Cinder Blocks and Broken Glass

Yogi Bera said when you come to a fork in the road, take it.

This might be smarter than it sounds.  I think there are no forks in the road.  We may contemplate alternate courses of action but there is only one path, that which is written in our hearts and which we follow assiduously.  I used to think we made important decisions rationally.  Now i am convinced we do not; we do what our hearts tell us to do and rationalize it after the fact.

And i’m not sure where i’m going with this.  I just spent a morning in the car with my ex wife and was schooled in just how much she hates me.  If it were anyone else it wouldnt matter.  I guess it doesnt matter that i cant imagine what i ever did to deserve it.  What matters is that i have feelings that can be hurt with words.  And she’s the only one who can do that because i dont give a shit what other people think of me or say about me.

This is a horrible time of year anyway.  The sight of daffodils fills me with vague nausea and millennial dread.  Four years ago when i was writing Tenement i tried to put this horror into words but failed.  Sometimes the stronger the feeling the harder it is to get the words out.  All i could come up with was “green shoots up through cinder blocks and broken glass.”  That was it.  I was trying for a verbal image of the album cover of the Jayhawks’ Rainy Day Music because after it rains here in the spring that’s what it looks like.  Like you’d expect to see in the yard of a tenement.  It’s not a place or a time; it’s a state of mind.  The state of mind i have been in since May 19, 2014 when, after hearing some very bad news i thought, “You are a dead man.”  Less than a month later i almost was when i almost died of a staph infection.

But i didnt.  What kind of luck is that?

October of last year i drove to the doctor to get my monthly refills and had a seizure right in his office.  Just the place.  Not on the road, killing myself and maybe somebody else.  What kind of luck is that?

But i wont go there either because it gets into the question of what is luck and is there such a thing or is it a mirage?  I think there is and the question is what kind.

For the last two years every doctor in creation has been asking me if i am depressed.  Which i kept telling them i was not, because i was not.  Well, i’ve finally made it.  I’m depressed.  So what?

I have no idea why i wrote this but for anyone who endured it, thank you for reading.  I want to write something but i’m too disorganized.  This time last year i was in the hospital from some other godforsaken infection.  Let’s hope i can stay out of it this year.

If i could not stop cursing it would be different.

But i cannot stop crying, and that is not like me.

I am terrified of dying alone.


Letters From Indiana :Drug Bust on My Street

It can be demoralizing to see how out of touch you are with even your immediate surroundings and that you’re becoming more behind the times with each passing day but despite that I can gloat a little because a post of mine last May 28 titled Letters From Indiana 4.   A week ago Friday I was backpacking down to the grocery store when i saw a Sheriff’s car and a State Police car in the parking lot of an auto detailing shop where i had cut thru.  The cops were out of the cars talking to each other.  I didnt think much of it until i heard about a big bust in a house six doors down from me on my block.  The auto shop belonged to the people who were busted so it obviously must have been a front they were using for laundering money, although nobody said that.  It just makes sense.

That was about eleven Friday morning.  On Saturday morning my ex wife called me and told me there had been a big drug bust on my street and had i heard sirens.  I was in a foul mood and told her i hadnt heard a fuckin thing.  I thought it had just happened and wondered why i am the last to hear these things.

It wasnt until i got on the website of the local TV station that i saw the clip about the bust, which had occurred at four AM Friday.  I immediately recognized the house since i walk by it all the time.  And i made the connection to the auto shop.

This all began a couple of years ago when this place passed very tough laws restricting access to needles.  Predictably, the subsequent explosion of HIV cases here made the national news and became a national disgrace.  These people just dont get that intravenous addicts dont care if a needle is infected with HIV or Ebola.  They’ll still use it to shoot up.  So these idiots passing the needle restriction laws created their own problem.  To them, like to my ex wife, when something goes wrong it’s always somebody else’s fault.  Just blame it on the addicts and pushers.

What’s amazing is that the Draconian policy about needles has not only changed; it’s done a one eighty.  According to the local paper the Scott County Health Department got “permission” from our Fascist Governor Mike Pence to establish the state’s first needle exchange.  I hear Pence is in trouble politically so that might be part of this but it doesnt matter how it got done.  At least it got done.

Of course there was much self righteous, self congratulatory posturing by the local constabulary about the bust itself, complete with a blood curdling ultimatum to all pushers.  Ho hum.  This place is too small.  I cant even go out for a walk without feeling like i’m being watched.  It’s more like East Berlin in the sixties than Indiana.

There’s a much deeper problem at work here of course.  When there’s a big demand for anything in a market economy and a niche becomes vacant it will immediately be filled by somebody else.  Prohibition comes to mind and is the same in principle except Prohibition was very unpopular from the gitgo and was eventually repealed after the unspeakable damage it did.  People do not understand that you cannot legislate away appetites.  They never will.

And Austin, just a fit’s throw up the road, remains ground zero.  It looks the same and i will never be able to pass thru it without thinking about The Walking Dead.  A lot of fucked up people walking aimlessly around.  And now, as back in May, i believe the best cure for this county is a few megatons up the ass.  And from a safe distance i would push the button myself.  Maybe just take out all of southern Indiana while i was at it.

This is Troy Eriksen.  Good day.


The Twenty Second, Conclusion

Chance favors the prepared mind…   Louis Pasteur

I dont have long to wait.  Oswald enters the room furtively and looks around.  He has a case in his hand and i have to assume that there’s not a guitar inside.  I’m ready and step out quietly behind him and break his neck quietly and that is that.

Even though i’m still weak from the cancer treatment i dont have much trouble dragging him behind the book crates.  He doesnt weigh very much.

This is an empirical exercise.  In history after Oswald fires those shots a Secret Service agent will pull out an AR-15 and look up toward this window and when the driver who also hears the shots will floor the accelerator that will force the agent to pull the trigger involuntarily and kill the president.  Whether you believe it really was an accident or a cleverly designed hit is an unknown.  Or it will be for a few more minutes.  Without the shots from this window there will be no need for the accidental shot and no assassination.  Or there will be a shot from a hypothetical shooter from the grassy knoll that will hit Kennedy in the head in front.

There is still plenty of time to see what what will happen, or so i am thinking until i hear someone walk in.  I have to control myself.  It could be just some poor guy coming in here for some privacy to jack off.

It’s not.  It’s Marshall Dillon, head of the Time Police.  I hardly recognize him without his Joe Stalin mustache and in jeans and a t-shirt.  He walks halfway to the window and stops.  Then he says, Colonel Chones, come out.  I know you’re here.  Do you have a weapon aimed at me?

What do you think, Marshall?  I say quietly.

Dillon doesnt jump when he hears my voice.  He is very well trained.  He says, Then either shoot me right now or come out and talk to me.

I emerge from the stack of book crates and he turns and regards me without expression.  Then he says, You have something i want.

You mean the ship, i say.

Goddamn right i mean the ship.

If you try to take it by yourself i’ll destroy it.

You wouldnt dare!  Strand yourself in this horrible time.

Try me, i say coldly.

Dillon walks slowly to the open window and sits down.  There is no screen and i wonder how safe he feels there where the crime of the Twentieth Century is supposed to happen.

You killed Oswald, didnt you?  He says, watching my eyes.

Yeah.  So what?  You said there were no time paradoxes.

Evidently i spoke too soon.  Changing the outcome of a football game prevented WW III.  What will this change, good or bad?  We just dont know.

If i come back you’ll kill me, i say.

Take that chance, Colonel.  Would you rather stay here?

The motorcade is approaching Dealy Plaza right now.

I look at him and he looks at me.  And a golden moment of perception transpires.  I remember a chemistry final at Georgia Tech.  An impossibly complicated problem involving Liter/Mole/Atmosphere/Joules and the Ideal Gas Law.  Then in a flash i saw a path thru that wilderness that i knew could not be wrong.  I cancelled the units and it worked.  All that was left was to do the math.

Louis Pasteur said that chance favors the prepared mind.

And Allah is merciful.  Sometimes.

I see a path thru this whole evil dilemma.

I take two quick steps and push Dillon hard and he tumbles out of the sixth floor window and hits the pavement with a smack and all kinds of things start happening.  People start running and yelling.  I cant risk trying to get back to the ship.  I use the emergency transport to bring it right here.  When i’m inside i use another emergency control to take me to an empty spot ‘way outside town.


I am very satisfied when i use the the time portal that looks into the future.  With Dillon down Kennedy’s motorcade never comes near the book depository and when they find Oswald’s stiff they get very nervous.  But at the next campaign stop the same people try again.  But this time a snitch inside the Secret Service rats them out and a lot of people get busted.  John Kennedy never rides in an open limo again.

The rift between JFK and LBJ will continue to widen until Bobby Kennedy gets the vice presidential nomination at the ’64 convention.  That makes it look like a close election but it is not.  The Kennedys win in a landslide.  JFK was so sick he was almost dead even in Dallas, though no one knew.  Less than a month after the inauguration John strokes out and dies and Bobby becomes president.  That means even the trifling American prescence in Viet Nam comes home and there is no Viet Nam war.  Richard Nixon is never elected president.

 Maybe the nicest part is that it makes no difference in my own future, probably because it happened so far back in my past.  Our golden age will continue untouched, only without Dillon.  So how could me changing one stupid football game have averted WW III ?  Dont know.  Dont care.

RU ready to go home, Colonel Chones?  The contralto computer voice trills at me.

Yes, i say.  Begin five second countdown.

The day’s not over yet but i think it’s time for me to retire for life.  I shouldnt say Allahu Akbar, but there, i’ve said it.

Be good, boys and girls.


The Twenty Second

 Here i sit, buns a flexin

I just gave birth

To another Texan

This is the graffiti i saw in the crapper in Brunswick as i was taking a dump just before i left and it seeps into my mind like sewage as the Timeship Fight the Future materializes early in the morning of November 22, 1963, right in the shadow of the Texas School Book Depository.  I am in awe of the place and time, the only one here who has any grasp of the forces at work, of the inertia that is carrying destiny by a hangnail.

And if you dont know me, I am Colonel Jim Chones of the Time Police, on an unauthorized mission in a brand new timeship i stole centuries from now to take a shot in the dark at correcting an evil that will just not die.

There is none of the torture that accompanied transits on the old ships; only a very unsettling moment when i felt like i am somehow turned inside out and back again, then a very gentle settling sensation as the ship seems to pop out of time and back in only much earlier.  There are no surveillance cameras here and all i have to do is step out, make the ship invisible, and walk away.  Or rather into the building and up to the sixth floor window where fate will move its huge hand, hopefully in a different direction.  Right now the Secret Service agents that have caroused all night are waking up with regrets but not as many as they’ll have later if i cant change things.

It will be hours before anything happens.  The shit hit the fan about 12:30 PM which means Oswald or whoever fired two shots at Kennedy comes up here and sets up at this window.  I have terrible doubts.  Nobody actually saw Oswald fire the shots; two witnesses actually placed him in one of the two lounges in this building when the shots were fired.  He couldnt have been there and here at the same time.

Oswald will ride to work in a car with someone who swore he couldnt have had anything with him but a bag lunch, much less a rifle.  Did he hide it in here somewhere?  Why take the risk it would be found?  How did the Dallas Police have a good description of him before anyone knew he was a suspect?  Were they infiltrated?

My fretting mind will not stop until i drop into a deep sleep behind some crates of books where i can see anyone who moves toward the window.  I come awake suddenly and notice it is much later and i can hear the sigh of elevators and dissonance of conversations and muted footsteps in this place.  As far as i can tell no one’s even been up here yet.  But that’s going to change fast.