Republican’ts And Demochats

demo

 

(Modern free form beat poetry)

Just cause you’re on the right

That doesn’t make you all right

You looking through on the left

Act before nothing is left

I am politically ambidextrous

So impress us with your expertise

 

It makes you uncomfortable

Cause you just can’t understand

So you create a bunch of labels

Spread em all across the land

It makes it easier when you to file me

So you can defile me

That way you don’t have to get to know me

So show me

What you think I am

 

You put people into compartments

Your absurd

You treat us like cattle you can herd

You pompous turds

You don’t even know who we are

We’re not just a vote

A banknote

We’re a group of living concepts

Its nonsense

Indivisible with no liberty, no justice at all

The righties calls the lefties all fools

Singing E Pluribus Unum

While your screwin’ em

You’re gonna ruin em

So what am I to the far right side?

From a group of radical ignoramus?

Think that you can tame us?

I dare you!

Do my thoughts scare you?

Am I a tree hugging hippie

Who loves Mother Earth

I have since birth for what it’s worth

I’m the resistance

It’s just a philosophic difference

Try it it wont hurt

I care about rights of women

I believe in equal rights

Democracy isn’t exclusive to the whites

We are a salad of cultures held in check by you vultures

But you can’t understand

I care for my fellow man

You’re just a Republican’t

Who thinks he’s a republic can

 

 

And don’t be looking so smug and deft

Over there on the left

You don’t like me either

You just want to invoke my vote

You make me nervous

The only thing you ever served is lip service

All you do is talk

You can’t get women’s pay equal

And it won’t happen

I’ve seen the sequel

The poor receive wages of sin

For gods sake let refugees in!

Why are guns still a thing?

Cause you don’t do a God damn thing

But chat

To fat cats

Just like the right

You never even fight

You ain’t all that

You think you’re a democrat

But your just a demo chat

Talking us under a bus

Living among the upper crust

Tossing us crumbs from your linen tablecloth

What disgust

 

 

Neither side has an exclusive on deceit

Stay out of my kitchen if you can’t take my heat

You politicians caused the wreck

With you one hand pledging allegiance

While the other takes my check

You call me a communist but who pays the fucking lobbyist?

A trusty Politian standing an untrusting shade

If things all go your way well man I guess you got it made

But your pact is with the hateful

The insult of the day

Wish you were an illusion but you’re an illusionists to stay

 

 

Republican’ts and Demochats

Enslaved to fat cats

Know what? Go on ahead

Beat the crap outta each other

Call each other names

Continue playing games

You’re all lame

Off base

Peace is the tortoise in this race

Your rabbit hate has a rabid fate

And hates gonna lose

Hates an obstruction which thrives on destruction

Someday you’ll understand

Hope it s not to late

 

You run a Presidential race

To dominate the rate race

Forgetting the human race

The one race we all must win

Humanity is our kin

People full of hope and love

Try to remember that before you destroy the world

Keep us alive

Peace is the most noble struggle to survive

 

 

 

I may be a dreamer but I’m not the only one….Peace Out

 

Last Christmas

last

 

What if last Christmas

Was your last Christmas

Would it change the way live

What if last summer

Was your last summer

Would it change the way you love

What if last week

Was your last week

Would it change the way you laugh

 

Would it change your today

Would it change you’re here and now

Any today

Can be your last day

Your last tomorrow

Your last yesterday

Your last Christmas

Your last breath

Stand tall

Free yourself from the negatives

Let go of grudges

Grudges become exponentially heavier

To carry a grudge

Is detrimental to your posture

Let them go

Feel the freedom of peace

Enjoy life
Don’t live love or laugh alone

Brave each day with a smile

Wear it and share it

For anger is an infectious disease

Anger destroys

Don’t sacrifice the good in your heart

For empty words of anger

Feel the freedom of peace

Don’t wait until its yesterday

Yesterdays gather rust

Or get stored in the attic

Change the way you laugh

The way you love

The way you live

Today

Don’t live behind yourself

Live with love

Live with laughter

Live with life

But live

PEACE

 

 

 

 

The Continuing Adventures Of JT Hilltop/Homeward Bound (part I)

Ben Gogna/Tempest Jericho, a drifter since June, sits off of Interstate 80 and waits for her adventure to unfold.
Ben Gogna/Tempest
Jericho, a drifter since June, sits off of Interstate 80 and waits for her adventure to unfold.

Halfway There And listening To A Prayer

I’d just spent two weeks in a blissful sexually charged romance that rocked the shit out of my world. Everything that happened after that just seemed boring and unremarkable. My new focus was to get back to where I once belonged, back to the place of my birth, Centerlawn. Why I’m not even sure but something was eerily drawing me back there. Maybe my hometown has some magic magnetic pull on me. Maybe this is just me exercising my masochistic self fulfilling prophecy of doom. I didn’t really have anything there other than some great memories, and as I‘ve learned you can‘t live off of memories. So the curse of JT continues. My best friends are gone, Carries married now, Tina is who knows where, Mom James and Kayla are dead, all my close friends with the possible exception of Patrick are gone, and Mandy will probably never go back to Long Island. Dad? Well he is another story entirely, not sure where he lives and don’t care. But Centerlawn has my old hang outs and the comfort of familiarity. Maybe what I desperately needed now was some mindless mediocrity. Shades of mediocrity. Clearly there is no greater purpose for me. I am as average and mundane as the town itself. But Centerlawn is also a town that had a dramatic impact on my life and my most recent travels have been……. Interesting. Mediocrity. That’s what I needed most. Go back home and just be boring.
Hard to believe I could take leaving Josie Rae so hard. I had only known her for two weeks yet I felt more empty and alone than any other point in my life. Maturity is bullshit. No one ever told me it could hurt so much. Pain is a state of mind and my mind hurts. “ I whispered my mantra “This too shall pass.”
When you’re out on the road hitchhiking you have a lot of time to think. Perhaps too much time because at times all you can do is think and thinking when you‘re alone and depressed is a Molotov cocktail. Still I reasoned it was important I figure this thing with Josie, love, and my sudden influx of maturity out before I get back home. Realistically I couldn’t have been in love with Josie there simply wasn’t enough time. She was beautiful, the sex was fantastic, laced with heated passion but that’s lust not love. True she reminded me of the best of the two chicks I had really loved and that may have had something to do with it but when it comes down to it I think I was just in love with being in love. After all I’ve been through, addictions, deaths, break-ups, jail, it felt really good to be in love. I wanted to love Josie but what I really loved was the feeling of stability she gave me which is crazy ironic because I knew from the start our time together would be short. A two week sexual fling. I just didn’t want to admit we were using each other. I gave her two weeks away from her life sentence with Randall and she gave me hope at having a real relationship. What puzzled me was what in the hell made me think I would find it back in Centerlawn?
Yet here I am out on Route 17 way down in Conway with my faithful thumb in the wind searching for a rainbow to take me home. I copped a ride with a fair haired young lady and if I didn’t know better I would have said Josie sent a friend to see me out of town. She gave me a ride clear into Myrtle beach and deposited me right at the boardwalk. I had one last look at the beach, The Gay Dolphin Store, the arcade, and the Magic Carpet where Josie and I had danced before doing the bedroom lambada just a week ago. I wiped a tear with my Harley Davidson bandana, wrapped it around my head, kissed my thumb for luck, and off I went. Point me north I’m coming home.
I had no idea how difficult it would be getting back to New York via the scenic route. Perhaps if I had gone straight to 95 it would have been a day or two but the scenic route was far less traveled and for much shorter distances. I was encouraged when my first ride took me over the border from South Carolina to North Carolina but after being dropped off outside Columbia reality would come back laughing its ass off at me. There are two things about Columbia North Carolina I will always remember. One, if you’re a hippie stay away from a military town, and two, Columbia NC has the nastiest bitiest god damn red ants in the world. These fuckers were so aggressive they jumped me like I was being mugged by a street gang. Out of nowhere I start getting these sharp pains first on my feet then quickly up my legs. When I looked down it was like red ant apocalypse. They were running up in flanks as fast as I could brush them off and biting the entire time. I jumped up and down and did a ninja spin while still brushing them away. I could see their faces, the anger in their eyes but kept the fight to them. When I saw what I had inadvertently done to their sand mound, their military base, I understood. I was the invader not them. They were defending. My only move was a quick retreat so off I ran hopping and slapping myself with a new reality and a few wise ass kids laughing at me.
So my visit here to Columbia was marred forever. I didn’t stay to look around which would probably only have gotten me an ass kicking anyway because the military school was full of testosterone driven young cadets with something to prove. I refused be their example so I made a bee line out of antville. My hitchhiker digit now in top form I got a ride in the first five minutes. As great as that sounds it was not without a downside. I was in back seat of a VW bug with what had to be the smelliest couple ever. Now I was probably a bit ripe myself but these two were downright raunchy. The stench had it’s own area code. It was horrible.
A most unpleasant journey but a journey none the less. I was on the move but the highway had gone from a three lane racetrack to a one lane road winding in and out around the shore. Between trying not to breathe and chatting with my body odor spewing taxi I ended up somewhere else in North Carolina. They were going west and let me out on what looked more like a local road than a highway across from some strange looking church. I was glad because I couldn’t take much more of a VW cockpit filled with what could be the steam of a decomposing body in it. Hell, maybe they were serial killers with a body in the trunk looking for another suitable toy. Either way, my joy of having escaped possible cellar torture and being able to discard the layer of stink was short lived.
As well tuned as my thumb was even the magic digit is unable to rustle up a ride if no cars come by. Hours passed and darkness crept in. The only sign of life was an occasional car, more often than not headed the wrong way, and the filling up of the church whose members found me oddly interesting. At least it seemed that way, they all seemed to look over my way, talk to each other, then honor me with a second glance mixed with an occasional surreptitious finger point. Just what I needed, some born again Christian cult members viewing me as a potential new sacrificial lamb. Seems the reed ant army has communications abilities because on top of the dark setting in they apparently sent an aerial assault via the mosquito squadrons. I found myself itching for one of the church goers to save me and if that’s what it takes to get me from this buzzing ghost town back to a real highway then praise the fucking lord!
As if on cue two parishioners ambled my way. It seems born again Christians never do anything strictly out of the goodness of their hearts. Every last favor entails an obligatory thank the lord combined with a slick segue into a preaching parable. But again, attitude of gratitude! So when the young black couple came over and offered me a ride I jumped at the chance. At least they smelled nice. I told them where I was heading and they informed me of the err of my ways. First directionally, then in my life choices. I was headed into a very coastal one lane highway which would get me nowhere if I kept on the way I was and a very downward spiral which already is nowhere if I didn’t find the Lord. Apparently he’s not on that coastal highway and thankfully neither would I be. The couple gave me a ride all the way to Interstate 95 and left me at a rest stop which gave them ample time to recite scriptures and generally make me feel inadequate in my faith. I thanked them reverently for the ride and direction. I knew they were disappointed I excluded to thank their lord but I was pretty certain they would thank him in redundancy for me.
It was great to be out of mosquitoville by the shore but it was now around ten o’clock at night and hitchhiking at this hour was a bad idea. Besides I was really tired here in Lumberton NC so I walked down by where all the truckers rested looking for a little alcove or something. Anything but an abandoned gas station or the side of the road which I swore was a thing of the past. The best I could find was an overturned wooden picnic table under some tree’s. It was like a wooden pillow fort so it would serve two purposes, giving me minimal shelter from the elements and instilling a bit of comforting childhood innocence. I leaned up against my wood fort, closed my eyes, and listened to the cricket orchestra playing stage right. I needed to take my mind somewhere else so I wouldn’t be surrounded in negativity. I couldn’t get the sex with Josie Rae out of my mind so I fell a sleep with a shit eating grin on my face. I did not however, wake up that way. Over the course of the evening the insect world mistook me for Gulliver and began exploring all parts of my body. ALL parts. I never had so many itches in so many uncomfortable places to scratch in my life. It was like the red ants of Columbia and the Mosquito squadron of No Sin City sent messages up about a delicious tasting human being headed their way. Ants, centipedes, some beetle like bastards that had hard shells on them, all kinds of creepy crawly critters claiming me as their territory. Having become experienced in insect warfare recently I took the battle right back to them. A few jumps, shakes, and then any stragglers were destined to meet their end in the great waters of the men’s room as I raced them to their doom. To my tiny enemies it was the great flood without Noah to save any of them.
It took me about ten minutes after being bug free to shake the feeling of their prersence. Phantom crawlings on my legs and arms still had me scratching but I was finally able to get hold of myself. (Not literally) I ventured back out to the truckers area and scoped out the truckers to see if there was anyone I could relate too that might take me north. The first ten or twelve I eyeballed appeared to be speed freaks who were strung out and skinny as hell. Not reliable and the last thing I needed was to be around drug users again. Then I spotted him, a normal looking dude around my age with long hair. He was driving a furniture store truck and from the looks of him I could cop a ride. I put on my lost puppy dog face before I approached him. After explaining my situation in which I stressed the “left abandoned and stranded by someone I thought was a good friend” He offered me a ride to Virginia. Hmmm. The place for lovers and Virginia Ham. Why the hell not? Next stop the State For Lovers…..TBC

A Goat By Any Other Name (by Ian Hilltop)

GD

A Tale by J.T. Hilltop’s Son

Growing up in the 90’s was quite a challenge. I mean the generation before had it so easy, Rock concerts every weekend, smoking weed wherever they wanted, and the only threat they got from their parents was a haircut. I’ve been told by my old man that my Grandpa used to chase him around with scissors. I mean shit dude, I can’t get away with half the shit my Pops did. He told me he used to roll joints during study hall but I can’t even carry rolling papers anywhere near school. Which brings me to my first brush with the law and the night my Dad had to come pick me up at the police station. Funny thing is my old man looks more like a criminal than I do. Oh sure my pink Mohawk looked rad and bad and all but my Dad used to be a biker outlaw. Well maybe not an outlaw biker exactly but he was a hippie tree hugging Harley owner and he still looks the same, just like a fossilized version. He’s still got a ponytail but not much on the top so he covers it with a bandana and he’s an ultra liberal peacenik. My step Mom on the other hand is not quite so liberal. Dad calls her his counter-balance, like he brought them close to the edge and she kept them both from falling over it. So I’m glad the cops called him first and not my step Mom. That night my rebel Dad came to pick me up from the cop station in a beat up VW. I had the distinct feeling he was no stranger to cop stations back in his day.
So what was my big infraction that led to handcuffs and a free ride to the cop station? I was busted for what I mentioned earlier, carrying rolling papers on school grounds. And what is significant about being on school grounds? Why it’s a drug free zone of course. Apparently that makes the crime of possessing paraphernalia for the purpose of having a good time a major offense. Dad came in looking all concerned and worried talking to the cops as if I had broken some felony weed law or something. I was praying it was just one of his little tricks to get us out of there.
Once we were out of the precinct parking lot he asked me in his calm hippie Dad voice what happened. I told him my version of the truth because we have always had a very honest relationship like that. I explained to him how we were smoking a joint before the dance at the High school and the cops came running over. Camron through his bag of weed and Stephanie tossed the joint long before they got there and it pissed them off. Not finding anything they searched us all and I had rolling papers in my pocket so they took me to the precinct for possessing drug paraphernalia on school property. A drug free zone. Straight away he gave me the like it or not its still illegal lecture, and the not ever on or near school property lecture. We drove in silence after the semi-lecture for a minute until he said, “ You mean drug free zone isn’t where you get free drugs?” He scoffed then continued, “Paraphernalia? Rolling papers? Are they fucking kidding?” The two of us laughed and my old man ran off some of his corny old cop jokes, like someone stole the toilet from the cop station and they have nothing to go on, or he points to the back seat and says he picked up a dozen donuts in case I was in serious trouble. He always admitted he felt pot should be legal like alcohol even though he doesn’t smoke it anymore. That is to say he tells me he doesn’t smoke but I have my suspicions, every once in a while I feel like my stash is a few bowls light. Anyway, bottom line my old man wasn’t a big fan of cops busting kids for having fun. I suspected my step mom Jenny felt different.
When we got a block away from home and he said, “I’m gonna have to act all mad at home cuz I gotta at least pretend to be a responsible adult and Jenny will be expecting me to ground you. I’ll need to issue some form of punishment, she’ll think that’s important but I mean fucking A, rolling papers is a fucking crime now? Look Ian, I get that it seems unfair. In fact is unfair, but that’s how the games of the establishment are played little cool man, you don’t try to beat the law, you work around it. You gotta fool them at their own game. Give them enough of what they want and let them think they have the upper hand. If you fight them they just use stronger punishment, that’s their warped mentality, to punish you harshly until you break. So here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna tell Jenny that you just made a small mistake because you were unaware of the consequences of smoking marijuana. You haven’t committed any bad crime and no one got hurt and education will work better than punishment. So you will write me a four page report, two pages on the physiological consequences, and two pages on the consequences marijuana can have on society. That way you will learn the err of your ways!” That man was a fucking genius!
We drove home and I went straight to my room. Dad explained to Jenny what was up and downplayed the incident. She apparently agreed that the report would be the best punishment and so it was set. He used that report when he and I had to go in front of the town board and they were so impressed they dropped the charge and expunged my record completely. Man I really adored that man. He could spin a story like nobody’s business. So I knew that night when he came into my room to talk about the whole situation it was a perfect time to distract him by asking him about his youth. He loves talking about his younger days in the “turbulent sixties.“ One character in particular I had always wanted to know more about was his best friend. I only met him a few times when I was young but Pops tells me he came over all the time when I was a baby. I didn’t remember that and I don’t even know his real name. My big sister and I just called him “Uncle Goatleg”. That alone had to be a good story.
“Hey Pops, you know you’ve always been so honest with me and I know you smoked back in your day, but whenever I think about what it must have been like for you growing up the one name that keeps coming to my mind is Uncle Goatleg. All I remember about him is this really nice guy with long hair and a very long beard who rode a motorcycle and drank a lot of beer. I think I remember you always being happy when he was around and I figure you call him Goatleg because of his limp. I assume it was caused by a motorcycle accident or something cause I vaguely remember your motorcycles and the two of you giving me and Molly rides wearing football helmets. Why was he called Uncle Goat-leg?” I could see a huge smile on my dads face as he reminisced. From what I recall Uncle Goat-leg was as tall as my dad and very muscular. He had very thick curly reddish brown hair that danced down over his shoulders. My dad always had a short beard, but Goat-legs chinstrap was very long. The full rust colored hair sprouted from his chin and went clear down to the middle of his chest. The hair on his face was so thick I can’t say for sure if he even had lips. Santa would have been jealous at how beautiful that beard was. Like I said, he has a bit of a limp, and he walked with the assistance of the coolest walking stick I’d ever seen. A dark red hardwood cane carved with the most magnificent black and yellow cobra snake. The head of the snake lay right at the handle with it’s mouth wide open and fangs showing so he could hold his hand inside the snakes mouth. I recall the detail of the snake as almost mesmerizing, the tiny scales, the flared head and sharp teeth were kind of menacing and I’m sure I stared at it every time he came over. Without really ever knowing Uncle Goat-leg I admired him greatly and wished he had come around more often.
“Holy shit uncle Goat-leg! I’m surprised you remember him. His biker name was Redbeard, his real name was Kevin, and we called him Uncle Goat-leg because of you and Molly. He injured his leg in a motorcycle accident. Yeah, he and I rode together a few years before I had to sell my bike. Kev had a gorgeous tricked out Harley shovelhead. What a beautiful bike. Me and Kevin go all the way back to kindergarten where we got into a fistfight over some toy or something. It was the first fight for both of us and we got sent to the principals office. While waiting, we glared each other down still pissed, and then Kevin says “I hear the principal looks like a grasshopper. A fat bald grasshopper.” I broke out laughing because he really did and we both making cricket noises and acted the fools. All through school we called him ‘Grasshopper’. We became best friends instantly and learned we only lived three blocks away from each other. Stayed best friends until he left. We did everything together rode bicycles, went to the beach, dances, girls, rock concerts, everything. We were together all the time just about all the way through school. We even learned to drive in the same car, your Uncle Jack’s Barracuda. When the time came we went to buy our first motorcycles at the same place.” I wasn’t sure what I wanted to hear more, the story of their friendship or the story of why Uncle Goat-leg left but I opted for the latter. “When did he leave and where did he go? Why did he go? Did he ride away on his bike? Do you know where he is now?” Pops chuckled, “Slow down son, it’s a bit of a story. Let me get us something to drink.” As he got up he smiled and his chuckling voice trailed off, “Always with a million questions Ian.”
When he came back a few minutes later he had a large mug of beer for himself and a soda for me. “Hey, can I have a beer?” I got the you know better than that look as he smiled. “Not this time Ian, but someday soon we’ll share a few. Tonight is all about how Uncle Goat-leg got his name. I perked up instantly. “Who started me or Molly? How old was I? Did he have the cane then?” Dad took a long swig of his beer and shook his head, “One question at a time Bud. He came over one night and you were like two and a half years old. You were full of questions even back then. You asked him over and over what happened to his leg, why does he limp, was it from the motorcycle, non stop questions. Kevin laughed and rolled up his pant leg to show you his disfigured and scarred leg. You said ’Ew gross, it looks like a goats foot.’ We laughed our asses off and then he roared, ‘Yea Ian, Uncle Goat-leg, that’s my name. I’m your Uncle Goat-leg.’ Every time he came over after that we called him Uncle Goatleg. You and your sister are the only two people in the world he’s let call him that.
TBC

High Crimes And Mister Meaner, A Tale Noir (part 2)

high crime

By J. T. Hilltop
The four of us were squeezed into the back seat having now had the first chance to actually see each others faces since the whole ordeal began. Every face was sullen, frightened, and slightly angered, as much at ourselves as our situation. Streak had a visible bruise on his temple, and Monty had a slight shiner of a black eye. The cops laughed and taunted us the entire fifteen minute ride in a misguided attempt to cheer us up, or maybe to make themselves feel superior and in control to compensate for any short comings they may possess. Fitch or Fatch or whatever tried to educate us in what life is like for a felon of our tender ages that get locked up in prison. He took a sadistic joy describing the details of the exact sexual activities we might be experiencing and his partner kicker cop just laughed. Their description of jail rape was frighteningly detailed down to a very expressive diatribe of the pain one feels as a new asshole gets torn in a more literal sense. I had little doubt they were feeling sexually aroused themselves just thinking about our fates, but even that couldn‘t cheer me up. Once we arrived at the precinct things seemed far too relaxed.
We arrived at police headquarters and were instantly separated into our very own personal interrogation rooms. Mine was a small room decorated in post modern minimalism with just a small table and a pair of folding chairs facing each other across the table. My fear impulse was pounding like a herniated migraine headache. I’d heard many stories about beatings with rubber hoses and hard punches using phonebooks so as not to leave any marks. I was hoping I had watched too many cop shows and movies and that shit like that didn’t happen in real life. But inside I knew that was being naïve. I stood there doing nothing as confused as a June bug in July. An idiot in handcuffs just standing still for what seemed to be a half hour. Finally a cop, a different one, came in my room. He walked behind me, removed my handcuffs and ordered me to sit down. He stunk of stale cigarette smoke mixed with too much English Leather cologne. He was much older than the cops who brought us in. I weighed the value of that, older and more paternal or cynically old and more adept at hiding interrogation bruises? “Justin Hilltop, possession of marijuana and distribution of controlled substance! I know your brother Randle. Worked with him a few times. He’s a good cop, a good man, why would you do this to him?” He stared at me condescendingly but I just cast my eyes downward. “It looks like we have a bit of a problem here Justin. I want to help you out here, keep your brother away from all this, but my partner hates drug users. Look son, someone here is guilty of a felony crime, and that somebody has to face the music. Its just a matter of time .We’ve talked to each of the other guys, Monty was caught with some pills and everyone swears you gave them to him. Not only that Justin, they also all claim that it was you that threw that bag of marijuana out the window. Your friends are willing to sell you down the river son. You say it isn’t yours but you see how looks don’t you? Your word against the word of three other kids. The brother of a police officer in position of felony weight marijuana. Not only are you screwing your brother, you may be heading off to Sing Sing.” What? No fucking way, they would never! My head was spinning with possibilities. Hope was melting like a mini marshmallow in a cup of hot cocoa. First business is the pills. I reckon I had to cop to that but its only two pills and I didn‘t sell them or anything, I’d think of a good lie for that, but the weed? Did all of them really say it was mine? That makes no sense. I sat in my chair dumbfounded. “Look Justin, here’s the deal. The other guys think because your brother is a cop you’ll get off easier. Personally I don’t think it was yours but someone has to go down and it looks the others chose you. Maybe we have an option though. Here’s what can happen. One, you admit its your marijuana and we book you, and off to jail you go. Case closed, you go to jail and your buddies go home. Two, you let us know who’s stuff it really was and we‘ll arrest him and see what we can do about getting you home, or three, I call your brother Randle and ask him to come in to the precinct and maybe you can tell him all about it. Know what? I need a smoke. I’m gonna go have one and give you a few moments to decide what your gonna do.” Without another word he got up leaving me alone in the room.
The first thing I noticed after he closed the door was a huge mirror on the wall. I had seen enough movies to know it was a two way mirror. Assuming I was being watched my survival mode kicked in and I went into acting gear, pacing the floor with what I hoped was a panicked look on my face. I pounded my hand and started talking to myself to enhance the performance. Starting of in a low unintelligible voice as if I were reasoning with myself I gradually began speaking louder and more clear so the cops could hear me. “I can’t believe those guys would say it was my stuff, why would they even do that. It wasn’t even ours. Oh man, oh Jesus shit man I’m in big trouble now. I did give Monty the pills but its not like I sold them or anything, I just gave em to him. Oh fuck man, the old man is gonna freakin kill me. I’m gonna get the beating of a lifetime, I’m as good as dead man, what am I gonna do?” I continued on like this for a few minutes before good cop came back in with his partner.
“Well Justin, we need to start talking the truth here son.” Before I could even respond the new cop, just as old and weathered with a battling cologne of perhaps Old Spice snarled at my direction, “Just lock his dirty hairy ass up in the back. Let old man Rheingold make friends with a nice young girl. Is that what you wanna be, a girl?” Now it was directly at me and his voice gained momentum, “Cause if you wanna be a girl with all that hair you’ll fit in real well in lock up, they love girly boys in there. And once they find out you‘re the brother of a cop thay’re gonna treat you extra special, maybe even give ya ass a sweet gang rape. You ready to spread your cheeks there ya smelly, dirty little hippie-shit pussy boy.” Wow! He was pushing every button on the intimidation elevator. Not especially articulate but playing bad cop a bit too well. I opted to give my attention to good cop, “Look I admit I gave the pills to Monty, but I swear to God I have no clue if anyone else had more pot than the joint we smoked. I wanna help, I really do, but I just don’t know where that bag of pot came from.” Good cop stared at me as bad cop began pacing and making harumph noises. Bad cop looked like he wanted to kick something, or someone. Good cop looked over at him, “Marty, wancha go check on old man Rheingold while I finish with Hilltop here.” Bad cop gave me a purposeful distained glare as he left the room slamming the door behind him. “ I told you my partner don’t like no drug users, he’ll be okay. Look Justin, here’s what’s gonna happen now. I’m gonna take your statement down about the pills, Martys gonna talk to your brother Randle, and then we will decide what to do with you from there. And that’s it, unless you have anything to add. Think hard about whether you got anything to say boy, I have no idea what the Sarge will choose to do with you. but I’ll tell ya one thing, he sure don’t like marijuana smokers.”
My head was spinning, so much going on. Before I knew it I was sitting at a desk with good cop who was asking questions and writing things down as I answered. “Okay Justin, what kind of pills did you sell Richard and where did you get them?” I was taken aback, “Wait, what? I didn’t sell them to Monty, er I mean Rich, I gave them to him!” I felt like I pleaded my case well but good cop was not feeling it. “Oh sorry Justin, I thought you knew. The law see’s no difference between giving and selling when it come to controlled substance. Its called distribution. It doesn’t matter whether you accepted money or not, legally you distributed illegal drugs. So lets start over, tell me where you bought the pills.”
I felt completely busted, they tricked me into confessing and I knew I had to give them something in order for them to back off about the baggie of weed. Thinking fast I came up with a story about an unattractive older woman who gave me the pills as a way of gaining my sexual friendship. They ate the story up believing they were on to a sexual predator. Or maybe they were getting off on it, but it worked. I’m not sure how long it took for them to give up searching for a heavy set dirty blond thirty something woman in Cold Spring Bay driving a Pontiac Firebird and surfing for young boys with a vial full of pills. Actually, thinking about it would really suck if anyone was hassled over my fable, but I had to do what I had to do. They finally relented on the marijuana charge, I thought I threw them but found out later that Streak admitted to owning the wicked weed. My brother came to the precinct to take me home which sucked, because it meant a long lecture and an extra few cc’s of disappointment guilt serum before going before the firing squad in my house. This too shall pass.
The legal part of the ordeal was over. Randle explained to me that my friend Jack (Streak) had admitted to owning the pot so Jimbo and Monty were released to our parents and I was given the added bonus of being released to my very angry older brother. I begged him not to say anything to Mom and Dad, trying the old it will kill them routine, and he told me to wait in the car as he went in to talk to them. It was a weak argument but I had to give it a try. When he called me inside I knew instantly he told them by the look on both my parents faces. They had somehow been able to register an array of emotions on their faces. Anger, disgust, profound disappointment, sadness, the feeling they failed as parents, the feeling their son is a drug addict, and more anger. I didn’t know it at the time, but once I became a parent I would possess the same super power of making a child feel like shit just by shape shifting the expression on my face.
As for the four of us delinquents, we got scoffed at by school mates for being idiots but also acquired a bit of street creds for being arrested. We avoided each other over the next few days, none of us knowing what the others went through, but once we finally did speak our tales were remarkably similar. The cops took us each aside and dangled the “everyone else told us it was yours” bait in front of us, and just as I assumed Monty and the rest sold me out for the pills, Streak was sure we had sold him out as well. In retrospect the cops were not as stupid as we thought them. We miscalculated believing them to be dim witted asshats but they fooled the shit straight out of all four of our pants to get to their “truth”. I was grounded for the remainder of my teen years which actually sounded fair, but I knew it wouldn’t last because they would grow tired of me constantly moping around complaining about where my friends were and what they were doing. I grew tediously disenchanted with television and snuck joints up in my room among other things to help pass my home incarceration sentence. All in all I learned a valuable set of lessons. One, always have an escape route when getting high, two, if a level headed member of the group suggests a place to be unsafe hear him out, and three, if ever again I get pulled into the station for a crime, remember that the cops are smarter than they look, they lie their faces off, and cannot be trusted about anything. Oh yea, one more thing, always keep a stash of something hidden in your room in case you ever get grounded for life.
Epilogue

In the end no real harm was done other than our parents finding out we smoked pot and Streak having to get a lawyer to go to court. Streak received an ACOD, adjourned in contemplation of dismissal, meaning if he got in no trouble for six months the charge and conviction were stricken from the records. Streak never really treated me or Monty the same, even after hearing that the cops tricked us by telling each of us the same thing about everyone else saying it was ours. I think he always had doubts. Jimbo and Streak however remained close friends, maybe Jimbo’s sound mind quality made him more believable. Time passed and life continued to happen. Jimbo and Streak eventually cut off all ties with me but I was leaving town soon anyway so I lost contact with pretty much all of my Centerlawn friends. Even now in the Facebook reunion age Jimbo wants no correspondence with me which is fine, some parts of our pasts are best left behind and forgotten. As for Monty, I went my way, Monty went his, I have no idea where or how he is but we parted as friends. I am certain of one thing though, if I were to somehow get in touch with Monty he and I would get a big laugh reminiscing over this tale and other assorted teen age escapapades we shared. Monty and I remained friends even after our being memorialized in the Long Islander newspaper Police Blotter section. Not like BFF best friends maybe but a friendship that traveled beyond schoolmate acquaintances. A friendship unchanged. As I stated, the bust have a lasting effect on the shattered friendships of my other two compadres. Once childhood friends now a casual friendship built on distrust and tension. Jimbo remained the sound voice, forging his life as one of Centerlawn’s upstanding citizens to this day and by all accounts he’s happy, but as I understand it Streak found himself on the wrong side of the law later in life in a much more serious capacity. I think about three of those compadres every now and again, and especially the night our heinous disregard for law and order altered our relationships. One night, one incident can have a ripple effect on our universal existences, turn friends into acquaintances, but in the end we really only need to answer to ourselves. As for me, well I continued my evil pot smoking ways for a long time to come, had my own minor brushes with the law, but in the end if its true that a persons measure is in their deeds and character, then I’m okay with myself. My deeds, counseling of youths, and assistance to others in need far outweighs all of my minor mistakes. Life is not always easy and all four of us had our share of dark times, but then again, sometimes you need to feel around in the dark for a while in order to appreciate the light. Peace

Father and Son

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I’ve been called many things over the years, most of which were not meant to be complimentary, but when your own kids give you a nickname it most likely has meaning behind it. Now my son has had numerous names for me, again most not meant to be complimentary or to may face, but the one truly endearing name he called me was “My old man hippie Dad.” My boy was a typical son, lazy and rebellious, and I can’t say he never lifted a finger to help but in truth I wish it had been more than the middle one. And I had some rather uncomplimentary names for him as well, but the hippie dad was always said with love. He is very creative and a few days ago he upgraded my paternal status to “My Anti-Corporate Hippie Dad”. Now I’m not one for titles per say, but I must admit this one has a familiar ring to it. In fact it is the complete opposite of what my own Dad would have been, a big business company man. My Pops was an ultra-conservative father who believed big business was responsible for the great American dream and he toiled at his company until he retired.
Many times we become the opposite of our parents and I am definitely in that category. It started out as a rebellious stand but became my persona, my essence. I first grew my hair and donned bell bottoms and balloon sleeve shirts to piss him off but it rapidly became my lifestyle. This is mostly because all the politics and ideals my old man had were way too conservative and far too head up the ass-ish for me to latch on to. You know, the typical 50‘s mentality, the man is the head of his castle and the woman cooks, cleans, and tends to her “duties“. Now normally that would suggest sex, but I have four brothers and one sister so by my calculations my parents only had sex six times so my Moms duties were surely something other than sex. Otherwise, ewwww!! Anyway, acutely aware of what narrow mined principle I was raised on I attempted to instill in my son what I believe to be a fair, sensible and inclusive set of values to live by. I tried but my son ha some good rebel genes in him as well. I still remember the day I knew all my planting of peace love and understanding seeds would be in vain. My son, who once offered me rays of hope by rebelling with Mohawk hair dyed a fuchsia pink, wearing Anarchy tee shirts, and piercing places in his body I would never have considered came home one day wearing penny loafers.
“What the hell are those and where did you get them? What happened to your army boots and Converse?” My boy looked at me defiantly, “I’m getting an office job, I want to work in corporate.” He may just as well have ripped the heart out of my chest and kicked it like a hacky sack. My son wants to be a business man. Worse, he wants to be a big man in a corporate position. Where did I go wrong? I had attempted to give him the benefit of years of my own rebellions. I took him to his first rock concert when he was an eight year old playing Kriss Kross on his Walkman. We went to Giant stadium to see Faith No More, Guns and Roses, and Mettalica and it rocked his world. The change was instantaneous an I knew he was on the road to being cool. It worked out so well in fact we went to lots more shows together, lollapalooza, warped tour, all the time with his hair changing from pink, to green, to orange. I helped him put a ton of gel in his hair so he could have spikes. I pushed him into his first mosh pit, was with him for his first time crowd-surf during a Rancid show, and watched him thrown off the stage during The Ramones. It was a unique an enlightening father an son bond. I did everything I could to encourage him to embrace the idiosyncrasies of his generation the way I had mine. Except without a fight. My father and I came close to fist fights over my hair, my clothes, and my music and here this young lad is encouraged by his father. I just assumed with such a close relationship that we would have similar values. And what o I get in return? A son wearing penny loafers, wanting a three piece suit, and neatly trimmed hair. Was it just to piss me off? My father giving me Karmic retribution? Even worse, I never in my wildest imagination ever believed my own son would become a republican. I feel like I have failed as a father.
Okay, maybe I’m being a bit harsh on myself, in truth he has a very strong value system, he is very respectful of women, of minorities, and of people in general. He is a good man, a son any father can be super proud of. A fantastic father to his own children, a loving and supportive husband, and he calls up his old man a few times a week just to chat. We have a treasure chest of awesome memories that can keep us laughing all night, have similar tastes in food and drink, and in reality are very similar each other. Except when it comes to style and politics. Politics placed a huge wedge between my father and I so I was a bit concerned that it could effect my relationship with my son. But blood and love is so much thicker than political water and we found a mutual respect for each others opinion and don’t focus on the differences. I never wanted my son to follow in y footsteps because being a chef in reality is nothing like is seems watching Top chef. It’s a grueling non forgiving industry in which the small reward is knowing you have gone down a path not many can master. You really need to have your heart in it because restaurant life can strip[ you of your heart. I wanted my son to forge his own footsteps and he has, but not completely. After taking him under my wing and working him down to the ass bone he told me in no uncertain terms that he did not want to be a chef. I was relieved, we opened a bottle of wine to seal his promise. He went to college but to my dismay his training with me moved him up in the ranks at his part time job at Cheesecake factory. He used that to his advantage climbing not to the upper echelon of culinary commander but to the managerial hierarchy of the restaurant industry. He is now a general manager of a very prestigious restaurant and very happy. But he’s still republican!
The bottom line is we all have to be true to ourselves, to who we truly are and both my son and I have done that. He is a bit of a metro-sexual, having his hair and nails done, he dresses conservatively, has no more ear, nose or the piercing formally known as Prince rings (although on windy days he still whistles) but he is who he is and I respect that. We’ve always had strange names for each other, he was GI Joke, Schmedly, puke of Earl, I was the ol man who lives upstairs, Happy Hippie Dad, the parental units unit, and grounding master. But I’m proud that he’s my son, I’m proud that he has worked to achieve what he wanted, and I’m proud of who he is as a person. I’m also proud to have him call me Dad, but more than anything I now beam with pride when he calls me, “My Anti-Corporate Hippie Dad”

The Imagination Generation cooks, or Culinary Revolution For The Hell Of It

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Food glorious food, We’re anxious to try it. Its what’s for dinner, whether cool as a cucumber or easy as pie we love our food. Food has been essential since time began. Without food the world would be full of nothing but vegetation soaking up the sun’s energy creating oxygen for no one. But as it is we have a symbiotic relation with vegetation. Animals (including us) eat the greenery, digest it, then return it to the plants as composted food for their roots. So we all benefit from the cycle of life because of the cycle of food. Food has always existed even finding its roots in the garden of Eden. Yea, the forbidden apple the iSin that was as they say the fall of man. More like the rise of man which is why so many of us get hungry after sex. Food has had major impacts to the growth an development of all life, especially humanity. Whether it was chewing the leaves of tree’s or the capturing of some animal we survived on food. Food was so important to our development it can be attributed for the creating of societies. We formed tribes to both procure and protect food sources. With the advent of the agricultural revolution food became power. Whomever controlled the food controlled the masses. Humans learned to grow vegetation at will, capture and herd animals for milk and meat, and create warehouses to store food. At one point food was worth more than money. Why in ancient times you could by a chariot polo team for a few cases of wheat, a six pack, and a cow. Brothels accepted loaves of bread for making it rise and it gave cause for a new phenomenon arose, thievery. With people stealing food from one another and beating each other up or killing for food an important new force needed to be created. The police force formed in ancient Athens where the policeman were paid in what else? Donuts. The police eventually evolved into armies which as Napoleon so eloquently put it, marches on its stomach. He reportedly always hid a taco inside his coat which is why so many photos show him apparently holding his stomach. But that was then this is now, and now it costs a lot of money for a small amount of food. But we pay it because not only do we need food, we friggen love to eat. Home or restaurant, no difference, bring on the food.
Why do we love to eat so much? Properly prepared food can fill us with a plethora of wonderful emotions which is one reason we love to go to restaurants. What is a restaurant? Originally the French term for restoring it referred to the hearty soups that were said to restore ones health. What a great concept, a place to sit, eat, and converse in a Nice setting. Or was it Paris? Whatever, the concept gained ground and a new industry was born. Forks and knives, chopsticks, or fingers, food was bought prepared and served the world over and Auguste Escoffier took it upon himself to develop recipe systems and a set of basic tenets for cooking. That was the late 18oo’s and those laws stood firm for almost a century. Red wine for meat, white wine for poultry or fish (Pick your Poisson). Everything served within the lip of a plain white plate. Everything was standardized right down to the size of cooking utensils. This worked well for many years until a new generation grew up and took over the sauté pans. The imagination revolution was about to break the restaurant industry wide open.
Like most of my generation, I colored outside the lines on purpose. But some of us took it even further, like coloring the tree’s blue instead of green, or making the sun magenta because the word on the crayon looked cool. I was particular to periwinkle myself because I not only did it look cool, the name made me chuckle. It was one of the only crayons that made a daily appearance in the cheesy crayon sharpener on the side of my 64 color box of Crayola. That was the first known instance of thinking outside the box. We were the generation that would stretch the limits of imagination like silly putty, make it bounce around like a superball, and allow it to take flight from balsa airplanes, to water pump rockets, all the way the flying saucer Frisbee. Our entertainment was just as far out, with uncles who are Martians, talking cars, nose twitching good witches, and pretty genies in bottle seemingly common place events an acceptable. We even let our imaginations allow us to believe that a movie star on a three hour boat tour would bring an enormous change of clothes, and once stranded a professor could invent everything on a deserted island except a workable raft. Our minds were open and free and TV opened many dialogues on previously hushed or taboo subjects like racism, drugs, and the all time favorite, sex. It’s the generation that looked to the moon and said lets not just look at it but lets go there and find out if there really is any cheese, let not have a small concert lets have a festival for half a million. It was only a matter of time before some of these new forward thinking creative out of the crayola box coloring kids would grow up an become chefs of the future. Ha Ha.
And we did. The first thing the rebel imagination generation of cooks did was disregard all of Escoffier’s rules. No disrespect sir, your shit was incredible, but we are in the age of culinary renaissance and it was up to us to disregard the rules, deconstruct everything that had been done for so many years and color outside the roasting pans. Sauté the red snapper, throw in some shallots and fresh thyme, hit it with some pinot noir and deglaze. Finish with a touch of fish stock , pinch of cream, and spoonful of raw butter and man oh man you have one tasty ass snapper with a buerre rouge. Red wine and fish?? Blaspheme! We broke all the old rules, decorating our plates with fresh herbs, making wines work with anything, rare duck breast, barely cooked or half raw foods, crunchy veggies, nouvelle cuisine was taking its stand against the old strong brigade system of cooking. Women washing the pots and pans? Bullshit ladies, come on inside the kitchen and show them what kick ass chefs you are. The old regime cringed, knocking the cigarette ashes into their sautoise pans. Sacrebleu, what are zose crazy long hair chefs doing? And what kind of cigarette is zat they smoke? Sorry Charlie, but revolutionaries only want the best tuna, served mostly if not entirely raw. Salads took center stage as entrée’s with hot meats served over them. The imagination generation turned the culinary industry on its pigs ear. Sweetbread day in the morning we kicked some ass back then!
Now I watch proudly as a new generation of rebel chefs begin to take their place in culinary history, sustainable food systems, farm to table programs, and molecular gastronomy are the next new wavers an they have been doing a tremendous job. Women have made their major impact on the industry an in an ever evolving world its up to them to keep our interest in dining, not just eating. Personally I think the industry is in great hands, hope its no0t just my imagination