#266: Doin’ it in Texas

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

Here it is, the file to break my writer’s block. No matter what, this will be the time to get past over four months of no serious writing. You never know exactly why it happens, and normally you can’t tell what it is that makes you break out of that cold room and begin to throw your thoughts out to the world. So this time… lets try forcing it.

Sleep no longer comes easy to me. In the past I haven’t been one to sleep the days away or anything, as I usually get somewhere between two and six hours a night. These days, things have been different. For the past month and a half, I have spent my nights in a hotel in another state. That may be one of many things lending to my sleepless nights. Every night I fall asleep to music, typically something very calm and relaxing to make the transition from chaos to rest as smooth as possible.

These past few weeks I find myself staying awake listening to entire CDs, getting up, changing discs, and listening to more. Every night I can tell something is missing from my life but I can’t put my finger on it. I know what isn’t missing, and I know what I flat out don’t want. I have friends, at least all I could want right now. It isn’t female companionship right now, as I have no real desire for any relationship or commitment.

Something out there is missing.. its out of my grasp. My hobby has turned into my job and I enjoy working more than ever before. I see my family and acquaintances frequently, so no on that one. I keep running down a list of things that might be that missing link, but I still can’t put my finger on it. I know motivation in certain areas is right out the door. I have been sitting on a ton of writing projects that I will someday get to. Oh well, just a a matter of time. Until then, onward.. more things annoy me.

What else is up. Got to spend thanksgiving down here in Texas at my boss’s house (My boss down here that is). Other than that I have spent my weekends with some really good guys, all of which I have met through the internet. Just happens that quit a few live within a couple hours of where I am which makes the weekends much more interesting than sitting in the hotel room watching overpriced pay per view movies.

Back to music real quick. My latest interest has been in the various femme singers. Tori Amos, Sophie B. Hawkins, Poe, Milla, Suzanne Vega, Jewel, Enya, Shakespear’s Sister, and others. Something about these artists is just really impressive and worth listening too. For most of them, not only the incredible voices, but exceptional lyrics and great instrumental backup. I have thought a little about trying to put words to express the feelings that kind of music brings about in me, but just can’t do it. Anyway, if my word means anything, go out and purchase large quantities of music by those artists.

Been doing mass quantities of that email thing. I have always been one for writing rather than talking on the phone. Since I am now out of touch from most of the people I know, I have relied on mail as a quasi-escape from hotel life. It works. Every day I would guess my friends and I write well over 50k (about five times the length of this file) back and forth talking about the normal stuff. Kinda funny, how distance affects email. While in Denver, it always seems mail is much shorter and much more to the point. I guess it is just knowing that you can pick up the phone and make a local call if you have to, or something else. Maybe it is just feeling that distance.

So what the hell is the point of this whole file? Who cares. I learned long ago that expressing your daily thoughts like this does wonders to help you clear your mind, see your own thoughts, and more. Just knowing that other people will read your raw emotions makes you feel kinda weird, at least it makes me feel that way. Think about it; a dozen, hundreds, maybe thousands of people reading what is beyond second nature to you. So next time you are out on that newsgroup, or on some BBS, or in mail with a friend, just write about what is on your mind. About once a week I get a piece of mail like that from someone who has read a newly released file, had some thoughts, and turned it into a healthy letter about what is on their mind. I read and respond to all mail so feel free to write.

I’m a computer geek if you haven’t been able to tell. Don’t exactly look like one (at least the stereotypical one). Found out two things that really annoyed the hell out of me yesterday. I use to play a lot of sports, everything from soccer to rugby to baseball to tennis to just about everything else. So I went down to play basketball at the little court here at the hotel. Met a co-worker and we shot for a while before a couple more guys joined and asked to play a game. Both of these kids were younger than I, one was much bigger but looked pretty dense. The first thing that annoyed me was their style of playing ball. This wasn’t a friendly pickup game, this was a battle to the death. It was obvious they took it a lot more serious than I did, but there is a line that needs to be drawn.

I couldn’t help but think of how much they imitated the basketball players on TV, talked about them, and everything else. Its funny watching them try to be like them, but knowing how pathetic they are at the sport. I’m not saying I am better than they are (even though my outside shot puts them to shame), but all they could do was elbow their way under the basket and throw up a little layup for two points. Also funny how they never called their own fouls even though I did, kept encouraging each other to drive in on me since I wasn’t playing as active defense as my partner, or hit half of their outside shots. So overall they annoyed me.

The other major thing that annoyed me was myself. A few years back I found out I had exercise induced asthma which really puts a downer on any sport. I played the two-on-two game for maybe fifteen minutes before I was coughing and wheezing trying to catch my breath. I really do like sports too, and really wish I could partake a little more often. So until some miracle cure comes out, more billiards and computing for me.

Welp, now I get to flip a coin. Heads I release this to the world, tails, you never see it. I wonder how many other people do that with their writing. I also have to wonder if people even know that this is done with some of my files. No idea how many I have deleted because of the toss of a coin. Not a lot or anything, but a few. Not wasted thoughts either, but more a mental release than anything.

So, after all is said and done, is my writer’s block gone? Who knows, but I certainly hope to hell it is. Although it isn’t the worst thing as I have had some great writers pick up the duty. Hopefully they will keep writing and sharing their thoughts with the rest of us.

Things are most definitely not diminishing…

I’ll wrap it up here, and leave you with this thought:

“As I stand in darkness, I feel the warmth of the light upon my skin and I know my face is turned toward the sun. I can look into the sun, for my eyes are forever shrouded by darkness. But if you who can see look too long in the sun, you will lose your sight, just as those who live too long in the darkness will gradually lose theirs.” – Weis & Hickman

shout outs: Major, Plexor, Vidiot, z3ns, Apok, El_jefe, Dave_SOB, Capone, T*P, Voyager, Patty, Rage, Daemon9, se7en, Freya, Presence, all the fans of the zine, the users of ‘The Lemming’, all my cats, and then some.

#265: Jake Bastard

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

Complete shit. Daily life had hit an all time low as far as the standard of living… and everything else for that matter. The turn of the century did not bring radical changes for the better like the president had promised. In fact, things had become much worse, and much quicker than ever before.

It was over a year ago that Congress passed laws making provisions for private individuals to become certified law enforcement officers. It was only two weeks later before those individuals became half mercenary, half bounty hunters. Not exactly the “private police” the government had intended.

Senators that had drafted the bill envisioned law-abiding citizens taking certification classes that resembled police training. With that certification, these people would patrol bad neighborhoods as regular police, but only respond to calls they wanted to… ie: get paid for. The promise of police-like soldiers sounded good to the violent streets, so people pushed for it to pass.

Jake was not exactly a clean cut guy. “Low life”, “scum”, and “bastard” were the usual colorful adjectives used to describe him by the street cretin, his clients, and everyone else. The petty insults didn’t affect him though, rather the condition of society did. Crime was on a drastic spiral downward with no end in site.

He couldn’t complain too much about business though, the need for police service was always present. Fortunate for him, victims of crime weren’t always lucky to get state funded officers, and had to rely on the ‘private’ police. Dispatch for all of the officers was done through a central service with ‘real’ officers getting routed whenever possible. Once that buffer of ‘real’ police had been crossed, people like Jake stepped up to do the job, and get paid for his services.

He looked at his watch and sighed out loud. He had promised himself to complete each shift even though he set his own hours. About the only thing keeping him motivated was thinking about later. He had planned on renting some flesh and kicking back with a few beers. His Big Gulp came to an end too quickly and concluded his break once again. Settling back into the front seat of the hummer he turned the radio back on to monitor police traffic, waiting for the next call. It was only a matter of minutes before it came through.

“One Eight Two… please respond… Four Eleven in Progress”

A quick response to acknowledge the call and he was off. The tires squealed as the big vehicle slid onto Colfax. This was the only road he patrolled, and for good reason. Recent reports indicated that 30% of the crime in Denver revolved around the long and dirty street. Some chalked that number up to the fact it was the longest continuous road in the country, others because of the inhabitants of the area. Either way, it was very profitable for the ‘private’ cops that braved it’s dangers.

The call told him there was an armed robbery in progress but hostages were involved. Not his favorite job, but typically very rewarding financially. Using his knee to keep the wheel steady, he barreled down Colfax checking his two guns for ammo. As usual, both were loaded and ready to go. The white flashing lights on the top of the hummer was more than enough to clear the road for him.

The hummer screeched to a stop about fifty feet from the front of the building. All of the lights were off inside, but the hundreds of bullet holes on the front façade told him he was in the right place. Jake looked over to the two ‘real’ officers that had arrived and guessed that dispatch couldn’t scrape together any backup. He didn’t like that.. the ‘real’ police hated the ‘private’ police more than anyone.

Both of the uniformed officers had their guns out and were trying to keep their eyes on the front of the building. Neither could help a quick glance to see who had come to help them. The look in their eyes told Jake that they didn’t approve of the blue jeans and flannel appearance he preferred. Under the flannel was a D1 rated bullet proof vest that had stopped over a dozen bullets in the past. Jake pulled out his two Sig .45s and moved over to the police car to talk with the officers.

Not ones for chat, the officers roughly clued him in to the situation of five well armed individuals inside, all trigger happy. With no light around, and the few street lights shot out, Jake pulled out his glasses and switched them on. It took a few seconds for him to adjust to the night vision, but it was something that had saved his life almost as much as his vest.

Now his real dilemma. If he moved in now, the officers would not back him up since there was no other backup. If he waited with them, he didn’t get paid. Not a hard choice really, but he always gave it a chance. The glasses switched over to infrared giving him a look inside the building. Looked like four dead figures, two hostages, and only three armed individuals. Typical, the cops had lied to him in hopes of keeping him out of the way.

Jake ran to the very corner of the building and looked around. There were several cases in the past where a sniper lurked from nearby buildings to take out any police that tried to interfere with a robbery. Considering this was a high risk robbery, a sniper was not out of the question. He panned around looking at windows, balconies, and roof tops trying to ascertain just how many people were involved in this hit.

“There he is…”

He didn’t speak very loud, but was happy to notice the extra person. The figure on the rooftop had what appeared to be a high powered rifle aimed at one of the officer’s backs. It was kind of ironic that the person didn’t consider him a threat, but was willing to take out a few cops to help his friends out. He brought both of the sigs up to take aim, and unleashed. Two rounds from each gun shot out and across the street. The glasses he wore allowed him to zoom in and watch as all four rounds struck the sniper in the face.

The two officers snapped around to see what he shot at and immediately realized how vulnerable they had been, and how lucky they were for Jake. Both nodded to Jake and looked back at the front of the building. He knew that was the most he would ever get out of them, but it only costed him two bucks for the ammo. Back to the task.

With his back to the wall, he slid down the south side of the building heading for a back door. He hoped the back door was the entry point for the robbers, and that it would also offer him that same service. As he moved farther from the street, he began to thank his glasses again as they offered him near perfect vision.

Taking position at the back door, he peered around the corner hoping to get a better look inside. The infrared told him how many people were in there, but robbed him of the depth perception of other forms of vision. He kneeled down at the back door and scanned the interior. The back room of the building contained boxes and shelves lined with electronics gear. It was then that Jake realized he hadn’t noticed what kind of store this was.

Pawn shops always brought around the worst robbers. Not only were they well armed, they were stupid. Even if they went in with minimal firepower, once in they had access to anything the store was trying to sell off. That almost always included some nice guns. Robbing pawn shops was something that amateurs did as most stores were equipped with timed safes, remote video monitoring, and other security devices. Beyond that, they rarely brought in cash.

Between all of that, the sniper, and some gut feeling, something seemed out of place. Maybe he was about to shoot three really ignorant people, or maybe there was something else he was missing. Either way, should be easy money for him.

Both guns lead the way, one at chest level, one at waist level. Jake approached the wall that separated them to determine what it was made of. He silently cursed at the reinforced alloy wall knowing he couldn’t shoot through it. Jake also took comfort in knowing the robbers couldn’t shoot him either.

This was it, time for his move. He took a split second to close his eyes and pray to nothing in particular before this went down. Moving toward the door he readied himself for the firefight to come. The door between him and the next room was held open with a small radio. One kick and the door flew open exposing him to the occupants within.

His two guns blazed in front of him firing in rapid succession. It was obvious he caught the robbers off guard as he shot the first two in the back, delivering at least five rounds into each. The third robber was quick enough to dive behind a display case in hopes of avoiding the fate his friends had just received. Jake scanned the room quickly and made sure the two employees were still alive. He had to get paid by someone.

The proverbial standoff again. Jake kneeled down behind one display case while his opponent stayed behind his. The fact that he was able to take out the first two so easily was indication that they were amateurs. The firepower they carried suggested they were some of the better mercenaries you could hire. Either way, the third guy should be pretty spooked right now, and not expecting…

Jake broke into a run across the small store and dove over the opposing counter. As he sprung from the ground his Sigs let out their fury until he rolled to a stop just inches away from the wall. The fact that he didn’t get shot in the back as he stopped told him he was successful. He turned around to see several wounds in the chest of the robber. Apparently, he was lying on his back waiting for Jake to make the move. Obviously, he wasn’t expecting that move.

Cycling through all the forms of vision on his glasses, he verified that no one of danger was left. Holstering his guns, he moved toward the two forms huddled in the corner. After the glasses came off, he assured the two people they were out of danger, and explained who he was. Along with that information came the typical routine of moving them to the front window where they could see the ‘real’ police out front.. doing nothing to help them.

That was usually all it took to get the money. As the police entered the building and began to fill out the report, he started bargaining with the two people there, which turned out to be the owners of the store. Jake was done negotiating his price long before the police finished their reports.

Another Big Gulp, and another two hours before shift was over. He had made his money for the night, but kept his promise to stay out there the whole shift. He was number 182 out of just over 700 ‘private’ police roaming the city. Not exactly the best guy, but one of the best for the job. This was his life, his claim to big money and some kind of future. A kind of future he wasn’t sure about, but one that he had to keep his faith in. It was the only way to make it day to day.

#280: Inner Turmoil

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

Why do we, crucify ourselves, every day…

It’s the opposite of writer’s block, but equally as bad. I sit here alone in my bed trying to express what I am thinking. I have this sudden need and desire to tell the world exactly what is on my mind, what is coursing through my veins. But I can’t. It’s always the not so comfortable thoughts like these that end up plaguing me.

My pain.. is self chosen…

I sit here with my laptop on the pillow, head touching wrist, eyes closed. Can’t see anything right now and quite frankly don’t want to. Sleep sounds so much better with each passing thought. Don’t know what’s up with me but something really has me in a bind. My mind gives my body a list of things to do, but they don’t get executed.

No one should brave that underworld alone…

I guess now is the best time for things to be like this. Not only are my thoughts really jacked up, but a good friend is going through a really hard time in his life. A time where he faces losing his girlfriend and daughter.. maybe for days, months, or not at all. You just can’t tell with the court system today.

That old dog has chained you up alright…

Other friends are seeking me out for advice on various matters, most of which I am not qualified to lead on. One friend is having problems with a girl he is interested in. Another has a problem but I have no idea what its about. Dozens of people mail me a day asking me for technical advice on just about everything. Why me? I can’t be that qualified to answer all this. Especially the advice on girls and life.

Tongue tied and twisted, just an earthbound misfit.. I..

The thing bothering me is more frustrating than it has ever been. I think it stems from the fact that even I don’t know what I want. Since I can’t figure it out as far as my own thoughts are concerned, how am I supposed to be able to guess what someone else’s thinking? That leaves me with way too much time to ponder my dilemma before I will get the answer I am looking for. Doesn’t really matter what the answer is, just the fact that the answer looms around the corner.

No you can’t take that away from me…

No matter what happens in my life, I keep getting the feeling that no one really understands me. Like everyone else, I have my world of problems but I can’t talk about them because it seems like no one else comprehends. Or maybe they don’t want to. The more I think about it the more I wonder if they even realize it. My inner turmoil has been with me for so long, I wonder if I disguise it, or wear it so openly that my friends don’t even notice it.

Hold onto nothing, as fast as you can…

I know things will work themselves out, but I always worry if they will do so in an orderly fashion. Part of my anal retentive nature or some other ancient curse on me. Twenty three years of survival tell me things will right themselves.

I don’t mean to pick you apart you see…

What to do until then? Figure out what I want at this point in my life. After talking to a friend tonight, I find out others out there are unsure of what they want. Why the indecision? Why the lack of focus or direction? There must be some underlying desire for a new perspective on life. Or maybe a need for a little action out of life.

I’ve got enough guilt to start my own religion…

Until I have clarity of thought, I can only hold on to the things I have. My castle, my work, my hobbies. Solace of music, escape of movies, and freedom to do. My handful of friends, wishful thinking, and vision of daily monotony. Anger, content, guilt, and comfort.


#250: 100 Pennies

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

Every day when I come home I throw all my change into a large jar for a later day. After a few weeks pass, I break out the old rollers and count out the change. Usually about twenty bucks or so, mostly pennies. The last time I did this was a long time ago in a state far away from here. Times have certainly changed. (no pun intended)

I went to the grocery store near my place with a couple rolls of pennies. There is an ‘express’ bank in the store to deal with withdrawals, deposits and other minor banking functions. When I went to the counter I threw down four rolls of pennies. Two whole dollars. The lady behind the counter looked at me with a puzzled look on her face. I told her I wanted to exchange this for a couple dollars. She then told me “We don’t have anything to count that with”.

I explained that it was simply two hundred pennies, and I just wanted a couple dollar bills. She tried to explain to me that they had somehow been ripped off before in trades like this. I begged her to break open the rolls and count the change to make sure she was satisfied. Rather than do that she hinted that I might be ripping them off, then proceeded to give me two crisp dollar bills. What a fucking hassle.

A few months back I was at McDonalds. The nearest ATM I could draw money from without a penalty was a ways off, and I only had a few rolls of pennies and a few dollars. I stopped in and asked for a sausage biscuit, diet coke, whatever. I threw down two dollars and three rolls of pennies. Had the dumb bitch hit me, I would not have been more surprised. She almost yelled at me about them not being able to take the coins that people had ripped them off before.

Excuse me? I told her to open the rolls and count the pennies if it was that much of a problem and that it was legal United States Tender I was paying with. Rather than counting them, she got a manager who tried to feed me the same shit. I asked her what part of “dumb bitch” did she not understand, and went through the whole charade of counting the coins to verify the funds.

Two days ago I was at my bank. The same bank I keep all my money at, have a credit card through, and do 100% of my banking. I went in with a bag full of rolled change. Four rolls of nickels, sixteen rolls of pennies. I put them on the counter and asked for paper in exchange. She asked me to break open every roll and throw the coins into a box she provided. I started to wonder what the point of rolling was.

After a few minutes I dumped every last roll into the box and watched her disappear into a back room. Minutes later she came back out and handed over 15.49 in cash and change. I sighed as she explained one roll was short. I told her it was probably lost in the rolls and that I had missed it while boxing the coins. She apologized and called for the next person in line.

Don’t save your change. Spend it all whenever you can. Don’t roll it by any means.. you just have to break them right back open. In general, don’t have more than 100 pennies at any given time, they end up being more hassle than they are worth. I think I will start dropping pennies all over time and make lots of people happy for a second or two.