This Pen Don’t Write

It scrbbles.
It spells wrong.
It skips. Important stuff.
It tells. It’s supposed to show.
It assumes stuff–stuff like you should know what I mean.
It forgets the sensory details.
This is a damn lousy pen.
This pen don’t write.

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Black fingerprint ink covered my fingers. I suppose it made sense that I was arrested. I looked guilty, I mean, I could see why the cops assumed I was guilty.

I was standing over Rodrigo’s body with a gun in my hand when they ran behind the stage. The gunfire brought the music from the stage to a stop. The quiet was eerie after the pounding of the music for the last two hours. I could hear the two cops breathing hard as they ran up to me with guns drawn and slapped handcuffs on my wrists.

Why did I pick up the gun? All I could think about was Rodrigo being hurt, I couldn’t believe it. I guess I thought if I picked up the gun it would all make sense: this gun hurt Rodrigo. I’ve done plenty of stupid things in . . .

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Have you seen An Inconvenient Truth? she asked. Her eyes were lit with eagerness. You’d think I’d offered her ice cream. I say we should give Al Gore do-overs! she enthused. He’s what we need in 2008.

Maybe, I said, but I was thinking Hillary and Barak would be the perfect ticket. Except for the slight problem that nobody would vote for a woman and an African American man.

Oh, I would. . .

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Urban Safari

Early that day the squawk of a mother quail brought me to my window. I saw the mother and about 12 tiny quail following behind her. Later in the arroyo behind the house–the place the neighbor calls “the wildlife preserve”–I spotted a roadrunner, several rabbits and some small furry thing that might be either a prairie dog or a ground squirrel.

Who needs a zoo when you have all this outside your door? It’s a true urban safari just to walk out the front gate and wander down the street. In this urban jungle, the troublesome beasts are the house pets. The dogs. The untrained dogs who lunge at you on the trails. The untrained owners who leave long trails of dog poop for others to step in are a menace, too. There’s one dog owner who . . .

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The Mosh Pit

I dived into the mosh pit head first, my arms a wedge cutting through a forest of forms, my body a battering ram. I moved to the front of the mass of sweaty humanity and stood gazing in wonder at my idol.

I was so close to her I could see the sweat on her forehead. She was as hot as the rest of us, despite the two fans on either side of the stage that lifted her hair a bit when she turned to catch the breeze. She was hot for the music as well, and I could see the emotion in her eyes, hear the meaning in her voice, touch the passion in her soul. . . .

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Pat begged me to come to her party. I had to accept or she would be hurt. I arrived early so there would be fewer people there: fewer opportunities to schmooze. Schmoozing ain’t my thing.

After I exhausted myself making small talk with two women, I slipped into the back yard. I sat on the porch steps, breathing in the quiet, building up to go back inside.

An old Mustang, maybe a ’68, drove slowly down the side street. I could see two people inside. The passenger slid his body out the window, sat on the door and pointed a gun over the roof of the car at Pat’s house. He started shooting. I launched myself toward the ground and began crawling toward a tree amid the gunshots and shattering glass. Terrified screams. . .

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Getting gross

I’m not getting it. Movies are getting gross. Why? It’s disgusting. Do people crave that? By gross I mean pirates with the face of an octopus or whelk shells, covered with barnacles and other gross special effects. You know the movie I’m talking about. Sure Johnny Depp is priceless and charming and sexy in the lead role, but really, did it have to be so scary and stomach turning? What’s the point?

Kids cartoons don’t have cute characters any more either. The characters are misshappen, disgusting, and plain gross. The angel of death a lead character in a kid’s cartoon? Please, explain that to me. . . .

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Go to the zoo

Someone with a much younger and less discerning brain than mine convinced me it would be fun to go to the zoo on a July afternoon. Nothing moves on a hot July afternoon except a misguided human and creatures such as seals whose home is in water. It’s not mad dogs and Englishmen: even the wolves and hyenas were sleeping in the shade.

How many 20 oz. bottles of water can you drink in one July afternoon and still not need to pee? I can give you a definitive answer to that question: a lot!

But still, it was fun. It was fun seeing . . .

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What’s a word worth?

Suppose you spend 10 years collecting freely available information. You edited it. You rewrote it. You gave it a slightly different spin. When you had a great big encyclopedia of information compiled in one spot, someone came along and wanted to lift it, word for word, and use it elsewhere. Free. Would you go for a plan like that?

Me either. But someone is busy trying to convince me to do that. The sad thing is, if they go ahead, even without my permission, I have no idea what rights I have to make them stop. Not many, I think.

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Frank Lloyd Wright

A green and brown mirror with geometric shapes reminiscent of a Frank Lloyd Wright design hung above the leather couch. I first saw her reflected in that mirror, almost by accident as she passed between the stairs and the dining room behind me.

She was willowy of body and limb. If thin fly-away hair could be called willowy, she was willowy from head to toe. My quick glance didn’t reveal anything unhealthy about her thinness. She looked strong and moved with confidence. I had expected someone weak and ill looking.

Steve, sitting on the couch facing me, saw her also. “Estelle, come in here and meet . . .”

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