Because no spirtitual path is sanitary………

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Fanning the Blame

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?

Of Hybrids and Hemorrhoids

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.

But wanting him to have a good first fishing experience I suggested we load up the boat and head for Lake Dallas.  I knew of a spot where we could troll for hybrids with crank baits.

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?”

“Hell, we’re gonna clean him and eat him tonight!”

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 WAS THE ONE

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.

MotherBlues

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……

Dry-20-89 copyright © 2015 Stephen Paul Ellington  All rights reserved

AND YOU’RE AN ATOLL

I’m an island

Coral reef

Alone

Is how

I spell

Relief

Copyright ©1993-2022 Stephen Paul Ellington
 All Rights Reserved

Ditch Digging Deficit Disorder?

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

Tasered!

Road Trip With Knucklehead to Slab City, California

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.

Zippy

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.

1st sign to Salvation MountainBut I honestly doubt we could’ve missed it.

Salvation Mountain

Second sign-Salvation Mountain

Knucklehead was amazed as was I

Knuck arrives at Salvation Mountain

He likes to pose.

Knuck poses at the mtn 1

Knuck poses at the mtn 2

Knuck in wonder-Sally mtn

Of course I was obliged to join him

Me and Knuck at Salvation MountainThe we wandered around a bit, finding more strangeness as well as some shade, but no salvation…

Knuck rests in the shadeQuite a place eh, Knuck?

Looking around inside 1Looking around inside 2What did you really think about the place Knucklehead?

What do you really think about this place?

And so we moved on.  But not before Knuck attracted his share of the cuties, of course!

Knuck attracts the cuties 1

 

with cross

 

Repent! Or you might end up in the slabsAnd so we pressed on to Slab City  <– Video at that link (it has some commercials but it’s worth watching)

Welcome to Slab City

Welcome to Slab City<–another video at that link

Slab City 1st impression

Not your average RV park…

Home from old bunker

Shoe Tree

Christian Center

Slab City Bulletin Board

Directions

Wreckless World?

We turned down the Low Road which seemed like the upscale neighborhood

A veritable slab mansionDoesn't give aNo question what they're smokinSlab City Oasis ClubSingles Section?

Alien Crash Site

But even in the affluent (effluent?) part of Slab City there is no plumbing

No plumbing hereNo phones

No PhonesAnd no television

Kill your TV

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.”

TR7- the epitomy

But all are welcome

All WelcomeAnd there is lots to see

Have a look and see what?And plenty of art to appreciate

Now thats art! 2Now thats art! 1It was very hot outside and I regret not seeing or being able to talk with any of the residents.  Perhaps on  a cooler day we could’ve played some basketball

Quality Neighborhood

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:

Leaving the Slabs

Thanks for viewing this post and for being a part of CONDITION ONE

The Push Me Pull You Incident- No Way To Die

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.

Solly RIP

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

Hand to Hand Combat

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:

Me and Brewman shooting

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.

Hand To Hand Combat

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:

God Will Be Present

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

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