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Destruction By Complaint

August 17, 2017 Leave a comment

It’s a gorgeous day. As we roll along, the highway is lined on both sides with curtains of colour.Late September in Canada, and the raw forests of maple, poplar, and birch blast one’s eyes with a spectacular colours; elegant gold, loud yellow, and the dominant colour, blazing red.

We’re going to our country place for a weekend of riding our horses and playing in our swimming pool. Out of nowhere she says,

“I bet the sump pump has died. You’ll have to go down to the cellar to see if there’s flood damage.”

I have to tell you that’s ridiculous, we know the sump pump is in great shape. She had to inject a bummer into a splendid moment. It’s a need she has, to keep the atmosphere forever tenuous.

As we drove up the dirt road to our farmhouse, she continued her thoughts aloud.

“The roof might have to be replaced before winter,” she says, whining. I clenched my teeth and said nothing, although I knew that the nearly new metal roof was perfect.

“Don’t forget,” she said, “you have a dentist appointment on Wednesday.” I stifled the urge to tell her how stupid it was to magnify unpleasantness with unnecessary comments.

As you can imagine, such a woman is also frigid, and in her case, totally ignorant of the niceties of making love. A mature woman, she was awkward as a first time teen. I was shocked the first time. I wondered why she was so bland, when in all other ways she was bright and energetic – which attracted me.

We pulled into the broad driveway at last.

“You have to put a new lock on the front door,” she said, for no reason at all. At that moment, I asked myself a question I’d been avoiding. What am I doing here? She turned the happy, colourful weekend into a dreaded period of relentless whining.

She got out of the car and walked up the path to the front door. I got out from behind the wheel and walked over to the old Jeep I kept at the country place. She went into the farmhouse and I pulled out of the driveway.

I was thinking of how she had ground the lovely weekend into shit with her complaints. I was thinking of her overall coldness, and generally, nasty disposition. And I thought of the girl at the bank, who asked me out for coffee. I thought about the girl at the donut shop, who told me the time she got off work and asked me to meet her.

Fuck this, I thought. My life is being ground into crap by this woman who is supposed to love and care for me. To hell with her.

I returned to the city and drove to the donut shop. She was to be off work at nine. I met her outside the shop and took her to my place. We showered; we made love… good love, and listened to music while we cooked up a late snack. She asked if I was worried that his wife would walk in. I told her I hoped she would, because I’ve had it.

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Dr. Huxtable, Please Stop!

June 17, 2017 Leave a comment

I assume the Bill Cosby hung jury is because some jurists just didn’t want to tarnish the ‘America’s Dad’ image. I sympathize with that. I loved Cosby’s stand up acts, when he was just out of college. I guess I saw him on late night talk shows in those days.

Later, he was co-staring with Robert Culp in a mock cop show. I think it was called ‘I Spy’. I liked the show and the actors, and it hurts to think that Bill Cosby was drugging and raping women during those years. Why would he? Perhaps his personal kink is that the woman has to be inert. It’s abnormal, but it’s been heard of.

I was expecting, and hoping, that the prosecution would not retry Cosby. He’s guilty, and he’s old and somewhat blind, so what would the law do to him? If they would elect not to retry, the kids that loved the Fat Albert cartoons and other comedy things that Bill Cosby created, could continue to be cool with Dr. Huxtable.

My Friends Don’t Like Me

May 25, 2017 Leave a comment

We’re all old now, between 75 and 80. I just found out that when we were kids, my friends didn’t like me. I’m assuming this, because I haven’t seen any of them in about 55 years, and contacts through Facebook have my old friends rejecting me. One guy said, “Yeah, I’ve thought of you over the years, too,” and blocked me from contact.

I met Danny on the street one day, in front of the office of another old friend that was his lawyer. Danny acted as if he had ants in his pants, and feared he’d catch Ebola from me if he didn’t get away quickly. The lawyer is the only one that seemed to respect my role in our old group. I’d like to meet with him and check on what was my persona when we were pals. I can’t find him. It seems he was disbarred and cocaine addicted.

All of us dated girls from the same pool off girlfriends, and belonged to the same high-school fraternity. I don’t remember being slighted at all, but I was aware that I was different from the other guys, in several ways. For one thing, I liked to be by myself a lot, and would show up suddenly out of the darkness. It caused some mystery about me, that I liked, although that’s not why I did it.

My friends were interested in sports. They followed professional teams, and played baseball, football, hockey, and basketball when facilities were available. I did not participate in either following the professional teams, or playing personally. I might be drawing, painting, sculpting, or working on my car. My cars were part of my mystique, I know. I think I also read more than they did, although I’m the only one that did not go to college.

I can remember an occasion when friends were at a sweet sixteen party for one of the girls. We were all between 16 and 18 at the time. I arrived late, as usual. The party was in a covered, open  air dance place on a sandy beach. The waves rolled onto the shore barely 30 meters away from the dance floor. It was gorgeous at night, like a pool of radiant young people enjoying life.

I pulled up out of the darkness, into the flood of light on the sand. The car was a glistening, black Jaguar XK140 roadster. Of course there was a distraction among the party people, and I can imagine that a lot of the boys, my friends, were put off by it. Of course, now I know they were right, but at 18, I was as dense as is any teenager.

I was oblivious to the difference at the time, but my family must have been wealthier. I really saw our bunch as all equal, but apparently my father’s successes made me a figure of irritation. I wish I’d known then, and I wish I didn’t know now.

King’s Life

May 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Bartholomew King was proud of his eccentricity. He knew that he was regarded as a shallow, slow-witted, trust-fund child. By the time he was 28, he was well established as a wealthy nut. Fortunately for Barth (as people liked to call him), he never had to earn a living. His parents had accumulated a substantial fortune in the medical marijuana industry, growing and distributing through their burgeoning chain of greenhouses. Unfortunately, they lost their lives prematurely, while testing their design for a four-seated hang-glider.

Of course, Barth immediately sold the marijuana business and closed down the development of the hang-glider design. As a result, he was sitting on almost three million after-tax dollars. He did regard himself as the king, at least in the large county where he was highly influential. As such, he demanded exclusivity – in everything.

He had a ranch built to his own, eccentric design. He had Brigham Coachworks build a custom body of his own design. He had it built on the chassis of an Alpha Romeo Disco Volante, the most exclusive car he could find. The Disco Volante body was discarded and the new body was constructed of aluminum.

There were many opportunities for a prolific social life laid at Bartholomew’s feet. He was hesitant, because he was never certain which woman might be the most exclusive. He attended dinner parties, if the guest list was sufficiently exclusive. He attended sporting events only if the event was rare, such as polo for blind players. He was introduced to many very beautiful women, but he was unable to feel certain of the one of a kind that he sought.

On a rare evening out, with one of the women who hoped to be The One, Barth saw The One. It was not the woman with Barth. Rather, it was a woman who sang on the small stage of the club they were in.  After they ordered, Barth looked casually toward the stage. A woman stood at the microphone in baggy, blue denim bib overalls, singing a twangy country song. A keyboard player, a guitarist, and a drummer backed her up. The woman’s face made Barth’s stomach flip. She was gorgeous, almost exactly the face he created in his mind to be the exclusive one.

She appeared to be more than 6 feet tall. Barth was an average 5’9”. Barth’s problem was, he didn’t like country music, or the rural wardrobe. The drinks arrived at Barth’s table, and he clinked glasses with his date and sipped his Highball. The country song ended and Barth turned to look at the stage again. The woman had dropped the baggy overalls and kicked them aside. She stood in the spotlight in a blazing green Spandex body suit. It fit so tightly, it looked painted onto her body. She had the shape of an oversize mannequin, virtually perfect. She began to sing a love ballad, “The Nearness of You,” and the mellow tones of her deep voice infused Barth with passion.

Barth knew that this woman was the exclusive beauty he sought. He unashamedly ushered his date out the club door and put her into a taxi. The outraged woman made a scene throughout the club, and people knew that it was just Bartholomew King being Barthish. He gave the driver one hundred dollars and asked him to take her wherever she wanted to go.

Barth returned to the club and boldly went backstage. In an open area, the trio of musicians were sharing a joint. In her dressing room, the woman… The One, was sitting at her makeup table.

“I’m Bartholomew King,” he said. He extended his hand. She ignored it.

“I know who you are,” she said. “Where’s your date?”

“She had to leave,” he said. “I wonder… would you come to dinner with me tomorrow evening?”

The woman stood up and looked down at Bartholomew. She put her hand on his shoulder and walked with him toward the dressing room door.

“I want you to know something, and remember it,” she smiled. “No. Never, nay, no way. I only date exclusive men. You are so common.” She gave him a gentle push out into the passageway, and closed the door. He heard the click of the lock.

Don’t Complain to the Police

April 26, 2017 Leave a comment

The neighbour to the north of the sociopath has been suffering the aggravation for more than 20 years. His way of dealing with the sociopath is to yell and shake fists at him over the fence. He’s an idiot, and that’s why there’s been no improvement in 20 years.

The sociopath has a large diesel tractor. He spends his days on the tractor, dragging a steel beam around, eliminating any chance of grass coming up. The dragging on dry dirt adds clouds of dust to the stench of diesel exhaust. The man is not a farmer. His property is 60 feet by 200 feet, although he regularly transgresses onto neighbouring properties. His property is largely covered with crude sheds and an old school bus. The village is so small and insignificant, there are no bylaws to protect it. The area of the village is considered to be part of the surrounding farmland.

The guy with the tractor is a sociopath. He feels nothing toward the neighbours for whom he makes the days unpleasant. He breaks fences and denies it. He sweeps his dog’s droppings under the fence, onto the neighbour’s property. He pushes all the snow from surrounding areas onto the property to the south of his. This is because it’s the easiest way to get his area cleared, and the neighbours’ areas are of no consequence.

After a few years of trying to get some help from the city manager, the county counsel and even the mayor, the neighbours got a response from the provincial police. They had a couple of interviews at the police station, and one time they were told that the offending neighbour was in the building. Pressure was applied by the police to have the neighbours shake hands with the offender, and the good neighbour was blamed by the police for being unreasonable. The psycho agreed to stop putting snow on the neighbour’s property. That was strictly against the law, so of course he had to stop.

What the police overlooked, was the years of criminal harassment. He redirected rain runoff onto the neighbour’ garden. He used an old oil tank as an amateur incinerator, and burnt garbage in it. Often, he burned plastics and foam rubber, sending clouds of toxic chemicals over the neighbourhood.

The police felt that they had done a good job, blaming the complainant and ignoring the many infractions by the psycho. So don’t go to the police. They’ll blame you, because you make them work.

Treasure Lake – A Run For The Money

March 17, 2017 Leave a comment

The single engine pontoon plane did not land on the nearby lake. It began to patrol, looking for the two canoes and their one million, six hundred thousand dollars in Krugerrand gold. Rob Snitzer felt they should just stay put until the plane gave up and landed or left. Caroline Rich also thought that was best for the moment. Phyllis Snitzer agreed that it was probably the best thing, but she was not happy about it.

“I just want to get out of this ‘hunted’ thing,” Phyllis said. “It’s wearing me down.”

“We’re all in the same boat – as it were,” Solly Cohen said, “and we should keep positive. Think of all that gold.”

“I don’t think the gold is going to do us any good, financially,” Caroline said. “You could walk into a bank with one Krugerrand, I guess, and get cash for it, but I think walking in with even ten of them would cause an investigation. Walk in with a hundred of them, and it would bring big problems.”

“So what should we do with them?” Rob said.

“Turn them in to the authorities and hope there’s a reward offered,” Caroline said.

“I don’t really trust the authorities,” Solly said.

“What if we divide them up between us, and we each take one every two weeks to different banks or something, and open bank accounts with it,” Phyllis said. “It would be like getting three thousand bucks a month, tax free.”

“That would be, like, four thousand bucks if we had to pay taxes on it,” Caroline said. “To get three thousand clear, we’d need to make four thousand and give one to the government.”

“It sounds like the plane is leaving,” Rob said.

“I think it’s landing, not leaving,” Solly said.

“Whatever it’s doing, it’s not in the air for now, so let’s get going,” Rob said.

The foursome pushed off from under the willow branches and set a steady pace up the small waterway. On one occasion, they came upon a beaver, pulling a small branch to its lodge. An hour later, they came upon a large beaver dam. A small lake had built up behind it.

They didn’t want to do a full portage with loaded canoes for so short a distance. They just had to go around the end of the dam where it’s attached to the shore. Wet grass and mud around the end of the dam would allow for easy sliding of the aluminum bottoms up to the new lake level. On the charts and GPS, there had been no lake there the previous year. The beavers had created it for their own purposes.

It was obvious that the lake was quite deep in places, because the tops of dead mature trees protruded through the surface in several places. Other places, the trees stood in shallow water and the canoeists paddled through and amongst them until the beaver lake opened out into a larger lake that had been there long before.

“What now?” Solly said. “If we go straight across, we’ll be sitting ducks if the plane is around here.”

“What if we hide the chest here somewhere, and return for it another time?” Caroline said.

“That won’t help us get away from these people” Rob said. “Don’t forget we saw them dump the dead guy with the chest. If we go around the edge of the lake, we can hide in the foliage if we have to. The problem is, it will take hours to get to the tributary that will get back to our starting point.”

Several hundred metres from the canoeists, where they paused at the mouth of their tributary, the aircraft rested on its pontoons just out of sight. Its occupants had hunches that the people with their treasure would cross this lake, hoping to gain their freedom from pursuit. If the canoes emerged from cover, the plane would power up and catch them easily.

Treasure Lake – Hunters Hunting

March 16, 2017 Leave a comment

The air boat was cruising slowly down the shallow channel that passed in front of the blind of bulrushes. They listened to its approach, the big propeller spinning slowly – pukata-pukata-pukata – as the vessel drew adjacent to the hiding place where the four young people in their canoes hid behind the rushes.

Lilly Pads

Solly had his slingshot pulled back to maximum, planning to send a knockout hit with the only shot he was likely to have. He arranged for Phyllis and Caroline to part the rushes at the precise moment when he could let fly the stone. The driver of the air boat sat up high in front of the engine while the guy with the gun sat below him. Solly made the best judgement he could, shooting just ahead of the driver’s head to allow for the boat’s forward movement.

“Now,” Solly called. The two girls pulled bundles of rushes to the right and the left, and through the open space, Solly let fly the stone. Before the gunman or the driver could react to the parting of the rushes, the projectile struck the driver in the head, hard. He slumped forward, and knocked the speed control to full speed.  At the same time, he fell from his high seat onto the gunman below him.

They were in a tangle on the floor of the vessel unable to rise because the acceleration of the airboat when the driver’s fall pushed the speed to maximum. They shot forward several meters and struck a floating log.  The impact bounced the nose of the boat up into the air and the fast revolving propeller launched them up and over.  They fell back into the water upside down. The propeller kicked up a mess of froth, water and weeds until it sank back and the engine was choked out with water.

“Okay,” Caroline Rich said, “let’s get out of here.”

“Not so fast,” Rob Snitzer said. “I want to see if those guys are okay, or need help or something.”

“Are you crazy?” Phyllis Snitzer shouted at her brother in the other canoe. “They’re here to kill us!”

At that moment, both men broke the surface, sputtering and wiping their eyes with their hands. They saw Solly Cohen with his slingshot, and the other three, and started to come for them in the waist deep water and weeds.  Progress was slow and laborious.

“Okay,” Rob said.  “They’re okay, so let’s get out of here.” They paddled their canoes out from behind the natural blind of bulrushes and started to stroke briskly away.

“Hey, wait,” the boat owner called, “don’t leave us stuck here! How will we get out of here?” At the same time, the gunman fished his rifle out of the water, shook water out of the barrel and hastily prepared to shoot at the foursome.

The bullets blipped into the water on either side of the canoes. Clearly, the gun was not functioning ideally, and the gunman was soaked, sputtering, and clearly out of his element.

Stroking hard, both canoes moved out of range quite quickly and headed for the tributary that should lead them back to their cars and eventual escape. Within minutes, the drone of the single engine aircraft could be heard approaching. The canoes were guided under some overhanging willow branches where they waited until the aircraft landed or moved on.