wondering what this country would be like if drug-addled old hippies like this weren’t trying to run the show. I look around and think ‘It’s your fault’. Your fault that even youth not yet addicted have swallowed hook, line and sinker the socialist slop and pothead propaganda that you dish out. Your fault that a rancher’s life and livelihood is threatened by the constant flow of drug smuggling. Your fault that the homeland can never be secure.
Your fault that you’ve allowed those smart and evil enough to take advantage of your peacenik passivity in their pursuit of power. Power they have taken without you knowing or if you know you’re too stoned to care. Power to take this country down. Power to destroy the freedoms you thought you fought for in the sixties. They laugh as you unknowingly help them roll up the Constitution like some old Zig Zag paper and torch it like just another joint.
The band begins playing an old Doobie Brothers song to the crowd’s delight and a man with a violin takes the stage. I finish my steak.
He’s fiddling now and something is burning.
Can’t you smell it?
A former Houston police chief once said, “Yankees are like hemorrhoids. If they come down and go back up you can tolerate them. If they come down and stay down they are a constant source of irritation.”
As southern boy I might add they can be a constant source of amusement as well.
Being a native Texan nothing is a much fun as messin’ with a Yankee’s head. And if I can mess with the rest of the Yankee at the same time so much the better. Combine that with a couple of my other favorite things in life, fishin’ and fried chicken and well, you’ve got the makin’s of a perfect day.
It all started when my wife received an unexpected call from an old high school friend. They had lost touch years ago and now the women had called to catch up. She had married a Chicago commodities broker and had been living in the windy city. They would be passing through Texas on a trip down to the coast and wondered if they could stop by for a visit. Of course my wife welcomed them with an invitation to stay at our place for as long as they wanted.
When they arrived at our little home in Farmers Branch, Texas the husband’s first comment was regarding my little shallow draft v-hull fishing boat sitting in the driveway. Turns out the Yankee had never been fishing and expressed a desire to do so. No problem. I informed him that I was planning on running my trot lines early the next morning anyway. Of course, next I had to educate him on what a trot line was.
That evening as we discussed what to do about supper I learned another interesting fact. The Yankee had never eaten fried chicken! And so it was then decided to completely immerse the Yank in southern culture and besides, nothin’ is better than eaten cold leftover fried chicken while enjoying a day of fishin’. So I made a run to the local Church’s and loaded up on fried chicken with all the fixin’s including tater tots. Yes, back then Church’s had tater tots but don’t any longer. Why Church’s? Why?
I returned home with large boxes of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, okra and tater tots all of which were washed down with large quantities of cold beer. The Yankee’s first comment was regarding grease and I told him that was vitamin G and it was necessary to experience the full joy of southern cooking and would only serve to enhance the next day’s expedition. The wife and her old school chum reminisced while the Yankee gave me a glimpse into the world of commodities brokering. Then I told him we had best get to bed as we would be getting up before sunrise to load up the boat and head for the river.
The next morning after eating the biscuits leftover from the night before along with eggs and bacon (more vitamin G) we hooked up the boat to my ’68 Ford Ranger and headed off to the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. The Yankee commented on how green the water was. I guess he thought we were headed to some sparkling trout stream and I told him that the river was that color because it was full of nutrients. Lot’s of catfish food. Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case, the trot lines yielded little but empty hooks and one dead, bloated carp. As I rebaited the hooks he voiced his skepticism that anything edible could live in the murky stream, to which I regaled him with tales of all the giant cats I had caught there and fed to my family. I also told him about eating gar balls and gaspergou just to see his face scrunch up funny in disgust.
Then I had to explain what hybrids and crank baits were.
So we put in at the boat ramp just past the I-35 bridge by McCutcheon’s bait shop and headed out to an area where I had caught many a hybrid. Once in the general vicinity I lowered the transducer and hooked up my “little green box”; a vintage Lowrance Fish Lo K Tor, Then we motored slowly up and down the lake while utilizing the primitive depth finder so as to verify exactly where the two channels where that we would be trolling between. We did this while I schooled him on what a transducer and Fish Lo K Tor were.
I hooked up a Rattlin’ Spot to both our lines and we began to troll. I showed the Yankee how to work that crank bait and where. We made several passes without so much as a hit and every time we turned to make another pass he exclaimed bitterly, “ There aren’t any fish here.” I assured him there was and once again entertained him with stories of schools so thick that the boat would be full of fish and of poles getting yanked over the side by biguns’ that got away. But I was getting discouraged too. Not by not catchin’ any. That happens. I just enjoy the peace of fishin’ and catchin’ em is just bonus. Go out with an attitude like that and every fishin’ trip is a good one. Yet and still he kept bitchin’ about a lack of action and so I was about to offer him some leftover fried chicken when I got a hit. Man it was a bigun!
He hollered, “Damn!” as he watched my pole bendin’ over while I shut off my old Evinrude. I was tuggin’ and reelin’ with all my might but I didn’t really feel any fight. The Yankee continued his negative commenting, saying it looked like I was just hung up. Well, I thought, that happens too, but I told him whatever it was was big and was definitely getting reeled to the boat. I explained that from time to time you might catch a large soft shell turtle and sometimes they feel like a stump as you reel ‘em up from depth. “
Awe’, he uttered dejectedly, “A turtle? What are you going to do with a damn turtle?”
He scrunched his face up in disgust and I thought he might even looked a little green.
Just then then the stump-like feel at the end of my rod gave way to one helluva fight. I played it and let him run then reeled him in some more. All at once the water broke and giant hybrid jumped into the air. It crashed back into the water splashing us both and continued to fight. The Yankee was beside himself and was hollering for me not to lose him.
“I ain’t a gonna lose him.” I said. “He’s hooked real good.”
I finally got him up to the boat, grabbed him by the mouth and pulled him in. He was about an eight pound hybrid but when I unhooked my bait from his mouth I noticed something odd. There was another line down his throat and it continued out his mouth and over the side. I began to pull in the line and after coiling up many feet of monofilament I brought on board a seemingly brand new Abu Garcia v-spool casting reel on a Shakespeare graphite rod! The reel didn’t even have any mud in it. That hybrid must’ve yanked the pole off someone else’s boat and took my bait while still towing it!
I consciously tried to hide my excitement as the Yankee hollered, “Damn! That’s unbelievable!”
I commented casually that it happens all the time, while trying to contain my enthusiasm. Then I heard another, “Damn….” this time with less excitement but with perhaps a bit more urgency.
“I have to use the bathroom. “ The Yankee said in quick, clipped words.
“Just hang it over the side.” I replied
“ Uh, no, you, ugh… don’t understand. I have to use A bathroom.” He responded looking even greener than before.
“Oh, ok. I get it.” I fired up the old Evinrude and headed for a small forest on the shore.
“Where are you going?” he asked in an ever more urgent tone.
“You said you had to go to the bathroom so I’m headin’ for those trees. There’s a roll of toilet paper and some soap in that coffee can by your feet.”
“I’m not going to shit in the woods!” Ah, I thought. I sense another ‘first’.
“Well you ain’t shittin’ in my boat. So unless you can balance your ass over the side without capsizin’ us we are heading for that stand of trees.”
“NO! What about that bathroom by the boat dock?”
“Dude. I have been in that porta-potty before and I guarantee your better off in the woods. It’s disgusting. Besides,” I grinned, “It’s a long way back. You’ll never make it.” I could tell that vitamin G charged Church’s was workin’ it gastrointestinal magic on the Yankee’s virgin gut. I cut back the throttle.
“WHY ARE YOU SLOWING DOWN??” he hollered angrily.
“Look dude, there are stumps and stuff close to the shore. I ain’t gonna shear the key on my prop by charging up to shore full throttle and hittin’ some submerged stump. I have an extra shear key but it’s a bitch to replace in the water. We’d be out here all night.” For the most part that was true but I really slowed down just to watch him squirm and turn a darker shade of green. I could see by the look on his face he had no idea what a shear key was anyway and even if he did the gut bomb was about to detonate and he could care less about the working’s and well being of my old Evinrude.
When we landed ashore he grabbed that coffee can like it was a Garand and hit the beach runnin’ like a Ranger at Normandy. When he got up the hill, into the woods and out of sight I heard the most ghastly “OOHH GAWD…..ARRGH.”
I was bent over double laughing and it seemed like forever before he finally made his way back down to the boat. Still green around the edges he bent down to the water’s edge, took the soap out of the coffee can and began to scrub his hands furiously. Man, he looked like a cross between some backwoods surgeon preppin’ for an illicit operation and an old raccoon washin’ up a tasty meal.
When he finally climbed back in the boat and sat down I said, “Boy this sure is a pretty spot isn’t it? Nice and quiet. Perfect place to sit a spell.” Then I picked up a cold drumstick and asked, “You want some chicken?”
copyright © 2015 Stephen Paul Ellington All rights reserved
I had hoped to have this story written and posted in time for National Tequila Day but time got away from me and I forgot all about it. Then, in the course of renewing one of the several permits I am required to have in order to work security jobs, I had the opportunity to visit with one of our local sheriff’s deputies. In the course of our discussion he asked me to remind him if I had ever been to jail or prison. It pained me to admit it but I did in fact serve a single, yet very long night, in a city jail. A drunk tank to be more specific. Then this story, one of the very few tequila tales which I am capable of remembering, had to be told.
The deputy I was assigned to shared his office with a partner and both deputies stopped what they were doing to listen to my tale of woe.
“So you have been arrested before, eh?” my deputy inquired with a slight grin on his face.
“Yes” I answered
Of course his next question was, “What for?”
“I was arrested by Dallas Police for public intoxication in a bar.” I answered.
“In a bar?” the partner hollered out while laughing.
“Yes, public intoxication in a bar” I answered.
The deputy’s partner, still laughing, said “ Wait, let me guess. You got sauced and insulted someone’s girlfriend and there was a fight. Right? Is that it?”
My deputy raised his hand to his partner and said “Whoa, I gotta hear this. Let the man tell his story.”
It was 1979 and I had been married all of two weeks. My newlywed bride was working night shifts at a car rental place. I was working days as a plumber’s apprentice doing new residential construction. After my wife had gone to work I got cleaned up and decided to go down to Mother Blues, a well known club at that time on Lemmon Avenue in Dallas. They had cold beer, pretty girls and live music. And tequila.
I was sitting at the bar pretty much keeping to myself, drinking beer interspersed with frequent shots of Jose Cuervo Gold. Johnny Nitzinger was wailing on his guitar.
While I was scanning the room looking at all the ladies I noticed two of Dallas PD’s finest walk through the door. This is unusual, I thought to myself, but kept leering at the ladies and downing tequila. The officer in the lead stood tall and evidently worked out. He had a look of disgust on his face as he moved slowly through the crowded dance floor with his chest puffed out like a fighting rooster. They eventually made their way toward the bar and as they got closer Jose Cuervo possessed me.I hopped down off my stool and squared off with the lead cop chest to chest, stopping him in his path. Then I raised my right hand and with a rigid index finger I poked the officers badge repeatedly and said inexplicably, “You look pretty fucking cool. Who are ya’ll looking for?”
Without hesitation he announced, “We’re looking for you.” and wheeled me around and cuffed me in one fluid motion.
I thought both deputies were going to fall out of their chairs they were laughing so hard.
But the following morning back in 79 my wife was not amused one bit when she bailed me out of jail. She vowed it would be the one and only time she would ever do so and it was.
But it would be another ten years from that night in Mother Blues until I finally quit drinking. I have not touched a drop since June 20,1989.
I have not poked a cop’s badge since that summer of 1979.
One day at a time.
Vaya con Dios Jose Cuervo and good riddance……
I’m an island
Copyright ©1993-2022 Stephen Paul Ellington
All Rights Reserved
I was never good at math or science, though the latter has always fascinated me. Especially geology and paleontology. Laziness was my biggest obstacle in school as well as in most other areas of endeavor. Later in life I would have to work very hard to overcome it and have finally done so. I was always of above average intelligence but my natural laziness coupled with the almost constant use of marijuana in my younger days made my early reputation one of the classic stupid stoner. I hated school and vowed not to go to college. Yea, that’ll show ‘em.
So after barely graduating high school I got a job as a plumbers apprentice at a company specializing in new residential construction. It was the mid seventies and Dallas was booming, growing northward at a rapid rate. I figured plumbing was a good trade and had always heard they made lots of money. And I wouldn’t have to go to college. Right away I found out there was a problem though. Plumbing is basically all math and science.
Math and science and a good deal of manual labor. So I was employed at a plumbing outfit making four dollars an hour. This was fifty cents more an hour than I had made working part time at a gas station during high school so I thought I’d struck it rich. I wasn’t a plumber’s apprentice when I first hired on though. I was the plumber’s apprentice’s helper. The lowest man on the totem pole. I was a ‘hey boy’ and a ‘gofer’ but first and foremost I was a ditch digger. And man were there lots of ditches to be dug in Dallas in the seventies.
Truthfully I should’ve been fired my first day on the job. The three of us piled in to the bench seat of the licensed plumber’s ’76 Chevy pickup and headed for the job site, but first we stopped off at the local 7-11 for snacks and some ice to put in the water cooler. It was a hot, humid Dallas day and I was already dreading the ditch digging that the drill sergeant-like plumber had promised lay in store for me. As we were getting back into the truck I looked down and noticed a cute young lady in a sedan next to us rolling a joint. I smiled and struck up a conversation with her. While the plumber and helper were both telling me to get in the truck I asked the woman if she would mind selling me a joint. She just smiled and said, “No, but I’ll give you one.” After licking the glue on the rolling paper provocatively she handed me the number which she had just twisted up.
The apprentice laughed nervously and the plumber was astounded when I climbed back in his truck and asked, “Mind if I smoke?” The plumber just nodded dumfounded and said, “What the hell.” I fired it up and smoked half of it by myself as neither of them chose to partake.
It was only after a few months on the job when I became fast friends with the apprentice that he disclosed that he too smoked pot, but never on the job and most certainly not in front of the plumber he was assigned to. He could not for the life of him understand why I was not fired on the spot. Later I would also realize that they perhaps kept me on not because I had balls but because I was so stupid and lazy that I was entertaining to have around. My creative sloth and overwhelming ignorance apparently broke up the monotony of their day’s work.
We were were a ‘rough in’ crew laying in the underground sewage systems in large residential homes before the slabs were poured. One particularly hot summer afternoon I was assigned to hand dig a ditch for the gas line from the alley to the side of the house. I am sure this was assigned to me rather than the backhoe operator because it was a mindless task that would keep me busy and out of their way. And it was a job that would be hard for me to screw up. The ditch required no ‘fall’, had to be a minimum of eighteen inches deep from start to finish and was in excess of eighty feet long through the hard yet sticky north Texas clay which was punctuated with rocks and roots.
I took numerous breaks and trips to the water cooler and was admonished each time with loud cries from the plumber to get my ass back to work. About halfway though the trench I came upon a shiny object. I cleared the dirt away from it with all the care of an experienced archeologist and uncovered a crystalline looking pebble. The sun shone down on it and it gleamed back at me with prism-like colors. I stopped my digging, put down my Bill Dookie and gently removed the object, carrying it over to the plumber.
“Look what I found in the ditch!” I exclaimed.
The man stopped what he was doing, stood up and took the glassy rock from me.
On his face looked to be a genuine expression of wonderment as he examined my find.
“My God, Steve, do you know what this is?“ he asked.
“No” I replied excitedly
“Why, you’ve unearthed an Indian sex stone!” he answered.
“An Indian sex stone! What in the world is an Indian sex stone?” I asked.
He hurled the object forcibly back into the dirt and hollered in my face, “IT”S A FUCKING ROCK. NOW GET YOUR ASS BACK TO WORK!”
copyright © 2015 Stephen Paul Ellington All rights reserved
Every now and then I get the urge to hit the road. Would’ve liked to have taken a longer trip but Knucklehead’s ugly step sister, a Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix named Zippy doesn’t travel well and tends to scare people.
Though in retrospect I doubt she could’ve scared anyone at Slab City and probably would’ve fit right in. The truth is I reckon I’d fit in there too…..
I will spare you the history of Slab City or detailed directions as each time I write the words Slab City in this post they will be attached to different link with all the info about it you could ever want and then some.
So me and my faithful companion Knucklehead headed around the east side of the Salton Sea to Niland and turned east out into the desert. Before we arrived at Slab City we had to first pass Salvation Mountain. The way was marked well.
Knucklehead was amazed as was I
He likes to pose.
Of course I was obliged to join him
And so we moved on. But not before Knuck attracted his share of the cuties, of course!
And so we pressed on to Slab City <– Video at that link (it has some commercials but it’s worth watching)
Welcome to Slab City<–another video at that link
Not your average RV park…
We turned down the Low Road which seemed like the upscale neighborhood
But even in the affluent (effluent?) part of Slab City there is no plumbing
And a black Triumph TR7 seemed to epitomize the general ambiance.
The little sign in the window of that travel trailer warned, “ABSOLUTELY NO MEDIA.”
But all are welcome
So now I can check off yet another item on my bucket list. I had been to Slab City and in doing so perhaps found a retirement community I could actually afford. Knucklehead and I had fun and it was definitely an interesting adventure. But unfortunately it was time to head back to civilization. The Slabs left us with one final warning:
Thanks for viewing this post and for being a part of CONDITION ONE
In my adolescence and early adulthood most people, myself included, figured I would probably die from some substance abuse related injury or illness. Several times, in fact, I nearly did myself in from a near fatal overdose of various substances at one time or another, including alcohol. Then there were the multiple times I drove at a severely diminished capacity putting not only my life at risk but the lives of others at well. But after cleaning up my act I never would have dreamed I might literally die I laughing, stone cold sober, in my own front yard.
I lived in what might be termed as an interesting, colorful, if not crime ridden, working class neighborhood. My wife was a nurse named Peggy and she had made a hobby of raising English Bulldogs and showing them in the ring. By the time we were married however she had had ceased raising and showing them but still kept four bulldogs. There was the proud mama and award winning show dog Toby (No Bull’s Miss October Of Wobegone) and her three female offspring Maggie Moshe, Prudence, fondly and accurately referred to as the Toad, and a buff, abnormally athletic, almost masculine brindle bitch we called Solly.
As was our habit when the weather was cool, bulldogs being notoriously intolerant of the heat, we would sit on the porch and let the dogs run and play in our large and completely fenced-in front yard. The wife had a dedicated tool which most folks normally use when barbecuing. But at our happy home for bulldogs this implement was known as the “dead cat tongs.” The tongs hung handily in the garage where they could be utilized at a moment’s notice when one of the many neighborhood feral felines was stupid enough to trespass. The bullies got along well with most other dogs but could not tolerate a cat in the yard and would often proudly present us with a mangled kitten carcass. Sometimes they would go as far as to bring it into the house through the dog door, upsetting my wife immensely. And then the dead cat tongs would come into play.
That evening in the the front yard, while Peggy was off to the north side of the house with the watering hose, I noticed Solly bolt down to the other end of the yard and snatch something up in her jaws. As she turned to head up toward the house I could only make out a lifeless, light colored object flopping in her mouth as she hurried toward me. Wanting to spare my wife the trauma of seeing yet another mutilated feline I opted not to take the time to go into the garage and retrieve the dead cat tongs but rather to simply and quickly snatch it from Solly’s maw and dump it in the trash. Hopefully Peg would never even know about it.
Now friends, in the past I was a plumber for many years. I have reached my hand in places only a plumber would go and grabbed things that no man, save a plumber, should grab. I am also a fisherman and have cleaned and filleted many a large aquatic creature. I had also lost count of the maimed, dead and dying lizards, birds and cats the bulldogs had awarded me. So I felt quite qualified, experienced and desensitized enough to reach down with one fell swoop and rip the cat cadaver from the bulldog’s jaws with my bare hands. But nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.
As Solly made her fast approach I reached down with one hand while looking up to make sure Peggy still had her back to me. When I grabbed the object in Solly’s mouth there was an immediate and horrifying recognition that no human being should ever experience in broad daylight in their own front yard. I let out what my wife later described as a blood curdling girlish shriek and fell to my seat screaming, laughing and holding my chest. She said I was literally white as a sheet. Someone, at some point prior, had apparently thrown a double ended dildo over the fence and when I blindly grabbed at it I had grasped the slimy head of a plastic penis!
My heart stopped and started and fluttered several times. While trying to catch my breath I laughed so loud and hard that I was crying. Meanwhile Solly proudly pranced about the porch with her newfound toy bouncing in her mouth begging for us to play. Needless to say, once I recovered I utilized the dead cat tongs but not without Solly putting up stereotypical bulldog resistance.
I will never know, nor do I want to, whether the viscous lube on the offensive object was bulldog slobber or some other wanton wetness and wonder if the coroner would have categorized my untimely demise as a “marital aid” related death.
Footnote: After hearing again my recount of this tale Peggy wished for me to note that she too turned pale from lack of oxygen, laughing so hard that she wet her pants.
In Memory Of Solly- In dog heaven now with her mama, her sisters, as well as Zoe, Louise, Coco, Hot Shot and so many other beloved companions.
copyright © 2015 Stephen Paul Ellington All rights reserved
The few people who have read my two books, “Condition One” and the sequel, “C1, The Eyes Mind” can be divided into two camps: The ones who know me and know that the Brewman is a real person, and those who think that Brewman is merely a character, a creative figment of my imagination.
I assure you he is a very real, if not unique, individual. I was reminded of late of a story which did not make it into either of my books because it happened well after their copyright. It is an absolutely true and very weird story involving the Brewman and I and one other odd and unknown “individual”…….
It was early in 2003 and the Brewman expressed a desire to go do a little shooting. He was my friend and fellow counselor and had assisted me in successfully making my way back from “going off the deep end”. Or so I thought. Perhaps I was already so far off the deep end that only a “higher power” could pull me back.
At any rate, we agreed to do a little plinking at the regularly designated area up in Long Canyon. He knew the way to the spot and told me he was going to go pick up his rifle and would meet me there. I set off ahead of him and made my way down the long country road to the turn off up in to the canyon. I managed to find a photo of us together on that very day:
We enjoyed ourselves in what would be one of our last times together. But the target practice, though fun, was uneventful and not the tale I care to relay today. It was the odd incident on the way to shoot that I wish to share.
As I mentioned earlier Brewman chose not to ride with me but rather to follow shortly behind. As I made my way down Dillon Road I saw a hitchhiker. He was a very large fellow, dressed completely in woodland camo BDUs. His thumb was raised high on my side of the road but his back was to me as this giant of a man was marching steadily as he hitched.
Now normally I would never pick up a hitchhiker, especially not this day and age and not in the sketchy area where I was traveling. But being well armed, thinking he might be a veteran and trusting that the Brewman was but a few minutes behind me, I pulled over and took the risk. The man threw his ruck in the bed of my little Nissan pickup and hopped inside. He engulfed the passenger side of the cab and spilled over into the console area yet he was not fat. He was simply huge and very fit. He also appeared to be many years older than I. We shook hands and I asked him where he was headed. He merely motioned with his left hand east, down the road I was traveling. I explained to him that I would be turning off to the north in a couple of miles. He nodded and said that was fine, that any amount of assistance was good and he appreciated the help. He said he had been walking for what seemed like an eternity and very few people ever bothered to offer him a ride.
The topic of our brief conversation turned to current events. The situation in Iraq was coming to a head but the majority of the country was still unsure if or when we would invade. The man assured me that we would and told me it would happen on the 20th of March. Before I had a chance to pick his brain about how he was so sure about this we reached my turn off. I pulled off to the side of the road and apologized for not being able to take him any further. Once again he expressed gratitude for the assistance and then, to my surprise he asked, “Before I go how about a little hand to hand combat?”
Immediately my thoughts began racing and a wave of fear swept through me. Would I be able to reach my sidearm before this giant of a man took a jab at me? What kind of nutcase did I allow into my truck? My mama told me never to pick up hitchhikers! As I recoiled toward the drivers door and began to reach for the handle I was relieved when I suddenly realized what the man meant.
He put his “hand to hand” and began to pray, “O Almighty and merciful God, who hast commissioned Thy angels to guide and protect us, please command them to be this man’s assiduous companions from our setting out until his return; to clothe him with their invisible protection; to keep from him all danger of collision, of fire, of explosion, of fall and bruises, and finally, having preserved him from all evil, and especially from sin, to guide him to our heavenly home. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”
Needless to say I was stunned and dumfounded. He exited the cab, shut the door and grabbed his ruck from the bed of my truck. I quickly gathered my wits and exclaimed, “Hey man, I never even got your name!” He leaned in the open window on the passenger side and with a gentle and benevolent looking smile on his face, handed me “His” card:
Then took off marching down the side of the road, thumb outstretched.
The holes you see visible on the card are from where it is thumbtacked to the bulletin board above my workstation. It serves as a reminder…. though of what varies from day to day.
My two books have been described as somewhat blasphemous, especially the latter, “C1: The Eyes Mind.” But I believe the Great Spirit has a wicked sense of humor and this story can’t help but remind me of the last line of “C1: The Eyes Mind” when, in my madness, the omnipresent orb I had been conversing with looked down on me and stated, “Someone has to keep an eye on you…..”
copyright © 2015 Stephen Paul Ellington All rights reserved
and the sequel,
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It’s sex, drugs, rock and roll, religion, guns, God, girls, holy communion in a modified Weaver stance, an all inclusive exclusive insignia, a sensory deprivation chamber, a mysterious can of Spam, a sweat lodge, a cheap motel, an antique Harley, a spiritual awakening, a woman’s blouse and a good hot cup of organically grown Oaxacan coffee. Not necessarily in that order.”
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