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The thieves' story

Roberto fastened the blank white fresh Georgia Pacific style high grade, non-smear typing paper neatly into the dusty old Underwood and began clicking away with his usual maddening rant and rave about the sins that he had accumulated. He saw it as his true confession, half lies and half truth, like most confession are without sever awareness of the foregone and humble, but trite confessor. The one he should have given from the first place. At least before entering his cell.

The Criminal.

Written by Roberto Pace

A man rotten away in a prison cell in the land of free.

Atrophy. The idea of prison. Atrophy, the idea of hell. Atrophy, my beginning and my end. Atrophy, never will I walk but in circles along wired fences and bullet proof glass and hallways arm stretched lengths. Never will I remember the beauty of a pastoral field. Never will I remember the opposite of atrophy. Atrophy; true hell, true crime and punishment, true death. I am dead because of atrophy. I am dead because my desires are dull and I can never think to possess anything more than my body. My body, my true cell, the bars, my true thoughts. My punishment, my savior, my life and my end.

Now for Roberto's Pace's fictional story, inspired by wasting away in his Cell #1776 A Block. Down the hall from the blue collar crimes.

Tom Burnet was lost in a familiar, unerring thought. It was not a breath away that he could feel her, almost touch her soft lips. Shelly Thorns, the women he never mentioned, never, not even softly uttered her name. Like thorns that grew in the garden and that had stung too deep, far too deep to remove from the sole. A scar was left inside him that he could never repair. The thought that he pondered on was intrinsically planted carefully in the corner of the dark rooms in his head. It was not a breath away that an unforgettable sound, in one of those rooms, painted baby blue, a carriage, and white wool baby blanket that kept him heavenly warm, had fully enveloped his every movement he despairingly needed now. The feeling, even the sound of this warm web, was always with him, constantly spinning and beating, like a series of master drummers far off in the jungle, in the wilderness inside him, thumping at the soles of his feet to dance it all away. This feeling, cool, dark, azure, deathly deep blue was out there, above him, beyond reach, beyond comprehension. Then, the sound that awoke him as a infant at night came again. That strange little noise we all are so familiar and surprisingly in awe of during dinner time when the talk of the commercials and TV shows intrude upon our reality. The sound of a mimicked life. Then, the rawness of truth arrived in a simple beat. Lub dup, lub, dup, lub dup. The sound in his chest pumped away and it scared him. That familiar big city sprouted up inside him, burning his urge to write it all down, to commit it to the world, to existence, filling him like some strange evergreen plant that would never die, not in the coldest town. A hidden secret like the forbidden fruit once was and had appeared before him in the form of a tall city.. He had never tasted this strange sensation until now, this very precious rushing time, enraging energy and force, giving him an bestial energy he had never used and now aided and burned the story of his life in him like an iron imprint. Tom was constantly putting down in some journal, or shadowy corner in his back pocket, or doodled and tucked between restaurant napkins. Perhaps an answer. Perhaps the answer was temporary but it warmed him, soothed him for the moment he waited on the subway bench for the R train to arrive.

Breaths buried into his structured and planned out mind. Ashy thoughts, once pure, but now growing polluted and far from taintless were coming and going in long puffs off his Camel cigarettes. Then, in a flash he had landed in the future. Years passed him in a blink and he began to write.

Buy one get two free Camels at the local junction in the town of Crow where he marked the story from now. He went back to this city again for an answer. It was sad such a man could lose his innocence, some of the greatest of his blood had never suffered from the glitch, the tiny dot, by which the mechanics of the machine's black blood and grinding, oily and drippy desire of fame and fortune, operated. In such an evil way his voice changed and became rusted with knowledge never meant for man to see and take in. Of course it was the big city. He could blame it on that. But the blame, you see, never ends. The blame never ends. It is more dangerous than cyanide or any toxic chemical growing in the refineries that charged the light and energy for mankind. This collection of the richest of men, in the spot of a financial moment, a dent in time had opened for him, a fortune offered for his words and thoughts, his paper turning to gold. It was this, the temptation he fought. The temptation of fame and fortune and to enter the Great Wall.

It was not some mere philosophy, or art, or performance, or trickery that he so treasured and tried to organize and plan his life around that was saving him. This type of feed, this entertainment was eating away at him like the blue and yellow pills he ingested morning and night to calm his mind and heart. No it was more than that. It was touchable, in sight, before him, breathing like a lover. Shelly Thorns was lost. She left for the south. Left him behind for another lover, another heart to heal and grow.

There he was in this big city that everyone flocked to time to time for financial award and fame. There he was again. This lost man. Alone. In some deep thought about the essence of what a city really is, a living force with form, a unknown necessity, like technology has become, a new fruit. . . and now with an almost a godly perfection it hovered and shadowed over him like a great God asking him questions and leading him to empty dead ends.

Like an organism larger than most gigantic killer whales, or Moby Dick. When the Captain of Captains, of the mighty ship able to take under killer sea creatures, Ahab, without fear, or self consciousness, may have tossed his ragged self upon it's flapping fins and slimy skin, sticking his mighty spear into it's fishy ribs and his flesh joining the whales flesh, holding on to this stubbornness in unison, this hate and this sailor's revenge that lead him far beneath the drowning sea, like a giant iron ship anchor, of no desire and salty downward, gravitated truth; Now, and again, and again, he watched the bars in his cell, the brick hall ways and passing inmates, like Ahab, once had bravely been, fighting in the rushing waves, salty water for their next fishy meal, and greater than the any peril of the sea itself, that now tugged on his puerile and silly, childish direction of man versus the sea (rather than Man versus God). He typed, like Ahab harpooned the watery mammals hearts: A direction once, in youth, lead by God, and now guided by what seemed to be his own choosing, words, words, words making up giant stories of his own precious chosen scene. He was a chosen one, gifted to speak, to own the past, to control the future, to change the past and revise the present. Those who changed history, changed the future and those who changed the past, powered the present. He was far from 1984's concept dreamed by Orwell and far from the dream of Big Brother. That was already implanted in everyman, free or not. These thoughts, this stories, which was his downfall, in his youth once mitigated toward Christ's solitary popular words, barred by his fructification of fiction, "Worship must have crucifixion, and understanding, but now what tempted him from that saving grace he was lost. He needed Him like a plant needs the power of water for fermentation. And God was always there in fermentation of his mind and body. Carrying him, mind and body, in the shadows and pain that slowly sucked from his lungs, which derived by Rene Duamal's plants and Sogol's climb to Mount Analogue. Stories now lost, in libraries across the countries, like the fictional talking plants and the invisible mountain made visible by Rene's imagination..

This city needs grace like a plant needs water. He thought. Without grace the trash will just pile up and take over and corrupt what could have been nature.

Even though long ago he was born now he felt he had just arrived.

"Taxi." The cab past him in a flash. Seconds passed in his heart that seemed like centuries of war and love. He was now standing before the yellow line awaiting the underground trains, rushing, clicking by like flashes of pure solar rays, lights man made of faces in rocking pasts He hated him, his cell mates, almost blinding him into confusion, with his chattering hatred of authority, cash register locks, passwords and unbreakable bank mausoleum.

The prison was not just steel and alarms. It was an organism in a way, this Big City of bars, foul talk and unforgiving, hard chilling back breaking, bed sore and hellish smells of the essence of rules. It was no different that Manhattan (Big City). See, it was really a live organism in a way, this Big City of bars, foul talk and unforgiving rules. The prison was not just steel and alarms. It was an organism in a way, this Big City of bars, foul talk and unforgiving, hard chilling back breaking, bed sore ridden, never forgetting and hellish smells of the essence of rules and proper conduct. It was no different that Manhattan (Big Cities across America), more personal and emotional and greedy than Wallstreet or more creative than the artsy streets of San Francisco, or the crowded religions of Tokyo. It was not much different than death or the blackest part of sleep a man can sleep without knowing he is alive.

What is not of nature, in some form or fashion, is either crafted by the delicate and laborious hands of what some call artists, and others laborers, sudras and the untouchables in India, that Gandhi called The Children of God, now, a construction, a plan of the people, the city of man, with aim of building higher toward the azure sky that rested with perfect timing above him. Or perhaps it wasn't these patch worked concrete maze, or labyrinth and vainly constructed men that cooked the metal, forged the perfectly planned alloys, and invented ways to reshape the ore and elements far beneath us, now a growing metropolis, inspirited by the Omniscient force of what had originated in the soil and now thrived in his superego, which weighed him down into non-action. It once, this growing concrete kingdom, never so carefully rested upon this innocent place once called Eden, from the firsts gardens, now city upon city, which has changed the eye of man commanding his steps and his numbered ways, like robot workers on rolling electric wheels, thieving the walk of man away and his beloved dance and changing his perception of the earth's initial shape. Towers lined side by side, streets covered in dark misty shadows commanding him to take a stand, to take a part of it all, to become one. And becoming one was impossible in this legion of laborious workers, writers, dancers, actors and artists.

This godly scene arose before him once again, and like always, just as he thought as temporary men do in this era, to this time, this exact second, 10 PM 2001, the tail end of August. And in that place, on sixtieth street he tumbled and trembled with shivers. A fear, but hid well within his craft of he learned stealth. Invisible from the bully of school, hiding under the bleachers, under the desks, the school yard bushes and behind the gym. Yes, he was a master actor/illusionist, story teller, using his words as defense and strength, lost in the street awaiting to breath others and his words into life, but for some reason, perhaps his deformity over his heart, prohibited him from acting at all. No, it was more than that. It wasn't his calling. It was his temptation and he was failing.

A memory arrived behind bars. Doing time allows the mind to fly away like a lost black crow searching to cry a warning to the dieing poets and lost thieves.

Lost. Rain arrived that Sunday in the Central Park. Almost programmed to do from the great fiery clouds that blocked out the sun that day. And how Tom thought, and does, very much different this time, and at other times, simple, so simple it was too complex, are too set in pattern for paper and pen, and any genius or scientist of technology, or Buddhist should and could keep up with, and men at times do, with men like Tom, searching for pace but lost in his weakness had now become the thief, the quick one. And in a similar scene, a fast place connected by a labyrinth of streets and names and regulations, walkways, platforms, scaffolding, elevators and tons upon tons of forged, perfectly shaped and guided metal, of speed, timing and exactness, alone in the noise and unexpected flashes and glances of this city, this "Big Apple", or a place that did not seem to fit with the perfection of an apple, had bit into him, and taken away what seemed to be a child within.

Why an apple? An apple? Why this particular name for this scene. Is it a puzzle, some type of riddle? How could one sprout here. How could one forever live by what was forged by the hottest ore and metallic of the underground. Where were the trees for apples to grow? Where were the trees? It wasn't the Big Apple, or even in most cases, Manhattan, but it needed a larger name. So, he could it the Biggest City in the world. Bigger than the city of lights. Bigger than Shy Town. Bigger than the place of Lost Angels. Bigger than big itself. He began in thought. . . Something that went with gigantic but more simple, and basic. Like Big. Big was simple. I call it Big. Bit City, or maybe pig, or cig, or wig, or fig, the cursed fruit Christ had looked down on and he kept on taking them in, one by one, the sweet taste, than the rhyming arrived in his gluttony that ate him away, with what went with this Bigness that no one man could handle. The thoughts arrived again. Poetry arrived: Tig, hig, mig, fig, sig, gig, chig, qiq, awig, qwig, plig, kachig, shig, nig, zig, jig, rig, dig, yig, vig, lig . . .but Big suited the moment best, besides pig and that is what he felt like doing as his stomach grumbled and that hollow starving for the subway to pick him up and take him near the Village. A empty feeling arose in the pit of his belly and he jumped off the subway and up the stairs onto the sidewalk and searched out the best hot dog stand to hit up for a bag of barbeque chips and a large juicy dog with extra chili and cheese. Confusion had arrived in his mind. The city had twisted him like some mad tornado. Then, the thoughts like monsters arrived, plaguing him. Should I eat. They'll think I am a pig. But Big what? Pig what? Why pig? I shouldn't call it a city of pigs. Poets are thin. Gaunt, lonely thinkers. Boy I feel like pigging out at this nearby Italian restaurant. Maybe Chinese. No Italian will do. Now I can't be bad, not now, I can't afford such a sinful dish. A Pig wouldn't do here. Too many good hearts running around looking for jobs. Not now. It's not that by far. A job that is the answer. Money. I need money. Money to reach the skyscrapers and settle in. Maybe on Park Avenue. I'll publish soon, but now, if I am going to live in this brilliant place, I am going to have to steal bread. But that is how the French revolution began. I must keep my hands in my pockets. But I'm so hungry. Balance. Self control. Come on get your fucking head together. It is too honorable of a place to get off center. It's a city of riches. Not pigs. No. Big. Big what? Then, he took off running. He lost control and ran. Up in the morning. Six AM. Stretched. Deep breaths. Focus. Run. Run damn you. Run to dance class. Run to class. Become lean. Lean mean fighting machine. A machine for your art.

And the unknown mechanical beasts that passed so swiftly, and the streets buzzing, honking, clicking like mad birds, and rambling along like a razor sharp arms, the machine cried "Welcome", Welcome to my game. Then, various tools thumping in a various of colors and shades, of off green and wild red, and bright golden silent yellows, orange, and pasty whites flashed past him like monks on parade. Prisms, a galaxy of variation and sizes and a maze of turns and twist and then, it all stopped as if it never existed as if he never entered or exited into this concrete mess, and there she was. . .she stood before him, whole, beauty, alone, like he must have been, in one time, or another, far away, adjoined from time as man has calculated man to be on this planet, in one moment she had reminded him of himself, a whole man, existing in a city, a continuum that must belong in the order of God's plan, and stacked above, not innocently, but deliberately, in a never-ending deluge of concrete mass constantly growing like moss, stacking, amounting from dust to pebble, to stone and jagged designed rocks and every type of metal, allow, chrome, tin, fashioned in it's specific, inane way, hand over hand, athwart to worker to worker, and crafted from the design of the endless amount of architects that cooked it up in frustration and a fruitful and maddening of crafty planning. For a slight moment, she could keep up, but not innocently like the man, not with reason, but with a murderous purple passion, a thirst for strength and massive power that man owned from his initial birthed breath, from his first attempt at moving his tongue, cradled in his own soil, whining his acidic breath, taking in mother's milk and peering two inches before at the glared vision of his mother's sweat pale face and soft caring hands and perfumed flowery smell, somewhere above him, the sounds, perhaps the ring of the cradle, or the jingle of the mechanical wind up Chinese toy he remembered, or the distant fuse of the changing the old television he glared at as a growing infant, predicting the sounds, almost teaching him as, next a toddler, this fuzzy noise, or to some music and to the city go'ers understanding and laughter and tears, and this endless visitor, that scratched in his tiny brain, in the blink of time, would mature into a man's mind able to calculate, associate and relate objects to a modern world, when geometric shapes became reality and like a picture framed the city could stand alone and establish itself as choices, "take me to twenty first street and Park, hurry." He was already there as the cradle noise and the fuse still settled in the gray matter growing and developing in his growing brain, and the cabbie changing lanes as he lit up another poisonous Camel and then the memory, his mother, she lifted him up to the sky and he laughed and now strong, her heart, inside him carried above the comfy cradle and into her warm arms, he could feel what it was like to be part of her, the need for milk and the taste of life, and then, they arrived, in a million voices begging him to continue with his story. The story. Yes, the story. I remember now, the story. I'll KILL YOU BOTH. That little demon had spoke. I'll kill you both. But who. Who would kill. Then, he remembered the story. Cain and Able. Was he able, or was he Cain now.

They, the two passers of this city, Shelly and Tom, once flesh to flesh, breath to breath, arm over arm, traveling together place to place, now far apart, never to touch again. . .He searched for her among the million of passing faces. Maybe she was her selling her art.. . .but she wasn't with him yet, not yet, and then, she arrived, like a ghost, in another's face, in another's hidden eyes to almost touch him, and then, touched, almost connected, and almost exchanged for a price, a gift, the one chance to pass on a part of him into the Wall that lined every library of the great land that birthed him. And this, essence, the holy reason, of why he was here in the first place, arrived like wind against the door. Rattling, scaring and attracting a tingle, a sensation of fear. Doubt. It was her, not his mother, but the one he could detach to. . .She had arrived and never again will he call for her. Not after. . .not after. . .Then, he went to her again, but not after the arrival to this maddening place of slamming car doors, alarms and laughing. "This will be fine sir." The cabbie pulled over and he stepped out on Twenty First street and the Golden Stallion, those tall words hovered before him, and he turned his head to see the pad of his college friends and the other mates that roomed there and the stair unit that she came to him again. . . Her curvy body with sexy bright, lingering emerald eyes froze his very breath. And that is why he was lost in the basement, like a mad artist, pretending stardom would save him, and if he perfected his tongue enough, they, the great ones would notice his educated mouth. Then, a stillness captured, trapped, and nearly shook him into alertness, into full consciousness. He was highly aware of every corner, ever passing thing, every vibrating mechanism planed for man's survival, and meaning in the Big City. He was with her now. It was her again. The whole women standing before him with her mouth slightly agape, hanging for the next breath, then her next muscle, the neck, then the muscles, lightly stretched taught and she released a delicate, catty sigh. But it was more than a nonverbal, or female grunt. Oh, it was more than her usual heave of attention. A moan. It made his pelvis cringe and his spine straighten. Someone is on my side. Someone great. Just Great. He could picture her close to him. Her being on top of his flesh, with her under the sweaty sheets, finding meaning and beckoning the primal arrival of man's fight for life. It was her again. Like God. She entered him, full of presence truth and life blood. She didn't want to let him go. But God was stronger some how. God was more powerful than both and more jealous. Yes, the same lover that caused this mess. This technological, swamp of riddles, and big screens and Sony voices, Tom had fallen into. He would never mention her name now. That name that went back before Moses, before his sons, and there sons, and before all thousands of sons. Her name. God, that name. No more of it. It is worse than deadliest and painful torture of war. It brought bad luck. Her name was slippery and difficult on his tongue. It had those damn S sounds in it. Jesus, why all those sounds. Then, a cab, and then the screens again, and the tiny dots making up the millions and millions of pixels that formed a face, but not her face, another face, a vain and lost face. And disrupted his plan of action. Then, his lungs polluted. His breath, as he whispered it and breathed it back to her memory, her shape and design God had let him feel. They were connected, even though she was on the other side of the continent, near the beach and the visually arresting and beautiful cliffs and the tranquil easy sea. But he loved her more than himself, more than the cliffs, and beaches. Hell, he loved her more than man and man was all he knew before her. A man couldn't love another being on this earth more. Not more than her. . .and this made his God jealous. Envious. It was her that he once he loved more than his own breath. And when he was in youth, lifting his head back, gazing at the mad world of towering digital clocks, beeping and flicking the time, time, time in sharp squares. With his set and bright green eyes, emerald with envy, emerald rays bouncing from them, every type, every kind of light he ever knew blinded him from clear sight, he used find her again and again, printed five hundred fold on headshots sent across the oceans. He went dizzy for a second and balanced his feet, once again, finding steadiness on the sidewalk of Worth. She was present that evening and a grayish rainy color was radiating off him, glowing, almost illuminated, fully seen in the light. It was time to call her name. He wasn't the old self he once knew as a child or at least pictured at the time. The old remarkable clear sense of happening, and a purlieus feeling had surrounded him, familiar thoughts, glued to a familiar scene, perhaps, a memory, a particular squint of welcoming hands, familiar voices, tongue twisting songs, loving whispers, perfumed scents, familiar names that spawned scenes in that Big City, scenes he had seen on post cards where now present before him. Those combinations, symphonic crisscrosses of what makes Manhattan, the big city. Manhattan. And like a series of still photographs in an album photo-book and arising times from the pit of his memories, echoing in the hollow of his chest after each beloved breath sipped under the misty pouring of a sudden chilling blue rain that suddenly blanketed the streets of gray and darkly lit and at times overly bright, neon glow of Manhattan, now in his pondering, lost state of existence, almost like the moonbeams in famous paintings by the most ostentatious painters from Europe, and the homeland, now, all of it, in continuum, bouncing off troubled waters of the East River, or the diving river rats of Houston streams, had now enveloped his every sense and once again gelled him from movement. For a moment Tom had captured clarity, opened a door to brilliance, it was all a story in someone else's head, perhaps someone he had met, perhaps someone had wrote. And as the rain slide down his pale, hollow cheeks, a word arrived to start it all. Her. The word, her. No name, but a face, a body and legs, and lips and millions upon millions of long, life saving breaths. He dried off with his blackened wool scarf, almost holy in some way, the scarf that he found before the airport deluged by the downpour on that Sunday, before he left to Dallas for the Airport to the city. He bought one just like it when he was younger but dropped it somewhere between California and New York. He purchased many scarfs like it but they kept falling off him, lost in the stormy weather. She was the same. She kept wondering off in some storm that was cast upon them. Once again, the scarf. He wrapped it around him, straightened it along the edge of his neck, where the collar bone met the breast plate. Yes, the scarf will hide my flaw. The scarf. I need the scarf. But why worrying about an article of clothing, that isn't life, or that isn't the speedy recovering love can amount to. And at some fancy clothing shop with a clothing line name, he found it. No scarf from a factory should have a sense of holiness. But it had gone through the trial, the pains on the street in the Northern Bright city of Big. That is what he called it, the Big City. It wasn't the Big Apple, or Manhattan. It was bigger than the name. He just related to it in his journals as the Big City. He related it to the word Big. Like pig, or rig, or jig, or cig. In the long run it made sense. It had to. It was simple. Everyone would understand it. Right? I'll call it the Big City. But it wasn't a great idea. It wasn't something to publish or witness by the millions of eyes out there. Or was it? You never know. Big people lived in such a place. Big city, was fine. It will work. Simple things sell. It will sell. Sell. Sell. Sell. Sell. Sell. Sell. Sail away with the sell. Sell. Sell.

Decades seem to fly out the cab window as the endless flow of "Why am I here now. I should of never left this Big Apple" hid in the jagged corners of his mind. Again he repeated the same chant since the airport. Then, the thundering cry of a jet engine. Lightening glided across the tips of the an anvil shape cumulous clouds. A thunder storm had seeded the sky below the airliner. Tom was seated in first class and had already slurped down two virgin Bloody Marys', to kill the jet lag, and topped of a half glass of white Zinfandel. The flight smooth out to a turbulent two hours, with a few bronco bumps and a tipsy tingle of jingling stormy air-pockets pitted through out the passing weather storm blowing off summer tropics.

Tom had finally done it. He, a man, a Christian decent with a strict protestant upbringing, had damned himself, turned on his God and shattered his destiny. Why did he escape his planned future, his genetic line, and pattern of nature? Why did he break the rules of the chosen path that was laid clearly for him, from his God, now, non-existent to him, a foe, a idiot's dream? Why did he choose to follow a fallen direction, a collapsible end. Then, a change of heart and a complete one eighty. He decided to go back to his lord, to fall into his grace once more. Of coarse there was a God. Sure there was a creator. And it was Christ, his lord. But for some reason, perhaps it was a genetic link between him and Thomas, prove to see the scars from the nails and the scab from the spear in His side. He had to see him, know him. Only in heaven will I truly believe. That is Believe without a shadow of a doubt.

Tom had come to a realization that every man's destiny is to die and no man will ever discover peace without finding God and His way. This was his true calling, it was not to steal what never belonged to him. Nothing of this earth belonged to anyone, not really. If a man was truly saved the only possession he endlessly owned was the love of God and only God and not the riches of the world. Every rich man wakes in the middle of the night from the bitter chill of His sayings. A whisper, "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than to enter through the gates of heaven."

Yes, man purchased it and claimed it was his, but you can not take a U-haul to the grave. One can not run very far if he owns a ton of belongings. Everything piles up to a meaningless bomb fire in the end, or in a embalmment, or ashy fire that is. Nothing was his in the first place. In a way, money, this green papered form of greed, or no money, and the physical action of greed, the theft, and everyman is a thief, in one way or another, if it, he ,or in many cases she, their actions, uses of laws, trickery, lies or even physical threats, and if his or her desire is enveloped in materialism and self worth, progress, which always leads to embitterment existence, then their fiery greed ends in a slow and painful self destruction and man's seed never passes to bloom.

If a person puts himself first, and we all do, this is the cause of the greed of the world, then eventually he or she will eat themselves up and end their life with a pile of wood, cement, alloys, tin foil, gold chips, silver and various cloths made from cotton, nylon, rayon, canvas or leather and the endless amount of skins from the plants and animals man supposedly establishes dominance.

Oh no! He is going to be pissed off at me now. God, what have I done? I have betrayed you and your laws. Rarely do I read from your great and good book. Rarely had I attended your holy gatherings, your church, and your rock. I wish I could worship you more so. I wish I could be with your people again. Can I turn back? Is it too late? Have you abandoned me. When I look up all I see are seeded clouds of somber gray. Will you give me a second chance? But how many chances have you given me so far? Oh, how baroque and romantically pitiful I sound? When does the violin come in to back my melodrama?

Tom was no longer in the Big City of the North. In seemed less than half a heart beat when he arrived in the Dallas Love Field and headed off in a yellow checker, still further into the south. Now, a smaller city that was once established so many precious years ago as a hefty Fort, had appeared beneath the black leather of his clicking wooden soles. A place the Cowboys regrouped and guided their cattle into the stockyards to settle in and share the tales of the dusty trail. He was no longer North. Tom had landed south, far south, as far as you could get until the wildness of Mexico. Texas. He was on tame land. Worth was not an undomesticated city by a long shot. It was one of the most giving and accepting town's he knew. Tom just passed Eda's Place. A brothel, once disguised as a classy Hotel for ranchers, cattlemen and cowboys to kick off their boots and pass the bull about last nights stand off, or sour poker game, or to contest who had the prettiest gal back home. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid had once found refuge at Eda's. Found a place to duck in from the hard rain and take refuge from the troupe of Texas Rangers and the other impossible lawmen. Eda's place was one of the only hotels a criminal could find a worthy lady, taste of whiskey and rest his head from the repudiation of the unforgivable Western law. The rancher, cattle or even at times, southern poets would show their face in Worth's saloons to fall upon a ranching call toward Albuquerque, or Oklahoma to drop of the beef. Even today the town of Worth still carries the worthy qualities and southern hospitality that makes up the charming characteristic of the south.

The legends of Ben Thompson, Bill Longley, Jesse James, King Fisher, Jim Courtright, John Wesley Hardin, Doc Holliday, Clay Allison, Bat Masterson, Luke Short and Old Man Clanton. The gentle decorum of John Ringo and the laugh of Curly Bill, and gigantic shadow of Pat Garret, and the lightning gun-slinging speed of Billy the Kid, and religious male chauvinist of Calamity Jane. Somewhere, lost, these legendary gunfighter's ghosts still hiding in the soil, hellish fire or heavenly blue sky, wherever the great and godly adjudicator established the resting souls, still dodging and hightailing out of town due to the enormous, lawful and almighty presence of Wyatt Earp's

But now a new thief was in town. Tom Burnet, now disguised as a tourist, now surviving as a cat burglar, city to city, had made his way onto Houston street near the famous Chicago grill downtown Worth. A while back, two years to this day, Tom made his fortune on a single bank robbery up in the big city. His cash was slowly draining to a timid supply. Now he was out to take the end all of scores. He was to take the priceless bust of the Mary of Pieta. A solid gold copy of Michael Angelo's masterpiece duplicated from the original sculpture, the one where Mary looks upon her dieing soon taken from the cross on Calvary, now standing under spot light before the cathedral of Rome.

An army of unforgiving watery pellets fell in beastly march, dropping upon the black tar pavement of the city streets; in thick sleepy howls, dripping in an angry pace, spraying pavements in a sporadic watery pellets on the skin of downtown of Worth. The deepest of the rain had set in. It had returned to his life once more, caressing his heart to beat slightly faster, waking up the passion again. The eagerness to conquer the world had returned, to be a real king of his own domain, to rule his own life, make his own plan, to sail off to distant lands, take her, kiss her and make her apart of him again. To discover what was not meant to be found, was every man's dream. Tom had a dream and nothing, or no one was going to prevent him from making it real and eventually making it his life, again. This excitement, this passion for the world had touched the motion of his breath and sent his heart roaring. He was on fire again, alive, really living, like God meant for him to do. In and out, in and out, they had arrived. Arriving in long chains of images, linking familiar sounds, long drives and walks to and from Rome, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas arising and falling in him, and every great city of the world calling upon his arrival, they called upon his entrance, his arrival, his learning, his experience, consciousness and wholeness. He was a traveler, a sight seer of the world, taking everything in, sucking the marrow from the bone, Carpe Diem to it's fullest degree. A framed picture appeared so perfectly like the kind in the art exhibits and museums calling him into a different reality and into a constant reality that he faced day to day, minute to minute, second to second, heartbeat to heartbeat, breath to breath. Oh, the lasting breath, how it comes and goes and goes and goes and then. . . Then, remembered voices floated in to his existence in his head, known and unknown faces sneaked up on him like a slithering temptation lost in the purity of what was once the Garden of Eden, but now a concrete city of confusion, whispering to him to come upon it's distraction from purity. "You took too long Tom. It's taking too long. Your body is wearing down my friend. Do something about it. Do something, anything. Act, act, act now Tom."

Stair unit to subway, air port to terminal, to front step, to sidewalk and back to some unknown street with names like Willing Avenue, American Boulevard, Canyon Trail, back to Fry street where the college boys hung out and drank cups of joe and smoked Camel cigarettes out in front of the head-shop and smoked bowls of freedom and talked like mad hatters and Cool beans and Karma Café, and read Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Joyce, and Jack, Atlantis in Long Beach, 21st in Manhattan, back to Tarry in Crow, Texas, to 21st street again, to first Avenue in New York, back to Willing street in Worth, back to Tarry in Crow, back to Willing, to Tarry, and back to First Avenue, and Fry comes in and then Bruno, Czech and Jamacac, whatever that was, and Absinth, and actors smoking hash in gas mask and reciting Hamlet and drinking more blue glowing Absinth, a little stir with sugar and light it on fire, Manhattan to south, North to Worth, south to Manhattan, it's all upside down and backwards now, turn left a block down, you'll find her again my friend, get it straight, turn around, shake it up, just get back on track, she'll be detached, detached from the rails and back again, stir it with sugar and light it on fire, swallow it down and forget again and again, and again, again.

To speak out, join hands with it's jagged edges and metal tricks and to smile upon it's fun and games and twisted chances at fame only to arrive at useless pain of pills, stains from the nicotine intellect, that never went away, cigarette burns staining his soul. A celebration of life was beckoning him to forget Godly things and fall into the temptation he once shied from in youth, but now glared at with wondering eyes. The innocence was escaping him like the smoke that lifting from his lips. Sundays passed him. Sundays without church, long, stale and gray. The world had suddenly popped up, projected, as if for the first time, before his eyes, like a movie he had once admired as a young boy, now spinning for him to almost touch, almost become and grasp for his own, and only for his own. How greedy his hiss had become, his breath taking in air, filling his lungs, expanding the life inside him. Tom left himself, and his reality for a second to close his eyes and simply recall what it was like before. A large breath, he let go for a second and then tensed, and then let go, to tense again and again, until it all evaporated and went to solid. And then, nothing and then everything and nothing again, off and on, the images arrived and left, like the movie reel spinning, and spinning as the light passed through the lens. He had to kill apart of himself for it. Taint a part of him for the story to truly unfold. These images, these faces, had suddenly conquered him and fortunately rid his lonely existence on the street of the little town of Worth. It was a way out of his hell, his shame, the lack of success as a simple Worthian and not-so-proud Texan, was suddenly coming reality. "I remember that time. It was just like it was now, but years before." As a moment of rain passes Tom continues with, "Yes, exactly like as it is now, but years before." A visuals of long ago arrived unexpectedly as the rain began to sprinkle down on his uncovered shaggy lonely head. A picture inside him arose under his eyes, weighted far beneath him, sunken in his library of past memories, a heavy pondering of a her eyes caressing him with a lonely gaze, inviting him in again.

It was nine PM, time to take his pill. It was a small thing, round on the ends, the shape and color of a blue tiny tic tac, but a lighter shade, like a baby blue. The small pill had an imprint on the right side. The imprint read MG, for milligrams. At the breaking line, in the center of the pill was a thin line dividing the pill in a perfect half. The line was designed for breaking the fifty milligrams of pill into twenty five. On the adjacent side of the pill, next to the MG, on the left side, it read 50, marking the pill as a 50 milligram of medication. On the back side of the pill, or the reverse side, it titled the pills name, Zoloft. He had no idea where the doctors came up with such a name. It reminded him of the word loft, like the loft a person would live in or stay in temporarily while passing through a small town. He swallowed the small light blue without water. He just swashed his tongue around stirring up some saliva into a ball on the roof of his mouth, and used the spit as liquid in order to push the bitter pill to a pit in his stomach. He wasn't that successfully with keeping it completely down. It hung somewhere in his esophagus, somewhere between the back of his tongue and the top region of his sternum. It seemed to hover up and down, like some busy elevator, traveling from the top floor, to the middle, to the ground floor, to the basement, back to the ground, to the middle floor and back to the top floor and back down again. A burning arrived, sizzling in a putrid acidic dance at the top of his belly, trying to come up and cause enough irritation for a cleaning vomit. No such luck. He was too hungry and dry inside, but the pill somehow stayed down, inside him, melting, exploding into it's orderly fashions, breaking down, bit by bit, marching into his bloodstream, fixating on who he was and slowly rearranging, restructuring Tom's body and mind, into the living structure, into a full organism as God meant it to be, but somehow forgot to complete. Now he was approaching a good state, a whole union of a saneness, positive, just civilized citizen. Sanity was approaching for one of the first time's since a little child.

Months before.

"It's called Sertraline HCL." The doctor said with a slight red and tired eyes. The doctor seemed to be working hard, his mind very vibrant, alert and on fire with knowledge, wonder and intense observation. "What do you want from us, Tom?" A moment arrived. "I want to have clearer thoughts. I want to be less anxious." "Here is a month supply of Zoloft. Take one in the morning. The kit starts with twenty five milligrams and later it will move up to fifty five milligrams." "So eventually I'll take fifty five milligrams." "Yes. At first you may experience some diarrhea. Serotonin is released in your body and brain. It may affect your gut because it is dispersed there. Your body may not be producing enough of it." "So serotonin is dispersed in the body and brain?" "Yes. The body needs serotonin just as much as the brain."

The rain splashed down on the pavement. Tom was still trying to swallow the pill to his stomach acids so it could dissolve into what it needed to become.

The pill broke apart and washed into his blood, finally reaching the nerves of his brain and activating the (seroe toe non) serotonin.

A face of remembrance arose giving away a selective internalization of what others will never fully know, or cherish near as much as Tom does now.

And a story began to sink in him, reminding him of what he was and what he may become.

And the memories overlapped and spun in the back of his head like a movie reel projected in a movie house. His eyes full of light, casting a fiery, amazing, warm light similar to the projector that casts onto a silver screen for many eyes to collect, take in and make true to them, thus, to give life again and again, until a familiar feeling takes over and slowly warms the hearts of men.

This was immortality to him. The story made him live forever. It was the only way out of mortality and to never die. If anyone lived forever it was the writer. This is why he stole from the world, it wasn't just to live, but to live forever.

His life had begun, again, and ended and begun, like it had some many times before. As the eyes moved from left to right on the simple page, his heart began to pump somewhere in the words, of the time he now creates.

This old town, now new to him, began another story, and concluded an old chapter of his life and the lives of those never seen until now. Now that I am about to present for you, the reader, the lifeblood of the words that lay before you.

A wanderer, a writer and poet. All thieves condemned into action unworthy to the moral man and unholy to the lawful people.

Tom felt all poets were takers of the world and some how even thieves. Some poets were even sent to the underworld to suffer for the sinful and tempting words they shared with men's innocence. Aristophanes, a Athenian satirist playwright, believed that some great poets were condemned to suffer in hell until rescued by other storytellers in need of an honest and worthy poet. Also, Aristophanes liked to attack Euripides while using the image of the frog as a metaphor for his unique and eccentric style of verse.

Regardless or Aristophanes and Euripides Tom continued on with his story. Still Tom continued to live his life as a poet. Most would call him a thief. Some even called Doctor Zhivago a doctor. But these men were poets at heart and died that way.

They took what was not theirs in order to sustain the life blood of their words, hence, lives.

Tom fell into the thought again, slowly fading to the sounds of the words he would one day print out for another's eyes.

A lift of the side of the cheek, a show of the mouth, the bounced back to positivism and grace, a photo album of faces, familiar dress of folk from the home front haunting him, as the old jagged cry pelted through the piercing rain from the south side of small southern town. A rushing mechanical force plowing through a piece of Worth with no hindrance but an unexpected gale sipping off from the tracks toward the Trinity river clawed it's way through the scorching wind pushing in from a leftovers of mean northern storm. For a second the monstrous call sounded like the whine of a scared, vociferous animal escaping the preying of the stealthy menace pained by the emptiness of hunger. Hunger in it's deepest sense, hollowly dry, painfully neglected and unforgiving, resting in a opaque windy, blackened sky and forever sinking into the abyss of the darkness that so heavily amounted over the sleeping heads tucked away in the thousands of beds rooted within the tiny houses, and occasional mansions, of the small cozy Texas town of Worth. A voice from the absence of day, scraping toward the night railing to further land, where the tongues change and the ideas of a civilization begin to harvest a new color, perhaps more ripe, or dryer, and take from another length of the vine. This night, behind the black, velvet line tracing the jagged treetops arose and enveloped Tom's shivering constitution. A hungry predator on it's way, lurking for something innocent, pure and lost. This faraway cry, this deep painful, resonant hellish roar, arose from the mouth of an old rusty engine, collected a industrial momentum, firing a fleet of crackles and hollers, trapped in a distance, unreachable, beyond sight, always afar, banging it's triumph drum, toward the black blanketed sky, warning man to step aside and let it pass. This mechanical beast with flat iron, caged, breast was far from being stopped by any mere mortal. On it's dangerous way, approaching with an ungodly sound and speed. The clicking steps of this long forwarding line of railroad cars, pulsing intermediately in a constant rhythm, like raindrops tapping from a rain gutter forgotten, but looked upon by a small boy in a yellow raincoat, in a shallow pool on top of cement on the rainiest, wettest day in the month of the lightening seasons of April. This cry that rested on the horizon, reminded Tom of who he really was, perhaps is, who he shall always be and will one day recognize until his last breath. It, the voice, the dedicated vow, the primal howl, the faraway message, so eager, so urgent, anxious and heated, echoed, sucking wonder from the lost, over the tops of the tornado beaten bank tower, and family of semi, tall, flat, headed, skyscrapers that skinned the shadowy sky, seemed to hide like a child at hide in seek, crafted towers, that clanged, desperately, hugged darkly over the western town of Worth. What a strange town for such a character as Tom. He didn't fit into a place weighted with religion, so much dedication to the Savior that the world deserved.

Above was dark. In his head and slowly growing around him. The town's spirit hugged and welcomed him, with a southern hand of hospitality, even though he was still lost from the big city, there remained open and kind arms awaiting to take him in. It was the way of the south. It is all the south knows. B

Back again the city beckoned him. The addiction for the untitled ones. The time he shared there opened his eyes to a knowledge and experience he never believed he would tackle and eventually take in. A gothic north, a city rapidly and secretly and prolifically unfolding the secretions, that arose from the globe of this vibrating organism. For a second, there, far north he claimed a title. New York, within that cry that awakes and hovers on the horizons and joins America to forays of the fountains of knowledge, art and life. New York was stuck in his head even though he was far off now, alone from the city, the Concrete Jungle, the feeding ground of new ideas, the flow of greed, now quieted, alone from the millions of voices that assembled, in the belly of a whale that swallows down the countless number of Jonahs, unwillingly emptying, and at times willingly, collectively, gathering but without unison or togetherness. The city was the well that had swallowed him whole. People of this great nation, from every corner and cob web infested block, stepping up to the great clock Tower, walking under what they accept as time, passing on their voices, sharing and exchanging, ideas, tongues, and histories; little did they know, they where in the belly of an ancient shark. The city. The city of New York. A gigantic conglomeration, the city of cities, with it's millions of streets, and billions of stacked rooms, homes etched into towers, towers carved into the dome, stretching toward the almighty sun, that moved as quick as the speed of light, rushing, whirling and filling man with knowledge, and the mystics of the unknown was merely a whale, that once swallowed Pinocchio, or in this case a multicolored, army of business men, with the symptoms of Pinocchio's dream, dedicated to the useless cause of growing into a real boy. Trading for the useless cause of the green, and the great pitiful exchange of profits. The anchor of liberty. The cuffs of freedom. The city was no playground for little ones but rather an idea supported by the workingman's hearts and minds. It was a place a boy transformed into a man in less time it takes for the heart to doubly beat.

A city dedicated to the dark cloud that covered man and heaven arose in the back of his mind. As dark as the black of the velvet curtain before a stage show. As dark as in the belly of the whale. Burnt dark as the color of money. Ashen dark like the hollow return of a unholy searched life, hollowly feeding men the desire of fame and fortune and wanting to be seen and catered with far too much attention. An array of sinful sensualities, food, delicatessens of drunkenness and a shameful constant, speedy, savored, stimulation of new greedier technology that is always in the verge of the glowing, and in the glooming, grew before Tom as he recalled the past times there. Malevolent Dark like the evil that had crept through Burnet's heart when he had lost himself within the shadowy, opaque answers inside the many dungeons of this mazy city. He could not believe he made it home. After all of it. After all that hell. He was near home, near the extent of home, still, with the freefall feeling, the weightless fall still hovering in his belly. After all that hell. Tom had gone to the lowest depths of hell and back. He had fallen to the ninth level and ate the meal of the poets. He had seen the flabby, lazy fat on the evil one's flank. He had gone to hell and back. The lowest level, the ninth, where the evil one was frozen upside down, chanting to all of his poets, the codes to break what may be tomorrow. Now it was time. Now, he was going to get help. He needed it more than ever. It was time to share this horrible insight of what man had done to nature. Man had rapped his only love. His only chance at life was loosening from his grip. He had turned on his only place of existence, he had forgotten his mother and denied nature to grow freely. Mothernature was calling to him but he locked himself inside and hid behind a net that connected them all.

Mornings became nights and nights morning, and everything in between was no longer, there was only black, and white, one or zero (1010001) and he had forgotten balance and his carefree nature was slowly degrading and his rotten mistake where becoming his business (1001011100010). He became separated lost and abandoned from what was reality. It was as if he was no longer awake. He wasn't at all. Tom was in a deep sleep awaiting for someone else to awaken him and lift him from this labor. He shoved her back, pushed what was left of her, into a crumbling mesh of screws, nuts and bolts, drilled holes in her temple, and drove mechanical beast under her skin, zooming passed the passerby, leaving her diseased, crazed and maddened to a state of a surging, unending pace. His professionalism and dedicated, intense need for growth only stumped him. This never ending defect for man's assumed perfection was slowly constructing fields of concrete across her giving, soft skin. She was cracking up, wrinkling into state of stillness and mechanical order. Everything had to be perfect or it was fed into the clogged and shredded spout of neglect, and washed away into a flooding cold blue abstinence, or if it revealed a glitch, a tiny mess up, a small mistake, then, hushed and awaited, to the fall of grace and cast out of this cruel reality and into the numbness and nullity far from pain and truth. Nature was becoming machine. Light was now faked and sound forced to reveal the flowing brooks and winds that once, guided men and taught the essence of destination. The blinking lights and fast cars were lifting man from himself and sending him into her arms. Ford, Chevy, Chrysler and foreign vehicles, like Mizabesthi, Honda and BMW was becoming the new body of man. Work became easier, more convenient and at times a luxury. The cars had become man's chests, hard working arms and developed legs and rippling stomach's of iron, axle and greasy brains of motor gasoline. Now the chain of fast foods, Wendy's, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chickens had murdered his skill of the hunt and pushed the war into full affect. His belly grew full, large and round and limited him from the movements and dances God had once blessed him with. Computers, cell phones, blenders and microwaves had thought, spoke, listened, mixed and cooked for his convenience. A women was becoming useless in the kitchen. A man was no longer needed to pick up trash from the curb and dump it in the back of a dump truck, an electric armed reached out and snatched the plastic barrel, firmly and emptying it faster the a heart can doubly beat. Food was something replaced by an energy pill or snack bar that fed the muscle of industry. Nature, even the unseen nature within him, was slowly falling from his grasp, stolen by vain, thieving hands of the envious corporate code and heated revenge of the fallen one. Technology wanted eyes like him, hands, feet, toes. It wanted to walk about the earth freely and make choices. The machine wanted eyes, noses and a brain to collect the images of the world and judge what is right or wrong. The machine wanted to speak, eat, digest the world, take it in, pass it through it's system, chop the tree, shepherd a flock, bake bread, have children, sing and dance, preach the word and ride the waves. It wanted to be man so badly that it forced him to invent, calculate and neglect his heart. It wanted to turn it's nuts and bolts, and silver chips into the golden heart of man in which He, God, so carefully listened with delicate grace and granted omniscience, had created for all and for his love. How could Tom slow all of this down. How could he purchase some time for man's goodness? Tom suffered from Hubris. It was the common tragic flaw of great heroes. Earth was slowly becoming poisoned and warped by man's idea of a perfect world, this idea was slowly eating at him, ending him. Genetics and social Darwinism had ended him far before birth and yet he still breathed in this suffocation of persecution and collective hatred, and self hatred against difference and unique appearances. And Tom stood idly by unaware he was part of the whole, he was one of the blocks that made up the greater sum of the completed structure, the tomb, the resting place that stretched across the countless bedded plots of this country. He stood motionless joining the useless cause for perfection and self betterment, and slowly sank into himself not knowing why or where to go. What he had done to himself was far from his reach now. It was far too late for mankind. The second tower of babul had fallen. Communications lost. The ghastly sight of three thousand, hungry businessmen burned to their ashy graves, under a ruble of messy inventions and long distant calls, all of the current chaos that so lively lived in his vibrant, aware mind, had force him to look up to the heavens, plead with God for his unending love, warmth, rejuvenation, and then, ill loyal to his maker, shy to truth and compassion, fallen and beat, to one day give in to temptation, repudiate reason, in order to turn away and feed the machine it's burnt offerings and oily truths in which it pretended so craftily to honestly desire. Did the machine welcome a new thought, a fresh invention, a improvement to speeding up the super computers that chained with tissue and protein to allow efficiency to the order of the corporations. Did the machine really want a faster, smarter, more in-depth thinking mechanism in order to outwit the unexpected and most clever being. Was the machine real, or was it mere temptation, a mind planted on top a desk awaiting to hit the wrong key and then. . . He had to turn to God now. The father gave him no choice. He was lucky. He had experienced too much pain. It was time to heal. The voices told him to return, or it was over. He ignored them and repudiated their beckoning calls. "If you don't return you'll lose. You're a loser." It must be his own badly seeded thoughts, unclear of the truth, welcoming him into a blinding web of false thoughts and an hungry abyss of insanity. Now it was a time to start over, regenerate and begin a new life in the south. God gave him no other path to follow. He had spoken and Tom answered.

2000 had arrived and the future was speedily passing with unlikely speed. Medicine was far beyond attaching leeches or draining blood for the ill. Pills, a galaxy of choices, in multiple colors, were turning the loony into clear thinkers and clear thinkers into geniuses. Tom was given the offerings from the most skilled scientist his society.

I am incandescent but I am not here. The lights are on but nobody is home.

Down in tumble, hard, thin unforgiving bullets splattered on the red brick sidewalk before him, in the same rhythm as the memories entered and exited his head. He was back in the town of Worth. The old hospital was down the street that he was birthed from which was not far from the slow crawling river with the religious name. It snaked through Worth curving from every constructed Church, Safe Haven and place of worth in town. Snaking and winding almost dodging what was founded in the name of the Lord. It was a kind river with a holy name, and a history that did not match it's title. Rumor had it was far too polluted and the city had let it go beyond repair. It wasn't until recently that laws were passed to keep the trash and toxic wastes free from it's path. The river looked disturbed at day, but in awe at night, it was so lovely against a full moon shading the eyesores of technology and waste, that during the late months of April, and early March, overflowed from the flooding rains, was still bouncing back the memories of swimming and dunking best friends toward the muddy bottom. John Wilhelm, from Pennsylvania, broad shoulders, big arms and giant smile from ear to ear, would hurl him under the scummy water of the Trinity, and like a drowning cat clawing for air he'd reach to the wobbling lines of rays streaming at him begging him to lurch upward from under the Trinity and take in a sweet breath of life. He'd rise up hollering at John for being too forceful and his step father, dog peddling spectacle would flare up a stern, and healthy smile. Those were the days of swimming in the green Trinity that flowed down the west trial and into the forks that washed through Worth and further toward the south. The best times where canoe trips down the Brazes with his sober Dad, and beer gurgling acquaintance from the local junior soccer team. When Tom was just a boy, Dad and he would place last in canoe races. Dad loved to take his time fishing and sightseeing and chat about the current news on the runner up for presidency, or a recent crime, or murder rap of a famous figure that was publicized on TV.

Dad had an endless amount of reason why he believed the well known football star was guilty or how the murder took place. He had ever motivation nailed to the cue. Dad loved forensics and telling stories. Conversation was the only savior of the fish as Dad wobbled the pole to make a point about the current topic at hand in the boat.

The town that slowly built him into the walking story that he so heroically and pitifully performed, now, was still, quiet and wearily wondering over the bruises caused by last September. It seemed every small town was affected due to the revelations and exhibited support of American flags that waved so droopily outside the front patios.

Tom stared down at his old black leather shoes. He was down. It was a blue time for him. The color blue kept appearing in the mesh before the clothing racks on the stage windows, on curtains at his new place, bath towels, shirts in the laundry, in the skies, in the water near the river walk and even in other peoples eyes. Blue kept showing up everywhere he turned. Yesterday when he was in the shopping mall near Follies the song Blue performed by the jazz great Miles Davis. And when he was riding the bus home from town, he passed a giant sign near the highway that read The Blue Man Group. Every where he looked, blue, blue, blue. At lunch on the menus, Chicken Cordon Bleu, blue cheese, blue berry pie. Reading through the paper he came across a motion picture about a women who grieves over her husbands death. The title; Blue. Blue, according to the polish filmmaker from Warsaw, Kieslowski, Krzysztof, represented liberty. Red stood for fraternity. White was recognized as a color for equality.

Tom didn't feel like walking that day so he hid indoors reading from Faulkner and a book on Multiculturalism. He couldn't really keep it all together so he stared out the window at the giant sky filled with blue and slowly breathed until breath came back to him and then he returned to his books, study and wonder.

One day he is worth the bread he stuffs in his mouth and other days he didn't deserve the meal of an ant. He took a unexpected breath no larger than a sniff which halfway loosened his jumbled mind. Slowly he was clearing out the junk that didn't belong in his head, and certainly not to be adjoined with his memories. Everywhere he turned there was a reminder. A flag. Red white and blue. Then, the song. The lyrics inspired by war itself. Oh, say can you see. It only matched the revolution of the other side. It was a patriots song. By the dawns early light. A song for the rebel, the man that was forced to fight against the Empires and controllers. What so proudly we hail. It wasn't a song to use to reflect the tragedy of New York. Perhaps, another song would do, a song with lyrics created by businessmen and the world trade groups that profited off of others enslaved weaknesses and controlled needs. Rockets red glare. Intruded and interrupted with pollution, excess noise of traffic jams, airport terminals, engines firing up, millions of voices bouncing around in his head from Time Square, the song cried out, a song long ago inspired men to clean his musket, but now just to set off a baseball game or national air show event. Bombs bursting in air.

He went into his mind again and the ole song faded as if it was being played over earphones on some Sony compact disk. Gave prove through the night. Millions of faces begging him for something he had no grasp to hold. He wasn't a man that could save the world. That our flag was still there. Someone else had done that long before he walked these sidewalks of concrete and ashy burned foot prints. Perhaps the song should be played. Perhaps now there are rebels against rebels. Jefferson was right. Our past ingenious president was on target when he claimed that American isn't right without a revolution now and then. Perhaps it was a song for them and us. They attacked a country founded by revolution and civil war and now they are simply part of the hell. It wasn't like they put out the fire. They did no such thing. The flag still carries the color red in it's stripes. They only started a more dangerous fire. A storm of flames uncontrollable and unmatchable by any other nation.

Tom was a stiff man at times but held a professional constitution in muscle and thought. He wasn't much taller than the average Joe. Six feet max. He had a pointy chin, high cheek bones, hollow cheeks and a long Germanic noise that set him off for a young actor of the cinema. The hair was short, but had the potential to grow, long shaggy and poetically thick. As a child he was noticed for his thick mane that capped his skull. His body frame was that of a warrior, broad, strong with a healthy foundation. He had not grown a large beer belly, like the others that passed him, and was proud of it. Eating was not his forte by a long shot. He was careful about foods and usually only ate produce and health food, or all natural establishments and rarely ate out in restaurants, or fast food. He mostly took in turkey and light red meats. His favorite was leg of lamb with a French style sauce. His tongue held a bite of class. Manners were his best skills he kept to date. Not likely for a thief. He was unique in his constitution. He was trained in every game in the book and far from despondency.

That our flag was still there.

As the board and thick of night was growing on him, he made a devout decision to return home. Home before sunlight, a voice beckoned, as if it escaped from a darkened closet. Fort Worth Texas was a place filled with wonders, old poets, ranchmen, and cowboys looking to break a heart or have their hearts broken.

The shadows of night arose with a slow accord. Eve set in with her black dead face like a slow chord drawn out from a shaky violin's falling resolution. The edge of the sun turned to a faint terracotta and then snuffed out to a sharp opaque. Night swallowed the town whole without hesitation hungry to cover the world from the sun's bright needful rays. Streetlights illuminated the path for Tom Burnet, as he marched to his inner beat shying away from sorrowful youth and trying to activate a new outlook and reason to expedite a fresh form of expression to quay.

Tom was surrounded by people from his home town, but not a single face he recognized. Even at home he was alone and cold.

He passed by the new gallery and peeked in at the warm smiles and exchanges of the graceful "How Are You," "Welcome in" and "Good day."

Tonight's worth was composed of tall buildings, flashing yellowy bulbs and gallery windows. Paintings from Texas artist like Henrietta and Rome Milan, Geoffrey Beck and Salidino hung in the display cases near Pier One imports and the local hip café house. The gallery was down the street from the movie house and the new New York style restaurants. Even some of the artist displayed at the exhibit was straight from the big city. All that was on his mind besides self discovery along with finding someone to discover him, was fortune. The desire of fame and fortune was growing in him like a horrible disease. Like a virus that wouldn't quit.

Only the fancies waited in town. The dandies and wannabe poets worked there. He thought. Zoloans. Sounds like Zolofts. Zoloft? OR in this story Zoneloft, boy does it make ya zone. Hm. Perhaps I'll get use to it before I get into the details and the more, well, mildly complex parts of the story, it's not too complex, maybe poetic, but not brain surgerah—shit, almost said it, well, I don't even what to say it, the thought of it makes me want to jump off the balcony that I'm writing so close to right now. I'm debating rather or not to toss this damn machine I type on rather than dance, act or sing, which I'd rather be doing. This damn machine. The only performance time I get now is with my fingers. I wish I could throw it off the side and watch the blessed piece of crap smash to smithereens. Nothing could put it back together again. Nothing could put me back together again. Hm. Perhaps I should ask for Surgerah—almost said it again. The deadly S word. S and it ends in a Y. As in Why God does it have to happen to me? What does Zoloft mean anyway. Sertraline HCL. Is that supposed to save me. Zoloft? Those artsy turds are on Zoloft for God sake. What do they need pain for. What do they need to struggle for. Their stuck up there in some loft, some idea far above them, cozy and smooth and wanting pleasure. Only fools lived that way. Only fools searched for pleasure.

Roberto Pace walked by as the stage windows lit up by bright white floor units and dimmed special. Some of the artist actually stood on platforms in the stage windows with their white floury, faces and broad expressions painted for everyone to see. Rome Milan was known to craft a few paintings in one night. Most of his work was inspired from the form of impressionism. Rome showed, in the stage windows, paintings of bright sunflowers, a red paddle boat, floating next to a dock, the boat was small, it could hold no more than two or three passengers at max. The boat hovered on top of the still water adjacent to the old fashion wood dock in a mesh of wavy heavy blues and a flowing mixture of thick lines composing a port coupled with that, what seemed like a giant toy red sailboat bouncing in a stalled poise on troubled water, with escaping pride. He painted like this using broad strokes just as Monet once executed back in the real French Impressionistic days. Back before computers, or Fast Food, 24 hours War coverage on CNN, and before starter kits of sertaraline HCL was available for writers, and before story telling existed on the world wide web, and worldly communication wasn't as accessible, . Rome learned from a master painter. His Mother, Henrietta Milan, was his teacher. She taught him the art well. Both borrowed from Monet and other French impressionists of his time.

There where other artist for sale at the Milan Gallery. Pop artist too. Peter Max had a paining of Mona Lisa smiling with a rainbow splashed across her face in the place of a mustache, and John Sanders had a few sculptures. One was titled Genesis. It was a perfect man half naked busting out of a cracked block filled with grape size harden bubbles to represent the form of man. The bubble were to represent the soil, or the earth, or a place where man, in the beginning arose. Roberto was fortunate to be able to be around so much rich culture. Artist like Kaufman and Middlekauf had work there as well. The gallery across the street was pact every other weekend. Rumor had it movie stars showed up to buy and to sell their work. Jane Seymour was on her way. Roberto missed out when she arrived. There like that. Missing the small writers soon to grow big. They take em when there on top of the world and no one doesn't know who they are and their face lingers on every magazine a human face can belong on.

Roberto was on his way to work at the new Milan gallery in Fort Worth. It was the tail end of October and November was walking up with it's dropping pecans and rusty wondering leaves.

Artist displayed their work in the little town of Fort Worth. Wow. What a sight. It reminded Roberto of New York. There he was alone. Waiting for Maria to show. She was the assistant to Rome Milan the owner of the first gallery. He watched a few young girls pass smoking cigarettes and showing off their thing. What sexy legs they had. What curvy hips and firm rears, and round breast. What women these were, with their intellect and fancy step. Usually in tight jeans and too much make up.

Then, a occasional artsy type flew by the windows. Rain pelted and Roberto took cover under this tiny black umbrella. The onlooker peeked in revealing his support by tossing an occasional warming glance. Just a passerby. No buyer yet.

Roberto was waiting on the key. Once Maria showed, he could warm up and get out of this stifling rain. He had just landed a security job. Believe it or not, the head of Marry from Pieta had been shipped in from the Cathedral in Roma and was been held in the Gallery vault. Highly secured with red robs, the giant bolt locks, alarm system and security guards. It was his ninth job since he had returned home from Manhattan.

He was home again. After the largest cross country journey he had ever taken; he was home again.

Pace had no idea, not even in the darkest corners of his mind, where his youth had gone, but the rain didn't care what was on his mind now. Not now. History was behind him, the future was ahead, and the present moment never let up. Nothing could make him feel more blue than now. The rain stung on his skin. Shadows flung across his frame in thick lines as if bars had enclosed and sprang up from under his feet. He felt alone, trapped, pinned inside himself. He couldn't move. Even his thoughts seemed barred. It was like the first time he flung himself out into the world, alone. Then, out of nowhere, a small smile appeared on his face. A smile smothered by the rain. He blinked his eyes; Los Angeles, Hollywood, Broadway-Park Avenue, thirty thousand feet above the ground, his face on television and then, Wam, he was home, in his bedroom like a boy. But he was no boy now. He had awoke to the world, appeared again, stood up in his boyhood home, nodding to strangers. He had woke up as a man in a child's situation. "Breakfast was ready." It was as if an Angel had tickled him. It was but a ten years ago, he once laid in the bed with the most beautiful lady he had ever kissed. Brown long hair draped on his face and lips, he wrapped his hands across her thin waist and smothered her close to him. A tear spilled onto his lips. He remembered the salty taste, the crying and sniffling and all the times she made him blush, and feel life. On the verge of busting into pure emotional bliss.

Years passed. Three years since he left home for the first time at twenty seven.

Now, he was turning thirty eight. Then, thirty nine. Forty was on it's way. There was no turning back now. He had reached a point of no return.

He had no idea what happened to his life. It was long after the passing of the new millennium. Not long after the great tragedy of New York City. He was far from that ashy year of smoke, hellfire, dusts and lost faces posted around the city. It was now. Now, to be savored. The most precious part of life was living for this breath. The next breath and the next, and next. South, north, east and west a strange call hung in the air. A sound not far from human but not from a mortal's mouth. It was the roar out of time. The cry from far beyond our age.

South. Far south. Texas. For Worth, Texas. It was night. He was alone. No cigarettes, no girl, no warm coat and nothing to keep him warm now. It seemed to be all lost. The only thing he had was a pen in his pocket, and his words, not to mention his birthday suit, his hair, his eyes, his fingers, nose, eyebrows, ears, lips, chin, breasts, feet, legs, ankles, fingernails, toe nails, arms, arm pits, arm pit hair, shins, groin, buttocks, back, belly, belly button, knee, knee caps, thighs, calves, cheeks, cheek bones, forehead, crown of his head, neck, toe nails, old and new, chipped and torn and every million parts that made up who he was and who he believed in. He was the believer that man could not claim his home as his house. A home was more than that. It was even more than a place that took you in. A home was a since of completeness. Oneness. His home was his being in his own body with the spirit and with his belief in his Father. This was holy to him.

Home is in you.

A home was what he did, who he gave to, how he took others in and allowed others to take him in, what he read, abided by and loved. Home was his standards, the foods he ate, the music he listened to, the people he met with, the cities he visited, the jobs he did to help others and the thankfulness he gave in pleasing his maker. Most importantly home was God.

Snow flakes parachuted in like Angels falling from a white snowy heaven above. Tiny small angels with individual paths, patterns. Not one like the other. No complete likeness, or similarity. Angels falling on a lone star city. Old cow town resting in the snow.

Old man winter was not holding back. All the stage windows were heavily decorated with seasonal lights. He should have been smiling at the festive sight of the city. But he carried a strong face of sorrow. It was good. He had a minimum amount of materialism. He no longer watched television and didn't have the cravens for the sex, lust and entrapping entertainment that tempting man from reason.

He was in town. He was lucky to be here. Roberto was alive. He was one of us. Looking at the world. Forward and backward, past to future. He had a decision. He had his two feet and a mind; choices. Life awaited his call. A freezing gale drifted into the center of his being. It seemed to stiffen the freedom that willingly awaited within, like it does in every single one of us. The freedom to go forth. To make the new path. To create. To know. To own. To seek and find. To understand the way of God.

The freedom to take on liberty and make the choice, the direction and the life he wanted to claim was blooming under his thick skin. Even as a grown man of thirty he was still lost, like a boy. He wanted to be some many things and he had such a shadow of a past that stretched in long years behind him. The dreams he curled up under the covers as a boy, and now a man, were unlimited. He noticed he was still inside. Reflecting on the times he was a boy, getting ready to see a great story unfold on the silver screen in the warmest movie house around. Images that lead him to faraway islands, and misty shores, with hot women with big eyes and warm lips. The cold scratched at the back of his neck. No smile formed on his face. The twinkle left his eye for a moment. For one solid little moment it was all clear. He had it all figured out. Then, reality kicked in. The next gale set in and froze his cheeks. He was gloomy. Sad. Alone.

Someone, or something, perhaps it was himself, there was no use blaming others for his isolation, this public solitude that enveloped his ever direction and appeared at ever cold corner in any town in his land was eating away at a core set of standards and order that was so carefully developed by the countless villages and their tongues and sayings, and codes embedded inside him. Perhaps, he had stayed home too long. Something, a side of him, had stole away with who he once was.

According to his direction he was headed away from Eden, away from Pishon and far from the land of Cush, or Ghihon and into a more impure part of the world. If he was the first man, Adahma, or Adam, from the ground, the man from dust, he was making his way toward the Euphrates and Tigress departing from Paradise and entering a new world, a new time and a new place lost from grace, and paradise, a place after the loss of innocence. The calendar on the café wall read December, 2nd 2002 A.D. The millennium had arrived.

A thick, dark, azure, blue, mushy drop splattered beneath the blankly, tensely white glowing street lamp, landing on the sparkling side walk displaying section of down town of Worth; eve had set in enough to activate the night lamps hovering in long lines, pole to pole, along the sidewalks leading out of town. Under the misty, pale moon of the cold winter night midnight approached. The freeze had set in without the most saintly one's permission. Winter had no kindness to those with warm hearts, it was the purpose of Old Man's winter's mission. Ever since the young daughter ate the six seeds from pomengrand, the Greek beloved timed out the months of the cold season and was released by the gods, from hiatus. Roberto watched his breath turn into dragon fog and hover into the misty lamp light covering the blackened concrete sidewalks that lead into the parking lot pointing north of town. The winter joined hands with night and arose a chilling touch to the Tom's cheeks. His forehead grew tight and hardened, his eyebrows sequenced together creating a sharp rooftop shape of an Old English Tudor and his back grew tingly hot and ached of being on his feet and sitting erect all day. He mustn't stick out and let them know he is alone out here. Here in the cold of the world, deep in the time of winter and when the holiday made man reflect and turn inward into his past and rectify his deeds, good or bad, he was remembering who he was and slowly realizes what he may become in this southern homey town surrounded by mesquite and timber wood.

A siren lifted in choppy howls far of. Tom couldn't tell which direction he was headed, much like the positioning of the siren, spinning in chaotic twists throughout the air.

Small town know his type. He had to look strong, well fed and hometown. The hard cold was on her way and this was a time of food and festive enjoyment. A strange feeling pushed on his stomach and tingled in his throat. He wanted to cry but the tears remained inside, dry and without release. He shivered and bit his lip from the cold. Good thing the handkerchief was packed away in his old tan western coat. He had picked it from a Justin's boots near the outskirts coming in from the airport. It had a linen and it was full of down feather and reinforcements from the freezing weather. He had no idea where it was blowing in from, if from a thunder storm out at sea, or if it was the usual lowering of the barometric. Why this confusion had approached him, why this the biting cold, this loneliness glued to his spine. It made him shiver. Shiver like a wet cat. Who needed him to fight it and resist against the impossible peak of his what may be his major tragic flaw. Man was always hanging on this cliff. This winter season was before him always. This was the winter of his tragic heart and his fallen from the big city. What a sorrowful man he was, filled with a hard, raw outlook. He chose few moments to smile, but was learning the skill of faking a smile and eventually convincing a smile to others. If you held a smile long enough, sincere or bunk, it slowly transformed into reality. Actions speak louder than hidden feelings, as well as words. What he was to become of him now that he was alone was only up to fortune of free falling in some small town. It war far more luckier than floating about in a big city, which is like hanging off a skyscraper with broken finger nails. Becoming was far more than he planned as a child stumbling on jagged toys and faceless action figures from Toy R Us or some cheap toy store that shelved plastics from China. And how these small trivial playful moments, and wanted moments of labor and the drain of reality, had meshed into thoughts that existed him or once remained in the continuous path toward the multiplying harvest from a single planted seed, and a seed falling from it's makings, and seed falling from another bloomed tree, flower, or bush, this seed spreading into a field, and another harvest and all from a single seed, there it was, buried under his skin, in his blood, blooming into an idea, birthed from what was beat into him by his devoutly strict and militant baptized raised father, it was growing, in him, since his hatching, perhaps another flesh and blood arisen like a evergreen from the soil, in him, into bony matter from a graceful touch and heated beauty of woman, in him, she awaited to send him to greatness. He was chosen, so he left the answer to God and the mysterious concepts of his old religion, deep in the good book of his Father, the world's keeper, lover, poet, artist, whatever he needed to be to continue the beating tick of time, destroyer and the savior, unanswered that lay beyond this very stoop on the corner of Main street and the endless road that awaited his beckoning call in or out of the town of Worth.

Perhaps he'd stay and find meaning in home or would he leave in finding meaning in the absence of home, or would he drop the concept of home all together. Was it a place one could return again. No. It wasn't the idea. Not to return. He had never left. Not the old town. Home wasn't changing. The concept would sink him. Any type of safety, or feeling of security would ruin an artist. Struggle was all he had. Without his struggle he had the numbness of safety, the ordinary burden of satisfaction. Life is divine when one's product is never satisfactory. If everything is perfect one's perspective becomes nullity and pointless. Home was part of this fault or perfection. It was larger, greater more magnificent than a city or town, or village, or even a room. Home became a drug. A way to smother the struggle and water down the fire with secure hands warmed by the home fire. It is in the heart of man to turn back to home, but it not the way of an artist. An artist is a traveler, an adventure and escape artist.

Tom knew he'd die in this big city. Maybe not tonight in this small crabbed hotel room the size of a walk in closet. That is what it was. A walk in closet with a ash tray, TV and slit for a window. Anything for a slice of home.

Home is God. I must return. Home is pleasing our Father. This was his destiny. To die. To die and love God. It wasn't complex. It was as simple as grace.

How do I please you my Lord?

There is an exact time chosen for every moment in this existence.

Thievery has no moment. It has no name. It is silent. Hurtful and quick. Instinctual. A thief does not push, or scythe away at his movements and directions . . .he or she glides, like the sad lover, steals away with the desired object, possess it and, in the same instance, in light or dark, in a cryptic hallway, or lost in a maze within a city, knows what he, or she takes from life and what to give. Tom never planned to steal. It was not how he pictured himself when he imagined his adulthood as a child.

A thief knows every step like the back of his hand. The grace of the step, the catty life, is not something a thief desires to lose. But if he or she requires it too much then the chance of falling into a spiraling imbalance and lost hopes may arrive, as long as his or her actions are governed by greed and stupidity.

Objects are not man's worth. What man possesses is trite and shallow. Possession is not the answer. What is done is what makes a man. His actions make his character. He knew this and this got him far.

Simple actions speak louder than the complex inventions in the world. No super computer can outdo a persons moral choice, nor can the most valuable doctor's tool, outlast a the goodness in a man's heart.

A thief amounts to nothing, but one showed us on the hill of Calvary that words can wipe away sins and start over as an honest man do. That thief, that cloudy day, died next to the Savior, that thief to his side, a man, not a thief, after God touched him with grace, and the once thief lost his urge to take and died a saved man, forgiven of sin.

Out of nowhere, they find themselves trapped. The gadget fails to open the lock, cold arrives, the jewel was a fake and like a small explosion from their faulty canon, a whirlwind of nothing swallows them up and spits them out into a never-ending cycle of nothing. Just as the objects lead to nothingness and pile up to oblivion. And the thief's dream is robbed by the impurity of a good man's thought. Thievery can devour a man. Devours him with a jealous envy. He or she grows sour and spoiled if the thief takes too much material from life without paying with his own hands of labor, or taking on it's weight in good deeds and proper exchanged designed by justice and sound advancement in order to build a purer and more livable surroundings. Gold plated eagle headed watches, money sprees, platinum Chase credit cards, Italian sport cars, hot women on Centerfolds, free nights in hotel suite of river walks up and down America, bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon wine of western cape, poets savored lines from the Renaissance, and whatever he or she can find to steal away with and enter the heart of the Romantic.

Perhaps it is the Zeloft, (medication I am on) speaking and not me at all. Perhaps that is the initial reason for the soft and loving nature of the speech. Perhaps that is why it is so light heated and easy to the ear. Maybe it isn't me speaking at all, but the commercialized tiny light tan pill I place in my mouth without water and let the twenty five milligrams of mysterious technology dissolve away in me stomach acid and release the proper dose of SEROTONIN in my brain and body. Or perhaps it is the love, or SEROTONIN, in my body for the reason for this mess, this useless, shallow piece of art. Some will claim it a masterpiece, and other dung, what difference does it make to me. Do I do it because I chose to do it, or because I have nothing better to do? Do I tell the story because I am in love with it or tired of being in love and want another way out. Perhaps I want another way out of this life, so I chose words. There easy to manipulate, reorder, talk to, even hug, if I draw it out on a giant piece of poster board and cut it out in the shape of a women's curve and rap my hands around it and squeeze really, really, really, really hard and. . .Why not. It might work. It'll work right. Your reading it. Does it sound like a hug, or a kiss, or a night of passion with the opposite sex.

Why not work. Why not garden, or walk someone else's dog, or help decorate Christmas cards dressed as an elf in the mental ward, why not give all my time to the charity at the local church, in some small town, become a volunteer fireworker, why not slave away in some industrial factory, or become a professor and teach college, or dedicate my life to some women and multiply. Why? Because I am a bad seed. I'm no good. I stole and now I want to know why I stole. I want an answer for my deformity and my misplaced life. I stole not because I wanted more, but because I wanted an answer. And now I'm left with nothing, but this chain of a typewriter, or computer, or laptop, or tape recorder, or memo pad, or note book paper, or the back of a match. Left to be put into the Great Wall.

A fantasy. A broken law. A waste. Isn't that what she said. Isn't that one of the meanings of this world. Love. Ha. Bullshit. Right. Sometimes the cost is as important as the payment. Love isn't for free is it? Does love cost? It is supposed to be for free. That is what I was told. No one was supposed to be able to purchase such a godly commodity. Everything, no matter it's purity, has a price. And in many cases the payment is as important as the cost. It goes on like this, sending the ball to the other side of the court until life wears on the player and the game eventually is snuffed out, whistled to an end and called off. What is the cost of love? Believe me it is worth stealing for. Anyone, would and must steal a chance at love. It is the necessity of life. Love was the reason Adam took his fatal bite. Love lured Faust into the pit of hell. If a man tripped and hit the ground he did it for love. He did it for her. Love is the most powerful temptation and the reason for Tom Burnets darkly lived life. Love conquers every dream and will vanquish any goal that man or women pretends to desire, or occupy the fragile and short length his or her time is measured. I have attempted to question if a women really feels the same type of love a man feels. Most likely the love a women feels is far more connected to the human breath and spirit, but I would not know the answer completely and not guess that she feels it in a deeper way. The mother's love is unconditional, necessary and important fact to life, but the mother's love is not the complete existence of the son. The son is independent from his mother and shall seek for a further love. The son most find a new mother and venture away from the bond and care of the mother and father. Once the women is discovered, a man's career lifts off and takes flight. Marriage bonds them and makes them one flesh, bones, spirit and existence. A man's women is a extension of who he is, or one would like to assume this is true. The opposing force to this is divorce. Divorce is proof that man and women, one flesh, can separate back into two different entities and start over. For the children the introduction of step parents arrive and a strange feeling begins to mix in the family and it takes a long time until the family accepts a step parent as a blood relative, if ever.

Why thievery. Why even mention thievery and love? What is the theft and love the poetical musician Dylan once talked of.

Theft? Can theft and love mingle?

That is what sparked the French Revolution. A man stole bread to feed himself from the evil one, from the prince of death, because he loved life, and he sparked a storm of princes and their unforgiving swords. The thief must not grip too tightly around it's worth, than the earnings turn, trap and blind him from the truth of love. Love was born from the simplest deed of the mother deepening into the genius of man's actions. It is what makes him step in grace. The thief, whoever that may be, should never put love over any South African jewel, or solid gold idol from the Pieta, or a mystic, cursed Egyptian staff tucked away under tons of sand and rubble. A true thief is not too forceful with his hands and does not carry himself in a sly matter, only when his draining actions appear and take force does he find smooth stillness and glide back to grace. He can walk a rope if he is doing it for love. He can climb through a ventilation shaft, if for love. A man can do anything for love.

What he did was wrong, disgusting and cowardly, but this immorality did not end him, but make him stronger and more balance. Balance even has a price. Gravity and the chosen, perfectly balanced universe did not begin as simple as a bang. There was a universe before the universe, smaller or larger, it isn't proven, but one would like to think it was much smaller, calmer and more orderly. One would like to think this, but nothing is proven. It is wrong to say that there is no change. Nothing definite exists according to the nature of motion and the direction of birth, life and death, spring, summer, fall and winter. This is a truth in life. Change. The seasons, the greening of trees, the blooming of the most sacred garden flower, daffodils, violets and blue bonnets, and then the slow change, this bright colors turn to a paced gray and then brown, and then to a darkish earth color and closer to ashen, and then, a degrading absence of life, sands teeth, sands eyes and sands everything, slowly the extremity of the change, the heat of summer, the bitter freeze and frost of winter and then, out, out brief flower, and it wilts off the stem and flails, falling to a rest into the snowy icy imprint of the dead season. Seasons prove to us that nothing remains constant. Nothing can. Rain, drought, floods, tycoons, and whirling electric storms, and Godly eathquacks, and Wam the earth moves under one's feet and change reminds man of God's mysterious ways.

Nothing is constant. Almost nothing is absolute and completely concrete. Change is where fear lives. No one welcomes change but the poets and geniuses of the world. If change is welcomed, than, the man welcoming it's instability is a wise and fortunate being. Most do not welcome change. This is one of the faults of man. And he must accept that it is wrong and rationalize that what is done is somehow credited to his well being. The endangering actions he abides to only digs the deeper hole leaving him in a pile of nonsense and meaningless trash. The objects of this world simply pile up and amount to nothing. What difference does it make if something is moved to another location. Is this thievery. If a jewels is thieved from a jewel store and moved to another jewel store a million miles always, and is placed in a case next to a thousand other jewels exactly like the jewel initially stolen, is it still stolen. Yes, but it is placed among other jewels of the same constitution. Only this is what slowly drains the thief to non-existence and chaos. The thief could never steal if everything was the same. That is why he breaks justice and disturbs the balance of law.

He must be wise to stop and quit his sinful deeds. Thieves start storms of irrationality. If he moves to a higher rank, and when the barbarian arrives, he becomes clumsy, obvious and ridiculous, he may find himself at a point of no return and then trapped in his own idiotic nature and greediness.

But the long lasting thief understands the difference between Discover, Take and Conquer. He is more complex than the common farmer but his complexities losing him to abandonment and the cold and dry waste of a shiny objective becomes his harvest.

"Your taking over. He will take over." A thought that reoccurred in this head.

"A skillful thief is hush, hush, direct, swift and flexible." He glides and does not victor over his winning in the eye's of the public. To glide one must be light, quick and direct.

The thief is not a celebratory type of beast. He has a reason for his thefts and stands, or maneuvers by this unique and gingerly chosen reasoning. He is selective about his thoughts and has no right, or cause, to think along the common patterns of a lawman. In doing this, he stands to reason, ( reasons in the form of a secrecy.) No one is perfect. No one goes through life without making mistakes. Yes, a theft makes mistakes. And yes they learn from just like any lawful citizens. But most mistakes are fouled by fear. Fear is a criminals enemy. There is no crime if fear does not exist. If the law is pointless, than crime becomes invisible. Once, law is acknowledged, than restrictions are put into effect, and fear arises, out of anything restricting. For example, handcuffs, chains, the back of cop cars. . .all of these are restrictions and preventions for any swift burglar. The best thieves steal with smiles, and shiny ones at that. Haven't you ever heard of a hold up. He isn't robbing them, but simply holding them up, from there usually way of life. The thief committing a hold up isn't taking life, but slowing it down for his own advancement.

A thief never looks like a thief, and many dress just as you and I. With charm, taste and suave.

"Buy you'll never go to God. You'll never make it to Christ. Give up your story, stop now, go to Him. You don't need the book. You don't need the jewels. You don't need this lie. It's a lie. Stop falling. Stop. You fall to temptation every time."

Every thief is honest. Every thief is a lair. Every thief has flaws, hidden treasure and missing points to his or her life. "He or she would bury his secret under a mound that no one would could ever find." Spoon river echoing in the hollow parts of his memory. Are they more interested in the desire of the materials or the motivation for possessing them.

I believe all thieves are motivated by love, or the loss of love. Some steal for their lovers, but many believe this will cause their love develop, while it sours to a puking mess. Other stealers rob for revenge. Or hurt, and harm to get back at the world for being neglected, isolated and shunned. The worst punishment the punisher could afflict on anyone of us, is the punishment of nothingness. Nothing hurts more than nothing at all. Abandonment hurts.

What hurt Christ more? The nails? No. No. The wipes and torture? No The crown of thorns? No. The spear in his side? No. The agony of the cross? No. What hurt our lord our savoir the most? Well, that is simple. It was when his Father, Our God, sent a cloud to cover the crucifixion from heaven's view. When God turned away from his only begotten son while being crucified. This turning away of God is what hurt Jesus the most. It was the worst pain he felt. It wasn't the pain, but the moment of neglect from his Father. This is what hurts.

What hurts man the most? Yes, the neglect. The abandonment is worse the whips, scorns, thorns, bars, chains and spit. Neglect stings more than any poison, burns hotter than any fire, and sours the soul more than any scolding, boiling hot water, or flaming hellish torment. Nothing at all is the worst thing you can do to someone. Not even a liberal waiting in line at K-Mart blue light special day, hurts more. Not even being alone in Uless, Texas, to be awaken by low flying jet airliners, or looking forward to renting another cheap movie at Albertson, or taking coorespondent classes on the world wide web. Nothing hurts more than neglect. So does Roberto have it lucky. Yes and no. He still has the internet class, the world wide web, and the long lines at Walmart. He still can rent a stupid movie at Albertson. Or perhaps the clerk will select more films selected as Jury prize at Cannes, or more Sundance film festival winners, or at least a better selections. This Action-block buster Arnold Schwarzenegger crap has to go. Well, I got to admit Conan the Barbarian was his greatest work. Maybe Roberto had it okay. Arnold ain't that bad. He was just lost in the sad artist, alone, in his gray day, going to the same ol' job, fast food, or waiting tables, or chews with the mouth closed

Even though one would assume a thief to be materialistic, that false believer is in the wrong. Thieves are quite the opposite of the rich consumer and the over fed one that hogs his earnings. Some thieves don't even value the objects in which they need, or want to steal, and furthermore, they own their frame, their skillful and hunted desirables. They know it all piles up to nothing in the end. But their own temples are what they must protect, and are at times crucified for it. Dexterity and precious bone, and flesh and the body, and mind are always kept exact and aware. A thief values his or her system. And his ownership of the body. Many would never suspect a thief. Many would never recognize they have entered the room, or house, or safe, or car or whatever they need to enter at the time and for whatever reason, trite or desperately crucial..

The thief knows it all piles up to nothing

Robert has no last name. No last name he would give to anyone. He kept it a meanly tight secret and never gave it away to anyone. Not even to this story.

He had three strong creeds about thievery. When the air around him heats up enough, and he feels the need to run, he runs. The time to go is judged on the bases of Epicureanism and not purely practiced upon any analytical judgment. He would run when his gut told him to, or the heat was too much to take, or, and when his instincts commanded him to do so. Roberto listened. Listened to the world humming around him. The inner voice was powerful, but tricky to a thief. Judge more the world that you can see, and not simply the world you think you can see. And last, a good thief, shall lead, not just with his gut, but with his heart. The heart was more important than his hunger. Life is a test and every thief fails it, but in failing awaits a chance to begin again. A thief sees the world as new, like a clown or some ol' kid. After every robbery lies the chance to go clean and begin with purity. This is what makes a thief a great lover.

Roberto believed all great poetry, art and stories comes out of the desire to love. And Roberto felt a connection between theft and love. "I fell the two are close brother and sister. One tempts the other, feeds the other, destroys the other." A true thief is slightly lost and usually begins his dark quest from the recovery of abandonment.

There is a time for people to leave this place. A time to exit this life: city, town, country, ocean, planet and reality are not permanent fixture. Freedom and even life, is not here forever. And it was never meant to be. Nothing was meant forever. Not even Uless, Texas. Death is not a random act. To be trapped is purely was own will. The cell, the locked barred up room, the small little closet from the world, blackened by thick shadows, all of these subjects of nature are chosen destinations. The cell will not arrive by coincidence or unknown happening. Death, I believe, is a chosen act. All people are chosen by a force greater than the force living within them, and some have a gift to know when this act beyond the most vivid belief, will darkly fall upon them, without grief, guilt or sorrow. Death has no judgment, it has no shame, no reasoning, no forgiveness and it does not take names or give names, or collect information, or ask for ones credit card. Death arrives stealthily and simply conquers and sometimes with incredible grace. It may move with flexibility, and directness. Simply arrive, smother the beating of the heart and fly off into the night air. This person being man or motherearth it does not matter, is omniscient. Death will arrive and matter will change, and life continues. The selected few, the chosen ones to die, do not fall into death with out the choice to happen first. Death does not collapse upon someone randomly. Everyone, and I believe this, welcomes it in a subconscious or conscious way. The ones who are ready to die, makes the decision. Roberto will decide, let go and stop breathing at the end of his story. Have you ever heard of the phrase, Love is stronger than death. Love is the strongest force known to mankind. It even competes with the force of God, or any other deity, in other religion. It is an act, it can be predicted if the chosen one, the selected one chosen to love. Just as the act of death is chosen. It is called upon. It is summoned just as a snake is can be seduced to rise out of basket by the graceful song of the recorder. Death arrives, wraps around. It does not fail, if they death wisher welcomes it honesty; to lie down, to stop in motion, freeze, smile upon it's many faces, turns, roads, signs, hisses, moans, ecstasies, strict rules, cries, accidents and laborious unwanted demands, vigorous hellish piggish labor, painful hellish lumps a person on the head, or in his or her sleep or on the highway traveling sixty three miles per hour and suddenly hitting zero.

There is such thing as an alpha male. The leader of a pack of wolves eats first in the bestial tribe. It eats and then, the other, the lesser eats after. The weakest of the bunch is fed the least unless it cheats and this may cause it's life from the hungrier of mightier of the pack. Life and death is a science. There is art involved in both realms of existence. Yes, death is an existence. Its cold, slow, mutilatating and chaotic existence, but nevertheless, death exists in us all. Death selects. What I mean by this is that death has a personality, even a name. Death exist as words, as a black nothingness and as void of life. It is the opposite of what we know as existence but in this existence lies space and time, and space and time is what life, or death, or any word, or idea, created or destroyed shall fall into. Nothing, not even nothing can exist with out space and time. Time does not take form, but it takes measure and in it's measurement space some how arrives. The thief awoke that morning half dead. His breath scared him. Simply caused him to jump, shake and grab at his heart. He was off as the sun rose over Uless, Texas. He had one week to move out of his place. The notice was taped gently on his door.

Name. "Roberto Smith." Of coarse this was not his own name. By far, it was a lie. His friends called him Robby, but his full name was not Roberto Smith. It was not Roberto at all. "Do you have a middle name?" The jailer asked. "Middle name?" Robert stood still and then took in a half breath and nodded. "No." The jailer did not find his gesture humorous. "Ok. Lay your wallet, keys, and all other belonging on the table in the white box, step back and take off your pants, shirt and tie. Lay them on the table as well." "I do not have a wallet, but you may have my pants, shirt and tie." He grinned. The jailer was big man with a small voice. He carried a round belly, dark deep eyes, strict blue, standard Uless uniform. and his moustache was on crooked today. He had lazily shaved, and trimmed it at a funny angle. "Step back. Thank you. Put this own." He handed Robert an orange jump suite. "Change into the jump suite. You will be here until Monday unless bail is posted." Robert slipped the neon bright uniform one leg at a time and headed down the hall. He turned the corner, hard steel angles, and fell to a stop at hard, thick black line. Three cameras were posted edging the ceilings. One at the right corner, one directly above his forehead, six foot away, and one to the left, but not in the corner but rather hanging from the ceiling, alone, black, with a focusing iris. "Smile." The jailer said and the click rose. "Turn to the right." The jailer said as the click happened once more. "Turn to the left, just profile." "What is this three dimensional photography." Robert said with smile. I hate this fucking town. Robert said as he stepped into the dark. The long and sliding steal bar door slowly roared to a clanging bang behind him, echoing as he found his seat near the wood table, with a chess board carved onto the top surface. No one occupied the Uless Jail cell. Robert began to cry. It was his second arrest. The first was a false charity case. He was unknowingly working with a group of thieves selling add space in The Sheriff and Support fund magazine of Los Angeles. He was arrested out in Long Beach, California near the beach off of second street at a place called the Acapulco lounge. An airplane zoomed overhead, with unnatural force. "Uless Texas." Robert whispered. He was not from Uless. Robert never told a soul where he was born, he didn't even tell the lady he had fallen for out in Long Beach. No one. He told no one. Robert was from a small town east of Texas. He was born a mile from New Orleans in a town with no name, no population and no care. He was born in the back of a trailer house in a field. Not even a destination unit, or geographical number is marked on his birth certificate. Some people born out in sea are giving numbers due to the fact that there is no town, city or country out in the ocean, but only a plotted number destination like 33 West by 40 North, or 10 west on the meridian (or equator.) Robert did not have numbers on his certificate. He only had his name, destination was not marked, and his father's name was not marked. His mother was named Mary Phillips. . .but she had taken her maiden name and never gave the last name to his son. Robert did find a photo of a man when he was five. He found it in an old shoe box, over the sweater guard in the closet. He remember the water stains, and the smell of methane gas. "Mommy is this Daddy?" Robert said as he picked up the graying photograph and admired it; holding it up to the light, like some scientist or detective may do with hidden files concerning lost cases, or photos of lost insects or important forensics evidence or murder weapons. "Is it Daddy?" "Daddy doesn't exist anymore child." Mary said lighting a new Newport menthol with the burning cherry end of her nearly smoked to the but cig . "Daddy turned into a toad and hoped off to la la land." She smiled at him. He jumped around in the closet and giggled.

It wasn't long until Marry met a man. He was a school teacher named Thomas Danes. He taught English Literature and a special playwrighing coarse at a High School a mile from the heart of Louis street, New Orleans. They moved into the Fairmont hotel and it wasn't but a semester until Thomas decided to leave highschool behind him and move onto higher education. He decided to use his master he achieved at Columbia to teach at SMU in Dallas, Texas. He had enough saved, fourteen thousand in savings, to take them their and move into a small apartment room off of Main Street.

"Hang the DJ. Hang the DJ. Hang the dj, hang the dj, hang the dj, hang the deeeejaaaay. Hang the dj. Hang the dj, hang the dj haaaaang the dj hang the dj." "Shut up will ya." The jailar howled at Robert. "Sorry. It's lonely in herr." "Well, keep it down will ya. I'm trying to read the paper." "Sorry." Singing the Smith's did not help the matter of being in the cell, but the lonely shadows, and the thick un escapable bars, mad him beyond antsy, "Shop lifter of the world unit and take. . ." "I mean shut up." The jailer said, biting his Big Mac into three soggy pieces. "When I mean shut up I mean. . ." "Fine. Fine. No more singin." Robert retorted. He fell silently off to sleep and dreamt of riding the back of his old camero while his high school sweaty, Shelly played with the volume. They where on their way to a Smith Concert just outside of campus. Robert had been accepted to SMU for performance art and the Smiths had stole his heart and mind. "I can't believe it. I can't believe will see them live and flesh. Morrissey will be there. Is this not trip." Shelly was the average bimbo of the times. It was 1989 and the nineties had not just begun. "Can you believe it. This is the one. I'm going to fall from the cat drop onto his shoulders. I gonna crawl across the pit." "Hush down Shelly." Robert pulled out a highway map of 1-30 leading to dallas from Ft. Worth Shelly's hometown. "I want to dodge traffic by going through downtown. Not straight through to Fair park." "Okay. How do you suppose going through downtown will help?" "I don't. I just want to try it." The break lights annoying electronic color seem to flash in Robert's eyes. "Back to back traffic. Can you believe this shit. I thought I was the only Smith's fan at Trinity Valley." "What about me. I'd die for Morrissey." "Bullshit, you had your chicken dinner with ma and paw last week." "They won't let me be a fulltime vegetarian. You know they'd kick me out if. . ." "Turn right, right. On the Exit ramp. Fair park. Go now." Shelly swerved the car over. Robert spilt the green colored grass from the bong pipe. It was one of those makeshift laboratory pipes he had thieved from the lab in science class. "What now?" Shelly returned. "Turn up hang the Dj and I will light up. But pull over at this Mobil. I want to get a snickers and breath tacs." "Why do you call them breath tacs. Their tic tacks." "I just do." "Your trying to sound British Robert. You're not. You're an American. And you call them breath tacs but you sound british when you say it. Grow up man." Robert packed the pipe tighter and stoked it hard. The cherry brightened along with his smile. "Got weed?" Robert announced. "What?" "Weed. Got weed?" "No." "Pot, herb. You want some?" "Yours. Is it laced again." Shelly pulled the car onto the exit ramp and headed toward the Mobil. "It's closed." "The Philip sixty six station, man." Shelly hated when Robert called her 'man." "Don't call me man, man. I am a women." "Okay. Women, pull over to the Philip sixty six. . ." Hooonk. Traffic indulged behind them, as Shelly hit the blinker and pulled into the station. "This one better be open." "The sign says it is." Robert toke'd on the bong a few hits and passed it to the Shelly. He opened the door, slung on his pea coat and headed out into the cold. "Want anything." He hollered through the front windshield as he belly slid across the hood. He was young, alive and full of energy, good looks and charm. "Are you sure." "Get me Camel lights and ah, a diet pepsi." "A diet what. You way two pounds Shel. Ya don't need diet anything." "Diet pepsi and Camels. Now." She gritted her teeth, smiled and stuck her tongue out as fast as pit viper. Robert ran into the station and vanished behind the steamed covered swinging door. The cow bell near the shiny rusty golden hinges rang as Shel flicked her head up, holding the heated pipe. Robert returned with the snacks, a beer and cigs. "Got everything. Camel lights for you, beer for me. Oh, and not to forget the weed." He took the bong back from her and Shel stepped on reverse. "What happen to the snickers." "They only had Hershey chocolate bars and I hate Hershey products. I only like the special chocolate at the health food store. Hershey gives me gas." "Gas?" "Gastorical problems." Robert returned and lit a Camel up for Shel. "Thanks. Since when did you start hated Hershey." "Look. I don't need candy. I want to look good for Morrissey. Plus, you know, Hershey sounds gross. I can stand snickers because it has nuts but that chocolate shit gets boring. Plan old Hershey Ewww. I want variety in my bars or something from Germany or Italy, or foreign choco. Not generalized. . ." "Okay I get the point. I get the point." Shelly turned up the volume and began to hum along. "Girlfriend and a coma I know I know it's really serious." "Did you make this tape." "Why?" Robert asked. "Well, hang the DJ is not on the same Album as Girlfriend in a coma." "So." "So. If I make a Smiths tape I keep all the songs on one album on one tape. That way, ah, I want get my songs mixed up. Its respectful to. The Smiths and Morrissey were going through different moods and times, and the ages where different in England when the albums where being created. Stop here. At the next seven Eleven. I want to get some American Spirits." "Why?" Shel pondered over his dim whit logic of mixing Smith songs. "What difference does it make." "I don't think that song is on Coma's album either." "No. I was asking what difference does it make, not the song. And I don't think what difference does it make makes any difference anyway. Just shut up about tape mixing." Robert toked up another hit, and passed the smoking pipe back to Shel. She turned the wheel to the side at the stop light and waited. Traffic was becoming more and more jammed.

The jail cell slammed. Roberto awoke from his day dream. He was thirty again. No longer a boy of seventeen smoking bowls of weed, hanging out at Smith concerts and listen to Smashing Pumpkins until dawn. He was fully grown, past puberty, alone, in a dark prison cell, claimed as a armed robber. A thief. A menace to man.

They made it.

The furthest Roberto had come to making it in life was moving away into an Apartment from a twenty minute train ride from the heart of Dallas. Roberto grew up there as a youngster, hung out with the artsy types, Smith fans, became a fanatic, dated dead heads and found himself alone, in homosexual encounters with strange blond boys that practice water color, stensile and acrylic. Never met one that used real oils. It was crucial for him to be right as a teenager, and even more crucial to be write as a poet, a failure and half fool.

That is what a poet is, a half fool.

It was one year, only three hundred and sixty five days past his high school reunion. Some of his old friends, especially the artsy types and performance based groups, had made it out in the world. They had landed jobs as accountants, French teachers in Paris, non-profit organizations in Washington D.C., coordinator managers at eye contact lens solution factories like Alcon, and managers of clothing wear, interior decorators, designers, magazine editors, painters. Some of them got married, had children, even some married each other, traveling freely through the great county with handsome paychecks enough to by Roberto a month supply of food. Paychecks in the thousands. Roberto usually only made up to two to three hundred a week and that is if he worked a full shift.

They had made it. Really made it in the world. I am not in the world.

He never felt so alone. He regretted his trip to Los Angeles and his attempt to sell his music, his face.


A movie. A sequenced of film images projected onto a screen in rapid succession to create the illusion of motion and continuity. A cinematic narrative.


Roberto could no longer separate the voices. He used to identify each one that spoke to him. Now it was many. Many voices. Over and over, almost as one. Sometimes it sounded like a little girl. Sometimes like a old man. Sometimes it was his sister's voice, or his mothers, or a past lover, or his father's, or the voice of a kid he grew up with in sixth grade. All of the voices taunting him. Judging him. Dictating.



As a kid, Roberto valued film nearly more than his sweaty Shel. He loved films more than life it's self. He was a hermit of the movie house. To him, he could live in one. As long as films where spinning off and on the reel, Roberto was smiling. His uncle owned a cinema house for a few years and he would visit to watch him roll the reels and polish the projector lenses. It wasn't much work as long as you had dedicated and loyal employees.

I mean, what would you do? Well, you'd go to the business, teach. . .

What would she do.

Roberto began to imagine what she'd do. A lady friend he once admired in High school, now is off abroad in Paris teaching business people, that do not know English, the language of English. Roberto had nothing more to do, but to contemplate and think it over. My life is shit. I have gone nowhere. What now. Hollywood didn't take me the first time. Where do I go when I get out of here. Mom's far away from home and my step father despises me. What now? I have no lady. I have no love. With out love I am nothing. NOTHING.

What would she do? Go to the louve, study paintings walk along the river. I don't know what that river is called. The famous one that runs by the triangular buildings above the paintings. Above the museum. What are they called? What is the building called. The underground one with Mona Lisa. Ah, yes. The louve. The Louve. Yes, that is what they call it. But the river. What is the rivers name. The river.

A long solid slam rang hard and cold through the prison cell. Some one was coming. The footsteps slowly crept one step at a time. One step at a time. Closer to him. He couldn't wait. He had to see. Who would pay him a visit. Who was the next prisoner. He no longer thought of the girl. No longer contemplated her arrival and departure and her life abroad. He no longer cared.

What. Who. Who is it? Who. What is his name. It must be a male prisoner. Is he black, white, Native American, Mexican. What? Is he buffed out, thin, is he a danger. What is he like?

The echoes of the footsteps continue to ring and dance toward him in a an almost militant lyrical shattering tune The stranger that was walking toward his newly barred front door was surely not barefoot. The clicking from his heels were far too sharp and pointed. It was the sound of his boots clicking on the hard metal floor service before the tank door. It wasn't another prisoner. It was the guardsman. He was bringing Roberto the same old food he had been hogging down for the last three days. "Oatmeal, sugar packets and vitamin D and calcium fortified milk. It was his only pleasure and sadly enough his only love, besides the theme music to the reruns on the guards music and his sacred memories he called upon and played over and over again like a rusty VCR. "Same ol milk and oatmeal. Rise and shine sir." "Am I the only prisoner today?" Roberto asked the guard. "Yep. The only one in Uless. Enjoy." The guard spoke in a thick southern accent but tried to cover it by rounded off the diphthongs and straightening the cut off inflection. "Ol melk and owtmeeel." The guard chuckled at him, whistled some ol' Dixie tune, most likely learned and shared by friends and other hick folk, and walked off, clicking and banging his heels like some nazi soldier from the distant past. Then, the guard sat in the check in booth, replaced the old thumb print box and turned up the volume to the AM/FM radio. "Same ol ball and chain." Floated around the echoing halls of the jail cell that evening. It kept playing after every other song. It was Johnny CashO'thon and the radio station was an overly dedicated vagary of Cash's music.

"Hey. Can you turn it down a little." Roberto begged. "Yeah." The guard said then Roberto, "Listen." A lull filled the room. It was thick and as silent as last night's hard stay. "Sir. I've been here for three days. My court date isn't till Tuesday. Is there anyway I could speak with you." Roberto was losing it. Last time he stayed a night in jail he never spoke to anyone. Not a soul. He saw it as bad luck. Never speak to another criminal and only fuels the crime or the intent of the next crime. But a guardsman. Only say a few words to a jailer, if even look one in the face. "I know this sounds gay but I want to talk with you." The old man, with his round long belly, and piercing ocean colored eyes, eased his way one click at a time to the bars. "You wanna talk to me, huh." "Yes. I don't know if you know this but I was dedicated writer before I got tossed in here. And I have a problem with it. Sort of an addict at it. At story telling. And well, I want to talk with you. Carryon. I've been too lonely here. Far too lonely." The jailer looked down at his leather boot, spotted a white smear, bent down slowly like the wilted death of an old oak tree, wiped the smear clear and rose to an erect form. Roberto saw this act as the first man to rise up from the soil. Like adam, but with a beer belly and a strictly pressed and scotched guard canvas blue jailer uniform, with the silver star and some gold name tage that read, "My name is Ted. Teddy's what everyone calls me, that knows me, but you may call me Ted." "Thinks Ted." Roberto said. "I know this seems crazy but I want to tell you about the story I am working on. About the characters, the plot, the theme just so I don't forget it all. So I can remember everything." "We know what you are in here for sir. Writer or thief, we have the law on ya. Armed robbery is a serious offense." "True." Roberto added. "But my story, my words at my ol place, is more important than some stupid stick up that happens five times a week somewheres in this country." "You don't' sound like a writer. Using words like somewheres." "I write what I know. I write from the heart. From the hip. It's the only way I know. Many great writers were never even educated. Perhaps that will change your mind." "Maybe. Who wasn't educated as a writer." "Well, me. I was trained in another field but I fell into the word as a profession. But many great men in the bible were writers, and story tellers and they never went to a university." "Did you go to a university." "Yes." Roberto retorted. "For seven years.. I studied performance art." "Pretty different than writing. Say, tell me this, uh. . ." His eyes stopped. For a second it looked like this tree of a man was going to kill over. A moment lingered. The type of moments that arrive before a rain storm or some awesome cataclysm. "what's your name agin?" "Roberto." "Roberto what?" "Roberto Pace." "Hm. Pace. Never heard of ya." The guardsman said squinted his eyes like aged James Dean. The old man reminded the guardsman of pruned out and overly tanned James Dean or some ol country and western singer with a burnt and reddened neck. "Ya got sooom ol never in ya to strike some kind of literary challenge with me sir." The guard pouted. "You best make this conversation quick. Ya need toilette paper, some juice or a phone call. But you have no need to tell a story in here. You save that for the judge, and he'll sin ya to the loony bin if you strike that attitude up in court. Best keep you senses of reason up and your creative spark down." "Well, I'd appreciated if you just talk with me. Three days no conversation is hell on man's brain. You get to go home, talk with your wife or dog, or plant or something." "All I got at home is tv. My wife is gone, my dog doesn't hunt no more and I've taken up to reading the reader digest. Two hours a day." "Well. Maybe you could increase your knowledge. I speak from the heart. I mean what I say. I'm not fibbing ya. If you listen to me for awhile, maybe you get more out of all this." "Out of all what?" The guardsman returned. "Out of this life." A hm, expression formed over the guard's face like a dark cloud before the sun on a Sunday picnic. "Well. I guess I could listen to a story. A friend on mine that works out of town drives up and down thirty playing them cassette tapes of Stephen King and them help self books. You might do me good. I'll give you twenty minutes, maybe more. How does your story begin Robert." The guardsman walked away and returned with a small stubby, petite bar stool from the corner of the front booth. "Got a sit." He sat down simply on the stool letting the force of gravity lower him, similar to how Roberto Grandfather would sit, taking his time, moving one segment of his body with the other, like a boat fly it's state flag across the center on any modern machine. "I can't sit this body here too long. Getin ol." He grumbled. "How does it begin?" "Well. It starts of in Dallas."

Roberto walked out of SMU film acting class at around nine PM. "I'm not waiting on the cunt for more then ten minutes." The film teacher was late again. It was her third time in the past two weeks. She was a young professor hot off the press of NYU film school, a failed actress of Broadway looking to support herself by suckering a few actors in believing one needs lesson to act on film. Robert had slept with her twice a dozen times that year. One night with wine, the other ten without. She was stubborn in bed; with squeezing her legs against your ribs, but she kicked into an orgasm in the first few hundred pumping thrusts or so. Her favorite position to do it with Robert was in spoon, with panties on and crept to on side of her crotch. She sweated a sweet smell. She sort of smelled like rosy around the time she began to cry out.

He could still smell her cheap Paris bought, at the local gift shop entitled, Piere Dogode, near the louver. It was a one time shop, open seasonally that sold cheap items, post cards, cigarettes and T-shirts in English and French with the slogan and an icon of the Eiffel tower, "I love Paris." And the same in French. French cigarettes, cigar, small wine bottles with fancy wineries and so on. Basically, besides the glitter and powder, the bitch was a cheap French whore. She could be bought out under two hundred francs or if good looking enough, a bottle of wine from the Burgandy region, marked before nineteen ninety one. Simply, and straightforward, she was Walmart brand passing as Neiman Marcus. Anyway, Robert loved her. He figured she'd make him happy and she smelt decent. A few months went by, then snow, then more snow, then an ice storm and then the fall semester closed. Robert had experienced his first winter love with a real professor of literature arts. He learned about syntax, and theme paralleling political subjects, and how Nietzsche, and the works of Marcel Marceau, bib, her favorite mime, has changed modern man and so on and so on. She helped him with the works of Bellows, and Faulkner, and the golden words of Hesse and Shakespear, and his rhythm of three and how Goethe wanted to master everything in life, not just science, not just literature, and writing, and language, and the devils hidden messages, and the secretes of gold, and refinery, and acting, and dance and on and on and on. . .she never stopped teaching him the works, the words, the reasons for enrichment and betterment of man and his vicissitudes. She come home with movies by Bertolucci and Ingmar Bergman and command him to write three page papers concerning the provocative and deeply explored presence of American film actors and the persona of film acting and it's relation to the American masculine mystique entitled, "Death of a Stud." He was ordered busy work, and to build his vocabulary and knowledge of film, French masterpieces in art and literature, American poetry and the works of American writer's and their addictions. "It seems most all American writers have fallen to the illness of vagary, fanaticism and some form of drug use. . .." He would run to the library, check out books, compose two page paper and his reward would be sex. Hot, passionate and raw sex, from the Ms. Maria Godard. He was happy but not deeply satisfied. There was missing blocks in his heiarcy of needs. He had the water, the air, the food, the shelter, the love but not the self actualization. And with out the self worth, and self awareness, the water, the air, food, shelter and love, sex or whatever, would not amount to shit. He needed himself. Independence. One morning Maria return with a thesis on Gilgamesh and the art of war, and Roberto had left a thick pair of foot prints in the snowy backyard. To make things dramatic and to some up the mis en scene of the situation, he jumped the backyard fence.

It was a romantic getaway.

He summed her up as a second class package, a true Blanch DeBois. All teachers are Debois. Dreamers with lost ideas, and lost people, fighting death, and hunger and tearing apart pages of poetry and meaningless love letters.

Roberto decided to see a therapist. He had lost something. Something he was once very sure of, very confident of. Himself. He was no longer familiar with himself any longer. The therepist was at a place called the Wellnes Center of DFW. He saw an older lady, with a healthy figure and soul larger than New York city. She was so full of life, that just sitting near him healed. He agreed that the best healer, was mother nature, women or soil.

Later, that week, he decided to devour himself in books, stories and other masterful writers of our times.

He checked out the entire collection of Paul Auster's New York Trilogy and a few books concerning Auster's life and one book called something with the title Solitude and decided to return Classic Film Scripts of Marcel Carne. He was leaving the French whore behind and turning to the good life. He was considering going back to school, teaching college or other levels of education and making a living as a drama teacher. Roberto's theory on life is, "You can not escape what you love to do. You are what you love. If you run from what you are, you will trip and fall." Sooner or later he would become his stories and his stories would become himself and never would he allow a trick to defeat him, to stumble him, stupefy him to ignorance. Art was being true to thyself. Art was doing something capable and fully. Something from love and not from nothingness. But at times, he found himself composing one page poems about the lost women of his life, or the lost ideas, or lost story, the forgotten works, and play them down on paper, like some ol song from the heart of the devil. Never would he fall for love again. It always lead him to the ground, closest to his weakest point. Never would he beg for mercy again. Roberto was starting over. He decided to turn the leaf and follow his love. He would compose a love story about the women, or a fantasy, that would make all this pain go away. A story to disguise life. Some say it would become a sort of morphine drip, others a true masterpiece and most critics would not argue that the two subjects, morphine and masterpieces, are much different in nature or beast.

He no longer had Maria but he did have art. Art became his love now. The biggest gift he noticed, giving to him by God, wasn't necessarily his life, although that could be argued by many doctors and lovers, but it was his ease of falling into new interest. See interest is a important ingredient to success. If one can always keep his or her interest occupied, and hungry, than that person will never fall into the blue. The blue is what Roberto called the freezing hell of depression. At times it could trap you in bed for hours, and one could even be so sunken that they barely could find the bathroom door, or lift the sheets above their waists. The blue was worst than a gun shot. Plus, most gun shots came with doses of morphine. Anything to stay above the waters. Trouble was knocking on Roberts door. Loan payments from college, credit card slips, bills, rent, and food. He found himself calling the local Texas Department of Human services and applying for food stamps. Some morning he'd wake up panicking. I'm dieing. I can't breath. Its over. But it was only his artistic soul fighting back, kicking his ass, GET OUT OF BED, DOOOO SOMETHING IDIOT. Work, create. Create, work. Get a job. A girl. A life. A lady. A love. Go , go, don't let the blue take you under.

He remembered once when he was a kid. AT the age of three. His sister would take his fire engine toy from him, steal it from his happy hands and laugh. "Ha, ha. You can't play with it anymore." The magic of Roberto was natural. He would crawl back to the toy bin, full of magical dolls, and tinker toys, and wooden blocks and chose a new activity to conquer. This was what killed his sister will. This is what hurt her. It wasn't that he couldn't play with the fire engine any longer, but it was that he could find something new to roll across the carpet, something new to make him smile. Happiness was gold. Happiness was worth far more than money. He had failed with so many times during his life, but he kept going. At the age of fifteen he broke his ankle trying to become noticed as a masterful skater. He wanted to be on H-street out in California and make it as a skater dude. He broke it bad. It was called a spiral fracture. He decided to give up skating at the age of seventeen and try out drama. He continued acting for eleven years, and even got accepted to a prestigious acting school in the heart of New York's art district near NYU, 12th street and the Strasbergian Studios. He was making it and then, he went mad. Completely and utterly mad. He lost control and went overboard. He had to fly home and start over. His next love became writing.

"Mom I want to be . . ." He remembered those words he told her at the age of twelve. Mother I want to be. Thus, simple words followed by whatever. Simply, I want to be. Those are powerful words from a boy of twelve and half. Germans believe that a boy, at this age, decides on his future, his career and his living. He told her his love for the bible, and story telling and decided that writing and telling stories would make him happy. "Mom I want to be a writer." "Huh." She said back to him, steering the new Mercedes bought by the recently divorced father. "I want to be a writer." "Then be one honey." Mom said with a smile. It was as easy as that. Now, all he had to do was perfect language, and the art of story telling. But language and syntax and English lit wasn't enough. It was more than that. It was will. A writer has an incredible will. One his acting teachers in New York. Rob Lieberman told him, "A writer is always trying to kill himself." He never understood why Rob told him this. What did he mean? Kill himself. Writers. Do they do that? I thought the enriched the world around them with words and themes, and images of a imagined world, not blow their heads off with a double barrel shot gun. Writer was trouble. For some reason it brought the demons of trouble.

There wasn't more than a month that would go by, that Roberto was not found waiting in the principal office for breaking certain principles for fighting with boys or arguing with girls, or pretending to smoke a paper rolled marijuana joint, before a pepper alley in the sixth grade. Roberto was learning to suck the marrow from the bone. His first lesson in writing, and the one that counts is Carpe Diem, not self control Self control is a lesson for survival, Carpe Diem is a necessity for the craft or writing and art.

As he spilled his guts to the fat guard, Roberto convinced him to lend out a sheet of paper and a stubby old pencil, cut in half, with no eraser. "Thank you." He said with focused presents. "I have to switch off with the other night man. I'm leaving early, mid shift, so, I'll have to see ya tomorrow. I have a daughter to visit in the hospital." Roberto tossed a signature wave to the exiting guardsman and his clicking heels vanished in the shadows of the prison.

Roberto began to write on the note book paper,

I am finished, but I go on.

I have been asked to give up, but I go on.

I don't know why I am here, but I am here.

I see bars before me but I chose not to grasp them.

Does this mean I am in prison. What is imprisonment?

I am but as young as before and as old as always.

I am. I was. And I will be. Again and again

In the words I live.

I will begin again.

Robert wished he could break through the thick cement wall beside him, tear down the bars that kept his freedom. He do anything to escape, run off to some town, apply as a night stocker at a grocery store, take up a journal on the observations of a small unknown town. Memoirs about his life alone, as night crew member at an Albertsons or Tom Thumb, or a Wiggly, HEB, or Safe Way far off lost in the highway veins of this overly populated country. Anything, but this loneliness, this abandonment and hell. How would Roberto meliorate in a place so dark, cold and unforgiving. How does one progress without nurturing and lovemaking. How does one take in life with out giving back. How could Robert give back if no one was around that would take him in, employ him or forgive his non-Texan ways. After all he was an eccentric. Not every one in Uless owned a Peter Murphy shirt and memorized theories of Bertrand Russel.

One cannot fully bloom with out a sincere exchange. This world does not treat the lonely. How does one grow, and progress, in career or the market, if touching, kissing, lovemaking is forbidden. And the knowledge and experience of romance and life's true worth is shun. Roberto had worked, in the last past year, hard and laboriously. He had seven jobs in one year and every work place fired him for his temper and loss of control. It was his two enemies of his character. And since then he had to take a sine cura (with out care of souls) or what most people call temporary service, or tempt agency (the hell of sinecure.) A salary position required little or no work-and then, Roberto could focus on his book, or put his book down for a few weeks and sharpen his physique, slice the fat of his writer fashioned frame and build up vocally and spirit wise for the big audition out in Dallas. Writing and acting created many conflicts in Roberto's life. The two crafts had extremely different approaches and processes, systems and ways of perceiving life. Performing and creating stories were distant brothers, but nevertheless, they had relations. It was a contradictory tornado inside his being. It was like studying painting and dance simultaneously.

Robert kept nodding off to sleep, or nap, and a sudden shock of energy would arise in the pit of his stomach, as if falling off to sleep, without a proper meal, or perhaps because sleep was in a cell, surrounded by nothing. He was very much dependent on the jailer and this made him jump with excitement.

There is a type of rip that may happen, in jeans, or slacks, that can not be repaired, not even with a cloth patch, cross stitching or any other type of tailor's technique or tool. The rip after ripped, is permanent. There is no going back. It is the type of rip that leaves a gapping canyon vertically, across the grain of the cloth. This means the cloth is damaged beyond repair and the jeans, or slacks are lost to the trash. Roberto learned this from one of his sewing teacher in an elective costuming class at the state university he attended for three years North of Uless. He compared this accident, or rip in cloth, to the emotional life and psychological scar of a person. Once damage is done upon another person, mentally more so than physically, the scar is forever gapped. This means their emotional life is forever changed. There is no needle, thread, style of stitch, or glue, that will patch the past pain and suffering that was inflicted upon the victim.

All those that are forced to stay home after graduation, or after the age of twenty are victims of an afflicted circumstance. The affliction may not of been caused by parent, or guardian or teacher, but may have stemmed from the lack of intelligence, lack of will, laziness, or poverty. There is no way out of it. The person, besides Kafka's life as a writer and poet, and his home and his unwillingly forced circumstance, has been damaged in such a way, that the name Laura Wingfield has been stamped on their forehead and they are forever caught in a whirlwind of borrowing money from their relatives to pay rent, or lodging or food or both and travel expenses too. Those who stay home lose. Those who leave and never come back to home, win. Those who leave home and return, for any reason lose. And if they leave and never return, the win. This is a true cycle. There are no exception. YOU CAN NEVER GO HOME AGAIN. It is fact. Roberto tried it and lost. He tried running off to the West to pursue the Hollywood dream only to awake to the busy sounds of taxi cabs off Broadway. He went around the world and decided that maybe I can return home again and he learned the hard way. Never go back. Never. Not even to write a book. There is no excuse to return home, but to gain twenty pounds and suffer from deep depression. Stay gone. Stay away. Stay abroad. Don't return. Roberto had dug a deeper whole of his artistic debt toward mankind. He had written two books and never attempted to publish either.

Why would a mother give a son false gift. Mom was always giving Roberto toys of the most classy skin and showy nature. Not simple toys, for trashing or forgetting, but toys that would last him, entertain him, and keep him company. Roberto needed them. He needed some materialistic object to occupy, or may I say, pass his time. It is sad, but true. He needed something other than another human to keep his company. Roberto was the type that would never be able, in the future, and at his present state of five, keep a friend, or lover. Roberto may not ever get married, but will and has gone on a limitless and countless dates with lady friends (excursions known as one night stands.) Roberto was not the type to lay down any laws in a relationship, or standards, and this was a good thing, especially in dating. Roberto's problem was he allowed too much freedom with his partner. He wasn't caring enough. He didn't give a damn what they did, and if they did cheat on him, he wouldn't hold it against their love. He had no ties. No ties whatsoever and this cost him. A good husband is one that does make choices, that does care about the promiscuous behavior of his wife and her future. He shoots for purity and knows he'll end up with a little particulates in the relationship. It is natural for her to look at other men, to admire movie stars on the silver screen and to dream. But the good husband, does not allow his love, his wife, to cheat. It would be wrong, and he would be a false husband.

Strictness was his flow in becoming a substantial and well rounded husband. He lacked discipline as a worthy partner. Care is an important aspect in a long term commitment.

Now about the toys. See, he's toys were never kept up with, or turn apart, or just lost. Mother would go out by him the best toy out there, and Roberto would trash it all. He never learned the concept of you pay for what you get, because he was spoiled and never giving the opportunity to purchase his own toy. Thus, his mother's too giving heart, his mother's sparring of the rod, and overly giving nature disabled him. He never earned his right to grow into a man. Thus, Roberto, the criminal, the thinly muscled thief, sitting alone in the shadows of his cell, never matured. He was steal a boy in a man's body.

Many writers are misfits, boyish men, and rebels of society. Perhaps they had similar complications with their mothers. Problems never sewn up. Gapping wounds carved out into the mind, and soul, by over spoiling. What this causes is a horrible fascination that live if for free. Life is for free boys take it away. Just take. Take and Take. Their skill and ability to give evaporates into uselessness and low self esteem and fear. This all leads to anger and anger can lead to thievery.

Much of his work poetry, art and stories come off as bullshit, or a false gift. A writer can write for many reasons. To entertain. To enriching. To love. To give knowledge. A writer is a master of giving. He gives his perspective on life. He gives his wisdom, his imagination, his knowledge. And knowledge is power. One of the greatest powers out there. Knowledge is even more worthy and powerful than money. And the only worth of money is for spending. Knowledge has the same worth a seed has to the soil. Man will never progress if knowledge, inventiveness and his story, or history, is not passed on.

The back story on Shel Thorns.

Five years later Shel would end up as a prostitute. "Pass it over." She took the joint from Roberto and pinched it firmly between the thumb and index finger. "You like Roberto or Robert?" Robert leaned over an unzipped his trousers. The 747 roared over Shel Volkswagon and rattled the windshield wipers. "Roberto is the romantic. He believes in passion, honesty, sonnets and long, hot sex." Roberto smiled and reached for the joint as Shel toked on it harder. "Slow down there Shel. Moderation." She passed the marijuana cigarette back to Roberto. "What about Roberto?" "Good question. See Roberto is the opposite. He is my shadow." "Shadow?" "Yes. Shadow. He is the opposite of a lover. Roberto is a thief." "A thief? Your stealing shit now." She let out a deep, hollowing inspired guffaw. She began to sing with a lyrical spirit. "Shop lifters of the world unite and take over." "Stop it. I'm serious. I have to be that way. In order to keep the romantic side of me, I have to well, you know." "No. What?" "I have to sometimes live the life of Roberto. Robert's shadow." "So you have to be bad. . ." "Sometimes to be good." "Interested. Was that purple hair indigo." "No. Skunk weed. Pretty bad huh." "Yeah. That concert was wild." "Yep. I can't believe they rushed the stage. All for one man. A singer. A poet. A true person he is." "Morrissey has that type of presence." "I was talking about Johnny Mar." "I thought they were after Morrissey." "Secretly the crowd was hypnotized by Mar's music. They wanted Mar, but he fooled them into attacking Morrissey. It is Mar's tricky intent to have Morrissey hurt. See the real genius behind the music is in Mar's guitar." "Your nuts Robert. Or Roberto. Or whatever your name is." "Its whatever you need it to be." Robert leaned over and planted a kiss on her lips. A kiss inspired by Roberto, more so, that Robert. "Was that Robert or Roberto." "Well it started off as Robert but ended up as Roberto." He leaned over and climbed on top. That night he deflowered Shel Thorns.

A prostitute is defined as, "One who solicits and accepts payment for sex. One who sells one's abilities talent, or name for an unworthy purpose. To offer for sexual hire. To sell one's talent for example for an unworthy purpose. It derives from Latin as prostituta fem. P. part of prostituere, to prostitute. Pro, in front. Statuere, to casue to stand. Shel would later end up selling her talent and body on the streets of Paris and Los Angeles.

Robert didn't want Shel to leave. "They'll make a whore out of you in Paris. And most likely elsewhere. You are protected at home. People love you here." Shel explained to him that she was going to take the taxi cab to DFW International airport, with her passport and leave. She was going to think about this step by step. Plan it out in her mind, visualizing, stepping out of the yellow checker, setting her suit case on the trolley, paying the attendant to load her and walk to the ticket booth, hand over her passport and wait at the proper terminal, buy a pretzel, read some Gustave Flaubert, most likely Madame Boulvery and then a section on Naturalism versus realism and thoroughly analyzed paragraphs in her newly bought Writer's magazine. Step by step, she would do this, get on the airplane and say Farewell to what collected dust behind her. It was a week after graduation. 1990.

"People suffer for what they believe in. Some will even starve. My creed is to travel. To write. To know the world. I will stand by that Roberto." "Why do you need a creed? Why do you need the world? Why would you need anything else but me." "That would be sick," She intruded with strength, "That would be wrong. If all I needed was you, I would destroy you." "Why?" "Because we destroy the things we love. We become it, take it in, eat it up, know it, explore it, and then we must throw it away, or it will trash us." "Trash. What the hell do you mean, trash us." "I mean what I say. The world can't throw you away if you stick with your creed. If you stand by your beliefs. But there will come a time when it will ask you to prove yourself." Roberto took another hit of the joint. "I'll just take what I need then. I didn't want to do anything else but be with you. But since you say that is impossible, then I will find a passion, a creed as you say, and go out there and proof myself." "That's all the world wants you to do." "This play sucks." Roberto said. "Who wrote this?" Roberto put down the dramatist play house script and looked up. "I got to memorize these lines for Runway theatre, next week. Come on. Lets go over them." "Who wrote this garbage?" Roberto asked half laughing at the words. "It's bullshit. There is no verisimilitude or respect to how the real human talks. Its worthless, if you stand it up to mankind." "It's local work. The playwright still has the right to be read, played and heard and experienced." "Now your talking like your character. Do you really want to be an actress Shel." "I guess." She leaned over and gave Roberto a little kiss and he fed her her lines and cues and she answered accordingly. "My goal is to have the first five pages memorized before the sun arrives." "Okay. Okay fine. Fine, fine. Okay. Next line is. That's all the world wants you to do. Okay that's your line and I say, or Jim says, Go out there. Do it gal." He rolled his eyes and continued on. "I shall my love. I shall." "I'm not coming to see this." Robert sad smothering the joint in the ashtray. Another 747 screamed overhead and landed on the runaway in short quick fart sounds. "It sounds like they poot when they land." Roberto informed Shel. "Poot. What poots?" "The airplane's poot when they touch down." "Lets stick to the script." "How much are they paying you anyway." "A small stipend. And gas money and they feed us pizza now and then." "Is the director older." "He's in his forties. Gay. So don't worry. He isn't trying to get in my pants." "What if he did?" They talked about the script and Paris. Shel was thinking about taking a coarse in conversational French at the local Junior college. "I might even take a coarse in French at UT." "Why?" "Because it will help me." "Help you become a better actress? Why don't you just memorize if audibly. That is what Bella Logosi did in his Vampire flicks. He couldn't speak a lick of English. But he memorized how the words sound and asked the director what he was saying. That is why the inflection are stressed wrong on I want to suck your blood." "Why are the inflections wrong on Bella 'I want to suck your blood." Roberto added, "He hit want. That is too general. Every actor accents the verb. Many they hit the verb when they speak the line." He scratched his head. Another jet airliner whooshed overhead. " Ahhh. Okay. See say it like you really need the blood." Shel closed her eyes and licked her lips. "I want to SUCK your blood." Roberto unzipped his zipper again. Shel bent over and layed her head in his lap. "See, he should of hit SUCK. Not want. Want was too conventional of a word to stress. But it worked, only because Bella was innocent to the language, and his heart meant." "Whatever." Shel opened her mouth and licked Roberto's tip. He began to moan and closed his eyes. Next, he lit up a cigarette and turned up the radio station to classical music. "Just relax Roberto. Relax." He leaned back and let her give him head. After the first stanza of Mozart and came in her mouth and she zipped up his pants and wiped off the stain on her lower jaw. "You were fully loaded that time." "I haven't been whacking off as much. I've been worried." "Worried about what?" "About life. After school. College. Cigarettes, health. Just worried. Worried about my father's health and the liquor store." "Is he going to let you work there with him." "He said I could work for free?" "Why would you work for free." "I guess to pay off my spiritual debt. My father is nuts." "Why would you work for free for him. How would you make it in the world." "I don't know if this world is meant for some one like me. I'm a freak Shel. I don't belong here." "We are all freaks in some way or the other. Just find another job then." She said. "Maybe. But people fire me. If I attempt to act anything like a normal person, if I eat as much, kiss a girl before them, hold a chicks hand, read a book, or anything they begin to sneer. Like they once sneered at John Merrick." "Your not that deformed Roberto. Your just missing a section of your chest. It's not that bad. A few ribs dented in. Other people have had it worse. John Merrick had to wear a freakin hood over his head. He made money at a side show. You don't work for a side show. You work for a temp agency." "They don't call me anymore. I don't know what it is going to take for me to make it in this world. Who is going to let a freak write a book. Do you think a publication company will have me employed?" "I don't' see why not. You'll get employed. And when you do just hang on to that job, until you save enough to build your book, or run off, or do whatever writers do." "I don't know. It's much easier just to take. Just to rip off some car stereo or someone's watch, or a cash register. Why should a freak have to be like everyone else. I don't look like everyone else." "Looks aren't everything." "That's what they say. But looks do count. And I have a handicap because of that." "You have a pretty face and most of your body is intake. You should be grateful for what you have. Look Roberto. Listen to me. Continue writing. Don't let them get ya down." "Could you imagine if I didn't. Could you imagine if I didn't rely on writing as a way to success. Could you imagine if I took to drama or the stage. Do you thing people could stand me?" "People don't' have a choice really. If that is what you do than you must prove to them that it can be done. Most people in Uless merely watch tv. You don't Roberto. You read, those Dective novels like crazy and your write poetry and you . . ." "Rob shit. I'm on my way to loser villa." "No your not. Your on your way to publishing your book. You have to believe in it. The turtle wins not the rabbit. Look. Get up tomorrow. Go to work. Call the temp agency. Go out there. Give them hell. Don't give in. Just don't." She hugged Roberto tightly and turned down the radio. A thick lull filled the car's interior. Cigarette smoked snaked out of the ash tray and hovered like haunting ghost, around the still air. Another 747 zoomed overhead. The sky was beginning it's ascendance to faint blue.

That night Roberto began a journal.

Shel thinks I am utile. I don't' know. Perhaps in my uselessness there is a use. I am worthy of lessons, worthy of teachings and perhaps a large part of me is empty and in this emptiness lies hollowness, a carved out bowl, awaiting to be filled. All things that are empty are worth fulfilling. Almost as an empty suitcase is worth something. Many would say it's useless, but they are ignorant. I am like empty luggage. I have not been filled yet, and there is cause for my hollowed out innards. And if something is awaiting fullness, then the voidances is worth it's ineffectiveness. And in this along, lies great worth, and effectiveness.

Roberto shook his head at the scratched ink on the journal. I don't know what this is. He though. Silence filled the room as he flew the pen into the ceiling above. The pen stuck and slowly wiggled and then fell to the floor. He had done something, he did not know what it was, he had giving something to the world that would change things, change the style of man, the meaning of the meaningless objects, the unanswerable material that stood so dead around him. He was becoming, slowly, he was developing. A writer was arising within him. It was time to put away his childish things and pick up that in which a man deserves. He would go to Shel and tell her, "I want to be a writer. I want to tell the story." "What is the story." Shel question him. "It would be impossible for me to answer now. But I know the story is a part of me, if not all of me." "Breath." Shel told. "Breath and take this in mind." She held up a little black pamphlet. It was a hotel brochure with a poem written on back. She gave it to him. "Remember what Stendhal said in the 1830's, 'a novel is a mirror walking along the road." Roberto smiled and replied, "Good one. But I have a better." He searched inside himself, lowering his eyes and picking at the ground, "To a chemist nothing on earth is unclean." "Not yours." Said Shel. "Chekov was a believer." "So are you." She kissed him and let the wind and the creepy shadow of the next 747 hover over them. It passed, landed, farted and taxied to the terminal like a confident turtle. Morning was on its way. Nothing would stop it. Not even their beliefs and dreams of tomorrow.

The jail door banged shut. A sharp metallic sounding echo, shot down the hall, as if a black smith letting his hammer fall to the melting iron and forming a pattern, a useful tool, a mechanism to complete a progression; a clinking sound arose and was released to vibrate the eardrums and awake Roberto.

See, their tricky. They want me up all night. That's their old trick. Up all night until it hurts here. Here in the side of my head.

Before the court proceedings. If I get no sleep, I'll become week, fall to overeating, stuffing myself. I don't want to look like a complete loser before the judge. What if the judge is a women and I show up with an overly full belly. Then what. See, their tricking me. They keep waking me in the middle of the night. Slamming doors. Hurting my ears. Stop it. Stop it. Can I have silence.

"You're the difference between a wild dog and a pet." Shel handed Roberto a small locket in the shape of a black cherry. "I don't want to wear it anylonger." She hugged him, whispered the usual in his ear, grabbed her luggage and boarded flight 757 American Airlines. She zipped off, dark satin dress flowing behind her, like some exotic queen from the gothic period and vanished in the night sky. A single blinking red light beeping, warning him, that his heart may feel the pain it should of felt, during their last embrace. "I have a wonderful way of controlling my emotions, Shel." She was gone. He lost her. 1992. He could still smell the green water cologne, she would steal from her step father to pass as real perfume as he x'ed out August 18th on his Nature calendar of howling, lonely wolves. She was gone, but her scent was still in his mind, on his body, in his cupped hands. He held her scarf she had left at his house on Christmas Eve. He smelled it all night long, thinking about her profile, how her eyes reflected the morning sun rays, that would sneak through the blinds in his small room. How they'd lay on the futon and count each other's heartbeats. There was a time they were one. It was an exact time. A chosen time. A gingerly chosen time for every moment. A time, with a scent, of flowers, and wine stained breath and the vibrate touch of youth.

Your going to hell for this Roberto. To hell. You will go to hell for this.

OR will she go to hell for you.

The prison doors slammed again. He was out of his trance. Out of the memoirs of home. Not far from him, just a thirty minute drive and he'd be in his front yard, looking at the gas lamp, staring at the neighbor's fat cat. God how that cat needed to be on the diet. It was a fluffy thing, with black and orange stripes, green eyes and it had some healthy name like Samson, or Fredrick. It was a neat cat, still in its poise and use to stare for such a long time, out the glass door. It would observe the world from the front doorway. Fat cat would watch mom's skinny orange and white cat. She had the name of a perfume. Mom named all her cats after perfume. The mother cat had two babies. One, the cuter and rounder of Mom's black and orange felines, was named Shallowmar. It was found under Roberto's red Laser Plymouth, limp, still and scaly. The vet said it died of cancer. Roberto loved his cats.

Garlane. Garlane was thin and meowed non stop if you picked her up to caress her. She only meowed when touched or bothered. She was very much into her personal space and rarely purred for the owner. The mother cat, and I will not reveal her name, for protection and honor, but I will inform you that she was named after a fine perfume, is very old and in her cat years around 70. I would say the cat is ten years old and is very reserved moderate and full of life. Most likely she will not have more kittens, but she will enjoy many mornings of fancy feast and constant servants of Healthy Kitty cat food. A food with special heart medication and fortified vitamins for older cats.

The cat, in which I give no name is a metaphor for my mom. I always viewed myself as one of the dead cats. I nicked named them Ethiopian kitties, not because of their regions but because of their spirit. I believe in the Ethiopian triumph, and the survival of making it out of the wasteland.

Inside a cell.

Roberto went inside his library of images. Not long before he was locked up, he was dazed pondering over skyscrapers in New York city. Trying to figure out their origin. What caused man to build toward the heavens? He wanted to know their names. Especially the buildings that had no fame. He knew of the Chrysler, the Empire State building and the twins, which he witnessed their burnings-and according to Roberto, it was the largest murder, and horrific slaughter of innocent workers, every witness but such a massive crowd, in one instance. Roberto had never been near so many dead people in his life. He did not see a single soul burn with his own eyes, but he did see their ashes floating to the heavens and their black smoke that mixed with the lost ones. He wanted to know more. What was the building that divided the two streets near 25ths street and the dog park. What was that building called, the one near the statue of one and many of great men, staring at his separating nature. Two streets, one going left and the other to the east. One could walk right passed it and into the east river, with out ever erasing it's perfect triangular shape, in the cold murkiness of the splashing water. It's a building that sticks with you. But Roberto did not know of it's name. What is it called? He silently whispered. I know it has a name, but I don't know it and no one talks about it. Its near the 180's fifth avenue 10010 zip code. I know where the building is located but I don't have the name. Roberto felt like this building. A person separated two paths. Two ways of thinking. The Robert, the honest man, and Roberto the thief. And he switched so many times from man to man.

Robert longed for the things outside the bars before him. The cat and it's soft fluffy touch. Its orange and white stripes. He longed for coffee and bagels, and a Camel cigarette or some American spirits, a lemon, a dry lemon and a drink, a martini, hell he's never tried a gin and tonic, ever. What I have missed. And now I may go into this cell for a long, long time. I what I'd do for a Twinkie, chocolate covered nut. He could crunch it in his watering mouth. He closed his eyes and pictured her face and her loud, energetic laugh. So much life she held. So much time. So firm and young. And he grew old, trying to erect his back against the lined bars and forget the images of the outside. The beauty of the world was now holding a carrot before his jack ass morals.

I can't believe I put myself in here. I thought I was a writer. No. I have

Failed. Failed myself. I could be at home writing the story. About her.

About her taste. I could go to some small town, work in a factory and

Print out a thousand pages for her. Millions and millions of words for her.

All to win her over. Where is she now.

Some where, down the hall, or in the front check in room, a drip methodically and painful tapped the floor of a faucet. It was a slow drum banging. I reminder of her heart and his heart beating. Only they did not lay as one. Now apart. Now the beating reminded him of their separation. He wished some one would tighten the nozzle and cut off this hellish reminder of life. This aching rhythm of sorrow and loneliness. But, even with his must sincere prayers, it beat onward. Each drop landed, time lingering between each hit, each tap of the faucet floor, slowly, a million years between each drop.



"Hush that faucet. Cut it off someone." No one answered, nothing but the beating of the splattering drops. Nothing but the torture and reminder of

tiiiiiiiiiiiimmmmme. All it is, is time.

The thief was now locked up. Now it was a time to find redemption.

A new guardsmen brought Roberto his food at around six pm. Still he was the only prisoner occupying cellblock 3b, county. It seem to house less light, less noise, less connection with the outside world, as every minute ticked by. The food was brought in through the main sliding bar door that separates the hall from the cell. It was not like the old prisoner films where the guard slides the food through a horizontal slot suited between the bars. It was more complex. One was asked to step back, than the guard entered, placed the tray of food on the table, which was made out of concrete, walked out of the cell, closed the door and said, "Eat." The guard walked off. Roberto was hungry. He hadn't had any real food since he entered. The tray occupied a side order of mash potatoes, a slice of white bread with a few sandwich sliced bologna stacked on top of the white wonder bread. The beverage was either a glass of raspberry colored overly sugary Kool-Aid or the lovely choice of tap water. Roberto sat down, whispered a small prayer and dug in. He was starved. He began to think about how the French make pate. Pate means pie in French. It is pronounced pah-tay, the accent stressed over the "e". It is considered a seasoned ground meat preparation. It usually comes in smeary form, and has a satiny smooth and coarsely textured. It makes a lovely spread for crackers. Also, it may be made from a chunky mixture of pork, veal liver or ham, fish, poultry, game, vegetables and, in this remembered case, goose. Roberto once worked at a French Bistrot where a waiter from the intellectual town of San Francisco informed him the cruel rumor of how the French prepare pate. "They take a tube, and slip it down the goose's throat. Then, they force feed it over a period of weeks, until the goose becomes so stuffed of forced grain and corn, fat deposits accumulate on the goose's liver. After enough fat is stored, the goose is slain and the fat is sliced off the liver in fine slices. It is served in a mesh or cooked in a crust. Its very fatty and rich. French love it." Roberto put down his cheap plastic spoon. He walked over to the toilette and scrapped the mash potatoes into the silty water. Flop. Next, he pressed on the flusher knob and tore the remaining half piece of bread into a tiny flushable pieces and tossed into thewhirling toilet water. He looked at himself, spinning in the water, as the prison food was sucked into the drain. "I'm not your goose lawman." He whispered and returned to the table. After a few minutes of nothing, he took of his leather jacket, the guard allowed him to wear it over the orange uniform, it was his favorite, imported from the U.K. and bread by Moda fashions, it reminded him of his youth and he only wore to change his appearance, make himself look younger, during a robbery. The guard let him wear it. Temperature dropped at night and the ventilation was old fashion and rickety. The cool winds were blowing all night long, due to the trade winds pushing cooler air from the southern shore, it was that type of thing where a butterfly wing pulses miles and miles away and a hurricane builds on the opposite side of the seven seas. Strong winds, push other winds, in which build a force, that can drop temperature thousands of miles away. It is a weather forecaster's nightmare and a common factor among the science of meteorology. All caused by a small wind far, far away. Sort of like Roberto's life. His crime sparked by violence far in his past, now catching up with him, heating him up, causing a storm within.

The jail house was not far from the center of town. It rested on the edge of small downtown shopping center near Uless. At times he could here a car pass, or a rock n roll song being played over a truck. One time he woke up to Neil Young screaming about a Western Hero. Roberto waded the jacket into a wad, a makeshift pillow, rested his head, and nodded off to dream land. It was time to rest.

The phone rang in the front clerks office. Roberto jumped up and cried out. He was yanking at his chest with his fingernails. It was his heartbeat. The cell was making it change. Slow down. Decrease in speed. The guard had the tv's volume turned up pretty loud. It was a slight hint that some one was attempting to wake him up. It was one of those murder mystery shows, those crime detective stories, like Murder She Wrote, or Criminal Justic. Some lawyer, overly paid actor in Los Angeles that looked and sounded like a George C. Scott, was arguing some case in court and then, a commercial break arrived. It could have been a made for TV movie, or some older classic played on Fox or the WB. Roberto began to play a game. He would try to figure out what TV show was playing over the speakers and in turn, add up points for every show he got right. Ten points for the full name, five points for an actor and three points if it was a TV show, made for TV movie, or older film played for television. He turned his hard reality of the imprisoning situation off, and imagined what the scene, actors and story looked like in his mind. It was sort of like sense memory exercise that was so popular in the nineteen fifty with actors like James Dean and his method followers. It came off as a desperate imaginational escape to watch TV and relieve his mind of the cold, hard, unbendable, and impenetrable bars that prevented him from running off to another space and time.

God what he do for a cookie or something sweat. He trade his favorite jacket for a cigarette. The guards only allowed him to smoke at specific times. He was hungery for the outside life. A stop a 7-11 store for a big bomb burrito, or slurpee. Maybe, a six pack of Miller Light or a few wine coolers. Maybe, he could go by the liquor store and pick up some Strawberry Boones for 4.00 dollars a bottle. He needed freedom, he needed the limitless feeling to stop off at Wendy's and pick up some fries. He could no longer make those decision any longer. He could no longer hunt out some gal at some Karaoke bar. He had no right to make a decision. Decisions were made by the guard or some judge. His choice was now robbed from he just as he robbed other's of their materials, and in some shallow eyes, what he stole was worth forbidden his freedom. People, choice to believe that their materials were more important. The fact that Roberto chose not work did not matter to them. They did not give him choice. Perhaps this is why he stole and robbed. He wanted to become a great writer. He wanted to be seen. Roberto saw his thievery as a form of protest, no a way to feel better than others, or a reaction to his laziness, or a easy way out. It was a protest, a way of blaming society for his failure. He was no longer a citizen. He was barely able to open his eyes due to the thick and blue sadness that lay on his expressionless brow. He was slowly accepted his imprisonment.

The true prisoner is never a prison until he makes up his mind to wrap his hands around the bars. The prisoner that doesn't wrap his hands around the bar is accepted his true existence. He is accepting an inner life, a Zen state of mind. The prisoner that screams out and longs to be realized is a man of material and needs the outer world to arrive at happiness.

Roberto became a prisoner when he made up his mind that he needed more than what was giving to him in the cell. He needed a car, he needed a women, he needed the liquor store, and the feeling of getting high. He was becoming the worst kind of sad. Hopeless. A hopeless man, with a lost dream. Somewhere his dream had been flushed down some toilette along the interstate. Most likely lost at Phillip sixty six station off of highway sixty six. Once hope is lost, all is lost. He had to find away out. A way inside himself, another avenue of exploration, that would delivery him from the outside world of pleasurable rewards and the cookie hell. (Here have a treat. You feel better. How long can one survive on that.) The ants were bitten him.

He got down on his knees, bent over and began doing rapid, quick excessively laborious push ups.

Roberto was a man with a huge appetite. He wasn't too overweight, but headed in the wrong directions. Since he returned home from his journey in L.A. and New York he had gained fifteen pounds. Maybe a few pounds near his borderline (obviously he was underweight when he arrived home.) He was about six foot, hundred and sixty three pounds, shaggy hair, bearding, with side burns and bushy eyebrows. When, he was younger his friends called him Hollywood. Now, they barely called him period. He had dreams of running off again and hooking up with the film scene in L.A. Later, he got hooked on reader internet sites and worthy literature from mid century and late twentieth century. He dug stories written by Hesse, Bellows, Keurack, Ginsberg, Hemingway and Kafka. He began to self educate. He mostly was attracted to fiction. He wrote critical analyses on the verisimilitude of realist from the 1800's. He wrote an essay about Flaubert's works and the many poems inspired by French impressionism. He was slowly developing his mind, building up his vocabulary and becoming studious about history, all for the sake of writing. But the most crucial aspect to a good story is real life experience. Nothing is more educational than living life to it's full extremes. Soon, he run of to Los Angeles, audition for movies, rent an apartment in Soho and explore the writing circles of New York, Gramercy Park and hang out in the gay community passed King Street. He would take in the world, know it's darkest corners, plan to change, and rearrange his life, his furniture in his pad and his outlook, and as changed arrived, he'd write the new incoming aspects of life, he'd jot it all down in his memory or note pad. Keep it on paper, for others to open up. The word is the most powerful tool in escaping reality and building the imagination. Soon, he plan to travel back to Europe, and pack back and create books of poetry and lengthy journals on travel. Take it all back, find a small cabin and create another story and move on to the next step life threw out him.

He didn't know exactly how Kafka, or Hemingway did it. He did know why Hemingway was a big fisherman of words, fame and well, fish. Hemingway was also man of travel. He hung out in Cuba, drank, lusted after women, wrote books about old men, indulgence and war. He was man of war. War of words, literature and storytelling. He had worked with the Red Cross during a real man's war. War World II.

Samuel Becket wrote Waiting for Godot during a battle near Germany and France. Rumor has it he once kept his notes, and dialogue of all four characters and the boy in his flack jacket. Vladimer was a fellow foot soldier under fire, along with the hell of Gogo (possibly a word shouted by other soldier "GO GO take cover.") Lucky and his master, a symbol for the machine of war, and the need for the materialistic weapons carried in battle by soldiers and officers. Why he made them vaudevillian I don't know. To Roberto they were soldiers. Soldiers of laughter, madness and absurdity. A writer takes from his life. The more exciting and dangerous his life, the more worthy and richly blooded the literature. The more hell the writer goes through the more one appreciates and accepts his words.

Roberto could not think of anything more hellish and painful than isolation and loneliness. Unfortunately that is the sad news for a novelist's life. It is the worst demon to haunt the story, despite the sadness and hurtfulness, and stillness afflicted upon the body.

A writer must watch what he eats. He can't always have huge meals. His only movements are from his fingers. That is why many writers, like pianist, take up walking and other exercises. Some writers are extremely physical. Becket was known to starve himself, and his sadness wasn't hidden from the public's eyes. He simply looks like a skeleton in the photographs kept in various bios about his past life as a author and Pulitzer winner.

Roberto Pace was opposite. He had the worst time resisting food. He even did research on the matter. There was something out there called Prater-Willi syndrome. He had once substituted for special education and learned much about the disorder. A large black boy had it. He'd escape special education room, with shear force, rip open the door, haul down the hall, then, sneak into the principal's office, during classes, inexpertly carry off a birthday cake or snacks and eat them up as he ran back to his class room, or was tackled by other teacher. He was out of control. Wild. Dangerous. He'd hurt others or himself just to stuff some one else's lunch into his mouth. This was a kid that was a Senior in High school and was pushing three hundred pounds. He was miserable, and he did not know why. The teacher of the special educational unit would have to tie his wrist to the desk, award him with hand out snacks, in a near scientifically charted moderation and guard other kids from being injured by his uncontrollable urge to hog food. Three hundred pounds and nearly eighteen years old. The teacher and aids, bought a exercise machine and worked him a few minutes a day. Most of the aids assisted his disorder by constantly awarding him and letting the handicap boy take in food, sometimes as mere entertainment. Roberto lived the school district and was nearly tempting to contact his local congressmen or even the super attendants of the school. It was a horrible disorder and impossible to contend with. Eating is such a human trait, but when some one can not stop, or resist food, and when food become a violence for the person, their life literally becomes hell. They grow overweight and depressed. The boy Roberto had worked with was like this. Angry all the time, hitting himself in the head with his fist, rocking back and forth and throwing fits for food. A teacher told him, "He once ran out before the school, and out in traffic, stopping cars. Cars were honking, the police were called. Sad, sad situation." Roberto was so affected by the boy's wild behavior that he wrote a play about the class. After the boy suffering from Prater Willi, snatched his fellow classmates lunch and hogged it down the teacher began to shout out him, "Its sad he has to do this." The teacher said. Roberto answered, "Its very human to do that." The teacher shook her head and retorted, "Not its savagery. Its animalistic. The boy's an animal." That day, Roberto walked to the nearby grocer store to pick up a protein bar and bottled water. How dare that teacher. How dare her to judge an impaired boy. He was acting out on his nature. He had a problem and was suffering from his disruptive personality. How dare her call him an Animal. He wasn't an animal. He was a boy with a mental disorder, a impairment. He was a hero, not an animal. It is sad that the boy is still suffering and still be looked upon as an animal. He is not. He is human and he is better than most. He just needs more love, more attention, more time to grow, develop and mature into a civilized being. Yes, it is true, civilized people don't steal other's lunched and shove an entire loaf of bread down their throats, or rob birthday cakes from the principals office, but we are all tempted too. I don't care how smart and educated and high one's IQ is. They are tempted to pig and they have the decision to fall into this temptation or to resist. The boy that was suffering in the special education could not decifer between what was right or wrong. He may even kill some one for a cookie or snack of some kind, but he should not be looked upon as a criminal. His unique way of thinking is something we should learn from and not hide from or lock up and put away.

Roberto identified with the boy. When he use to work for 7-11, at the end of shifts he return to the dumpster and take home a bag of donuts and stuff himself at night. He was lonely. Of coarse he did it invisibly to the public's eye. He sinned privately, at home. He fell from grace and into the deadly hands of gluttony. It didn't really make him feel better, but he thought it might.

Roberto would wait tables. Several weeks would pass and he get order correct and memorize the menu. But due to his loneliness and sadness to the world, he take home boxes of pizza and pig out. He spend weeks running it off, and nights doing push ups and knee bends. Then, he go weeks with out large amounts of food and find a balance. He was the type of employee that would take down a tray of cookies when he had some time off. He had a huge appetite. Now he was completely like the Prater Willi victim. He didn't have to have it. If you offered a cookie to the Parater Willi boy, he snatch it away and shove it down his throat. Now, this boy wasn't like others. He could not talk, communicate in a oral sense, or even read, write or reason.

Roberto could resist. He was nearly as lowly intelligent as the special boy. If you offered Roberto a plate of spaghetti at the old Italian bistro he would simply resist it or pass. The Prater Willi boy could not. He could even speak to the customer's to take the order. It was easy to view him as an animal but he was not.

Roberto had eating problems as well. He had a problem resisting all foods for a long period of time. He had a rare disorder known as deprivation-bulimia. It is where a person goes a long time with out food and then stuffs themselves silly. It is not healthy and quite harmful. He slowly recovered from it with the help of him mother. She taught him to eat small meals all day long. Five or six meals a day and not to ever starve. "Starving his harmful. Don't do it to yourself. Keep food in you and stay active." After a year of starving himself and stuffing his hatch he finally gave in to his sickness and was forced to seek help. He saw a therapist at natural health, holistic center and began to take in three meals a day. Now, Roberto tries to take in five. The jailer only served breakfast, lunch and dinner and each meal is small, and not filling. Plus, he wasn't being aloud exercise in county. It wasn't going to be aloud. Now if he got sentenced to the pen he would be aloud an hour or so of activity a day. The penitentiary had to allow time for the prisoner's to exercise and lift weights and even watch TV. Mom told him to eat until he was full and to stay active. How would he listen to mom in this hell hole called county. The jailer's didn't allow a prisoner to do jack squat, but sit, or whatever activity that could muster up in the cell block. Depression was the enemy here and the only way out was a good imagination and a well graphed out memory. Roberto would silently right his book in the inside. And if he made it to the penitentiary he would ask for a typewriter. But he had a feeling he was going to get a good DA lawyer, and ask for probation and hard labor on the outside. There are many cases where arm robberies are set free, and giving a second chance. It was a chance that rested on the skin of his teeth, but nevertheless, a skinned chance counted in county.

He would go back and forth, from memory, to imagination with the help of the speakers from the television, and with his story about his life. He would call his book, The Criminal. And if he made into the big house, he ask for tattoos and meet up with the hard timers, murderers, he'd interview them, write plays about the inside and experiment with drugs. That would make him a Becket or Hemingway. The inside would make him great. He may even receive a Pulitzer for the hell. He was getting excited about being sentence. At least he would be able to meet people in the inside, share a room with a buddy. He would escape this demon he called loneliness. Anything to get away from himself. Anything to lose himself. To lose himself in another world, another cell block another form of imprisonment.

The criminal is the performer no one wants to meet. He is a side of mankind that is shunned, punished and despised. His pithy statements are not recorded, commonly published (even though some of our greatest written masterpieces have been constructed behind the bars) or given a chance at public eye, but in a few cases have been famed and understood by society of the whole. Scar face tells us, "You need people like me." He implies to his audience that the citizen, the worthy person with his paid credit card bills and mortgaged home, needs the crime of the criminals. How else would the good, honest and worthy person proof his worthiness. How does one know if they are moving through time and space, if they have no other source to compare their progression. How does a man lost in space probe that he is moving if no planets, stars, or objects are planted, or existing in his realm? Thus, how does the good Samaritan know he is good if he had no one to compare to that is bad. Good must have opposition in order to be good, just as the bad ones need the sound, and justified people to rebel against.

Jesus Christ was tried as a criminal. He broke the laws against the Roman Empire and was punished by Pontius Polite. He was charged with treason and blasphemy by the Roman lawyers, and Caesar. The Jewish community at the time judged him as a heretic and possible threat to the betterment of the future. How can the son of God be charged with a law that inflicts mostly those that are only ungodly. How does the son of God become evil? Well, he was not. Not in the eyes of the Apostles, nor in the eyes of Marry Magdalene, nor in the eyes of his Mother. He was a God, indeed. But, according to the present society around him, he was a lair, a cheat, and rebellious nasty criminal. Jesus was spit upon. He was shamed and called a false profit. According to Christian fundamentals he was the savior of our world. But even many of them were afraid to admit to his teachings, due to the punishment of death and torture. Not much has changed today. Many Christians are still made into martyrs and sadly enough die this way. Jesus was wiped and chained to a prison wall. What was God communicating to the world when he sent his only son to die for the world. He was a Pascal lamb, ordered for execution and torture by his own father above. And under God's eyes he was nailed to a cross, wrist's punctured, ankles cracked and his side ripped open by a spear. To the masses of the time he was an evil wrongdoer. To his disciple and followers and other listeners he was the way to heaven.

Roberto followed the teachings of Christ. He was in first grade when he decided to ask Jesus into his heart. He went home silently, went to bed, he still remembers the plastic tracks under the top bunk bed, the tracks he looked upon when he asked God to come into his heart. He did it silently and didn't even tell his mother or father until months later. It was his promise to God. And in return Roberto would receive salvation. Later, as a young boy in fifth grade, he would go to summer camp designed for Christian fundamentals. There he was asked, with a group of children of the First Baptist church to ask God into his heart, with the others. He remembers a small room, full of light, rays of multifarious color spread through out the room, the girls on their knees, kneeling before the preacher, crying. Roberto stared at the colored glass mosaic on the skim of the windows. He stared at the rays reflected off the hovering dust in the room. He sat before the preacher and asked him to pray with him. To help him ask Jesus into his heart. He told the preacher he had done it once before, under his bunk bed at home. The preacher looked up a chapter in the Apostles scripture. He remembers the three words the preacher read, "No sword, no stone, no fire." He used these three objects as metaphors, for what can never enter through the heart of God. Once, Christ enters a child's heart, no sword, stone or fire can remove his love. Forever will he be with God.

SO why am I in prison. I thought God did this for me. I thought Jesus died for my sins. Why am I here for my sins. Why do I still pay my own price for sins I can never avoid. I am a born sinner. How do I get out of this sinful world. I can help but sin again and ask Jesus for forgiveness. Why hasn't he helped me. Must I die for this world too.

Roberto remembered that many of the scripture in the New testament was written by prisoners. Many of the words of the disciples of Christ, the apostles, were words inspired by torture and Christian martyrs sense of neglect, abandonment and painful starvation and suffering. The Christian people, before the Christianity surfaced on a worldly level, were people suffering from poverty, bullies of authority and other beliefs backed by 'everyman for himself' and 'Greed is good' and 'riches are the answer' type of folk. Romanesque beliefs triumph far past it's due. Nowadays, time has changed. Roberto knew that Christ was strong in the eyes of his followers. And his ultimate and most powerful teachings were that of forgiveness

Roberto bowed his head,

No person has the right to hate any other, to judge anyone.

I can't hate any other race, any other being for any other reason.

Christ had murderers that followed his teaching. Christ had

Criminals love him and he loved them just as much. He turned

The killer to a giver. He turned the taker to a planter of seed.

He turned filth into riches. He turned that which was impure to pure.

The Chinese, their religions, the African's and their rituals,

The Greeks and their gods, and any other belief can not

be a basis to condemn those who do not follow Jesus.

I am strong not because I judge others, but because I do not

Judge. I am strong because I bare the weight of the sin of

The world. I will not fall into temptations. I will not let

Their unkind words take me down to their level. I will

Smile upon them forgive and love, forgive and love and

Never forget that they too are God's people. God's children.

I can not condemn anyone for anything. They are right, not

Because they are perfect in belief and stature, but because

They are wrong and have sinned.

Roberto was finding his way with God. He was going to get out of this hell hole and begin a book based upon his life as a thief. He would call it The Criminal.

They love me. And they want to kill me with their love. Smother me.

Their liars, they want to fill me up with lies and make me feel so good

I explode in a blue flame of saddening hatred and regret.

Then, he could her in his sleep. Before he nod off he'd wake up in a panic, a cold sweat of fear. Fear of dieing in this lonely room, this dark place, alone. Fear of

Never seeing her again. Then, in the middle of the night he forgot his God. And he heard her say, "Your not the one for me, Roberto. Gooooo."

But he had nowhere to go. He had not earned that freedom. Not yet.

The guardsman returned with a tray of bologna and stale white bread. Oh, and the overly sugar Kool-Aid. Roberto wanted to gag. He was disguited by the oily skin that sparkled on the skim of the ring of bologna. He wanted to puke on his plate. It was the older guard, but Roberto did not speak to him. He denied the food and gave an excuse, "Stomach hurts. Just hurts." The guard told him to leave it by the door and he'd pick it up and few moments. Later, he picked up the food and Roberto had nodded off. Breakfast came and he denied that as well. He began to starve himself again. He was growing lighter. And the more dizzy his head grew, the less dense he felt, the more hollow he was, the more the voices came to him.

It'll never work. Never. I don't want to help you.

It'll never work. Your story is shit. Your ideas

Are bland. You might make it as a fool, or half

Fool-poet, but you'll never make it as a writer.

You starving fuck head. It'll never, ever work.

It was a year back, when Roberto sent his novel to his college peer in Addison. His name was Daniel Whit. Danny didn't have much worth as a writer. But the Whits, had connection to Hollywood. Danny's brother was an up and coming movie star. He had worked with great directors as Francis Ford Copolla and the popular writer John Grisham. He was once a teenage heart throb in seen in such magazines as YM. Danny and his brother, Johnny had a rough life. Danny had a learning disability, ADD, and was picked on by bullies. Johnny had to take up for him, thus, earning his heroic, protagonist profile. Most heroes arise from protecting others. Johnny Whit ran off to L.A. and pursued a life in film. He did well, and still works today. Roberto decided to give L.A. a try in 1999. He left just after his graduation near the end of December. He arrived in a place called The Paradise Gardens, in Long Beach a few days before 99's Christmas.

It was here he began to fall into a life of theft, and was later jailed for false charity. Roberto, to this day, believes it was a mistake on the police's part. Hence, false arrest. Plus, he does not believe that false charity could exist.

Non existence is a hard definition to define. To not exist one must become nothing. What is nothing? Nothing is something. It is a word in the dictionary, a concept that is exposed in the academic field. Something that is zero, has power. This is a realm Roberto began to pick apart, breath ideas into and steam up his glazy hazed out stare. You don't do much in a cell, but stare, play cards if you have them, and heaven send, a book, especially a classic like Mobby Dick, or something that would take much time, dense thinking and brooding, to slowly move the hours forward, to ease the day to an end.

Robert scratched a mark into the concrete table, that lowly stood in the center of the cell. He would pretend he was doing one of those prison films. You know, the ones where the prisoner scratches his thousandth day and then is released kind of thing. No one every counted the days, besides the OCD people and other impatient fools. Counting made it last longer, but it built character with a few. The smart ones didn't need to count. They took what life dished out, one day, one hour, one minute, one moment at a time.

Roberto went to college. First, he majored in performance art and decided he needed something more intellectual and less showy. He decided to double major and have a minor in education. First, he would take his basics and then, move complete his performance credits and then polish off his intellectual choice. He chose creative writing. It was less traveling in the car, less making it on time to audition, it was less anxiety. It wasn't as exciting as performance but it had it's inner awards. He dropped the performance art idea, and kept the minor. He decided he would mix the two and teach playwriting to young theatre prospectives. Hence, the creative writing was worth the four years of undergrad hell. College life was monotonous to Roberto. Early mornings, bagel, class, jog around campus, meet the girlfriend, and plan spring break up north, in the wilderness of camping fun. He take his current gal up to some National, next to a giant lake and smoke pot, play guitar and write poetry. He was slowly becoming the artist. Soon, he'd leave for New York and write for TV or Broadway or whatever offers came to him.

What plans I had. I was going to make it in this world as a writer. All I had to do was be good. All I had to do was mind the laws. Pay my respects. All I had to do was believe I was worth it. Good writers, are good citizens (Even though many of the greats have been junkies, prostitutes and druggies.) Roberto did not want to fall into a life of crime. He wanted to do it the straight way. But straight is boring. This is a sad but true fact in nature. Straight doesn't always boil the creative juices. Roberto needed more.

First, he turned to drugs. Pain medicine. Pills with a slight traces of morphine. Every once and while he water down the potency and surrogate Zanax, and Codeine and various opiates, and a few other over the counter sleeping aids like Sleepnall and cough medicine PM. He trace that with hits off a bong pipe filled with Tie Stick and morphine. When the sleeping aids and cough medicine didn't work he'd mix it up with more Zanax, or the Codeine and when that didn't work he go back to the potent opiates. Then, the addiction set in. Like waves overcoming the sandy beaches and washing away what was meant to be washed or sucked back in the endless ocean, the drugs would arrive. Like a vast tranquil see of pleasure, they take him in. Like the covers of a child. Then, the uncontrollable thirst for more. Then, the tumble down. He did well after graduation. North Texas offered a well rounded education to the writer and the performer. Roberto took off to L.A. and auditioned for TV. It wasn't long until he found himself staring at a set of bars. False charity.

Second, he turned to overeating. This was worse than jail. Roberto would sneak down to the grocery store and load up on vanilla icing, loves of herb bread and pounds of chocolate balls, Twix candies and a multifarious of flavored ice cream. He gained twenty pounds in a few weeks. He entered hell.

Third, starvation. He began to starve himself in order to lose all the fat he had gained from his failed attempt to please himself with food.

Fourth, theft. He began to run dry. Food bills became costly. He thought he could get through life stuffing himself, downing anxiety pills and loading up on nothing. So, he began to steal pills from the pharmacy section of the grocery stores. Various cough medicines, various pain killers and so on. He became a drug store junkie.

Fifth, jail.

Sixth, loneliness.

Seventh, God.

Now, Roberto held his head high. He finally was relieved. He could no longer stuff himself with ice cream, he could no longer down pain killers, he could no longer thief others for a feel good. Now he was locked up. And in opposition to this fearful and stressing predicament he smiled. For the first time in a long while he smiled.

They got the bad side of me. They are smothering the shadow. Now, I have been freed from many of my desires. The only true happiness is freedom from the desperate desires, that disguise themselves, in the illusion.

He began to see through the cloud. These needs, where fake. Nothingness is the only peace. Now, I have nothing, and I feel. I feel me. I feel the world around me. And it is not an extreme. It is slight. Moderate. Smooth. Straight. To the point. Life became still.

The phone call.

Roberto was allowed a phone call on the public phone inside the jail cell. All he had to do was single to the guardsman and he'd turn the phone on. He tapped on the bar and stuck his hand through the bars. That meant he needed something. The guard came and he nodded at the phone. "Ok. Make it quick." The guard returned to his post and Roberto picked up the receiver.

As Roberto dialed the line to Shel old number in Manhattan a voice arrived from the dark shadows of the corridor.

This world is not for you Roberto. This life isn't for people like you. You thieving slob. You fool, you poet, you loser, you hellish demon. This world will tear you apart, and then, after your innocence is jumbled with in you, stolen from the child you once were, then, you can squint your eyes and begin to face the evils of the day. Its just not worth it now. Is it Roberto? Huh. Is it? Is this world yours?

Or is theirs?

The whole idea of dog eat dog, does not exist in a Christian environment. The meek, the patient, the giving prosper in His world.

Gluttonous artist, selfish, greedy takers, people of ubi sunti, they are shunned. They have no worth here, in this town. Uless, is for the meek. Remember, U lose. You Lose. Uless. It's for losers ass wipe. Get out. Go away. Got to the big cities. If you want to write, go to New York. If you want to dance go to Chicago. If you want to act, go to the stars. Don't stand around her like some old daisy.

Coffee. He missed his morning coffee. Lots of creamer, lots of sugar. Sometimes he replace the sugar with a sweetener. He began to miss the small things in life. The afternoon cigarette, the magazines, the commercial seen on tv. Life was becoming too dull.

Before I begin to call I must tell you something concerning Roberto Pace's creed. He does steal, or rob, or raise hell, out of some fix, or need to feel good. Must lawmen, and many psychological studies have arisen facts that the thought pattern, pattern being the key word, or similar to the criminals, only opposite according to the law. Each, the criminal and the lawmen, follow a strict law, a creed lets say. They follow rules. The lawmen follows the rules of the land, in which the bible has been enforcing for the past three thousand years. New lines have rose to surface since A.D. and after the various world wars. The thief's law is to run from the law. Thus, it is to escape all restriction enforced by the authority. If one says a thief has no loyalty he or she does not see the world clearly. A thief does have loyalties. A loyalty among other thieves. To break it down, there is a loyalty on both common grounds, on both realms, north and pole, a loyalty between officers, gentlemen, lovers, poets, writers, filmmakers, editors, guilds within every position, there is a loyalty among businessmen, church goers, and the medical field. In any type of profession, and yes, we can call a thievery a profession (but merely an anti law biding profession, a style of work that houses every type risk, trouble and even death. Trouble, risk and death equals only one thing, Adventure.), an adventures honorable code is to lie aside many of the rules in order to loosen the load of worry, for there is no worry in a jungle compact with thorns, unknown trails, anacondas and other harmful beasts.

I don't' believe the thief hates the lawmen. And I don't believe it would be respectful to the lawmen's profession and belief, to despise a thief or anyone. According to the law biding citizen a thief is in need of mental help or some type of council, possibly one with a priest, nun, or minister. The catholic would say that the thief needs to go to confession. His punishment, a handful of hail marries, our fathers and a few other ramblings of saints and memorized lyrical verses and of the bible. The Baptist would wash away the thief's sin before the church, Save him (as they call it) and have him go to a Barbeque cookout at the Church sponsored volley ball tournament. Slowly they fed him, pray with him, hold his hands, introduce him to a lady Baptist, he quit stealing, become stable and marry.

That is their answer. The Christians cure.

Now, stableness is not what a thief is working for. A thief is unstable, weary, paranoid but loyal between others like him. Some steal for their family, some like Robin Hood, steal for the poor. Poverty can break a man and in some cases men. It can make a man, or groups of men, do crazy and desperate things. I imagine that Robin Hood, before meeting Little John and beginning his quest, with his woodlen followers, with do respect to the needy, was tempting to merely work for himself. But Robin was an honorable man and did not let the temptations and the evils of greed that my arise in any type of work, trouble, lower or sink him to a level of arrogance and selfish pride. Hence, Robin Hood gave his earning to the poverty and this was his power. It was not in his skill and dexterity. It was in his giving nature. This is what brought fame and honor to his name. Robin could of hogged the materials, jewels and other stolen property, and built a private castle, with sauna and backyard pool. But you can't take a backyard pool with you to a grave, but you may take your good deeds.. I don't really consider him a full on thief. He used thievery with an political intent, but he didn't keep the gold. For some reason, and I blame it on intelligence and self respect, he did not crave gold. Nowadays, one does not call upon Robin, but the Robin Hood Plan. A thief has set an example, not because he stole, but because he gave. What you give is more worthier, in good karma, by many yards, miles and other measurements of distance, time and labor, and is far more powerful and affective on society, much more, than what you take. It would be safe to say that giving is the main ingredient in greatness. Also, it would be safe to weight a man's greatness by his giving nature. One will find that the more his gives, the greater he becomes. Lincoln, and Washington had problems, similar to Robin Hood, only their pasts show this. Hell, according to England Washington was a criminal. According to the south, Lincoln was a madman. But their giving hearts proved otherwise. The ingredients of a great man is mostly composed with giving hands and thus, he becomes like the hands that sculpted him. The Robin Hood plan was inspired by the thief and now it is associated with what education despises in a student, thievery. Theft is looked down upon by the educated. The reason for education follows the line of law, and self respect. No educator would look up to a criminal, but many will preach their teachings in school. No one can be judged, not even a bank robber. And no one is lower than anyone else, in intelligence, or physicality. The handicap merely exist on a different plain and the plain is not stacked but mixed in multifarious pile, like shattered glass. The Robin Hood plan was developed for people that are in need of help and are not receiving. So how is the handicap related to education and how is the Robin Hood plan related to the handicap. Well, in every way possible. For everything is related.

Robin Hood created a plan. He decided he was going to CHANGE things. He was going to wag the dog. He was going to make the plans to up the level of the poor. So, he did. His plan is now in effect. And unfortunately it passed over Roberto. Roberto's school did not educate him in the right way. Roberto cannot blame the school for his thieving ways, but he can blame himself, safely. Blaming will not advance him. Not even if he blames himself. He must forget blame and begin again. Start a new day and follow the little voice of Cricket.

So why the Robin Hood plan. Excess money from a wealthy private or public school are transferred to poorer schools. Hence, one school simply takes from another financially worthier school. One person must take form a wealthier one to improve his self worth, and poorer condition. It is still not couth to steal, but it is even worse to die of starvation. Les Mesirable is a great book based on a triggering conflict, ignited by a Frenchmen who stole bread to feed his hunger. He stole for his loved ones and his life, and was locked up and this created a war. Would Christ want any of his children to starve. The answer is no. WE must work together, or someone else will starve. Mistakes, foul ups, anger, all that Christ can conquer by merely using one powerful tool-a tool that answers all problem. The tool of forgiveness. Roberto will get better. This is his story. A story about a theft of grape in which lead to a theft of a watch and then, a gun and how he almost became the murderer of his town.

In Roberto's eyes he was merely trying to survive and become survived.

What does this have to do with Roberto's phone call to his ex girl Shel. Nothing to the average, common conformist, but everything to the open eyed, and weary. Perhaps if he was giving more money, more education and more chances and more of Robin Hood's moral blood, then he would not be in the position he is in. For, the skillful dexterities of well rounded men, thieves or other professions, are spawned and developed within the certain lucky one, at a early age. Roberto was no Robin Hood. He started off that way. He was a big reader of medieval literature, romanticism and even had a few Shakespear plays memorized. Roberto was on his way to becoming the fanciful romantic. Something had come in his way, and tempted him for the last time. Now Roberto stands before a jail's payphone, looking down at his Doc Martins and counting the rings. No one picked up. No one answered. Shel was gone.

Now, it was to get out. Get out of prison. Go home. Get a job at the Hoagie House. Sell honey oat footlong cold cuts. (Or how Ulessians pronounce it by cutting off the 't' and 'd' consonant, and blending dipthongs and quieting down the inflections and the word Honey Oat and bread rather comes out as, from their barely escaple shut Texans stubborn tense mouths, the following "Honey oak whead breah."

Roberto would return to this dead end and continue laboring over the white bread, wheat, parmesan cheese, Cheetoes, sour cream baked lays and fattening M &M cookie complex, "White American, Monetary Jack cheese or Swiss. What type of lettuce would you like on that? Romaine, iceberg or. . ." It would become the same old-rent a movie on the weekends, wash dishes, get Thai take out and write short stories and beg some old actress to go out with him to the Paris Bistrot in Dallas. Maybe he go back to the theatre and perform again. Perhaps, he go out and land some lucky audition to a film passing through DFW. Paramount, MGM. Maybe he act in a Mamet film, perhaps with William H. Macey. He had his dream. He hung up the pay phone and stared down. Shel would be arriving in Paris soon. Alone. Going back to her pad near the lourve. He had not just lost his freedom but his girl. Fuck Arm robbery. Fuck Hollywood. His dreams had pushed him into being what he never thought he been, a possible convict. A possible murderer. A possible prisoner. On the other hand, he did still have his life. His hopes born but a fourth of smile out of his blue existence. He was mentally willing himself from the bars. He face the judge, tell him the truth, "Yes, your honor I did it. I am guilty. I was desperate. Alone. I was lucking for adventure. I wanted to get further down the road than Uless, TX. Yes I stuck the gun in his face. Yes I put the money in the plastic shopping bag, yes I was wearing gloves, and ski mask. Yes I am the robber. I was armed." It was his first time to get caught, besides the false charity case, and few times, while living with mom, when he had to go to the detention center for a seventy two hour suicide watch in the near by mental health clinic. Yes, he had been caught before, but now it was for a serious crime. He was going to give up on hope. He was not going to let those bastards break his will. He was going to get probation, perhaps a year in prison, maybe a year of hard labor. Or perhaps he was going to plea not guilty. "No your honor. I didn't do it. The guy ahead of me did. I was merely running around that night with a ski mask and a .45 automatic." It would never work. He had to face the news. He was going in the big house. He was going to have to have congeal visits, hours of tv, playing cards, reading books with complex wordy paragraphs, pass the time, play more cards, work out with the weights and take up smoking cheap cigs, possibly even learning to fight with an ice pick. There was no way out this time. Roberto had gone too far. False charity, the mental house, now the big house. What do I tell the judge this time? I can't get away with insanity. Insane people don't run into a convenience store with powerful deadly weapon and place it to the clerks forehead. Insane people sneak into thei neighbor's house and iron all their clothing. Luckily, he didn't fire the gun. Luckily he ran off into a an arriving police vehicle, to get spotlighted on his movie star-ish face.

My luck has run out. Wait, but luck doesn't really run out. Luck is an ongoing phenomenon. It is always present in some form or fashion. Maybe the judge will be someone I know. Perhaps someone in the biz. In showbiz. Maybe a kind hearted Christian. I shouldn't of stole. I should not of plan this getaway. Or perhaps I should of stole, and stuck the gun to his head. Why not? It was the only way to change this pace. This constant rhythm with the same beat and same drum and same day of living. Of the same drumming. Anything to get out of this routine. The same walkway to the same Hoagie Store. Serving the same spicy mustard foot longs. Anything to get out of the apartment. The same old movies, same old books. It was like prison anyway. Anything to Change, change, change. No more Hoagie Store. No more staying up late nights with a tub of honey laced ice cream. No more hogging it by myself. No more masturbating by myself. Now I wouldn't be alone. I wouldn't die alone. I'd be with hundred of other people, mostly men with dirty past, but they still have hearts, they still can change, and I can change with him. No more of the same walk way to the same ol Job. Same old nothing. I stuck the gun in his face. I ran out with the money. I got caught and I broke the chain of the commoner, the average Joe.

Roberto looked at himself in the mirrored plate above the change slot on the pay phone. His eyes were still glaucous green, his cheeks still hollow, his hair still brown. He had time. He had his life vibrating, beating before this electronic musical bullshit. He was going to serve time in jail, and average Joe had time to do that. They had to take care of the kids, and the bills, and wash the van. Roberto had time. It was an adventure. It was a change of pace. A change of pace. Dear God a change of Pace. And this intent, and reasonable answer gave valid motivation and reason for the time he had time to serve, up and coming. And had to do some one good. A prisoner and a thief had his worth in the world. Now he would be cast out of everything. He was half dead.

Or maybe he change his mind. He hear the glissando arise from the rhythm of the trail, and due as Christ would permit him to do, simply walk out. Simply take the key from the bailiff, unlock the lock on his chains, turn his check on the judge and slip out the back door, into the lobby and head out the front door, down the steps of the courthouse. He could see it happen in his mind, he had been to trials and a court house before, for other cases. One case concerning a murder between a daughter and a father. One case concerning false charity and when he was nine, he was in and out of the courthouse due to a divorce case between his father and mother. The courthouse was kind of a place he was familiar with. He had familiarized himself with the judge's chambers, the stand, the DA's table, the prosecuting attorney, defendant's side, to the left, and the jury stand. He was becoming familiar with where the bailiff stands and so on. He just walk out. Fuck trial. He could see it in his mind. One step at a time, by himself, free of hand cuffs, down the front steps into a taxi cab, no reporter, no people, no onlookers. Just him and the free world again.

Roberto sadly enough returned, alone to his waiting cell. The big trail was approaching in two more days.

He purchase a ten speed on stolen credit, a small pad near the airport, hike to the Hoagie Store, serve foot long cheese stacks, and bump his head on the cooler room truss way above the cooler door, give him a reason for pain killers and morphine, and hike back to work, bump his head again, retrieving more salami, save up and fly off to Canada, or some island, to fall onto a rich lady's lap, a lap from Paris, Amsterdam, or Germany, some rich lady from Europe with a noticeable sexy accent, and buy her a loads of gin and tonic. He'd win. Secretly, even though he was celled he'd win. Roberto was a winner, a fighter, a person that kept peddling the bike, even though he was over sweating, over heated and over done. He'd still go on. THIS IS WHAT MADE HIM A WINNER. Somehow he pick the lock, run away and win either here, or elsewhere. There was a land with his name on it. There is a land with everyone's name on it. It is the way the world works. Every dog has it's day. Simple and plain.

The cell door rolled to a close. Clank. Lights out. And wam. A tear. A pale blue air, filled the room. It was the moon, silver moon, voicing again.

It wanted sympathy. It wanted knowledge, a song, sorry. It wanted something from Roberto. The moon wanted him to look at him, to watch him float overhead, rotate around this lonely blue planet.

There is a theory called Morphic Resonance. The concept, or theory, coined or, associated, with the fantasy writer Terry Pratchett, is not hard to understand-it deals with morphing into other beings and it is presented as a type of fantasy spell. I am not dealing with this type of Morphic Resonance. I am bringing attention to the phrase that was famed by Rupert Sheldrake. It deals with memory in nature and among animals and the idea of mysteries telepathy, interconnections between all living forces on the planet." What happens in one place happens in the other. Supposedly, research was done on pigeons. Supposedly, a flock of pigeons learned to open milk carton tops with their beaks. Far away, on the other side of the continent a family of pigeons wear pecking away at empty milk cartoon tops, in which, housed no milk. Both sets of birds, one pecking away at milk carton cans with the intent to drink the milk, far away, on the other side of the land, another set of birds pecking away at milk cans, but with what intent. The birds on the faraway side of the continent had no reason to peck at milk cartoon lids since the milk was absent from the carton.

Sheldrake has a PHD from Cambridge in the field of chemistry. He appears to have mastered the techniques in biochemistry and is still a skeptic when it comes to standard forms. He is highly interested in Goethe and vital-isms.

He prefers teleological to mechanistic models of reality. Sheldrake has devoted his life to studying paradigms of paranormal existences and happenings. Dogs that know when their owners are coming home is the title of one of his books. He believes that animals have special powers and takes the stand on metaphysics. The tendency for things to follow patterns of nature, he calls morphic resonance. Sheldrake claims,

it is not at all necessary for us to assume that the physical characteristics of organisms are contained inside the genes, which may in fact be analogous to transistors tuned in to the proper frequencies for translating invisible information into visible form. Thus, morphogenetic [sic] fields are located invisibly in and around organisms, and may account for such hitherto unexplainable phenomena as the regeneration of severed limbs by worms and salamanders, phantom limbs, the holographic properties of memory, telepathy, and the increasing ease with which new skills are learned as greater quantities of a population acquire them.*

Upon these ideas of telepathy, and the "repetitive memory concept (not determined by inherit nature, but rather by repetition", he has abandoned all science and has taken an alternative path to our relationships within a shared believe and community of knowledge-and alternative sciences. Many compare him to Ron L. Hubbard. Basically, he prefers metaphysics over science. He feels, over thinking, that this connection, this magical link between organism, is transmitted through a mysteries field of energy. Like the rays coming of some cartoon-ish Sci-fi character in the famed cartoon on Comedy network, Pinky in the Brain. This transmited invisible energy is noted to be called, "Morphogenic fields." Here is a man that has neglected modern science for the old fashion beliefs and ritual in theology and philosophy.

How does morphic resonance exist in the world of Roberto Pace. How does the theories of madman, or highly intelligent inventors (what's the difference between the two) help aid the story of Pace. Mann's "bore within himself the possibility of a thousand ways of life, together with the private conviction that they were all sheer impossibilities." It seems not to, but it does. For Roberto has no other choice but to think. It is either philosophize, create an inner story, or do eighty hundred knee-bends and pushups. Either choice would make him great. For a prisoner has no choices. His choice has ran out. He can either go slothful, or repeat an action over and over again, he can read and gain knowledge, study, write and continue this religiously, or do nota. Nota is not an option for Roberto. Here is a man that graduated college, tried everything to be a writer, studied like a doctor for it, and merely ended up in a cell. What is a life, if its' surroundings prevent you from running, walking long distances or traveling wherever, whenever one desires. . .And how far to go . . .but to be cut off by bars. . .and life holds you from physically moving, and you are known to be in jail, no longer making choices in life, and life becomes a prison cell-this is hell.

The prisoner is no more jailed or free than anyone else-To be honest, there is no such thing as a prisoner. It is a give in. A fake. An idea invented by authority to scare and discipline society to follow rules, laws and money schemes. Prison is a myth. Even though we like to believe in the idea. "Oh, yes. He or she is locked up now, forever. They are miserable. They have sinned and now they are paying" This is bullshit. Prisoners have food, shelter, television and can even request sex. They have the same thing any citizen has, but they can not go to Hurricane harbor, or fly off to some distant island. On the other hand, there are some prisons on islands, but there is not better beachfront, than the beachfront imagined from the mind. There is no better place to be, but in the memory, or imagination. No matter what sights you see, no matter what you purchase at the mall, or what program you view on the satellite dish, nothing overcomes the imagination, and the will to control sense. Nothing. Thus, to lock someone up really, to make them feel real pain, one would have to rob their imagination, their will to remember and escape in the mind. And the only way to take away imagination and memory, is by death. And death does exist in the big house-at the end of the green mile.

Roberto requested a book from the guardsman. "A book?" He mumbled teething a tooth pick in between his fang. There was a piece of stringy steak hanging down like a brown infected piece of floss. "A book. Hm. You want to read a book?" The guard said once more. "Why?" "I want to continue my education." Roberto said. "You do huh." The guardsman said, slicking back his gray, whitening hair. "Education. Well, I'll think about it." "Don't you have something laying around. A newspaper. A dime store novel. A brochure. Something I can practice my reading skill." "Reading skills hm. You haven't even had a fucking trail and you want me to be your librarian." "Come on man. What's your name sir." The guardsman rolled the tooth pick to the other corner of his mouth. "Ted. Ted Threet. Whats it to you?" "Well, can you empathize with me?" Roberto pleaded. "I guess empathize kinda means the same thing as sympathize, eh?" "Yeah. I guess so." "I'll think about." "Come on sir." Roberto looked Ted in the eyes for a long while. He was a tall man, round belly, thick cheeks, hollow eyes, and two piercing sets of ocean colored blue eyes. "I guess so. Nothing wrong with continuing your education. Tomorrow I'll bring you back something from Uless library. But, I choose what you read." "Hot dog." Roberto exclaimed. "Great. I can't wait." Ted, slowly, wobbled down the hall like some aged old duck full of a half bag of quack feed. "Can't wait." Roberto added. His boots clicking like a drum majors and the sound echoing around the cell like in some old prison house cartoon. "I can't wait. I can't wait what he'll bring me." Roberto whispered weakly as he nodded off on the top bunk in his six by six cell.

Morning will come soon. I'll may get a coffee. Hell, if he'll got to the library for me, perhaps, he'll pick me up a donut or something similar. I may have myself a continental breakfast in this joint. I get to read. Maybe he'll bring me some Hemingway. I've always wanted to finish War and Peace. No wait. Hemingway didn't write War and Peace, that was Tolstoy. Yes, Tolstoy wrote War and Peace. What war story did Hemingway write? Oh, yes, For Whom the Bell Tolls. I don't know for sure if it was a full on war story, but it did have an ambulance driver from the red cross in it. Roberto's though patterns became more streaming, happy and imaginative. He was waking up in this dark place. Some inner peace was arriving. Soon, he have Ted's selection.

Theory of the beehive and perception of wrongness.

When Robert worked at the Hoagie Shoppe last year, before the conviction and, of coarse the crime, Uless was in deep financial trouble, hence, an increase in the amount of passing fire engines, ambulance sirens and police vehicles where on hunt. Crime bumped up a few notches on the lawbreaker's meter.

Robert did not understand crime as much as Roberto, his shadow, empathized. One late morning, during a hottest time of the summer, Robert biked up to the Hoagie store, carrying a book saddles and a few power bars. He rested behind the chain of store, in alley, before a middle school. He sat down on a curb, nibbled on his power bar and watched a group of teenage girls circle around the track and field. Life was good. Easy. He go in soon, make a few footlongs, take a few tuna salad sandwiches in the back room for lunch and munch on a badge of old peanut butter cookies. Before work he'd show up a forty minutes early to read from a book of poetry by Ginsberg. Also, he take other book selections with him, checked out from the nearby library. Books on acting, filmmaking and a few books on How To Write A Novel, and How to Sell your Novel. He was thinking about printing out a few short stories and sending them, bound, copied and packaged, properly to selected publishing company that would help him build his book. It would take a lot of money to build his first book and become well established in the literary field. That is why he showed up early behind the Hoagie store to read, study and contemplate over nature and running teenage girls. A little bit of Lolita wearing in his consciousness. Little to his attention, a swarm of bees hovered and zig zaged not but a few feet from his reading spot. A shadow fell on him as he turned profile to the swarm and slowed his heart rate down. See, bees will only sting you, if they can sense the fear radiated off your being. He continued staring at the teenager's boobies bouncing a half a mile away on the track. The flying stinging army dipped up and down and over a syrupy black poodle near the back exit door. Hungry bees. They twisted and dove around Robert's space. He focused on the girls and the track and the blowing wind, what a soothing morning it was. It was easy to hold the fear back. There was no need to be afraid anymore. He used his experience as an actor and even a writer, to keep down the sweat and heart flutters. There was no time to get stung before work. The stinger would irritate his focus on the taste at hand, making sandwiches. He had no room to make anymore mistakes on the foot long Hoagie line. The manager already got on to him about not placing napkins in the plastic bags. "Put the napkins in the bag. Just wrap around the sandwich. Like this." He showed him how to wrap the napkins, securing them around the body of the packaged sandwich and dropping them in a plastic sack. "One more time Roberto and that's it." Roberto whispered coolly, "I'm out of here." Usually if he got one complaint, then his work efforts fell to a domino effect of a series of mistakes, like not cutting the bread correctly, or not keeping his lettuce and tomato packing speed on to the wheat bread. Subway wasn't cut out for this poet. And this one discipline by his boss, would obviously lead to several more complaints, "job complaint domino," which lead to termination. There was no time to let some bee ruin his job. Roberto slowly got up, from the storming fleet of buzzing disaster and slowly, glided to the other end of the chain of businesses. There was a parlor for beauty and nails, and a electronic store, that he did not know if was open or closed. He stopped behind the Nail Parlor and sat down with ninja like control, paced, slow and meditated. There was no reason to run off. Bees usually only storm one area, at one time, and the threatening and beastly flyers had chosen the area behind the Hoagie place for a specific reason regarding food and shelter from the wind. He sat and read Ginsberg and a book entitled the Tao and listened to the breezing wind pass through the coloring orange trees before the field, which was nice scenery for the middle school-ers running track. He read on and focused on the buzzing, but not on the fear of the buzzers. If you fear a bee it will sting you. There had been beekeepers that have saturated there bodies with millions of bees and never been stung in their lives.

Thoughts accumulated in Roberto's head.

Those fuckers are mad at me for eating too much honey this last winter.

God's punishing me for scooping at the young babes jogging the coarse.

Roberto had rationalized why the bees where humming near by. It had nothing to do with the need of the bees survival. Oh, know, man never blames science for the reason or even coincidence of bad happenings in nature. The first area of life man head to, if disaster strikes, is God, or the gods, or something supernatural. The bees weren't hovering around the black poodle of syrup because it was in their inherint nature, or survival, the bees weren't trying to survive, oh no, never, they were simply fouling up Roberto's live, or seeking revenge for eating from their honey combs. That is one of man's greatest flaws. When Oedipus Rex stabbed his eyes out, he blamed the Greek gods and Zeus, for his hubris, sins which lead to tragedy. He did not completely take the blame but he did claim, "I stabbed my own eyes with my own hands." Thus, it easy for any man to blame God for the actions and downfalls or serendipity of nature, good timing or bad, but how many mean blame science and the calculated rhythms of the universe for bee stings and running teenage girls in the midst of puberty. The theory of wrongness is a theory based upon religious and untouchable, abstract foundations. Wrongness does not fit in the life of a biologist. There is nothing wrong in nature. If there is something wrong in nature, than it is being compared to theology, or religious standards, thus, morality. Morality and science are not close brother by far. The two concepts concerning decision making are not even cousins, nor pen pals. Science is black and morality is white. There is not joining of the two studies on mankind and the world. The bees hovered over the syrup by chance according to the coincidental, by God's order according to the religious, and because the syrup added their nutritional needs according to the Naturalist. And to the Realist, the bees were not bees at all, but rather annoying horse flies or nats (exaggerated for the sake of artistic development, symbolism and mere atmospheric presentation).

So is there wrong and right. Yes, is the laws of society. No, in the rules of science. Yes, in the church house. And no, to the intense and series artist. Wrong and right, as black and white to the oil painter, are subjective and delicate aspects of humanity and art. The lawman uses wrong and right, just as the writer dissects both ideas. For both words were crafted by man's hand, in the state of both subjective existences. A writer can write just as creative and expressive with out nutritious, he or she may construct plots and themes, and characterizations just as well, on a dangerous drug, as a writer can create a novel on nothing but air. The creative medium lies in a chaotic field, of chance and exact planning. The best work is perfected and the lazy work is not planned, but, both are creations, and both have value. Some masterpieces, some artful and respected plays have been written in little than an hour and some literature had taken the author ten years to compose. Some playwrights can write a one act in one night, and some, like Chekov, spend a summer on one play. The speed and even correctness, and validity of the work has nothing to do with it's worth. A masterpiece is sometimes chosen to by one, by the people, reflected to be something great, merely because it represents and reflects their true nature. Some men never learn to create angel hands, and some men are angels. How can this be fair. Unfortunately, life isn't always fair, but we would like to represent equality in art, even though it is impossible to do so.

What is wrong or write? I may be wrong or right to question.

A term.

A term was being used in Roberto's neighborhood before the arrest. American Airlines was suffering and on the verge of bankruptcy, due to September 11th, 2001. There where many pilots, flight attendants, air traffic controllers, baggage personal and ticket counter clerks, walking along the passage road to various sets of apartment, without jobs, without work and without motivation. The terms used to describe them were the combination of two words: Dead and Heads, equally one word Deadhead. A deadhead, is someone who veggies out, and lives a sluggish or dull-witted person. Usually a deadhead acts as a parasite, feeding and living off others. They rarely work and have little ambition. Deadheads never finish a project and many live in Austin Texas and smoke four pounds of weed in a few months or less. They have to do this. It is either that or starve to death, or freeze in when winter gets rough. It is there way to somehow attach to the monetary system of the market. They usually shop in the black market, but at least they shop. No one planned for these employees to lose their way of life, and careers. But terrorism chose them to suffer. Terror has long arms. And from the foot prints of the world trade center, these arms stretch and choked on innocent, hard workers. Roberto did not work for AA. And he didn't really intend to, but he did consider applying as a flight attendant and did so several years back, but the AA company would not take him. Most likely he was too young and too naïve, and too fresh out of college. So, Roberto ran of to Hollywood after graduation to land film work and climb his way to star. Little did he know he was living in the new Flint Michigan, unless the government shielding these long arms of terrorism and aided the troubled ones, and the unemployed workers of AA. Unemployed, drained and weary, the laid off and temporary laid off and early retirements drove, walked and went dry in pads with in Uless. Roberto would wake up many nights to the sound of maddening screaming and odd, nutty noises. One time he even had a knife pulled on him because he had to stump on the roof, due to the fact that his downstairs neighbor was playing his base music far too loud. Most likely he was trying to turn of the noise of nothing. Unemployment can drive a man into a violent sadness. His down stairs neighbor tried to use fast food and rap music as an uplifting technique in order to reverse frowns into smiles. It didn't work for Roberto and he slammed a twenty five pound weight on the floor above the rappers pad. Later, the rapper left due to poor finance and loud noise. He was asked to leave.

Robert found himself living next to an older man, with not teeth, gray long hair and a nice facial features. He played guitar and was fairly quite, but with out work.

They rarely talked.

Days went by. Roberto awoke, biked down, twenty minute afar, to the near by Hoagie shop, worked four hours and returned with earned wages barely enough to cover food. He had to beg family for his other necessities. Luckily, he found a phone company that did not charge 80.0 $ a month for local service. He went with a lower quality company, but with better deals on the phone. It could have been a desperate attempt to save a company faltering due to the terrorist attack on Manhattan. Many business were shutting down due to the flames and pain. He joined the Phone Company NSI, which offered free International Long Distance and a monthly payment, with all features, for merely thirty dollars a month. He began paying under half what he used to when working as a waiter, or at 7-11, down the road. Roberto, began to come to terms with career. When, he was twelve he told his mother, "I want to be." The rest of the sentence ended with. "A writer." "I want to be a writer." That is what he told her. Mom had told him the story of Job and he had never felt more emotional and alive after hearing the biblical tale. He loved stories and hearing stories and reading books and novels and short stories. The game he honored and respected mostly as a child was Dungeons and Dragons. D & D and Advanced D & D became an obsession and an awesome way to exercise his imagination as a sixth and seventh and even eight grader. He dropped D & D, after the age of sixteen and after too many hits of LSD. His most popular character in the game was a halfling-elf-fighter named after the female elf Silver Leaf. Basically, it was a halfling fighter with a passed on name. He took the name of Silver Leaf from a more pure, and beautiful being. It was a name giving away in one of the Adventure modules. Silver Leaf was a popular elf. Roberto merely stole the name, or burroughed. But most names are stolen. How many Johns do you know. How many Melcars are or Melcores, or Dragaphs, are used in D & D. I guess Roberto stole many things in life, but he wasn't ripping off his phone company. That he paid for. And he was definite about making each payment, on time.

And he began making calls to New York and California. He was going to try and set up his acting career once more.

Ted returned. It was late morning. "I know it's morning. And I know your court day is coming up. But I brought you something." He opened a small white box fatter, wider and longer than a shoe box and he continued with, "Donuts." They where plain chocolate glaze, but Roberto didn't care. He took a couple and the guard covered his mouth, "Shh. I know you're a good man Roberto. Just bare with us. WE have to keep ya here until trail. You may get off on mental health reasons and we'll move you over to MHMR. Oh, and I brought you the book. Have you read The Epic of Gilgamesh." Roberto looked down at his white socks. "No." He said trying to hold back the tears. It had been three days straight and he had been lucky to get a cigarette or sip of coffee. Now, Ted was rewarding him. "I know your not guilty." Ted reinforced. "But I have to play the law game now. Here." He stuck thick book through the bars. Roberto snatched it up and smiled. "Thank you." He said with wide eyes. They where dry now. "I'll give her a read."

Ted saluted and turned away and headed to the end of the corridor. Roberto smiled and thumbed through the pages. It was a boxy healthy paper back of around two hundred pages. "Can't go wrong with this epic." Roberto hummed and made his way to the concrete table, hoarding down the sweat taste of the chocolate glaze surprise.

Page one. "I will proclaim to the world the deeds of Gilgamesh. This was the man to whom all things were known; this was the king who knew the countries of the world. He was wise, he saw mysteries and knew secret things, he brought us a tale of the days before the flood. He went on a long journey, was weary, worn-out with labor, returning he rested, he engraved on a stone the whole story." Roberto looked down on the skim top of the concrete table in the center of the cell. It was a two seater bench, one you might see at a picnic or at the edge of basketball court. Carved in the rock of the table, was a sketchy, but readable chess board. Yes, Roberto was playing with life now. It was his next step that matter, but not a physical one, but rather a step in the mind. A choice. What to say to the judge, how to approach the bench and how to speak to the defense lawyer. Time was coming to a boiling point. Soon, he'd have to face trial.

He skipped lunch. He was too sucked into the story of the greatest warrior that ever existed.

Slowly to recluse.

A year ago.

Robert became a recluse. He bought a small word processor and began to write every night. Mostly, poems, plays, screen plays and one man shows, dialogue, and tv scripts, soaps, treatments and more. The more he returned to the word processor, the more he desired to be great, and the more he decided to become great, the lonelier he became. But Robert was stubborn. He didn't want to quit. He didn't have any other interest. He dropped everything in his life. Even acting. Even theatre. Dropped it all, to gain knowledge, self awareness, of nature and literature composed from the beauty around. He was digging a deep hole. Some saw it as a waist of time, others viewed his work as brilliant, and life changing. Robert saw it as a way to get back. A way to speak and express himself. Writing became a means for survival.

On the other hand, Roberto, the adventure, his shadow, viewed writing as something intellectual do, or ass hole professor. To Roberto, writing embarrassed him. Robert was the writer. Roberto was the thief, and possible actor. Both contending with each other. Both trying to make sense of their environment.


Never. Will I ever trust a women. I will make love to them, give them flowers, nice phone calls, conversations and helloes, but I shall, never, so help me God trust them. They are closer to Satan and in their nature, they take. There are two aspects of a women that are fact (of coarse this does not apply to the Virgin Mary and other Holly and giving hearts such as Mother Teresa and Oprah) they are givers of life and takers of life. I don't mean this is a literally. I do, but not the whole sentence. It is true that house a zygote which turns into a fetus which later develops into an infant, than to a baby. It is true they are giving and can love. It is true women are great contributors to our planet. I am not going to lie, Women are great. But I am unfortunately misogynistic. It is one of my greatest weaknesses. Yes, I am calling women hating a weakness. It is a temptation. Most great men learn to value and appreciate women.

This is what I will do to the lovely creature. I will wash them, speak poetry to them, buy them ninety thousand dollar cars, expensive jewelry and take them to the finest restaurant in Manhattan, I will be a father to their child, I will rise their children, put them in private schools, I will walk them in the most eloquent parks in Egypt, London or France. I will do what they need and desire me to do. BUT, I will never trust them. I have decided never to put my trust, my full and savored trust in to the arms of a women. I have never, to this day, ever met one female, that has not abandoned me. Not one yet. Not even my mother.

I know this is saddening and hard for you to hear Oh, Woman. But, I have to be honest. I can not trust you any longer. You may do with me what you want, you may even ask for my heart, and I will willingly hand it over, but I can not give you my trust. That is only for me. And at times I have trouble trusting myself, but I am learning to master self trust as I write this. I trust Roberto and his story. I trust other character I have written for you and others like you and for other people near you and other artist in faraway lands, and for all the readers, but this gives me no right to hurt myself for you again.

Roberto was in the midst of writing his story. It started with how every women he had ever trust broke this valuable inner feeling, we all need to live life fully. With out trust life is incomplete. Roberto was not yet complete. Shel had left to New York to study acting. She left him behind. He had a few months until he was going to graduate, with honors, from the college in North Texas. He was preparing to run off to the land of movies. To take the world on, fully. Shel, wasn't around. He asked her to marry him before she kicked him out of the apartment. "Do do it Shel. I was going to marry you." "OUT. GET YOUR SHIT AND GET THE FUCK OUT." Roberto put the box of books down, walked quietly and calmly to the kitchen drawer, took out a seven inch steak knife, and while Shel gathered his plays into a small filing box, he sawed off her curly, thick beautiful pony tail. "So you won't forget me." Then, he walked over, slowly, with ginger calmness to the box of text books, bent down to pick them up and Shel cried, "You sonofabitch. I can't believe you. Yousonofabitch. How dare you do that?" Her pony tail lay on the kitchen floor. It was over between Shel and Robert. Permanently over. There was no going back after that. He had crossed the lines. Her hair, a part of her, a dead part, but nevertheless, a part of her lay on the kitchen yellow checkered linoleum floor. "I'm sorry I had to cut your pony tail off. But I can't live in my fucking truck again. Not with out payment." "Payment. Cutting my fucking hair off is payment." "People sell their hair for money nowadays lady. Just one thing." Shel went into the bedroom and took down the brown square rustic box, she kept the weed and pills in. "When your at your lowest moment. At your weakest moment. You will call out my name." Roberto walked out of her place. Shel stormed to the front door and kicked it solidly shut. She locked it behind him and that was it.

Never will a trust a women again.

That week Roberto lived in his truck. He cramped all his original, written plays, journals, poetry and songs in the back of the cabin. He turned up his favorite song by Led Zeplin and headed back to Fort Worth. He would have to move in with mom again.

After twenty months and twenty pounds less in wieght, he finished up College. He receive a Bachelor of Arts in Performance study with honors. He graduated with a 3.9 gpa and received the National Honors Award. He returned to a small dorm style apartment off of Fry Street, in Denton. He lived a quiet life, their and on whim, after working as a substitute in the DISD and at a market research company, he drove off to California. In hopes to plant his trust to a more trustworthy soil.

"Do you want to put this book on the market?" Roberto kept staring at the man's but-crease in his chin. He was a tall man, broad shoulders, narrow waist, long shins, pointy knee-caps and his only height was found in his sedulous speech and assiduous word usage in mid conversation. He was dressed in long tan shorts, and an expensive Banana Republic vest. Obviously a man with a hefty bank account. Under the vest was a white cotton Gap dress shirt, with a multifarious of various buttons. He noticed zippers where used to zip up the front pocket. Yes, a bank account indeed. He removed a small cigarette case from his canvas earthy colored sports jacket. After lighting up, he relit a herb scented cigarette and spread the smoke above his head like holy wild fire. Two cigarette in one hand. How sinful. Why would a man do such a thing. "Its good. You have interesting and unique structure. You stuck with the protagonist Roberto, or Robert Pace and his life through out the entire book. Have you thought about calling it Robert Pace rather than. . . ." He offered the dry cigarette (The one without the herb). Roberto shook his head. He wanted the sweet smelling smoke. "I like the Criminal. I like that title. Nothing else. It must be The Criminal. Curt. Intelligent. And well, Inventive. Is he the thief. Or you." Roberto answered with a silent chin raise. The answer was initially present before the conversation began. Robert reached over and gripped his ice water, which was kept in a long, narrow upside down cone shape glass. It reminded him of a glass some alien would have in his house in Roswell, New Mexico. The drinking cup was long, narrow and translucent. He sipped on the clear sparkling water, swishing it to the back of his throat and then to the pockets of his cheek, and in the process of swallowing the sip, he poked the lemon down to the bottom, at the floor of the cup, with his butter knife. The manners were eccentric but due to their uniqueness he scored a few classy points in etiquette. At least he did not use his bare finger to mash the lemon under the ice. It was a one of his methods of washing the brunch snack into his tummy and out of his mouth. He did not want to spit a floaty on his new publisher. That would be death defying "green wienie" (mistake.)

The year had arrived to publish his second book. He was in Santa Monica, at a Hilton that overlooked the vast blue. A seagull glided by, wining and hunting for bread crumbs. "So you like it." "It's the best work I've read since. . .Hell. Since old stuff. Like Bellows or Hemingway. It really has charm. What did you do to write this ingenious shit. Huh, babe?" "Lived in a small town, near the airport in Texas. Worked at fast food places, convenience store and said God Damnit over and over again until a damned the motherfucker into existence. Typing it out and writing the story down on paper just came natural to me." "I noticed you had a ah. . .well. . .hatred toward God." "Yes. I struggle with his existence. I believing He is there. I lived as an atheist as a teenager and had trouble with it as a I grew older. Sometimes I wake up and I can see, but usually, when I book comes about, and characters and storylines arrive I am quit blind." "Good way word ones faith." "It's the most common way to look at it. Being either blind, or in clear vision. Sometimes I see my God. Sometimes he is behind a cloud, and I only view the cloud. You follow me?" "Yes. I'm sorry you feel this way." A moment passed. The gentleman from Scribners, chewed on the filter and jotted down some notes. "I usually meet by phone, or internet. But I had to fly out here and see you. You are brilliant." "Thanks. Can I order you something." Robert held up his index finger and nodded at the passing waiter. "One sec." He said in a thick flamboyant lisp. "Okay. No biggie." Roberto said. "This world at times, turns my stomach. Sometimes I want to vomit and at other times my appetite increases. Get it?" Roberto was hustling the hell out of him. It was nothing compared to his first meeting he had over his first book. He sold it in the dead of a winter storm, in the mid December and in New York, the hardest time to sell a book was when Winter was wild, and not to forget, in such a big, during such a festive moment in time. Two thousand and two. "Two thousand and two pages long. That's many words. It will take time to build." Frederick said winking at the lady waitress setting his Gin and Tonic, with a lemon twist, before him. The seagull circled over the café, which extended from a balcony on the Hilton. A man wearing a black jump suite was on a cell phone. He was eating a frosty slushes, with a tropical fruit and protein powder, blended and mixed with vodka. A liquor drink prescribed by health nuts. Usually only drank by idiots who like to work out and drink, wich is a contradiction in terms. It was a new crave, a new fad, in Santa Monica. It was called a spiked sushy. A healthy drunk was more attractive and successful than a dead drunk. "Your work is simple. To the point. A child's mind. Very identifiable. Like all writing should be. What made you want to be a writer." "I'm in to sucking dick." Roberto smiled. "Just joshing ya. I like to tell stories. Simple as that. Not complex things. But stories. I'm interested in stories. And I don't like to go to long without telling them." "You were an actor write." "When I was younger and then I began writing my own monologues for auditions. The monologues turned into plays. The plays turned into short stories. And the short stories turned into character-ish stories of two hundred or three hundred pages. I just kept layering over what the monologues and plays gave me. The layering build up into novels. I found writing novels to be more public. I had more time away from the eyes of the people. I didn't have to worry about showing up to some stupid audition and wasting my time trying to become a movie star. I could just sit at home, and imagine my success and eventually I knew that would bring success. For what we imagine is a powerful tool. I believe the imagination can bring truth around us. Look at what the Wright Brothers did. Look at what Einstein did or hell look at what one man name Jesus did and he didn't even use his pen.."

The word is a powerful aspect of life. It is an embodiment of ideas and imaginations and it does more than most arts combined. The word has the power to change. Photographs, actors, dancers, directors, films, artist, painting, sculpting, inspire people, but writers Change people. They have the power to change the. . ."The world. They really do. I mean a painting can inspire, but can it change. It doesn't change. Words do. Language does. It changes, and it changes what others read it to be. Meaning. . ." "Your saying what exactly?" "I'm saying that words are a common form of communication in society and in life. Most that can speak, use words every day. This is why the writer's medium is so valued. WE change others with our words and in doing that words change. If you look a word in a dictionary, ten years ago, it could be spelled differently and it could have a slightly different meaning. A dictionary of today is a different than a dictionary of the past. Words are constantly growing, becoming polluted, growing into new meanings. Just as structure changes. Sophocles may have invented the perfect structure for a play, but that structured is old fashion and overused nowadays. Same in books. Anyone can pick up a pen, a journal, and begin a new structure, a new word. Hell, how many books have you read that are written in numbers, or in words that most don't use to communicate stories with. Ti, tie tatatareering . . .See Sophocles broke the rules of Aeschylus and he broke the rules of the chorus, bla bla and more bla and then and then Thesbis rose and became a rebel, and Euripides broke the rules of Sophocles and Aristophanes broke those rules and Platus and he broke more, and the rules kept shattering over and over. . .all forms and structure to storytelling shattered, until Woody Allen came along and broke all the rules and made everyone fall over from laughter and then Mamet made English professor sleep with their students and so one and so on and Allen and other's like him, rule breakers and risk takers and those who value of ubi sunt and are rewarded for it rising up and falling down and structure teetering on the worth of its meaning." "I am glade I brought this hand held." Frederick set the small tape recording next to the miniature umbrellas laying on top of the table. He sipped on his mixed drink and shared a glance with Roberto at the gliding seagull, staring back down at their existence. "And now you want proof. Proof of the world around you. So you look up at me, or you stare in some book at the words, and their well structured manner. And you want proof that you exist. Constant proof. And I don't care. Did you know that? I don't care and that is why I'll burn in hell for all of this." Roberto downed his spiked slushy and snapped his fingers for another round.

He sold it. It hit the press and over ten million copies where released in Barnes and Noble and other similar franchised bookstores. It was a number one seller on New York Times Best Seller list and Washington Post raved over it's uniqueness and dedication to humanity. Roberto was famed. Dame to fame.

He bought a five hundred square foot flat in Soho and a small apartment in one of the high rises near Central park. The soho place was his writing workshop and the apartment was for his women and boyish fag friends. He had to keep his work and sex life separate. So he purchased two homes. Plus, he was in midst to building a house on the cliffs of Santa Monica and thinking about buying a studio in Paris. His next project was to write a play for the off Broadway circuit. He would name it The Theif. He would spell the title wrong on purpose. It was the title found on a journal cover, in some alley, written by a criminal and ex con. A play like Short Eyes or Weeds.

Robert Pace had a father. His father, Will Pace, was once millionaire due to his thriving chain of tiny jewelry stores set up along small towns between Keller and HEB. He owned five jewelry stores with the well known and common franchised title of Lone Store. Being a millionaire was not the only problem Robert's Father had. Will Pace adopted another lifestyle, unlike the businessmen attitudes of buying, selling and refining gold. He was once a polio victim, but it never progressed to the horrible state of a breathing machine, those made well to do in the late fifties. No, he survived the attack of polio but his left calf leg and upper thigh was slightly deteriated. His legs where quite distracted from the manner of health.

Roberto's Mother. A nice lady. She once worked for Will as a waxer in his wax section of the precious metal refinery. Later, after marriage with Will, she let go of work and became Will's house wife, maid and ceramic craftsperson. She sold her ceramic's on the side at garage sales and other events. She go into town and the farmer's market to fetch food for the family and later began keeping a cook book for French cuisines and such.

Roberto was left upstairs, alone. Like some lost object in the attic. He took to writing as a means to escape. Due to his deformity of his chest, which is a common place for a man to carry a birth defect, if God blesses them with such, he was cornered to beckon his imagination for companionship and social connections. It was his only way into the world, even though escaping into the imagined world is exactly reality.

He would sit in the upstairs section of the game room, on the window seat, plotting out stories ideas and adventure for his favorite and most cherished game Dungeons and Dragons. He developed his character Silver Leaf prepared a character sheet, with magical items, cursed items, hit points, dexterity, strength, intelligence, wisdom and charisma: all personality traits that a boy needs to develop into a well to do man.

Magical items: Ancient box. A magical box, once placed on the soil and open, reveals a underground dungeon, which leads to a world. The box is used for storage mostly. It was handy for storing weapons, gold and horses.

Roberto met one friend. He would later develop into a fine drug addict and rebel to society. His name was Peter. Peter played the D & D with a character known as Dragaph. Dragaph too possessed an ancient box, with the power to open in any situation, as long as the box's bottom touched soil.

The ancient box was invented by Peter. Peter thought it would be good to create an item that would store all the weaponry and jewels collected by Silver Leaf and Dragaph. The each earned many magical weapons. Ice knives, double handed swords that inflamed anything the blade touched, magical shields that caused a fighter to disappear and hide, creating a low number on defense. The lower the number on defense the least likely one could be hit by an opponent. Hit points worked in the opposite. The game was played with four sets of die, sometimes more. A four sided die, a six sided die, a eight sided die, a twelve sided die and a twenty sided die. Advanced D & D used more dies, and more sided dies. One die was known as a hundred sided die. It was basically a perfectly shaped ball, with various numbers neighboring one another. The die ball would role until it naturally stopped and at the top center point (astronomy calls the) would land the number. It was used for players that had high hit points and crossed upon magical dragons with an extremely deadly and highly powerful touch on human, elvens or halflings. Peter and Robert mostly played with elves, human fighters, magic users and halflings, of elf and human, or dwarf breed. This is how Roberto exercised his ability to write and imagine. Also, it improved his skill and creative flare for playing a role.

Roberto sister didn't play with him that much. She mostly was at his mothers house or at friends. She was two years older and quite rude to Roberto. Jealous mostly of his younger life and the fact that his was a boy.

If Peter was not around, Roberto practiced memorizing the rule book, or module in the attic or on the balcony. Alone. Later, as he grew into a teenager, he put down the games and picked up the books of poetry and song. He began writing songs, and poems on Sunday morning, before church or before leaving to the restaurant on Thursday evenings. He hated going out to eat. Dad always stuffed himself with too many tacos or asked the waiter to return with the casa dip bowl. Dad didn't push health too much. Sis and Roberto got in trouble for not eating, just as much as eating.

Roberto sat on the balcony and began composing lyrics. Every other word, to any of his stories was always interrupted by some demon, or voice, of some friend. Your too stupid. Oh, that's dumb. Oh, he eats too much. Oh, he is a nerd. Oh, he looks like a turd. OH, oh, oh. The voices got worse and worse the older he got and they interrupted his social standings.

Robert versus Roberto

Robert was the straight man. Full on rational. No nonsense. Up front. To the cue. Payment plan. Loan payments on time kind of guy. If he would of arose more in Roberto's life, he wouldn't been in so much deep shit. He read books on self help, how to love, cook, he read the directions on packets, or parts that needed assembly. He was a man with honor. He stayed away from artsy films, racy books or poets.

Roberto was the rebel, the thief, the criminal, tempered fool, out to get his way. No holds bar. All or nothing. No self control. Anger, lust, laziness and full on crazy 'basterdness'. He didn't care and if you got in his way he shot you the bird. He was the musician, the poet, the madman, the freedom fighter, a fully committed bachelor. Roberto devoured himself in the steamy side of cinema, the hot and bothered film makers. He wanted to go to Hollywood non-stop and get everyone back. Make a film. Record a CD. Write a new song about lost love and rebellion. Fuck this system bullshit. He wanted to break all the rules, tear down the walls and bail ship. He was the bomb.

Robert was the naive and innocent side of Roberto and Roberto was the guilty side of Robert. Each side of one man, teetering on sanity. Needing each other as a balancing system, just as a pulley system needs counter weights to raise the curtains to reveal life.

Roberto was always hungry for more. He would eat the entire cake if he could get away with it. Robert would hold back, eat a slice and carry on a long conversation with an old friend. Robert, not Roberto, was the type to take a girl out to a fancy restaurant. Roberto would rent a room at Motel 6, with cheap wine, or beer and rent HBO. Roberto was private and hogged life. Robert was open and giving. Each fought with one another, trying to maintain a since of wholeness, and unity. It was a war between the two. One demanded more and the other held his hand up and said No. I will not let you rule my life. The other screaming back: there are no rules tight wad.

Roberto was lonely in the cell. He was just about finished with Gigamesh.

He read from the epic,

"And princes will bow down before you; they shall

bring you tribute from the mountains and the plain.

Your ewes shall drop twins and your goats triplets;

Your pack-ass shall outrun mules; your oxen

Shall have no rivals, and your chariot horses

Shall be famous far-off for their swiftness."

He had about fifty pages left in the paper back. The epic was everyman's story. A story about adventure, travel, war and pure evil tempting others to fall from grace. Gilgamesh was no coward by no means to mankind. He was the opposite of a weak person. He was more than a person. He was a hero. And he did it all. He had help too. His sidekick was a brave warrior named Enkidu. Enkidu followed him everywhere. He was Gilgamesh back up and best friend.

Roberto began to review each chapter in his mind like he did as a young student. His days in reading class sparkled up. He remember he met his best friend. He had a Jewish mother and a Christian father. He was Judeo-Christian. His friend was called Harrington Friedman. Harrington Friedman was originally from New York. The rough parts of queen. He was picked on by many kids at a young age because he was slower. Harrington was in a remedial reading class with Roberto. Roberto was actually a super fast reader. He was just badly influenced by an overly aggressive father. His father, Will, was heavy set, a huge belly, and thick jaws. He was a buck sergeant for the Army during Vietnam and was a victim of polio. Will had a temper the size of Manhattan but despised big cities in the North. He wasn't a fan of the Yankees. Will was a Dallas Cowboy junkie and never missed a Monday night ballgame. He yell and whistle at the set, as if he was really in the stadium. His father was a great man and once started a band, in his younger years, called the Acoustics. He was a huge Beatle fans and admired the doors, eagles and Led Zepplin. Roberto loved his father, but hated him for his abuse. . . "Roberto get downstairs." At this moment in his life, he was around eleven. His mother had left his father, divorce was finalized and Will sent Alamony and child support payments for the summer. His mother remarried a basket ball couch for High school students in mid town Fort Worth. His name was Earlchk Reeds. Earlchk had a temper, like most couches, but was an overly nice guy. He knew every sport and put Roberto through the ringer. Roberto was well rounded in football, soccer, jogging, biking, jump rope, weight lifting, swimming, golfing, hiking and walking long distances. Earlchk was the ideal step dad, compared to the abusive harshness and speed addict father, Will. Will changed after he lost Lone Star to the EPA and later reopened a winery. Will was not a bad man. He had his problems with Vietnam, the sixties, speed, pot and the music scene, and later with gold. His greed got the best of him, he gained too much weight and Roberto's mother left him and remarried a man with more class. Earlchk was a series fan of literature, Thomas Wolfe and David Lynch films. Later, Earlchk education would turn Roberto on to drama and literature. This is how Roberto got bit by the creative writing bug. His real father, Will, had him in the fall and spring. Mom had him in summer. "Get your butt down here. Time for dinner. Oh, and wash the goober juice off your hands." That was a cruel joke, that pops would play on Roberto. Janny gafawed at his humor. Janny was his step mom and not too beloved at this stage of his life. She was a worker that prepared rings, before they'd be dipped into the was. She also practiced ceramics and sold them. Both, of Will's wives were craftspeople. Mom, Roberto's real mother, or Ann, was more of a model and actress type. She was more into the experience of life, and she wrote children stories in her free time. She was also quite the actress. During her younger years she was cast in a play at a junior college. But one note, by a keen director discourage her. She was giving a note about volume. A common note giving to many method actors of our time. She quit acting and took up modeling and later landed a job for Richard Simmons in the mid 1980's.

Roberto ran downstairs, washed his hands, and ate his French fries, burger and mash potatoes, and green beans, and corn and washed down his ice tea. "Don't eat the those home fries with your hands." Wam. Will popped Roberto over the head with the back of his hands. Will jumped in his seat. "Dad. Come on." Slam. Will popped him once more. "Sit up. Eat your fries with you damn hands boy. Show us some respect." "But your supposed to eat your fries that way. Their fries. . .that is why. . ." Slap. "Don't back talk me boy." His father flared in his southern twang. "I hope you don't eat that ignorant at school." Father was hyper picky about table manners. Roberto had been swatted by pops for a variety of mistakes at the table. Mistakes are natural for a young kid or student of life. Its called experimentation. But not with Will. If you made one mistake. Bam. A whack in the head. A crack on the head is what you get for asking. He was like a tatty overly strict Headmaster with a million in the bank. Now he owns a wine store and takes pain killers. "Eat your food slowly. Chew. Bite. Breath. Chew. Bite. Breath." Father couched Roberto through dinner constantly. He wasn't the only sibling he would swat at the table. Sis would get popped for talking with her mouth full. Roberto finished his plate, like required, wiped his mouth and ran upstairs to hit the books and fall off to sleep. Tomorrow he had to have his book report completed. He was reading a story about the socials and the greasers: The Outsiders. His favorite character, besides Pony Boy, was Johnny (Ralph Mochio character.) Roberto identified most with him. He was the hurt puppy dog of the greasers and was the one that got picked on but ended up a hero with Pony Boy, his best bud. Stay Golden Pony Boy. Stay Golden.

Now, Robert sits before a word processor somewhere lost in Soho. All the lovers of his past, the lady from Long Beach, the ex-high school sweat heart Jen Fights, Shel, the lover or art, France and love, now gone. A loser. Lost in his papers. In his notes. Searching for an answer.

But that is when it hit him, just as the apple most of cracked on Newton's crown. Yes, that is when it all became clear. There are no answers. Their seems there is, but actually there aren't. Even love isn't an answer. Not when it comes to breath, pumping blood, veins, tissue. Or is it. Does love conquer all. If it did, why does Roberto still exist. It wasn't long until he was released from his prison term. And yes, Roberto searched for a new love and yes he came across many new lovers. But nothing is forever, not even love. We like to believe it is, and maybe some poets, and song writers are on the right track. Maybe love does master all, even death. Christ mastered hell with love and changed the world. But Roberto Pace wasn't Christ. He was a lonely writer. And his words became his love. But words can't act as love. Words can't hug, kiss and make love to you. He had no choice, he had to write. It was right, or read, or take a walk to central park, maybe stop off at a café, or theatre show, perhaps he would run into Her. Mrs. Her. The one. She would stumble into him. They would fall into a long conversation about the stumble. The reason for stumbling. The motivation and hidden intent that one stumbles. And then a phone number. Digits written on a matchbook cover. Then, a call to Brooklyn. She'd be a dancer, a poet, a poet that once danced Ballet. Now, broken, older. Now she had fallen in love with words, just as Roberto did. Together, they'd tale stories, like King and his wife, or Sam and Lang, or Lilly and Dash. Fall in love with each others words, or perhaps, the love would grow deeper and they fall for each other's spirit, spirit for survival. It would be a perfect couple. The one and only, the best. Better than Shel and her French Romanticism and impressionistic star. Those gray untouched eyes. Yes, she would be the one for him. She who? Mrs. Shewho. Mrs. Her. Roberto and Mrs. Her. Together at last on the streets of the a city that never sleeps. No. That would be to good to be true. But how does one make something that is too good to be true, true. I guess they become too good to be true. Or else.

Roberto was tired of waiting. He had been tested too many times and had unfortunately failed too many times. Many of the test in his past had been disproportional to his trait, or certain being, or to his selected system (body, mind and spirit), whoever elected him to live in this world, either his real father, or the Omniscient one, it didn't matter. He had been chosen and now he had to take the test. It was time to pass for a change. He must succeed his future. Career forward. He would get out and write Criminal, sell it and move to uptown. He couldn't wait to get to trail. To see the judge. Did he have a mustache? What color would his eyes be? It could be a women? It was time to pass for a change. He'd have to come up with a damn good excuse for robbing a convenience store. Boy, what a convenience it wasn't. This store did not make him feel any better, even if the gas was twenty percent off. He have to cut off his misogynistic ways. It would be a women. It would be the wrath of woman kind. He would be blamed, and taxed soulfully, for all the ladies he had cutout on and the past. All the women he had cheated on, and blamed for his mistakes. Women that had to kick him out of the apartment for using long distance and making them pay the fee, sneaking their cookies and treats from the cupboard, stealing their cigarettes, or wine and not paying them back. He would be shamed for cutting Shel's pony tail off. He'd be blamed for all the times he yelled, and cursed at his mother. The times he spit on her when he was high on low grad speed, the time he told her to burn in hell, and God Damned her name. He was so cruel to his mother. He blamed her for all his flaws. It was a weakness. It was shameful. It was a sign of the worst traits of all tragic heroes, hubris. He put his own needs, his own ego and self worth, over the rest of the world. He loved himself more than he needed to.

"Please rise. Your honorable Judge Wright-Standards. . ." Roberto's eyes widened. The time had come. It was a mere flash, and wam, he was standing before the honorable Judge Wright-Standards. It was a male judge, late fifties, gray hair, rusty white beard, and piercing aqua azure eyes. He had charming features and a huge white smile.

The jury was not kind to the Defense argument. No one seemed to support or takes sides with Roberto. What of Roberto's behalf. His Defense lawyer was a sloppy man, with dirty blond hair, brown eyes and he smelled like cheap Old spice. He talked in a low voice and he only said a few things to Roberto. "Be calm. Sit up. And be polite." The jury voted and returned. The spokesperson for the jury rose. Roberto noticed that the lady juror in the back was filing her nails. Here, in the middle of the courtroom, just before his sentencing, a juror field away at her stupid, silly nails. She was worried about the appearance of a deadening growth. It was like putting on lipstick at the peak of a funeral service. Uncouth, disrespectful and unmindful. The juror opened her mouth widely and voiced the jury's decision on Roberto Pace's case of armed robbery. "Guilty of the charge of Armed robbery." The Judge Wright sentenced Roberto, "I sentence you to three years in the Texas State Penitentiary for the unlawful behavior of armed robbery with intent to harm another fellow human being. I hope you understand your punishment is not going to be easy Roberto Pace. I am sick and tired of seeing young talented men like yourself Roberto stand before me with such dishonorable charges. I hear you graduated college and was exploring the field of creative writing." "Yes your honor. I plan to write my first book when I go into the inside." "Well, you will have to earn the privilege to do so. And that will take time and discipline. I think the problem here may be a mental one, but nevertheless, sir, you did break the law. I will consider parole and probation. I am a lenient judge when I see the educated. But I do not forgive some one just for the advancement in academia. Ted Bundy acted as his own lawyer and was well versed and schooled in the law. I hate to see you blow it all away for a mere three hundred dollars in cash. Couldn't of you of got a loan or seek an advancement from a relative or friend. I know unemployment is at a high, and we are all suffering due to the terror of September eleventh. I understand you were in New York during the attack." "Yes your honor. I was in school. I went to the New School university." "Hm mh. It's a shame. So much talent. I will allow you to use the library and earn the privilege to a type writer, perhaps a word processor. If you proof to me, Roberto, that you want to better yourself, and you help out around the pen, and be respectful and I will shorten your stay for a half year. But you must prove to me, that you will work hard, study and pursue your dream as a writer and I will be lenient. Do we have an understanding sir." "Yes your honor. We do." "Good. Four months, no parole. Fifth month, granted parole. If parole is granted on the fifth month,, six years probation. The court is now dismissed."

Luckily, Ted, the guardsman, and Roberto had made good friends. Ted told him as they loaded him on the convent van headed toward the State Pen, "Robert. I'll send you a new book every two weeks. And a journal, with one of those fancy pens, those thick round ones, you buy at Barnes and Noble. Will that suit you." Roberto nodded his head as his shackles dragged over the back bumper to the van and snaked to a stop into the cold white, caged interior. Robert closed his eyes as the van's engine started up, Roberto's eyes remained wide open, he wanted to savor every moment of his punishment, to Roberto it was a masochistic reward. Most criminals, and that is what Roberto was, sometimes expect the punishment, they expect to be caught, hell, if they are not caught, then there is something wrong. A true criminal will keep violating the law, until he or she is caught. They will keep pushing the boundaries until attention is brought upon them. They demand the law to go into effect. To be honest, and sincere, the criminal is the reason laws are created. If the law doesn't beckon upon them, and grip the criminal with it's blind hand, than the criminal is being abandoned by the law and if the criminal is abandoned by the law he or she is being abandoned by society, and how can a criminal commit crime, how can they feel justified, lawful or unlawful, if the crime is not attended to. If their crimes are dismissed than the criminal is dismissed and their need for existence is dismissed. Thieves need to be caught, or the thief needs to know that there is a possibility of being caught. Many thieves steal for the sake of "getting-away-with-it theory." The thief is not just trying to get ahead in the world, but the thief is acting upon his addiction to steal. One gets a high of thievery. It is a feel-good action, like drugs, nicotine or alcohol. Hell, thievery should be taxed (and theft is taxed in the eyes of justice. Or in some churchgoer's opinion, the thief will be judged by God.) On the other hand, one must consider why the thief steals. Most jewel thieves steal for the high, the money, the women and the adventure, or going in late night, dressed in black, flash light in mouth, hack saw, screw driver and pliers in a small bag, wire cutters, and glass cutter and the whole nine yards. Pick pockets usually steal, because they need fast cash fast. Usually, for cab fair out of town, or to get a hotel room. Fast movie for fast living. The pick pockets takes the wallet, opens it up, takes the money, or credit cards, and trashes the wallet. He or she doesn't care about anything else, not even the ID. The pick pockets do not care what the ID photo looks like, who owns the wallet, they don't want names, addresses, or membership cards. Credit and money. That's it. Now the armed robber is usually high, or in need of drug money. They need much cash quick and are usually willing to risk their lives. Drug calls for much dough. The drug demands the armed robber to take the store with out question or grief. Now, the bank robber is smart. And plans. He or she is going in for a life time investment. Most bank robbers are older, and either want to start a new life in another land, or retire from life period. The bank robber is not your fast cash kind of man. He or she, is out for the long term (investment) amount. Money that will set them back for a long, long time, so the thief will not have to commit arm robber, pick pocket or jewelry store theft. I would classify thieves as the following:

Four ranks of thieves. (Shoplifters to Bank robbers.)

Lowest rank:

Lowest rank: The Shop lifter. (Cheap scat thief out to save on food money. Many shop lifters

or congressman, movie stars and, or fine and substantial people and citizen. Some say it's a disease more than a thievery. Some psychologist rank it along the lines of kleptomania. Some mental doctors will admit the shop lifter doesn't even really know that their shop lifting. This small time crooks, are barely aware, and are lost in delusion during the time of shop lifting. Most are not suit to be called thieves because the shop lifter is border lane insane. The shoplifter may still be able to run a business, act as a government leader, even a star in film, but can not be fully guilty, but should be responsible and attend help for their disorder. I consider shop lifting off (clothing, watches, alcohol, cigarettes, jewelry and other expensive materials) Most are unaware of their kleptomania. Thus, they need mental help. I wouldn't even classify them along the other thieves.)

Second to lowest: Pickpocket or conman. Usually the shop lifters are award they are stealing. It is too risky of a task to be unaware of the theft. The pickpocket or conman is after money.

Third level: Arm robber. Dangerous psycho. Usually hooked on drugs and is out of their minds. They are award, but on a raging high. Most likely on coke, speed or heroin.

Fourth level of thievery: Bank robbery. The bank robber is a sly individual. There is history in this field. Highly intelligent. Planner. Clean. Not on drugs. Most are clear headed and are living healthy and straight lives. Even file taxes. This would be the professional thief. In it for the big money. Wanted a long term investment. Some older thieves do it to retire on. Some thieves do it to start a new life in another country. Most bank robber split town, or split the continent after robbery. Bank Robbers are smart and traveling breed. Bank robbers are world travelers.

What does she want? What? I know, I know.

The dark cell was no inviting place whatsoever. It was cold. Un-warmly. Hateful. Hollow. Just as she was.

Shel you cunt. Why did you leave me here.

Roberto had a problem blaming others for his mistakes. He gave the intent of his actions over to his lost love, Shelly Ann Thorns. Miss Thorns left him. She flew off to Paris to study art and humanities. There was no reason for calling her now. Hell, she didn't even have a three digit area code. She had one of those weird numbers that had odd spacing like 12 34 77 E. Or some shit. Shelly got away. No more love. Shel's gone. Damn cunt.

The penitentiary never welcomed a man. It ordered a man but never invited him to do anything. Nothing was cordial or kind. Man became like a product in here. A designed response by the successful scientist. Its long hallways, sharp biting corners, roared and growled at any prisoner that attempted to plot a path. There was no paths made by the pen. The pen didn't set structure but rather broke it. It could polish up on law, and redefine legislature, but the pen was not meant to polish. The pen is a dirty mechanism designed to change purity. If you give a pen to a baby, he or she will wince at it, suck on it and possibly holler at it. The pen doesn't like the innocent. It is a tool of the skilled and snaky. Even though this tool can bite it still had rights. The pen had the right to enlighten, to awaken, to seduce and even in many cases to Love. That was the purpose of Roberto Pace. Love.

Yellow lines told you were to walk. Color coated hallways or strictly enforced signs, commanding men, like objects, like cold hard tools for the sinner of the world. Have you ever noticed how square most penitentiaries are? How many angles and sharp corners. Those types of places, like factories, command the feet, demand the hands for labor, and the mind for stillness. It is a place of loneliness, order and salvation. It is a place to do time. And time is loneliness, order and salvation. Especially if time is marked in tiny lines under a bunk bed, in some unknown corner of the world. The State Pen. It was located in Huntsville Texas. A isolated place, full of incoming and outgoing con men. A place full of punishment, redemption and forgiveness. See, every prisoner is serving time. But not the type of time most men think of. It is a pressured time. Every second counts. Every day amounts. It is designed to make a man feel the heaviness of time. It is constructed to make men notice the value of time and it's connections with freedom. No prisoner can get up at three in the morning, drive down to the grocery store and pick up some Ben and Jerry Rocky Road. No prisoner can pull up to Taco Bell and order a supreme ultimate and a nacho drenched tostados. No prisoner can pull up to a bar for a night of dancing and socializing. Hell, even their nights of fucking have to be planned, secured and briefed (also brief) I hear, and Roberto came to realization, that in the joint, you only have thirty minutes to eat. That is all the guards allow. You have to hog down your food.

This was not new to Roberto. He had been an actor and writer, and food had been sparse in his lifetime and he only had a little amount of time to eat his food, due to the beckoning of labor and it's costly demand of man's time. It wasn't that much different from the outside. There was a chosen time to wake up. Just as there was a chosen time for men to wake up for work. There was time to bath. Just as there was time to bath morning and night. There was a time to read, a time to write and a time to play. There was time to write letters, a time to work out, a time to walk and listen to the radio. Just like the outside. A time for every moment. A selected, chosen time, by a higher power. Prison life taught Roberto that time was chosen for man and man did not choose time. It wasn't his choice in life. Time was not meant to be chosen, just as mother nature was not meant to be controlled.

I wish I could see Shel. I can't blame her for this. I can't

Blame any of them for any of this. Shel is gone now.

Paris is her home. I heard she found a lover and is

Living in his pad. What a lucky girl, Shel is.

Goddamn this world. But no. I can't ask

God to damn anything. Not anymore. It is

Time for me to let go, and let him.

Roberto was a fast learner. He asked for a type writer, but he had not proved to the warden that he deserved one yet. Tomorrow morning, he would have to due laundry duties. That meant he had to go down in the hot basement of the prison, with seven other black men and one Mexican dude name Skitz. Skitz was in for selling speed and acid. He was one of those far-out dudes, with crazy Skitzy eyes and one of those Jesus goatess and long, thin arms and long black hair that usually covered deep brown pelican eyes. He had a friend name Jose, everyone called him, Pigeon for short. Pigeon walked up to Robert. "Whats up dude. Whatcha in for. You don't got to tell me if you don't wanna." Pigeon was a dumpy dude, with a long pony tail, and broad flabby shoulders. He seemed like some old poet or crazy artist. "Day call me Pigeon for short. I use to run messages and drugs for a dude name Pelican. They call him Skitz. He came in later, after I did. He's over der. Whatcha doing time for. You don't got to tell." "Armed robbery." Roberto kind of grinned madly, trying to pass of he was mean, like the other. Pigeon may have been a nice guy. They made it down to the laundry room. Roberto had never seen so many white cloth material accumulated in one spot before in his life. It was a steamy room, with a wide temper, and maddening hisses, and groans. It was one of those boxy places, poles hanging vertically and horizontally, and the ceiling was lower than the usually room. A seven foot basket ball player would have to walk on his knees in this place.

Laundry duties were getting repetitive. The other guys, Jose and Skitzy, were very careful at folding the towel. They treated it like some holy ritualistic action. Taking there time to meet the corners of each end of each towel, small, medium or large, they did not treat any of them any different. Every towel meant control and exact creases and careful stacking. Roberto noticed how they laid each garment on its side, pressing them with steamy irons and dry cleaning brushes. "Got to get the lint off of em. Its important to get the lint of." Pigeon said. The other three black men were taking up to the next level. Two other brothers came down and joined Jose and his friend. "Names Jackson. And this is my dude, Java." Java was from the east side of Africa. He got caught brining in three pounds of Purple Hair across the borders of Florida. I don't know how he ended up in Huntsville. "Java was caught in Florida. Served some time down there, got off on probation and then he moved deep south Texas. That's when he got caught again. This time Heroin coming in from Mexico City. Hence, Huntsville." So, Java was a carrier big time. He was growing it in his village in Africa, off the coast. He made it in the states, through Florida and was a successful dealer in Maimi. That's were he was arrested. In small hotel, called The Super Eight. He had sliced in the side of a few luggage pieced, and lined the outer skin with the Indigo herb. That's what he called it. Basically, it was weed. "How long your serving this time." Java didn't speak good English. His brother, Jackson talked for him. "Java's his nick name. Real name is Champa. Champa Naga." Hm. Roberto thought. "See, they weren't nice to him in the prison down in Florida. He decided not to speak after that." Java looked down at the sheet for a long time. A thinly jagged line, or scar, ran from his left eyebrow down to the bottom of the crease that separated his chin from the shadow of his neck. It was ghastly site to witness. "They cut him bad. White Supremacy fuckers. Arians. They didn't like his East African accent." Damn. Roberto thought. He must have been in a bad situation. "How they'd do it?" Roberto was not asking because he was concerned with the feelings of Java, which he should have been, but he was asking for the survival purposes. Maybe if I can find out how they sliced Java, than, I could figure out how they may try to slice me. It wouldn't be long, until a knife appeared at the shoulders of Roberto. A sharp, Buck knife, glisten a silvery smiling death. A possible death, of leaking blood, bursting, flowing into the last tick of time, lowering the lids to the eyes as the last sip of life flowed from the gauging cavern, and stingy cold numbness arrives and then permanent lights out, curtain.

The thought of it. Blood possibly leaking everywhere. On him. Real blood. Red blood. His blood. His thoughts multiplied. Movies of criminals from mafia flicks, being sliced and diced and Gatlin gunned down in old fancy Singers and movie star cars held up at some gate off a dirt road near a desert, not a klick from Vegas. Too much. Too much. Slow down.

Roberto was getting scared. Real jittery. His thoughts were racing like Minneapolis five hundred. In the midst of folding a linen cloth, he began to plot, various paths filled with a multitude toward freedom, a mix-master of various philosophies to break out, to escape this hell hole, myths of carving his way through a tunnel in his cell, under his bed, eating the dirt, swallowing the metal char, cutting, cutting, digging like a mad mole with a butter knife, like the protagonist's intentions, in King's film Shaw Shank Redemption, but more, more fawn, without the makeup and Tim Robbins beautiful mug and trained tongue. Reality had set in, he could hear the air-conditioning pumping, a man's cut a silent one, the putrid, rank, coarse smell of a polluted place filled with pretensions of improvement, lies of rehabilitation, he continued these thoughts, these paranoid delusions of freedom, possibilities in his mind, the actions of the white supremacy pigs, and how they held this little Eastern African man, in the air, by the throat, under the shower nozzle, feet dangling, grunting noises, and then, slice, crrrrk. "Sliced him right in the showers. Didn't they Java. Doctor's in the hospital had to give him blood back. Sonsabitches." Jackson said with whispers. "NO SOCIALIZING." The guard in the corner of the laundry had woken up from his mid morning nap. He was reading a Washington Post entitled Doomsday in Iraq.

Movie night at the prison was approaching. It was once a month and on Saturday evening. Usually the last weekend of the month. This week, the Warden ordered the movie

The tragic hero.

All tragic heroes have one thing in common. Each tragic hero central problem is hubris. Many have the problem of hating, or casting anger toward God. Some even want to be God, and this is their down fall.

Time and prison A poem by Roberto Pace

The devil demands time.

He tempts man

Limits time limits

To rush to a savage rate,

So forget his God,

Welcome oh grate hubris

Fall into

Mechanical routines,

unforgiving speeds

of knotted steps.

Of twisted lost frets

So why don't you just starve Roberto and rob his love.

Cast your stone Warden.

It was a few months before the arrest. Roberto had no idea he was going to buy a .45 automatic. He looked for one on the streets. No idea whatsoever. He did know that Shel was gone and loneliness was killing him. No hurting, killing. It was draining him of motivation, or activity and reason for his life. TV was becoming too important. The character's in the shows were becoming like his friends. TV was wrong.

tv. What is it? Is it right or wrong? Is it opium or knowledge to be earned. Is it a sickness or something used for relaxation. One day that fucking tube will burn out blessed god.

What intent would he have on this planet? Now that she is gone, I have no reason to wake in the morning.

So why don't your just starve Roberto. No one is going to trust a poet. Their liars. Cheats. Stealers.

Roberto knew that some poets where respected. It was Shel voice that was polluting his ways. It was her voice. He had to sacrifice himself. If he didn't, then he would have to sacrifice. Kill or be killed. Make tons of money, or starve. Poets starved. It was a way of life. There was no way out of that. The world guided people, in using money as a platform, as stepping stones, as a path to justice. Money lead their way. Took their hands and whistled it's happy little tune. Money was the root of all control. And control, ultimate control, is the center of evil. No one should be controlled. That was the main reason Christ came to this planet. To ward people, that the devil tempts, and not te be controlled by his temptation. To let go and let God. But was that the only way. He had free will. He had the right to chose his next move. Starve, or rob. No job would keep him long enough. He had to find a way of life, not merely a way- of- making- money.

What kind of life does a poet have. What kind of way do they enforce, not within themselves, but with others. How does the poet fit in?

If Shel was with me. If thorns was with me I have no reason to steal. I have no reason to become the criminal.

One that commits crime is not a criminal until the action of the crime is committed. What do I mean by this? Well, the crime must take place before the criminal is in effect and his thief, or murder, or whatever the crime be, happens. After the crime, as long as another crime is not in progress, or being performed, than he or she is free of the form, or stature of criminal. Hence, the criminal is only a criminal when in the act of the crime. Berfore the crime he or she still has a chance to back off and away from the temptation. Then, again, After the crime, the criminal may say, "I'm finished with crime. It doesn't pay." Yes, crime does not pay. But what does it do.

Lets look at the definition of crime, and see if a lesson, or deeper meaning resides. A crime is an unjust or senseless act. So, why would Roberto steal. Simple, he is senseless. He is irrational. He is nuts. Crazy. Coo coo for coco puffs. He has no real reason. If he was truly starving he could get on food stamps. If he had no job he could apply for social security or welfare. And that takes time, so if he was taking to prevent him for going hungry than that is understandable. No one should go hungry in a beautiful country as the good ol USA, unfortunately this is a myth. The USA is in the world. It is a worldly functioning government. Most dough boys, or Americans, would like to admit that this country is rid of evil. The evil lies over there, where the sandy lands stretch, into the antichrist's worlds. The evil exists in their world, not ours. This is a false. Of coarse evil lives in the states. Most would like to come to terms with the fact that evil is elsewhere. Crime is only beyond the Western front, or up North. Real crime doesn't happen here. It is not until a gun is shoved in their foreheads, than the sleeping pretender is converted into a wide awake believer. Then the Disney land citizen admits openly that neglect is present, and people, that are under, underground, under the lawful smile of the slow lane, shopping store, Name brand wearing, even some New Balance freedom fighting cloths, sporting a new tread, (even new balance produces shoes from the Philippines,) wearing, tearing at the poet, and the business man at the opposite end, that claims all poetry is Bullshit in ink, the third world trader, filth haters, conformist, even the protestors of the Disney, even the hippie, grudge protestors point fingers and spread hate. IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO.

Oh, you'll starve. Don't worry they did studies on rats in cages. The ones that starved outlived the rates that were giving healthy diets and little exercise. Starvers have a better chance. So, smoke up Johnny, have a day of water and tea. Starve it up. You'll live longer. More pain for ya there buddy.

What was I supposed to do starve. The world said no.

The answer is always no. One must take it, if it will not give you a chance to work, if will not work with you, than take. Anything that doesn't work with you, is against you (if you are using kindness as a tool in working. Than the unkind will turn you down. And if the pigs say No, you take and turn no into yes. The answer will always be no. There are always pigs out there preventing, It is your time to slaughter the pig, and overcome there simple, to- the-book, or lawful no.) The pig can never be lawful, no matter who lawful they claim to be, and they, the pig, will never be. Only the meek will succeed in a world full of feel gooders, takers and hogs. Only the meek will rise to the top. Respect is more powerful than money.



Good things happen to good people, and bad people and bad things happen to good people and bad people and people happen to people, bad or good, good happens to bad and bad to good.

There is no substitute for that which is good. Evil eats at it's self. It implodes and does not spread. Good will spread and a unlimited amount of worth will aid the good. That which is plentiful is bound by moral concept.

Why did Roberto get locked up in the pen?

Have you ever heard of the fanatic. There is little difference between the fanatic and the drug addict. They say every fan, of any celebrity or beyond, is similar to someone hooked on drugs. It is almost like they need the other person. They need them to be close to them, like someone may need pain killers or heroin.

"Mr. Pace, you have mail." Right on time. Ted, the guardsmen, had sent the package. Roberto could still hear his boot heels echo down the long hall of county jail of Uless. Roberto had to walk, at a certain chosen pace, by his new guardsman, Randall Smith. He was some black guy from Tennessee. Most likely a descendant of a slave over. Hence, the last name Smith. Smith was quiet, small Afro and low, deep voice. "Stay to my Side. Pace." He said to Roberto as he slowly marched along his utility belt. Roberto stared at his .38 revolver and his paten leather shoes, prison guard issued. "Follow to my side. Don't speed up too much or slow down. Just to my side." Another guard, plain dressed, plain race and origin, followed behind with a shot gun. Most likely, he was a suburbanite, forced to apply as a prison guard in the area. Taking a wage higher than minimum and pension plans, medical, dental and all the rest. The package was small. No more the three or so paper backs. It was marked To Roberto Pace, From Ol Friend Ted.

Roberto opened the package. There where three books, a few power bars, and chocolate bar, oh, and a picture of Ted and his Wife, Shelby Wane. Now she bared Ted's last name. His last name had slipped Roberto's mind. Now, he remembered him as Ted, or the librarian guardsman that had a charming taste of masterful literature of our times. The first book, was no commoner's fiction. It was entitled, The Oresteia: agmemnon. It was the first play of the trilogy by Aeschylus. The second book given to him by Ted, was The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. One of Roberto's favorite poem epochs. The last, not a book, but another play, had a yellow post it sticker on it, Life is Dream by Pedro Calderon De La Barca. The post it sticker had message composed in orange neon ink: This one should suit you well, in here. Love Ted. Hope your doing well.

First day out in the yard was difficult to comprehend. Roberto never saw so many men working out, playing handball, cards, smoking, and fighting in one area in his life. It was like a pool hall on steroids. Most of the prisoners on his cell block were Arian. They could each bench twice their weight. It looked like a WWF wrestling gathering, some health club for Venice beach.

Each prisoner fits in his own particular culture. The separate into groups, sub groups and gangs just as they do on the outside. You have the Arian brotherhood. All blond and Anglo Saxon features. A few have red hair, or are brunettes. Most are loyal to their brothers. Many of the nazi's and other ant-colored groups hung out. The nazi and skin heads are a sub group of the Arian. They kept to themselves, but occasionally harassed a few black men, or jews, if they got on their turf. But if you kept your distance from the Arian, or Nazi, they'd back off and give you space. Next, was the African American, or the brothers. Mostly, they kept to themselves, but their was the old fashion, same ol war between colors. Red and Black. Next, was the Hispanics. They all wore green and smoked heavily. There is no other group so involved in tattoos and drawing things on walls. They kept to themselves but every once in awhile a fight would break between skins and the vados. Next, was the white color, or business class. They were the most quiet and didn't group up much. They fell along with the nerds, hackers and anti socials, or nuts. Most were in for tax fraud, domestic cases or molesting children (they didn't last long in prison. Child molester were tried by the prison peers, and usually killed.) If you go in for hurting a child, your fucked. Not screwed, fucked, like fucked in the head. Last group, were the crooks, thieves and prostitutes. A crook is usually some one who betrays their own kind and back stabs. A thief is loyal to other thieves and usually is dependent on dexterity, smarts and speed to get them out of situations. A thief is independent opposed to a crook who is dirty, mean, hurtful and betrays others. The prostitute usually is released on counts of good behavior. Not many male prostitutes go in on the inside, they usually get circulating back in the outside system, and leave country. Occasionally, you'll see one, pop up. They usually look like movie stars and have tons of charm. Kind of want to sleep with those types. Their usually young, tasteful and witty. They get out quick, mostly for protection. Prostitutes don't last long in these hard walls. The others groups and sub groups vary from time to time. History has it, according to the pen's library, there was a heavy load of hippies back in the 1960's. Who ever dodged draft in Texas, got locked up. Also, there was a large flow of drug dealers, back in the 1970's. Most dealers, nowadays, due to the high rate of conviction, or returned back to society, and there is little filter of behavior. Most dealers return to dealing, but usually, unfortunately, get into heavier stuff. If a marijuana dealer goes in for a been arrested with a lid or two, they are charged with possession with the intent to sell. This is serious charge, and they, if not released on probation, serve series time. They can serve up to five to ten years. Maybe more. But usually, due to the circulation of drug dealer and the traffic being so out of control, the dealers are given less time. Once, a dealer is freed, if he returns to the intoxicating life of sells, he or she will sale a more potent drug, like heroin, or cocaine. Prison seems to make them more brave.

"Hey vato." It was Jose. He wanted to offer Roberto a few hits of A. "Naa. I quit that shit since high school." "Come on man. Its dancing test tube and its only worth a pack of cigarettes." Roberto figured that if a hit of acid was that cheap it was most likely covered in battery acid. "Got to chill on that. I'm writing a book man. I don't want to start writing in Chinese." Roberto was quite about his book. He only told Jose and Ted about it, in letters. Ted became a dedicated pen pal since he went into the inside. Jose caught him writing on a legal pad and got it out of him. "Your writing a book fool. How come?" "Pass the time." "Shit man that's the only reason." "I guess." "No man your writing that book out of love." "I am." Roberto said raising his eyebrows and thumping his eraser head on the blue lines on the paper. "I guess I'm writing it out of love." "She man, that book is going to teach people how the inside really is, so vattos, brothers and whiteys don't make the same mistake." "Maybe so."

Roberto spent the whole night reading from Life is A dream and writing poetry and creating outliners, and short paragraphs trying to steam up his new story about the life on the inside. Doing Time. He thought about calling it Doing Time, but he couldn't find a better title than The Criminal. Lights out were around ten pm. Usually on the dot. Ten PM?. Man this place hits the pillow early. Lights up were around dawn, just before breakfast, enough time to shower and prepare for line up and dirty clothes take out.

Life wasn't that different from Uless and his small pad. He'd spend hours writing long letters to Shelly Thorns or his mother. Only difference was he could go up to the nearby Tom Thumb by some chocolate, or some cigarettes, or a new note pad, and fuck around reading magazine. Roberto was pretty shelter. In many of his poems, he talked about his life being like a prisoners. Just, plain, no women, no love-doing time. His life was going nowhere. He kept getting fired from convenient store jobs and finally he came to conclusion they'd owned him a paycheck. One pay stub to the next one pay stub after the other. No where. A circular spiral, lost in life's pleasure and risky poetry.

Some of the white collars had laptops set up and some of those fools were still conducting business from the inside. A cook, that ran a laser cartridge company, up north, was still allowed to send e-mails to his business. Roberto was going to put in a request for a type writer and begin his first chapter. He had to wait a few weeks, and keep up his good behavior. So, far he had fallen into no fights, no alteration and had made no friends, beside Jose, Skitzy and Jackson.

Roberto was a busy man. His stubby pencil ran out after the first few nights of his first chapter. Damn. What to do to get a pen around here. The warden did not aloud pens, or sharp utensils, besides a golf tally style pencil, with no eraser. Short, dull and hard on the forearms. Man, he was really down and out. Down and freaking lost. No pen around here. He'd have to earn the privilege and the right to the pen. The first guardsman, who never gave his name, black gentlemen, that grunted when he walked and hummed before he'd pass Roberto's cell, said, "You ain't getting no pen until next couple of weeks. But ya got your shaving kit and cream right." He burst a small smile to him. Well, I had no pen, but at least I had shaving cream and stubby pencil. Paper was a rare property in prison. For the moment, Roberto had to write on trash, or, due to serendipity he landed upon a lucky find. See, the new cafeteria in the prison was revamped, due to a flow of funds from the gov. Completely revamped. New floors, polished silver where and fancy metal with wood rim trays. The previous trays, according to in-da-house rumor, were cheap, bright neon orange container trays. A couple of slots for sheet on a shingle and few green beans. The prison nutritionist and the head of the cooks had written letters to the congressman urging a better food plan. More healthy foods, salads and deserts. It took a few years for the congressman to reply and better foods were eventually granted. Now, the prison was stocked with frozen chicken fried steaks, which were nicely thawed and refried, and also, a selection of Hispanic foods that included taco, burritos and salsa and chips. It was improving. Last night Roberto had half a chicken breast, light gravy, a small low fat ice berg salad (he asked for Romaine lettuce and the short order cook laughed at him) and a few French fries, they had ran out of ketchup packets, but he spread a few French mustard packets as a surrogate to the tomato paste. It wasn't a bad combo. I never knew French mustard was America favorite.

The most helpful aspect of the prison cafeteria was not just the new incoming food orders, but what was placed, simply, under the new fashionable cafeteria trays. It was a single sheet. A sheet for catching crumbs, or mustard drips or whatever fell from the slopping of a prisoner. You had to eat fast when one was only allowed thirty minutes. The tray papers, or placemats, the paper sheets under the trays, were pure white. Nothing. Blank. That would be his first ream. His first chapter of his novel would be written on a stashed and trimmed to eight by ten size, cafeteria placemats.

That night, someone woke him up screaming his lungs out. Roberto did not have a mirror for his shaving kit, he was still on suicide watch. Someone down the block. Cell block three. Full of the nuts, and the white collar cheats. It was closer to the main mess hall, and not too far from the yard. Cell block three was heavily secured and the aided with more security guards, televisions, and like I said before, lab tops. Skitzy called cell block three prissyville. "Some fuckers scream in priss land." It was Skitz and Jackson. They roomed together. "Tell him to take a blue pill." Jackson crackled like some deranged Hyena. "man that whitey going to be up all night. His taxes are due." Another guffawed linger down the hall from Jackson and Skitzy. Roberto began to keep track of every night. He began to label his activities in his cell.

Night ten. Prison Block four.

The guard moved me with the Spics and the other fools.

I am with all the funny guys and the clownish types.

Jackson plays cards every night with Skitzy.

Jose is quiet and draws obsessively. I don't talk

To the bunch that munch. Cell block four is pretty

Lonesome. Jackson entertains us by laughing at

Skitzy after he beats him in chess or Mexican Sweat.

The gang treats me like on the guys, but their not

Too close due to the fact I am mostly Irish, English

And a fourth Native American. Don't know my tribe, yet.

I'm still working on my book, but I don't have sufficient

Paper, nor a pen, to write with skill. Guards have told me

not to worry. Everyone knows I'm going to write the

Novel. I can't wait to get the typewriter. Its going to

Make me feel much better to hear that puppy ring. Most

Likely and according to Jose, they said they may remove

The bell in it. Most likely it'll be a Smith and Corona.

Who knows? I don't' have a TV, or VCR, nor do

I have any books. The first book I am going to ask

For, besides the Good book, is a dictionary and

Thesaurus. Lights out. I can noo longr seee

the papper to write. . . .over and outtt.

The concept of God among prisoners.

It was after lights out. No one was awake but Jose and he woke Roberto up, to ask him a question. Jose, a few cells down, stroke up a conversation with Roberto about the face of God. "What do you picture God looks like. I mean when you think of him?" Jose was in one of his philosophical and religious moods about facial features of deities. It took a few moments before Roberto answered. A lull pierced the once softness in the air. It became quiet. No one was around. It was as if Jose and Roberto were floating in the middle of the universe, no stars, no planets, no black holes or suns, just Jose and Roberto, alone with an amazing question.

Later, in the week out in the yard, Jose tried to talk Roberto in joining the prison boxing team. "Boxing. Your kidding me. What makes you think I can box." "You can. You can try. Plus, it be a good work out." "Maybe" Roberto said back. "I got a lot of reading to do." Jose handed Roberto a small green neon lighter. One of those ninety nine cent ones your find at 7-11 near the New Car smell spray and the snicker bar rack. "Thanks. I could use it for a book light." "I'll try to get ya a book light later on. Keep reading. And don't stop working on that book. Me and Skitzy are gonna lift. You sure you don't wanna lift with." Roberto informed him otherwise and dug into his new Pedro La Barca Book. Night finally fell. The prison sank into a lazy sleep. Everyone was snoring, or jacking off stealthily. If a prisoner whacked it, he usually did it with the sheets over his head or under the bunk. Guards didn't pass a prisoner's cell as much, towards the early, early mornings. Usually, the pattern of security lessoned after three AM. That was whack time. It was around three or so now. Roberto couldn't hear any spanking, nor a footsteps of the guard. He flicked the green neon lighter and wam, light appeared. It was the little brother of a bright light, but little brother lights still cut through the darkness. He could see the words printed in the small paper back, but ran across a few smeared ones and this slowed his ready a little. Roberto had a quick pace. He wasn't a bad reader whatsoever. And he could get a few pages down, before three thirty spun by. After three am the guards usually passed his cell every thirty minutes. He turn off his lighter at about three twenty five and keep it off until the quiet guard passed. The quiet guard was the black dude, that never talked to the prisoner. He always had his eye on Roberto. He was the one that took him on the walk to the basement for his first day of laundry duty.

Roberto finally had a chance to pick up a few more chapters. He dug his book out beneath the mattress and thumbed off the lint. He decided to begin stewing his creative juices and became quiet prolific. Lately, he had been taking notes from the ex courtier, soldier and clergyman, Pedro Calderon De La Barca. Barca words were powerful. He was a man on a mission. Nothing could stop him. He was that great. He wrote about the dreams and nightmares of man. He lived during the sixteen hundred and sixteen eighty one. Clank, clank. It was the quiet guard. He shined his light on Roberto, as Roberto pulled his thump of the lighter. "Gonna burn yourself with that thing." Roberto thought he was busted and would lose his lighter privileges for being up too late. Prisoners were supposed to be in bed by lights up. "He Shakespear." The guard said. "Here." The guard tossed a small mag light, the size of Roberto's index finger, through the bars. It landed in the center of his cell floor, with a thump. "Thanks." Roberto picked it up and sat back on his bed. "Does it work." Roberto twisted the head of the small lamp and light spat out in a thin ray. It was the big brother of the little brother light he was passing as a book light. "This will work fine." "So you can include me in your story." The quiet guard said and silently walked glided off. He was a mysteries man. Rumor around the prison had it he was from L.A. and had done some Television work and was on his way to becoming the next Wesley Snipes. He looked like Snipes too. Roberto read until morning. He started with a short bio on Pedro. He learned that Pedro Calderon De La Barca was not just a novelist. He also wrote plays, was a soldier and clergyman. He spent his early childhood at Valladolid, where the king and his court had them moved. Pedro father being a secretary to the Council of the Treasury, was quiet strict. It has been argued that the severity with which Calderon's father exercised his authority may be related to the themes of his plays. It goes to show how the environment and relationships of the author, and his world, and fantasy worlds, are mostly included in author's work. Literature always reflects a time. Time is the center, and around the poetry pulses. Pedro's earliest works was a result sparked from a poetry competition he had entered in which celebrated the canonization of Saint Isidore. He was judged by the one and only Lupe De Vega.

Roberto started off his first attempt at the novel with a question. Should I ask myself a question? What do I care about. What is it I want. What do I want people to know. Is it about Armed Robbery, is it about prison or what? What is it I can give them. He imagined Pedro Calderon De La Barca did the same.

What is I want to give them? Then, it rang in the back of his head. It wasn't the life of thief, or a convict, or a liar, or cheat, or madman, or writer. It was about poetry or verse. It wasn't even about the great works of Pedro. It was about love. Roberto Pace wanted to give other people love and in hopeful, it would return to him. Usually what if one gives, than they receive. How would Roberto Pace find love in a dungeon like this.

How did Segeismund find love?

There is no form. There is nothing, and all that is creating returns to nothing. It begins from a blank slate, creation happens and returns blank. All art, all books, all words, and stories, and people and nations and rivers, and mountains, and prisons and cells, and every object known to mankind, and further, will arrive and exit. This seems to be the pattern of life. A cycle. You will die. Before, or after you read this. You are dead now. Every word I will write about this prison life doesn't matter one bit. It is dead. When I become free, I am still dead. Dead I came from and dead after. There is no difference. But, if you are reading from my story and I am gone, there is a possibility that I still live. In some form or fashion, between your thoughts and dreams, lies a small heart beat within the pages and life of imagination.

The goal of many writers are to be put into the GREAT WALL. The wall that holds the words. Gilgemesh's creator's, who ever that be, name is carved into the wall. Homer is not too far from it's mysteries name. No one knows where the wall is but I have a hint. It lies in many rooms, on many shelves, lined up in many libraries across the states, the ocean and world. The library book shelves, collectively, are THE GREAT WALL.

This was Roberto's dream. To carve the power of love, into this wall. Tonight a prisoner will be executed in Florida for protesting abortion. He slaughtered a doctor to prove a point. Once a child is conceived, it should stay conceived. Shel had performed an abortion. She had made the choice to take a life. It was Roberto's to be child. He had fallen in love with a young college girl, during a break up. Shel and Roberto had met at a cinema house and went out to talk about their relationship. They had vegetarian noodles and decided to go back to his place with a bottle of wine. Later, they had make up sex, and the condom broke. Shel, became pregnant. Roberto continue to date this young College girl, Angela. Angela and Roberto traveled up to Oklahoma to go camping and later flew up to New York to tour broadway and see Stomp. It wasn't but a few months after spring break that he got the phone call. It was Shel. She had bed news for him. "I had an abortion. It was your child." "I don't believe you." Roberto said into the receiver.

There was something peculiar about the quiet guardsman. The one that gave Roberto the mini mag light as a book lamp. He had a funny glint in his eye. A mysteries smile. He seemed seedy as if he was hiding something. He appeared to Roberto as the other prisoners did. Weary, a little paranoid and over the shoulder. Roberto found out, after the night with the mag, that the quiet guardsman name was Chuck. Who gave their son, especially a black son, the name of chuck. That night he kept a watch out for the guardsman, Chuck. The batteries were running low in the mag light and Roberto only had a an act left in the Calderon play. He appeared, like always, three twenty four. "How ya doing Roberto Pace. How's the story coming along." "Slow." Roberto was lying. He was going through placemats like the toilette paper rolls' of a depressed fat slothful, unemployed, freak, with a loaded cupboard of gourmet chocolates. "Seeing that your using our placemats." A gulp slowly leaked down Roberto's Adam's apple. "Oh, I figured they toss em anyway. Might as well turn what was trash into literature." "Might as well." He vanished down the corridor. The night disintegrated in a flash. Morning had shown it's light azure color. Light was bouncing around of the walls of the hallways, and into Roberto's cell, casting a fain hue on his back wall. He rose and stretched as long as a oak, his shadow growing up the wall, like some dark haunting ghost. Morning had arrived. Roberto had wrote a full chapter. His first Chapter to the criminal.

I never thought of myself as a thief when I was a boy.

That was the first line. He figured it would grab the attention of his audience. I never thought of myself books usually did. He kept debating on the title, but he couldn't find anything more meaning full and rational and simple, and to the point as The Criminal.

Breakfast was the usual. Two eggs, toast and grits and Orange juice or perhaps an apple. Roberto thought he be fancy and he chose a low grad Apple juice, half pint carton, with a general brand name. It was squeezed and processed in Florida. Hm. Then, he remembered the execution that took place the night before. He didn't know the man's name. Nor the true reason why he was put to sleep. For some reason he pictured him as a black man, but he could have been white. He murdered some one as a protest against abortion. I guess the court and jury didn't pass off protestors. No rain check on him. He figured he was gone. A little sleeping fluid in the vein, heavy eyes, lights out and wam, non existence. He said a small prayer for the executed prisoner and sipped on the Apple Juice. Then, he remembered the wise words from his God, Jesus Christ. Those who live by the sword, die by the sword. It is just the way.

Have you ever noticed that in most executions, nowadays, the executioner doesn't know if he made the kill. They usually have three or four levers, on the euthanasia kill switch, or level, or button, whatever the warden purchased or designed for the execution. The executioner, or executioners, never know which lever was connected to the toxic fluid that is pumped into the prisoners vein. Same in the military. No one knows who fired the executioner bullets. Six men line up to execute the military prisoner and only one real magazine is loaded into a unaware shooter. Same with Florida's execution. Most likely, and Roberto wasn't for sure, but, only one executioner, out of the many, really pulled the lever, or pushed the button, only one really did it, but four or five or six, or how many selected by the warden, all simultaneously, as a team, as a group, made the decision to execute and in one lethal moment. Whoever and how many chosen to push the button and take away a person from this existence, was involved in a murder. THe state calls it an execution, but it is a murder. One man took a life, and now a state of men, take his away. In God's eyes they are all the executioners. Even if five of them pulled the switch and only if one was directly connected to the actual murder, and he or she will never know, but still every guard on the buttons, were responsible. All of them intended and encouraged and participated in the taking of a single life. Even if the five switches were not connected to the lethal injection machine, one switch was active. One out of the five, were connected. I wonder if the other's wanted to do it. I wonder which guard didn't want to be connected to the correct wiring that lowered the poison vile, and pushed death into the lungs of the Florida Death Row convict. He was more unlucky, the one that was executed or the executioner that was pain a handsome wage to pull the lever. He or she, must have a hell of a sleeping pill.

The worst part of the night had come. Roberto could smell the seamen and here the wet smacking. The lonely, prisoners, with out wives, or mates, hitting the ceiling. Roberto's light had refilled batteries. Chuck, or a.k.a. chuck, (Minus his real identity) had changed them out. All this work, he most likely had to go out a buy the AA batteries for the silly, dinky lighting mechanism, and all so he could simply be placed into words, immortalized perhaps. Roberto had started chapter two. Chapter one was kept in small rolled bunches. He figured it wouldn't be a good idea, to roll the paper but it conserved space. After all, chapter one of his book The Criminal was over sixty three placemats from the cafeteria. Sixty three placement, his first chapter. And all of it truth. Okay, some of it was lies. Half of it was lies. Well, to be honest, most of it was lies. He got tired of telling the truth of his life. Non-fiction can get boring. Roberto wanted to lie. He wanted to fib about his past. Fantasize about hot sexy women, adventure, armed robbery and travel. He pulled out a packet of cereal he had been saving. Most of the cereal, unless you used the thick and fat cheerio box at the end of the buffet line, you had to take those little cereal packets and plastic bowel and spork. Sometimes a spoon was not even provided due to the dish washer breaking down. The prison needed funding and the facilities were shaky and worn. Cobwebs were seen in the entry way of certain hall's in the kitchen. A few times Roberto had given the curse of KP.

The second chapter was more about the inside life. Life against the wall. "Doing time," he called it. He talked a little about the yard, the rituals of lifting weights and the arguments and occasional fights breaking out during poker games in the mid afternoon. The prisoners were only aloud a hour in the yard, if behavior was good standing.

The packet of cereal he had thieved from the mess hall was no larger than his hand. He could barely read the writing marking the cover, more or less, the ingredients. One portion size. It had some name like Whole Grains and Sesame. It was unique for prison issued. Definitely not a name brand from Kraft, Post, or Kellogs. This packet of dried turdy shit did not originated from some fancy mill. It was ordered by the warden to increase the nutritional needs of the prisoner. Better foods, less people getting sick, less people getting sick less doctor bills. It cost millions of dollar to house one thief. He turned the packet over and read the nutrition facts. Serving sixe 25 grams. Seventy calories a serving. Had to keep the calories down in the cell. If you were not in the yard, or on laundry duty, or slurping down your breakfast, or hogging trudy lunch or dinner, you were sitting alone, or with a mate, in your cell. Some did pushups, some sit-ups, some sit-ups and pushups and some even did yoga. It varied prisoner to prisoner. Rumor on the lawn had it there was one other writer. He was a Hispanic guy with the nick name of Boat. Every one called him boat, cause he once sold dope out of a marina down south near Porta La Vaca. It was a small town on the border of natural estuary. Boat wrote mostly about his life in Texas and he even was known to try his hand at playwriting. He was a husky man, with deep brown eyes, and Latino feature, but with lighter skin color. Supposedly he was a half breed between Italian and Hispanic. Jose told him he was going to write a screenplay about prison life and pass it on to him. Jose was going to get us "hooked up" as he called it. He meant introduced.

The yard later mid afternoon free time. "Man you should meet Mr. Boat. He's a coo dude. Man he writes all night and shit like you. Jacks off now and then, but he's stable. You should hang with us down in the yard, East side, by the fence near the tower. He's interested in listening to one of them poem you are always hacking at." "I don't hack." Roberto turned red in his face. He felt stingy all over. Kind of how he felt when he was driving through some surburbia east side of L.A. on his way to Hollywood, to audition. "Look I'll meet Mr. Boat. I'll bring a poem. Will have a reading." "Cool man. How many readings have been done in this joint? Like none right? Shit, man, the last time some one read something out loud around here was when Skitzy read me the measurement sizes to Miss June. You know man. See ya in de yard. We all get educated and shit."

Time flew by and the next thing Roberto knew he was laying down under the bunk planning his next move in the story. So, far he had been writing in first person and he didn't want to name any names. He figured he make the book's lead character named, I. That was his first and last name, I. I was it. I was going to the store. And so one. I I I.

The story of I, the Criminal.

The thief knows about "The lonely island of poverty." He knows about the material wants and greed and the longing for prosperity. Christ was nailed on holy hill. And everything about his crucifixion was Godly and Just. It was what his Father needed him to do for the sins and blood of man. Christ, the God, was not a rich man. He did not prosper. Remember, he was the failure and he died, between two thieves, two sinners, and all were spat on by other sinners. One sin to the next. The execution, a sin. A sin to murder, to take a lift and all for what? For what cause?

Roberto Pace wasn't satisfied with his book. He would spend many hours writing and rewriting sentences, phrases and small poems. The lonely island of hell. The lonely place within, that caused his pen, to move, to dance out a rhythm of the universe and all for what? As they spat on God, and he bled on men, and saved the world, a constant prince arrived in another nation, to live by his example, to sweat and hurt, for his barren. Christ did not leave us alone, he planted many seeds. And every seed, nowadays, has an answer. An answer that will arrive and bloom, from the ground up, from the rock toward the endless, azure sky above. And when the clouds presently cover us, and most meteorologist will say it shall never happen, a promise will arise, "I will baptize you with fire." And under the darken clouds, fire will burn. Burn as blue as the hearts of the sad ones, once full of warm happiness and now as cloudy as shadow that haunts Roberto's cell. What lingers above him in darkness, a world he creates.

That night. A stillness arrived. Roberto fell asleep over the placemat. A long thick piece of drool amounted in small rigged valleys and clumpy hills on the introduction sheet to his second chapter entitled Doing time.

So who are these thieves? What do they mean. Who comes to us in the middle of the night, sly, stealthy and knowing. Who are these things, the thieveries and why do they happen. Christ was executed between two thieves. Now, the country has built a land. A land based on progression, engineering and hope. And so many of them, have become barbarians, takers, soldiers and proud men full of pride. Oh, how lost the barbarians are. OH, how hard it is to be giving, to be meek. Christ trained no barbarian but he changed many that nearly fell to war. Those who live by the sword. . .

Morning was on it's way. The quiet one, passed by quickly, tapping his knuckles on the bars. It was a warning that morning duties called. The first three chapters would take time and Roberto would pull many all-nighters, like he did in College and outside in real life. Roberto felt the book gave him power, freedom and willingness. He had a goal. A simple plan in mind. To tell his story.

"Blinding by the light. Wraped up like a dush. . .Hey Roberto. Keep the light down on the placemat." It was the quiet one. He was watching over Roberto as he finished the middle of the chapter. "What are you looking over my shoulder now. Some kind of watchman." "That's my job." "Where did. . .you said your name was Chuck." "Chuck. Yeah, so." "Where did you say you were from again." "Ohio." "Ohio, huh. What part of Ohio." "Gambier." "What part of Gambier." "You putting in the book right." "Yeah." I long silence filled the air. Chuck squinted his eyebrows into an upside down v. "Hey. Man. If I tell you something you promise you want utter a soul." Roberto shook his head at an angle. He was leaning on his elbow on the bunk as Chuck put his forehead to the bars. A moment lingered. He took in a big breath. "I'm not from Ohio. I was fibbing." "Oh, yeah. How come?" Roberto questioned him. "I'm from Los Angeles." "What do you have to be ashamed about L.A." "Well, the hiring manager at human resource here thinks I was born in Ohio." "That's what you told him. Why did you do that? Are you some kind of criminal." "Well, to be honest, and be sure to write this down in your book, uh, yeah." "Bullshit." Roberto stopped doodling on his pad. "Your no criminal. What the hell would you be doing as a prison guard then." Roberto stared deep into Chuck's wide light golden brown eyes. He had that certain glint. "Well, I am." Roberto wasn't talking to a prison guard he was talking to. . ."I'm on the lam." "ON the lam?" Roberto questioned with emotion. "From who." "What is more like it. I'm in deep shit with the California LAPD." "What they want you for?" "Can't tell ya now. Don't utter a word. I know you're pretty lonely here. I want you to put me in your book. I'll tell you want I did out there." "Why a prison guard." "I figured they'd hire me. I figured I could trick em." "But you put yourself back in." "True. But I can come and go as I please this time. I've been in and out of the house all my life. Might as well work here." Roberto let out a violent chuckle. "Now that's funny. A real joke. Your telling me, your on the lam, and you applied at a prison." "That's what I said." Chuck turned away and then vanished. His footsteps trailed off as the morning rays lit the corridor.

Roberto returned to the question. Why do I want to write. What do I want to say. Love. Love returned.

It was love he wanted to give to the people, and love is what they wanted to take. Buthow? Would he tell the tale of life of thief. How did theft and love unite and why would they.

Many times, he felt like he had stole Shel. Stole her heart. That is what lovers do, steal hearts. OH, what a lover Roberto was.

But now was the time to love the words. Time to love the story and himself in the story. The more he wrote about his journey the more love flowed. It was about giving.

Voices. He had to find one voice. Not many voices. It wasn't about listening to all the failures or winners, or loser or killers, or even peace keepers. That would all come. It wasn't about listening to the many. It was about listen to the one. One voice. The voice of Roberto Pace. The prisoner. The thief. The lost troubled one that society had just reason to lock up. All because he carried the 45. automatic. All because he stuck a pistol in a cashier's face. Or did he. He was writing about it now. Did it really happen. I mean really, really happen. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. Did he really threaten another's life for dough. Was he that hungry. IT could be the story. The story could be forming around him. Perhaps the story asked him to do it. It was the books fault not mind. Perhaps the placemats, under the newly wood trimmed trays asked him to come here. Inanimate objects from the lunch room of Huntsville prison, screaming out and demanding his thought. The walls wanted to hear his tall. He was speaking to the corridor, the foot steps, the morning bell, the slamming of the bars. He was hearing all of it and speaking to his make shift writing paper.

He go to breakfast, eat his sunny side up eggs, thief a placemat, stick in his standard prison uniform waist lining, and roll them up and place them in the small of his back. Take it back to his cell, fold it out, flattening it, and begin jotting down history. Then, lunch. He slam down his burger and fries, roll up the placemats, return to his cell, and another chapter. Then, dinner. The same process. To be honest he didn't have it that bad. He was getting a little lonely, isolated from the Jose, Skitzy and every night at around three twenty four or so, the quiet one, Chuck would show his face and they'd. . .

"So, your one the second chapter. What's the first one about." Roberto leaned his head back and attempted to balance the pen on his nose. The pen fell to the ground. Roberto bent over and picked up. Head back, silent and he rested it, balanced it smoothly on the bridge of his nose. He seemed happy. Charmed. Pleased. This late at night and the story was coming along. Chuck wanted detail. Series and specific details, indeed. Roberto rested the pen on the small hook bump on his nose. It rested easily. It was an old acting exercise. He used to memorize lines and balance a bic pen, horizontally of course, on his head, or nose or finger tip and say lines. Balancing a pen horizontally on your finger tip is the toughest, "But it can be done. And I'll tell you the story as soon as the pen balances." "What some kind of tradition." The quiet one asked. "I guess." The pen began to sea-saw back and fro on the tip of his ring finger. It didn't work, so he switched over to his index finger and then, his thumb, and forget the pinky that would never work. "Tough to do. Takes concentration" Chuck added. "Shhh." Roberto focused intently on the balancing of the pen. "You have to will it." And then with the help of the extension on the pen cap, it balanced. "Neat trick." Chuck said charmingly. "Thanks. But that's not the real power of the pen." "What is the real power of the pen." "It's a weapon." "A weapon?" Chuck almost retorted. "Don't tell me that. I'm personal." "True." "How is it a weapon." Chuck was highly interested. "It can beat out the sword." "I've heard that. The pen is mightier than the sword." "Yes. It is. It is a fact in my life. No abstraction or super ordinate of generalization, or coordinated super-ordinate or anything complex, casual or otherwise. The pen is more powerful. It is a method, a tool for the storyteller. And stories capture men." "I see." "No you've experienced it now. I balanced the pen on my fingertip to show you how the balance is linked to life. How will is linked to accomplishment. And how gravity can be defeated. I show'd you that a pen can listen; mind it's owner." "Are you encouraging me to write, Roberto." Roberto shut his eyes half way and gazed at the quiet one. It was a hard look to turn away from. "Do criminals write, sir?" Then, with out notice, or even consent, Chuck, if that was his name, walked off into the shadows. It was a classic exit. Three fifteen had spun around. He always left to cell block at that time.

Jane Says

Have you seen my wig around

A fell naked with out

She hides the television

I don't own him nothing.

Wait, that ain't it.

Here it goes.

Jose was singing some Janes Addiction song.

Got it.

Jane Says

I'm done with Sergio

He treats me like a ragdoll.

"Shut your rag doll up." Skitzy said, waking up from some various and common mid morning nap. They'd taken time off from the yard. Too much lifting and playing solitary and watching birds rest on the razor wire. Sometimes prisoners could sleep in, if they'd earned special privileges. Skitzy and Jose did extra loads in the laundry room and the warden gave em a freebie day, once a week. Skitzy and Jose decided to play Mexican sweat, or various combinations of Texas Hold Up. All different approaches to series poker.

A documentary was being shown to the prisoner next Saturday. It was entitled Why the Towers Fell. Roberto caught on to this quickly. Why. Why would they ask why. All questions, and this was a mere generalization, but Roberto poured it into his journal anyways, were developed by the six paths into any answer who, what when, where, how and why. Why is a more philosophical word to pose a question. Why did the Tower's fell? Well, this had to do with God. It should have been re-titled. How did the Towers Fell. The people, understand it was a godly act. Something with that much force and impact on man is Godly. So, why has to do with philosophy and how answers science. The documentary covered the specifics of the structure of the steal, the arch of the building, the design and it's consistent systematic continuousness of the tower's standing. It was a documentary explaining the structure and how it fell. Why is the abstractness of it's falling. How, is the specific aspect of the science of its collapse. How is word used in forensics? "How" answers what we can smell, see, hear and touch. Why do we see, and hear and touch. Why are we hear. Why do we die. Why is sometimes never answered, but how is always answered. Man has come to this reasoning of the great How. How can be answered and explained. Why is debatable. Why. Why not. How did the towers fall? We know why. We know why we are here. We know why we fall.

God created us. God created the heavens, the light and man and his planet and home, the dome and the angel and all that we can not see, as of yet. How God created it, and us, falls into the explanation. How is taught and learned. Why? Well, why?

Have you noticed how close Superego is to superogatory in the English dictionary. Roberto was searching for a word. He had just explained his situation with Jose and the boys in the lawn and was contemplating on not attending the documentary about the twins. Why go. They building fell. September eleventh was in the past. The future is what concerned Roberto. That was his problem. He wouldn't have to write the damn book if he would merely focus on his situation. What was happening to him now, had more worth than surviving terrorist. He was discovering something new. Waking up. No longer reaching for some impossible stardom. He was living. Simply noticing his life and it seemed for the first time.

"People are crawdads in a net. When one crawdad tries to crawl out of the net, the other crawdads pull it down." Jose gazed through the chain link fence with wonderment. The sun was slowing burning away into messy oranges and light yellow. The day was closing.

Roberto wrote down Jose comment in his journal. He didn't have as much time to write, due to laundry duty in the early morning. He was switched over from the late afternoon shift. All a prisoner had to do when waking up in the morning was march to the mess hall, slam down his shitty eggs and go back to his cell, or go to work. Work duties were split up, between prisoners. Some prisoners worked the early morning shift, six AM, before breakfast, then they have time to eat, and then work until past two pm. Other workers would get up at breakfast, seven AM, eat, and then have time to go back to the cell, and start work at around nine and work till five. It depends on your cell block and if you had chain gang type of work or simple folding of clothing. Some prisoner's were assigned to work in the shop, repairing prison utilities, old TV, and such. Other prisoners, believe the old cliché' of stamping out license plates. The prison house was also a factory. It wasn't just a place to inflict the hard order of time on people. It wasn't merely a place of shackles and long, lonely nights with a dime store novel, or playboy. It was a place of hard work, discipline and avoidance. It was a place of assessment, and deep reflection. One had to get the order straight in the mind, and in some cases the spirit, before returning as a rightful citizen. The prison was a place of redesign. It was a place to reorder structure.

Any warden, teacher, disciplinarian or any type of authority figure, will tell you that the hardest craft in the world, is the crafting of a man. It is an ongoing laborious event, that takes more than a single group. To restructure a person is nearly impossible. It takes the force of the world. A program beyond comprehension, it's functions and sum of parts, near impossible to understand, even from a distant view.

The prison wasn't full of hordearii, it engaged many thinkers and creators and delicate men of precision and butterfly charm.'

Many battles arose within the moral mind of Roberto as he constructed outlines after outlines and characterizations for his new Novel The Criminal. He couldn't decide on a solid name. Not a name that stuck with him. He didn't want to use his own name. That would be too real. The criminal isn't real. His thieveries are lies. His life is made up. Its in the abstract. His thefts are even made up. His arrests and naughty behavior and unlawful glances are all filthy lies, made up, for the mere, weightless effort of entertainment. The mere worth of a ha, ha or a smile, or raise of the eyebrows. The Criminal is a book to sell more coffee at the nearby café, or increase sells on cigarettes, uppers, or cheap wine. It was design for the lonely man, that has a subscription to Forbes, or is interested in the financial roller coaster of the current day market. It was a lap book design to rest near the seat of a rich man, thirty thousand feet above the soil, snacking on Melba toast and sipping on Red. It was a myth for the rich. An abstraction to be breathed in and snuffed at. Just a book. That's all. Did it really have cost? What did the author give up for it? What prison did was he admitted to? What prison did he suffer in as he wrote these words? Was he a real prisoner or some mythic figure, some liar that really lived near Soho and munched on muffins and masturbated to TV. Was he a hero or a villain. Was he a cheat or giving honest worker? Was the Criminal worth it? Was he valid, legit, a homey, a dog, a caring soul. Who is this criminal? What is a criminal?

Roberto had to find out the hard way.

Like a thief in the night.

Who will come. God. Death. Jesus. Who comes to me, like a thief? Who is this thief? Me? Yeah, I write. I write, like a thief in the night. You hear me world, I got a story coming from you.

"Is that you fool." It was Jackson, he passed by the cell. It was around noon, or earlier. He was off to laundry duty. My mini light had run out of juice and I had been looking for Chuck. "You seen Chuck, Jackson." "Haven't seen crack." Jackson said as his footsteps faded down the hall. Ten must've been coming around. After, ten or so, was Roberto's turn down in the laundry room.

Everything is relative. The objects in Roberto's cell, the memo pad, the pencil, the mag light, the cheap sheets of cotton, the springy bed, the cob web in the upper corner, near the soggy cracks, from the rain, the echoes in the hall, all of it related to The Criminal. Now, his freedom was gone. And in this suffered, arose relation. Relation, to how the world really is, how the world can be and how most pretend it is not. See, we are all waited in some form or fashion, in love, or in entertainment, occupied, or at laborious and vigorous work, every single on of us, is preparing for death. Every beat of the heart, is one beat passed. There is only so much time. WE may smile and pretend this is not true, but it is. The promises of immortality in this life, is a lie. Who knows about the after life. That is a life that can not be explained in words, or not every aspect of it. Roberto had arrived at a new feeling. A new understanding about his surroundings. All the women he had ever been with, and loved, had wanted him to quit. Quit what? Quit his dream. His passion to be a writer. His passion to set foot out in the world. Roberto was a man in the world, but not of it. His soul awaiting ascendance, and every one he crossed, deep in their eyes he gazed, matching that feeling of ascendance. That feeling, "That one day, it will end. And we shall set ourselves free." Chuck said in a whispers. The mag light was nearly dead. "Dimmin' out a. Here try this one." Chuck tossed him two new AAA batteries. "Thanks." Roberto placed them in the back of the handle and sealed it shut. He twisted the end of the head of the mini lamp and a light flickered on and then remained consistent in its beaming. He shined it on Chuck's face. "Never really seen your face sir." Chuck squinted his eyes. His pupils seemed to be dilated. "You on something Chuck?" Roberto could feel Chuck was different. He had an odd energy. "Well, maybe. I drink here and there." "On the job, Chuck." A long silence filled the space between the bars and Roberto. Roberto was square on his back, listening to the nothingness that surrounded him. "What part of the book you owhn now?" Chuck said. "I began the first chapter, again." "Again. What was wrong with the first one." "Mostly notes. The warden allowed me note book paper. He is ordering a type writer. He believes in me, I guess." Roberto stared down at the new ream of note book paper. "College ruled to." Chuck said. That was when Roberto knew it was time to ask. "What did ya do, Chuck." Not a half second passed. Chuck looked down at his patent leather shoes and spit out a tiny groan. "I killed a man." "With your bare hands." Roberto was on him like a sport report on a date rape case. "No." "How did you kill em?" Roberto set up from his lied back stance and switched off the mini lamp. It was as if he didn't want to see his face as the answered arrived. Then, Chuck was gone. Roberto turned the lamp back on and shined the beam toward his direction. Nothing was there. Just the shadows cast on the hallway wall. He was gone. Just like that.

That night Roberto entered the incident of their conversation in his small journal. The warden had offered him a memo pad, one journal and a ream of typing paper. He was working on the dictionary. He jotted down the description of Chuck. He figured Chuck was a made up name.

Tall, black hair, deep brown eyes, poky cheek bones, double chin, thick neck and bushy eyebrows. He had a deep voice, like Earl James Jones. Strong man. Looks like a killer, or boxer. But there is something deeper about him, then the stereotypical bad man. He goes deeper than that. He has a poetic tongue, a charm for conversation and for some inane reason, Chuck, if that is his real name, cares. I can tell he is on the run. At times, he seems stiff, scared, and I catch him with watery eyes. He is fearful, but I know he is human and has a good heart.

One thing I noticed strange about Chuck. No scars. No bruises or broken marks on his face. He didn't seem like a fighting man. He wasn't viewed as the average prisoner. Know that I think of it he wasn't a prisoner, but he had committed a crime. Funny he naturally flocked to the prison for work. No that is not funny. Its damn genius. Why would a murderer apply for work as a security guard at a prison. Perhaps, he would never be suspected there? Perhaps, the prison was his home. Maybe, he is looking for other work. I need to get Chuck's last name. If he will even give it out. I am interested in names and I value their meanings.

My last name is similar to the meaning of speedily or swift. Pace means quick in nature. I don't know what Roberto means yet? I'll have to look it up some day. Maybe I can put in my request for a name definition: A book that follows the history of names and their meanings. I'll request one to the warden.

What if one morning you woke up and all that life offered you was food. No more love of a women, no more touching, kissing or holding. Life just offered the various wonders of food. Is this a miracle? Is this happiness? No. It is god awful, sickness. It is what the essence of pain is. No person in this world should be put into a cell, or imprisoned, but we must have law. Should is the key word in this phrase. Yes, we lock people up. Yes, we abandoned people. Even in society, in tall sky scrapers, some where there is a writer, writing words, and idea, and stories down on paper, and in the same instance, he or she feels like a prisoner. A prisoner to their creation, their story, their need to be. What is being? What is life? Is life a prison, that has enveloped us into a stillness. A blue sleep of nothing.

The television down the hall only displayed a fuzzy picture. It was better than last week. Last week there was simply a blue still, blank on the screen. Roberto sent a message to the warden. He wanted to see the outside world again. Watch other's stories and see how his story could fit in to this cycle, everyone refers to as life. Some where another storyteller was feeding off his words and characterizations. Some where he was feeding off them. It was an exchange. A give and take. Roberto no longer viewed himself as a thief. A person can't really steal. It seems like they can. Money is mere paper. It is something the world, or most of it, there are some cultures on distant islands that still depend on barter trade. It the United States, money represent work. Roberto, was locked up because of the need of this paper. Not because he desired to hurt any one else, but because his poverty had left him with no chance to meet a lady, no chance to escape his pad, and his town of husky BBQ eaters and beer drinking horn blasters, in those souped up mini monster truck meshes, hauling ass around, and taking little mind to the poets lifestyle or needs. Culture in Uless, was like prison. Sheltered, unaware of others dreams and wants. Uless, was You-Lose. It was a place of stillness. A place where the airplanes spilled over the sky, like metal painted futures. The only beauty in that town was the sound of a jet airliner lifting off, covering the sky, setting sail on the trade winds, and heading off to a chosen future. One day I'll get out of this hell, this embarrassing shell of a hut-makeshift pad, and venture off into the unknown. Or may be I follow the old dream and find the screen again, or perhaps I'll find a better place to settle my story and publish. It didn't matter. It was in the nature of human to look at the distant horizon, but it was not in his nature to go. Escaping settlement and security is unnatural. It isn't natural to pack up and leave home, it is natural to stay. But we do it. We leave. We find strength and courage and set sail into the darkness. Perhaps, the writer is best at this. His story carries him. Tells him to go, just as the story is told. Or perhaps he is chosen to do this. Or may be it is the actor in the writer. Wanting to live out his story and adventure.

With or with out the fucking green paper, or any other color of paper in this matter I'll go.

That night I had a dream. The night after Chuck's eyes got watery and he admitted his crime. I don't think Chuck is his real name. I've mentioned that. Anyways, beside the worry of names, the dream was exotic, wild and unbelievable. I think it was a dream about the devil, or a place in hell. The setting was a hill with a dark sky. It reminded me of a cartoon, but it had dark, chaotic, ashy colors. The sky was covered, with a dark, azure-blue and music played in the background. Childlike music. Very subtle and tempting. Almost like children singing a gospel song, but more demonic. I could feel my heart racing as a peered into this aspect of hell. A boy, or young girl, I couldn't tell which gender, but knew it was a youthful person. They were bouncing up and down, as if on a trampoline. I believe there was a trampoline below them. A man, tall figure, with exaggerated ocean blue top hat, stood to the side of the trampoline. I could not tell who he was. He had a whiskery mustache and a pleasant grin. He hummed to the music as the girl, or boy bounced. Then, the young figure turned into a card. The word Jack came to mind. I don't know if it was a Jack card or not. But it was a card from a deck. The card, still bouncing, and now personified, due to the fact that it had arms and legs and a head, but a card body, sprang naturally up and down on the trampoline. The scene rested on a grassy hill or dark, light green.

After I awoke I named the dream. I called it The dream about Jack. Jack was the man that stood next to the card boy, or girl, that bounced so carefully into the azure colored sky.

The warden was ordering new uniforms for the inmates. The old color was yellow, but he was debating on orange. The bad side of this, was that the inmates on death row wore orange and their color would have to be changed, "Maybe a brighter orange." Jose requested funnily as he smoked on the last section of his rolled cigarette in the yard. I stared at the bright yellow uniforms that were currently being peacocked by most of the prisoners. They walked around, did jump and jacks, lifted weights, listened to Compact Disk on the CD headphones by Sony, and laughed and carried on. It didn't seem that bad all the time. Not all the time. There were moments of happiness. Spurts of Happiness, Jose called it. "I only got that way in prison. Where the happiness just rises up and sneaks up on ya. Then, you feel ashamed for being happy. Guilty." Guilt does take over in a place like that, but there isn't that much to harm yourself with. The effects of guilt, and the cause behind harm, is thinking you are wrong. Thinking you don't fit into the world. That is where guild lives. Its not real. Guilt is fake. It is imaginary. Guilt doesn't exist.

That night, around three, Roberto could here a prisoner spanking his monkey. The skin smacking silently nearly drove him to knock his forehead against the wall. He listened to him relief himself. Nature calls, Roberto thought. He began doodling on the paper on the memo pad and strolled over to his typewriter. It was an old one. An Underwood. It was all the prison warden could afford for Roberto Pace, the new up and coming writer. After fifteen minutes of planning of fighting off the voices in his head, the voices that sounded like his cousins in school up north Texas, and his old ex girlfriends, now teachers, therapist and French instructors, still talking to him, telling him for some hateful reason, "It's not going to work Roberto. Its not going to work." He wrote anyways. Despite the hating voices and the pattering, and the jacking off and the rejects in the yard, smoking and lifting weights and staring at him like he was some chunk of pussy. "I'll write the son of a bitch anyways gawd damnit." He said and began scribbling away at the end of the first Chapter of The criminal.

Another, prisoner had started up in whacking his slong. Roberto got pissed and cleared his throat really loud, so he get the message. He wanted to badly to scream at the top of his lungs, "SHUT THE FUCK UP. STOP WHACKING. I'M WRITING." But he chickened out at the last minute. He figure they, whoever was spanking, would come up on him in the shower, or in the yard, or jump him on the way to laundry duty. He finished up a paragraph and ended the first segment of the Criminal. He covered the aspect about Shel Thorns, but he changed her name to, Jen Squirles. He knew this girl once, and they were a fan of squirrels in the park near the museum back home in Down Town Fort Worth. He spelled squirrels squirles. Her real name was squirles too, or at least it was her real name now.

The warden sent another ream of Gerogia-Pacific typing paper and a new ribbon. Robero had typed over three hundred pages in two months. Time had flew by. Jose was given what he called, "a congical visit with his mate, "The evil black Mama". Jose had picked up some literature written by Galye Jones. He was getting into reading. Word around the cell block said he was reading a chapter a night. The same amount Roberto was clacking away at the old Underwood. Its funny how the two compared. Jose reading a chapter a night and Roberto writing a chapter. Jackson had gained eight pounds of muscle from doing mere pushups. He had started quit the work out routine. Even had Roberto doing reverse curls in the yard. Jackson looked like he belonged on the cover of Men's Journal. He did over a thousand a day. Five hundred push ups during yard time and five hundred in the dark of his cell-nights he couldn't sleep.

"Pigeons. Check him out." Jose said. He still had that shiny glint in his eye. You know that glint a young man gets after getting laid. "She smelled like a real women. Hell, she was more women than I had in a long, long time." Jackson bit into his Granny Smith apple and cut of a piece with his stolen butter knife. He passed a small slice to Roberto. "How's the book." "Its here." "What do you mean?" "Its all around. The book is all this shit. Sitting in the yard. Talking to you, watching Jackson doing his super man work out. It's the learnings of the inside" "Learnings of the inside. Sounds like a title." Learnings ain't a word." Roberto said with a hint of southern draw making word, sound like werd. The old southern tongue had crept into his diction. "Learnings not a word." "well, learning is a word, but not with the s." "With the s?" Jose squinted his eyes as the sun filled them and spat back a light gray red. "Yeah. Learn. Learned. And learning. But no learnings." "How you know?" "Part of the rules in English I guess." "You follow all them rules in your book." "I don't try to. I just put down what I see, feel, hear, smell and touch. I just put it down simply. Type it on paper. I got no path with it. No desire to really teach anything. I just want people to know." "Hell that's teaching man." Jose said. "If you want people to know, they will know what it's like." "Prison's a life that turns you internal. It's a hard type of education. It speaks volumes in just hearing the cell doors slam. It makes a complex man simple, a rich man poor, and poor man rich. It changes people and when their time comes, it releases people and their badness." "Its punishment man." Jose said nibbling on the skin of the Granny Smith. "Punishment, for some takes time. And then, they say fuck it, and let go of their impossible dreams and well, they just let go and put their backs against the wall, legs up style. Read a book, smoke one cigarette a night, or a few, instead of freebasing and all that shit." Jose began to preach the life on the inside. Roberto was taking notes. The pigeons flew in and out and over the yard's chain link fencing. Some would even walk around the razor wire, in and out, like some high wire routine. Those old pigeons didn't quit. Not for anyone or anything. A few guards would throw them crackers, or pieces of bread saved from lunch. Yard time was a time to collect, gather, commune and feed the birds. "Feeding them makes us better." Jose handed Roberto another slice of green hard covered apple. Roberto chopped down and sit back against the brick wall. "It's funny this old birds will feed off people that feed off people. It just passes down man to man, bird to bird, and then to the insects and then to the soil." "Where we return." Jose got up and let out a huge stretch. Something had changed that day. Something inside. Inside Roberto. He sat back and watch the pigeons land in the yard, nibble at the crumbs and took mental notes. Soon he be before that ol Underwood. The prison was counting on him. The people wanted him to finish it up, send it, just like the bread was sent to the pigeons.

Robert Pace Journal entry- The night before she sent him the letter.

It is dangerous to write. Dostevsky was condemned to death for doing so. Fortunately, he received a blank bullet. The Czar sent his icy ass to a freezing hell. Siberia. There he was tied to a pole and ordered to be executed. Some men have been killed for written down their opinions. These men would not be known as the hacker, or doodler. No. The real writer sacrifices something of himself for his words. The bullets were fakes. He must of pissed his pants. All for his prose. I wonder if my intentions got me in here. I wonder If My story put me here. I wonder if I am a thief, or a writer pretending to be such. They say the child is the writer. This is fact beyond truth. The child is right. The child is the word. And in many cases of our past a child has been kings and gods. One child was the God of forgiveness, born under a Bethlehem star. I guess as he grew he learned to tell stories. Stories in parables. He was a man of sacrifice and most at the time, and even now, won't attempt that type of sacrifice, or willingly bring it on. Only a poet, or series artist can understand what the son of God did for us. He chose to have those nails pounded. He chouse to bleed. He chose death.

Why? He was loyal to man. Loyal to his god. And loyal to pain. It was the paschal lamb.

Now, I write, and speak in parables, like he taught us to do. To reflect from life, to show man his image, to show man what he has done. To learn from the good Samaritan. He was servant of his own word. It takes a world of courage to forgive. And in the end, all we have is forgiveness, as death covers us with it's dark face.

In one voice all of women spoke to him. Do it for your God. Turn your head away from our world of wrapped up pleasure. Turn your head away and find another path. We will only tempt you. We will only poison your soul. What is Christ but a man that chose to die alone, with out the caress of a woman's hand. But they flocked to him for answers. They flocked to him for comfort and to be introduced to heaven.

God is only what is pure. There is nothing impure in his name. I have become very close to God since I've been in the inside. No pasture has preached to me and no one has spread the word before me. Most in here don't talk about the good book or the word of God. Most are quiet about what they did. In any case, I have chosen to write about it. Somewhere along the way God has reached down and forgive me. I know, now I am in the world, even though I am shunned from it's freedoms. I locked up and my only pleasure is a salty cracker in the middle of the night, or an occasional wet dream, that I pray be controlled. The thought of a woman only makes my life more complex and dreary. The thought of an outside world makes my heart sting. I must want what is given to me in these bars. She'll will come sooner or later. I know this for fact. I am not God. I suffer from no Hubris as the Greek say. I no I have limits and standards, but I have my own limits and my own standards. I must rest the pen now and sleep.

Uless (Useless town)the thieves home town, was kind of like Vegas, airy open space, clean, well lighted, but without the gambling. Gambling was not allowed in those districts. One would have to travel many, many miles West before they could start unloading their wallets into the slot machines.

Robert was either a parasite or a social engineer. His book could feed society or take from it. Either way The Criminal had it's place on the shelves of the books stories on the vast flexible net that connects library to library. The world wide net, Robert believed, to be the only dimension synonymous to hell. And hell hath no fury scorned.

What did that line mean anyway. Robert pondered over the writer's name who invented that. Was it the one who wrote The Red Badge of Courage. He couldn't recall. He wasn't getting enough food. He wasn't taken enough from the world to exact the name of the author. But he could get some of it. That was good enough. For some reason he was no longer slurping down his lunches in the twenty eight minute allotted time. Thirty minutes was allotted for lunch, but it took two minutes to get seated and even five minutes to take from the buffet line. Just like school. Robert thought. School in the 1950's was designed to resemble the factory. That is why they are square, boxy with long halls and various rooms. Just like a factory does. Schools had a hint of what prison was like too. Schools represented many things in society. The factory, the work place, the social gathering, a form of church, a laboratory, and perhaps, even a prison. It was all flowing off of Roberto's hand and into the stacks of ream paper. And if the paper ran out he went back to collecting the tray liners, or the paper placemats. He needed three things to write: his pen, the placemat, or paper, and his soul. If he had all three objects he was a writer. A pen, paper and a soul. Those are three necessity to create great fiction or auto biography. A fourth element allowed the music to flow deeper and create from a fuller palate. The fourth element was human compassion, affection, sex, hot lips, a warm toned firm touch, or what many titled as Love. Sex is one of the definition of Love in the American Heritage Dictionary. What is love? He thought and turned over and glared at the shadowy ceiling. Love? Will she come? Love? Will she walk with me again. Oh, Love. Love?

Thievery is wrong for a simple reason. Materials amount to nothing in the end. Everything will complexly pile up and amount to waist. No materials can be found. This is one of the genius to Christ's livelihood. When a shop lifter walks out of a store with a measly object it may make he or she fell better. I remember in the Marlon Brando Flick Score. In the end the main thief is left in the basement of his house with nothing but an empty pool and broken wasteful objects. Material amount to shit in the end.

Chuck walked by tapping the Mag-light against the cell bars. He was quiet that evening. He didn't carry on in conversation nor a non discursive gesture. He simply placed the small black flashlight on the floor and walked off into the shadows of the prison corridors. Roberto called out his name but no one replied, "Chuck. Hey Chuck. Thanks for the new batteries. And the lamp. Thanks for fixen the lamp." No one replied. Roberto was becoming more fixated on valuing every material given to him. The only things he owned now where the paper, pens, the old rusty Underwood, cobwebs, his prison uniforms, linen sheets, a pillow, a small tan toothbrush, paste, a hair brush, shaver (plastic) and a few letters from Ms. Thorns.

She was teaching in Germany. Teaching English on military bases. The letters were brief. She told him she'd be returning to the states for a visit and perhaps they could have a visit. Maybe a conjugal visit. He needed to be close and personal now. It was crucial to the writing and the protagonist's development in The Criminal. He'd write to her about the first chapter and his love for her.

At times the cells got noisy. There had not been a riot. Not yet. At times it was quite peaceful. More so than his pad in Useless Texas. He hated calling Uless Useless but the art community was near null there. The only reason he had fallen into the trap of living in airport neighborhood was due to his mother and her retirement. She retired and offered him a small place near the runways of DFW, to write poetry and short stories and to audition out in Dallas. He took it but hated the isolation. Since College Roberto was surrounded by people, societal events and social occurrences that changed his life. New York was full of culture. He was living smack dab in the middle of art. Right in the center of it all. Grammercy park. Now he had fallen of a cliff and landed on a small island south of the Everything City. Now he had landed in the Nowhere Land. Uless. You lose. Useless, Texas. But he still had his notes, his journals, short stories, screen plays, a few scripts, his favorite teas and the most useful resource for his storytelling. His memoirs. His memory would guide him to the right word. The right moment. The right way to reveal who he was.

People in Uless, TX communicated by slamming cabinets. Yes, this is true. The cabinet people. The pad he was living in had thin walls. His neighbor to his left played guitar, was bald, had a mouth full of black rotten out teeth, was once a radar teacher in the military and had recently divorced. Mr. Downstairs. A wild ass wannabe L.A. type rapper, must have landed here from West. He was later kicked out for playing his base too loud. It thumped far too often in the night. Plus, he abused his women. And openly. Next was the police man on his right. He was a quiet man that was only seen carrying his groceries up the stairs. The cabinet slammer lived on the opposite side connected directly to his place. He loved to slam the cabinets at different moments. Usually after Roberto would take in a pint of yogurt and share some time with films by Paul Auster, and various films with Kevin Spacey. Roberto stretched the film Shipping News into a week long watch. Hence, he watched the film in small intervals as he took in his dinner and then shut off the VCR to return to his work at the Laptop. Later, he change films and stretch them out in short intervals, studying scenes, and the dialogue, themes, and characterization. Also, he keenly watched the acting styles. His favorite actors at the time were Will Hurt, John Hurt and Harvy Keital. Also, he appreciated the works performed elegantly and wittily by Emma, and Juliet Binoch. Kieslowski's Bleu was his must valued film with Binoch. His favorite film with Emma was Wit. He remembered staying up with tissues and cookie dough, baking cookies into the night like some high school girl that just got dumped. His favorite past times was watching films. It was almost a disease with him. He flip in the old VCR tape of some program from Bravooo or KERA and view it like a mad student.

One morning he woke up. "I'm afraid of the world." He whispered. "I have nearly been broken." In the opening of the film he had watched the previous night he recalled the incident of September Eleventh, 2003. He remembered the plane, the smell of smoke, the screaming and the hair pulling and tears. The frustration was overwhelming. He had a dream about a couple in the Bronx peering at the city, watching the twin towers melt to ground zero. The lovers were hugging each other, tightly griping, kissing passionately and wildly whispering into each others ears, "We'll rebuild. We'll rebuild."

Roberto began to value his book. Perhaps too much. He remembered the ol tale of the Canterbury tales. How the men savored the gold far too much. They ended up slaughtering each other over materials. Then, Roberto thought of this theme. There were many themes inside him, and the world of literature to chose from. Hence, he had much to contemplate on the matter of greed. There was the theme of man versus man, man versus nature, man versus god, man versus isolation, man versus death, man versus the devil, man versus theme. That was what he was dealing with. Man versus theme. Then, he remembered the story. What was the theme of the Criminal. Crime doesn't pay. Is the theme crime pays one fourth of the time. Or is it deeper than that. Crime is only on the surface. It is not a deep cultured manner like religion, or language, or family. Crime is the opposite of laws and laws are created for surface reason. Perhaps some laws fall along a deeper culture. The laws listed in the ten commandments perhaps. Roberto was thinking of superficial laws. Don't run a red light. Don't drink under age. Don't harbor minors drinking under age. Don't flip the bird at a lawful citizen. Don't act out in public. So on. Laws had their levels of depth in the ice berg of culture. Now, Roberto was looking for a theme that went deeper than man versus man, or man versus God, or man versus nature. Something no one had tried before. Something along the lines of man versus typewriter. See, the Underwood had quit on him. Not completely. The R was no longer printing correctly. Hence, if Roberto wrote, "The Red rabbit ran around the red barn." It came out, The ed abbit an a ound the ed ba n." It did not come out correctly. So, he set the ol Underwood beside his bed and wrote out a letter in fine print, to the warden. "The Underwood stopped producing the Letter R. Is it possible that you can replace it with a new type writer. I request a Smith And Corona. They work best. Thank you, Robert Pace. Cell block 3 E. They had recently moved Roberto to the other end of the cell block. The Underwood had two problem. It not only halted on R production but it also clanked and clatter like the old engine of a VW bug. It was noisier than War World Three on during Sunday Mass. He Hoped the warden would respond with Godspeed on the matter. The story was flowing out him like blood from an open wound. He'd figured out the protagonist's name in Criminal. He would call him, Tom. Tom was a perfect name for a man of the underworld. Tom Burnett. Tom's major crime would be Bank Robbery. He figured he make Tom a little more adventures then Convenient stores.

"What I do to get back home to find some fried fish and something to top that off with and maybe something nice cool and syrupy to wash it down." Jackson passed by. He was chatting with the security leading him. Just some day to day, small talk about missing the good food on the outside. Two guards were assisting him to the basement. Closely watching him with eyes of safety. The early morning was rising. Robert could sense it. Also, he could hear the blue birds chirping on the telephone wires not far from his cell near the yard. He would be let out today. His morning duties had been dropped. The warden allowed him to write for two hours in the morning, and spend some late nights revising and reworking. For some reason the warden wanted him to edit his work at night. He argued with his plan.

"I need more time at night. And I don't need to go back and edit as much. Also, sir, can you please stop reviewing my work. If there is a mistake let it be. I'm sure it can be corrected later. It doesn't need perfection now. The story is in a creative state. And what makes structure structure anyway." "What are you talking about. Structure is absolute in story form." It was obvious the warden knew nothing about writing "I just need the night. That's all. I don't mind working early mornings. Just give me the night to write it out." "Okay, son" As if I was his son. "I'll give you the nights. But I'll cut a few of your morning duties for the sake of late night work. I understand writers have weird hours." "Not weird hours sir. Personal hours. I can only write when I feel it. It is an affective based creative art. It takes a certain time. I just feel it and go to the typewriter and begin." "Just feel it huh.?" The warden eyed him like some extinct hawk expecting his next meal. "Okay. Fine. You just tell me in a week in advance when I can. . ." "No. I can't do that. It would be useless. Absolutely useless. They would be like putting me on the fucking time clock." A silence filled the room. Roberto had lost his head for a second. Fucking slipped out. "Sorry sir." "Sorry?" The silence grew thicker. "You need to learn to respect other Roberto. Watch your mouth or a yank the whole project." "Sorry sir." The calmness begin to crawl back into him as a bead of sweat formed on his fatty brow. The warden was big man, with soft shoes that squeaked reminding Robert of his great weight. The warden was very over weight. He must of weighed in three times over Roberto one hundred and fifty five pounds. He was awfully round and fat hung from his sides like air bags. "Okay sonny. I'll allow some freedom. I rarely let anyone write in this cells but I can understand you have a special gift and it would be uneducated to deny ya. I'll give you a few nights." "You can't give me anything sir. It has to come. I don't know when it comes, but if you force me to write, it will come out hollow mimicry of something forceful or contrived." Contrived hung in the air, the short e sound bounced off the wall. It was as if he was controlling the Warden with his access to word use. "I see. Okay. Fine. Have at it. I won't tell you when laundry duty will be back in mornings. As long as you behave I'll let you have a few late nights. The Underwood is currently being worked on. How is . . ." The warden searched for the missing word. It seems he was hunting for freestyle writing, or handwriting. "Its going fine." Roberto interrupted. "I don't mind writing with my hand. The only problem is my pinky. I have boxer hand if you didn't know. So at times it is hard to read my own writing. As a kid I was told I wrote like a doctor." "Probably as smart as one." "Oh, I wouldn't say that." Roberto bounced back. "I can still write with my hands, it's just going to take a lot of time." The warden rubbed his hands together and sat up. He stuck an unlit cigar in his mouth and adjusted his long gray tie. "Fine, fine." Next, he pushed on the button under the table with unexpected predictability. He just shut off. No more warmth. Went cold in the flick of his wrist. "The guards are on their way." The door sprung open. Roberto was paced off. He turned his head back to acknowledge his exit and nodded a thank you to the Warden. "You need to save those placemats you be stealing from the cafeteria. I'm gonna have to cut expenses due to the fact that the Underwood is costing my twenty five dollar for repairs. I won't be able to afford the seven dollars this week." Roberto nodded it was okay. "You don't mind if I take the placemats." "Just the trashed ones. See ya." The door slammed and the conversation ended. Roberto was led back to his cell were he curled up with a few notes he had noted nights before. Chapter two was almost ready.

Look I've laid here for three days with


Roberto was back in Useless, Texas. He had fallen off to sleep in his cell and the world of his past had woken him up.

Look I've laid her for three days.

Starving like a fool.

I don't know why this is happening to me.

I've starved for too long.

Fucking terrorist. Fucking

September Eleventh. I should

Of stayed in New York.

Hell I was living off Park

Avenue and the entire world.

Nearly down the block from

Time Square. And now I'm in Uless (Useless).

Subway won't keep me.

7-11 fired me for insubordination.

Like they could use such a fuckin term.

The Dallas restaurants are too

Crazy. The managers are too strict.

Too anal.

Can't go back to 7-11.

Place is like a mini Los Angeles.

Nothing but pimps ordering

Newport, scratching lottery scratch

And sniff the beer on their breath.

I got tired of slinging tomatoes

Around and stacking on their

Fat bellies. I lay here in hell.

A lost Donkey. A lost member

Of the chosen people. I was raised

In church. I was taught the life

Of Christ. He died for me. He starved for me.

He was spit on for me. And now I lay here

And starve and suffer. Three days he

Screamed on the tree. And now my days

Linger. Day to day. The hunger. The emptiness.

Seven years of College. One year of

Grad school for this shit.

Now I have to steal my food.

I could just lay here and starve.

It doesn't feel good, but I don't

Mind pain. It's the dilapidation

That scares me. It's the slow disintegration

That hurts.

The loneliness hurts more than

The hunger.

I have an idea. I was thinking about

Walking up to the airport.

Not to travel, but rather to hunt.

See, my car is dead in the shop.

They yanked a thousand dollars out

Of my ass. That would of paid

Rent and groceries for a month here.

A thousand dollars, rent and groceries,

So I could hobble the car back,

Put it's lame Mizabushi engine back

Into the shop for what.

For their bellies. Their fat ass

Round bellies, protruding to their

Nothingness feel good high on beer

and New Ports. Fuggin pigs.

Fast food low lives.

Man, its odd how fast food makes

A fortune in this town. And here I am

Starving so they can eat it up and make

It to church on time. Fuck their

Pantego bible shit. Fuck their betrayers.

The killed a fourth of me. A bit

Of me was a warrior Indian. Most likely

The Apache tribe. My grandmother

Won't tell me the tribe. I should shave my

Head into some odd hair cut.

Prance around like the Indian I am.

Bastards. So, I have a little Irish

And English shame in me. I value

That fourth of Indiana. It makes

Feel like a belong to real people.

I can't believe Americans. So arrogant

And thoughtless. Far from mindful.

Okay, here is my idea to get back.

I head up to DFW airport.

I stalk some people that are in

Need. Like Wheel chair people or

. No. I can't. I got to have standards to

my thievery. Okay. Another plan.

This is what I do. I find some

Luggage. Lost luggage. Luggage no

One has picked up. Unclaimed baggage.

Yeah, I'll make a living on unclaimed

Baggage. That's it. That's the ticket.

You know that luggage piece that

keeps going around

The electric luggage conveyor belt.

I take the luggage piece, lug it

Into the bathroom. Dig through it.

Look for credit cards. I could

Get a fucking rental car with

Credit cards. Food. Even pay

Bills on credit. Why not?

But that would be falling from

Grace. I could get away with it.

Hey. Wait. I know now. I could

Pick pocket. Maybe I could buy

A book on pick pocketing.

Make it a career. Nay. I should

Shoot for that. Shop lifting is

Hard enough. But should I go hungry.

Should I starve. If I don't have

Any money what the hell am I doing

Here in the first place.

What am I doing here.

Useless, Texas. Nothing but

Wal-mart, Kroger and crime.

People are suffering from

The loss. I live in airport town.

American Airlines bit it and now

People have to suffer. The twin

Towers. The terrorist. There arms

have stretched. So far. Wait.

An airplane just

Flew over I think. Or was it the wind.

I'm getting hungry. Maybe I should

Run up to Kroger, get an

Orange, or some juice.

Hell maybe I should steal some

Batteries, a camera. Start


The cell door slammed shut. Roberto was back in his cell. Night was in it's deepest stages. He always knew this when his toes went numb due to stress. A storm was on its way. It was getting damn cold. Winter was on the backburners this year but closing. Roberto was going to begin Chapter three to his masterpiece. He would finish it up in no time. His goal, to stay far from a free and ignorant lifestyle and complete the masterpiece. Now it was time to implement the hard walls surrounding him into the work.

Dreams can keep a man alive longer than time can or ever will or ever has in the past. Dreams keep men alive day to day, minute to minute and second to second. Like the heart, a dream must continue to flow and pump and grind the blood through a man's vain, no matter how sick or sad or cut off from the world he actually is or ever will be, or not be. . . If anyone lived reality for every half second they fall off the cliff and into the jagged ravine of grit reality. They non-dreamer would die of reality shock if he cut out on his dreams. No one lives for reality, and in many cases most don't live in the moment. That is their biggest flaw and their savior. People live in the future. They live in their wished house, their hoped car and the next fancy meal, and thick glass of red at the French Bistrot.

Roberto was beginning to doubt his credentials as a writer. First off he was a horrendous speller. Although he did spell higher vocabulary words better. He could handle the difficult rules. Anything college level was in his line of knowledge. On the other hand, Roberto had problems with his basics. His father and mother split apart at the age of nine years. His father was very rough on him and he had problems taking in the knowledge base of information, such as spelling. He did excel in basic math and even scored a A in college in Business Math-Calculus in undergrad. He did not excel in curriculum based skills until he chose to leave his father house at the age of fifteen. He moved in with his mother and step father in Fort Worth. His step father was a junior high teacher. That is when he began constructing his first short story called The Power. It was about an autopsy instructor from a nearby college that performed autopsy at the local hospital. Roberto was asked by one of his friend, looking to become a police officer, to attend the autopsy with his peers. The young students in the class were studying to be paramedics, doctors, police officer and special fields that required them to witness an autopsy. The autopsy was to introduce the young doctors to the human anatomy, the paramedics to the results of extreme trauma, and the police officer's to forensic skills. Hence, his best friend at the time was studying how to investigate a murder. Roberto did not know for sure his future. His best friend later joined the marines, and attempted to become a sniper. He only made reconnaissance. He had trouble calling in an air strike under pressure. He couldn't get the grid down and radio in the correct declinations. He ended up moving to Palm Beach Florida and was nearly arrested for striking an officer off duty. Supposedly, the pedestrian dressed officer didn't press charges and for all I know he is working for the DEA. Roberto had another friend in DEA, that never committed a crime. Hence, he had some friends on several on citizen patrol or coming out of the armed forces. Roberto never joined the armed forces. His father talked him out of it. His grandfather didn't like the idea as well. Roberto was thinking about joining the Air Force or possible the Marines. He even consider the Navel Seal unit. He was a big swimmer and into marine life. He ended up passing the services and got highly interested and addicted to the arts. His favorite art and craft was theatre arts. He joined the drama club in high school and began committing scripts to memorization. He was a huge fan of Sam Shepard, Arthur Miller and Bertolt Brecht. One day, in drama class, he bowed his head and made a life time commitment. "This is what I'll do with myself. I'll tell the story." He decided to go into storytelling for a living. He turned what he used to write on paper, now, implemented the words into his body and began to concentrate all his focus on the craft of acting. He became fascinated with the Actor Studio. Work by Dustin Hoffman, Robert Deniro, Marlon Brando and James Dean. He began renting movies and acting out Dean's personality and mimicking stars and their habits. Of coarse this not the way, but it was a strategy of finding a love for life. He decided he could not think of anything more exciting then theatre and film. He knew it would be along struggle and it would take resistance against the temptations of life. Many actors and writers, fell into drugs, sex and the dark side of life. Luckily, this happen to Roberto before he began implementing acting into his life. He made a vow after the age of seventeen that he never touch LSD, or hard drugs again. He stopped doing ecstasy, LSD and barely smoked pot. Once college ran around he hooked up with the toke pipe with a few chicks but was not heavily into. He smoke a joint maybe two or three times a year, at parties or with young college girls. One of his favorite girls, which carried a name from a famous band of the seventies, smoked marijuana like cigarettes. Rhiannon would smoke three or four times a day and on top of that a pack of Americn spirits. And there not light cigarettes, even though they make ultra lights now. It was driving him nuts. Roberto was not a heavy pot smoker and he was getting hooked on tobacco cause he was around her second hand smoke constantly. He took up jogging, and got back on stage and dropped her. To be honest, she hated his healthy doctor style lifestyle. Roberto was into health food, fruits and eating a nearly all vegetarian lifestyle. "Get the hell out of here." He was going nuts over her. He wanted to change her into a health nut like himself. Have her drop all the smoking and bad behavior. "Just don't inhale the shit." Roberto pleaded with her. She was far too addicted to her addict lifestyle.

It wasn't long until she got fed up. "Stop chewing. Stop chewing." He was up early. Man Power had called him in to do construction clean up. He was going to get into construction work and maybe make a baby with her. Settle down. Become a husband. "Stop chewing." She cried. Like all drug addicts she could not stand health. Roberto rain five miles a day. He was training for a five K. He was in the best shape of his life. He was going to make it. Go up to New York. Get into dance class and try out for Broadway plays. He was getting ready. He wanted to take her with him. "STOP CHEWING GODDAMIT." He was munching on his morning cereal. Nutty Nuggets. It was his favorite. Tasted just like Grape Nuts. He didn't have in milk but he had a small bottle of honey. He stirred the honey into the nuggets and chewed. She hated when he ate in the morning for work. All drug addicts had eaters. Eating is the opposite of doing drugs. You can't feel good all the time. He chewed and prepared for work. He had to eat before work in order to do a good job. It was his responsibility. "STOP FUCKING CRUNCHING." Why was she yelling at him for eating his Nutty Nuggets. Was he supposed to starve and work. He was already a hundred and forty nine pounds. He rain five miles a day. He did push ups, sit ups and read and played guitar and constructed poetry and ran, and did sit ups some more. He loved her. He was the next best to Tom Fucking Cruise. "STOP FUCKING CHEWING. SHUT UP." "What do you want me to do Rhiannon eat in the freakin bathroom." It wasn't long until he was out. They finally began fighting. Roberto loved to eat. She was a heavy smoker and was picky about when food could be taken. She threw all his shit out the living room and they got into a string of fights concerning food. Why was so many fucking people concerned with food in this state. It was only food. It's just a measly material. The more energy one can take in the more they can do. Fight, fight ,fight. For what. "For what honey." He yelled. Was it because I ate the honey. "Your eating my life blood." "What it was just a dip into the peanut butter. I had a couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter, Big Deal." "It's all I have." She needed to lose about ten pounds anyway. Roberto was underweight. It was bound to happen. Hell, she was ten years younger. "GET THE FUCK OUT." She pointed to the door. He knew he should of never dropped the dorm contract. That fucking bitch. She was making him homeless. And all over fucking food. She didn't need all that Goddamn peanut butter. Let her have it. Fucking states only concerned with food and money. What do they know about artist. Fucking whore. Let her smoke her pot and drop her acid and stuff her face with enchiladas on the weekend with her pot head friends. The relationship ended. It ended with Roberto taking a kitchen knife and sawing off her ponytail. "I HAVE HAD PEOPLE PULL KNIVES ON ME, PULL GUNS ON ME AND EVEN THREATEN TO KILL ME, but I have NEVER EVER, HAD ANYONE CUT MY DAMN HAIR OFF." Rhiannon had long curly, thick beautiful hair. IT was her virtue. Was. It was her power attribute to her looks. Was. Now it was. Pace had to get revenge before he left. He knew she lock him out good and throw away the key. Nothing lasts forever.

Roberto was a little obsessed over her and thought it would conclude things. The night before the break up, Roberto told her the biblical story of Samson and Delilah. He asked her, "Who are you lady. Samson or Delilah." She couldn't decide. Her hair was longer, she was the tom boy of the house, had a case of being a lesbian in her past and figured she could play the role of Samson. Roberto figured they were both. He was more Delilah but had Samson traits. Roberto had a few cases of being bi-sexual in the past and carried a feminine nature. Rhiannon was more Samson but had a strong foundation in Delilah characteristics, since she was female, into drugs, sex and African dance. Later, Roberto would join her in African dance and they meet in the center of a tribal circle, in performance, dramatically fight dancing, with stylized punching fist and so on. Roberto would eventual graduate and head west to experience life and filter out his immaturity and plant some wisdom deep down.

There were many boorish writers out there with their iniquitous ways and their rude confrontations with society. The writers that have had no value with previous rules, and made up life as they went along. Writers with first names like Jack, Oscar, and Herman. Writers that tore down structure and put up their own path. They took no no's for an answer. They simply lived by the concept of YES.

How can nothing not exist. According to linguistic matters nothing is something. Nothing does exist. Before the time was there nothing? Was their something before the first string was birthed before the first existing matter? Nothing is something. According to the oldest Oxford English dictionary nothing is a word. Hence, it was value. It is something. According to it's definition nothing is no thing, not anything. But anything is something, even though, in this definition it is coupled with not. What is the opposite of something? Is it nothing. And how can nothing exist if it can be fathom in the minds of man. Since nothing is calculated, as a word, concept, idea or lose theory, it is something. What existed before the big bang, or big bangs, or before the first implementation of the string of existence. Was it nothing? Or did nothing exist before nothing existed? The universe is constantly expanded. It is growing like at a inconstant rate. The universe is extracted space and grapping onto something, flinging itself outward and around in a indescribable direction. Is the universe splitting from left to right, or left and right, side to side, or up or down, or around and around. Know one, at this moment, knows the direction of the universe. Does it have direction? What about nothing. Does nothing have direction? What existed before the big bang? Nothing. And what existed before the first string from time. Was it nothing? And if you can imagine this nothing, existing do you picture a vacuum, an empty space awaiting to be filled. Can nothing be filled? If nothing existed before the big bang, what was it state. Was it in motion. With out motion. Was the beginning of time within stillness? Was there time in the beginning? Did time exist before the first instance of something? Or is time something simply created by Marx. Time cannot be fit into space. Was there time and space at the same instance? Did time and space spring forth originate from the same initial place in the universe. Time and space or not close brothers. Time is a concept to be measured, grasped thought upon and meditated. Space is not. Space exist with or without thought. Space is bias toward existence. Space will exist before and after man's arrival and departure into and out of existence. Space has nothing to do with nothing and everything to do with concept, idea, physicality, symbiotic existence. There is no space in time. Time is merely a measurement used to keep track of this existence. Once, man exits this misery, time will soon depart from the picture. Space will continue. As long as there is something space exist. As long as there is nothing, space exist. Space will never not exist.

They say the universe is expanded at the rate of unknown measurement. No one knows for sure it's growth and speed. It expands like a ball being thrown with out the tug of gravity, forever traveling upward with out dissensions or a downward pull. Forever traveling upward with out stress of a downward pull. I am simply trying to capture what was previously destroyed minutes ago. I just wrote this and it vanished before my eyes. Now I go back and review my ideas about time, space and nothingness. I know for sure that nothing is something. I don't believe in nothing. It does not exist in my head. I can fathom death, I understand non-existence, but I don't believe in nothing. Down to the smallest string of existence lies waiting motion. I believe motion existed before the stillness of nonexistence. I believe motion has always existed. Scientist are doing research on passing comets. They believe comets and their motions, hold an answer to the beginning of the universe and the initial moment of the big bang theory. Comets sublime and slowly burn away their gases to move along their paths. A comet may run on an ounce of nothing into the motion of everything. In the middle of their heavy bodies awaits an answer. A single note plucked by the tiniest string. It is an answer that I may can grace upon for a slight instance. Within this comet awaits a compaction of gases originating from the first moment of movement. Space began in movement. Space is a close relative to motion. Space can not exist without movement. Hence, the comet's motion may await an answer to the beginning of time. Everyone is concerned with their chemical makeup. They are concerned with star-dust and the excess gases burned away from the comets tail. But barely is any scientist concerned with the motion of a comet. It takes seventy years for Haley Comet to travel around our sun, far from our planetary motion, and revolution around our sun. Haley travels far from the milky way and out into the unknown and carries back her long tail and heads back to the sun. Then, it revolves around the sun again, and heads toward Pluto. This path, this expanded orbit takes seventy years to complete. There must be an answer with it coarse of movement. It must have an answer that travels back and reveals history from the first initial creation of movement. Every star, every comet, and planet, and or satellite carries an answer about the motion that existed before time.

Roberto decided upon a name for his antagonist. He would name him Mr. Nothing. Mr. Nothing wants to end Tom Burnett for inane reasons. Mr. Nothing's future has ended. He has become a fat failure locked up in small pad in New York. He hears about Roberto's book, The Criminal and wants to interview him. Mr. Nothing was once an English Major at NYU and attempted to hack away at many books. Roberto never had much of an education and literature but had a passion for theatre, film and writing. He loved screen plays, and plays and wanted to write a book to launch his career. He decided he write about a criminal bank robber named Tom Burnett. Mr. Nothing hated this idea. He read a few passages of his book and called him a Herman Hesse rip off, "A hollow mimicry of writers like Camu, Hesse and the modern works of Auster?" Mr. Nothing slammed his hand down on the table. "He is nothing. The man is a prison house hacker. He can't compose a book. The fuck wit." Mr. Nothing stormed out of his office, jumped on first class flight and headed toward Texas. "I'll publish him just to prove he is nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing." Roberto ended chapter two this way. Mr. Nothing was on a plane thirty thousand feet above the soil, biting his nails, sipping on a bloody marry and praying to his gods begging them to allow him to write once more. "Please dear Buddha. Please dear Zeus, or the devil, or million hindu gods, please let me write as great as Roberto Pace. Please dear God, let me be a writer again. Let me think like a boy." The plan was descended into the hot air of Texas. Soon, he get a rental car and head south to Huntsville. Jealously, he rage toward the prison cell, click down the hall, with microphone and tape recorder awaiting his first interview with one of the greatest writers sense Hesse."Pace. Pace you will be mine. I will have my interview." "Can I get you another Cocktail Mr. Null." "No." Time lingered for three or more seconds. "No thank you. This will be all." "No more." She insisted he have another drink. He shook his head, stuck his forehead to the plastic guard before the thick glass window and stared at the amoeba shape clouds scrape across the current of air. The ground was so perfect, so solid, so valid. "Nothing more. Thank you. This will be all." Mr. Nothing headed off to sleep with a the current Time magazine on his lap. It was entitled, "War in the Middle East."

He slouched from Bethlehem napping above thirty thousand feet, in a comfortable, leather chair recliner, wine awaiting him on the side entree table, above the oily traces of murder floating on salty waves below him.

The plan landed safely on the DFW runway. MR. Nothing had is laptop on his lap, and So many times Mr. Nothing had tried to write the perfect sentence. So many times he had tried to get it straight. It wasn't about higher philosophy or changing to world with words. The key to writing was putting your own soul on paper. If you could do that you could make millions. If your own words were on the paper you were changing the world. Only snow flakes honest to nature can make the change. Only individuality makes a difference nowadays. The atom had already been split, life beginning had already been investigation, the evolution of man and the research from Galapagos perfected, and man had already set a new path to Mars and build new Roberts for exploration. The world's secret corners were being dusted and the cobwebs wiped clean. Time was coming to it's brightest and truest moment. Now it was time for simplicity. The world's grassy hills were being ploughed over and recovered in thick concrete and tar. The world was changing into a large skyscraper. Going from round to rectangular. All Roberto could do about it was write it down. Some could go out there with their hands and make dents, slow it down, put some self control on the hot handle of technology. But it kept spinning faster. New Medicines, new weight loss methods, new drugs, new movies, alternative ways of looking at the world, new dance steps, new types of one liners used in funky bars West to East cost, new actors telling the stories, new writers writing it all down. New types of software that was figuring out the brain, and the intentions of man. New types of education that included every type of ethnic background, language known to man. All of it was welcomed. All of it participating to the change. Roberto laid in his cell, breathing his fuse, and puffing on a cig and writing it all down for the sake of someone. Someone to get his SOS. In inside his mind, in the deepest closet and chambers in his brain, he felt neglect, he heard, "No you're a failure. Your too slow. Your too dumb. Give up." And Roberto continued to write it down. He continued moving his hand across the paper. He had no choice. They had taken away his freedom, they had taken away his love, his home, his grassy front yard and dog, and future at as a creative writing teacher at the local junior college. They had taken it all away and now the only enemy hid inside his head. A little voice with the power of a great army, begging him, pleaded with him, asking him rudely or kindly to, "End it all. Blow your fucking head off. Its over, loser. You're a dumb ass failure." And he wrote onward flipping his pen head across the white placement: a new poem, a doodle, a new way to fill the sections of his heart dug out.

A new sound had arrived on cell block 3a. It was the voice of a Martin Guitar. All six strings being beat on into the night. It bothered Roberto at times. He would hollar, "Keep it down," and the guitar player would continue with his sad heart; hurtful strumming and neglected heart. Jackson had sprung some fudge brownies from the kitchen when he was on KP way back. He had collected two small grocery bags full of cold, crunchy brownies. He gave Roberto a bag as a Halloween gift. "Here ya go sir. Enjoy them. I was going to polish of a second bag but I figured two sins ain't gonna be any better than one. "Pick. PICK. Don't strum all the time. That's what babies do. Try picking for a change. I wouldn't hear it if you picked the damn thing." Whoever it was on the guitar kept strumming away. It had like a base sound to it. It must have been a guitar with good resonance. It was deep in the night. Roberto couldn't continue chapter three. He figured he wrap it up and put the book away, maybe even for a few months. To top it off on the south end of the cell a prisoner was granted a personal TV. Most of the television watching was allowed in a game area, where they kept the a few reading tables and a snack area. A small caged television was encased in the corner of the mead hall looking game area. No one was allowed a private television but Sam down the hall. Supposedly, he was taking a correspondence coarse in radio, tv and film and needed it for class. The film class was on the internet.

That night October had begun. Halloween was on its way. Jackson was getting into photography and had his lover order him a few photo books from Dallas. He was really getting into it.

Roberto was going to ask for a head set or some kind of stereo to block the horrible constant strumming of the annoying guitar head down the hall.

Roberto finished off his tenth brownie and put them away for awhile. Many of them weren't cooked right and the centers were too chewy, overly sweet and doughy. He decided to make Mr. Nothing a more important character in the story of the Criminal. See, someone had to instigate Roberto's behavior. Every criminal needs a dance partner and it takes two to tango. He needed a reason for his crimes. He needed fire, a single spark for his fiery desires that took him under. He needed cause for his hubris. Mr. Nothing would offer him something. Something great. He would put his trust in his hands, and then Nothing would pull away and leave him hanging, forced to starve or turn to crime to recuperate, which is nearly impossible.

Two years back.

"A book huh. What makes you think a two bit player can write a book." Robert was impressed with Mr. Nothings office. It was set up in tall red brick in Soho. Not far from Blecker street were all the artist and punks, post modern hippies and non conformist hung out, or lived. Rumor had it Robert Deniro lived down the street at 150 Bleeker. I don't' know if it's true. "So, you want me to write a book." "No. What makes you think you can." "Cause I write." "Who taught you to write." "My grandmother." "She taught you. So what do you want to write about." "I don't' know yet. My life. Experience. What I see, smell, touch, feel, taste and sense. I want to write about me." "What makes you think people want to read about you." "Why not. I'm human. Human art is what makes it great. All I have to do is be honest." "Honesty will pay your bills. Its rough up north. Schools gonna be out soon. Your studying .. ." Mr. Nothing set back in his big black chair with the springy bottom. It squeaked as he sat back and relaxed folding his palms behind his head. "Acting." "That is a performance art. That is like studying dance, or painting. That has nothing to do with the written word." "Exactly. But what does it have to do with?" "Good point." Mr. Nothing said. "Very good point." "Life is the best subject to know, understand. Theatre has given me a chance to get out of my shell. Find her. Explore the world." "You gonna go back to acting." "Why not. I hear that Ethan Hawk is writing books. And many actors have written and returned to the stage after locking themselves up for a year or so, finishing up their novels. Why not?" "So what do you want to do?" "Write." "But you've studied acting." "So. So did Camus. He opened a small theatre company once." "You can't do both." "Why not." A silence entered the room. Mr. Nothing slammed his hand down on the table with a Godly strength. "Because writing is academic. It is intellectual. Acting is not." "But what a greater reason to do it. So what if it's academic. I personally don't think it is. You may perceive it as intellectual, but writing requires more than mere thought." "Writing is thought. It is how we learn to think." "Bullshit. Look. Its life, pure and simple. A form of life. It is life in words and nothing else. Its not real. Life is real. Life is more precious than words. Look, I have to go now. I'll think of some short story whip to up in about a month or so. I'll send it to your office. How about that?" He thought it was odd he said 'whip to up' and not 'whip it up.' The man lowered his thick eyebrow and focused in on the conversation in progress. "I'll take a look at it then Mr. Roberto Pace." That was Roberto's first offer for publication of one of his short stories. Mr. Nothing would act as his editor and possible support. He would put him on a small salary and send him to a writer workshop at NYU. He would then send his materials to him and he would look it over for possible publication in a San Francisco magazine that he was connected to. The magazine was originally originated in San Francisco but now had an office in Soho.

The enemy of the writer is uncertainness. Spelling, grammar, common placement and all the bullshit can be altered by the publisher. Conversely, to the matter, uncertainness can not be altered. It sticks out like a soar thumb. No one can cover it up.

The library housed many great masterpieces. It was good place of resource for The Criminal. He had not got a chance to fully and carefully finish. The Epic of Gilgamesh. He got to Part three and Ishtar and Gigamesh and the death of Endkidu. Then, he returned it promptly on time. The library, as small at is was, only holding a few hundred books, usually by well to do writers and writer with great fame, did enforce the rule of the fine. The librarian, an ex heroin dealer and addict, kept up with all his books. He added to the collection back in late eighties. He was busted with three pounds of black tar and a dead girlfriend. She overdosed and he stabbed in the process. He was in for manslaughter, and the intent to murder his lover. His name was Sandars but every one called him Sandy. "So, Sandy what knew books you got in." Roberto was impatient about new arrivals. He wanted to get his hands on any new writers that are on the market. Roberto was especially concerned with books that had recently won the Pulitzer. Books like Hours, Angela's Ashes, Mystic River and books about September Eleventh. "What you got?" Roberto stood up straight and tall like a long piece of ply wood and eyed Sanders. "You mean anything on the best seller's list." "Yeah." "I got nothing new this week. Animal Farm was returned." "I don't want another Orwell. Something that isn't assigned in the classroom. Something dirty. Real. Raw." "Have you read Eva's Man by Jones." "Nope. Is it good." "Bout a black chick that was molested. I haven't finished chapter three. Got a raw ass scene with a pop-sickle stick." "Oh, no. What about something political." "What about Hesse. You like Hesse. You read Stepen Wolf." "Why not." Roberto checked out a copy of Steppen Wolf by Herman Hesse." "See her back in two weeks." It was funny that Sanders referred to his book collection a feminine object. He called his books his ladies, or his lovers, or his loves. "Bring er back nice and neat." Sanders waved at him scratching the crease between his bicep and forearm muscle. You know that average spot heroin addicts release their juice of heaven through the end of their needle. It was a few hours before laundry duty. Morning was still in the air. The warden had granted this time for writing and fixing up his misspelled words. He noticed he had misspelled reconnaisence but had spelled rapacious and audacious correctly. He reworked a few scenes and then decided he didn't like how chapter three ended. "Say. Why do you rewrite the shit for." Jackson was at his cell. He was fully smoking a cigarette, write there in the cell block. The guard was lazing off somewhere in some corner, most likely snacking before late breakfast, or early lunch. "Why you rewrite." "What you doing here Jackson." "I figured I take some time off of Laundry duty. Come and watch you with your free ass time. Whitey gets his way huh." "The warden thought it do me some good. Better than folding sheets all day." "Why make all them notes. What for. Why not just hope on that old underwood and type it for the first round. Do it on the first try. And just leave it behind ya. Have you ever heard of that ol folk singer law." "What is the old folk singer law, Jackson." Roberto had rolled a fresh piece of Pacific into the typewriter. "Never look back." "Never look back huh. What's that mean." Roberto said looking back over his shoulder. "It means not to look back. Write what you mean to say and go forward. Nothing gonna make it better going back. What you looking for the impossible doing that shit." "The impossible. What do you mean?" "What you trying to perfect your novel. People don't dig that. They need the flaws in there. See, your mess up might what make it great. Make it real. Human." "Why do people want to read my mess ups." "Cause. You can't mess up. So what you think is a mess up is good to them. Most likely what you think is bad, is great. And what you think is great, is bad. Its always like that in the Arts." "I see writing as a craft." "Art, craft, my ass, whatever the hell you wanna call it call it. It don't matter fool. Just write it down and move on. Kiss the lady and fuck her and roll off and smile and go to bed. That's life. You fuck, you smile, you snore. I mean don't get me wrong. You try to lay with her, hold her, but you got to have the Mr. Sand man. You dig what I'm saying." "Dig. I guess I dig what your saying." Roberto stressed dig. He was sort of making fun of the worn term. "Listen. This is my time to write. Okay. I need to be alone." "Okay. Fine. That's cool. Just do what you got to do. Look, I'm going back to laundry duty. Guess what. Warden gonna give me a tv. Personalized television. Small one, but nevertheless, mine. Says I'm getting out here in two years. Good behavior. Better than five huh. Just lost three years for being good. On time every morning to laundry duty. No fights and hadn't been caught smoking in non-smoking regions like this one in the hall." "Need to write Jackson." "Okay baby. Got to go. So long." Jackson vanished. So he was getting out sooner than he thought. We all were told that. I had been passed up on parole three times now. I got offered parole annually. You sit before the small committee and they ask you, "What makes you think you deserve to be released?" And you answer. "I feel like a changed man. Like I can see the right way." Your smirk arrives and you find yourself stamped and shipped to the assigned cell.

I began looking up words in the dictionary. It became entertainment and a way of sharpening my nails for the key board. The pages would brush and flip past my fingertips with a breezy message. Hundred and thousand of words. Each word a history, a place, even a world to be explored. I decided to analyze one word a day and brush up on three or four new words. The analyzed word would be the main focus for the day. I'd wake up, head to the shitter, toss a turd and crack open the fourth addition to the American Heritage. It was Thursday, early. Dew was still hanging on the cell ceiling, tiny diamond sparkling mountains, stingy and asking me, "Why are you here lonely man. Why don't you go outside and play." I returned no useful answer to the tiny mountains of dew that hung above me. I could not thank of an reason for being in here. Not one that made any sense. I did all this for a pretend ride. I put a gun up to the clerks face for a imagined dream that could never, ever become true. I played out this impossible role, for no one. Not even for Shel. No one could understand my stupidity. My ignorance. My waste. As the Germans mich ode. Abfall. Verschwenden. I wanted to be this great actor, this great artist, and weakness sucked me down. I fell into temptation. I placed the thirty eight caliber to the freckled, thinly face and pulled the hammer back. "Give me the money." I felt that would be sum up all my problem. I'd use the two hundred or three hundred and cold cash to hope some ride west. Perhaps a bus ticket, perhaps gas money. Maybe I'd lift a car as I was at it. Then, I'd arrive to Hollywood. The great Oz would tell me what to do. I'd be discovered and all my problems would cease to exist. It was an impossible mission. I was had. I was fooled. The lies on the silver screen sucked me in. I failed. I miserably failed. Now I am a failure. A loser. And for some odd reason there is a smile on my face. A smile from ear to ear.

I guess in this pain arrives redemption. Now, I have be prevented. I feels good to be locked up. It is a release. To have this anchor of freedom taken from my tense shoulders. Now, I'm told what to do next. Now, I'm told when to wake up, what to do. Now, I am able to work. I can fold clothes, talk to people. I'm not shut up in my pade in Uless, alone with my dieing plant. Now, I have another type of freedom, imprisonment. Imprisonment has shown me a sense of freedom. It doesn't feel good all the time. In fact it hurts the soul. But at least I have direction. Even though it is forced.

In the Buddhist concept all is not lost. It is never too far to turn back, because the end is welcomed, accepted and natural. It is like an extinguished candle. There is no need to take too much or too little. There is only need to take what is needed and what will satisfy and sooth the hunger. There is no need for hunger in the Buddhist belief. Why did Buddha come in the first place. Why does the baby cry? Buddha came to enlightened mankind and to help ease the pain. He came to welcome man into a comfortable and happy world of water, food, shelter, love, praise, right mind, right body, right speech, right meditation and play. Happiness was his goal and every man has the right to pursue success and happiness. Every man has the right to be loved. There is never a wrong path, but the path not chosen. A mistake is made and the person moves on. It is done and the next step is faced. "It is when your practice is rather greedy that you become discouraged with it. So you should be grateful that you have a signal to show you the weak point in your practice." (Suzuki 2001)

All he was doing was sitting around listening to sad songs from the UK, studying German vocabulary, breaking down story structures, analyzing the world through his rickety blinds and feeding his plant named Starlet.

Roberto was back in Uless. The red flag waving his name. It was kind of twisted home again. Under the airplanes, the muck, half way wasted place. Weeds. Yellow flowers. Spots of beauty hear and there. I guess it wasn't all wasted. He was at the health food store. He was stocking up on groceries with mom. His car was suffering from engine problems. It was sick beyond repair. He was stuck on his feet. All he had was a old mountain bike to get to work at Subway. He purchased some bananas, apples, a few dates, and a few cans of Tonga tuna. He stocked up on some dried fruit, water and few bags of bean. Every once and while he wake up and there be no food. Nothing but beans to steam up in the old vintage style steamer. He was running out of food too often. He'd run out of money as well. When he got down to a few bucks he begin to grow greedy with his choices of food. It was that or starved. With three dollars he didn't have many choices. He had to be selective, precise and caution with his money. No time to get Verschweden. He could either purchase three or four apples or cookie dough. You decide. He despised peanut-butter for some inane reason. It was getting old. Same routine. Sit around, read, study, work on his German, write on his old Lab Top, stare at photos of Shelly Thorns, dream of flying off. Running down to the airport and hoping on some plane leading to somewhere far off. Forget all this bull. But something held him back. It was a magnet. He couldn't tell if it was a girl. A dream back in Texas he hadn't uncovered yet. A person he had to rid. He couldn't not tell why he stayed but he did.

The dream of heaven was causing his hell.

Roberto did not believe reality was stranger than fiction. He was a devote believer in filtering his own life into his fiction. The Criminal was not much different that his reality experienced in the cell. It was nearly the same. The only difference was the names, the location and well, the entire thing. Roberto went by Tom Burnet in the story. It was based upon a park he used to visit as a young child. Seven Hundred W. Burnett Street. He figured it would make a great last name. Roberto would skate and play with his friends into the heat of the hot Texas Summer. Burnet reminded him of his freedom as a child. Its funny he'd name a locked up criminal after a park that reminded him of freedom.

All the voices, every one he knew, everything that was associated with the prison cell, his future as a writer, the bunk bed, the cob webs in the corner, the sound of some prisoner beaten on a plastic tub down the hall near the mess room, the weights clanking on the steel bars, all of it, every ounce, breath, wink of the eye, the flaw and temptation of Dionysus's intention to fail man, and the dreams of Hubris, and Burnett seven hundred st. All off it. Every moment of his past was amounting, awaiting structure, syntax, proper word usage, improper creative license, the use of freedom on the page, all of it was awaiting his next move, plan, his next attempt to speak the truth on paper, every last moment, was telling him it was over. He was done in. But he couldn't just give up. He was damned if he wrote the novel and damned if he laid on his back and listen to Oprah echo down the hall from Cell Block B, where the pimp set up his TV set.

At times, he wished he was in the A hall. That is where all the white collars powered up their laptops and hooked up on the internet. It was the only escape from this prison hell, besides dreaming, and over sleeping on weekends. Prison made you hard. At times it made you bad. It was supposed to make you bad. It was designed to force the bad nature of life on your. The seven deadly sins was always an option. Sloth, greed, hatred, anger and jealously, envy was at hand around every corner. The life inside was so bad that it turned you good.

Jackson finally received a shot to get into education. He was going to take an education coarse on a web site in order to land his GED. I was going to tutor him when I had free time. Thirty minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays before breakfast and lunch. Sometimes we would only review his work before Thursday's lunch. Usually we worked on his readings and evaluation of the assigned stories in English before lunch hall once a week.

"Why did she call it the Lottery." Roberto bowed his head for a few seconds. "That's not for me to tell you sir." Jackson passed the book over to him and sat it on his lap. "Look I read it five times and I don't get it. I don't know what the author is trying to say." "You have to employ synthesis to figure that one out." "What is synthesis." "Detective work. Read the damn story and find clues. The author will leave symbols in her work to hint at what she is trying to say." "So is this story realism, fantasy, absurd'ism. Where is the truth in it. I don't buy that a whole town would stone the protagonist like that." Jackson and Roberto had been working for a solid month on his English coarse work. Roberto didn't help him with math, or the sciences and at times didn't even touch the other subjects. He didn't have problems in math and he went to the A hall to get help with the science work. Some of the blue collars would tutor him for light cigarettes. Light cigarettes were hard to find in the inside. "Shirley Jackson was one messed up dude." "She wasn't a dude." Roberto informed him. "Just read it again. Okay. Look here is my personal assignment to you." "Shit man. There's enough of em giving to me on the internet." "Do you stil got that old tv in your cell." "Yep. Warden said I could. . ." "Don't watch it. Throw it all away. Get that noise out of your life." "You want me to toss my tube. You gotta be a sicko." Do it. Just dump it. Stay focused on the readings and the assignments. This isn't going to be easy Jackson. You want you GED your going have to do the time." "I'm doing time." "Correct. But your going to have to do the effort and time. It takes time my friend. Look re-read the Lottery and then bring it back to me." "I read the mofoe five times." "Well read it a six time. It's a short story is it not?" "I guess. Okay Mr. Pace. I'll read it." "You don't have to call me Mr. Pace." Jackson wiped off his little schoolboy face with his a swipe of his hand. He usually pretended as if he was in a real class when we tutored. At times he'd even raise his hand. "Don't raise your hand Jackson. Your sitting right next to me." They were in smoke room. That is where class was held. It was a room usually designed for lounging and watching television, only the Warden had taken the TV out so Roberto could tutor Jackson. "No one hangs around here when the tv's gone." "That's because the only thing prisoners around here want to do is watch TV and smoke and gamble with dominoes." "So." "Look my friend your getting educated you understand. Go back re-read it and then make notes. And don't write in the book. Write on a separate page and in essay form. Here is the assignment. List five symbols in the Shirley Jackson short story that represent the voice of the author." "What is the voice of the author?" "That is for you to determine?" "How would I determine that if I never heard her speak?" "Its not the inflection or the tone of voice. I am bringing forth the mouthpiece of the author in my assignment." "The author wore a mouthpiece?" "No. Look. A person writes because they are trying to say something about life. If you don't have anything to say why write?" "What is it she was trying to say?" "That is the purpose of the exercise. Here lets look at the first paragraph." Roberto's index finger scratched the pages back to first paragraph." "Okay listen to me when I read. 'The morning of June Twenty seventh was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full summer day." Roberto stopped reading and looked up. His eyebrows shook a beckoning for Jackson to Respond. "Did you ever notice her last name is my first name." "Shit man. What is the author doing in the beginning of the story." "Well. She is describing the day." "In what way?" "Well, kind of like a newspaper would." "Very good. Why would she be that descriptive." "To make it sound real." "She wanted the reader to what?" "Believe in the story." "She wanted the reader to feel as if she was reading about what?" "About. Hm. Good question." "I know. I went to College. I had to do this shit every night for seven years." "You went to college for Seven years." "Yes. And I plan to go longer. No listen." "Longer. You want to go to school longer. Why?" "There is an limitless amount of knowledge out there. I am obsessed with knowledge." "What do you want to be." "I don't' know really. I use to want to be an actor. But I found the life was non-academic. AT times I wanted to be a doctor. Now it seems I'm a tutor." "What about that book you were writing." Roberto had not written a word in the passed few weeks. "It comes and goes. Sometimes I am motivated to write it all down. Sometimes I just want to tutor you or fold clothes." "Lets get back to the story." Jackson head tilted down and his neck shot forward extended into the pages on his lap. "The goat is a symbol for something right?" "Absolutely. Here I let you in on a secret. A long time ago during the days of Greek theatre. The days when Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides wrote they prize was sometimes a goat." "A goat?" "That is what you won if you were a great storyteller." "They gave you a goat? Why?" "Well, back then milk was scarce. Goats produced a fatty sweet milk. And they were good pets. Plus, if you got too hungry . . ." "Okay lets stick to the story. I don't wanna be talking about killin' pets. Lets stick to Shirley." "Okay. So write a paragraph about the goat. Why is it a symbol? Then, write about four more symbols. Put it all down in essay form and then you'll read it to me the next time you visit on Tuesday. Remember I will check for grammatical errors and syntax." "What do syntax mean again." Jackson said. "What does syntax mean, sir?" "That's what I asked." "And that is how I answered, Jackson." "Okay. Thanks." Jackson fashionably limped off with the thick English book at his hip. He sawed his hands through the air as if he wanted to say something out loud, but then halted and fell silent. He was relieving positive vibes from the lesson. He gave a high five to an invisible peer standing next to him. He was actually communicating with someone who was not present or near him. Jackson was stoked about learning. I am always the type of man that feels you can not teach an old dog tricks. Jackson was turning thirty years old and was learning new behaviors, new ways of expression and was becoming educated. A middle age man had the glint of a school child in his eyes once again. The child had returned to him. He had gone from a rapist to a little boy again. Nothing in my right mind would convince the smallest corner of me that he could fall into the trap of crime again. He was changing himself for the better. He was growing in intellect. I had been converted.

Jackson was a tall man. Large chine, wide eyes, angel curved lips and a face that came to a point. He was quiet handsome. Round, muscular arms, strong legs, and a stout frame. He rocked his head back when he took steps, sort of like a triumphant stallion. He was a man's man. True to the grit of life. He once worked in a factory that pumped out contact lenses. He was put on the factory line until he got hooked on opiates and pain killers. Later, he moved to more sinful drugs and was known to losing his minds in small hotels East Side of Fort Worth. He had wide, threatening and glaring pupils that seemed to dilate in an unbeknownst rhythm. He was taller than most in on the cell block. Perhaps he was around six feet and seven inches, perhaps eight, but not an inch over six eight. He was the size of a basket ball player and had the same moves. Rumor had it he was the best slum dunker in the prison system. Jackson was the best at every sport. He shined the most in basketball. He was a damn good. He had powerful muscles in the forearm and shoulders, which gave him a deadly accurate aim. Jackson excelled in free throws, three foot launchers and lay ups. He was a hell of a defense player as well. No one could touch him, not in the yard. Perhaps the judges, the lawyers and all the rules and regulations could pin him up, but no one could touch him on the court. Everyone had a skill that no one else could touch. Everyone had a game that no one could beat them at. Jackson game was basket ball. The yard champion ship at one on one was approaching next week. Jackson turned it down due to the homework on the net. He had to prepare for a new game.

"For some freakin reason the line ain't connecting to the web site." He needed be so worried it was merely a correspondence course designed for prisoners to get their GED. Jackson acted as if it was the Armageddon. "This class has robbed my TV set, my friends and my chance at ball. I gave up everything for this motherfucker and now the net ain't connected through. Something is directly fucked with the pipe line to the university." "It isn't a university Jackson. It's a web site." "Web sits kind a like a university. An electronic university made up of binary codes." "No time to get poetic. I write the Warden letter and see if we can get you hooked back in by Monday." "Better be by Monday. I gots a test comin up wednessdee."

"I breaking out a sheet of paper as we speak." Roberto leaned back and took in a large breath. Jackson vanished down the hall scrapping his feet. "If it ain't hooked up by Wednessday and I don't get a chance to turn in my hard work through the e-mail, then, I am going to sign up for the championship and screw this GED shit." "JACKSON. Do you realize what this means." A thick moment came between them. You could cut the tension in the air, if you had a sharp enough blade. Hell the tension was so rock-solid one would need a steel circular saw to cut through. " When was your last shot at the NBA?" "What do you mean?" "How old are you Jackson?" "Thirty." "How many NBA basket ball players are thirty." "Are you hinting that I want to be on the NBA." "Why else would you play ball." "Cause I love to play ball." "Okay lets weigh the two options. Your telling me you can play ball until your old and gray." "I guess." "Jackson a GED might land you a real job. It might even give you a chance at College in the near future." "Man I ain't getting out of her until I thirty four. I'll be up in her for another three years or so. Who is going to graduate a mid life crisis. Plus, I most likely be going until I am forty. By the time I am out of college I'll be too old to work." "Maybe. But at least you'll have a GED under your belt before you leave this god forsaken place." "What do you mean by that?" ""Well at least you'll be a graduate of some type of school, by the time you leave this shit hole." "This prison or this world." "Both. Don't sign up. We'll get ya hooked back to the web site. Give it time. Patience is a virtue my friend."

October. Approaching Halloween. Two years before the fatal robbery.

Roberto was home. Starving. He hadn't been on a normal meal plan for over three months. He just ate what he could burrow, steal or find. Sometimes he went dumpster dining, or landed a short term job at a café in Dallas. He go back in the kitchen, sneak like a stealthy vampire, and hog out on a plate of fries. He had worked for Chinese, Italian, French and Americana. His favorite was Americana, usually those types of restaurants had better deserts and mixed up the nationalities, and cultured food. It was more multicultural at an Americana café. Chinese joints, usually only allowed the waiters to eat rice plates, or the soups. Italians would feed you, hell overfeed you until you were overly stuffed and farting like a mad man. Pasta got tiring and tiramisus made ya bounce of the wall like a jammed caffeine poet before a midnight reading. Plus, the cheesy dishes, nevertheless, the cheese cake filled out your face and gut like a healthy Renaissance king. Italians didn't like their workers to go hungry. Americana was fun. The food usually was mixed culturally and every single Americana joint held surprises. The breakfasts menu wore chopped full of egg benedict, glorified omelets, stacked pancakes with every maple syrup known to mankind, topped with strawberries and whip cream. Coffee, tea, toast and even ham dishes coupled with sausage links, sweat rolls with special sugar topping and caramelized onions. The menu at Americana breakfasts were amazing. Roberto mostly lived on Yogurt. It was cheap and pact full of protein. The yogurt he chose was cultured in the cup, slowly, with more active cultures, to enhance his nutritional needs. Usually he chose fat free yogurts, with protein ranging from twelve grams to fourteen. It was high in calcium and had a fair percentage of carbs, vitamin C and Iron. It was an easy selection for the poor. Lunch meat on sale and yorgurt. Calcium and meat. Roberto consider himself a vegetarian but the dishes in Useless Texas were over priced and hard to find. How long can a vegetarian around here live on protein bars and Smart Dogs (soy hot dogs with the consistency of sausage.) So yogurt it was. Grade A pasteurized nonfat milk, with active tehrmophilus, L. Bulgarcicu, L. Acidophilu, B. Bifidum,. L. Rhamnosus, , B. Longum, B. Infantis, fruit juice concentrate, pectin, natural flavors of strawberry, cheese cake or blue berry. Depending on his taste for the day.

Roberto had applied for social security. He claimed he had a personal and behavior disorder and was suffering from Aggression, depression and an identity crisis. An identity crisis was near impossible to cure. Also, he told the lady at the social security that he was suffering from a mild case of Obsessive Compulsion disorder or OCD. He was very specific about where he put his soap. "I sometimes have to hang my towels a certain way, and I wash my hands a certain way and turn on the light a certain way and fall into patterns and ritual." "We all do that." The lady at the desk said. He was at the social security office in Irving. Her name was Miss Fincher. "You have problems with OCD. That is an anxiety disorder. It can be treated with medications." She began to diagnose him in the little fifteen minute session they spent together. In the first session she had him name the presidents from George Bush Jr. to JFK. He got the descending order create but forgot about, "Gerald Ford. He came after Nixon." "Oh. Right. Lets see. Now we have George Bush Jr. Before Bush was Clinton. Before Bill was George Bush Senior. Before Bush was Ronald Regan. Okay now where in the eighties. Before Ronald was Jimmy Carter. Before the peanut farmer was Gerald Ford and then Nixon and then Johnson and then JFK, until nineteen sixty three and then he was picked off by an assumed assailant." "Very good. Your very, very intelligent. Now count backwards by five from one hundred."

Roberto decided to rob unclaimed luggage at the baggage claim. He just simply walk up, find a bag unclaimed and walk it home. He'd become a theft. Fuck What-a-burger, fuck working for Burger King, or Subway, or seven eleven. Fuck the cell phone factory, fuck the cafes in Dallas and there skanky, uneducated managers. Perhaps he'd give a few high class joints a try in Fort Worth, if the tips were high enough, but for now, at this moment his belly was running dry. He'd apply at this new place opening in Fort Worth called Zoes. It was some eccentric restaurant that had a flare of New York and carried a charming and new age interior. For now he was going hungry. Now he'd leave his small pad for a long walk to DFW to look for real money and a real way to get out. Sure enough he land across a credit card in one of those bags.

It was about now. He was hungry. He was lonely now.

Now it was time to claim what belonged to him. Life. Life, now.

It was two years back. Uless. Roberto was taking an online course in education. He decided to pursue teaching. "But Mom. I could teach drama. Why not? It holds more opportunity than acting does. Plus, I've been auditioning like crazy. The theatre Theatre Three in town won't have me" "So do you want to teach or act." "Do you think I could do both." Mom's voice sounded shaky. She wasn't for sure if Roberto could pull it off. "It might work. Give it a try. I'll help with your rent payments through October." "The course won't end until before Christmas. Then, I have two more classes to take and I can get certified. They may hire me. It could work." Mom's voice sounded shaky. Ann Reed was born and raised near Haltom city. All her life she had put up with people singling her out. She was the type of young girl that sat alone at the Pepper Allies and didn't have many friends. Later, in her life she was diagnosed with B-personality and did spend some time at the mental ward at All Saints. She had divorced Will Pace back in the early seventies and remarried when Roberto turned nine. She found a floating teacher coming out of a rusty marriage with a hot head red head named Sherry Redwood. She was from California. The marriage between Couch Reed and Sherry didn't last long. "Earlchk is my mother there." Roberto had called home again. October rent was due and mom didn't have the money. Roberto had called his Grandmother but the grandfather had passed due to a series of strokes and this allowed her to live on social security and the remaining saved money for retirement. They were one of the million couples that never fully spent their retirement savings. The grandmother was raised in the great depression, so she had a nack for self control and saving money. She was the type of old lady that saved all the food in Tupperware and it was law that the kids finish every bite at the dinner table. Thanksgiving was like a gorging feast on amplified. The turkey was so overly huge it must have been put on steroids and special fattening feed. It was one of those fifteen pound turkey get ups. The dinner rolls were limit less and there was endless amount of pies, cakes, and sweets. The family over did it. I remember as a kid I could barely sit in my seat I was so full. Breathing was a concentrated exercise. I never left feeling so plump and healthy. Afterwards the kids would play in the front yard. One game they love to play with Roberto was robot. They hide in the bushes or behind a tree and flash a light on Roberto's face while he moved mechanically like some paid mime for passing cars. Thanksgiving was a god send for a special kid like Roberto. Roberto, just like his mother, had problems at school. He was beat up, called names and even neglected by teacher and faculty. One time this cowboy hick in the seventh grade laid an endless amount of punches on his right eye. His name was Jim Stevenson. He was one of the quickest sprinters and fullbacks on the field. The girls were crazy about him. Unfortunately, Roberto girl was under his spell. Roberto tried to undue the love between them but lost the fight. He never cried uncle and never gave in to the fighter. He just took more slugs in the face. His right eye was so damn swollen he could barely see out of it. Will Pace was extremely anger when he returned home. "What happen to your eye, son." "Nothing." "Its so swollen you can barely open it." Will put him through a week long training course with lifting weights, boxing his hands, shadow boxing, and strengthening his grip muscles. He called it grip lifting. Grip lifting was composed of simple rotating movements of the wrist. "Here is what you do. You tie this cord to the weight like so." Will had brought in a twenty pound weight and fed a thin cord around the center hole were the bar secured. He wrapped the cord around a stick. Then, he took turns twisted the bar in each hand.

"This will strengthening your grip for fighting. The grip is very important. It is needed for a fight. One may come at you like this." Will duct his head downward and showed Roberto a grappling move. "Then you pull them to ya like this." Will grabbed him and yanked him toward his chest." Not so hard dad." Roberto was getting a little scared in his boots. "So you think curls and these grip exercises will help me win the next fight." "You bet."

The fight was caused by a meaner student who suffered from Hemophiliac named Red Tomilison. He had series problem with his temper. He was known to explode in a half of a heartbeat. "Some day someone is going to kill that boy." My father said. He was talking about Red. Red was not allowed to fight or play ball. He did anyway. He wasn't going to let rules get him down. Red ended up on first string and played wide receiver. An ambulance had to be parked by the shower room during games.

Roberto was on his way home from Uless. Finally he had left Useless Texas. There was nothing but an airport, fast food joints, seven eleven, a little baseball field and a cheap half assed gym. Some parts were beautiful but the fast food restaurants became an eyesore. Roberto didn't mind moving. He did mind the behavior of his step father. He was super aggressive. Ealrchk once played ball for TCU and had dreams of going into the NFL. There was picture of him holding up a ten pound base and his biceps were rounded and more healthy than Conan the Barbarian.

The step father was hot headed but extremely literate. He was a huge fan of Faulkner and even a member of The Faulkner fan club. Also, he had applied to be in the Thomas Wolfe Society and spent several years doing research and trailing the great writers footsteps across the states. His first name was Earl. Earl Reed. Roberto was creative with his tongue so he nick named Earl, Earlchk. He spent a few months sticking the CHK sound on the end of words when he was in his teens. It was one of his savored acting exercises. He used to be very specific and dedicated at hitting his consonance. The CHK sound was placed at the end of words or used in dialogue to help strengthen his tongue muscles. "My dream is to act on stage on Broadway." Roberto announce to Ann and Earl at the dinner table. They were pretty quite about his dream. After all he was suffering from abuse from his father and " and he was a little different from most of the other children." His first grade teacher stated to Ann. "How is he different." "Well he thinks differently. He isn't slower but he has a unique way of doing things." "Can you give me an example." Ann retorted like lawyer in a high stakes law suit. After all, it was her child she was calling different. No parent wanted their child to be set apart from the other groups. "Well the other kids pick on him. He has many eccentricities that come up in the classroom." "What do you mean? Give an example." "Well the other day he fell off the school monkey bars." "That happens. That's okay right. He can fall off the monkey bars. He didn't do it on purpose." A long pause entered between the two. The teacher continued with, "Well he reacted in a interesting way." The mother returned, "I remembered that. He had a scratch under his nose." "Yes. He bled for quite awhile. The only problem was he didn't cry." "He is in first grade. He is more mature than kindergarten. First graders don't cry as much do they." She stated firmly. "He hit the ground severely hard." The silence sneaked back into the conversation. It just hung there like still weather. Not a grunt, or breath arrived. It was as if a verdict was about to be called forth from the jury. "But he never shows emotion. He is kind of robotic, stiff. He rarely smiles and never reveals any type of response. Sometimes he doesn't seem present in the classroom. You may have him tested." "For what?" "An S-E-S." "What is S-E-S?" "There may be an emotional problem with the child." "What do I do?" Ann was nearly in tears. "I would have him see a doctor."

Roberto was waiting for mom to show. He had not packed any boxes yet. He was tired of moving and getting kicked out of apartment complexes and dorms. He decided to write a poem about the manner of his travel:

Document three. New York outside the door.

A walk around my room, Lost

Praying for a breath.

Lost Awaits third draft.

No call from Disney.

Lying. Theft-out to stop a rule

Lifting from Samson Mini Storage LLC

37-B West 13th

New York, Oh, New York

Waiting outside my door.

Receipt two hundred and sixty

One fifty.

7/12/02 four fourteen.

Rate plus tax: 46.01. Until oeight and the Buddha wheel.

Ending balances up my ass.

I not burned out but burned at last.

ON a plane.




Wake up.

Lay back down.

More beans.

Wake up.

Read a chapter.

Lay back down.

What about Eugene.

Go to sleep.






To the north.

Double again.

Wake up.

Lay back down.

More beans.

Wake up.

Read a chapter.

Lay back down.

What about Eugene.

Go to sleep.

Wake up.

More beans.

Another year.

What a minute.

Who is this again.

Lost in Uless, a town that sounds like Useless but spelled Useless.

Only trying says the critic

Airplanes floating above.

Road to recovery.

Winged Rats that look like doves.

On my stair unit.

How long does the life age inside me.

When will the blood be ripe.

Like a bottle so dusty it can't be drank

Memories, notes and rights lost:

Cash 92.o1.

It so hard to thank you. and think about you.

I owe the word, and the world, about as much as I owe anything.

I owe them about the same weight I was born with.

Balanced and death. What am I dead with.

I said now.

The healthy life is death.


Why can't I have the healthy life

Where is death?


A note, an idea, springs in my wrist, I drop all objects of fear

Another year.

I drop the Bic., the draining thin white sword used to shave with flank,

A world of white planks

Poking out of the icy block in Cocytus,

The World Masterpieces, the memories of John,

And the too fast Sub

down my throat

Another happy birthday and week on beans.

White beans, brown beans, split beans, and veg sausage grounded.

God where did the taste go.

I'm like a sugarless shaved hamster.

All the little sins amounted like the tally on a check book.

It's the hook.

He took a nook.

Balances and checks the balance,

Tosses and swing and miss

the crowd roars.

A collective hiss

From beneath the grounds of Dis

I sell my television for that roar.

New Classes approaching.

Café Brazil. All the lipstick and pruned nun dressed whores.

Waiting or waiter, or waited out for a meal.

Sweat accumulates on my ear phones, plum domes,

Alarms sounded near the air strip.

Unclaimed baggage with tasty credit cards.

Watch the lard,

Another year.

Less fat on that perfect gear.

as I patter my feet toward work. Purple hearts accumulate, and this is how I pay tribute.

Some gas station on university, or was it a school,

what's the difference now days.

Web pages knocking at my door and I wait and answer in yells.

Don't bother me now. "I don't on a television"

Respect isn't defined by age


Wisdom is weighed with a personal meter.

I wait.

Another year.

Still she smiles

And I wait.

Still it whirls and grows around

And I wait.

She still smiles.

Another year.

I want a cigarette, a counted fuse.

A aim. Trigger pulled. A dead white tail dear.

A thank you and good shot.

A measurement. I way to judge the length of the past.

She touched my shoulder, a whisper in my ear,

Another year.

The sound of the subway in the southern summer heat.

What a windless sound I feel at my side

Another year.

Trying to Burnet,

Trying to go back.

I don't know who you are and why you are reading this.

Send a message to the other side.

The other side needs me again. Was that a tear? or

Another year.

Send a message to Samson and sell my shit.

I am fed up with the Luckies and all they have to labor.

Miss or hit.

I am fed up with waiting for

Another year.

No more material but the material I need.

No more waited,

Another year,

Forget the years.

What happened to now.

Tosses and swing and miss

the crowd roars.

A collective hiss

From beneath the grounds of Dis

I sell my television for that roar.

Wake up.

Read a chapter.

Lay back down.

What about Eugene

the crowd roars.

A collective hiss

From beneath the grounds of Dis

I sell my television for that roar.

New Classes approaching.

Still she smiles

And I wait.

And I wait.

To the north.

Double agen.

Wake up.

Lay back down.

More beans.

I q uit smoking

No more coughing fits,

But the ones brought on by the Euless cold.

Lost in Uless, a town that sounds like Useless but spelled Useless.

Only trying says the critic

Airplanes floating above.

Road to recovery.

A walk around my room, Lost

Praying for a breath.

Lost Awaits third draft.

No call from Disney.

Lying theft out to stop a rule

What about Eugene.

Go to sleep.






To the north.

Double agen.

Wake up.

Lay back down.

More beans.

Wake up.

Read a chapter.

Lay back down.

What about Eugene.

Lost in Uless, a town that sounds like Useless but spelled Useless.

Only trying says the critic

Airplanes floating above.

Road to recovery.

Winged Rats that look like doves.

On my stair unit.

Another happy birthday and week on beans.

White beans, brown beans, split beans, and veg sausage grounded.

God where did the taste go.

I'm like a sugarless shaved hamster.

All the little sins amounted like the tally on a check book.

It's the hook.

He took a nook.

More beans.

Another year.

What a minute.

Who is this again.

ON a plane.




Wake up.

Lay back down.

More beans.

Wake up.

Read a chapter.

Lay back down.

What about Eugene.

Go to sleep.



To the north.

Double again.

Wake up.

Lay back down.

More beans.

Wake up.

Read a chapter.

Lay back down.

What about Eugene.

Go to sleep.

Wake up.

More beans.

Another year.

What a minute.

Who is this again.

Lost in Uless, a town that sounds like Useless but spelled Useless.

Only trying says the critic

Airplanes floating above.

Road to recovery.

Winged Rats that look like doves.

On my stair unit.

How long does the life age inside me.

When will the blood be ripe.

Like a bottle so dusty it can't be drank

Now, now, now, now,now,now,now,now,now...

A voice other than his own was haunting Roberto in his cell as he hovered over his papers. The voice was escaping from his lips but for some reason it was not connected to the voice he remembered as a child. "I have grown in this place. In this attic of society. This locked room. I have found a way to change for the better. This imprisonment has set me free." He counted up to one hundred and ten pages of notes, segments and character outlines. Also, there were several poems he wanted to include in the body of the work.

The poem he read about his travels in New York and hell in the pen, was coming from another poet. Perhaps the poet was dead, or near death, crawling on the edge of Satan's flank searching for an answer or a way out of this pit of fire, and a path to the edge, scaling the bones of the lost, to once again peer up from Cocytus, and gaze at the misty heavenly stars above. A great, more silent, and stronger voice. The voice that created all voices, and all people, nodded his head to return to mankind and field from the fields. He was remember the kid inside him.

I decided to write down a series of brief statements that covered the brevity of Tom Burnett's survival skills. It was based on Roberto's methods he derived from stealing and being sly within his community:

I know how to leave on twenty dollars a week.

I know how to get food when I have no money or some mere change.

I know it is easier to get food with a few dollars.

I know how to keep warm if I don't have a warm coat.

I know how to make up a bill, if I am only a few dollars short, in about ten seconds flat.

I know how to burrow.

I can live with out a car.

I know how to plea with close friends and relatives.

I know how to work nine jobs in one year and make under five thousand dollars.

I know what and what not to steal. I know my range of theft.

I can't tell if I am or I am not a real thief.

Perhaps I am just surviving without a career. Perhaps I have not found my role yet as a person in this world.

Sometimes I feel like an empty vessel.

I know how to entertain a crowd and even a small town.

I know how to keep my self busy when I am not employed by a business.

I am self sufficient and have the will to be a


The conspiracy is the fire. The cavemen in the ancient times would sit before the flames of the camp fire and gaze at the wavy hands of heat. Alone. Dreaming of a time he once road the train. Now, he rests on the sofa and stares at all the conspiracy in the million and one faces gleamed so perfectly tanned on the television screen.

It happened. He was finally caught. Apprehended by two grocery clerks in Uless. He had placed three health bars in his pocket. All he had on him at the time was a buck and quarter. He had to shed the back pack and the bike to high tail it off the super market. The assistant manager approached him as he exited the store with a small sack of food. He had enough for three roman noodles, and two small yogurts. Hunger talked him into places the bars in his side pocket. He was light headed and nearly forgot about them anyway. He had a system, what he could not afford went into his pocket and what he could afford went into the hand basket. It was wrong. Unlawful. But being right all the time was killing someone like Roberto. It was risky stealing from stores. Shop lifting held jail time plus a nasty ass fine. He figured it was better than starving. He had worked at all the useless fast food joints around and substitute was to painful without the car. All he had was his bike, his change and a few ideas. "Sir. I think I saw you place the nutragrain bars in your pocket." It was ridiculous to stop him. Roberto figured the small things add up. Shit. This is it. Should I run. I should run. He is going to call the police. "Sir. I need you to come back in the store with me." The clerk formed a plan to help him out. "Come back in the store with me and show me were you placed the ntura grain bars." "You want me to go back in the store. Look I put them up on some isle." I'm busted. Shit. It's over. "There by the Roman Noodle." "You need to come back with me sir." Roberto froze. He was sweating from his forehead and palms like some dried out fish on the banks of an oily barge. "Just show me were." A few weeks back when his skill was with him he'd never return in the store. He'd just run. Get on the back and haul ass out. This time he had weakened. He followed the fat grocery clerk assistant manager back into the story. Something inside him was telling him to turn back. Don't go in. Don't do it. "Okay. I'll show you." The heat was on. He had done it now. He had made a commitment. "I'll show you." The fat clerk lead him down the isle. "I already looked near the Roman it's not there." The fat clerk was on his side, taking small forwarding steps at him, staying on his side, with his eyes glued to his leg pocket. He knew. The cameras caught me. I know it. This is it. "Sir. I saw you take them." The clerk was younger than he was. Four or five years younger maybe more. Shit. This is getting old. I'm thirty years old. I've been around the world. Resting in the knapsack was an old wallet from Czech republic that use to stick away his change and various cards needed for events, or discounts at the store. It had his address in it. The discount card did. The clerk lifted his head. He was right. The food was in my pocket. I can't run. I'm too weak. Roberto thought. I'll fall over. He hadn't had anything to eat all day but some bran mix that his mother had left him in the cupboard a few weeks back. He hadn't gotten around to buying eggs and mixing up a batch. "Oh. I found them." Roberto reached down to his leg pocket and removed three protein bars. This is how Roberto had survived eating this shit for over the past four years. He always take a few for his vitamins. It was an expensive bar. Two to three bucks a pop. He had three of them, and he thought one was buy one get one free, so that makes up for two. Four bucks top. Why would he want to stop me over four bucks. And then he remembered his father's voice. It all starts with stealing candy from a store and then the thief turns into a bank robber. Shop lifter to bank robber. Then, Roberto's face turned strawberry red. "Here. Take them." He handed the protein bars over to the clerk. "Take them back." RUN. He ran. Roberto ran. He took off like his first run as a wide receiver in high school. The fat clerk yanked on his backpack and pulled him a little off balance. He slid to one knee. The fat clerk tilted a little and gravity sucked him down like an Iron mast. He hit the ground on his side. It was like we were ice skating on the supermarket floor. Roberto got up, sucked in a large gulp of air and shot out toward the check out line. That is when the second fat clerk approached him head on. Suddenly he was in the foot ball field. He charged him and slid to his side. He remembered the clerk saying, "There are five cameras in the store. One of those cameras saw you take the food." He dodged to the right as the big old man fell to his side like large rotten oak. Roberto headed toward the exit doors and passed the indoor bank. No time to stop for a night deposit. Then, the black clerk appeared in the corner of his eyes. He heard all three of them pattering and puffing like wild wolves behind him. He remembered to keep calm. He took a lot of air and got his barrens. I don't know why but I have to get away. He slowed down before reaching the exit door. He didn't pile into. Instinct whispered for him to slow. Then, the door clicked. It was locked. They had locked his ass inside. He wasn't going to get out. He pushed on the door gingerly. It cracked open enough to fit a broomstick in. He sucked in his gut and slipped through. The black clerk followed by the initial fat clerk hurried behind. Like a heard of Rhino's they charged. Roberto released every break inside him. The engine was fully started and rebbed up to the max. He floored every fiber in his legs. He was flying. All those years of jogging, all those dead sprints finally paid off. He was ahead. He was halfway across the parking lot. The bike had to be left behind. There was no saving her (the bike, the old twelve speed mountain Trek). He was a little sad about the situation. He was friends with that old Trek. He would be put in better hands now. He could make it out of Uless. A relative offered to pick him up and move him back to his home town. He accepted. That must be why the clerks are after me. That must since that I am getting out of this dead end. This end of the airport is over. The slimy toxic sky, the roaring air and toxic jet fuem sky. This airliner town will be put behind me. Then, he began to think that it wasn't that bad of a place. It had character. The only thing on his mind now was red and blue lights. If he hears a siren go off it's over. He had to give in. The foot steps were still pattering behind him. He decided to take the clerks for a night jog. It was around midnight or so and he usually would take hour long jogs here and there as a surrogate sleeping aid. Come on pups stay close behind. If your chasing me your going to be running for an hour. After he hit the sidewalk the troupe behind him slowed and eventually they puffed out. He kept running. The back pack was in the hands of the clerk and so was the Czech wallet and Trek bike. That was over three hundred and five dollars in their hands. Four dollar snack ended up costing him over three hundred dollars. He made it to an adjacent neighborhood. It was time to get out of sight. He remembered all the things he had thieved from Kroger and Albertson. Cookie Dough, power bars, yogurt and even some fruit. He type in the wrong codes for dates. Usually hit 4011 rather than 4037. No one would know. See, they think I was buying bananas. Now, it was time to change. It happened to him once in New York. He was caught stealing dried apricots from a small grocery store off of Park Avenue. He had to sign his name and they took his photograph. He knew it would be more series this time.

He had bought a car not long ago at a Transmission place in town. They sold it to him for eight hundred dollars. It rode for maybe fifty miles until the starter blew. He took it back in. "Starters gone. That'll be five hundred." He remembered what his father Will taught him. "There is a loyalty among thieves." He purchased the car without saying Groom. These guys must have been gypsies. Five hundred dollars for one starter. My ass. He gave them three hundred and they released the car. See, truth is stranger than fiction. Not but a few months later he returned the car and it ended up missing from their lot. "We left the keys under the seat and place in our back lot. A wrecker must of taken her." He didn't feel that bad for taking the bars. He knew thievery was happening everywhere. But it was no game to join.

He made it to the side neighborhood. It was nice. Nice large green lawns, sprinkler systems, electric glass lamps with gold trim. Head lights floated up not but thirty yards from his spot. He decided to take a back way. It wasn't the police. Just a passing family van. Close one. He thought. He walked over to a gap between to houses and checked their lock. It was open. He had a way to get in the back yard and hope over toward the creak that split through Uless. He could float down stream like a fugitive in Old Man by Faulkner. No. This is more ridicules than taking the protein bars. He decided he just take his jacket off and walk calmly home. Head lights peered over the hill down the road. It was the fuzz this time. The red and blues glistened under a street lamp. He ran back to the gap between the two houses and found a bush. He laid on his empty belly panting like some stray mutt. The fuzz slowly rolled by. Fortunately, he was wearing a brown jacket. It camouflaged with the neighbors thorn bush. He could feel their side lamp bust up on him and heat his sweating face. He buried his head into the dirt and let them pass. The car slowly rolled by as he tried not to pray. This was no time to talk to God. How could I ask God to let me go over such a trite matter as a few health nut candy bars. He hoped up as the police car drifted off. He lifted the gate lock and sneaked into the back yard. "Please let there be no dog." And there was none. He began to will his way out of the dark back yard. There was a tool shed in the corner. He leaped up like some spider monkey and crawled on top. He leaped off the side and landed on a apartment parking lot. He adjusted his coat and fixed his hair.

He found himself walking across a creak just like in the film Fugitive with Harrison Ford. He was knee deep in muddy water. All this for few snacks. He could hear in the back of his head rattler shake or some sexy hiss. He waded toward the other side of the small, muddy embankment. He was in the middle of the deep stream now. He climbed up the embankment and headed toward what seemed to be a flag with red letters painted in thick brush. Next, he approached a rich neighborhood. This must be were the doctors of Uless live. He trailed down the road until he found a back path to a field. There it was, the flag that waved in his previous story Entitled. The flag with His name on it. Waving slowly, almost washing his sins away as he approached and the increasing wind caused it to waver more so. Mom was right. Jesus. Perhaps he does save. Yes, Jesus Saves. He passed a small school bus and a chain link fence that kept small playground equipment and a pebbled play lot. Day care. He thought. Suddenly, head lamps pulled up. His heart began to pump just as it did as a young twelve year old when he go on egg runs or toilet paper houses. I am young again. I feel alive for a change. He was no longer numb. It was like a drug. Breaking the law is like a drug. This is so bad. This isn't the right path. The head lamps turned out to be a passing car. He had a feeling he was going to make it back to the pad. He passed the shopping area and the small in church that held the Jesus flag in red letters. He hopped down the road until he reached the roaring highway. A semi passed along with a few economy sized car. If the police don't kill me perhaps the a motorist will. He watched a few pass by flying at around sixty or seventy. He sprinted across and hoped the median. A few blocks later he'd be home free.

A dancer he had studied with in North Texas explained to him, "Every thing you do is stored in your muscles. Even when you steal. That falls into your muscles. You must carry your sins in your body. You must carry what you take."

The real writer not the trash novelist knows there is a real cost to his words. Dante, Dostyevski, Hemingway and Dash knew that it would cost. Hemingway knew it would be more than a simple press of the pen and click of the typewriter. Life goes into writing. And life isn't easy to come by. Perhaps, if his words are poor than he may suffer from the cold. Perhaps if his words are rich he will win the maiden and succeed to warmth and a keep. Perhaps his words are his life. Each letter a movement, a step forward making up his path. The actions of the character could be wished moments that he never got to experience. There are so many writers out their confine to limited movements, due to disease or a crippling ailment. The thief had a thing about Thomas Wolfe. Rumor had it he always wanted to be an actor and did everything he could to find the stage. No one would have him. He didn't risk that much. Hell, an actor risks it all; his body, his soul, his words and his freedom. The writer risks his time. It takes time to sit down, plan out and perfect a story. The game of art lives in a perfect realm. People, most, usually want the work completed. Many writers have never got a complete shot to finish. Roberto would. He didn't care if the type writer stumped up on him, or he ran out of pacific paper, or his pen ran out. He just pick up an old pencil and finish it on placemats. Fortunately, the ol' Underwood was ticking away. The ribbon was intact and he didn't need to write it out by hand first. He just didn't have the time to do that any longer. Oh, the time he once had. Sitting near the rail road tracks or near the botanical gardens huffing away at a clove and watching the red sun turn to night. The time he once was granted was now showing it's withered face. He had found a single gray hair in his beard the other day. Thirty was a time when the sun was beginning to change to that setting red color. He thought he try to read a masterpiece before completed the next seven chapter. Chapter one through three would cover Tom Burnet child hood and then move into his first theft. Chapter four through eight would follow a romantic tell of Tom chasing a young lady across America. The last two chapter resolved his criminal life and summed up his prisoner experience as a inmate. The end of the book investigated his crime and punishment to the picky details. It followed the purchasing of the thirty eight caliber and the exit of the young girl. Roberto had the entire story mapped out in his head. From chapter one to ten it was all planned out. It would begin in South Texas in Austin and end near New York City in the cold of a unforgiving Christmas season.

Chapter One

The criminal.

Roberto Pace.

The sun was eventful in it's shinning presence. Oh, how it staid the path of grace into Tom Burnet's morning eyes. Tom was staring at the capital under the dry head of June First 2003. He was begging his first day as a teacher at the nearby Museum. He was in charge of instructing a passing groups from schools and showing them around the art exhibit. This is where the first painting was thieved.

Roberto had no idea how this section was created. It was purely pompous and over done. What the hell did eventful in it's shinning presence mean. He tossed the paper and began to type of a new beginning. He decided just to free write it with out using his hand written notes from the placemats.

Your killing her. Your really doing it this time. Stop the savoring.

Death lives in the mirror. Cocteau knew this. Many artist understood the deadly contact with the mirror. Actors avoided it and writer's glanced and dancers lived in their reflections. They had to. It was crucial. Death is understood by the dancer. Roberto knew this. The mover where non-movement exists. Stillness can be a virtue.

Their flies. Those ones that vomit it up. Those glamour queens that obsess over it all. Their the flies. Constantly in motion, looking for their next feel. The fly only feels. It only zooms and splashes through morals and it's pattern is a star. It finds another way. It knows the secret of the five paths. It is bad. Rotten. But it flies, flies and flies. When will it stop nobody knows.

Roberto had an angle on life. He had figured a portion of it out. He had been nearly everything but a butcher in life. Cashier, waiter, substitute teacher, actor, college student, pantomime-ist, director, writer, thief, shop lifter, night stocker at various grocery store, international playboy, Morrissey Fan, Smiths fan, fanatic, drug addict, devout religious man, student teacher, and even a slam dancer. He had every dream in his head: doctor, pro skater boarder, pilot, actor, and even poet. He had tried everything. Now, he sat in a room, hovering over the Underwood; a fly buzzing in small tornados around him. The weather was slowly developing into winter outside. He glanced at the orange color, the falling rustic leaves, the windy gushes, from the lunch room. He was young again, awaiting science class. Embarrassed, shamed of his naivete, and lack of skill. He was far from a man. The wonder was addictive. How would I ever let go of this awe. How would I ever know anything. Truly know it with all my heart. How would I ever trust mankind. Is good wonder? Is it okay to want to know more than what is fed to you? Something began to grown in the deep of his belly. He had had a light lunch and began to explore the objects of things. What was a door? I mean, really. It can be defined. A wooden opening allowing entrance and exit. What was a window, a leaf, a cat, a railing, a stair unit? What was language and words. What was meaning and ideas? He began to develop. Science was the next subject. Today, the teacher, a hefty and accurate volley ball player, was bringing in a specialist to talk about dissecting worms. It was a visitor. She was going to take us step through step on the procedure of dissection. Why would we open a worm? For what reason. The teacher explained it was for science and the future of medicine. Nowadays, students are dissecting on the special software with a Logitech mouse and keyboard tools. Nowadays, hands on dissections had changed. Roberto was honored to have gone to junior high in the early eighties. Time still had a fading since of originality and truth to study. It was time before the computer age and the gay nineties lifted. It was a time before guilt and rawness. The media was watered down and Regan presented a secure and safe world with a glance or a Hollywood smile. Bear Creak. That was the name of his School Bear Creak Intermediate. BCI.

He had shown up in his moccasin. It wasn't but two seconds after he approached his locker and the crowd of students rushed the halls that some blond chump stomped on his foot. "Wow you scared the hell out of me." A slight throbbing appeared in his toe and in his vanity. For a minute he knew who he was. The kids name was Donny. Donny Humfrey. Donny would later become a close friend to him. They spend hours as grocery clerks in the back of grocery stores tossing cans of yogurt and exploded them onto the back wall. "Don't step on my moccasins man." Donny would later hook up with him when he left the Keller district to attend a richer school near the outskirts of H.E.B. A school with the mascot and flag of the rebel. A school he would be kicked out of for drug use and bad behavior. He was kicked out a school with a rebel flag. Not even the most intense juvenile could do such a thing. "How do you get kicked out of a school that honors the rebel flag." He asked Sketz years later. The school was full of punks, Nazi skins, new waves, homosexuals and preps. It housed a conflicting class. Roberto fit somewhere in between it all. Half of him a new waver, half of him hanging with the punks and skins. He hung with everyone. He wanted to know everybody and their ways. He was still that young boy wide eyed and fascinated with the meaning of doors, stairs, eyes, classifications, music, fights, the motivations behind it all. What made the world so brilliant. So entertaining. What made his gasp lightly arrive, so delicately, after seeing the same passing tree for the hundredth time in a (row) roll. In a roll, What made the wonder continue. In a swift upside down roll, It, everything spinning wildly, was like the hunger that never ended. The hunger was his wonder and the wonder was early found in his hunger for life and growth. The pace, the interest and depth. That was the key to success in the youth of school. How long did the wonder last, how fast could I retrieve and answer and how far did I allow myself to dig? The door had three, on wait, four, yes four? Could it be four? Four corners. What is a corner? Do stones have corners? What is a cornerstone? It is all connected. One word after the next, one image after the next, one door leads to the next door and the next and the next and the other. Life is like a giant maze. Perhaps a labyrinth. Life is constantly spinning me around, giving me knew reasons to go forth. What if it's a trap. Death is disorganization.

"Death is disorganization. It is when the body breaks up and no longer communicates with all its parts." He was older now. In his late teens. The doctor was peeling a cadaver's face off and back from his skull. He was chopping at his inner organs, serving them nearly on his steel spatial device. He was splicing them man apart for us. There were future doctors, paramedics, police officers, and detectives. I sat in the theatron staring down at the operating table. I watched them man be skinned. Bone to bone he cracked the sternum and planted his brain in the hollowed out gut. The wonder? This is far more than wonder. The study had become violently real. What a precious line man walks between life and death. What a narrow line God has drawn. He trembled on the inside at all the sawing, and draining of blood. This is what man ends up. Sliced and diced on a table from the hands of skillful, intellectual. It reminded him of a butcher shop. He knew it was in the name of science but for some reason he could not get over the act. So much blood. The bone in the skull is so white and clear. This is judgment? The dead man's penis flipped to the side. He was naked before his awed and smiling students. Roberto had no smile on his face and if one came it was small. Life ended. It was a fact. There was an end to all this. And he prayed to God that when it did end he would not feel the effects of the autopsy. "any one for a side kidney. With or without cheese.' The class in the theatron peering over the rail chuckled. The future doctors and paramedics smiled with wondering set eyes. This is where it ends? Why do we look on? Science is the answer. Science will save you from this. Nothing will save me from this. I am seeing an end. Later, he was informed by the instructor with scalpel in hand that most death were required a autopsy and slight forensic work. "We must find a cause of death."

Yes, it is coming to me now. Roberto recalled once when in New York living off of Park Avenue near the Gramercy district what it was like to have luxury. He arrived in the city with nothing. Maybe twenty dollars and a tote bag full of clothes, a few playwrights dramatists works, a tooth brush, paste, several more tooth brushes, toiletries, maps of the city, mirror, phone cards for calling home, original script about Lost Angeles for sale, disks, a CD or two, two slim fast bars, journals, phone book, a few sweaters, and other survivals for the streets. He figured he'd rough it for few days until finding a pad or a dorm room to crash. The first day was the worst. He wasn't used to the Taxi cabs, loud noise, smells, and the millions and millions of people. And every type of person indeed. Every type of race, nationality, style of dress, food choice, way of walk. Dog walkers, cat strutting types, dancers, poets, beats, punks, vagabonds, businessmen, hustlers, hustlers, hustlers, "Sir. I need your help. Your in production right." The man was short wiry, long nose, shaggy hair, woody Allen features with a stronger chin and more deceiving eyebrows. "I have locked my self out of my apartment. I am currently trying to make it back to my mothers house on eightieth street. I need cab fair. Twelve dollars max will get me there. Look, your in production right?" Roberto shook his head. "Yeah. How did you know?" "Small world. Look, sir. Twelve dollars." Roberto frowned. "Ten dollars." No response again. Another frown on Roberto's part. "Nine dollars whatever you got will help." Still Roberto seemed indifferent to the matter. "Okay. Six bucks. Look I'm SAG and I am trying to get to an AT&T shoot. I can get you a read. Look, I won't really be able to pay you back but it's a good karma thing. How'a'bout it. Help me out. Good karma thing." A long face fell upon Roberto. A big part of him knew he was being had by this pro, but he felt for him. "Okay. I have to run up to my place and retrieve the money. I may can only give you four maybe five. Hang on." Why not help a hustler. He works just as hard as the business fellows. After all he had a hell of story and he structured it well. He could be a real production guy. Roberto was on the third flight up near the his place. He walked into his flat and ran over to his room. "A T&T. That's a good gig. He might could really get me a read. Hell, that'be a national. Yikes. I may hit it big." Roberto pulled back his top dresser underwear drawer were he stored his last five pair of Hanes boxers. He found the cologne box where he stashed his stash and removed a few bucks. I'll give him four dollars. That should help. Roberto was going hungry. He needed every dime he could spare. He returned in a flash and handed the poor Jewish hustler a few dollars. He couldn't prove his religion, nor his classification within the Anglo Saxon realm, but he did feel he gave a plethora amount of Jewish features. It wouldn't hurt for a Christian to help out the old world. "Here." The man thanked him and left. I guess the A T & T gig will be on it's way. Just then he was stopped by a friendly fellow in a collegiate, Polo shirt and Dockers. He seemed to be an educated and classy neighbor. "That man that just asked you for money. What did he tell you?" The man probing the situation exposed a knowing smile. He was sure that Roberto had been had. "He's a hustler." "Who?" Roberto smiled back. "That man. He said he was in production. SAG. He was on his way to an A T & T commercial shoot." "Nope. I ran across him the other day. Similar story only it was Sprint. He is a hustler. How much did he get out of you." "I wonder if he once worked for the phone company." It was not but a few months later that Roberto would run across the same fellow and chase him away hollering, "You owe me four dollars you hustling fool."

Winter had come to the city. It arrived on Monday morning during the middle of November. Roberto walked out and came to conclusion that he was underwater. That is how could it was. The moisture and the stingy pain of the cold biting away as his naïve skin. The icy cold in New York City held back for no one. That is why the city rushed and had direction. If one didn't have direction that be stuck out in the cold. No one wanted that. Not even the fellow with the five inch thick down. The cold could bite through the thickest jacket in town and freeze the nibble off the devil himself.

New York was famous for it's freezing weather.

It most of been a mating ritual. All of this. The need to run off with useless materials from grocery stores or wherever it may be. The need to shove something in his pocket to feel better. It was a way to say, "Hey, I did something for the day. See, I matter world. I took from you now. I'll get you back for sure." It was cry out. Nevertheless, he did it anyways. To get them back. Once Roberto called a friend from the psych ward, "Things are going well here. I can smoke. I've been smoking Camels in the bathroom. I have to blow the smoke into the vent." His friend, Mr. Boat, the writer, replied, "Perhaps that is how you can get them back." Boat was a big man. Worked at a coffee shop and acting at a nearby community theatre off the shores of Lake Worth. He was his reference to wisdom. Boat had a hard life. He was Hispanic, founded a band in high school, the band broke up and he went into acting. That is how he met Roberto. They performed a play written by Thomas Wolfe back in the old days. Boat got into playwriting and produced a few small plays about his trouble living in the hood east side of Fort Worth. One play starred Roberto and the other ended up in Dallas when Roberto ran off to the Big Apple. Roberto and Boat hooked up to write a few plays and lived a skitzy life through out the downtown area. Mr. Boat had a problem with smoking weed. To be honest, he smoked joints like cigarettes. "I was bad at one point in my life. It was one joint after the next. I'd wake up, smoke a bowel, drive to work, smoke a bowel, get off for a break, smoke another bowel, go home, smoke a joint, and then get home, write a few lines to my play, thirty minutes or so, and then smoke another bowel. I had to cut down." Boat was quiet the smoker. Roberto called him Skez. Boat Skez. It was a secret name. They never called eachother by the real neames. Boat called him Spives. Roberto never knew how he found this name. Supposedly Boat knew a ham actor in the area that use to ride a bike named Spivey. Boat did not know the Thespian but heard about his daring feats through the underground wire. Supposedly, he packed up and headed off West to write some derange book about a man trapped in three bodies. Roberto never met Spives, but wanted Boat to introduce him to the ham. "I've never met a real ham actor." Roberto said to Skez. It was late at night and Skez had called him about a play he wanted to try to pull off down on Hemphill. Hemphill was the seediest place in town. Roberto had cooked up an old one act, which acted as a satire to some of Sam Shepards work. "Its not hollow mimicry. It's a real satire on his work." Boat and Pace were fascinated with Shepards work. "How can such an outlaw pull off such skilled and musical writing." Pace was going to set a play in a New York city pad, concerning the character's of Sam's work. He would have several of his character return to him physically. Jeep, Crow and other's would show up at Shepards apartment and haunt him, luring him to answer for their lives. This would cause the playwright to go into drinking frenzy and nearly kill himself with all- nighters; in order to complete a play urged by Broadway. "What do you think." Pace had bought a cheap car, for under a thousand dollars and drove it up to the café. Boat was serving coffee and cappuccinos and ignoring the ringing phone. "Got your number Pace. I'll call you when the time is right."

Tom Burnet woke up that morning with a new perspective on life. He wanted something more. He was tired of his life in Fort Worth and the same old routine. Waking up, heading off to the factory, stopping by the drug store, picking up his illegal prescription of various pain killers and then headed back home to commit his crime on the old think pad. Every crime was documented in Tom's Lab top at home. The pills, the prostitutes, the booze, the hold ups at convenient stores, the late nights at clubs, The Vamp in Dallas, along with Lizard Lounge and all the other dark hang outs. It was part of his collection of fiction. Burnet housed over a million words in three different documents alone. He was full on, no hold bars and didn't want to hold anything back in his work. He lived to journal his next crime. It was part of his Big Idea. The Big Plan. The Big Book. The one that was going to SAVE HIM. See, Tom wanted to change the world. He was treated unfairly as a child. His father was abusive, a speed addict and once hooked on various pills. "Wake up Tom. Time to clean the addict." Tom would wake up and be forced to go out in the cold weather with his father. It was during Christmas. Back then Rocky three had just come out and Dad had sold the Singer. His father was the average businessman. Million bucks in the back, three cars, a truck, a pond, cattle and ducks in the back yard. He was one day planning to sell the cattle, ducks and various farm animals and build a pond. His father was ridicules. He over did everything. He was showy, bombastic and loved to impress the neighborhood. Especially on the fourth of July. "This year we are going to shot every bottle rocket into the Dover's backyard." The Dovers were the enemies of Tom's father. .Tom Father was a almost a lifer in the Army. He was in special forces and taught Sonar and Radar to new special force recruits. He wasn't a bad teacher and he had a brain, he just lost control to his flaring, enraged temper. Once Bill Burnete got too made he never slowed down. Once bill decided Tom needed punishment the punishment was overdone, drug out and down right cruel.

Tom decided to apply as a security guard at the nearby school. He was tired of stuffing contact lens solution into crates at the nearby factory. It was killing his back and the soles of his feet were murdering him. What now. I'm calling in tomorrow. Screw this town. I'm going to get a higher paying job and get the fuck out. He decided to apply the next day. He'd take the Four train into the rough side of town. On the other side of the tracks. He walk six miles from the drop off point at Lancaster and then to apply. It was worth a shot. It was worth the long walk. It would give him a chance to blow this town and escape the misery of the same routine. Never work my friend. He didn't care if it didn't work. It will never work Tom. Tom your too slow. Your too stupid. Get up boy. We got to clean out the hay in the addict. Those damn cows are going to starve to death if you don't get up for the love of God. GET THE HELL UP. NOW.

Tom's father lingered in the back of his head as he stepped on the four train at around noon. He had to be at the interview by two O clock on the dot.

"Your resume is near flawless." "Thanks." Tom sat up in his chair like a tall old oak. He was ready to get the job. The vibe was in the air. The old hiring vibe. That feeling he always got before landing a new job. Hell, he must of worked every café, factory and grocery store on the block. The next place was either a cleaner or some stale sandwich shop in some lost mart in some corner of this large world, "What makes you think you can handle security." "Well I almost was a security guard when I was living in Manhattan. I was doing research on a playwright when I was up there. I wanted to put myself in his shoes, as he once put himself in another shoes a long time ago. That's why I was interested in becoming a security guard" "You wanted to be a security guard because a writer you were studying was such." "Why not. I wanted to be someone else." "But you were denying who you are. Look, I don't mind if you do security. We will have to do a background check. Burnet is the last name." "Yes. Its pronounced with out the eh at the end." "Like Burnet." "Exactly. But it's spelled B-U-R." "I don't need you to spell the last name for me. I have your resume. I'll give ya a call." The flushed face evaporated from him, and the blood drained from his head. He wasn't going to get it. He was going to have to find another.

That following morning Roberto was awoken by someone down the hall. It was Jackson. He had passed the test. "I passed. Motherfukcer. I passed. Can you believe this shit. I'm gonna get my freakin GED. Next, step Harvard. Here I come world." Roberto wiped a small tear from his eye. He looked down at the wet mark it had made on his index finger. "Damn Jackson passed. Jackson really passed. WAY TO GO JACKSON." A few clangs rung out. Sometimes the other cell mates, after hearing good news, will clang a hard object, like a pen, the end of their shoe or a tin coffee cup against the bars, like they did in the old movie days.

Roberto was young again. He was in Fort Worth. He had returned from Los Angeles after a long shot audition for a new series. It was back when he was still trying to make it as a star. Trying to find some TV station take him on. His mother, Ann, had taken him to the nearby Animal Shelter to walk the dogs. She was helping out at the Humane Society. It reminded him of this incident. He remembered walking into the cage rooms where all the dogs where kept. It was a long hallway with a wood plank floor, full of various mutts, Black Labs, Golden Retrievers, Collies, mixes, dogs bred between black labs and German shepards. Also, there were Saint Bernards and other mutts with blue and brown eyes. Roberto walked into the hallway of jailed dogs. The room exploded with thick barking. He could feel their loud resonant howls fill his chest, his legs and the rest of his frame. They had powerful voices. Loud dogs. Perhaps, that is why they where in the place. Too loud. He decided to walk a dog named Max. He was red tint dog, somewhere between a German Shepard and a hound. Most likely a mix. Max was bad. He nib at his ankles and tug on his pant legs. Unfortunately, Roberto was wearing a pair of new Dockers so he traded off with Mom's dog, Maggie. He had no idea what Maggie was. Perhaps, a cross between a hound and Irish-Setter. No idea. All the dogs where left to chance in there. From broken homes, or once dog lover that had changed to cat owner. Anyway, for some odd reason the dogs were homeless and needed shelter. Hence, the animal shelter. Not many people came in to watch out for them. They were locked there. Alone. Waising away. If it wasn't for kind people, people that needed to walk dogs, or get out more, mostly the artsy types, or loners, or ex addicts, or people that lost their love and were going too broke to own a pet, these poor ol' dogs would never walk again. It was a cloudy day and the rain drops were not birthed yet, and the damp air had not found it's way to a wet humidity. HE went on three rounds. Walking one dog each round. The goal to the dog walking was simple First, the dog walker found a leash. Next, the walker learned to tie the dog chain. It was a simple process. You linked two leashes together, feeding one leash through the handle loop of the other and then tying it so. Next, you yanked subtly on the chain securing the two leashes and adjoining them in a according fashion. Then, you made your way to the sanitizer making sure your hands were sterilized. Next, you found the hallway and chose a dog in a cage. After the dog was walked around the block the dog walker would place a number two, or three, however many rounds the dog flown, on the exterior of the cage. Then, the dog walker sterilized the hands using the sanitizer and chose a new caged pet to walk. The other job was grooming the cats, but that took much focus and a feminine hand. The walk around the block was very simple. The first section was uphill. Mid way the dog walker would pass a group of Vannies (or gypsies, or homeless people.) The group would smile at you and sit out before their van and smoke or wait for the next meal from the van. The men had the look of the road, and from a distance appeared to smell. The female of the group wasn't much older than the men, and walked and talked like a man as well. The group would flash a toothless smile as you and the dog hovered by. They'd comment on the fashions of the dog like, "When you walk one way the dog seems to walk the other way." The dog walker would respond with something like "I know. These dog's just love me" and continue on toward the train. At the top of the hill the train would roar by, clicking it's round heals on the long rail before it's never-ending destinations. IT would roar by and the dog would begin pattering to the beat of the mechanism. Finally, the last car would hum by and then, the dog would slow and take a sniff of a past dogs waist. After the dog walker would coach the dog to follow on, he yawn and go into a memory of his old school days as a heroic figure on his way to take the world. Perhaps I could have been a famous newscaster. Perhaps, I could of made to the movies. Became a stare. Perhaps, I should of become a doctor, a lawyer. "I could of ran off, Maggie. Or whatever your name is you ol' dog." And then, the dog walker would make his way away from the tracks and down the hill and to the animal shelter. The dog would bite at his rear and chase his tail for a bit, and then in he was lead to his cage to be howled and hollered by the other locked dogs. That was the one thing Roberto remembered most. IT reminded him of those old prisoner films, jail house rock flicks, where the prisoner was being released from his cell and lead down the hall and all the other prisoner would holler, howl, bark and clang on the cells with tin coffee cups and peer their mirror out, laughing at the freedom of the new released prisoner. Roberto smiled and continued on as Jackson. Hours had passed and he didn't touch the underwood. Tom Burnet's life was lost somewhere in the keys of that old clanker. Roberto just sat there as Jackson snored and fell into a better place.

Tom noticed a slight bubble belly form under his waist line. He had to get it off before Christmas. He didn't want to show up before his relatives and all the loved ones like hick slop. He decided to begin walking in the mornings before the security guard job. He walk till around eleven or so in the morning and then slowly cool down. He walked quickly. The lead walker, a fat lady down the block that supposedly owned five cats all named after aftershave and mint chocolate bars, and one white Dalmatian, called it Superwalking. It was the same speed power walking was rated but a few miles per hour slower. The kind you see old people do in shopping malls early in the morning, or late passengers trying to catch the terminal for an overbooked flight during a few days before Jesus's birthday. Tom super walked for forty minutes or so in the morning. He did it for himself, he did it for his love and he did for God. Or is it First Your God, then yourself and then for love, or is it God first and God last, or . . . When, he miss in the morning he walk up to the Fort Worth zoo at around ten pm and then head back home for homework, a journal entry, reflection and a snack. He usually ate two slices of American cheese and read a new article in the New Yorker. Usually in the back, the hefty stuff that tackled the new modern literature and the best minds in creative writing. Minds like Paul Auster, Vonnegut, Hesse, and Faulkner. Tom wanted to be a writer one day. A great writer. Acting never provided him with a financially rewarding life, but words were always available, and a story is what an actor lives, or is asked to live, and stories are the center of his life for as long as he plays the role. Switching to a writer would mean he would have to stop living the story and begin creating it, structuring it and forming it for other's minds. It was like growing up and feeding the young child, the actor, what he wants, stories, but only, he would have to let others live it for him. He would have to, well, learn to be like God. It was important for him to learn how to be omniscient, and learn how to know everything and how to spell it too. Also, rhythm, drama, story structure, the usage of the English language, poetry, history, science, the law of motion. To be honest, he would have to study, experience and know everything there is to be learned. Learning would never stop and his linguistic skill would have to be constantly sharpened and refined until he woke up to the world, and created, with words, what they needed to read on paper. He wanted to publish and make it big. Possibly buy a place in SOHO, perhaps near Bleecker street, or up in Connecticut. Maybe even go back to school at Harvard in the Boston area at least. He heard the whole town was full of writers, poets and journalists. This is how Tom got his revenge. It wasn't good. He had no friends and no one ever phoned him. He stayed in after worked and worked on his novel. It was called The Poet. It was about a lonely writer in the bad side of Fort Worth, trapped in his home, forced to spit out poetry and short plays. It was quiet depressing, so he changed the town. He decided to move the poet to a cold place. He called it the Town Of Cold. It was far north. Too far for him to do any real research. It was a fictitious town composed of snowy huts and small alcoves full of towns people. There were small waffle houses, and few coffee shops and one movie theatre that showed a double feature matinee on Saturday afternoons. The character's name was Mr. Spoil. Mr. Spoil was a round man, over fed but underbred. He wasn't the average Joe by far. He was quiet the opposite. He was into theatre and the humanities. His favorite passed time was watching movies and breaking into neighbors houses and stealing jewelry. He was known as the Cold Town cat burglar. Little did the whole town know that he was actually a crazed poet looking for motivation. He usually pawned in the stolen jewelry for food, tools to write and to buy various magazine and for savings. Also, he had a second job beside cat burglar, maintenance man, his specialty was dish washers and AC units. There wasn't anyone in town that could do such work, especially the cat burglar work. When time was slow, during the winter months, he break into farm houses garage, in the mid morning, and steal left over in family cars. He used three simple tools; a screw driver, a hammer and a mag light.

Tom was slowly losing weight. He hadn't gained that much since he graduated college and moved back to the south. It was too many late nights before the television set, munching away on cheese-its, and nacho chips and watching Leno and Nightline. He was up all night, smoking and it wasn't long until the local check up warned him to quit. He put on a few more pounds but he wasn't that sever of a smoker, hence, he didn't put on that much weight. Finally toward the end of November the weight began to peel off. He met a another security guard he just go happily married and decided to lose a few pounds to impress his wife. So, he cut all sugars and salts. "It just peeled off me after that. Cut down on sugars and salts and you will be surprised." Tom decided to do such a thing. He stopped eating the cheese-its and cut all snack foods. Instead he replaced everything, "With apples and bananas, and drink juice instead of cokes and make salads more often." The security guard had lost up to fifty pounds doing such a thing. "You lost fifty pounds. What do you call it?" "No salt, low sugar diet. You can get most of your sugar from fruit anyway. OH, and cut things like jelly and sweets. And watch out on the fruit too. Try vegetables more often." The sweet tastes of the finer foods left his life, but by the time Christmas ran around Tom was nearly fat free. Oh, and his book was coming along. He was even purchases Dramatist source book in search of a agent to take on his new short story about Mr. Spoil and Cold Town, far north. Tom was coming along. He had found a new job after working a few months at the factory as a security guard. Now, he was the number one watchman for the new school in the local school district. He was even thinking about dropping back in to college. This time as an English major. The old general major didn't pay off that much. He couldn't really find a lot of work with it. Generals don't go far. It was too general. He decided to find something more specific, like English, Science or Philosophy. On the other hand, he heard some bad stuff about philosophy majors. Ted, the low sugar security guard, gave him a few hints, "Don't be a philosophy major. Most people go to school to find work. Save the study of arts for the library or for a second degree." "I already got my first degree. It was in fine arts." "Bad mistake. Do you have a job?" "No. But I've been writing like crazy." Good for you. Sold any books." Ted looked interested but he couldn't tell if the interest laid in the conversation or from his highly skilled aim at exhaling. He seemed to blow out a funnel shape dragon breath and seemed to like to watch the direction of the smoke. I think Ted didn't a little to many hallucinogenic back in, "It's a funnel shape smoke that exited by my cigarette breath. "Run that by me one more time." Ted was high. "You lose any weight on my low sugar trip." "Yeah. More than I thought. Christmas is coming up soon, so, I figured, I'd impress the family." "You kind of old. You a loner." "Yeah, why?" "How old are ya?" Tom leaned back for a few moments. "I guess I'm in my late. . ." He was going to lie to him, but Tom was tired of lying. He was tired of stealing and being the criminal. He wasn't a fulltime crook anyhow. "Thirty. I'm thirty." "And your not married yet. Shit man. You going in for the long one by yourself." "Iz thinking about getting a cat." "Suit yourself. Want one." He offered Tom a cigarette. It was dropping in degrees out. Christmas was on it's way. "They say you life to write." "Well, I didn't it in high school. I didn't get to that much in college because I was always working on homework assignment and what not. But since I've graduated and got suspended from Graduate school, I decided. . ." "Wait. You were kicked out of graduate school." "Not kicked out, suspended." "For what?" Ted leaned back and let a few smoke bubbles explode into the moonlight. A car passed and Ted peered through the night vision glasses. He was back at the factory doing temporary work. He was temping at night and working for the school on Tuesdays and Thursdays and watching up on weekends. "Yeah. What's to ya." Tom was curious for a few moments and then picked up his night vision glasses gazed across the road at a wobbling stray dog. "I slapped this chick." "You slapped a chick." "Not hard. See, I was studying acting and I really got angry at her. We were in the basement of my dorm and a slapped her and then poured a bucket of paint on her new dress." "You slapped a bitch and poured a bucket of paint on her new dress. And this was in New York you say." "Yep." "Damn man. And they let you live?" "I had to run off. Come back here." "Why did you slap a bitch and pour paint on her clothes." "I went crazy after September eleventh. I just lost my fucking mind." Another car passed. Ted peered into his goggles. He blended in the night. He skin was dark black and his eyes brown as earth. He was a large man, most likely a slave for some farm, back in the mid 1800's. He had a few wrinkles under his eyes, and his hair was cut fine, and shaved close to his head. He smelled of old spice and New Ports.

Tom walked home that early morning. He passed the house full of cats. It was the lady that owned five cats named after men's cologne. The oldest cat was named Obsession. The fat lady walked out in her quilted looking morning gown and fastened her hair up in a bun with her off green shower towel. "Come er Pleasures. Come'r kitty. Obsessions, Pleasures, come and get it." She kept Polo, Green Water and Calvin Klein inside. Tom lived in a small house. It was back house behind a rich man on the north Side of forth worth. It was near the university. The first few months the man let him live their as long as he kept the garden up and watered and fed the pets. After a few more months he moved to a new back house and grabbed a job at the factory. He went through a place called Corner Stone as a new hire and even landed a position for the district as a regular worker. Eventually he settle in, bought a work processor and well, began writing.

"It's called The Poet." "Kind of general." Ted said. It was the third week at work. "Why? What's wrong with general." "Well. Most books have specific titles." "Like what?" "Well, Tomas Wolfe named a book the Web and the Rock. And look at Grisham's work. The Pelican Brief and The Rain Maker. They have catchy titles. No one sells a book called the Poet." "What should I changed it too." "Well, what is the story about?" Tom Burnet took a moment and peered into the dark night. No car passed. No lights flickered. No odd noised. It was still night. Still like it's color. "Uh." "There you go. Name it uh." "You want me to name my story uh." "Well, is uh, what it is about." "No it has meaning. It has theme." "What?" "its about storytelling." "That's not a theme. A theme has texture. It has to be man versus God. Or man versus dog. Or man versus something." "Man versus story." "I haven't heard of that one." Ted let out a tiny burp and slurped on his diet Doctor Pepper. "You sure you don't want a New Port." "I told ya. I quit smoking." Ted was one of those guys that liked to share, "I like to share a quality cigarette with some one every once and awhile." "Why?" "I don't' know. Did you see that." Something was rumbling in the bushes ahead. It was some man shaking it off near a fence post by the main fence line. "I'm calling this one in." It was some traveler, most likely a transient, local nut head, lost, or near drunk to death pissing near fence line, most likely his car broke down, "You think his car broke down or something." "I don't know but he is shaking his thing off on that fence post" "Should we call him in or scare him off." "Lets try the scare. You or me." Tom decided to let Ted do his thing. Ted picked up the hand held and snapped the trigger. The intercom hissed on and he let out his, "Sir. You are on private property. I need you to stay off the fence line." The bum had made his way over the fence was high tailing it across the parking lot. "Call it in." "Hang on." Ted said. "Give him time to respond." Ted continued on the hand held. "Sir. You are on private property, if you don't. . ." That is when the man took off running. He high tailed it back to the fence lined, tossed himself over the railing, barfed, hit his knees, took a few minutes to gather, and flung himself into a dead sprint down the passage road. "Call it in anyways. We got him a head start." Ted was fair like that. As long as he gave the intruders a head start he'd call it in. The man would have to run a good four miles before he left the passage road, unless he hitched a ride off the highway. Most likely it was a drunk transient with car problems. "He was looking for a phone. He wasn't a burglar. Trust me I know." Tom nodded off to sleep. . .

"Roberto. How's the story going. Guess what man. I passed." It was the next day. Jackson had showed his ugly face at the cell that morning. "I heard."

The criminal.

Tom Burnet was on the outside. Well, he lived in Robero's head, just as Mr. Spoil lived in Tom Burnet's head. It was a domino effect. One character was writing about the other character, like those Chinese antic toys, where one toy fits into the other toy and swallows the other toy, until the tiniest toy is hidden. Tom didn't treat Mr. Spoil like an antic, or even a toy. He was a real person lost somewhere in the corner of this place. Far North. In the coldest town in the land. Mr. Spoil had recently changed his job from working as a proof reader off of main street in Cold Town, to a snow plough man. He decided to find a better white wash. Snow plowers didn't make a lot of money but they did seem like nice and polite people. Still, Mr. Spoil almost was caught breaking into an old lady's garage. She owned a brand new Lincoln and he figured he could find pieces of left over jewelry or possibly a twenty dollar bill shoved away in a glove box. It was a nice little hit. A small farm house lost in the woods near the base of a mountain the overlooked the Atlantic. It most of been an older house. One of those ancient houses built back in the colonial times, that had been rebuilt, and rebuilt and rebuilt until it was brand new again. The lady was very old. Most likely she was from the same time. She just never died. She simply forgot to die. As the myth goes, she was over three hundred years old and her mother was even older. She most of not been quiet human. She had a blue face, and white eyes, with stunning gray hair. Mr. Spoil didn't want to rob her, but he didn't believe in myths and didn't believe there was a lady the lived over three centuries. Hell, she would be so old and wrinkly she wouldn't be able to stand. Her bones would of rotten away by then. No heart, not even the strongest, can beat that long. Everyone has their limit.

He had successfully peeped into her garage and then some wild cat scared Mr. Spoil have to death, and he ran off into the snowy wind. Mr. Spoil never attempted to hit the same house in the same month. Especially after a scare. He decided to hit the old ladies house again. The town called her Lady Blue.

It was in the middle of November. Christmas lights were out, but not on Old Lady Blues house. She never had more than a reef out during the season. She barely even came out of the house. The only time she got sunlight was when she was gardening, feeding the goats, or cats, or digging in her garden. Some say she had buried something very precious in that garden. Something to make the flowers grow bright and few of the weeds would even turn blue. No one knew the truth about Old Lady Blue. Many kids would walk by her house and not one blue weed, or not even a old lady was seen. Some kids said it was a young lady, very healthy looking and sexy and young. "Mommy there ain't no Old Lady Blue." Kids would run by the house sometimes, taking the long way home, go way out of the way in order to get home.

"That's a myth son. Don't worry. No Old Lady Blue exist. No one lives to be three hundred."

Mr. Spoil wasn't had. It was just some senile senior citizen. She didn't have a blue face and she didn't have that kind of age on her.

Mr. Spoil planned for a second hit. It would be on November the seventh. He figured he'd get lucky on that day. He went back to his small place, near where the river bends, not far from the main town. He sat down and took out a pencil and a little piece of paper. He wanted to mark down his actions to get the hit exact.

Approach the garage. Examine the area with the mag light.

Use the hammer and screw driver to jam open the garage door.

Use the hammer to bash out the passenger window.

Crawl in. Don't open the door. That would expose the interior light and make to much noise on top of the bashing of the side window.

Check the glove box, under the seats and that's it. Stuff whatever is valuable down the pants.

Make the getaway.

Hightail it home. Take the stream to the town and then act as if I am making a normal walk home.

Tom was having trouble writing the story about Mr. Spoil. Recently, something valuable had been transported into Fort Worth. It was near priceless. It was an Egyptian head plated in solid gold. Some say it was worth ten million or more. It was locked away in a safe at the down town historical exhibit. It would be near impossible to retrieve. Some felt it was cursed and unsafe to touch. Solid gold. It was a head of a great princess of the Egyptian times. Tom was thinking about checking it out. Not to rob it but just to gaze at the golden head. He had never seen a Egyptian artifact. He thought it would better educate him.

He decided to leave early from the security job work at school and make his way to town, to check out the exhibit. It was artifacts found in Ramsey the greats Tomb. Supposedly, the head of one of Ramsey's lovers. If one touched it revengeful spirits of Ramsey's would track them down and force them to give the touch back. Hence, it would go for the hand.

The curse was a myth. Surely, there is no such thing a cursed head.

Roberto woke up in the middle of the night. He had not touched anything to eat in the passed two days. His cheeks had gone hollow and his waist and belly ached of emptiness. Every bone in his body was heavy and his eyes seemed to dry up and slowly fade of light. He was under it all awaiting nourishment. Too much time had passed until he took in bread or even in this case water. He was making a few notes about Tom, but he couldn't really follow his path due to his light headedness. He felt Tom was out there. Beyond the bars. Living a free life. Living in a story beyond his touch but still connected, as Virginia Wolf states in a "Web." Not locked up and tortured to eat prison food. Tom could chose, as long as he didn't get caught. He had that power. The power to chose. It wasn't long until he heard the gossip on the cell block. Supposedly, a monster had be excused from death row and placed in Cell block E. It was down the hall and two cell blocks over. It was quiet a walk from Roberto's keep. Roberto wasn't too afraid.

"Did you hear about the monster being let in down the block." It was Jackson. He still had not wiped the grin off his face for passing his GED test on the net. He had the beg the white collars to lend him the laptops and information that Roberto couldn't provide. Jackson new how to get around. He was the type of man that could feed eight people on twenty dollars a week.

Basically, Jackson was from the grittiest sections of the hood.

"Now. What does he look like." "People saying it's back luck to look at him." "Who? The new guy. The arrival?" "Yeah. The death row fool they just let into the mainstream. Just down the hall from us, dawg." "He gets to walk around now." "Hell, the fool got a lot of freedom. Guess what they be calling him." "Not be, been" Roberto retorded. "Guess what they BEEN calling him, then, dawg?" "What?" Jackson took his time to respond. He took a belly of air and then whispered, "The dicer." "Why?" "Supposedly, he diced up a few of his victims. They say he is too stupid and nutty to kill him smartly. So no one will find him. He left clues." Jackson took another moment to reassess. He straightened up. "I mean this guy is seriously whacked out. Did you hear about what he did. Supposedly he had that Jeffery fool topped. The one that ate em." "Ate who?" Roberto wondered. "Ate them queers and buried them under his house." "No one could top him. Not Jeffery Dawh" Jackson cut him off in mid sentence "Supposedly, he has. He killed over thirty men and a few ladies. Diced them up with a meat cleaver. And check this out." Jackson took a few steps back and checked his watch. He had the guard's timing down flat. No one was around. Jackon lowered his voice real good and quiet, "He diced them." "You sound like he put them in a food. . ." "Processor." Jackson finished the sentence for him. "Your telling me he put his victims in a food processor." "Yap. Then they couldn't find the evidence. Check this out." Jackson took a long moment and then lit up a cigarette, illegally of coarse. He seemed to freeze for a slight moment, as if he was out of time. As if history had stopped a moment for him to speak. It got quieter. He continue in the thick of the silence, "He put them in a freezer in his basement, then hacked off limbs and then. . ." "Look I don't want to know about this shit. I haven't heard any of this in the media or in news magazine. It's gotta be bullshit. He didn't chop people up and put them in a freakin blenders. Get real Crackson." "Okay. I mean, that's what Chuck told me, and the other new guard that just arrived." "Chuck told you this. Chuck did?" Roberto usually trusted Chuck's word. Hm, he was a series man. Chuck didn't lie. "When you starht calling me Crackson?" "Since you been making up this bull. Look I got to get back to the Underwood. Tom's calling me." "Whose Tom?" "An old friend." Jackson vanished. The cell filled with the clanking noises from the lettered keys of Roberto's Underwood.

Shhchhhrrek. Mr. Spoil's boxer had cracked down the front. Too much peanut butter lately. He had slipped them over his fat bottom and headed into his new snow uniform he bought months back at the local hardware store. He had been removed from his last pad in town. He didn't cough up the dues. The snow had swept in so thick he couldn't even see the eviction notice on the outside of his front door. It lay reight beneath the peep hole. A little pink slip. Number 2310. The noticed warned him that he had exactly three days to move everything out or the Sheriff would be called in, and he would have to appear in court if he refused to vacant. If the money was not amounted in time, he would be ousted. And in the snow. Nevertheless, he left a day before the third of the noticed. It was very close to December. Marry Christmas Mr. Spoil. So, happy you could make it. Make it to your dying death bed in the snow. He found help in town. He decided to move most of his belongings, minus the furniture, the bed, the desk and the tiny kitchen table, out in the snowy front lawn. His next step was to find a storage unit. There was a small place called Cold Town Storage. He stored his journals, his type writer, his notes, books, and kitchen supplies, plus his coats, vests, blue jeans, warm underwear, tooth brushes and pastes, into the unit for forty five dollars. The life of a writer requires the endurance of cold places. He had two hundred in the bank. He decided to spend the forty to lock everything up until he found a home. "Looking for a place." Mr. Spoil was no longer in Cold Town. He was in the BIG CITY OF THE NORTH. It was far from Cold Town. Actually, it was nearly a hundred miles south. The city was near a small Island called, Lonely. Lonely was heavily occupied with the most greedy, materialistic bastards on earth. He flashed back from the city. He was lost in memory. Mr. Spoil had spent maybe a good year looking for work in THE BIG CITY OF THE NORTH. He found nothing. Not even as a shoe shin man. He found didly squat. Jack. He was out of money, out of time, so he head back north near his home town to Cold Town. It wasn't long until he landed an office job filing. That was two years ago. Thought Mr. Spoil. Two long years ago. I have had every job in this town. Washing machine repair man, AC repair man, security guard, factory worker, even worked as a chef assistant. Now a crook. A thief. How did I stoop so low. What made me steal. I must have been lying to myself. I must have been living a lie. That was it. I was a lie. Thieves lie. They live the lie. They become the lie. And this lie, this false self, makes them take too much from life. Hence, they lift what is not meant to be there. So, what is rightfully mind. I guess I'll know when I get there. I guess I'll figure it all out some day. Mr. Spoil was a round man. Fat, some would say. He had found a place in a back house in town from the local Barbara, Mr. Hairision. Mr. Hairison played guitar and had four cats all named after snack foods. Zinger, Tweenkie, ding dong and little Debbie. Zinger, was black and purred loudly. Tweenkie was slightly yellow and meowed when handled. Ding dong was blind out of one eye and the color of ash. And Little Debbie, well, looked like a little Debbie. She was mostly brown with a long white stripe down her sides. Mr. Spoil had it easy even though he thought he might freeze to death, not but a few days back. He hauled all he stuff into Mr. Hairisons apartment in town. He lived on the third floor not but a few blocks from the clock tower and the court house. "Here is your key sir." Mr. Hairison said with his big white, pale old face. He wasn't as heavy as Mr. Spoil but he was working on it. His favorite foods where peanut butter, snack foods from Kraft and various restaurant style lime coated chips. He drank beer on the weekend but hogged it. He hated to share his liquor. The key was small. It was a golden colored skeleton key with a lucky rabbit foot for a key chain. "I'm gone in the morning to snow shuffle. The salon opens in the morning. I have café awaiting on the hot plate in the kitchen. You can take whatever food you need. I don't hog my food like my beer. Touch my beer and we'll talk about finding you a knew place to live. If you need to write. I hear you're a writer is that true Mr. Spoil." "Yes." Mr. Spoil looked down at his combat boots. What journeys he had in those boots. He only wore them when he moved in the snow or had to do heavy labor when it was icy out. He had fought a war in those combats. "When, you write, you may use my dead wife's Royal. It needs to be cleaned." "You have a Royal. Those are rare." "I used to have an Underwood but it broke down. I gave it away to ah, I forget know. I think a warden but it from me several years ago at an auction. It was an antique. Anyway, you may use the Royal." "Royal. Wow. I haven't typed in a while. Lately, my typewriter has been stiffen up on me. I had to make notes by hand in pads." "Its okay. You can use her. Just take care of her. Gilda was the last to touch her. I think she had a polish kit, and some WD40. . .need to replace the ribbon. It has oiler and some other stuff to clean the keys and roller. I'll try to find the tools when I get back and I'll get ya a new ribbon for her. Will get her cranking again. Got to go. Many scalps to buff and styles to populate." "Thank you Mr. Hairison." "Call me Chuck. Chuck Hairison. My real name. Many think Chuck is a fake name, or giving as a nick name. It's real. Chuck just fine." "Well, thanks Chuck. See ya tonight." "Don't touch the beer." The door slammed. Hairison wobbled out into the snow leaving a trail of deep boot imprints behind him. He had his snow boots on. Big leather, black.

The first thing Mr. Spoil did was run to the refrigerator. He swung open the door and checked out the bottom shelf. Pearl Bear. He drank Pearl. Yikes. Mr. Spoil wouldn't touch it anyway. He had a feeling he drank that poison because of the fact it stunk and no one would touch it otherwise. Drinking pearl guaranteed it would be there when he got back. Rumor had it he rented out his back room to any that needed it. Any traveler or passing fancy. He didn't care the size, shape or style of person. As long as the helped with his cats, cleaned house and paid the dues.

There is a time when man falls from his grace of awakening and weakness shuts his eyes. He sleeps. In this moment, the half fool, the honest poet, the rebel, awakes and takes the night into his fist, arises onto the paved road and runs to his freedom. Runs out of his genetics.

This was true with Mr. Spoil. It was true with Tom and even in the small room like tomb provided by the state prison it was true with Roberto Pace. All of them, fighting out, crying No God, I have enough of your choice. Now, I will know the night. Now, that I have denied your destiny I will create my own. The only bridge to my own destiny is through the thick cold of the night. My feet will forever know the morning mist.

Mr. Spoil awoke in his cold bed. It was early morning. There was a mud print in the center of his room. The foot imprention was far too small to be a man's. He entered the kitchen area. There, sitting perfectly still at the messed kitchen table, over a wrinkled yellowed and used newspaper was Mrs. Hairison. But she was dead. She looked exactly like the old photograph on the mantle. Short Gray hair, brown eyes and that flowery dress. It was Mrs. Hairison. Perfectly, still, no moment. Nothing. It was as if she was a monument. Sitting there. Gazing out the window from the newspaper that laid under the milky bowl of leftover Bran-flakes.

She was faint. Still. Here eyes did not wonder. She was staring at the front yard tree. It was an old oak with the wrinkles to prove it. Mrs. Hairison resembled that old oak. Silky skin, prune like leaps with a bark covered skin. She was not human. No. It was something more. Something beyond breath. She wasn't moving. It was as if she was a statue of her self. She had come back for some reason. Mr. Spoil did not attempt to call out her name, or attempt to startle her. He slowly walked up to her and kneeled down. Something was draining from under the table. It was a long milky river. Draining down the center of the kitchen like a small Nile flowing in a opposite direction from the rationale. It was such a small stream of what looked like milk. Then, he grabbed a dish towel and began to mop up the milky substance. A few words escaped his lips, "I want tell anyone you came back Mrs. Hairison. You just sit there as long as you like." He looked up and she was gone. The back door was agape. Wind fluttered a few leaves and one greenish brown leaf fell slowly in the center of the milky stream. It wasn't milk. Mr. Spoil had no idea what it was. He dipped his finger in it. It was warm, and a little fuzzy. Nothing from this earth. Nothing real.

He stepped back and the door fell shut, hard, cold. The room went silent. A nothingness lifted. Mr. Spoil was alone.

The milky substance.

Mr. Spoil sat down and poured a glass of milk. He contemplated on drinking it or not. He had not found work since he was laid off at his last job. He decided to drink the milk anyway. But the rule. The one in the bible. Those who don't work don't eat. Surely he could of stumbled in town and found a place that would hire him. But they'd just let him go again. The Phillip 66 station would let him go like last month, and what about all the jobs he had working as a chef assistant or snow plow. They all fired him or laid him off. He was still hungry. What was work anyway. He couldn't miss breakfast. He drank the milk anyway. He was hungry. Then, he fell tired and decided to head back to the top room. His room was over the kitchen. To get there one would have to travel up a small winding stair unit enclosed by walls. The room above the kitchen was small. It was a twin bed without the other twin. It had a sleeping bag for a bed cover. The walls where white and wood paneled. The room had two windows. One window by the bed and one near the corner adjacent to the closet. The room was no larger than a large walk in closet but it was very warm. The heater had a direct line through central heating. MR. Spoil was cozy there. Mr. Hairison pulled up an old rocking chair a small bed stand that he could rest various magazines, and his nightly glass of milk. In a few days, Mr. Spoil would go into town.

He noticed after a few days, Mr. Hairison was losing a little weight. "Trying to shed a few pounds for winter." "Usually the other way around." Mr. Hairison informed him.

He felt funny eating all his food and drinking his milk. It wasn't his. But it wasn't his. He didn't created. Mr. Hairison had no power to produce milk, or to grow wheat from his hands. He didn't make the bread, the factory did. The local bread factory produced it. What gave him the write. Hell, Mr. Spoil worked hard, doing his dishes, cleaning the kitchen floor, sweeping the snow off the front door and sitting up in his room writing his short stories. That is work is it not.

He chopped on a ham sandwich and poured another glass of milk. The seventh morning had arrived. Mr. Spoil still had not found work. All he did all day, was the dishes, read the news paper, and a bits from his small collection of poetry, write a few pages to his story The Poet and nap. Oh, he also snacked on various snack foods, drink milk and prepare Mr. Hairison's afternoon hot coffee and cream.

Tom Burnet was fooled as a youngster in Fort Worth. He grew up in the rough area of Summer Fields, Texas. Many kids in the area were from middle class, boarding lower class homes. Many of his friend's fathers were police officers, fire men, electrician, teachers and blue collar workers, ex-army workers. Some were military brats, coming and going. Many of his friendships didn't last long because everyone was trying to move up and get out of the blue collar neighborhood. Possibly out in the country or somewhere pretty like New Mexico, or even North East Texas, or as far as Greenville in East Texas. It was a nice place to live. He moved to Fort Worth after he left his father's place in Keller Texas. His father and mother split up at the age of Fifteen.

The night he left Keller and his father he had just turned sixteen. He was working at a Grocery store as a sack boy. The place was called Diamond H. He dreamt of being a poet then, and even constructed a view poems in the upstairs bedroom of his father's house. He was into bands like the Smiths, Morrissey and The Cure. His hair was jet black and short like a young John Cusack. He decided to high tail it away from his dad. His dad was a big man. No one could tell he was a survivor of polio. His father had it bad in his right leg lower calf. His muscle went dead and eventually his father had to wear a brace. Also, his father was a heavy smoker and did speed to keep up the business across the street. He ran a factory for producing precious metals. He moved out after telling his father he couldn't stand living under his rage. His father would lose control for odd reason. One time Roberto lifted a pack of cigarettes from his step mother. A country western lady that used to work up at the plant. She smoked cheap Marlboro lights and complained about every crumb left any where near the kitchen. He woke up with his hand pushing his head into the pillow. As his eyes opened a fist smashed into his lower right cheekbone. His Father pounded on him for awhile and finally Roberto became oriented. "What. What did I do?" His father informed him about the step mothers missing pack of cigarettes and he begged his father to stop hitting him. Finally, he confessed of his love of poetry, and he hated the fact his father was a big hunter and so very masculine. He wanted out. He wanted to live the life of an artist. And he didn't care what his father thought of his decision. "My way or the high way." One night after closing duties at Diamond H, Burnet gathered a few friends around and told them he wanted to go to a party a few miles from the grocery story. "My girls there too." "You want to just pick up and leave work. WE have to face the entire store. Jack said." "Jack's on crack. Come on lets high tail it out of her." The blond, unusually blessed with blue eyes, decided it was a good idea to rebel. He picked up a can of yogurt and tossed it at the back of the wall. It splattered a like a small hand grenade full of white ooze. Tom picked up a handful of Dannon Yorgurts, every flavor, strawberry, banana, blue berry, strawberry cheesecake and chunked it. A white mess dripped down the back wall. The brown headed fool in the back gathered a basket full and began firing the yogurts until we were convinced we all get the ax. The boss was an asshole anyway. He was always on edge and real Jewish about his money. One time, after work, Tom walked up the stair unit and into his office. "I need off tomorrow. I have band practice. . " The fat old boss with a bolding head cut him off. "DON'T YOU EVERY SNEEK UP ON ME WHEN I'M COUNTING THE MONEY." Grocery stores in the south were stingy with the cash. Barely, did they lend money to charities or other events. "Sorry sir." Tom walked back down. He would of never made a real living there anyways. A few of his friends walked with him to the party. It wasn't that long of a walk. Maybe ten miles or so. It took them about an hour to get there.

Tom had a few glitches in his body. He wasn't that pleasant to look at. He was know beauty queen. That is why he wanted to become a writer. He could express his love in words like Cyrano de Bergerac. He could win his maiden over in verse. One problem. He was kind of tricked by a envious cousin. See, his cousin knew he could become quit the craftsman. It was months after he had arrived at his mothers in Fort Worth. Tom made it to the party and found his girl. Then, the party was jumped by some Bloods. "The bloods are here." It was the blond, with blue eyes. He was warning Tom that the party was being jumped. The bloods had arrived and were raising hell for some fucked reason. Tom, and his girl, the blond friend and the brown head, jumped the gate and ran through the mud until they reached another friends house. Later, he made out with his girl and called his mother to help him flee from the neck of summer fields and start over in Fort Worth. He made it to her house and eventually broke it off with the girl from the Keller area.

That is where Tom found what his cousin thought would be a good place for him to career. It was in drama. Tom was suicidal for trying to get started in Drama. But he would have been even more doomed if he tried to seriously study writing. He wasn't that educated and had to learn the hard way later on in life. He got through the drama class and his gay drama teacher convinced him he would be a success. He stuck with drama through College and even made it to New York to study at the Strasberg-ian studio. It was disaster. His gay drama teacher and his German cousin was wrong. It's hard to trust, a once devout enemy, but Tom was taught to forgive and decided to take his word. His cousin got into film making so he thought he had back up. He continued acting until he learned he couldn't get work due to a slight deformity in his chest. He had an indention in his right ribs. It was really his only flaw besides a bump on his tongue. He thought his appearance wouldn't matter on the stage, but it does. Tom, finally after eleven years, at the age of thirty decided to turn to writing. Hell, it was the words the publisher was concerned with not the writer's looks, like in the theatre.

Due to all the stress of his deformity and the bump and it caused a few speech problems he became aggressive. His goddamn cousin never promised him back up or that he would partner up to make a film. He was left alone. It was back to the drawing board. Tom decided to write a book called the Criminal. It was were all the lies lead him.

Mr. Spoil made an O with his lips after brushing his mouth with his fat toothbrush. It was one of those gum specialties that had wide bristles and a fat round head. He put up his nice green tooth brush and flicked the bathroom light off. He didn't say anything to Mr. Hairison about the mysteries milky trial that was left by his dead ex-wife. He just passed by Mr. Hairison's room, gave him a salute. Of coarse, he didn't respond. Mr. Hairison was sound asleep snoring like a lawn mower with a bent sling blade.

Mr. Spoil headed up stairs and found his way to his comfy old bed with the sleeping bag bedspread cover. He decided he pick up his pen and construct a new poem about the ole Town of Cold. A dog barking caught his attention. It sounded like that old stray missing from the neighbors lawn. He had black fur, a red collar and one brown and one blue eye. Mr. Hairison threaten to bash it's head in if he tried to mess around with his bunny rabbits in the backyard. Mr. Hairison had three bunny rabbits. He used to have six but the stray ate three of them. He ate, Nancy, Flounder and Rick. Mr. Hairision wasn't that creative with his naming of the pet bunnies. On the other hand, he did have more interesting names for the other three. Jackson, Roberto and Chuck. Spoil grew attached them, and Hairison would let them sleep in the attic room with him on cold nights. Hairison would talk them, feed them lettuce and bunny carrots, and bits of his frosted flakes, and even read his poetry to them. He even wrote a poem about their lives. . .

Run rabbit run

Take to your fun

Life ain't a game

No one wins anyway

Run turtle run

Take to the sun

Look out for rain today

Rabbits only a sleep away

Rest, rest the pain away

Hide in your shell today

Get lost in my way.

Race on and on today.

Non of the names sounded like Rabbit names. "Jackson, Roberto and Chuck." Who would name their bunnies that. Mr. Spoil was lonely. Supposedly a Nor-eastern was on it's way. He wanted to get a pet for his upstairs pad. All he had to keep him company was an old type writer, a sleeping bag, and a few pens. Oh, he bought a poster of Charlie Chaplin at a nearby garage sale. Some old chap sold it to him from Manhattan. He had just moved in from the big city. Cold town was a slower change of pace.

Mr. Spoil gazed out the window and witness something spectacular.

Roberto sprang upwards like the unwinding of a mousetrap. Morning. Early. Six AM. The warden had cracked down on time. Labor in the prison was up. They had a new underground section dedicated to the production of diesel interior carpet cut outs. The work was sweaty, stinky and oily. The workers were shoulder to shoulder at pneumonic presses designed to fit into the floor boards of six-wheelers diesel cabins. Rumor around campus was that Jackson had entered a new coarse for college credit. He was actually going to try to take some AP courses. Advance placement courses for his core classes for undergraduate. Jackson was bouncing off the walls. "No shit. Its for English. It's a literature class. I'm gonna try to place out. What do you think about it Roberto." "Sounds great." Chuck appeared after Jackson walked to Lunch. Roberto had missed the last few lunches due to his story. He was far into the mind of Tom Burnet. "Gotta together, huh, sir." It was Chuck. He was smoking again on the job. "You can't smoke on duty Chuck." "Yeah I can. Just not on this cell block. But hey, whose gonna stop me security." Chuck didn't have much to say, he just wanted to make sure Roberto was still clicking away. "Am I in the story, sir." Roberto stopped typing for a moment rubbed an oily sweat drop off his forehead and then fell erect. He kind of stiffened and leaned back in his chair like the leaning tower of Pisa. Then, he scratched his head making little circles like a spinning top. "Well." The moment lingered a little too long. Awkward long. Roberto clenched his fist. He felt like screaming out. He wanted to jump up, rip off the bars and tear into Chuck. He wanted to gauge his eyes out with his runny pen. Crack apart his skull, rip out his mind and consume every dark corner and festering cobweb, "Yes. Your in the story Chuck." "What's my name." "I can't tell you." "You can tell me." Roberto was turning a light shade of strawberry. "I can't tell you Chuck." "Tell me." "Look." He turned from the Underwood. "I can't." Roberto wanted to be ugly. He wanted to relieve himself and smack him one. "I can't. I just can't."

Roberto returned to his story. Chuck felt his emotion. He wasn't angry. He was honored. He was proud that Roberto had so much passion towards something. In a small way, he was envious. Envious like a little child would be.

Tom passed the gallery. Mary's gold plated head was resting on a pedestal in the vault. Alone. Surrounded by red ropes and laser alarms. Blessed by bishops and archbishop of the Holy Catholic Church. It was heavily guarded.

But Roberto had an idea. It had been growing in his mind for some time now. He would try to land a position closer to the vault. There was break-room not but ten feet it. He would stash a large back pack there. He could tell them that he had visited the gym on a weekly bases. He would stash it in the back room and then, he would wait till the lasers were disarmed. Wam. He snatch it when the gallery was overloaded and hurriedly place the head of Mary in the book bag. Quick as a viper. He say. Just one motion. He practice at his little pad downtown by the Bank One building. He step forward, bending the knee and keeping the back straight like the way a fencer would stab for a lethal kill. Then, he rip the head off the pedestal and stash it in the bag. He keep it at home and not tell a soul. He wouldn't dare try to scam it off at some pond shop for a few hundred, or melt it down at a refinery. He simply hold on to it. Keep it close to him. Then, when the right buyer arrived he sell for a life fortune. It would be his life savings. The head of Mary from Pieta. Oh, holy head you will be mine. It was sacrareligious and the Catholic church would hire a slew of hit men to track him down, but screw those incense, candle lighting, bead wearing alcoholics. What do they know. He was going to plan it out step by step, moment by moment, and pull off the most impressive heist since the days of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

The conversation between Chuck and Roberto lasted for a full two hours. Chuck was barely doing his duty. As he lingered on about Taxes, bad neighborhoods, the ghetto machine, liquor stores, and crime, his eyes widen with truth and fear. He was on fire. His words were simple, curt and hurtful. "Fuck the law. Fuck the system. Yeah I killed the man. I shot him in the back of his head at the local Seven Eleven. It was my project. It was my words. My poetry. It was how I got back. After my old lady left me I had nothing. The money in my pocket. That was it. I didn't rob. You know why. I had nothing to rob with. I only had these to hands. Then, I got hire on the rail road. After they learned I had no education that let me go. It was that way with every job afterwards. I was called a fool. A black fool. A fool for trying. I'd ask a lady out and she laugh at me. My teeth were rotten out of my mouth. My eyes had trouble seeing. I never ate. I was growing as thin as a rail. The only food I snatched was leftovers in the back trashcans of dinners. Sometimes I'd call up a pizza joint. Have them order up large pizza with everything on them. Anchovies, pineapples, mushrooms, bell peppers, and avocado." Roberto began snickering at him. Chuck joined in with a howling embarrassing guffaw. "I was poor as poor can be fella." "Why did you order so much toppings on your pizza." "It wasn't cause I was hungry. No one would by a pizza with that combo. I'd order them with everything on them, even anchovies. And then, I'd pick em up in the trashcan behind after they though them away. That's street smart for ya." "Not bad." Robert continued typing. "Are ya gonna put this in it." "In what, my novel." "Well, yeah." "I, uh, well." "Are ya." Roberto lifted back into the chair and stopped clanking at the old keys. "I don't have a lot of paper. Every words gonna count. I don't know where I can fit ya in. I'm sure your in here somewhere." Roberto leaned in to Chuck. The shadows from the bars split his face into dark and light. "I gotta get back to duty." "You want me to put a bunch of shit about surviving on the streets. Like a survival guide for hustlers in my story." "I wasn't a hustler. I was real. I was just a person born into nothingness. My family had nothing. Barely had the close to put on my back. The only present I ever got for Christmas was this cheap little toy made in some far off island in Asia. You wound it up and it tinkered around in circles like water spinning into a drain. Little circles going nowhere. Beeping and chattering nonsense at the world." Chuck's eyes seemed to light up. Now he was telling his story. Roberto filled with maddened rage. He had to stop him before it was too late. "OH COME ON CHUCK. If that's even your real name. THAT'S ABOUT AS FAKE AS BEING IN HERE. You're a criminal. You're an idiot. You're a damn nigger. You know that. A fucking freak. Get it. Okay. Is that what you wanted me to say. Now it's about time I was honest." It was Robert speaking more than Roberto, but he continued with, "I feel so sorry for you. So fucking sorry." "I feel so fucking sorry for you poor little boy. Yeah, I'll put you in the story Chuck. For killing a man because you wouldn't starve. But you got your next meal. Nope your didn't die Chuck. You survived. You would not die for him, so he died for you. Why'd you kill him? For the money?" "Of coarse it was for the money. Why else." "Now your free Chuck." "I'm not free. I'm in here. Employed but in here." "So what. See what it amounted to." "I had to kill him. I would never of moved up. I had to kill to move up in the world." "You ended up were you belong. Hand it over Chuck." "Hand what over." "The toy." "What toy?" "The toy you were talking about." "I don't have it anymore. I don't have any toys" Chuck rose his head. He had high cheek bones, like a some wild chief of some West African Tribe. Then, the breath drained. Chuck lowered his head as if he was going to start weeping, but he didn't. He was too strong for that. He was beyond sympathy. He wasn't an evil man anymore. He didn't need the things of this world any longer. It was the next world he was ready for now. He wasn't going to get out of this mess. "What you making for working here Chuck." "Not that much. Blue collar wage. I can't even sleep at night. All I think about is that back of that man's head. How it shattered into a little pieces after the gun went off. How the blood spilled and how his breath forever left him. How scared the other clerk was. I remember blood spewed into the ski mask and soaked it clean through. I could smell him as I walked out and ran across and out into the dark. I couldn't remove the ski mask. I kept hoofing in his blood. It got in my nostrils and seeped into me. I was consuming him. Eating him. Slurping him up. All I had was over two hundred in cash from the register. I made it on the next Gray Hound out of town and never returned to Dallas until years later. That's when I decided to apply here. If I can't beat the system why not work for it." "You got sucked in to the place . . ." "I was trying to stay out of."

"I din't mean to call you a nigger, Chuck." "My name is Abraham. My friends call me Abe. Abe King." "To be honest Abe. I don't care. I'm tired of names." "Names are how we refer to one another." "Yeah, I know. But I'm tired of all the names. So, many names to keep up with. Your Chuck to me." Chuck smiled. He knew he could keep the secret with him. "I had more names then I could keep up with in my time." A silence filled the hall.

Then, music drifted in from down the cell block. Guitterman was back on the guitar. Everyone called him The Guitar Man.

The guitar man, Mr. Phil Guiterman, the most quit man down the cell began to cry out a song that made Robert and Chuck's blood run cold. He must have been listening in on their conversation. Roberto felt guilty for telling him to shut up so many times when he was trying to construct his first few chapter of the Criminal.

The strings from his guitar began to resonate through the cell block. Something opened inside of Roberto and Chuck.

"What you go and do, go and give the boy a gun. Now there ain't no place to run to, ain't no place to run. When he holds it in his hand. , he feel mighty he feel strong, now there ain't no place to run to, ain't no place to run. One day he may come back, repay us for what he done, then where you going to run to, where you going to run? But one fine day all our problems will be solved, bang, bang, bang, will shot him down." Now, the guitar man was strumming full on. Nothing was going to hold him back. He was singing free. The lyrics from Tracy Chapman echoed off the walls of the prison cell. IT was as if he was giving a concert to the whole gang. No one ever talked to Phil. No one every mentioned him or even really knew he was around. Perhaps it was because he was practicing so much. Singing so quietly. But now everyone knew he was around. Now, he was in everyone. "If he prays only on his neighbors, brothers, sisters and friends, we'll consider it a favor, we'll consider justice done. But if he comes for you or me, and we can place a gun in his hand, bang, bang, bang, we'll shot him dead. What you go and do, go give the boy a gun, now there ain't no place to run to, ain't no place to run. Now we'll all be at his mercy, if he decides to hunt us down, cause there ain't no place to run to, ain't no place to run. If he wants the chances that you took for him, Oh, and nothing that you own. Then, there'll be no place to run to, no place to run. And if he finds himself to be, a reflection of us all, bang, bang, bang, he'll shoot us down. Before you can raise your eyes to read the writing on the wall, bang, bang, bang, he'll shoot us down. Before you can bridge the gulf between and embrace him in your arms, bang, bang, bang, he'll shoot you down."

Tom Burnate gazed at the golden head of Mary from Pieta. "Wow, it must be priceless." The other security guard from Waco turned to him with a long, beard like on the end of a mad dog. He had a whisker mustache and a healthy round, Texan belly. "Hm. No. It has a price. Most everything has a price nowadays. Few things are priceless. Names, Theodore. Everyone calls me Ted" "Nice to meetya Ted, I'm oh," A moment rang through his head not to speak a further word. Not to go on with details about his identity or his history. It could lead to his crime. "Name is Tom." He gave him his first name. It wasn't smart to fake a first name. Ted may call him in the future and he'd be hesitate to react. "Tom. Nice to meet ya. You have all night duty." Tom stared into space and then back at Mary and then to Theodore. "Yep. All night. And I was thinking about heading off to the Red Slipper." Red slipper was a night club that served artsy types and the hip crowd. Usually jazz music all night. "Drink on the job. I can't. This one will cost me." Ted was series about the Gallery work. He needed the job. Tom didn't. He had a little in saving and could afford to miss a pay check or two. What would I do with the head of Mary. I couldn't sell her. I couldn't let out that I'd have her. I get big time, hard big time for that one.

Tom broke out from his inner glance of what could happen. "Ah, well." And then Tom walked out and headed to the Red Slipper. It wasn't even his break time. He just walked out and sat on a bar stool and ordered, "Sex on the beach." "One sex on the beach coming up." The bartender had a reptilian face with a tiny million spots making up a shadow of a beard. He couldn't tell if he was a holy man, a bad man or well, just a ordinary man. "Whats your name?" Tom asked as if he already knew. He was a bartender, there all named John, Jesse, or some name that started with a, "Ja, ja, ja" "Excuse me." Roberto returned. The bar tender stuttered back. "J-j-j-Jack. So. .so. . .sor. .. sorry. I k-k-k-kind-of-stutter sometimes." "Thanks Jack. Where you from Jack." "Poetry." "Poetry. Where is Poetry." Dark clouds formed over the city skyline of the Old Fort. Something evil was brewing. It was in the mind of Tom. He was going to do it. He was going to walk in with the back pack, sit it in the break room, and when the Gallery was full of people, like a hundred people or so, he was going to run into the vault, as fast as a viper strike and lift the gold head, and stash it in his bag and dart out like a thief in the night.

Mr. Spoil arrived from his new job in the late of the winter morning. It was as cold as a witches tit outside. Mr. Hairison was still away working at the saloon. He usually would drop of a pint of ice cream and a some fruit pastries from the nearby drugstore. He didn't make it this afternoon. Mr. Spoil was getting old, his belly was protruding and his eyebrows were growing thicker and thicker. He even noticed his earlobes had been sagging. He had a fetish about earlobes. There is something about the body. Something holy. It is a sad, sad thing that the body slowly begins to shut down. No one can stop death. Even the most healthiest health nut alive eventually shuffles off this mortal coil. That is the respect that makes calamity of so long life. Mr. Spoil cracked open the refrigerator box. There was hardly any food. Two slices of bread in a plastic bag, empty can of mustard, and harden slice of Swiss. The ice cream he had consumed days before. He never mentioned food to Mr. Hairison. He had not worked long enough as a snow plough man for the road crew to buy his own food. He hated taken food from Mr. Hairison. It reminded him of when he was a child again. Mr. Hairison had to work hard for that money cutting hair and giving neat trims. Now, he just simply, well, thieved it in a way. Hairison said he could have it, but still. . .He unwrapped the plastic bag of bread and dipped in. He snacked on the dried bread and nibbled a bit on the Swiss. His stomach grumbled and headed up to his room to lie down. He was only working early mornings to around noon and then he head home. He'd mostly do the side walks with the town's snow tractor and then head up to the main square to polish off driveways to business and to gleam up the side walks tracing through (tiny) down town.

Mr. Spoil was said. His wife had died in a automobile accident years ago. She was hit by a six wheeler on the highway getting on a entrance rap. She forgot to check her blind spot and Wam, light out. The six wheeler spun over on it's side and donut-ed a good six or seven rotations before flipping over the guard rail and spilling into the freezing creak bed below. It happened on the bridge near town. It was one of those four lane bridges with the suspension units. Supposedly the bridge was nearly totaled and the road construction had to come in and realign the cables. Mr. Spoil lost her. He wanted to die first but he wasn't that lucky. Now he was cursed to live the end of his life alone, writing poetry, short stories. It was the only thing he could do to pass the time. He once had a pet dog named Snoops but it died of heart worms. HE took up to poetry and robbing cars. He never hot wired the cars or tried to thieve the vehicles. Car theft was a series conviction. It was far worse then stealing a small gold bracelet or a wallet.

Mr. Spoil laid down on his sleeping bed in the overhead quarters. He had bought a new book of poetry at the nearby half price book store. It was a collection of various poets. His favorites. Robert Frost, Emily Dickenson, Dylan Thomas, Yeats, Shakespeare. The book compared and contrast the different poets and provided commentary about each artist. It gave a small biography and then presented their most famous work. It was called The Poets of Our Time. It ranged from Homer to Samuel Becket, to Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs to Jim Morrison and even covered a few stories on Sam Shepard and the new hot poet walking the streets of SOHO. It covered everyone. Mr. Spoil had no other past time. He was currently sending work to a poetry organization based in New York called the American Poetry Society.

He peaked out the crystal baked window. Every crystal a complete different world. He gazed at the snow and rarely passing cars, trucks, Chevy's, old 1970 ford pickups, jeeps and various vehicles seen driving in the thick of the snow. Every car with chains and long tail of thick, white smoke blasting out the tail pipes. He wrote:

The snow.

Jagged Tears from old man winter

White flaky hardened

Glassy Angel

Avenues leading

Next, wings, still breathing,

Is she alone? Where-ever she lay,

without her, mother and

mother before and now part

of the mother,

Small friends, lost in the head,

smiling perhaps, smiling forgetfulness.

Sending more words to the city.

So many parties without my name on em.

Will I sell? Christmas light laughing at me.

The season winking me to envy,

So cold in here and so warm in there.

Perhaps they'll buy me.

Save me.

The small friends perhaps,

A dark blue wind coming in.

She use to kiss me

And now I can hear her

In the smallest part of my heard. . .

Oh, wind stop this lonely cry,

Oh, mother stop me from asking why,

And free me from

This small cold room in

Cold Town.

That was it. The loneliness was overcoming him. He had to get a pet. Perhaps a cat. No their too independent. He needed a pet that needed him back. No pet beat a dog. Dogs are loyal, respectful and full of loving energy. Yes, I'll get a dog. I'll spend my next pay check shuffling snow on a dog. I'll name him Avenue.

Avenue A. After the street Mrs. Harison Lives on.

I can decide if I should call him A, or Avenue.

After I live here, I'll take Avenue with me and then I will be reminded of all the wonderful times me and Mr. Hairison had together. Drinking coffee, laughing at the funny papers, trading ideas about what should fit into the cross word puzzles. Talking about our past loves. Sharing a game of Mexican sweat. I'll take the Avenues with me. All the times of my past. The dog will help me remember this little cold town of Cold Town.

According to Dante there is a place in hell for thieves. Dante refers to the thieves as reptilians. They are one of the most tortured in hell. There flesh disentigrates to ash and is regenerated back to whole form. This punishment, of disintegration and rebirth repeats over and over again.

Rhythm is near impossible to define. In art, as well as writing, it is crucial. Boleslavski defined it within the essence of the art medium. He feels it must exist in order to invariably stimulate the spectator and communicate the work of the artist respectively. Rhythm changes in life but suits every moment. Mr. Spoil was slowly catching on in his verse. Rhythm is composed of elements that are ongoing, and is constantly changing nevertheless fitted according to the surroundings. Hence, the rhythm in an elevator is much different than the rhythm at a basket ball game. Rhythm is the prince of arts. Tempo is the bastard brother. Boleslavksi knew this. He understood this to it's highest degree. He fully studied rhythm in nature and used it in his teaching of the craft of acting. It is clearly defined to the creature in the end of his book The First Six Steps. Boleslavski charmingly explains the concept and it's significant association with the arts and on top of the Empire State Building. Mr. Spoil was catching on slowly. He was very close to his late fifties and he was for the first time starting to get it. Life had a rhythm. Dancers have a rhythm. Painters have a rhythm. Actors have a rhythm. Poets too. And even writers, like the old and ole Mr. Spoil have a rhythm. "a tempo to life." He whispered under his breath as the snow fell on the gray soil before Mr. Hairison's mildly heated hut. "Some one needs to turn the heat on. "There is rhythm to the morning, afternoon and even night or late night. There is a rhythm to the motion of a train, and the way people make love. Rhythm is found in everything and no one lacked possessing it. Anyone that carried a heart in their chest owned rhythm no matter their royalty, intelligence, social status, income, wealth or ownership. Rhythm is. It just is. There is nothing more to it. Existence.

Rumor had it they were going to Riot. Chuck had gave the word to Roberto before arming his brother security personal. The riot was a gang war between the "blue eyes" Arians and the Panthers (black militants.) There wasn't that many panthers in the inside. Jackson was part of the small clan. He didn't want to join in. "A riot. Man. This is series." It was his Hundredth tutor session with Roberto. "Riot over what?" Roberto asked with owl eyes. It was late at night. The Warrant allowed Jackson to get make up tottering later in the evening if a class was missed. Jackson was now taking Junior College level courses in English. He had brought his first book mailed to him from the correspondence course on the net. It was a Norton Anthology, "Its over two thousand pages thick." Jackson's eyes lit up like a enlightened school boy just released for summer break. A boy weighting new arriving thoughts about freedom and weightlessness of hard labor. Supposedly the Warden was going to let him have some time off from Laundry and mechanic shop to study English. He was no longer going to be limited in the proficiency of English. "I had to read a chapter from Dante's Inferno last night." "Tough read." "Yo telling me. Didn't understand a lick. That's why I am here. What the hell does arduous mean?" "Don't worry about it now." "Man that story is screwed. And why is it called a Comedy. The Divine Comedy? Canto one starts off in midway in his allotted threescore years and ten. He is coming to terms with who he is. He's struggle between good and evil. The true way is slipping before him. Like it is with me. I don't know whether or not to join in in the riot. If they attack us again and security doesn't do shit about it we are going to tear the shit apart." "That is why their rioting." "Yep. It's not because we want to start shit with em nazis. It's because security won't report on them. They won't due shit when one of our guys gets the shit beat our of them. Last week Mr. Guitterman had his right hand broken by some blue eyed devil." "They broke his right hand. Why?" "No reason. He was showering and three fucking Arians held his hands against the shower nozzle and cracked it with a soda can." "Against the shower nozzle." "No shit. Man he hadn't played in awhile. He had to go to medical. Guess what?" "What?" "He might be getting out soon." "Guitterman." "Yep. Soon. Phil maybe getting his feel real soon here." "Where did you here that." Then, there was a sound of loud boom. "Here they come." Something evil was rattling down the hall. "All you niggers gonna die." Then, a scream arose. It sounded like five mad dogs chewing at each other's throats. "What the fu. . ." Roberto jumped up. Jackson sat the thick Norton Anthology on his desk.

Mr. Hairison's Wife.

A freeze had blown in covering Cold Town and ice blue. Everything was still out. White. Calm. No movement. The air was pure, crystal and the snow was thick and hard. Mr. Hairison's face was old, torn, wrinkled, but his eyes glint of youth and magnificence. The cherry on the end of his cigarette was long, thick and fiery blood red. A pause had filled the room. Mr. Spoil grew frustrated with anticipation. Mr. Hairison lit another Camel with the end of the flaring tip of the cherry. "She wasn't a kind lady. At first she was, but as the winters passed she grew mean. The storms in her came with age." He took another drag, and his eyes grew, bright, young and alive. "A part of her was evil. At times, I wanted to walk right out in the cold, freeze, die, it didn't matter. She got the temper real bad. She'd hit. Sometimes with the frying pan. On de back. Not a women's hand. She would beat me. She was beaten by her father. It was passed on. The circle of violence is a horrible part of nature. Once abuse is passed to you, you have no choice but to pass it on, or eat yourself up over all of it, or find a away to smother it out and rid it from existance. Abuse scars. She was hurt as a young child. Her father tortured her. She nearly broke me that lady. Loved her stronger than any man. Her maiden name was from Irish decent, Loon. She loved me for a long time. Met her at a fare that was passing in town. Three ring circus had come in. Elephants, lions the, clowns and the whole nine yard. My best friend, Billy Whit, had met her first in our Junior year. Later, he met us and we hit it off from there. Our first memory was linked to the circus music, the happy faces and cotton candy. It wasn't a year gone by that we were walking down the isle and saying our I do'ses. First, year of marriage wasn't bad. The second year she had me tamed like the lion tamer's fierce cat we saw at that ole circus. She died not very long ago. Two years back. It was during the largest Nor'easter we have had. The cold got so bad and the snow so high we had to live on our reservoir of pecans and the stack of peanut butter we keep in the cellar during freezing times. She was no joke that lady. She was series cook and mad the meanest apple pie in the north. So mean, children would steal money from the mother's to buy it on bake fares she hold at the local Cold Town Church. But she grew mean over the years. She started to hate life after awhile. She stopped cleaning nearly as much, and she began taking pills. Blue pills, pink pills and most of them put her to sleep. She fell into a life of slumber until the winter came along and vanished her with it's pale, ashen blanket. Just covered her up. Back there. Down past the river bed. On the side, facing the river. She wanted to be burned to ashes, but I could only afford to bury her. We had a small funeral. She never wanted to be put in the lot with all the others. She wanted to be close to the river, and nature. I built a stone monument and carved her name in it. Gilda Hairison. She didn't want me to put her maiden, Loon. She never liked the name sounded too much like Looney. Like she was some loon or something. It means, that which comes from the light, or pale light, like the moon." That is when she flare up, when the moon grew full. She grew sick toward the end. She'd cook the meals with lightning speed and yell out in a rush. Ribbons and bows would fall from her hair. She was always running around preparing things for no reason. Old age was making her lost. Mad. Toward the end she barely knew my own name. Only knew anger and at times pure rage. Caught her one time in the yard digging a hole. Like a grave. She had no reason for doing it. Just digging a hole to China I guess."

"I saw her. Gilda. I saw her." "Saw my wife." "The one in the picture, over the mantel. You and her by the lake. That is your wife Gilda." "Yes. When did you see her?" "The other night. You had come back from the salon and just fell off to sleep. I was alone but didn't feel alone. Walked down to see if you were having a midnight snack. There was milk on the floor. She was standing over it."

"Milk you say." His eyes filled with water. A drop clang to his lash. "Milk?" The tear released and slid down his face like a wondering raindrop before a great storm. "She . . ." He got choked up and couldn't speak. "What?" Mr. Spoil asked scooting closer to him. He placed his hand on top of the back of his hand and showed his warmth. "She had dropped a gallon of milk when she miscarried our first child. She was making breakfast and she dropped that milk and spilled it on the floor. I was in the backyard chopping wood when I heard her scream in horrible pain. I ran to her. When I hurried into the kitchen I was so panicked I didn't see the milk and slipped and cracked a rib. I was in so much pain I could barely drive her to the hospital. We lost the child in the ER. It wasn't till years later that we had our first." "Your father." "One daughter?" "What's her name?" "Ann." "How old is she now." "Thirty five. She just had surgery the other day. She called in not long ago. I'm gonna be leaving soon. Headed south to see her." "Where does she live." "Poetry Texas. Its far from here." A silence filled the room. Mr. Hairison went to coffee pot and flicked it on. It was near morning. Hairison had woken up due to the extreme cold. The place was freezing inside. Ice crystals had formed in the sink. "It happens sometimes when the freezing weather blows in." Mr. Spoil woke up that night around three thirty three in the morning. It was ice cold. The heater had been shut off. "Did you shut off the heater." "No. Did you?" "No." Mr. Hairison's hairs on the end of his forearm grew fuzzy and pointed to the ceiling as if he was touching an static ball like the ones in science class during a electricity lesson. He had the goose-bumps pretty bad. "Gilda used to turn the heat off in the middle of the night when she was getting really bad. She liked the cold she used to tell me. Plus, she was extremely cautious about the gas bill. Besides, she liked sleeping in the cold. So cold you could see your breath." Another moment. The wind crackled through the trees like a escaping snake from heel of a hunter. The trees swayed in one direction as if they were falling over in slow motion and then bounced back like rubber. The wind had picked up to a small, gurgling howl. The cold was getting colder.

"Kill em'. Kill em all." It sounded like Jackson. The entire cell block was lit in red flames. Flickering shadows, the color of blood, sprayed across the walls in short bars like the cell long cylinder iron keepers. The riot had begun. Smoke was in the air. Roberto could smell it. A crowd of prisoner had woke up to open cells. Someone had made it into the guard's control room for the cellblock. The intercoms was blasting lyrics from MC Hammer. The white collars were still locked up and rumor was out they were the first to be held hostage. They were being forced to listen to the music that drove them to misery. The base thumbed over the tiny intercoms and the prisoners sang along to his rustic black voice. "Jackson has arrived." Jackson skid across as if he was some pantomime sliding across a small proscenium stage in a minstrel show. Jackson fell to his knees and released a handful of fiery trash. It slid across the prison floor like a long, burning laser. The prisoners were in the process of lighting trash and tossing it everywhere. Chaos had shoed it's ugly face. "This place is insane." Roberto announced. He was snuggled away in bed for the first few hours of the riot. The beginning section of the riot was composed of sneak attacks against the prison guards and taking down the control rooms, weapon rooms and security cameras.

A fire storm was slowly brewing down the hall of Roberto quarters. The boys must of saved their matches for this crazy event, Roberto thought. "REVOLT, REVOLT." Jackson was screaming his voice, calling out tightening his diaphragm and opening his soft pallet to let the noise free and travel as far as possible. After the tenth shout, after the tenth time or so, of screaming the same word over and over, "Revolt, revolt," he decided to keeping it down. He knelt and leaned against the bars of Pace's prison cell. He rested his palm over his small, protruding beer belly and smiled up at the wondering sparks. "Its like hell now Pace." Jackson was nearly out of breath. He was panting like some scared house cat after a family of hounds were let in the household. Pace had never seem him that flustered. Strawberry red like some shy girl. "What the hell is going on." It was near two in the morning. Roberto was surprised by the riot. He never thought it would take effect. "They're pissed now, man. Pissed as hell." Suddenly, a barrel of trash doused in flames rolled passed. "Its time for revenge. They can't take it anymore." Java ran passed hollering gibberish and carrying a long paper torched made out of newspaper and napkins. The tip of his torch was kind of pretty Roberto thought. The but of the torch crackled and white smoke climbed toward the heavens. Jose arrived. He was carrying a cell block torch as well. The fiery end bursting into a peppery sprinkle of sizzle and red. Java tripped him with his barefoot. Java decided not to wear shoes for the riot. Java continued to scream, "Ahy, ahy ba, ba, ahey, heyyyyyiii." Java didn't make since. Word out that he was high and out to attack anyone that would stop him. "They will open all the cell doors soon." Java ran up to Roberto's cage and began chanting nonsense. "Ahy, ahey, ba, bay, ahey, heyyyii." "What is he saying?" Roberto asked. "I don't now. Nonsense. He's pissed." Roberto hopped off the top bunk and walked toward the cell bars. Jackson face grew closer in as if he was a boy again about to tell a ghost story at a camp out. Jackson reached for him. Roberto backed up and grew hot, and red like the flames growing before him from the hand crafted torches. "Revolt Roberto. You either with us or against us." A moment of silence arose. The only sound Roberto could here was the sizzling ends of Jose, Java and Jackson torch. "What is it Pace?" It was Jose asking this time. Jackson sent over two sharp series set of eyes as if he was saying I support the Spaniard that stands beside me. "What do you mean with you or against you. I'm not on any side. I'm just trying to finish up the book." "With us or against us Pace. Roberto make up your mind?" Roberto stood back from the bars and tossed a glance at the typewriter. All he could think of was the hundred of pages he had invested into The Criminal. Then, the title of the story singled him to answer. "I'm a criminal. I'm wrong. I know it. Hell, guys, of coarse I'm with ya." Then, screaming and cheering arrived down the cell block. "They have broken down the first riot gate. We are taking this damn place." Jackson instigated to Roberto that "this riot is for real. The riot is reality now. Once, the gates open this whole place is going to blow." The guards and the warden had shut down all the gates. When the riot team arrived on both ends the gates would be pulled up and the cell block doors would open along with the cell doors. Then, the riot teams would come in and take everyone with tear gas, stun guns, rubber bullets and riot nets. Most of the guards would sport full armor including flak jackets, helmets and armed with the new style assault, most likely police style shot guns, tear gas guns and a few m-16s. Jackson began showing off his knowledge in Literature class. Roberto had assigned a play written about the French Revolution by Peter Weiss. "There they are behind the walls up on the rooftops down in the cellars Hypocrites they wear the people's cap on their heads but their underwear's embroidered with crowns and if so much as a shop gets looted they squeal beggars villains gutter rats Simonne Simonne my head's on fire I can't breath There is a rioting mob inside me. . ." Jackson was quoting the play The Persecution and Assasination of Jean Paul Marat As Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of The Marquis de Sade. Jackson's voice echoed down the corridors and he vanished in crowds of billowing gray and blue smoke and ash. Roberto began to write during the fiery storm. Paper slid between the bars and he took doused towel from his small sink and slap out the flames to muddy ash. His bed nearly caught flame but he squeezed a wet towel over the flames and patted it out with a soaked pillow. He covered himself with a wet blanket and continued to type. "Riot, riot, riot, riot." Jackson dashingly appeared out of the ashy cloud that formed throughout the corridor. "WE'RE GOING TO TAKE IT MAN. TAKE THE WHOLE PLACE. THE PRISON WILL BE OURS." Silently, Roberto screamed THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN. THEY WILL NEVER LET US HAVE OUR FREEDOM. AND EVEN IF WE DID KILL EVERY LAST GUARD WE WOULD NEVER KNOW THE VALUE OF FREEDOM. "Perhaps, so." Roberto said. "Perhaps so."

What cannot happen, cannot happen if one belief is shattered. This is the curse of man. These words are an illusion for failures. They live by this words as a way out. It is an escape from the struggle of progression. What can happen is not what cannot happen and so on. Everything was possible. Mr. Spoil knew this. "Can't" is not a philosophy any successful man should live by. A successful man knows that anything is possible and there are no reasons for failure. There are no buts. No ifs ands and shoulda ,couldah or wouldahs. These are the formulas that drive men batty. I should of done this and I would of made it. I could do this and I will make it. Or I would of done this and I could of increased profit sales, or should of got a hold of my agent sooner and so on.

Perhaps it was Mr. Hairison's wife that appeared in the kitchen with the foamy milk running down the center of the floor. It was her. It was her ghost. That night Mr. Spoil woke up. It was freezing out. December had arrived. His toes were as numb as death and his toenails were the color of dry ice. His feet had been hanging out of the sleeping bag for too long. The cold was creeping up on him. Dried snot clung to his upper lip and his lips were stiff, hard and unmovable. He tip toed down the narrow winding stair case. Small family photos of Mr. Hairison, Gilda and their daughter hung along the brown, cheap panel enclosing the stair unit. He reached the last stair and flopped flat footed onto the icy kitchen floor. What he found was a unusual occurrence indeed. The back door to the kitchen was wide open. Snow flakes glided in and landed on top of the milky skin of the kitchen floor. Gilda had arrived again. Or Mr. Hairison left the back door open on accident. He figured that was not the case due to the extreme cold weather. Gilda had done it. She was in the house somewhere, dipping cookies in her ghostly milk jug and nibbling with her pale lips and trembling smile. She was odd to see last time. Far away, blue piercing eyes. Eyes like a dark blue sky in the middle of a July afternoon. Clear. Warm. Welcoming but dead. She was welcoming but dead. See, Gilda no longer existed. She had a reason for returning to her home. Many ghost come back to remember the small things, like coffee, a snack, or too look at a photo album or see a loved one open a present on Christmas morning. Gilda had a different reason. Mr. Spoil knew it. She came to tell him something. To deliver a message. Gilda was trying to tell Mr. Spoil something about Mr. Hairison. The milk trial was in the exact same spot. Only this time it was frozen. The jar was broken and shattered in the exact same configuration as before. Shattered all over, but not a drop to be stepped on. Most of the glass fell under the table or under the panel of the cabinets. It was odd that the milk froze this time. That was the difference. Last time, when Gilda arrived it wasn't as nearly cold. It was not below freezing like tonight. "Mr. Spoil. Is that what he calls you." Mr. Spoil's answer escaped his mouth with impedance, without turning. He did not turn around to face the ghost. "Mr. Spoil. That is what he calls you isn't it." The voice wined and crackled like the leaves in the shed eye of fall. "Yes. He calls me that." Mr. Spoil returned. The wind picked up and rattle the door. A few snow flakes landed and slid across the floor sticking to the dewy frozen milk. The voice arose with the rising gale. "How do you know my Husband, sir?" Again, he answered, this time with more immediacy, "He is sheltering me." "How long have you been here." "A few months. I work on the yard." Still, Mr. Spoil did not face her. "He will change you know. After the holidays, he will change. He will grow ill tempered and rude." "Mr. Hairison has been one of the nicest people I have ever met." Mr. Spoil insisted the ghost was wrong. "I've come to warn you. He is a killer." "Who?" "Your keeper." "I wouldn't call him my keeper." Mr. Spoil informed the ghostly voice. "He will hurt you. He has hurt me and many others. He was the reason I stand behind you so late in the eve." "What are you implying?" "He took my life. Mr. Hairison. My husband. He murdered me." The wind picked up to a healthy howl and the door fell shut with a enraging slam. Mr. Spoil spun around in a flash and the ghost was vanished. "Mrs. Hairison. Gilda? Hello." "Why are you calling my wife's name." It was Mr. Hairison. He was wearing his fuzzy blue robe, night slippers the shape of little bloodhounds, with bloodhound ears and holding a small flashlight with the beam square in Mr. Spoil's eyes. Mr. Spoil couldn't see a damn thing but pure white. The light warmed his eyes as he explained, "I didn't see your wife." He was afraid he was losing his mind. "I was just sleep walking. I call out sometimes too." "You said Gilda. And Mrs. Hairison. My wife is named Gilda Hairison." "Oh. Really. Well. Okay. I gonna head up stairs now and finish my forty winks." "Keep it down will ya. I know you sleep walk here and there, but try to keep it down. And no more crazy talk about my wife." "No problem, sir. Good night." "Tomorrow morning I'll have breakfast. Toast and eggs. Oh, Mr. Spoil." Spoil turned around before he could make it to the stair unit and escape the tension of talking about Mr. Hairison's dead wife. "Why is the milk on the floor again." "It feel there." "Did you spill it again?" "I guess I did it in my sleep." "You drink milk while you sleep walk too." "Sometimes." "Be a little more careful next time." Mr. Hairson tossed a dish towel on the icy milk trial and rubbed it to and fro with his foot. "I'll finish mopping in the morning after breakfast. Be careful with the milk. This is the second gallon I had to by this week." Mr. Hairison flipped the beam toward the side door and eventual wobbled into his bedroom. Mr. Spoil looked down at the icy trail of milk and followed it with his eyes. Then his sight line slowly lifted to the kitchen window over the sink. Gilda Hairison stood before the window, her face the color of blue velvet and her eyes as white as the snow. She stood there staring at him like a statue in the wax museum. "Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh." Her finger was brought to her lips. "He gets mad when you make too much knows. Tippy tooooooooooeeeeeee." She began to giggle. Mr. Spoil closed his eyes. The wind picked up. He opened them and she was gone. Only the snow fell where she stood. He made his way up the small staircase and to the small door to the small room. He opened it, walked in and checked around the room and closet. Last he looked under the bed like he use to when he was a small boy. No monsters in her tonight. The wind loosened a few ice cycles on the overhang panel near the rooftop. The shattering sound from the ice, tingled the hairs on the back of Mr. Spoil's flabby neck. As the ice sickles found impact on the sidewalk circling the house Mr. Spoil tucked himself deep under the covers and whispered a small prey. A cold one was on it's way. "God please protect me from these strange interludes. Please help me Lord. Protect me from this ghostly sight." Then, he began a long list of blessing for, "Bless my daughter, and Mr. Hairison daughter and dead wife, and loved ones. And please God let everyone have a safe holiday this cold season. Please help me understand why the hell Mrs. Hairson is haunting the kitchen and wasting her husband's milk." A small voice arrived in the back of Mr. Spoil's head. "Don't worry. It will all make sense in time. It all grows back. It all grows back." Was it God's voice. Was it Gilda's voice. Was it some Angel's voice. He couldn't tell. For all he knew he was losing it. But he trusted the voice anyway. "Don't worry. It all grows back. Everything grows back."

He noticed something about Gilda's eyes. They where sharp and blue. Very similar to Mr. Hairison front yard cat, as he called it. "Here. Skittles." That was what Gilda called the cat, "Skittles" like the multicolored candy with a rainbow of flavors. Skittle was pure white with a little patch of bluish brown near the top of her neck. It was an odd mark for a near perfectly pure white cat. "This was Gilda's old cat. Would you like to keep her up in your room?" "Sure." Mr. Spoil informed him after breakfast of milk, grapefruit, toast un-buttered and a banana. "I don't have a cat box so you'll have to let her out in the front tomato garden when nature calls." "No problem. Do you feed her." "Yes. Milk. And Fancy Feast. Usually she likes Lamb and Pork." "Hm. Okay."

Mr. Hairison let Skittles weave and plait through their legs as they polished off a few bowl of Kellog's Raisin brand and Nutty Nuggets. "You seem kind of stiff this morning Spoil." Mr. Hairison said with a strong voice. The milk had charmed his voice and made him almost purr when he talked. The cat hummed and sniffed and bit at Mr. Spoil's ankles as he underlined words in the newspaper for meaning and highlighted sections he wanted to discuss with Hairison when he returned from the snowplow.

Why thievery. Nothing belongs to man. No one owns anything. They pretend to own materials. The three most evil things in life is evil itself, materialism, and anything that leads away from the Faith. Belonging to something, owning materials, money and even ruling over others, may make the person feel taller. It may make them feel Godlike. It is a sense of hubris. The worse aspect of hubris. Man wanted to be God.

To own is wrong. Christ owned nothing. It is what made him God. The only thing he carried was God's love in his heart. This is what made him God. He was not selfish but giving. He was not threatening or demanding but selfless, and willing to sacrifice everything for the sin of man. He was barren and never planted his seed into women. He did not need to take over the world, or to become king. He didn't rule but teach. He only gave his hands to work and his hands to bleed for you and the next one that came along. This is rare in life. It is funny that he was crucified between two thieves. Thieves are the opposite. They take, steal and are selfish, but yet one of them will live forever in his kingdom and the other will burn in hell because he denied the faith before he exited the world. It goes to show the value of man. Thief or honest care giver it does not matter. With out the love of God nothing is possible. Nothing.

Tom went by his home in town. He lived on the edge of the main city. Near Downtown. His house was a small cottage, with redbrick. It looked a little like a ginger bread house but with red bricks instead of graham cracker crumb. He made his way to the back of the house. It was mostly boarded up. C city re-modelers had signs up to repair damages and to get her back in shape for sale. He made his way to the back garage where the garbage was kept. The house occupied his mother, his step father and himself. He decided to look in the trash bin to see if any trash was left and not taken out. He dug through and found two small trophies. One with Dacschie High school. Under it read Earlchk Reeds. His stepfatehr's name. The trophy read, Best Lineman 1975 Dacshie High School. He had not seen his mother or step dad in years. They moved away to retire in a place near Cold Town. Moved away to retire up north. Far North. "Best line man. 1975." That day Tom went on a jog through downtown. He passed the Gallery and walked in still sweating. He walked up to the vault and peeked in at the head of Mary cast in Gold. He figured the exhibit would only last a few more months until they'd take the head away. One lady sat at the piano alone and played Mozart's older pieces. She seemed transfixed into the playing of the score. This was a good sign. It was a self fulfilling distraction for the crime to take place. It was perfect that someone played piano. The music would cover up any preparations he had to make in the back room before nabbing the priceless head.

Mr. Hairison's daughter had arrived. She as dressed in a black and white single piece dress with narrow white lace. "Its so glad so see you, Father." She was a delicate being. Very thin. Her cheekbones stuck out in a stoic fashion and her cheeks were hollowed from the long walk from the nearby bus station. She must of walked, "Two miles to get her. I am already far under weight." "How are you." Hairison asked still in shock and flustered. "Fine. I'm working at a pizzeria in Chicago. Dues. It's a nice place. Been there a long time. They serve deep baked pizza, thin crust stuff. Pasta dishes and we even got a shrimp and crab fondue." "Sounds great. They got health, medical and all that." "Full benefits. Everything, dental, health, and even have 40k. It's a nice place." "Sounds great. You look good besides being awfully thin. Let me cook ya up something. How about some an egg sandwich and bacon." "Fine. But no bacon. I'm sick of bacon. Add cheese. Its good to see ya again Dad." Her name was Ann. Ann Hairison was just shy passed thirty four. Her birthday was two months ago in October. That made her a very valuable sign in astrology. She had charm, taste and looked out for others. She was giving all her life and never missed a day of church. She was the type of gal that could quote biblical verse over pasta dinner. She had been a waitress all her life. She felt serving others was a good deed. "But Jesus did." "Yes he did. But he also traveled and preached. Why don't ya get back in school and finish up your nurses license." "I have one more semester and then I can get it. I don't mind waiting though. It will take time before I get the RN license. I have to train at the hospital at nights and work lunches during the day. They got me in the ER." "What do you do." "Everything Dad. Sometimes I have to crack people's chest open and massage their hearts. One time a gun shot victim tried to beat me up he was in so much pain. We had to strap him down and inject him with two doses and then tie his head to the mat. He was out of control. He had taken too much speed. The ER room is like a war. A war to save lives. Its tough. At times I want to walk out but the pay is far better then measly waiter tips. I nearly starved at Duos last week because the Holiday bad weather had everyone shut in. The ER still was active due to the wrecks caused by the cold weather." Just then Mr. Spoil got out of bed. It was close to Six AM. The sun had not fully peeked it's yellow head over the horizon. Shadows stretched across the lawn and the moon was still out. "Is someone upstairs Dad?" "Yes. I have a guest." "What is his name?" "Mr. Spoil." "Spoil. Odd name. Is he spoiled." "Kind of. He works with the snowplow folk. And he'll cut lawn if he stays through the summer. He his a hired hand you could say." "Really. How surprising. I didn't expect a visitor. Can I meet him? How old is he? Is he young? He's cute, right?" "He may be cute but he is older. Around my age." Just then Mr. Spoil made his way to the end of the stair unit. He still had eye buggers in his eyes due to the sleep, and his face was puffy and out of shape. "Hello." "Mr. Spoil this is Ann. My daughter the future RN Nurse at Chicago's best hospital. She works in the ER room now." "I'm not a nurse yet. Just an ER tech. I help prep emergency beds and help the LVN and RN out in rush incidents. Your staying with my Dad?" "Yep." "Where are you from?" "Good question. Everywhere, I guess." Mr. Spoil tittered into the kitchen and lured to the coffee maker. He looked at it and then back to Ann. "Would you guys like coffee." "As you can see Mr. Spoil has found a home here." "I see. Are you the in house maid." "Maid." Hairison guffawed and patted Ann on the shoulders. "Sit, sit. Pour us a cup Mr. Spoil. We'll all get to know one another." Mr. Spoil poured three coffee cups to the brim. One cup had a Canadian Leaf under the brim and was colored red and white. The second cup was pure blue with white speckles from chips. And the third cup had a Aztec yellow fiery sun with a crescent moon hanging in the background. "I'm from the south." Mr. Spoil said. "Hot Town. Its near Warm Town but more south." "Your from Hot Town. Your kidding me." Ann said with a awkward little smile. "Hot Town. Wow. Bit cities in Hot Town." "Not really. Only Sun and Flat Land. Those are the only town." "What town are you from?" Ann asked sticking her nose under the steam and allowing it to rise on her thin cheeks. Then, she lowered her tiny lips to the brim and gently with gingering concentration, slurped a little up. "Where?" "I am from a little town south of Hot Town called Steam. Boy does it get steamy down there." "Is it near Sun town." Sun town was the most populated town in the south besides Heat city. "Its nothing compared to Sun or Heat but it has a few attraction." "How many people live there?" She asked as her father twisted the stove knob to hot and set the frying pan on the frame. He cracked a couple of eggs an let them spill flat, round and perfect. "Like what?" "I guess around three hundred." "Man that's smaller than Cold town. Three hundred." "Its hot in Steam." "What are the big attractions there. Let me guess, a library, courthouse and grocery store." "That's about it. Besides the small barber shop and the local gas station?" "Is it a Derrick 55." "Nope it's a Gas and Go." "Never heard of a Gas and Go." "They don't have em up here. I don't think." "Nope. You like yours sunny side up, scrambled or omelet style." "Doesn't matter you choice. Not picky." Spoil said wiping the coffee from the corner of his mouth. Time seemed to hang in the room like a stranger in a faraway town with out work. Ann scooted up in the chair and then placed her palm to her side. She seemed to ach. "How was the surgery." "Fine. No complications." "What happened." Spoil inquired. "Well, it's private." "She had her tubes tied." "You don't want to have children." "Not anymore." "What do you mean not anymore." Ann got up and walked to the sink. There was a dish with flakes of coconut cream pie clinging to the skin of the ceramic. "Dad you didn't do this dish." She began to scrub with lightning speed. It was obvious she was trying to change the subject. "Does Ann have children." The plate cracked in half as the question escaped his lips. "Shit dad I broke it." "Oh, it's just an old plate. Don't worry about it." "It was Mom's china." "Oh, it's just old. I got others." "I'm sorry Dad." Her eyes filled with an ardor feeling, as the burned decreased, water fell in thick drops, and she made her way to the back porch. "I'm gonna get the rest of my stuff." She stepped out in the patio and pulled out a pack of Marlboro Lights. She lit one up and took a seat on the porch bench. A cold wind caressed her face. It was as if Mother Nature was reminded her of the past and the lost one.

Tom planned his next move. A big exhibit was approaching and the Jingle Bell Run was on it's way. It would be the best time to nab the head of Mary. No one would expect a thief to runaway with such a holy object so close to the holiday season.

Why do I have to steal. He asked. Then, he fell into a past memory. He remembered the first time he returned home from the Big City. He was just turning thirty and finishing up a year of Grad School. He studied English and Art in New York. It was hard returning home to his bedroom. The room was haunting. It was the place he fell in love for the first time with his supposedly future wife. She left him to study art south Texas. He remembered the time they made love and held each other while listening to classical music. Now he was home with his mother and step father, Minyard Reeds. Minyard ate like a garbage disposal. Pigged out on everything he could get his hands on. Most of the time Tom had to go with out. Minyard was big on hiding food in his own bedroom, keeping it from the step son, Tom. He hogged life. He was a greedy man. A football coach at the nearby junior high. He hated to share. Tom remembered once when Mom and Minyard went to a seafood restaurant on the in Dallas. Mom tried to snatch some of Minyard's seafood plate. She wanted to taste his swordfish. "No. I hate that." Minyard whined. "No. I don't like when people eat of my plate." Tom was raised, as a younger boy, with his real father James and his mother to share food at the table and to even pass the plates around to taste food at restaurants. It wasn't common to eat off other's plates. That is what God taught us to do. But with Minyard it was a mistake. How evil. Tom thought. He won't even share his swordfish with my mother. Why? Why would he agree to become part of the family if he doesn't want to share. What is his motive? Does he take pleasure in starving others. In New York, Tom studied a play by the activist playwright Rebecca Gillman. She wrote many plays about racism. He was very interested in her work. Minyard was a proud racist and even had petite, black and terracotta paintings on his wall displaying the hatred of the south. One painting exposing a slight touch of salmon pink in the background of a small voter shack for southern farmers, revealed two southern rebels, dressed down in farmer outfits, sticking a set of muskets in a poor cotton worker, African, slave's face while he had just finished voting. The painting was a mockery, or a satire, of life if Blacks were allowed to vote during the Civil War area of the late Eighteen hundreds. He admitted to his racism and even called black people coons. It was part of the hate Rebecca Gilman had hit upon in her plays. Spinning into Butter and The Glory of Living dealt with hate and the sickness sometimes floating in the south. The Glory of Living brought attention to starvations, masculinity, rape and aggression to it's evilest state. It all mixes together. Hate spawns hateful actions. Racism is simply a symptom of a greater hate.

Why wouldn't he share. The young Tom thought. What is his motivation for being in the family. Is it to dominate. Dominate who. I am not even his blood. He was such a big eater, and yelled all the time, so bossy and rude. He was the worst of Stanley Kowalski and to top it off his father was once a minister. This man was bad. I am sure not every once of his soul was bad, but it wouldn't surprise me. Usually, every failure of his father becomes the opposite of his father. The like father like son is not always true. If his father was a man of Christ and he was the opposite, than he was a man of hate. So, was it the boy he wanted. Was it Tom. Was it some sick ritual, to get him to be worse off. Tom, sat before the TV as the Christmas Muppet special flared away on the tube. "You must be ashamed living with your mommy at the age of thirty. Life is going to be hard out there." He signified he was going to kick him out in the freezing weather of the holiday season. He was going to kick him out on his own and let him find shelter else where. "When you die." Tom answered back. That is how he answered him most of the time now. He had had enough of the hate. He had put up enough with the hateful man. "When you die, sir."

The motivation was clear. Very clear indeed. Minyard was shuffling in due to the hate and envy he had over the step son's youth. He wanted to be young again. He walked up to ten miles a day and had shed up to sixty pounds. He weighed lighter than he did thirty years ago coming out of high school. It was strange seeing this ex-football star, be so light. But the eating was not decreased. He continued to hog his plates and hide the food in the backroom away from Tom. Tom lost jobs over it. Tom had to skip breakfast because nothing was in the refrigerator. He had to eat lighter than the football coach. He had to go without. What is keeping this man's heart alive. Walking ten miles a day and eating more than a thirty year old is not going to increase the worthiness of one's health. The old man was going to have to slow down. Tom wasn't going to be the one to get him. Maybe he had a hold of mother nature, but he didn't have a hold of time. Time would get him in the end, he was simply winding the clock to tight. Any tighter he'd spring a sprocket and lose time altogether.

The step father never slowed in his gorging of his stout face. Even in his fifties he still hooked up a hefty sandwich with all the fixens: lettuce, tomato, mayo, beef, sausage and provolone cheese. Two of them to top it off and a walk around the block with the five dogs he illegally owned. The city only allowed three dogs per household. Minyard, owned five and a cat, a feline mother of two cats. So, it would have been five dogs and three cats, if the mother never lost her two babies to antifreeze and a snake bite. The area Tom's mom and Step father, Minyard, lived in was the upper north side of Fort Worth. About four miles north from the Main street and the courthouse. The city attraction had improved since Tom Burnet escaped to Hollywood in two thousand A.D. Now, the city had two Galleries, a brand new Modern Art Exhibit constructed and designed by a genius Japanese architect and artist and a small art movie theatre in the basement. The Fort Worth Modern Art Exhibit had New Yorks MOMA beat by far. When one walked into the exhibit their nerves were calmed with a luxurious water garden that stretched before them, reaching along a grassy lawn, allowing the pleased eye to gaze as a the visitor snacked on cheese and wine on the restaurant patio. The inside of the exhibit was hollowed, with various rooms on many different levels. It was like walking through an organized and well structured maze. The rooms were square and dungeon like housing the best local artist and even New York artist like Andy Warhall. His reprint of the multiple Marilyn Manroe hung on a giant wall. It was amazing for a Fort Worther. Millions and millions of hands helped put the great structure up. Billions of dollars were invested. Staircases appeared to your left and right leading you to different exhibits inside, paths opened everywhere that lead you to different hallways laced with kingly valued artful hands. The first time Tom visited he exclaimed to the well dressed security personal in suite in tie, "I feel like a well educated Rat in a cage."

Tom returned home to devour himself in literature. Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, James Joyce, local writers printed in Fort Worth Star, plays by Bogasian, in which he took careful notice of each work, great authors he committed to memory. He memorized various passages from The Bard and even took notice of a book his father gave him, A Documentary History of the United States by Richard Heffner. Study, study, study. It's all he could do while waiting for either his big break or his first published book. He decided to write naturally. It just spilled out of him. Short stories about suburban towns like Euless and Fort Worth's outskirts like Arlington, which was the most populated city. He studied Law, Science, Geography, Language, German, Linguistics, Computer literacy, psychology, works of Sigmund Freud From Dora. He couldn't get enough. He was smart to save all his text books from college. John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelly, Ode to the West Wind, Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, Anna Petrovna Buina and other Romantic Lyrics. Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin: The Queen of Spades and Alfred, Lord Tennyson. He even began smoking to keep up with all the words at night. His lungs started to get at him, and he woke up at nights puking up green slime. This made he turn in a one hundred in eighty degree. Instead of choking down cheap cigarette smoke from the nearby 7-11, he decided to run. He took up jogging. Six miles a day. He went cold turkey with the tobacco craze and began to clear his system out. Six miles a day. He even thought about joining a marathon. The Cow Town.

So why the thievery. Why did he steal in the past. Why was he going to hit the Milan Gallery and take the Head Of Mary. He had not yet. It was only an idea. The thought of having such a priceless figure from a religious sector of the world, kept him up at nights. He stopped by the gallery during the afternoons while looking for work and gazed in at the vault and visited with the international artist Rome Milan. Rome talked with him about selling his work and others, "On big exhibit nights, which happen twice a month, you can sell a forty thousand dollar piece and make a four percent commission." He flipped through the formulas do find the right might equation to figure the profit. If he sold one paining for forty thousand he'd make: first take point four and multiply it into forty. Forty thousand. Forty times four is one hundred and sixty. He'd make, "Sixteen thousand dollars off a four percent commission." The lady in the hall of the Milan Gallery was still playing away. They had lost their Russian pupil at TCU. Perhaps he was too busy to play in the hall fulltime. If he sold one painting for forty thousand dollars, multiply by point four and you get, $ 16,000. That beat risking imprisonment over a five finger discount of the head of Mary.

He needed to get out of his Mother's house. This would help him develop character. Or as the Germanic tribe says, KARAKTER. The only way out of the house and away from the Minyard pig machine, was money. Hence, he needed a good job.

When Tom stepped on the bus he could still feel the fat on his face from the prior evening of overdoing it at the dinner table. His step father just couldn't get away eating alone. It was holy to starve. Not even to be polite. He was a guest at the house but he still didn't want to eat alone. It is not good for the kidneys to eat alone. Eating alone is the worst thing for someone. Thou shall not do such a thing according to the good book.

He drug his the tip of his middle fingers down his nasal lines on his face attempting to smooth off what was not meant to be there. Too many hotdogs, and extra chili sauce on him. He had committed a moral sin by taking in too much. He wanted too much of the world and now he was wearing his sin on his face. In chub.

His stomach was in knots as the six bus reached downtown. He always took number six home and back. Everyone once and awhile he mistakenly hit the four bus and have to walk the extra three blocks where it left off a mile from his home. His daily ritual was efficient for his lifestyle as an artist. First, he run by the gym and suite up for two hours or so of working out, then he apply at the nearby restaurants. There were over a hundred restaurants in the extent of Fort Worth. After every corner there was a Italian, Burger joint or Americana café where they served the most watery burgers, thick, crusty golden fries and the largest plates of spaghetti in meatballs in the south. Tom's real father, James, was nearly broke. He had opened a wine store off the trucker highway leading out of Fort Worth and toward West or Dallas. The highway was very populated but it was mostly used for travel or industrial trucks. He needed better advertised to pull people out of the outskirts of Fort Worth and onto the Jacksboro which lead out of town. The liquor store most likely to appealed to outsiders or to people who traveled to Fort Worth, to Dallas or toward Denton, which was north of Town. Hence, it was a place for the more shady side of Fort Worth, near Billy Bobs and the saloons. Most likely it was water ground for Alcoholics and restaurant owners, and club owners, that needed a venture on a wine or beer run for parties. Tom never saw his father. He was once a very rich man but had somehow lost it all. His old refinery business, (refined precious metals) had burned down to a freak fire. Every since then, his father was slowly losing money. It wasn't long until he lost it all. Now, Tom was looking at the colder side of the world. He walked with tense shoulders, and weary positioned head. Only God was going to get him out of this one. The Life, the theatre world and show-business had left him near penniless. He thought about continuing his education and seeking the life of a professor. Only God would grant such a beautiful life, even though is wasn't too financially rewarding it promised him a chance to profess his knowledge.

Burnett's choices were near limited. He could finish up his MFA at a nearby college, seek a life in education or run West and hope to be discovered on the silver screen. So far he had tried all three. It was hard bouncing from one path to the next. It looked like education was the only promising path. Life of a being discovered was far too shaky and did not promise a guarantee. Tom was basically shaking in his boots, even though his last pair were wore out working on the highways near Long Beach for committed a crime that was beyond his control. He was convicted for False Charity, for soliciting business. Tom thought he was working for the Police and Sheriff support fund, but in actuality he was working for a bunch of two bit criminals in the business district in Los Angeles. This time he would only work for worthy corporation, places that had license to operate as a place of business.

He was scared Minyard, was so envious he take his own life until he arrived at major success. Why else would of Minyard lost forty pounds. Why would he walk around the house with his shirt off exposing his ripped muscular body. Why would he act jealous and hot headed around Tom. Minyard became a deadly obstacle. He was close to his mother and was an alley, but in the same time he was out to prove something to Tom. What? Why would his stepfather try so hard? What was he trying to do enter an Iron Man contest. He walked ten miles a day. For who? For what? He was once a hefty individual and Tom's mother still appreciated him just the way he was. Why would he do such a thing? Was he failing Tom?

Tom was starting to fear for his own life. Was his stepfather setting him up? Trying to outdo him to win the love of his own mother? For the love of God, that was his mother he was wanting to take from him? He had to offer him something great for that exchange. A financially secure life, perhaps. That would be the trade off. If Tom could find independence and a woman of his own, he would trade with his step father. My mother for a life of my own. My mother for a beautiful women, good job and independence. Sure why not? Go ahead walk yourself to death, get lean, feel good, take my mother, but you best help me find Independence.

Tom was being tortured at home. Thirty was too old to be left alone. He come home after a long walk to the zoo and back, and his step dad and mother would back out of the driveway with a neighborhood friend to eat a nearby restaurant, and he'd walk up to the neighbor's truck and then, his step father would back off, leaving him standing alone in the front lawn. Perhaps, it was good thing. A parental move. He needed to be alone, to find independence. Maybe, his step father was trying to help him. Perhaps, he was being too paranoid over the situation. Too cautious. Too weary. He needed to be alone to find her. Somewhere she existed for him. It was God's plan. He was being tested at home. What decisions would he make to better improve his life. What did God need him to do? "Are y'all going to church?" He asked. His mother rolled down the truck window. The neighbor, a retired principal in the local district by the name of Mr. Sharp, was in the back, his step father drove his pickup. Rumor had it Mr. Sharp was on the sweet side of life. He was into literature and art and was on the tail end of his life of his career, now in retirement. On the other hand, Mr. Sharp always dressed with prestige, and could carry one a charming conversation. He was once a considerate and respectful principal. Tom had weird thoughts. Was Mr. Sharp Gay. He talked like he was gay. Was Minyard, Gay? And if he was Gay what the hell was he doing with his Mother. Was his bi-sexaul, doing his mother and the principal. And if so, why? What did Minyard want to go with Mr. Sharp out to eat. Maybe he was just a friend. Tom was becoming to crazy over it all. He had no friends himself, he was not a long shot from being a hermit, nearly antisocial. If it wasn't for his Mother, Ann, and Minyard, and the occasional visitor, Mr. Sharp, he'd be completely and utterly isolated.

Home life in the evenings were hell. The night was composed of a series of fighting matches in the back bedroom, were Mom and Step Dad slept. It was not between the couple but rather the five dogs that slept there. Lady, the mutt (cross between Shepard and Rock Riler), Hilde, the Dalmatian, Harly, a calm, black long hair mix with the frame of a black lab, Holly, a lap dog, the meanest of the pack and last, Charlette the house cocker spaniel. The Dalmatain, Hilde, Harly and Charlete never fought. The fighters were Holly and Hilde. They were always biting at each other. Mom would try to separate the feuding dogs and catch a bleed on the end of her finger or on the hand. The dogs kept fighting regardless of the series of " No, no's" "No's" didn't always work with the pack. Then, when the dogs where calmed they'd be awakened and trampled through the house, following one by one, in a long, organized militant trail, with their tongues hanging out like fools, swinging side to side sniffing the air and the dust on the floor in hopes of one last evening treat. Then, they would be released to "Time to tee tee" as Minyard surrogated the word urinate so repugnantly and nasally unfashionable and crude. "Tee, tee," he called it, and then, after ten minutes of pissing in the back yard and slurping up more water in prep for the next Tee Tee, trampled back in to the back room to be pet by the two aging owners, or growl at the tension between Hilde and Holly, the lap dog, and the others would clean themselves to slumber.

Months had passed on the inside.

"I'm so proud of you. So proud." It echoed in the back of Roberto's head as the racing prisoner fly past half way on fire. "Soooo proud." Then, it cut off. He didn't know why his inner voice was speaking to him again, especially during the riot. He was delusional, scared out of his wits on fire.

Then, a green bill blew in the prison cell, soaking with water. He picked it up and began to read, "J 27683286 A. and to the right of Washington's had the numbers flared in green letters J 2768326 A. The United States of America." A barrel full of flaming sparks rolled passed the prison cell bars, the bars that kept him from leaving the scene. And what a scene it was. Fire, flames, hollering, roaring like wild beasts. He couldn't see any of it but he could hear every cracked voice and every intonation of pain. The men were beating one another with sticks and barrels and many were bathed in blood and grit from warring. A government, a new government inside the prison was slowly forming. The last he heard, Jackson had leaked to him about the inside news. He told him some mass murderer from death row was released into the mainstream halls of the prison. Stalking bars to bars, hunting for traders, making people take his side or else. He would go to prisoners trapped in cell, some of the guards were kept in broom closet or even, in solitary confinement. If anyone betrayed him they were locked up in solitary. The Old One was forceful with his way and held many against their wills, forced them to eat their foods and talk like him, in a very thick, hick accent. and interview them face to face, and make them give up their wills to him. Rumor had it he had his ways. The entire prison cell had be overtaken by the revolt. The revolution on the inside had begun. He was walking with the others, talking and communicate. "They call him Nick." Jackson informed him. "Nick what?" "Saint Nick." "What does he look like." "Got a tattoo under his left ear, and a really wrinkly forehead, his a little older than the rest. Some call him Old Man. Oh, and he has the number one tattooed on his chest over his heart, a one like a dollar bill has a one with the spider web looking thing. Weird guy. He can take anyone. He's slowly taking guard by guard. His got the white collars working the computers to close all the main gates, also, rumor has it he has guards held hostage in the main office room, near the kitchen hall." Jackson was gone in a flash. Roberto was shaken in his boot. "HE don't like fancy people or people with a sharp tongue." That was the rumor about the Old Man, or The One, Nick.

"His eyes are fierce green, and he is rippled in muscle. Tall guy with a thick graying beard and rough tongue. Rumor has it he is fast. Real fast. Fast with his hands, and his feet. Knows how to fight with super speed. Puts people in choke holds. Sucks the life out of them."

Jackson vanished in the shadows again.

Riots usually are sparked by anger or maddened people neglected of necessity. "Prison food here sucks anyway. They want better treatment. They want better food. Not just hot dogs and stale rolls. There angry with the meds, and the lack of attention, and lack of job training and help to get out. The prisoners feel as if they are being slowly drained of life." "They are." Roberto said. "That is why they are prisoners."

The entire prison was alive with pollution of crackling flames, from the fires lit here and there. Piles of trash burned down the hall. Roberto could smell the ash and paper crinkle in the heat. A shadow, a noisy shadow, formed before him in small cuts to the rhythm of a strumming guitar on the wall adjacent to his cell. Roberto became hypnotized by the snaky dance the fire threw against the concrete stone that lay on the other side of the bars. Heat was slowly crawling toward him, dancing from fiery paper to paper, flaming chunks of wood and pieces of mattress crawling toward his cell. All Roberto could do was write. As the flames grew thicker in chaos, he simply typed away on the old Underwood. Telling the story of Tom Burnet and his adventure with the head of Mary from Pietta.

He sat the old dollar bill next to the typewriter and began to commit to memory it's design and it's meaning. Is this freedom. Is this the cost of life? This is what got me in here. The need of this. Damn this old green waste of paper. Then, he read silently, almost calming himself into a hypnotic state, "Federal Reserve Note. The United States of America. This note is legal tender fro all debts public and private. Washington D.C. 10 One. One Dollar. The United States of America. In God We Trust. Of the United states. Annute Coepits. Hovus Ordo Seclorum. The great seal." And then he stared at the small eighteen printed in a kind green under the shadow of the one and whispered to himself. "Annuit Coepts." Lost in thought wondering what the Latin meant.

Then, at times, during all the screaming and confusion, Roberto figured he had it lucky. He was starving after all. He had not been released from the cell since the revolt began. Locked in. No way out.

But it was better than freedom in a way. He wasn't force to leave a life of shame, in some small town laced with Taco Bell's and Subways here and there, cornered to sit at home alone, who knows why, bad genetics, bad connections with the opposite sex, forced to stay at home and rap his mouth around a Turkey sub and be offered Patch Adams to play on his cheap pawn shop VCR, alone, no girl, no lady, no women, nothing, just him and a bottle of Coralba Sodium free from Italy and a lonely tomato and lettuce with turkey and ketchup. Alone, with his story, his ideas locked in a prison.

It was okay to be sorrowful and guilty. It was okay to be wrong, and to know that he might be forgiven. Mistakes were a part of life. He felt like one. At one time in his life, Roberto hated the world and was very angry with God. He was tempted and failed. He kept falling, and falling until he woke up one morning, walked to the YMCA and returned home to give in to his Step Father, fight over something trite like a boiled rotisserie chicken, rum dumb ditty and green beans, Minyard had kicked him out and own his own. The next thing he knew he was at a Chicago Grill downtown near his home, making phone calls, long distance phone calls to every one of his friend to find shelter from the streets. Hence, he was on the street, alone, and only one friend on the way. This was a few months after his first hold up.

"Why is it called hold up?" He asked T. Brown. Brown was his friend from Dallas, Texas, that lived alone, with his cat, gold fish and a string of books by the author who wrote with titles like The Red Badge of Courage. Brown didn't know the answer. Tom figured it had something to do with holding up time, or, "Holding up your hands over your head." It was some restaurant lounger, or cousin to the cook, hanging about answering various questions to Roberto. This was before his arrest.

Tom decided to go in for the kill. Snatch the head of Maria from the Milan Gallery. He planned it for a Sunday afternoon exhibit. It would be busy. Very busy. A movie star from Hollywood, Jane Seymour was showing up to show her twenty thousand dollar a paintings. Rome was showing them for her, and preparing a big sale. Tom lost the security guard job and decided to stake out the joint the previous Sunday for the Seymour hit. He walk in with the bag, and head straight to the back in uniform. Next, he walk into the vault, removing the ropes and stash the head in his large, hiking backpack and dart out. One, two, three. Simple as that. No sweat.

That day, he rented a room in the nearby Worthington Hotel in Down Town. He purchased a pair of binoculars at the pawn shop and ordered two large pizzas. It would be an all day hunt. He'd scope out the joint, checking and counting how many spectator showed to view Rome's, Henrietta's and Jane's work. Jane would not be there on stake out day. She'd show next week. Tom multiplied the turn out double fold, hence, he added twice as many to the assumed Seymour event. Since she was a movie star he figured the place would be back. He picked up a Entertainment Weekly and read a small column about Seymour's paintings. It claimed she was the next big artist in her field, something like Vincent Vangough, or Picasso. Her work usually encompassed a single figure, human that seemed to be lonely and slightly disfigured, or ill developed. Her work was sad, but slightly uplifted with a eerie charm. Tom took a break. His back was cracking do to the fact that he stiffed up looking through the binoculars and all. He was soar between the shoulder blades into the lumber region and even his ass was aching. He was pooped. The pizza man arrived on time, 2:39 PM. The gallery occupied around twenty or so people. No signs of Seymour stuff looking to customer attractive. She wasn't as popular as Rome and Beck's ingenious sculpture of naked bodies making up faces. She was mostly in the gallery due to her name as a film actress. Hell, she worked with Christopher Reeves in that film about time travel. What was it called. Ding. Ding. It was the pizza man. Damn. Already.

"Be seventeen ninety nine even." "Thanks. You take ATM right." Tom gave him his Chase card and tipped the Italian man with a trimmed goatee and floppy red hat, eighty bucks. Then, ran down the hall and picked up a few sodas, one Coke and one Diet Coke. He had to watch the figure. Later, he set up camp at the window, piercing through the binoculars and checking out how crowded the gallery got. Solid Gold head. Head of Mary. Man if I possessed that I'd. . .I'd. . .what the hell would I do with the head of Mary. Where would I put it. How would I sale it. Tom didn't even want it for the money. He wasn't going to trade it in. He was going to melt it down, or tuck it away in the corner of the earth someplace, hide if from the world. For some reason, and he didn't know why, perhaps it was the same intention the nut had when he chipped Michael Angelo's sculpture of Mary holding Jesus. That was where it came from. He wouldn't harm the head, but simply possess it, hid it from mankind. Something that perfect, that simple and holy, and graceful was not right to look at. It was a masterpiece like Mona Lisa or the Angelo's David. It said something to him. The first time he gazed at her solid gold head, perfectly round, smooth, with her eyes looking downward. He could imagine Jesus laying in her arms. She was silent, no tears, series, not overtaken, but accepted and mature about his death. It was the head of Mary in gold form. Holy. It was like capturing the arch of the covenant or the holy grail.

He could see a couple gazing at it around one of the Ballet painting by a Czech painter. Tom forgot the painter's name, but he did beautiful sensuous paintings of Ballet dancers in real to life poses. He was a man of verisimilitude and concentration in dictating the art of a ballerina at rest or play. The couple stared in at the vault. There eyes were wide, faces aglow, fixated in a calm trance with little Mona Lisa smiles. It was as if they saw something that was not meant to be seen, or experienced. Another couple joined behind them. A gold glint nearly spewed off their faces as the head pulled them into the vault. This one is going to be a tough snatch, Tom thought and lowered the binocular and sank his teeth around a double layered mozzarella with extra thick crust, pepperoni, sausage and every vegetable topping known to mankind. He swooshed down the Diet Coke and turned the TV set on in the hotel room. Tom took one last peek out over the twentieth floor, and sipped up the last of the corn syrup and high concentrated fructose. CNN blared something about the Sistine Chapel. Yep. Just as he suspected. God was in on this one. It wasn't a coincidence that CNN was blaring a piece on the Catholic Church in Roma, Italy.

Spoil was lonely. The snow had piled up and against the side of Hairison house like the slow rising of the ocean during the ice age. His time was of the cold. Spoil was raised in the north, and later in his life he decided his parent, Hank and Hilary Spoil, moved to the town of Heat, far south of Cold. Spoil's fondest memory was swimming in the town's water tower on hot summer days. He hook up with friends, Kiel, and Winston. They head out to discover that the water tower in heat was almost always dry. "Dried up again Spoil." Winston blurted with a half lit cherry from a cigar in his mouth. He'd still his father's cigar's and pretend to be a sergeant. He'd take a few puffs and try to share it with us, "Hell no man. I don't want that shit. Too heavy. I smoke Marlboro." Hank flared up his nostrils when he got scared. He thought Winston was going to make him smoke it.

Spoil missed his friends and the town of heat. Cold town didn't offer much. There was barely even a movie theatre, more less a shopping mall or a good place to eat. No fancy restaurants in this town, like Big City, or Fast Lanes West of Cold Town.

What you pay for is what you get. There is no way out of that fact of life. You reap what you so. Roberto knew this, Tom lived by this motto, even though he made the mistake in his youth that certain things, like courteous phones in hotel lobbies or airports, broken bits of cookie crumbs in the sample bin at grocery stores, chocolate mints up at the front at the restaurant's cash registers, tortilla chips and hot sauce before a Mexican meal, a news magazine behind the seat in coach or first class on an airliner, the green paper at news stands, buy one get one free on packs of Marlboro lights, candy during Halloween, Put Put golf pencils, (the kind without the eraser), words on paper and Education in Europe. On the other hand, Mr. Spoil knew that nothing was for free. Even though one could not pay cash, or check, for these items and services they still had to pay with another form of payment, e.i., with their body, mind, and in some cases with their spirit.

The small room Mr. Spoil occupied was becoming more and more homey as the days passed. Spoil routine, getting up before the crack of done, taking out the trash, mixing up some pancake mix, frying up a cake or two for breakfast, reading the morning cartoons, gardening and then, heading out to town to shovel snow and shuffle about with his new friend, Ted Rogers and his Husky with one blue and one brown eye, Matty, became as familiar and set in his heart as the back of his hand. Ted and his four legged partner were stuck together by the hip nearly. Ted had thick Coldian accents and smoked American Spirit Ultra Lights, "I'm trying to quit as soon as I get over this girl that dumped me last year." "How old you now Ted." "I've retired. In my mid fifties." "Why did she leave ya?" Spoil asked heaving a two pound scoop of icy snow and dirty, blond slush. "She died." He answered kicking a block of blackened frozen from a ice clump of toward the side of the road. The snow turned a slight yellowy tar color and at times it looked as if someone had urinated in it, or dumped yellow dye over the top of the piles along the main road into town. They usually cleared away snow amounting before gas stations and convenient stores, tow truck, offices and other places of business. Most of the yellowing was caused by pollutions from cars and weathering from nature, mix of dirt, dust and carbon monoxide altered it's original pure white state. That's what Spoil assumed. "Figured someone pissed in this, huh Ted?" Ted wiped his brow and stared up at the azure doom that hovered over his and the towns head, awaiting the release the next icy flood snow flakes.

"How do you like living with Hairison?" Ted asked sitting the snow plow shovel down on the tiny cliff of snow overhanging a shadow stretching toward the other side of the shoulder of the road. "It's okay. His daughter moved in. She's just out of surgery." "What was wrong with her." Spoil took a bit of time before answering. He peered into a ray of the sun and then spat out, "It's a little private. She didn't want it spreading around town." "So you like living there, right?" "Yeah. Its okay." A moment arrived. A chill lifted a few hairs on the back of Spoil's neck. "I don't feel like me when I am there." "Why not?" "Not my house. Not my food, or place of life. I feel like someone else." "You pay for what you get." Ted said adjusting the snow shovel against the tiny cliff of ice and snow. "What do you mean by that?" "I don't' know. Just said it. Guess we got two more hours of this shoveling shit until we had' back to town for burgers. Sonic sound good?" "Yep. I don't care, a burger is a burger." Spoil gazed up at the sun as it slowly maneuvered behind a dark gray snow cloud far in the distant snow sprinkled sky. A shadow cast down upon the two men and the sleeping dog. "Ole Matty is tired huh?" "Yeah." Ted returned. "Still on the poetry?" "Yep. You bet." "Hows it doing." "Well, good. I sent a new poem in a few weeks ago. Same place that offered me puplication. Their still interested." He noticed he said pupli instead of public- for publication. To be publicized is for the public to read the material that the author has printed. Hence, public. "That's great. You're the next famous writer in this small town. Cold town hasn't spawned any poets yet." "Thanks." Spoil took a moment to register his thoughts, yawned and cleaned his front teeth with his tongue. "I know why I write now." "You do?" Ted hinted he wanted him to continue with the explanation with a raise of his left eyebrow. Ted looked like a hungry vampire, spooky, with wide eyes and a curious position with his head. Almost leaned in like a tiger to his prey and to suck the answer right out of him, "I'm angry. The worse of all sins. Angry as hell. Angry at friends from Junior High and old girlfriends that I can barely recall their names. Angry at the grocery store for not having my brand of cereal, or not getting my way in life. In the most dangerous direction of my anger is with Him." He pointed up toward the passing clouds above. "I'm angry at our Father." "Why?" "Cause I felt skipped over. I guess I felt neglected." "Why. You seem pretty normal to me." "Exactly. Normal. Who wants to be ordinary. I don't. Never did. But every knew me as that. Normal Mr. Spoil and his normal way. Every day, average Joe. Mr. Spoil, one of the many nobodies of the world." Spoil got up and stretched his arms side to side like Samson once did when cracking the great columns that once held him after Delilah betrayed him. "We find reasons to accept ourselves as second best, or third best, or fourth, or tenth, or hundredth or three thousand and hundredth and so on. We let the mistakes pile up in our lives. The times when we turn back, fear God, and go home and settle in for second best. I'm second best and I hate it. I never won anything in life. Why is that?" "I don't know. Maybe God wants you to have what we all have?" "What. What do I have. I own nothing. I live in someone else's house. I eat what they give me to eat. They chose for me. Life is about the choosing. That is what makes it worthwhile. I can never go on a vacation. I can never drive up to the store and pick out a outfit to wear for an evening that I never can afford to go on. I'm looking to be. . .well, no homeless. I never amounted to anything. And now, all I have are these poems that might or might not get published." "But you're a storyteller. You have a gift. That's more than most of us." "Yep. A poor poet and getting poorer. I got to change. All my life I wanted to get discovered and published like Ginsberg, or Dylan Thomas, or Frost. You know. Live the life. Like Hemingway. Sip coffee at some café in Paris and find inspiration from gazing at paintings in the Louvre. Or visit Italy and walk the cliffs of Ireland. Feel free to travel any weekend I chose." Ted gave him a little frown and nearly shamed him. "At least get paid for what I do. I'm nearly sixty years old and I shovel shit for a living." "Hey. You got a warm bed to sleep in." "It's not MY bed. It's not even my pillow." "God had nothing. Christ gave up all his material, and his followers too, gave up what they owned to follow his word." "But I never got to taste the riches of the world." "Liar. Everyone had a taste or two. You live in the most gifted country, the most blessed land of all lands and here you are complaining cause. . ." "Cause I don't have enough money to fall back on, or retire." "But you got those words. Those words cost something. You'll get published Spoil. Don't worry about it. It'll work out and when it does you'll understand it's been all worthwhile. Giving it all up will make sense one day." "I'm standing here shivering in the ice cold, and you say this is worth the words I come up with to fit into some poetry magazine for rich ass holes to ponder over and use as conversation pieces." "One day Spoil you'll give it all up. The lucky ones have less to leave on. It all piles up to nothing anyway." Spoil picked up the snow shovel and began to clear off the road. "once someone told me God shows you his love with the pain you feel. You believe that." "God does work in mysterious ways."

One truth of nature and man. The way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Mr. Spoil knew this. It was his weakness to women. Ann knew this. She had won Mr. Spoil over. The holidays were approaching with God Speeds. Seven days till Christmas and today was the seventh day of the countdown. Ann had baked three pumpkin pies, two pecan and a special sweet snack made of sugar stirred butter with chocolate coated, walnuts and saltine crackers. The turkey was still slowly heating to a plumb juicy finish tucked away in the back of the new oven Mr. Hairison had picked up several months beforehand. The special sweet snack was Ann's new invention. She bake them up for the doctors in the ER room and store them in the mini fridges in the break tan and blue break room for the nurses and doctors. It was cheap and easy to make. Sometimes she gave them to her patience, of coarse if the doctor approved. She never did anything without the doctors signature. She mostly handed it out to patience that were on release or headed back home. "Special taste huh." Mr. Spoil looked up with a pair of two rose healthy cheeks and crisp smile, "Salty and Sweet. Best cracker I've ever had." She didn't have a name for it but she could describe the ingredients. "Haven't named them yet." Said Ann. "Once Again, Ann, sweet as can be." Spoil said leaning over the glossy table mat to munch down another chocolate covered buttery saltine. "Never had these chocolate crackers before. You must be a genius Ann. A culinary's gift of the world." Ann dusted her hands on her Red Robin apron covered in holly imprints and light brush strokes of wall paper green. "Lower in fat. The crust is heavy in most snacks, this crust is light. It's salty and sugary with a light crust." "Well, I don't know if this belly can swell any more. Worked many years to get it at the size it's currently ate'." Ann cracked a warm smile as she walked over to the table top to light up another Angel candle decorated with gold trim and gold silver ribbons.

The flame on the candle flared up, the cold air made it rise higher toward the ceiling, the flame seemed to large for the small wax candle purchased at the local Dollar Store. Mr. Hairison let it burn through the night until morning came. The candle flame dimly lit the kitchen. Spoil was tucked away in this bed snoring with his journal labeled Poetry on the cover laying on his large, round belly. Hairison was conked out on his side drooling onto his pillow dreaming of his new snow plow machine that he may purchase at the local Sam's outlet hardware store. And the last person, the daughter, Ann had passed out next to a half full bottle of Crown Royal, sleeping as silent as a mouse, nibbling at the air dreaming of a tall dark handsome soldier that had just returned from war, lonely, and desperate for affection. The dream was set on a cruise liner far out in the pacific near the Hawaiian islands.

No one was in the kitchen. A blue glow sipped in the kitchen window. The moon, whatever it's size and shape was masked behind a puffy snow colored cloud that glowed coin silver with a silver lining. The lawn grass was thickly covered in snow and ice. A blue haze was landing on the front lawn, from somewhere in the heart of Old Man winter. He had painted a perfect picture for any passerby.

The kitchen was a Kodak scene. There were four cards on the round table near the sink, the one Spoil ate his cereal on in the morning. It held three presents wrapped three kinds of wrapping paper: one neon blue, candy cane red and green labeled Dad, the other labeled Mr. Spoil, it had green and white with strips and one blue and gold.

The candle flame flickered with a lonely charm, performing it's dutiful dance alone with no one to see. Inviting an elf or even Santa, to peak in but with disappointment. Mr. Spoil had ate all the cookies Ann left out with a glass of milk.

Everyone snored as the night covered them to a deep sleep.

The kitchen was now filled with a golden yellow light sparked by single Christmas candle that Ann had set up for Saint Nick.

The candle, still alone and dancing, lit the scene with a perfect, melodic tone. Everything was in place and tuned to it's most finite state. On the wall, opposite of the kitchen table the Christmas candle, with an golden angel imprinted on the side projected a fleet of mysterious figures that jangled about the kitchen cabinets, window shutters, refrigerator, back door, ceiling and every part of the kitchen including the kitchen sink itself. The candle spawned a unforgettable flickering upon the wall that topped any Christmas parade or New Years Eve Firework display on any main street in any big city across the state lines. If only they could see how beautiful it was. Sleep had taken them far under. The sight was present but unseen.

Tiny shadowy stick figures danced in a various of geometric outlines across the kitchen and the window overlooking the front blue lit lawn. The scattering troupe of wavy lines produced by the shadow dancing men currently carving into the wall performed a peculiar allegro paced ballet twists in turn and jumped throughout the room. It was as if the Nut Cracker had arrived, in shadows on the walls of Mr. Hairison's kitchen, or the sprites in Midsummer Night's Dream had gathered to whisper and plan for the festive dinner approaching Spoil, Hairison and his daughter Ann. In wavy lines, curving into tree branches in which scrapped against the wall, swaying back and fro to the rhythm of butterfly wings, the candle commanded it's shadow puppets to the sound of thousands of dripping tapering spikes that clung with dear life, melting toward oblivion, clinging with existence to the underline edges of the trim that surrounded the small ice covered cottages spreading blocks apart into the hilly streets of main street. The flickering and dancing flame continued until it reached the bottom of the wick to snuff out as the digital clock on top of the refrigerator clicked to 12:00AM. Then, the shadows fell silent and still and the blue light spilled into he kitchen. Christmas was approaching in four days. The first day of winter had arrived. The only ornament missing in this holiday scene of Cold Town was the warm and gentle voice of young cheery carolers, which were now far off, away from this chilling weather, singing in a warmer, more pleasantly populated suburban town, with healthy voices asking for wishes and demands like carolers so skillfully do, singing door to door, visiting the chain of identical houses, and the next chain, and the next, and the next, caroling a message to the heavens, singing to the world "Gloria." Then, a neighborhood made from plywood and cement arrives and on the front porches of the string of beautiful pink houses, as the song goes, of this Luke Warm town not too far from Balmy County which is near perfect weather, like the spring time tropics, of Climate City, which is where Mr. Spoil was headed off to in his slumbering, deep unconsciousness and the dead of the winter sleep of little old Cold Town.

Nick wasn't going to get caught alive this time. He had set up camp in the cafeteria, breaking all the locks to the lunch and dinner freezers and preparing meals for his followers. The prison food usually consisted of sausage links, mash potatoes, green beans, various beans, macronni, dinner rolls and greens for salads. The death row freezers usually had the same foods but the last meal selections were fanciers with items such as shrimp scampi, a variety of fish dishes, steaks, casseroles, and fancy deserts like ice cream, brownies and apple cobbler. Food wasn't the highest priority in a place were man was punished for ungodly and sinful acts. Food was dished out in smaller portions to the revolutionaries due to the fact that no new meals would be provided unless the outside authority responded cooperatively. The new message to the police force awaiting over the fence line was to send better foods, stuff like pizza, steaks, hamburgers and beer. Also, Nick wanted a gas generator to run more power and other supplies consisting of stereo system with music written by Johnny Cash. Also, he had a long list of medical supplies and other necessities like cigarettes, toilette paper and fancy dish ware, most likely just to piss them off. He also asked for a DVD player along with lengthy list of films staring Arnold Swarzenegger including Conan the Barbarian, Conan the Destroyer and the string of militant combat films. Nick was a Swarzenegger fan and he had the biceps to prove it.

Later, that night Nick wrote a second message, including lists, with other movie titles with DVD director cut selections, and sent it out to authorities with a beaten but alive hostage. The note was typed up on laser printer paper found in the main office. It was sparkled with splatters of blood and pinned on the hostage's guard shirt. The guard was beaten with Billy Clubs and handcuffed. Nick didn't hurt him too badly. He only had him beat for a few minutes so the police would understand he was somewhat civilized even though he was dead series.

One day till Christmas had arrived. Tom was smashed with the festivities down town. There was a light parade a mile long, something rare for the town of Worth. Also, there were Christmas lights decorated on every corner. Even the bank building was outlined in green and red. At the end of the parade Santa slowly rolled passed on a float composed of Styrofoam and cottony, fluffy puff. Tom didn't know the name of the white snow material that was used for the mock of Santa's hut and sleigh but he called it cottony, fluffy puff. He only had a couple of thousand in the bank and hotel fair was rocketing. He had a few days before hitting the Milan Gallery. It was closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas. He didn't have anyone to go to for Christmas day. No lover. No mother or father. No real family They were far off, North celebrating by themselves in North Maine, not too far from Canada. His Grandfather had passed away years ago and his siblings had moved to the outskirts of town and he didn't want to become encumber them with the weight of his sins. He was an evil man now, or at least he thought of himself as evil. Thievery is not a good life. It is not an occupation that you learn well in school or even in College. You can't take Thievery 101. It is a trade that is picked up in the black market from Gypsies or other thieves that have mastered the skill. If, Tom wanted to he could make a few hundred dollars during the season merely poising as a homeless man. It was one of his favorite tricks. All you had to do was walk on your heels and take tiny steps and mumble. All he had to do was buy some thrifty clothes at a thrift store, dirty them up and walk around on the side walk with a snotty nose and looked confused. He saw this one man walk on his heels and count backwards, a complete nut. He tried it one season at a airport and made a good two hundred even. All he did was balance on his heels and shake his head as if he had cerebral palsy or another debilitating disease that would catch the hearts of the good. It was low but it paid the hotel bill for the night. All he did all day, was go without food and walk on his heel muttering nonsense, counting help focus his thoughts and even get him really lost in his actions. He'd mix up numbers and pause and grunt like monkey, bounce on his heel, wipe his runny nose, grunt some more, and finally, open his hand and money would arrive. Right in his palm. A twenty. Sometimes a fifty. He mostly scored fives and hand full of dollar bills, but nevertheless, the money arrived. By the end of the holiday season he had enough dough to put him up for the week, not too mention a light grocery bill. Tom decided not to stoop so low this holiday. His last hit was a bank he had cracked open with a tribe of thieves up north in the big city. They climbed through a ventilation shaft and right into the outer side of the vault. The thieves, at the time, calling themselves rookies at the business, popped the vault with mild explosives, putty high-tech stuff used in the military. Some thief named Tarry had copped it under the black market on some other gig. The climb through the ventilation took a few hours alone. All five thieves had to lube up with axel grease to squeeze through and flop out of the shaft, to skillfully land, like the catty cats they were, before the eight inch vault door.

No one was hurt. The explosive clay putty barely made a sound. It was loud, but not to an extreme degree, the decibel was not powerful enough to be heard on the street far below. No one could really pick up on it since it was in the big city and activated at four in the morning. The main thief, the head man, Wes, was trained in the military in special forces in the Army and nearly became a lifer but decided to quit the service, plus he assaulted an officer in a bar over a gambling bet and fell into crime, after he was sentence jail time, of a year, and finally released. Afterwards, he went by the nickname Sarge. Sarge was a big man with a downward snout nose like that of the Curculiionoidea, the weevils, that are destructive to the preciousness of the earth. Mostly muscle, Sarge is. He taught Tom everything he knew. He was from the big city so he had a lot of practice at using his snout to dig up from the vaults that held the precious metals of the city. The team, Sarge and his three buds, like a gritty, earthy platoon of weevils, Nick, Mr. Jane, and Phil, rolled out of the back, or slide through the ventilation system with two million hard cash. Two million cold cash was the underground rumor. They rolled the bank bills into cylinder shapes, rapped it up in long translucent tubes made custom from PVC pipe, lubricated with axel grease and hooked at end with fine horse hair rope around each tube's end, pulling it through, one by one in a paced rhythm tube at time. Each tube was no longer than three feet in length. About one meter, for Phil. He went by the metric system in measurement. They decided to call the special tubes "Meters." They had used this crafty technique on three bank hits beforehand. The idea for a Meter came from when Sarge was just a teenager, pick-pocketing and busting parking meters open with sledge hammers. Each parking meter on the street, if busted open, could hold up to hundred dollars or so of coined money. Because of the street name for 'parking meter', for putting money in the meter, they tagged each cylinder as, "A Meter". Stealing hundred dollar bills, each "meter", or hollowed out cylinder, a meter long, could hold up to a thousand dollars in cold cash. The cylinder looked very similar to a cylinder used in pvc pipe or installing plumbing, but it was translucent, so each thieve would know which pipe was packed full of hundred dollar bills and which where not. Plus the light weight plastic pipes, if greased, ran smoothly through the ventilation shaft. The pipes where not very thick, and light weight, each pipe was a perfect vehicle for transporting the money in a swift manner. Each pipe, worth a thousand dollars in bills, were pulled through on a pulley system carrying filled pipes and returning empty pipes. It was like a subway system, only instead of people, the pipes held money. It took over a hundred pipes exiting from lobby and into the ventilator shaft and meeting the thieves on the other side, in the adjacent lobby, where the exterior glass, overlooking the street below, was cut out and the alarm deactivated. Coming and going, the pipes slowly filling with rolled bills, carrying the poor thieves into and up the latter of success. The bank was on the thirtieth floor of a huge skyscraper overlooking Central Park. Sarge's team used a window cleaner unit to pulley up thirty floors until they reached the Bank One Level. Sarge used window cutter to chisel in, the entire team, dressed in swat gear, climbed in without hesitation or a hint of doubt that they would escape Scot-free, without the trace of a scratch and Sarge's team did it. The hit was completed with full successful. It was a fool proof plan according to Sarge and his men. Tom figured he'd join them, sense, Sarge was once with the military and all. They were also equipped with infrared goggles and small head sets connected to mini-satellites for quick and clear communication. Clarity was a must on this hit. These guys were top notch professional out to hit a long lasting treasure. Two million in hard cold cash.

Tom was still living off the Meter hit. He was only back up on the run, so he was cut a easy hundred thousand. It lasted him only two years. He traveled on the money and used it to see the world, and he developed a expensive prescription drug problem. He got into mental drugs, like Zoloft, various anti-anxiety medication and even spent a few thousand on narcotics for relaxation like Xanex and valium. He put most of his money in stocks. Pepscoe and toilette paper. Tom figured every had to shit, and toilette paper was not a bad stock. He heard from one broker that mutual funds was not a bad bet. Tom threw away three thousand alone in that category. The stock market was so shaky after the eleventh that he lost most of it. It was nearly like black Tuesday for many high stock brokerage types. He decided to lock the rest of the money on a International bank, in a safe deposit box, on an island in Jamaica. He saved around ten thousand and decided not to get access to it unless he arrived in person. Tom did not allow himself to touch any of it, no ATM card, no checks and no way to reach the money from long distance. That way, if he ran out later on, he could simply fly off to Jamaica and spend the ten thousand any way he like, and get some crappy job and eventual retire. He never believed he could blow nine hundred thousand dollars in two years. But he did it. Many of the other thieves that heard about this two year spending spread called him a genius of his own kind. A pure genius. No one in his right mind could spend that much money. No one in his right mind. But Tom was far out of control. In one weekend he flew off to Vegas to gamble away over a hundred thousand dollars on the roulette table. And never did he once bet on black, nor the number seven. It was odd. It was as if Tom didn't want the money. It was as if he hated money. Despised it. It made him sick to his stomach. He liked to struggle. Part of him liked to work. But he was far too rich now. Far too filthy now, to work. He didn't have to lift wallets any more, or shop lift. Now, all he had to do, was fly around the world to different tropical islands, drink, buy whores, settle in a hot whirl pool, drink tropical rum, and buy expensive French and Italian diners. He was getting fat of his own success and the success was from being a thief. How could an evil of the world make someone a success. He felt ashamed of himself. One morning he awoke on some Virgin Island. He didn't even know the name. "Who the hell am I?" He asked the mirror. "You're a thief, Tom. A evil thief. And your going to burn in hell for this. Your killing her. Your killing her. Give it up." One morning, after a long walk along the beach, he went up to his room and took a bubble bath. Something about his skin didn't feel right, he no longer felt good. His eyes ached, his head throbbed, his soul was leaking out his ear. Something inside of him said he's lose it all. Everything he had thieved from the world. He stood before the mirror and stared at his body, his chest and his shoulders, his arms and neck. He had bought a membership next to the hotel, plus the spa, he was staying in top rate Hilton, Tom looked down at his sculpted body and realized he had stole that as well. "You pay for what you get." It wasn't him. It was someone else. He had stole someone else's body, someone else's life, someone else's ideas and was living like a king, but not the kind his God had chose for him, but a king that only existed in his mind, only existed on paper, only existed at this moment. Really, Tom was a homeless guy, really begging on the street, really walking on his heels, with real snot running down his chin, really begging for his life. Then, he turned away. "God what have I done." Don't stop now. The voice said. If you stop now, I'll take more than your riches away. I'll take everything you got. "Everything." Tom screamed at the mirror. "Everything?" Everything. Don't stop now, or I'll take everything you got. More than money. I'll take it all. Tonight would be his last night at the Worthington. His next plan would to shack up at a motel on the outskirts of town. He take a cab in a few days before New Years, and walk around town, until he was ready to hit the Milan Gallery. He change appearances at a back conference room at the downtown hotel. Dress up in his normal security guard outfit that the Milan gave him, to guard the precious painting and the head of Mary from the Pieta. It would be the most evil hit of all, and the most worthy. He had second thoughts about it, and figured God would prevent him from lifting it. But his belief was shaky, especially after his mind was made up. He pretended a thick rain cloud, would cover his actions from God, even though God wasn't proud of his sinful ways. He decided to hit the Gallery around nine pacific time, when the exhibit was most populated with onlookers. He would dress up in the security outfit Milan provided him to guard, in a back conference room, walk around town, eat a light dinner, he always ate light before a hit, most likely he order some chips at a Mexican restaurant near the gallery, so he could case the joint. He snack on the chips and sip on a water. He kept his mind clear before taking a place in public, plus, he was doing it before everyone, if the other guard caught on that he wasn't the guard for the night he would be busted and the plan would foil. He had to be sly. He had one advantage. It was purely an inside Job. He'd wait until he had the guts to make the hit and felt the heat of his back, and then, move in with the bag, walk directly to the vault, acting as if he was in charge, trip the alarm, simply buy shutting it off, he had the code because he use to look up each night, lift the head, place it in the bag, and hail a cab and off to Love Field with a one way fair to the distant tropics. In the mirror again he fell deep into his eyes, "Don't worry guy. Your inventive. The world is riding on it's own fate." He dressed into the security guard outfit, buttoning each button and saying to himself, "Your inventive. Your okay. This world is riding on it's own fate." He didn't know what it meant, but it was poetic, and it made since in some world, no matter the dimension, or reality. Somewhere, between the pages, the words fit, and the logic arrived. The thief was stealing away with more than a plan, more than the head of Mary, more than the debt of the devil. He was stealing away with an invention. An idea. Something that may change the world. He was trying to steal something holy, for the sake he didn't understand. He was lifting something that would help him gain nothing, nor would it advance him in anyway. He was free floating again, struggling, picking up ends, fitting bits together without a clue or without a cause. Tom Burnette was falling, falling, falling, rebelling, not just against logic, but against the intention of a thief. Rebellion. This thief was just about to lose it, and for once, in a long time, it felt right, even though it was wrong. REVOLT. It felt good, even though it was evil. Tom finished up the second to the last button and fastened the utility belt. He stared at himself in the mirror and gave himself a wink. "You get him kid." Reeeebeliooon. He always called upon the child in him before a hit. If he thought of himself as a kid, it worked better.

Tom was too smart for himself. He never shared his screwy ideas about the beginning of the universe and how the Big Bang was missing components and how ylem and it's inner parts composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons and how the universe was very hot, and cold, and how their existed another particle, outside of the initial high density of what was before the bang, and if that was the right track, what if something was before the big bang, this entity that existed before the inflation and how this missing particle reacted with the original sphere which was the seed of the beginning of time. He never shared what the missing particle was with anyone, hardly himself to be honest. the one that rebelled from the ultimate force and created what man now calls, music. The rhythms, of life, all motion was part of it's plan. All things, that were still, where one with the good force, the initial, the originator of what we called creation and now, motion, or the movement, the objects in motion, were the rebels of the goodness, the stillness, the oneness, of what many call God Almighty. God was the beginning and He will be the end. The alpha and the Omega. The initial force, the sphere, the starter of the Big Bang, understood the explosion, and planed it's freedom and it's never ending motion. Only at times, does the motion cease and the way of life returns in it's purest form, they way It was before existence, holds truth in it's utter stillness and calm nothingness. Now, we suffer in it's motion, in it's unending dance with confusion and the enmity of complete, wholeness and order.

This was one of the reason's for his thievery. He didn't fully understand, so he took what he felt would make him complete and one.

And in this desire, in this wish to be whole, he broke apart into many and fell from grace.

The hit was finalized in his mind. "Walk right in, remove the head, stuff it in the bag and walk right out, hail a cab and head to the airport. Whatever you do Tom Burnet, don't look back." Tom checked his eyes in the mirror one last time, checked his watch which read 8:46 AM and downed two twenty five milligram, orange tablets of Zoloft and exited the bathroom and down the hall to the elevators to prepare for the biggest robbery the town of Worth had never seen.

Who care what the poem meant. Who care if it made sense or not. That wasn't the point. Mr. Spoil had gone far in the world and now he was going to get farther. Now with his words. The life of a gardener, the life of a snow plow'er wasn't doing it for him. He wanted more. Greed made him write the poetic verse. Greed made him send to . Greed made him embarrassing. Greed made him shameful. Spoil wasn't a genetic gift to womankind. Nor was a gift to any artist walking the streets of SOHO. Spoil was a fat slob. Wasting the sight of man. Wasting aesthetic pleasure of the body. He was a fool. A half fool, with a maggot's body. The only hope for him now was to get on some type of medication and give in. Settle down in some lonely apartment away from the care of Ann and Hairison. Hell, most likely he ruined their Christmas by eating up their food and asking for their care. He didn't know what a guest's limit were. Hairison would go out and buy a loaf of Wonder Bread and Spoil would eat half the loaf and leave a few slices for Ann and Hairison. He was too big of a pig to be unsuccessful. Soon, Hairison would get tired of his greedy pig nature and boot his ass out on the streets of Cold Town. Soon, Hairison would begin asking for rent. No. He'll never ask for rent, Spoil thought. Hairison is the nicest guy on the block. He took me in for the love of God. He kept me from going homeless. Hairison wouldn't do that. Not to me.

Spoil was from a hard part of Heat town. He lived alone, in a small pad on the far end of town, near the movies. He worked there as a projectionist and even made a living projecting the motion picture onto a silver screen. Spoil made a swell life in Heat town. After the movie house shut down, he moved North to Cold Town to live with his cousin, Red. After his cousin, Red, died of an overdose of Heroin, he was left in the cold near Main Street Cold Town. There was shelter there and he was going to stay there overnight, until the barber Hairison offered him a position as a gardener. He met Hairison after getting his hair cut at the local barber in Cold Town.

The black sky, filled with a string of stars, floating above Hairison's place, on top of purple and pink clouds illuminating from a crescent moon that hid far above the approaching dark ocean blues of the night sky skimming under. Around the puffy purples and pinks a light azure rain tore down in thick drops.

"Why don't you stay at my place and work in town shuffling snow. They are in need of a plower this year and we can pay ya, seven to ten an hour. Sound good?"

Spoil agreed that it would work out. "I'll even help ya with rent." It gave Hairison more reason to live. Caring for another makes life richer and worthwhile. Also, it gave Spoil reason to give his needy self to another. They were helping each other out. Hairison provided Spoil with shelter and Spoil read his poetry and kept him good company, ate his food with him and shared coffee and laughs at nights on lonely Saturdays when the sound of the cold December rain could wear tears in a man's eyes.

Spoil could easily destroy a poem or trip up an idea just by doubting his confidence of success. He wasn't as pure as most men, and most poets usually dedicate a slice of their time to trouble. He was current on the theories of the beginning of time. A few philosophers that he had a chance to watch on channel 13, on Hairison's mini television that was giving to Hairison several years back, revealed an explanation of the order and structure of the universe known as the String Theory. The string theory suggested that the universe was composed of eleven dimensions. Each dimension was connected through an order of strings. These dimensions could exist as close as particles exist inside an atom. Hence, the strings were surrounding our dimension and linking dimensions to other dimension that scientist had not yet witnessed of today's times. Most of the dimensions were closer than we suspected and in many cases overlapped our current existence. The big bang theory was attached to the string theory just as the inflammation theory and others theory explaining the beginning of time. There existed five theories and some scientist with a name that sounded like Wieden, or Wietten, suggested that each of the five theories were the same theory explained in a different manner. All five theories were compared to a cello player performing before five different mirrors reflecting the same theory over five different directions. The string theory advised new thinkers that worm holes and even jumping from dimension to dimension was actually possible. It was supposedly proved with logical math, and the math was supposed to work out beautifully. Hence, the dimension that Spoil lived in now, was actually connected to other dimensions. This explains the names of the rabbits and the correlation with Jackson, Roberto and Chuck. Perhaps, Jackson was a rabbit in Spoil's world, but in his world he was a prisoner learning literature on the internet in his prison cell. Perhaps, Chuck was a prison guard in Huntsilve but also, existing as a rabbit caged in Mr. Hairison's back yard. There was a connection between Hairison's caged rabbits and the prisoners in Roberto's world. After all, Tom Burnet had created Spoil, just as Roberto had created Tom Burnet. Each world was connected by it's creator.

Spoil no longer desired to steal car radio's, purses and various valuables from the interior of cars in the neighborhood. He no longer broke into garages and lifted tools and metals containing silvers. He quit that life. Now it was about thieving words. Now, he looked forward to a long walk to the local library, which was no larger than a small room. It was settled in the south part of Cold Town near the Fire Station , graveyard and storage units. Not far from the Fancy Tanning saloon and the pizzeria with supposedly authentically tasting pizza with Italian recipes. He decided to check out various books containing information about poetry. There was a little bit of knowledge in that room of books kept near the storage units. The room was about the size of a large bedroom. It had a screen door, a small information desk, no larger than a teacher's desk and a few book shelves with a large amount of old fiction from authors like Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickenson, Thomas Wolfe, Virginia Woolf, and Thomas Hardy. They had playwrights too. Everything from William Shakespeare and Marlowe, to Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Edward Albee, Sam Shepard and a healthy anthology of Samuel Becket's work, including the book Watt. He decided to check out a few plays by Samuel Becket and some How To Write Poetry Books, which he decided to turn in as he passed the book drop. There was no one way to write poetry, Samuel Becket, T.S. Elliot and Walt Whitman proved that there were no laws to verse or prose. That day, was long. It was a Sunday, so everything was quit, peaceful and calm. The wind's hardly ever picked up and Spoil had much time to contemplate his next move. He pondered over the idea of heading south back to the town of Heat. It might work out there, if he ran into his old friend, Bleu. Bleu was his buddy that got him turned on to poetry and even shared a few poetry reading with him in Bigger City. They drove over forty miles, for one poetry reading, that was supposed to of invited a few famous authors. Only one showed. His name was Ink Pen. It was his pen name. He wrote over thirty books in his lifetime and published every one of them. His poetry was simple and direct and very rarely did he impress his readers with fancy verse or complex syntax attached to high vocabulary. He claimed to write poetry because, "It freed him up from the complexities of the world." Ink Pen, had a long chin, wide eyebrows and a bushy beard that reminded Spoil of Moses. Many called him Moses as a nick name, because of his hairy beard. Rumor had it, he was nearly as rich as Donald Trump, due to the fact, that his favorite hobby was the stock market. He was a man that was not ashamed of admitting to the necessity of money and the desire of it. He agreed with George Barnard Shaw, "The evils of the world are brought on by the lack of money. Not the root of it." He claimed in one of his poems entitled Green Blood. He knew that the only thing a man needed in this world, to live comfortably, was dough. "Money not only makes the world go around, but it gets you laid." He was right. Without money, there was no way, any of us, poet, writer or any type of artist, was getting any. No money, no honey. That was the lay with Mr. Pen. Ink had it down. He knew what the ladies desired. So, he got on the stock market and made a killing, then, to ride out his wealth, he got hooked on words, verse and eventually started to read at nearby poetry readings. He was known to show up in a limo, dressed in a tuxedo, smoking European cigars, or some expensive pipe and tobacco he purchased in Czech Republic and hand out pastries he bought in Paris. He was a jolly man full of guffaws, and long stories about New York and the Stock Exchange. "Always put money in Home Depot and Coca cola. You can't go wrong with Coke. Americans will always buy houses, fix em up and drink Coke while their doing it. Coke and Home Depot. Can't go wrong with betting on those stocks."

Spoil went home after the library with Ink Pen on his mind. What a man. What a luxurious life he must of lived in New York as a millioniar. What would that be like. To have that type of cash. To be that damn rich. Shit, you be able to do anything. Wake up whenever you wanted. Fly off to some exotic island. See as many beautiful women as possible. Wow. Having that much would be heaven on earth. That would make a man evil. Spoil thought. And fame. Everyone knows who Ink Pen is. He is a world renowned poet. His face is on the magazine of every poetry magazine and his knew play hit it big on Broadway. Imagine that. To walk around New York city with the finest cloths a man can buy, and buy up the tastiest, delicate cousins dished up by the most skilled chefs of all the world. To be entertained by the greatest performer in the finest theatres of Broadway. I could be in Paris tomorrow talking with famous poets and other writers, that were once like me, stuck in a small cold town, with one barber shop, one grocery store, with one type of yogurt, one type of apples, one type of everything nearly. The only thing at my grocery store that has variety is the breads which are made by Mrs. Bairdes bread, Wonder and Harvest Farms. Its so bland here. Wow. To be like Ink Pen. I have the power to do that. All I need to conquer this poverty that I exist in is this pen. Spoil pulled out his round stic Bic Pen he bought at the Local Piggly Wiggly Mart. With this pen, I could rule my own world. Write my own rules. Write my own world that is and all in poetry. That's it. HE sounded as if he was selling himself an idea. An idea about the future, that he could believe in. An idea that would change his frame of mind about his miserable, petty little life in Cold Town. Now, he was going to get out. He didn't need to steal anything anymore. All that fast cash amounted only to food, and when he could afford it, rent. Now, it made him poorer. He was living with some stranger that he didn't really trust and he was starting to become grumpier and grumpier everyday. He was tired of not being able to pick out his food at the grocer store, even though there wasn't that much of a variety to chose from he still wanted to chose. And Spoil missed the freedom to shop, and to decide when it was time to shop, or decide what type of cereal he wanted to eat in the morning, and what he wanted to eat through out the day, or drink, or where to go, and to have reasons to get there. Days flew by, and he felt like a prisoner, on the end of a rope, being tugged along, and told when to open his mouth and when to swallow. This life wasn't his life any longer, someone else was living it for him. He wasn't telling the story, Hairison was. I shouldn't be this way. My life shouldn't be this stiff.

Spoil had lost his power to choose. He was no longer in control. Now, Hairison purchased his food. He never was asked for a list. Ann just brought food home, and she cooked the meals and when dinner was ready Spoil was informed that he was ready to eat, and he ate what was before him or he didn't eat at all. He had hit rock bottom. When life becomes this controlled, one begins to understand the life of a prisoner.

Spoil couldn't choose anymore and once a person freedom of choice has been taken away from them, then their freedom is no longer present in their life. Where was the freedom? Liberty had crawled under the rug and stock her smelly bottom of control in the air. He was getting bored with Mr. Hairison. Ann was growing on him, but she was headed back to the hospital in Big Town to finish up her interment and study to make it as an LVN. Spoil was planning on leaving if Hairison remained grumpy and controlling. But he figured Hairison wasn't doing this on purpose. He was naturally this way. Men are naturally greedy. It is the one worst and most common problem of the world. Greed, was the reason why he wanted to control Spoil. Hairison didn't mean to be a dictator, it was just in his nature to hurt him. Pleasure and pain became his associations with Hairison. The love in their relationship was fading and the only thing he could look forward to know, was one of Mr. Hairison's daughter baked brownies, or a gallon of milk that Hairison may bring home, or to dip into his grape nuts, or to go on ride with him to town. Spoil had something on his mind he wanted to get across to Hairison. "I want to go now." He would practice it in the mirror. "I am leaving. I'am to old to walk the streets but I don't care. I have become nothing living over you and I want to become a famous poet, so I'm headed to Big Town to read my from my journal. I don't care if it kills me Mr. Hairison." Of coarse now he wasn't talking to Hairison but rather to his reflection in the mirror. It took practice. No it didn't take practice. That was a lie. He was lying to himself. Spoil was stalling for time. He knew the walk to big town would nearly kill him. First, he had to. . .first he had to. . .he didn't know what he had to do first. He could steal his keys, but that would get him in more trouble, even jail time, possible time in the penitentiary. Life was becoming more and more stale. But if he got away, he would really understand the words, he would really understand the meaning of this limited but limitless life. Maybe that is what God wants me to be. A wanderer. A person on the streets, selling his words to passer-bys. Perhaps, I should leave without telling him. If I let him go, maybe he'll give me a ride to the airport. If I make it to the airport, I could bum money until I save up for a flight out of here. But I am merely running from my problems if I do that. Spoil couldn't make up his mind. But I can't stay trapped up in this attic, or could I. I could die here, alone. I could have a heart attack, alone, with out love, with out the security of another's arms. I could just wither here with my useless poetry, and Hairison could just move away and leave my ass here. I'll be alone. Surely Ann won't take care of me. She is too busy with the hospital and the restaurant and her dream of making it to LVN. I got to get away somewhere. Anywhere. Then, a troubled smile lifted across Spoil's flabby face. He sat the tooth brush down, next to the small puddle of water that leaked off his hand, as he turned the facet off. The truth brush crashed over and sent the paste sliding off on the vertical wall of the transition of the bathroom sink. He was beat. All this wishing to leave Hairison places had driven him into a messy ball of anxiety and pressed tension. He was constantly wishing to leave, but going nowhere. He was Go Go (Estragon) and Di Di, (Vladimir) and his poetry reminded him of Lucky or the raving cries from Lucky's fat keeper the Pot Head, P o z z o. There was nothing in Big Town but endless paved side walk leading to the same thing, the same attic, the same loft, the same small room, with another empty journal, with perhaps, a new idea, to change something that most likely will change anyway. He wanted to be part of the game by going to Big Town, but he was just as great in Cold Town, alone, with his words in his tiny journal, caressed by his small hands.

Spoil was going to steal his liberty back by writing a poem that would fly him to the Big City. That was his only chance out of this dull misery of monotonous snow plowing, sitting around the house snacking toward death, reading the paper and listening to Hairison complain about his rusty razors at the shop. Ann was leaving in the next few days. She was headed back to the Big City to complete her nurse training.

"Well, Dad. I hate that I have to leave by Sunday. It was nice staying. I can't wait to return and get started at the Hospital." Hairison was currently bent over, scratching his ass, and exploring through the refrigerator. "Did you get mayo when you were up at Piggly Wiggly?" Hairison asked. There wasn't a moment that went by that Hairison wasn't asking her for a condiment, or some type of bread she had forgot at the corner store. "No. I forgot the mayo. Oh. Do you want me to drive back in town to pick some up?" Hairison shook his hand at her implying that she didn't have to drive back. Then, he walked over to her, with a half made sandwich in his hand, kissed her on the cheek and said, "I'll miss ya too honey." It was almost as if they were husband and wife. "How long is your guest going to stay." Spoil wasn't in the room when all this was going on. He could here every word, every foot step and smack of the lips. "I don't know. I guess as long as he is a help around the house, and as long as he starts paying the grocery bill." Spoil's eyebrows raised. Now he was a paying customer. "Shoot. I got to pay for food now." "Do you make him pay rent?" "Not yet." Hairison informed her. "I not that cruel. He is just an old drifter. He'd be homeless if we didn't take him in. He's good help around the house though. And his gardening work is near professional. Plus, the town says they haven't had a better snow plow man in the last decade, since Burt died of colon failure." "Burt's colon failed." "Yep. Ten years back. Doctors couldn't save em." "What was wrong with his colon." "It just failed him. They tried to repair it, but they couldn't save him." "What happened to Burt's colon again. Was it cancer?" The conversation was getting repetitive about Burt's ass. What do I care about Burt's ass. I don't know Burt, more or less his ass. So he had colon failure, big deal, you know how many people's colon's fail a day. Spoil was getting bitter about the colon talk. Spoil leaned over and spied out the window. No one was coming or going. No car. Not even a sign of car. Not even the slightest hint of civilization out there in the snowy lawn. The stars sprouted up and scattered throughout the blackened sky. It was as if a the universes largest salt shaker had sprinkled the opaque sky with glowing speckles of silvery salt, "So it was cancer. It sounds like your talking about Colon Cancer." Still on the colon, Spoil raised an eyebrow at there nagging about the dead fried Burt. "Was it Burt Johnson, or Burt Swan." "Burt Swan who else." "You sure it wasn't Burt Johnson?" Ann replied. "Burt Johnson died of Testicle problems." As if Hairison really knew any way. "What was wrong with his testicles?" "I don't know, one of them grew too large and busted." "His testicle busted." "Or it fell off." "Testicles don't fall off Dad." Ann said in an angry voice. "You don't know do you?" "Burt Swan died of Colon failure, Burt Johnson died of Testicle Cancer, I believe." A quite moment filled the room. Spoil could feel his chest rise up and down, and his breathing became a little more labored. He was getting excited. He wanted to know if it was testicle cancer. "It wasn't testicle cancer. I remember now. Jenny told me." "You knew his wife?" Hairison said with a horse voice. They where actually yelling over the nonsense. "YES, I KNEW HIS WIFE." Ann said. "I was close to the Johnsons." "How close." "I was dating their oldest son and nearly married him. His father died years back, of heart failure." "Heart failure. It wasn't heart failure. It was testicle cancer." "It was his heart. His son told me." "He was embarrassed. It was the testicles." "Heart." "Testicles." They began chanting back and forth like two fencer's stabbing at each others vitals. "Heart." Ann commanded. Hairison winced back on fire. "TESTICLES." "Heart." She insisted. "TESTICLES." He roared. "HEART" She insisted again. "TESTICLES." "HEART." "TESTICLES." "HEART." "TESTICLES." Hairison took a large breath. His belly swelled the size of a over pumped up beach ball. "TESTICLES. THE MAN DIED CAUSE HIS BALLS FAILED HIM." "His heart failed him." "Balls." "heart." They continued on like two school children harping on one another at the back of the school bus. Finally laughter filled the kitchen. Ann was guffawing so loud she nearly fell to her knees. Hairison overlapped her with hacking chuckles and sneering side aching giggles. began to laugh at their childish behavior. Spoil covered his mouth too. He was so embarrassed for them. Why would anyone value other's death so much. They were clawing at each other like cats. "Forget it Dad. I don't care how he died." "You don't" Hairison said with tears in his eyes. "No. I don't." She walked over to him. "It could have been his balls or his heart. It doesn't matter. As long as your still here with me. Lets not fight. Lets be friends again Dad." "Well, you act like you know everything." "Well I don't Dad." She hugged her father and took him out on the front porch. "Cigarette break." She said in a low, care free easy flowing voice. She was lose again and ready to attend the holidays. They sat on the swing chair that Dad had sat up two days back for the New Years party. "In two days it will be New Years. You know Christmas just flew by. I barely even remember it." Spoil could here the squeaking admit from the hinges of the new swing set. "You like you Christmas present." She referred to the swing set with her elbow. Her father put his arm around her and gazed up at the milky way. Above winking back at them was a large gathering of a family of sparkling angels floating in the endless night sky.

Spoil floated off to sleep, hearing Ann and Hairison's voices echo back and forth at each other, "Testicles, testicles, testicles." "Heart, heart, heart." A bizarre but small smile flipped up on his snoring face. "Testicles, testicles, testicles," "Heart, heart, heart." The swing set fell still as Ann dozed off onto her Father's strong shoulder. He put his arm around his daughter and his eyes began to water. This was Hairison's best Christmas since Mrs. Hairison was alive.

Spoil snored as his face twitched and he flipped over to his side and took in a larger breath. His breaths increased triple in size and his heart rate slightly sped up and pattered. His eyes rolled to the back of his head and he began twitching around like a mouse with his tail caught in a rodent trap. "Testicles." "Heart." The voices repeated in his head over and over again. He had never had such a strange and interesting dream in his entire life as devout snoozing fool.

This beat the old days when Spoil had to survive washing windows at the local drugstore. And it beat the time he once had to wax, spray, clean and dry fancy cars at the neighborhood carwash, or push a lawn mower in the summer to make rent. He was a young Spintrius selling his fresh body to older women, impressing them by raking their lawns, scrubbing out their bathtubs or rearranging the interior of their garages. He sold to them what they did not have, nice bodes. Fat ladies would hire him to do their windows, or walk their dogs, or plan their flower beds full of flowery exotic blooming botanicals, or deliver their morning newspapers, or for the really older ladies losing their eye sight, read the papers to them, and that is how he got hooked on words, and began playing with verse and eventually mastering the art of poetry. Words became his friends, and his only escape. He was a suppressed Spintrius and tired of ending up sleeping with these older ladies, in their late thirties, past their prime, tired of their fatty husbands and slow uneducated brains. He had education, his mother was a school teacher and taught him well. Plus, he took some college in his time. A few classes in politics and a heavy load covering World Masterpieces from the Norton Anthology and even a few science classes to help him understand the world better.

Mr. Spoil curled up with his army green sleepy bag he had bought long ago from the Army and Navy Store. The one he had before that was a loaner from a sheriff he had run across years back, when he was hiking from Heat to Cold. He left one morning and decided that the town of Heat had nothing for him. The little voice in his head told him that he shouldn't. Your too old. You'll never make it. He was too old too. Life was creeping on him. One could see it's wear and tear across his face, embedded in wrinkles, thick, deep lines and wilting hair. His eyes no longer radiated with the intense brightness they had once did years before, when he was in his prime. Now, Spoil was close to his gray sixties. Three more years and he would slowly land on the number sixty. Sixty years old. How dreadful that number was to him. That was the year one retired and laid back from work, and meditated on the meaning of their lives and the worth of the end, and eventually they come to accept the end.

Spoil listened to the Hairison's brand new cuckoo clock tick and twist, tap and tock and thump through the heavy drowsiness of the night. He compared the thumping of the cuckoo to his own rhythm of his heart. Ticking away toward the last tock to end it's precious and only time.

The train passed. Very rarely did it come by. It was roaring at full blast. Screaming away like a made child. Spitting sparks and scrapes from it's steal sides like a mad bull charging full ahead, no doubt of mind, no fear, far from slowing, or ceasing in gaining speed, frightening by the blasting from a thunder strike, and never, ever, no matter what happened, to look back. Straight ahead it dominated time and space, never once stumbling or hesitating from taking it's existence before it's iron laid path. A thick, hard, rambling steal bull with enraging hatred toward any object that stood before the rails, the train commanded ahead. Raaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh. It hissed and hollered as it banged away over and over again, until it's entire spine connected by a hundred and three railway cars, clicking and clanking by with lightning speed. Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh. Its ghostly cry set fire to the ears of Spoil. He duct under the sleeping bag, at first, shying away like a frightened little boy, alone, naïve, scared of the monster that tempted him to look at the window. The monster that once may have hid under his bed. The monster that made him check the closet, keep the doors locked, and kept his toy box sealed shut. It was the voice of this very monster he engagingly, alluringly and awesomely feared for as long as he was taught such beasts existed. He was never for sure, not hundred and one percent sure that monster did not exist. They could exist. It was possible. God was possible wasn't He. Christ ascended to heaven didn't he. Why wouldn't a monster be possible. A man, entitling himself as the Creator of the Earth and Heavens, Lord of mankind, King of all Kings, claimed he was the Messiah, and walked on water, and preached the Word of God and died for our sins, once existed, now didn't he. A man that conquered death, healed the sick and cast demons from the possessed, resurrected the dead, and even went to hell only to return and pass on His word. He was our creator and sent His only begotten son to die for our sins on the cross. And He, God, was in our form, a man, to die, for us. That was possible now wasn't it. Why wasn't a simple monster possible too. Spoil was sure it wasn't the train. It was something more. Snow flakes tapped on the window. For one second, it sounded like a thousand little hands scrapping on the glass. A thousand little hands, from the little children lost in the wind. It was the children lost in the window. The lost boys flying through the night, casting their little shadows across icy fields below sparkling from the light of the pale moon. It was a collection of beast hovering past, as big as a train, as mighty and fast. Spoil had to see. He had to see quick. Quickly as he could he sat up to catch a glimpse of the passing noise.

It was the train. Nothing more. The last five railway cars clicked by. The last car read Sante Fe. It was a train headed south, most likely emptied of cattle from Heat Town. Heat Town was famous for their cattle drives of the past. The town still raised and sent out beef from it's pasture. Loaded on a hundred cars for the industrialized towns that consumed it like wild, hungry carnivores. It was over hundred railway cars, emptied, most likely of beef, and wheat and possibly barely. All those mouths to feed, all those hungry children thirsting after life, longing to grow. Someone had to feed the North. It was southern cars. Cars from hands that invented the notions of hospitality. The north wasn't as greedy as the south. No place was as greedy as Big City. Big City was one of the oldest towns in the north, full of business men, sky scrappers, subway systems, manmade forests in the center of the concrete mountains, sidewalks that never ended and a army of greedy executives out to reinvent the wheel, over and over again, for the all mighty dollar. The almighty green. Millions upon millions of empty railway cars headed back to the south to refill and fuel a city composed of pure greed and a bottomless pit of hunger and disease. No of this will ever end. Spoil thought. The hunger goes on and on. More and more die every day. Man or animal, someone or something has to pay for all this slaughter. Somewhere down the rail road, passing each wooden tie, he could hear the last car hiss into the cold dark wind, into the thick black night and even under the sleeping bag he could hear the rattle of loose bones, the babyish whines and cut off hollers of the dieing cattle, and surprisingly enough, sharply smell the traces of the carcasses, leftovers of the beefy feed, the rank of the hides and the spirit of the dead.

Roberto was a big eater. He had the largest appetite in the prison but rarely exercised it. He rarely ever fulfilled such a bottomless hunger. He never got the chance to. Didn't have the time. The most he could eat in thirty minutes was a plate full of what the cafeteria servants served. Plus he didn't have time to eat that much. Thirty minutes was his limit. That was the time allotted to prisoners in that particular sector. "Eat as much as you can in as little time possible." That was the motto in the cafeteria in the state prison. Now that the revolt had ended all authority he decided he take longer meal breaks and eat more while he did it. The cell's where reopened. Nick had established freedom among all the other prisoner. He, Jackson and Chuck had the privilege to explore any part of the prison they felt suited to visit. The cafeteria was open twenty four seven and food was dished out in however large of the quantity desired. The value of the food had improved since Nick demanded more attention and better meals for his new people, as he called them. The New People were no longer treated as prisoners but rather treated like any other citizen. They deserved better water, food, clothing, and since shelter had been established, better entertainment. "After water, food, clothing, sex and shelter are achieved the next thing a person needs is a good movie, or some form of entertainment. Once all your needs are met, nothing more to do, but read, watch TV or go to the movies." Jackson told Roberto. "What about work." Roberto asked Jackson. "That's why were in here. We didn't work out right. If we all had good jobs we wouldn't had to steal, kill or plumage to be in here." "Good word." Roberto congratulated Jackson for using more weighty vocabulary. "Nothing makes sense unless you work. Work makes the mind think in an orderly fashion." Chuck announced. "Hell, I'm in here, and I was working while I got trapped in this shit. Now, my job has made me a fulltime prisoner." "You should have been one anyway, Chuck." Roberto informed him. "I didn't plead guilty in the court of law, why should I be trapped now." "Talk to Nick about that." Jackson said. Luckily, Roberto provided Chuck with an extra uniform he had tucked away for a rainy day. He had copped it from laundry in order to sleep in it. Luckily, Roberto was anal about what he slept in. He kept an extra pair of yellow overalls. The extra uniform was Roberto's makeshift pajamas. He hated to sleep in his prison uniform and have to wake up smelly the next day. If it wasn't for that extra prison uniform most likely Chuck would have been executed by one of Nick's people. The hallways were pretty much emptied. Most of the prisoners had gathered in the cafeteria or on the TV halls. The TV halls were where the prisoners gathered to play cards, free lift with weights or watched programs on TV. The life of a prisoner was pretty bland. It began with a duty, like cafeteria duty, laundry duty, or working in the basement factory, refining metals and what not. Also, they had a choice to take some time to read or study online in the computer rooms that were sat up near the TV hall. This was only a privilege, and one had to be on best behavior to win time to use the computers.

"Hell, I would of went homeless if I didn't get caught stealing." Jackson informed Chuck and Roberto that if it wasn't for his rape conviction he would, "Been freezing oud on da street. Shee dat bitch deserved id anyway. It was her reason I'd loss my job and was begging Grandma for dough. I was starving and she wouldn't let me in. So I broke the glass to her front bedroom, crawled in to look for her purse, she came out of the bathroom with a towel on her head, and only a towel on her head. I was crazed and on a hit of acid while I decided to do her. I had screwed her over hundred times before, why not screw er again. So I did and the court didn't like that. I told the jury we had made love for years and years. Hell, she was fixin to be my next wife. She just didn't want me fucking her at the time, but hell, when you go hungry and your on drugs, you get kinda horny. So I did her in. Afterwards she called the pigs on me and they busted me. Freakin bitch." "So, now your doing time for her, just cause you couldn't wait for her permission." "A women's got the right to protect her body." Roberto informed him. "She's got the right to say No. And when she says no she means no." "That's what no means no means." Chuck said. "Yeah but she had said yeah before." "Well, what happened in the past is what happened in the past." Chuck said again. "True." Roberto agreed. "A women has the right to make the final decision." "Your entering her, she's not entering you." Chuck announced in a matter to fact manner. "I guess I screwed up." "You damn right you screwed up. Now your in prison. Rape is a very series crime." "Crime against humanity." Roberto said. A silent moment filled the room. Jackson began to shake a little and even his face had turned red. It looked as if it was going to split open and rip apart. He was about to bust. It was only a matter of seconds until he was going to burst into tears. "You know what you did was wrong." Roberto said interrupting him from continuing with the graphic story. "Yes." Jackson agreed with him. A moment of clarity washed over his face and his eyes grew clear and widened a bit. "Yes. I knew it was wrong. She was screaming and kicking her legs. It was the hardest. . ." A knot formed in Jackson's face and a steaming burning crick arrived in his throat. Tears began to role down his face. A realization had entered the room. ". . .thing I ever tried to do. And I don't know why I did it." "Cause if felt good." Roberto said. "That's why we are all in her. We wanted to feel better." "Well, it gets cold out, you go hungry and you don't want to be cold or hungry anymore. You want. . ." His bottom lipped began to tremble uncontrollably, "You wanna be warm." Chuck said. "Its more than that. Its more than being warm or filling up your belly. It's deeper than that. Anyone can do that. Anyone can eat till there full, or find a warm place to sleep. I wanted more than that. I wanted her to look at me. To hug me. I wanted. . .I wanted. . ."to be loved. You want to be loved." Roberto finished it for him. "Yeah. I guess that's it. I wanted to be love." Jackson repeated him. His voice seemed to echo down the hall. "You think Nick wants to be loved." Roberto continued. "Maybe." Just then a scream lingered down the hall. Someone sounded as if they were being beaten with a stick. Most likely it was Nick's gang pounding on some guard, or some prisoner that challenged him and his orders.

Nick order in the Cafeteria was totally spawned for totalitarianism. He sat at one of guard balcony in a lunchroom chair decorated with tinsel and other various colorful cloth, mostly in gold colors and dark browns, to look similar to a Medieval thrown. Most of the other prisoner laughed at it, but they were never caught chuckling before the master Nick. One had to address him as "The Great One Nick" Or, "Master Nick." No one ever just called him Nick, unless they were but pals with him. Jackson, Chuck and Roberto decided to check out his set up at the cafeteria. The place was basically trashed, covered in spoiling food, old coke cans, beer cans (not much of that, due to the fact it was entering the prison from the service of the SWAT team and other hostage specialist camped outside the prison walls) His eyes were completely dilated. Most likely he was abusing a substance. Jackson guess, "Coke, Speed or Pot." Most likely it wasn't marijuana, that was the hardest drug to get into the prisons, mostly because it was the drug of choice among most inmates. The second most popular drug was prescription pills for sleeping, downers and various feel good drugs like heroin, cocaine, and or crystal meth. Nick had four security guards tied to the chain-link fence once used to separate the front food line from the body of the cafeteria. It was used to close off the kitchen area after food was to be served, if it was the usual condition which it was far from being at the present moment due to the madness of Nick. Nick had the security guards nicely tied to the fence with a dog chain, most likely used for the drug dogs (German shepherds)and their ankles tied with chord. Occasionally Nick would nurse the guards beer, or water ever other hour. The guards eyes looked drained of life and their bodies hung limp against the chains. If it wasn't for the chords and dog chains bonding them to the chain link, they'd be knocked out on their ass, or laying face down. It looked as if they had been beaten with ax handles, lead pipes or other blunt objects found in the utility basement near the underground factory for refinement of metals for license plates.

The new year had arrived. 2004 was here. The electric blinking ball touched down in Time Square on the cheap television set in Tom's motel room 2b. Tom was all alone. No women to wrap their hands around him. No lady to kiss, or whisper "I love you honey" in his ear. Nothing, no one, zilch, nill, null, nothing. And in the motel on the outskirts of Worth, he sat staring at the tube with a half lit cigarette smoking away between his index finder and middle finger. A cigarette wasting away to burn him, awake him, lift him once again into existence. An image itched at him. Something called to him from deep within. It cried for him to get back into the game, to stop watching the pointless tube and focus in on life. To become one with reality, kick in and get the job done, like a real man, or thief, or whatever the hell he was supposed to be, and do whatever the hell he was supposed to do, or be. Someone commanded him to wake up, being God, or the devil, or some unknown force in the distant galaxy, something wanted him to exist and take action. The old head of Mary appeared in his head again. The old head of Mary from Pieta, alone like him, in a vault of his own mind, tucked away, captured, and readied to be his. His for the first time. It would soon rest in his black backpack that once held the literature of the world. The literature he would study. The masterpieces of our time. He would snatch it and tuck it away in his black back pack, all his, without anyone else's touch, gaze or desire. No one would be able to look at that particular bust again. Not a soul. Only Tom Burnet. But it wasn't the bust of Mary he needed. It was someone far above a statue, far above an image, far above this useless world, this useless waste of a place. It was God. He needed God's faith, not the stature at all. Or would the head of Mary make a difference. He didn't care any longer. Now, he only cared about snatching it and keeping it far from the eyes. Nothing that beautiful and that whole should be able to be looked upon. Not any longer. He was going to take it to the distant island, far away, cast it into the ocean, for no one to see but the fishes below the sea.

Roberto had his flings in his time. Women and he did not mix any better than water and oil. He had very bad luck with gals. One time, after college, after he returned from his studies at the college in New York, he was accepted to a prestigious leftist college for the extreme liberals of the states. He studied performing arts there, but always wanted to be a writer. He had charming looks and a decent body, much more than the average overweight, overworked American, so performing the story was much easier for him then sitting down at a typewriter, or cramping his forearms trying to execute a story in freehand. Performing was more exciting than chaining your wrists to a typewriter for the sake of the publics intellect. In performance, as well as dance and theatre arts, the performer is active, living before the reader, or the audience per se, and he or she is far more alive and thirsty for life, than any cooped up writer trying to reinvent the wheel over and over again, with more or less the same vocabulary, minus the genius of Faulkner, or the creative ingenious mysteries and original rhythms of the master storyteller Edgar Allan Poe, the most literary professor extensively and satanically screwing young students entering graduate school and trying to make way into the world more or less barely begin a future career in the arts. No one is more jealous of an artist than a professor of literature, creative writing, performance, poetry, dance, or art or any other type of fine arts. On the other hand, no one is more supportive and proud of artist than a professor of literature, creative writing, poetry, dance, or any type of expression or, art, or any other type of fine arts. Yes, this happened to Roberto, before prison, before the first book, before he became a worldly success and icon of the literature. He became a devout envious student of the masterpieces of the world. He hated the fact that Faulkner's vocabulary, memory of the Civil War and other facts and Poe's grip on horrific patterns of rhythm and the nature of terror, it made him cringe that these writers, so devoutly internal and in a way that was unexplained and almost evil. It was insanely unreal that any of these writers did it all on their own. But we see that as true. We take it as so, that Faulkner and Poe wrote each word, invented each character and twist and fact or fiction, it all, every comma and period, in Faulkner's case no period, he never read a writer so prolific and in touch with syntax and the flow of a story and the free association, and prolific use of verse and prose and far beyond the stream of conscious, it was almost more pure and godly and more biblically than the deepest and richest section of the bible, this was Faulkner a man with a mind like no others, he was far beyond the storyteller, he was a story himself, unfolding a mystery of time, nature and the patterns of man and thought, he had unlocked a sense of storytelling that was more impressive than the nuclear bomb. Yes, Faulkner almost had Poe beat. Poe was known to use poetic license, but Faulkner forged his and invented a new shade of what most think of as poetic or musical. It was as if blood had arisen from the pages and the story had formed before the reader, live in flesh, thought and speech.

Yes, Roberto was envious of writers like these. Writers with so much power and beauty. Writers that could dig up the bones of the story and slowly rebuild the dead into the flesh and perfection God had, perhaps during a minute second of his creation meant for them ever be, but somehow decided it shouldn't last. Not forever. That is what Roberto wanted. Forever. A desire that can not be escaped nor denied, nor completely understood. He wanted to last forever and this was the most impossible dream that any man could dream.

Morning rose on Cold Town. The train rushed by ticking away again and again at the same old train like rhythm. Roaring and cutting away at the track sparks flew to the sides. The train had to make a slight turn near Hairison's house. Only slight enough to cook up a few sparks. "Sounds like Rain." Spoil said under his breath as he stretched to the morning dawn hanging out the window over the distant rooftops of the cold, icy town. Snow had covered everything in a frosty, sparkling white. All the rooftops looked like icing on the top of a wedding cake, glistening and mouthwatering. Spoil was thirsty due to the deep sleep winter had slung on him. Hairison and Ann had not awaken yet. He didn't smell the morning coffee, nor did he hear them chatting, or the sound of the microwave beeping, or the toaster unloading fresh waffles, or the aroma of eggs, donuts or hot oatmeal, butter and jelly. They were still snoozing away under a thick mound of sleep. It most be dawn. Spoil thought. Usually their up an hour after dawn, to get the paper and fed the pet rabbits in the back yard, or the front porch cat, whatever it's name was.

That morning Spoil wondered out in the front lawn in a nearly half conscious state. His eyes drooped down as he stepped off the front porch and headed past the fumitory plants tucked away and blooming in the front garden. The sleep had overcame him. He was barely in reality, barely in the morning sun, a barely clothed in the approaching light of day. Spoil slid in a half step and regained balance and once of consciousness but, but he was not fully awake, not fully there, not fully. The icy air puckered his bare nibbles and his buttocks clenched in little spasms. He turned around to face the house and ponder over his exact location. Was he home now, a boy, wondering around in the front yard looking for Smokey, that ol' mutt, that big collie, pure brown as earth fur and wide bid dog eyes, and a fluffy, flag style tail that waved proudly behind him exhibiting his happy canine state. No, Smokey wasn't around. No were to be found. Lost like he was. Naked, standing bare naked in Hairison's front yard awaiting for the day to hit his eyes again. Spoil was still asleep, in a deep state of somnambulism. His ramble, the somnambulated shuffle, humped him off the front porch and into the stingy ice cold slush that held it's particular frozen constitution in the midst of the old front garden and the front section of the lawn. He was slowly scooting, step by step to the mailbox, awaiting the sun rays to spray over the tips of the pointy rooftops leering on the skyline and across the front street leading to town. Cold Town was currently being sprinkled with a slight snow slurry. Thousand of angelic crystals fell upon the front lawn in an ever changing dance that had no pattern, no timing, no sense of direction, or any fixed pace, but never ending, nor hesitation. The snow, almost angry now, just kept falling, almost breathing a cool breath, hurrying upon the ground like the falling, billowing shrouds of snowy ice that already rested on top of the, once emerald green lawn. A snow covering what was once envy with life and jealous with cumbrous endless growth of nature, constantly being trimmed by lawn mowers of the summer, in that heat of July, when Hairison once sat on the old wood bench with his daughter on his lap, and a tall plastic clear glass of lemonade, and warming to his her laughs. Laughing at the changing swing of the rusty earth colored leaves, Leaf by leaf, twirling and spinning in a crazed and almost dizzy flurry, falling, falling to summer green ground, now covered in a frosty cake of white cold.

It was a year ago when Tom joined up with Sarge's team for a second fortune. This time Tom missed out on the healthy portion of the meat.

Tom had met up with a group he had shared the adventure with robbing the bank in the Big City. It was Sarge's team. Now, the group had changed up a little bit from there first excursion back in the day of the Bank One days, when they lifted the two million from the vault. Mr. Jane was a ball headed dude with the mentality of a field grunt. He had a little experience in the marines and was once a point man for recon. He even climbed his way up to sniper, so he had steady hands. Steady hands were hard to come by in these days where pharmaceuticals and prescription drugs, that half the country was on. Mr. Jane didn't touch antidepressants or illegal street drugs that gave the user the shakes, like cocaine, angel dust, black tar, meth, speed, crystal, heroine, or even weed, He was free from the feel good mentality and had his head on straight. The gang was back together again, and only a year after the initial hit. Mr. Jane composed a plan to knock off an art gallery in the heart of Soho. It was an exhibit passing through works by Jackson Pollock, Van Goghs, and even had a few Salvador Dalis. The entire hit would leave them with over five billion in art work. They hold the items in the black market to latter sell to collectors shopping in the underground. Mr. Jane wanted to do the hit for practice and because the exhibit had a cheap alarm installed with Home Depot parts. It would take under an hour to pull it off and they pay off the helpers, two thousand each in cold cash. They weren't hitting a joint that was heavily secured with real security, nor where they threatened, or risking incarceration. It was worth the try, Tom thought. Tom met up with Sarge, Mr. Jane, and Nick. Wes, or Sarge passed over a large cigar he had been puffing on for few moments. "I think the art hit is brilliant. Will run off with a fortune." Nick was a hefty man, with a thick beard and a thin set of bifocals. He talked in a rusty voice and usually had a ounce or two of liquor on his breath. Mr. Jane had long legs, muscled body, with a chisel chin and bushy eyebrows and for some unknown reason he stuttered and coughed while in conversation. The coughing was more sparked by a nervous reaction rather than he hacking up real phlegm. Mr. Jane was called Mr. Jane because of the sweet smelling cigarettes he loved to smoke. They were the type of cigarettes that left your mouth dry and aching for a snack, or some nutrition. Mr. Jane was the smartest of the gang, he was almost as intelligent as Burnet. The last man was Phil. Phil once was a jazz musician and had a college education, most likely he stole. He was the youngest and quickest of the group. He was born into crime, his father was a street hustler and his father before him. Phil was raised in the south section of Brooklyn and spent some time in Los Angeles. Believe it or not he had a non regional accent and used the language of an educated doctor. The team hooked up at abandoned coffee bar called The Shelter. The Shelter was a place young poets would hang out to do a read, or trade work over cup of Joe and smoke. It was a round room, with bent bay window covered in curtains. The tables were all round and their was a old stove in the center for hit. On the south side of the room stood a small stage with a few special for spotlighting. Before the microphone rose a small music stand for written text or poetry. The entire joint was designed for reading poetry and serving coffee. ON the north side of the café was a U-shape bar with a cappuccino maker and small troupe of electric coffee makers, no more than six and the seventh was an old fashion and overly sized drip, the kind that was popular in the fifties during the Beat days. It was used for when professional poets arrived to sale out crowds. Those type of poets claimed it was the only machine, besides the manual drip and pot that was worth a good brew. Most didn't use the old fashion coffee makers, most cafes in SOHO and adjacent writing villages used the quick and easy professional types made from plastic, or stainless steal. Not The Shelter. The Shelter was a unique place, with style and the old fashion coffee makers, those you would fine in a thrift store that required the old fashion round filters with grooves.

The Shelter had closed years back due to the necessity of money. The location wasn't very accessible to the rush of the NYU students. The owner spent all his money on a more modern coffee shop closer to the NYU university and Washington Square park. That was where the actors, writers, poets and dancer hung out to chat about the local gossip concerning the art world. Also, it was a place to launch the underground news for the struggling artist, a place for actors to read lines and set up schedule for rehearsals, a place for directors to read plays and set up schedule for rehearsals, a place for poets to speak out and musicians to hang. It was the happening joint for the real poets. But places like that sometimes got beat out by the commercial bracket. Starbucks was taking over and independent coffee shops were losing it to the accessibility and attractiveness of the modern day Starbucks. Plus, no shop could compete with the thick brews and double brews and the tastes and endless amount of variety that places like Starbucks allowed. The Sarge gang didn't care where they met. Closed down coffee shop or basement of some warehouse. Lately it just didn't matter to Wes and his people.

"This is how we do it. It will be a quick hit. We move in broad day light as a moving company. I'll flash the fake ID to the front guard. I already checked him out. He's a dumb one. Flash him the badge and show him this write up about MOMA wanting to exhibit a few of the paintings. Most likely, nearly a hundred percent for sure he'll buy it. Then, we move the Pollock's first, just two of them, each over a million, then the Vincent van Goghs, two of those, each over five million and last the Dalis, each over a million, only two Dalis. Got it?" "Got thieves?" Phil whipped out a little joke to spark up a sense of humor within the group. Everyone was confident at playing their role as a mover. The company was called, "The Movers." Wes announced. "I figured it would do. Short, simple, to the point. No chit chat. Got me?" Everyone agreed that "The Movers" would make a good name for the team. Each blue zip up, full body, uniformed had The Movers printed across the back in bold letters. "It may be too risky." Nick interrupted as Sarge continue on with the orders and procedures. "Why?" "Would about they don't buy it. Would about they catch on where not real movers." Nick stared him down with honest eyes. He was really concerned about getting caught. Nick had done a few years for auto theft in the Northern Pen, upstate near Jersey. "What happens if they do background check on us." "They won't. Look just follow along and play your part, as long as you believe you're a mover, then they'll believe your mover." A moment filled the room as Sarge played the role of the acting coach. "You believe it they'll believe. Look I'll plan out every step. I want you guys to be taking down the paintings as I explain to the guards whats up. If they counter me, or any of you, WAM, I'll nail with this." He pulled out a small block box with a small hooks poking around the sides. . ."After I zap them, Phil will hand cuff." Sarge held up a pair of silver shiny handcuffs. "Got me?" Everyone nodded. He seemed pretty firm about the success of the mission.

The cats were off to the hit. It went smooth, Phil, the tallest and most convincing mover, heading forward, right to the paintings of Jackson Pollock. There it stood, more like hung, under specials on the gallery walls. Eight security guards, two at the door, two in the main halls, and three near the Pollocks and the rest shared time between the van Goghs, sipped on their coffees, flipped through Time magazines, or itched their asses, or cut farts, or picked noses, and glanced at the crowds that came and drifted off like the tides during the tropic seasons, coming and going with great speed, checking out the modern art, "Oh, what craft, oh, what magnificents. . .Pollock did it this time, Van Gogh is still at his game, even after his death and oh, how Dali impresses with his timeless rotations. . .", sometime tears, sometimes not, sometimes a coffee between lovers or a shared smoke, and smoke was allowed to be inhaled in this exhibit, even encouraged, the more smoke the better. Fancy cigarettes lit aflame, sparking thoughts, "Oh My, My. Yes. I see. I see now." It was old art. The exhibit was a joke but the price was for real. Serious money was at stake. Nothing was for sale, but admission was charged for the price of a glance, or comment, or just to be near. The thieves acted natural and removed the paintings from the walls. Of Coarse the guards bought Sarges lie, "We're taken them to MOMA as fast as we can." He told them with a huge welcoming grind. He even told a few rabbi jokes to get those guys chuckling. Sarge knew some joke about a rabbi and parrot and a bic lighter. I forgot the punch line, nevertheless, the main guard, the butch Italian guy was puckering his lips and scratching his head at the confusing and eccentric laugh. They bought the lie. Phil, Mr. Jane, Tom and the rest made way with three Pollocks, only two Van goghs and one very fine Salvador Dalis. Sarge was satisfied. After the Dalis were carted off and the guards were laughing and sharing the rabbi jokes, the game was one. "Did you know Salvador Dali once poured coffee on himself before he use to paint."
Tom was sharing some of his art history with the guys in the van. "I can't believe we just made way with a fortune. We have over ten million dollars worth of art work, my friends, and that is if we got the right Pollocks. All three should go for a million a piece. I'll have the appraised in a few months in the black market." Sarge was happy. He paid us off a cold ten thousand each and we split off after heading off and to JFK. Sarge had a private jet there. It was large enough to load all the art, and he made way to air to the Euro art world, "lost in the underground, I heard, somewhere in France." Tom cell phoned Phil a few days before his planned day to hit the Pieta trip. He would run in and run out, like some wild, kid in action. The best thieves keep it simple. One, two, and three and that's it. Nothing complex or too planed. The more simple, the more chance no mistakes arise.

Nick was out of control. If anyone protested against his rising regime they were executed with a dull shop instrument or their necks cracked. Nick could raise hell and throw a party at the same instant. He had demanded cigarettes, weird brands, American Spirits, even French cigarettes with specialized filters to hold the tar back, filters made in Taiwan, with rocks in the filter to keep at the particulates in the tobacco, and more and more and more. Nick couldn't stop with the demands. Different shades of pizza, various long list of fast foods with well thought out and strictly ordered condiments to engage their tasty and thoughtful tongues. Oh, he was specific. "Today we will have five types of extra thick pizza with crusts. Pineapples, sausage and pepperoni, or ham and extra mozzarella, oh and for you seafood lovers, Anchovies all around. The prisoner danced around in a distorted and primal circle. They had torn their clothing and bare hairy chest poked out and nipple glared pink and their tongues cried to the their devils that rested up, down and all around. Chanting arose, along with fire pits made from any synthetic material known to the grounds including plastics, rubbers, wood tools like mops and broom handles, towels and the gaurds old uniforms. The guards were hung upside down like spies, hung from the ankles tied with rope and chain. The main guards, the larger and more meaner guards were kept to the chain link poles and fences, mesh that guarded the outer window overlooking the yards and bob wired motes that secured the heated Texas prison. "Long live Chaos and Anarchy." Nick roared in what seemed like many little demonic voices. He was on fire, his eyes sparking with envy, greed and evil. "Long live my rule. All that follow me shall be free." He kept repeated this over and over until the prisoner joined in with, "FREEDOM, FREEDOM, FREEDOM, FREEDOM. . ."the continued and thrust forward in voice and presence until the whole mead hall, the cafeteria now, reeked off pure anger, hate and shattering madness. All of them, the prisoners, together in a messy unison, FREEDOM, and where it was born from, since the revolutionaries, since the first punks of the queen, haters of a world ruled by royalty, a world controlled by the few rich blue bloods, that according to the prisoners and centuries before them, the patriots and the indigenous slaves escaping the potato famine, on long boats, boats of oak wood, leaking slowly, sipping into the bottomless blue of the Atlantic, arriving on the pilgrimage shores of purity, welcomed by their masters, the lovers, the true worshipers of God, the ones that turned against the catholic Church and denied it's worth to Jesus, they, the honest, the protestants in the name of Martin Luther welcomed their followers, Jesus people, the ones that denied the incense, or candle flame, or crucifix, in His name, and only him shall you believe, and it is His way to Heaven, and they were the ones that had worth, and value, the ones that latter rose against the Red Coats and passed down the cost and even the high price of freedom, bloody revolution, for you, my lord, god, Jesus above me, help, us will shall send for help, help us, help us, SOS, SOS, SOS. . .and God WE TRUST and the swans have landed to the distant shores IN GOD WE TRUST, help us. . .FREEDOM, FREEDOM, FREEDOM. . .and the chant lifted from the crowded cafeteria deep in the belly of the prison and Roberto Pace took note of every swat of the hands, and lash of the security guards, bloodied blood soaking with salty, stingy, sweet and pain, and the men chanted, slowly forming a unison, a bond, a chaos of no turning back, and the pain arose into one spirit, the spirit that died for them and had already washed their sins and they calmed to listen to Nick holler, "FREEEEEEEEEEDOOOOOOOOM." And a moment of breath and silence, and the crowd roared to welcome such.

Roberto knew it would get out of hand again. The seen reminded him of "Mel Gibson and the Road Warrior, the sequel to. . ." "Mad Max." Jackson cut in. "It's just like the film but set in a prison and there is no protected oil derricks, trucks and. .. " "We get the picture." Chuck added in, adjusting his fake prison uniform. "Did you have to get one that fit so tight. And why do you have a death row uniform." "It's not." Roberto replied. "Yes it is. It's the orange they used a few years back. I feel like I'm on death row. It's like God's giving me a clue or something." "Your not for from the truth now, Chuck." Jackson was shivering. "WE got to get out of here man. Nick is one mad dude. We better scattered before initiation." Then, Nick's eyes gazed down upon the three. Roberto, Chuck and Jackson could feel those two hawk eyes snaring down on them, like a set of laser beaming at it's target. Like laser set sight by a unforgiving and nor derisively by far, but dangerously maddening killer of mankind and mankind before. Primal and ticked off Saint Nick cast his finger down upon the three shivering and at the time, what looked like lost baboons being charged by a great rhino. "YOU. YES YOUR. STAND STILL WHY DON'T YA." It was just like the Pink Floyd song, the one where the headmaster is asking the boys to "Stand still why don't ya. . ." In the song where they chant, "We don't need no education." Roberto started to upon his mouth and then Jackson covered it and spoke for him. "FREEEEEEEEEDOOOOOM." It was a perfect cover. Just act like they did. Just scream freedom. Yeah that would work, but it didn't. "YES YOU. You three. Come forward." Nick let go of the black guard that hung tightly against the chain link with a limited breath. "Yes you three. Step forward." Then, the crowd separated as if they had been the Red Sea, when Moses cast the waves aside, they stepped to the side, springing forth, drilling a circle into the massive crowd of the rowdiest in Texas. "Yes step into our circle." The prisoners fell silent, almost a gruesome and sad silence lifted between the hundreds of husky, sweaty, beer basked, and dipsomaniac men.

Spoil had thoughts about running off to the Big City. A clean cut to the northern lights with nothing holding him back, no regret, no shame and no guilt. He was a sure man out to conquer what kept him from the world, what kept him inside himself, shelled, alone, darkened from the sun, pale, weak and nearly dead. He knew death would come for him one day, it was everyman's destiny and their regret. Time was unwinding, spinning out, slowly shortening like a fuse awaiting detonation. He could take his poetry and lose himself in the current art scene, a poetical group that fed each other handouts and lose change. The type of of men that must of helped Poe, or rustic Kerourac, or even Allen Ginsberg, and the other lost beats that were famed, and he looked up to and one day aspired to be like. lose himself in the massive population that circulated in and out of the thousand of streets, corners and small coffee shops. Surely he could find a life there. Surely he could run into someone. Someone would pick him up and help him out, surely. Someone would feel for him, have a heart and let him express in words, create in a trillion sentences, upon paragraph, upon novel and on and on, the story growing, an expression, a sort of life you could say, a force of life, a resemblance of what he could never born, He could never of birthed in the first place, nor give the breath of life, into the world as a child, boy or girl. Something stumped Spoil, left him there, alone, in the cold wind, to walk home, or to another's house, alone, chipping out a pattern of prose to one day hope to change the world, or summon a group of men to consider the freaks, and loser and stumbled men, that never had a chance, even if they were blessed to win, still they fell on their faces and whined at their regrets and hellish doubts that they where in fact a man, a truth in the world. He was that. He was in the world. Birthed like the rest, evil-good, a man saved by Christ, continued, thief or honest man, continued on, to find the next lever to pull, the next note to write to another, to remember, to remember that I was and shall be and never regretted the first breath. He gazed out of the fogged over window, the crack of existence that spilled a scene to the back of his head, a familiar thought, an unerring fact that beauty existed in the Big City, perhaps womanless he'd leave and then arrived upon a beautiful brunette with unpredictable green eyes, to carry him through the night and start him over in the form of flesh, bone, like she is, and he is and was and will never be forever. It was his goal, his message and his cause, to find the one, the beautiful lady that owned his every move, step and working hour upon the lands he transgressed, trespassed and one day tried to put back together and cleans in His words. Perhaps it was His words he should of planted, and not tried to seed the lady, in which, he dreamed of, and clawed for in the middle of his breathless nights, awaking in terror of the absence of touch and ownership in another individual, and another breath. It was Swan, the one that never called upon him, Swan Victoria, the one that left him in the words, to search out the one word that may change him and meet him with the perfect moment. Spoil would leave this madden place of Cold. This blue village of absence, and make way to a busy city, surrounded by the most powerful people of all the lands, a place that scared the average man nearly out of his wits. Subways vibrated the skin of the concrete asphalts, the towering building composed brick by brick by brick, towering over the hard, concrete earth below, towering over man, walking with pen in hand perhaps, writing out checks to own his food, and make his way up one of the towers, to sleep on top of the world, to calculate in the dark of his bed, why man should be numbered, planted and factorized into existence, into the world. Streets numbered like an index, like a roller index with all the names of the world, fifth avenue, first street all the way to one hundred and first and a garden made by man, with man hands, fake rock, fake gardens and bunk scenery, planted waterfalls and purchased lily pads, and fish and all the creatures God intended for man, was bought, placed and prettily organized so the people of Big City could feel nature with their own hands, pet a goat in the petting zoo, and their kids could laugh and store a memory of what the world is like far away, where the trees grow with out the assistance of technology or the comfort of money.

Spoil listen to Ann and her father talk over their evening coffee pot filled to the steamy brim. They usually chatted about the weather, or old times with mom, and how they use to garden together, or take long walks under the milky shy, when winter rushed in, and the leaves where dark brown and the tree leafless, and spiny, poking in a million different direction and angles. She told her father all the little things she use to love, like his multi-layered pickle sandwiches, with mustard, extra thick and crisp pickles, salad, and onions and his homemade pizzas made from tomato past, and hand rolled dough, and his jokes and the way he used to make her pet the crown of his head like a puppy dog. . .her dream of becoming a ballerina and trying out for the Big City Ballet company, but he wouldn't allow it because of his strict Baptist background, and how she wanted to run off west and learn how to surf, but he wouldn't allow it, he would disown her if she tried, and how she wanted to get married as a teenager, but he didn't approve her boyfriend because of his long hear and surfer tattoos, and how she hated when friends would call her the pig of the playground, because she and her friends hogged the monkey bars, and her father had to convince her that she was a pretty little princes, "Dad you weren't always there for me. Not always. What about when Rick left me, and I had to sleep in my car and get started on my own, you didn't pitch in." "I couldn't. You had to learn to make it on your own. That is why I didn't give you everything. I won't always be here. It's up to you to set your own sails." And they talked until Spoil nodded off and then, awoke to a quiet kitchen. Spoil got up and dressed in his bed robe that he was giving as a present during Christmas. He stepped down the narrow stair unit, and made his way to the empty kitchen. There was one more cup left in the brew and he topped off a large coffee cup full and poured in a table spoon of sugar. That dream he had last night kept him up. Ann had taken him to the Super-mart a few days before Christmas eve. The mart was overloaded with people, and the poor checkers were so busy scanning items, food, and clothing, and presence, magazines, toilet paper, that they didn't have time to look up. One lady, he watched in the line was moving faster than a flash, she would occasionally look up and wipe the sweat from her brow. She was a tired looking lady with dark hair, yellow green eyes, and wrinkled cheeks. No later than her late forties. She was thin, over smoked, over worked and she had nicotine stains on her finger nails. She took a three second break to gaze at a little kid laughing at her mother in the express line. It was the only thing that kept her sane, looking at the people, watching them read TV guides, or talk to their loved ones that stood in line with them, or she chatted briefly with the customers that would bag their bags themselves, asking about the weather, or how they were doing, or, "You having a good holiday." Spoil figured she was chosen to suffer over the season, suffer for some reason. Some cause he didn't really understand. Maybe she murdered, maybe she abused drugs and never got caught. He would deserve to have to work like that, scanning bar codes into the computer, slaving away, tossing items hand over hand, day by day, nine hours a day, overtime, extra pay, with little benefits and a small amount to put into retirement. What gift was she giving over the holiday. He looked down at her tag that read Supermarket and her name, Tammy. Tammy. Who was Tammy. Some good lady, that worked her ass off for who, for you, for the shopper, for God, for her child, for what, for money, for security, for the beep, the beeping sound that kept clicking, whining, and screaming as the item bar code bounced off the red ray and took down what was needed for the stores record tucked away in the super main frame computer in the head office. Tammy took her cigarette break that day and thought about leaving, she only thought about it, when the end of the nicotine cherry hit the filter, she clocked back in and went back to her station, hand over hand, tossing the cheap Japan made toys, into the light blue sacks labeled with the Supermarket friendly slogan, Best Prices Around.

Then, Spoil found himself awakening to his shadow stretched in a long, cloak on Hairison's front lawn. Fuzzy, poky ends of the green earth arose from the frozen skinned layer of the icy snow. He had a goal. It was to sale his collection of poetry in the city before he left the world. He had filled eight composition books. The type of books speckled with black and white, that held around a hundred or so pages. Hence, he had eight hundred pages worth of wisdom, history and his life memories, in words, to give to the ears of the Big City. Perhaps, they would take him in, win him to the literary world, make him a father, and give him a life long companion. He could become rich. Buy a studio flat, with a elevator, king size futon, book shelves and even a fire place. He would by a satellite dish, and big flat screen, the innards made of odd liquid, he buy a bar with fancy wines and liquor and ask up expensive women and watch Sex in the City, the final season, and he would toast on fat cigars and prescribe to Forbes and other ostentatious magazines, and even lay down a few grand in mutual funds. He'd ride it high and fear his last moment. Then, the voice, the remembrance of who died for him, "Easier than the eye of the needle." What was easier than the eye of the needle. Pass through the eye of the needle. Than, the camel and he tasted for a cigarette and then, he shook off a shiver as the temperature soared to below zero, below the freezing point, an icicle crashed to the silver covered garden. The entire city was frozen to a crystal spark. "It's freezing out here. Completely and utterly freezing." It was as if the north pole had arrived and without the warmth of Jolly old saint nick's cheerful and warming guffaw. Ice cold had taken him away from his dream and in a way shook the sleep right out of him.

Spoil was running out of time. If he stayed up in Hairison's attic for too long he'd end up the house maid for life. It was a conscious decision to escape to the Big City and find a new identity, it was like the indegent slaves of Ireland suffering from the potato famine to run off to America, to land on the New York islands, to start over, but New York wasn't in Mr. Spoil's life. It wasn't in his reality, it was the Big City that held the beginnings and the roots of his world of Cold, Heat and Warm. It was his world that held the towns that had simple names, and in each town every house had an owner, relatives, turkey TV dinners and giant TV set's and the owners had friends that sometimes stayed in the upper bedrooms and mumbled to themselves and every once in awhile a poet would arise from these small towns, and print out a picture, that only he could fully understand, but others could only glimpse at the purlieus of what he really meant. And that is where Spoil was now, in the outskirts of a bigger city, that once came from a small town, that once was a village, and eventually once was a hut, and now a larger city grew on top of what was once a hut, a larger city growing like moss, growing and growing and hanging on the sleepless inventions of man, the garrulous novels of artist, athwart, hand over hand, the words stack until a professor professes it's most finite meaning in the middle of a philosophy class and the killer takes off his rain coat to raise his hand to say, "Ah ha, I got it. He was a pig. A needless pig cast from society to leave in his own shell." And the poet falls, even further from his grave, that was designed around his life, and now he takes out his pen, after the Go to Hell's and your going to hell, leaves his brain, and he realizes that his balance, breath and control are his real angels and the walls that surround him are only temporary, because in the end, the fuse hits the powder and the heart . . .the heart. . .the heart explodes it's last flex and the blood grows cold, still and lost to a dusty, absence of warmth and the oxygen slowly lifts and twenty one grams of, whatever is not meant to be seen, rises. . .and we become one, at last, one.

"I kill you both." He couldn't tell where the voice originated from, Roberto, Tom or Spoil. "I kill you both." It said again in three voices. "I kill you both."

Tom decided. He would do it. He would go in and take the Head of Mary of Pieta. HE would die if he back down now. He was on a roll. Some time, somewhere those words escaped him, "I'll kill you both."

Spoil kept hearing it as well. "I kill you both." Somewhere in his head, his dim head, his poet's curse, it arose, "I kill you both." Am I saying this now. He thought. Who will I kill. Ann? Harision? I can't kill them. Why would I kill anyway. Who would I kill. Kill who? Kill both? Who?

Then, it arrived, those four words in succession. Leaking such violence, the words embedded in his head. I KILL YOU BOTH. It was Roberto, back in the ashy den of his cell, typing away, I KILL YOU BOTH. Kill who? Jackson. Why would I kill Jackson? Maybe I mean Chuck. I couldn't kill him. Both have followed me so far. Jackson my pupil. Chuck's a nice guy. Why would I kill Jackson? What the hell would I do that for?

Kill you both.

That morning the S.W.A.T. team awaiting attack for the last two weeks, decided to act. It didn't take long and not more than ten, or so, tear, and mustard gas canisters and a few direct hits with rubber bullets and other defense to scar the prisoners into complete order. Everyone gave in the awesome and mighty power of the law. The prisoners were not organized and didn't have enough moral and inspiration to turn the revolt into a life long revolution. Now, it ended. Roberto was found in his cell typing the last section of The Criminal. Rumor around the cell block hinted that he hid from the revolt and the search parties from Saint Nick, that he completed his story. They found him passed out, on top of his typewriter, the old Underwood with a ream of fully typed paper, in courier font and with bold setting and a few notes hand scribbled at his feet. "Roberto Pace, Cell Block 3E." "Yes, that's me." He wasn't in his usual state. His eyes were bloodshot and tired and his breath was labored. He looked as if he had just finished running a marathon. "Come with me." The guard commanded. Roberto got up and walked down the hall with the plain face and curly hair guard. "This way. We are assembling the prisoners in the main hall to take a collective roll call." "Okay with me." The guard never eye balled him, nor talked to him, or ask him any questions about the Underwood and the ream of typing paper in his cell. He simply marched him to the main hall and stood him in line with thirty other prisoners, all wearing new prison uniforms with reprinted numbers. Most of the uniforms had been altered, or ruined during the rebellion. The roll call was conducted accordingly. Roberto did not see Jackson or Chuck in the thirty group that was rounded up. There must have been a few other groups assembled in other parts of the prison. Once, the name was checked on the roll call and a proper finger prints and picture ID associated with the prisoners, they where sent back to the cells and told that they would be informed when regular duties and the old routine would rekindle.

Roberto decided, now that the prisoners were calmed and the appropriate ones that did damage, murdered and plundered, where collected, and sent to maximum security, he would borough some information from the white collars and find out where in the hell to send The Criminal. Basically, he needed to find a writing agent. That was a person, or a group of people trained to find the writer the appropriate publisher and assign the correct copy write for the story to be multiplied and sent out to the public. The warden escaped before the shit hit that fan and returned to Roberto to read over a few chapters.

"I'm very impressed with you Roberto. You didn't give up. Your persistent and your diligence has proved worthy. I'm gonna find you a publisher and get your book out there. I don't really understand all of it, it must be beyond my intellect, but, nevertheless, I appreciate the effort. I decided to write congress and ask for a small grant to get you launched out there. And I am granting parole. The interview is set up with the parole board next month." Smoked drifted in his eye from his fat cigar. His voice was rustic, scratchy and a little raw. He must have been smoking due to the stress of the recent chaotic event. The Warden leaned back in his fancy leather recliner and took in a long, relaxing breath. He seemed to melt in the chair like hot plastic. "IT is courageous of you to show such spirit under hellish circumstances. Thank you. You're a real man and possibly you might make a fine citizen." Roberto thanked him, shook his hand, using the firm hand shake method, nodded at him in a friendly way and walked out. Roberto hadn't felt a smile arise on his face since he was originally convicted by the jury. He was on his way to becoming a free man.

He found Jackson in the lunch line the following day. "I'm getting out. Warden set up the parole. And he is going to see about me getting published. I might get set up in some place as a real writer." "You should go to the Big City." "What New York?" Asked Roberto. "Yeah, why not. You only live once." "How do you know?" Jackson cracked a smile and patted Roberto on the back. "Guess what?" Jackson said. "I decided to take some college courses in English on the net. I'm on my way to becoming an English professor." "It's because of you hard work Jackson." Roberto had finally, at least temporarily, regardless of his Baptist upbringing, sort of converted to the belief of good karma. When one person does something kind to another, it is passed on and a chain of kindness forms. Roberto never felt so happy in his life. Not at this moment.

Spoils nose was running like a faucet that early morning as he wiped the off green burgers from the corner of his eyes. The world had not come in focus yet. Not yet. It was still in the in between stage where reality wasn't connected and everything felt like an M.C. Escher painting, or in this early case Duchamp's. He wasn't fully clothed as he descended down the narrow wooden stair unit that lead to the panel door which opened into Hairison's kitchen. Everything seemed to be reduced to his ideas of the Big City, his pen, his journal and the only thing lingering on his mind was the growling from the pit of his empty tummy, as the thick cold of the morning breathed labouredly in and out of his tired, round tummy was left in the refrigerator from Hairison or Ann. His feet stood cold on the kitchen's icy floor. The bedroom sleeper only seemed to warm the tops of his toes. The rest of him was numb and chilled from the morning's unforgiving chill. The winter never left Cold Town. Spoil thought.

Ann wasn't around, not even that cheap French perfume smell she left behind and those cigarette breaths she stained the wall with.

Ann supposedly had left for schooling to the Big City and ever since she left her fathers place the rooms seemed colder, more distant and hollow. She would return shortly after she'd finish up her last two weeks at the café and registered full time at the medical College. She wanted to stop back in to pick up a few things, old cloths, sweaters, and some kitchen supplies her father had saved from when her mother passed away what seemed like centuries ago. No one was home, again, as Spoil landed his, what felt like bare, naked cold feet in the middle of the kitchen. Need new bed slippers. Spoil thought. Slippers that keep my feet warm. Hm. He felt a odd presence, as if Hairison's wife was hovering over him, perhaps holding a cold jar of milk which she clung desperately in her aching fragile fingers, once before death. He made his way into Hairison's room. He was entering sacred grounds. He could feel her in the room, large lady, with big eyes and huge hands. Hairison's bedroom was dusty, and simple. The bed was draped with a thick netted green bed spread that seemed coarse to lay upon. The pillows where over sized and fluffy white, with pockets of comfort and fattening stuffing. Most likely the pillows where factory made with the same old stuffing of cushioned interior that existed in nearly ever pillow in existence. The rest of the room was pretty much emptied out. Ann told him that he wanted to forget the memories of his Mrs. Hairison. So Harison stored the bedroom items left behind by his other half that reminded him of his love. Supposedly most of it was in the attic. He walked over to the old springy bed that was carefully made, cut corner and left wrinkly free and nearly pressed by an iron. The frame of the bed must have been from the fifties. The mattress seemed to bouncy to be too old. Spoil tried it out and then patted down the tiny wrinkly hills left by his heavy imprint. It was wide bed, long, and mighty, he guessed King Size, no less. The tag on the pillow case read, 30" X 46" + 2". All new material consisting of 100% polyester. Cet Artilce Contient Du Material Neuf 100% Poly. He couldn't tell the second language, but he was impressed the pillow tag had not one, but two languages. Most be from Europe. He guessed it was German because of the Du, but the other words were not Germanic, just the Du. Most likely it was Spanish. Spanish must use the Du word. He thought again. Most things that are not in English, especially on a pillow case, were either in Spanish. At the top of the tag was a warning label. Under penalty of law this tag may not be removed except by the consumer. Conforme A la Loe Cette Etiquette Ne Peut etre Enleve gue Par Le Consommateur. Yes, it was Spanish, indeed. A pillow that was half English and Half Spanish. It was like an international pillow or something. Hm. It was the way the world of words were ending up, nowadays, especially on pillow cases, and in, well, everyday sight. For example, if one went to a fast food place in the area or even beyond, and ordered a taco, hamburger or fries, especially far south near the borders, sometimes the menu would be in Spanish too, or if you filled out a form at the post office in the south, sometimes the order form had an alternative section for Spaniards. But Spanish was popping up everywhere in the morden days of today. Hell, the words found this place didn't they. Three quarters down the tag read Reg. No RN 63817. MADE IN CHINA. Then, No De Permis Ca 07T-04401. Fabrique En Chine. Then, the maker of the pillow, the company name, caught his eye. It was made in Sunham Home Fashions 308 Fifth Avenue, Big City 00001. Damn, this pillow is from the Big City. The certification was listed as well. The pillow was even certified. Damn, Hairison had class. Class about pillows and shoes. He read the section on the pillow that regulated as a genuine and certified pillow for the world to use and sleep on as desired. The certification was made by the manufacturer that the materials in this article are described in accordance with law. It was legal, legit and savy. Most pillows revealed their innards just in case the sleeper was allergic to nylon, poly, or even cotton. Christ, who would be allergic to cotton. Surely cotton pillows don't have these tags. Then, Spoil wondered into Hairison's closet, as the cotton theory and legalities concerning pillows drifted from his mind and as new wonders lured him toward the dark oak wood of Hairison's closet door. The door opened and spilled a handful of sunny beams, in long bars and lines into the dust infested tiny square room. He reached his hand out to see what filled the dark air. He felt nothing but a tiny, thin and fragile string drooping down in perfect vertical dripped line, dangling over the mystery to soon be discovered. He yanked on the chain and a single necked 30 watt bulb illuminated the tiny room clear as a solid crystal. Spoil's eyes shot down, and directly under the row of warm wool, dark, brown and tan winter coats. There in a perfectly straight horizontal line were several sets of aligned men's dress shoes, mostly jet black or earthy brown. One scaly skinned pair proudly glowed a emerald, golden and cooper. He was quite the peacock. Spoil thought. Man had a thing for shoes. Hairison had them all. Alligator made in Australia, a pair of Italian, black leather with silver buckles made right out of Italy, fancy shiny, expensive the were. The brand name wasn't readable, so he figured the had a ten year mark on them. Old too and very peculiar and selective indeed. He thought. Then, next to the Italian made where three pairs from France. Hairison must be into the French. Three pair of funky French shoes with odd names encompassing sounds with that made the tongue and mouth Pu and Duex and Louver. What a lover this man was. Spoil thought and headed deeper into the musty of the closet. It smelled of wet wool and smoke stained canvas, rayon, rabbit fur, mink and leather. Then, that is when the tapping arrived. The rain began to skillfully beat, like an intense African drummer, on the rusty shingles that lay above his bedroom. Spoil decided to remove his gray and blue cotton/nylon bedroom slippers Ann gave him last week as a goodbye present. His feet wanted to try on the Alligators from Australian. He slipped them on and walked out of the bedroom and into the unoccupied kitchen. Next, he opened the refrigerator door and took out a half empty bottle of dated milk. It was sour but drinkable. He sipped it down and sat at the round kitchen table and picked up the newspaper. It was the Sports section. The Big City was Playing Heat in the NSL (National Soccer League playoffs.) There was a skinny man, with taught muscles sprinting off toward a goal post holding his red jersey far over his head. The shirt read Heat. Heat looked as if they had one. His eyes were too blurry and it was too early to read the article but he squinted at the paper and read it anyways. Heat had one by one point. The only score in the whole game. One point. That was the game of soccer. The game went on for hours and perhaps, if the forwards were skillful enough, a score was executed. Heat one. Hm. It was a game of the south versus the north. Big City. It was everywhere he looked. AT times, he wanted to stay, and continue living out the rest of his life in Hairison's attic. He would plough the snow, take tips for cutting grass in the summer and take care of the front garden. He could give his poetry to Ann, or even mail it to some contest in the Big City, he didn't have to go. He was happy there, but something inside called him to get up and move on. His mother taught him not to settle in the roots. "That is what Nanny always did. She never wanted to move. She was too set in her ways. Too rooted." "Why?" Spoil asked his mother as she let the cat onto the balcony. The cat sipped at the milk as Mom opened the door for him to return in the living room. The TV was playing the background, some game show, or soap opera, he couldn't match the memory perfectly. Not perfectly. "It's not good to be rooted in your ways." Mom felt it wasn't. Mom was a person that appreciated travel, accepted it, and welcomed the spirit of the wanderer. It was that spirit that was still in him, calling him to go on, pick up the pen, take that risk and fly off, run off, and this, time, due to time and age, walk off, the magnificence of the Big City, and give a read, his voice, his story, to the young. He had a coffee shop picked out near ToeHole. Toehole was the writing community of the Big City. IT was were all the poets hung out. The café was called The Toehole café. It was strictly for the poetical and risk takers off life. IT was a gamble, but it was real. It would be his last offering to the world before his breath became too laboring and too faint. He would wait for the perfect lonely moment, and then, on foot he would begin to hitch it. Hitch it all the way East of Cold Town, to the largest city and sleepless place of the world, The Big City.

That Afternoon Spoil had to go into town to pick up plant food and some rabbit feed for Hairison. It was posted on the refrigerator for the daily chore. There was one feed store that sold both items. First, he stoop off at utility store to replace a bulb that had flickered off in the upstairs bedroom. He arrived around one pm. The sun was hiding behind a odd looking cloud. The cloud looked like a robotic face, with one large scope like eye, with one dot of an counter balancing the other. It was like the clouds, or God, wanted to rearrange nature to capture his attention. He was convinced no one, out of the billions, could not see this puffy masterpiece that sailed slowly in the wet, gray sky. Spoil walked up to the front porch of the utility store Newman's. It was a independent place that every type of screws from ten buck two, to bolts, sand paper, paints, toilettes innards, plungers, rubber washers and even toilette paper and everything, including kitchen sinks. Spoil walked up to the front entrance and something caught his eye. It was a lost dog poster. LOST DOG. Black lab puppy with a diamond patch on it's forehead. Answers to Theodore. Call 715-455-1207. Ask for Samantha.

"Ann's coming over tomorrow." Hairison stepped in and shook the thick clots of snow off his rain boots. "She is, huh." Spoil responded stirring the Wolf Brand Chilly and Insanity Sauce that he had picked up at Newman's utility. Boy was it spicy, enough to shake your marbles. "She needs you to go with her. She needs drop of the snow tractor to the mall in town. It's in Ice. You been to Ice." Spoil shook his head that he hadn't. "Ice isn't too far off. It's a fifty mile drive. Take about an hour. Place is called Sears. Your heard of Sears." Spoil said he had. "Something is wrong with blower. Needs a new extension. Can ya go with her. That snow tractor gonna be a bitch to load up. All three of us can hoist her up. I have to stay in for the shop. Cutting seasons around this time. Holiday season can get busy. January right before school. Kids will crowding me. You don't mind driving up there with her. She needs the company and we need to get that snow plough'er in ship shop shape. You mind?" "Sure. I'd love to." Ann was on her way from the Big City. She had just registered for the second part of her nursing school and wanted to come in to town to bring her father some medication, a meal and a few more hugs. "She'll be here tomorrow morning." Ice was the biggest town next to the Big City. It was farther north east from Cold Town and had a few malls, a handful of sky scrappers, a convention center, ice rink and a theatre. It was nearly a metro-plex with over hundred thousand or so residents and businessmen.

The Wold Brand chily began to bubble and Hairison walked his tired body over to the main table. His face was longer, it seemed, more pale and less life existed in his eyes. He wasn't dead yet, but you could see that the tail in to his life was in his slow hands, and long breaths. He walked over to the cabinets and removed a healthy size bowl and scooted over to the refrigerator. He took out a jug of milk and sat it on the kitchen table. Next, he went to the cupboard and removed a box of Chex and a round cup of sugar. He put in a three table spoons-fulls, far more than he needed and cracked open the to the funny papers. He slurped down a mouthful of Chex and asked, "Three letters across. Looking for Overseas Courier." "UPS." Answered Spoil. "UPS. HMMM. I thought UPS was the United Postal Service. I didn't know they went overseas." He jotted down UPS in the cross word. "Will give her a try." And buried his head in the news print, until he drifted off to a nodding sleep and awoke again.

The phone had never rang before. At least Spoil had not remembered it ringing since he decided to stay moved in a year ago. He pelted down stairs quickly then usually and landed again, in his thinly covered soles on the icy kitchen floor. Again no one was home. The house was still, quiet, as if God was present. He had time to think, contemplate over why he was there, how he had arrived. See, Spoil had been a drifter for years. Ever since college and his long trip to the big city, which he never spoke of, he had been traveling house to house staying with friends and old college peers, writing in his journal passing himself off as a poet. That was all he had. Most writers carry jobs and even work at universities or districts involved in education, or even are supplied by the rich, or have inherited wealth to be able to use the precious time it takes to craft organized words to make up the story. Spoil was always on the run. Staying house to house for a year or so, working as a male maid, or gardener, or even as a temporary worker at a nearby factory, construction site, or shoe salesman, or seven eleven employee, or substitute teacher. Years had passed now, he was graying, his belly protruding pass the imprecation, but the class he was taught through university life and from his charming mother, who once modeled for calendar fold outs in bathing suites, and married an educated man of literature and southern hospitality, his father being a minister for the West of Heat and a man of wise words and simple living. His grandfather was a man skilled in fishermen and had fought in the second war on an aircraft carrier and war ship, and had once told him how the stars could rock across the sky and it was his only way to know the ship was floating and the crew was traveling through the time and space. He knew the secretes of the old and carried this in his poetry and well, I guess, his story that he carried at his side, under a jacket, or in a attaché case, or satchel, or gym bag, or book bag, or even a sweater one winter while passing from theatre to theatre with a group of thespians out to change the face of the world and the way people look and behave with people. He strayed from the jokers and actors and the clownish tomfoolery and needed the fix of under the spot light, and turn to the word for performance and to make his point about why he was born and where he should of gone, or may have gone if another life, or another occupation. Words gave him another life, another way of creating his path, and constructing a way of life for him. Life had become about stories, words and people's interactions, hugs, kisses, long tales of parties, wines, murders and poetry and ways words found there land on paper. Once, he lived with a religious group down south, and had to hide his cigarettes, back when he could afford to buy the European brands he so admired, the richer tobacco and delicately hand crafted filters. He once carried a strawberry preserves jar, or was it raspberry, back when his typewriter was covered with date juice, so sugary and nowadays covered with ashy from the burning Camel lights, where he hid his sins, in ash, in the preserve jar, and he would light up, smoke away and then hide again, his smokes under a mound of matches at the bottom of the glass jar, he claimed to use for incense, but used to hid the smokes. The ashtray was a makeshift lid from under the top of the jar's cover lid, that he popped off from the hinges, and side hooks that attached, and snap shut, as a latch would a door. The matches and cigarettes rested at the bottom, as blood does in the atrium, or the opposite of blood, a more deadly weight of a man's guilt. He turn the glass lid of the strawberry preserve canister over, upside down, fall the ashes into the opposite side, to hide his pleasurable sin of smoke and his intellectual method of sparking up, or cooking up a dangerous idea. He was quite about drink, making love, or sex, or reading about love and sex, and quite about books that flowed against what was taught to him in the bible and church. Church was sacred to him, and in every case, in every house he lodged in, and every factory town he labored, he'd attend, with bible under arm and his finest set of clothing, given or bought to look his best. He was a worshiper of Christ and tried his best not to stray from His way. It was hard for spoil. He had the nature of a storyteller in his heart, and one day he planned to turn his words over, even though some of them revealed the sins of man, which he could never escape but only try his best to moderate and control. Self control was something that came with time, and love. There was no better medicine for moderation, than another to love, and fill the whole that exist in the psyche that never can really be fulfilled until the flame of life is extinguished.

The lost dog, Theodore, was on his mind lately. He remembered it's black fur and the white diamond imprint on it's forehead, in the Kinko copy that was left before the utility store, Newman's, and how the owner, Samantha, left the phone number. He could hear it's puppy dog pout in the back of his mind, and figured it was wondering around, lost in some kid's backyard, or rescued by an animal shelter, or another family. He decided he'd go out for a walk for the day, and perhaps pick up a sandwich at the nearby deli, maybe even stop by the animal shelter, or vet's office to see if the Newman puppy was discovered. It was something he never did. He had never desired to become a rescuer of animals, until his mother taught him how to luring in a dog with kind words and a biscuit. Spoil's mother had took a retirement job with a pet clinic rescuing cats and dogs off the street, or in some field in a neighboring neighborhood. It was all for the sake of the community and the wellness of animals. She should of one a peta award for her dedication and kindheartedness. This was back when he had turned thirty and had left graduate school to study English privately and learn from the great works of Faulkner, Wolfe, Becket, and a series of Irish writers. One of his favorites was the work of Samuel Becket and his handful of plays he had crafted for the world. He found the fictional life of Gogo and Didi, and Lucky and Potzo as metaphors about how traveling men are lost in their impatience and desiring an answer from the supremeness that awaited for their return home. Once, in College he played Lucky and had sympathy for the chosen paschal lambs that society calls for, the people seemed to need in order to purify their weight of materialism and evil. His mother took a job in a pet clinic cleaning and walking people's pets for extra money until she moved away far north not too distant from Cold Town. Perhaps that is why he ended up this remote north, to find her, even though he figured she had passed on now that he was approaching his sixties. He lost contact with her when she moved up north with her second husband to become closer to nature and to witness the beauty of the northern lights and the endless walk through the beautified northern snowy trails that weaved through the pastoral snowy lands of the North. His mother was a fan of the cold and liked the images and the craving for warmth and security that the snow had to offer. There was no better feeling to know that one was warmed by the home's fire while nature froze the life outside the walls of one's safety. Toward the beginning of her retirement she and her second husband bought a small piece of land and decided to run a bed and breakfast in a little town, outside of Cold Town, near a summer lake that attracted vacationers in the sweetness of the holiday times.

Spoil had lost contact with his family now. His poetry and his travels had occupied him, and eventually he was carried by the wonders of nature, old age and lead to friends doors, where his welcome became his beauty and the muse for his journal and his words.

Spoil looked down upon his pen and realized he had a powerful tool. It was a mechanism that opened a gateway to division of man, his believes and his outlook on life. The pen could be dangerous and even life threatening at times. It was a way of interpreting the world, taking down account, history and documented what he saw, how he felt about existence, God, Christ, his poetry, his lonely life, his neighbors that took him in, and welcomed him, even though he had sinned, betrayed God and came to realization that he wasn't as holy as he used to be.

He did not stop writing that Sunday morning. Why should he. After his mother had retired and moved up north, when he was then living in Heat, she left him very little. All he had, was the pen, his story, his thoughts on the world. He continued constructing the words and forming new sentences with different meanings.

There was once, in the town of Crow, far down south, he found a small community and a church. That is when he was converted, again, reborn and decided to devout his poetry and story to God. All his confusion over the years, all that he had wrote about atheism and his anger toward God, was false. He was a false profit, prophesizing an incorrect frame of mind. His poetry mentioned horrible words that related defecation and God's name, he had confused the processes of the body, the impurities and waste that man must endure and die with and within this un-holiness a sense of reality about the rawness and disgustingness and crude truths that face man in his battle with death and life. It had nothing to do with the afterlife, nor did it have to do with the devout and true Christian religion. Like I said before, Spoil was lost, corrupted by Satan and once again, his character and morality spoiled. Satan had won a small battle with him but the war was not over. At that time, when he was writing monologues about marriage, shit and God, he was suffering from atheism and had lost his way into fear. Spoil was very lost, under the dark cloud and headed in the wrong direction. After living in Crow for several years and spending many hours with the church and listening to the ministry, he came to realization that life was for and about God and the only way to heaven was not in good deeds, or what one said over a life time, but in the solid belief that Jesus Christ was the savior and through Christ, Our Lord, one shall seek salvation and an everlasting life in Heaven. This was what Spoil wanted to read in his poetry for the Big City. This was what he sat out to do in leaving the Hairison's and starting a new life, and find the path of the devoted Christian and reveal the message of the Lord, Our beloved Savior Jesus Christ.

Tom was sure he was going to steal the head from the vault. He had finally made up his mind. He sat two streets adjacent from the gallery and lit up a few cigarettes, occasionally letting the ashes fall into a small tin ash bin that rest on the checkered colored round café table. He was very close to the glass window, poised in a fashionable fashion, head up, chin strong, eyes determined, shining emerald green with a jealous envious stare. The radio was mildly playing an old song he used to listen to back in the golden days of High School, when he dreamed of being a doctor and heading off to medical school to find his way in life. Nope. He fell into the arts and drug culture and doped up. Tom Burnett decided to study performing arts, poetry and privately study literature from Irish, English and some of the best American playwrights, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, and the great works of Becket. He thought about becoming a great actor and even studied about the lifestyle of Frank Booth and the unforgettable works of Berrymore. Recently he was even reading current modern commentary about Becket's Dying Words and the profuse reasoning for his obsession with death and the sorrow perspectives on life.

Tom stopped staring at the gallery entrance across the rain stained street and began to read a passage on page 33. 'Fully Certified' not only as the death certificate, and as turning insanity on its head (in More Pricks than Kicks Belacqua packs for the suicide pact a sign which proclaims TEMPORARILY SANE), but as calling up the Book of Common Prayer and its rendering of Psalm 39:

Lord, let me know mine end, and the number of my days: that I may be certified how lone I have to live.

Tom decided, "You only live once" in this life, rarely did a open invitation welcome a chance to lift such a great piece of art work and massive amount of gold in one area. Ever did life offer such a chance. Such a chance, ever did life offer such a chance. He got up, snuffed his cigarette butt into an ashy finish, picked up his overly sized black backpack and headed out in the sprinkling of the black, gray Sunday Rain. Everything seemed black that day. The sun seemed to be hiding from him. No light dispersed through the sky as he headed toward the gallery. Nor did the day even seem to be lit. The sunlight was filtered, smoky like the ashy cherry that he had smothered so carefully away in the tin colored ash bin. There where too many clouds seeding the sky, and the sun kept becoming blocked by anvil shaped gathering of puffy, edgy, cottony cumulonimbums clouds. The gallery was open. He was out to get her. Have to wait for a cab. He thought. A cab. Wait on a cab. He approached the end of the sidewalk and began to wave his hand side to side to slow a passing taxi. The first checker passed by, hobbling over a few pots in the road. Next, a flash from a moving van, followed by a hot sports car from Japan, most likely a Honda, the new one, what was it called, the one with the funky antenna and the big bumper and the hatchback, and then another cab, but this time the driver glimpsed at his waving hand, and he pulled over, slowed to a stop and table reached over and into the back seat area to thumb up the locked door. "Had to unlocked the back door, first." The brown skin cabbie said at the window. "Electric locks ain't working." He said again as Tom opened the unlocked door. Tom climbed in and settled into himself, and his new security guard out fit he had lifted from the gallery months before, "Just around the corner, right down the street from the Milan gallery." Tom sat up straight and took in a deep breath. He always tried methods of relaxation before he lifted something worth a great amount like this priceless Roman fancy. Hell, it was graced by the hands of Michael Angelo. "Just around the corner." He tore a fifty in half, like in one of his favorite films Eyes Wide Shut directed by Cubrick, hoped out of the cab and stuck his head back in, "Wait for me and you'll get the other half of the fifty." "Seen the film. Tom Cruise right?" "HA, ha." Tom reached in his jacket and removed a clip of bills. "Here is a hundred and I have another waiting for you if you hold up here for no longer than ten minutes." Tom figured he may need an extra five minutes. He planned the hit to take a total of six or seven minutes, but he may need two or three more minutes to get his timing down. He had to get into the gallery, blend in as a security guard, establish he was on duty, to the onlookers, buyers and to the salesman standing before the art. Then, he'd have to walk in, toss the head in the bag and well, walk out. One, two, three. "Be back in ten." He slammed the cab door. Boy, did he have balls to count on a cabbie. He figured if the cabbie took of he'd simply fetch another cab, or walk to the air-porter bus station that took him to DFW.

The gallery was packed with people. There where over a hundred in the standing room, and about fifty or so in the upstairs room where Jane Seymour and a few pop artist with neon bright colors, and thick detailed brushes, displayed their work.

Tom headed immediately to the vault, with his back pack at his side.

Roberto began to think of the heart and it's cardiac cycle. There is a diastole rhythmic dance of the heart. Diastole is when the heart is relaxed and placed. Hence, it had filled with blood and is awaiting to pump the deoxygenated blood to the bottom chambers. The systole is the second phase of the rhythm. This is when the heart beats a second time and the blood is dispersed out of the pulmonary and toward the lungs to be rejuvenated, and to provide oxygen to the body. That day, Roberto had a check up and his heart was the doctors main concerned. In many cases, prisoners sometimes suffer from heart disease, especially after being cooped up in a cell, forced with non-movement, and lessened with aerobic exercise. Many prisoners take up smoking and are very bad to their hearts. In many cases, this is why the prisoners were withheld from society in the first place. They were not just bad influences on their own hearts, but on the hearts of others and the heart of their country. The sequential contraction ensures efficient movement of the blood from atria to ventricles and then into the arteries. If the atria and ventricles contracted simultaneously then there would not be as much blood poured, during diastole, in the proper direction, semilunar valves for preparing to pump into the adjacent chamber, below, and toward the lungs. Atrioventricular valves close to prevent blood from flowing back into the atria. As pressure rises in the arteries, the semilunar valves click shut to prevent blood from flowing back into the ventricles. See, it's a forward motion. Even in the second pump of the heart is only the second chance, to fill the complete system, to push more blood through the body. There is no going back, not even with the blood flow and the many processes that occur in the heart, to oxygenate the body. And the big city was pumping far away, just like the miracle of the cardiac sequence. The stethoscope used by Spoil was many fold. It wasn't simply one tool as the heart doctor using on his patience. Spoil's stethoscope to the heart beating, from the Big City, were many, many things: the phone, conversations between Ann and Hairison about restaurants and events, and happenings that occurred on the streets, movies he had seen long ago, about the city in small towns, pictures, the net, paragraphs in encyclopedias he had coughed up during study before plays and parties late at night in the library, and poetry by the great works of J. Keurack or Al Ginsberg, or Tommy Wolfe, and others that had lived to write about the great walls of the Big City.

Spoil decided to begin smoking. He bought a back at a Phillip 66 near Newman's for three dollars and seventy five cents. It was pack named Mainstreet cigarettes. He had never tried them before and they were quiet cheap. Poetry came back to him, words he had forgotten, faces, stories, and old times, he could cook up again like faded photographs to rearrange in a family album. He pasted them onto the page in unique syntax and his personal take on poetry and it's constant changing semantics and style. It was pouring in and out of him, through others mouths, words, like blood, flowing into the heart, falling in, during diastole and pumping in during systole, and then pumping toward the lung, and back to a lull, so the blood could fill up again. It was that way with his journal, words flowing in, a lull, a moment to ponder over her face, her touch, her whispers, her snores, and then the words about her:

Oh, 120/80 my beloved dance


Hair like the night

Kisses of I love you

I love you

I love you

I love you

Until the words

The three words

The three

Nail into him

Like the blood

Entering during


And then,

At last,



A doubt

And another hug


Another cigarette

A Camel Cigarette

A Light

A puff

Closer now, closer to

Baumgardner's parlor

Into the purple, the insides

So clean, so perfect

True love


At last,

And then




And period

More breath,





Back to home.

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub

The heart lets out it's famous lub dub

And then, silence

Slow fade to blackness

And then no more lub dub,

No Alarm

No recording

Nothing available


Then no more anything.

And truth

Alarm limits 71-167

And 333/666 and His Iron rode and the face

Of the dark prince, his long, velvet ashy opaque robe

And the man fall's into a dangerous

Dispel and finally

Stillness beyond stillness

Beyond anything we can comprehend.


Oh, beloved Sinoatrial node no more

Silence my electricity.

And the world goes with out it's precious light once and finally again.

And this spinning, this precious pulse stops

And Lights out to darkness.

There I saved myself somewhat.

Spoil's was preparing, or was he pretending to prepare. He couldn't tell. But his time was coming to an deadly end. He could feel the rhythm slightly fall of beat, slightly cool to a mild nothingness and then back into play again. He was studying like a nut. He decided to go to the local library and check out books about the heart and it's mechanisms. He new his time was running out. He could feel it in his chest, like a slow burning coal about to lower in heat, and the energy doomed to run cold.

To add to the story was dangerous to all three thieves, Roberto, Tom and his Spoil. The end of this story was slowly crawling to an end. Roberto would eventually receive parole and become a free man which is nearly impossible for a prisoner to do. The criminal, Tom Burnett, would steal the head of mary, a sacrilegious act to any catholic which Tom was not. The ten year war could have been caused by such a sin, but those wars in those times were fought under the command of god, not over golden idols. Tom didn't feel the head of Mary was holy, but valued that others believed it was. Spoil had traveling to do. Hairison was growing sicker. Since Ann, his daughter had left back to the metroplex to become a nurse and settle into womanhood he turned to the bottle for comfort and forgetfulness. "I don't want to remember the ones I loved. The ones that left me here, alone, with God's solitude. I have never been thirsty in my life, and I pray every day." Hairison wanted to attend work but he kept the shop open on Sunday mornings for extra money. Spoil desired to go to church as well, but figured he have to walk, and the closet church was over ten miles away, and his bones ached on Sunday morns. Men, like children, know there is evil out there. There is evil out there. Temptation is it's name. "Want a drink Sir?" The bartender said to Tom in the gallery as he stood near the vault. "No." Tom called the security guard, his old friend back in the day, the one he spied through the binoculars with and talked of night crawlers. He was there again. Tom, the guardsmen, back in the day when he told him of Wolfe, and his book, then called the Poem, but latter changed into the Criminal. "Ted." Tom said with a crystal tear forming in the corner of his eyes over the eye buggers he had not yet wiped clear. "Ted, come er." Tom's hands were sweating like fishy catfish in the greasy part of the trinity river. His nerves were shot. He began to tremble a bit, and then took ten large, slow breaths as Ted slowly walked over dressed in his night blue security guard. "Still guarding huh." "Yep." "Got the old uniform still on eh." Ted inquired. "Yep, wore the old one. Spill pizza sauce on the new uniform." Tom smiled with a glint in his eyes, the kind criminal carry in their eyes minutes after birth. One is born a thief in this life, and Tom knew it. He wasn't sure about Ted, but knew he sparkled in his right eye. "Got an order to remove the old girl." He was referring to the head of Mary from Pieta. "Your moving the Pieta." He said. "Who said." "Its going to the Kimble for an exhibit I have paper work." Tom dug in his small satchel and wiped out three pieced of thin yellow paper he had forged up. He lifted it from the office of the Kimble months ago when he planned to take the holy piece. He had typed out the order and even placed a call to the gallery days before. He even had visited the gallery in a three piece suite from Italy, with bifocals and his best Manchester accent. It was the only one he practiced to pick up women at lizard lounges. "We received a call to have it transferred over to the Kimble. I guess your carry her away huh." "Yep, they called me a week ago to pick it up on this Sunday. Boy is this place overloaded." Tom said. "You have to take it now. Let me get Rome." Rome was the manager. "Hang on." Tom nearly started crying but he tucked his emotions under him like he was so skilled at doing. "Rome told me just to carry her off. It's a rush. The piece has to be seen in the next hour and I have to pick up a painting from the second gallery down the block. I'm running behind. Can you cut the alarm." A lull filled the room. Even the spectators looking at Rome's work and his mothers Henerietta, fell silent. It was as if the world has stopped for this moment. Then, after Tom's tenth breath, the room picked back up in conversation and Ted, the gullible dummy he was, dis-activated the alarm and gave him a peculiar wink, as if he knew what he was really happing and what he was really up to. "Okay, let me go in the back is hit in the code. It'll take me a sec." Tom waited before the vault's thick steal doors and round metallic greased locks. He knew if he stepped in, and on the red carpet under the pedestal of priceless gold head, the bells would sound and he'd have to make a run for it. The wait seemed like decades. He stood straight and scoped out the place, looking for peculiar types like himself, but without the bunk uniform. He had a feeling it was going to work. And this surety scared the hell out of him. Sweet formed on his brow and his eyes grew wide and tunnel vision set in. Time was ticking. "Only a sec." Repeated in the back of his mind as he waited for those four beeping sounds that occurred when the alarm shut off. Ted knew what was going on. His face was red with blood, and his flabby, healthy cheeks gleemed under the studio lights that shined the art on the pale white, overly painted dry wall. The studio was set up in no time. It was one of the passing through gigs, design to make a quick fortune off local and European artist, like Middlekauf, Beck, Jane Seymour, and Rome and his mother. The conversation lifted to a mild rumble, and Rome began to give a speech about his history with art and how his mother inspired him to free himself from gymnastics and pursue a life of painting. His works were done with lightning speed and exact skill, replicated the French impressionist, floating scenes of lakes, small skid boats, giant wild flowers of neon yellow and red. He was all of color and strength. Rome was the head of the gallery and was lost in speech with the onlookers. This was the time to act fast. Ted disarmed the alarm. Four beeps. Beep, beep, beep, beep. And then the click. The bolts slide free. It was now complimentary to trespass onto the red carpet and sneak into the vault without activating the alarm bells. Tom stepped in like a cool black cat, with sly charm and careful planned steps. Almost like some shy, bald Buddhist entering his holy temple. He walked near the golden, glistening head of Mary, sweat forming on his brow and chin. He was as nervous as pimp in church. He unzipped the bag slowly and placed his hands on the golden head. It was gold, and still, and held a godly strange vibe. He felt like Hairison ford in the beginning segment of Raiders of the Lost Arc. The scene where Indiana Jones carefully places the sand bag on the archaic pedestal and exchanges the weight of sand for the weight gold. And then the rumble, the bolder, flying darts, and the dead sprint toward the falling rock wall. Scenes from a major motion picture where in his head. Good thoughts. Calming, entertaining thoughts. But no, he wasn't in a lost cave in the middle of a safe lost jungle. He was in a small vault in the town of Worth surrounded by idiot security guards with names like Ted. The head of Mary safely fell into his nap satchel and he zipped it up with a holy, timed speed, making sure the zipper noise wasn't audible. Then, he slung the bag over his shoulder, stepped out of the tiny vault and began his escape. His had uncontrollably and strangely snapped to the left and he noticed a few portraits of cathedrals in Rome and godly pictures of Apostles hanging on the interior of the vault's wall. It was as if he was thieving a work of Gods. A piece inspired by heaven and sculpted by the most holiness of hands of Roma. The conversation from the visitors and buyers was loud, but Tom couldn't hear a single mixed word. He could only hear the thumping, the terrifying breath of fear that plagued his dexterity and careful finite motion. He slide out of the vault and noticed Ted was protruding from the back room. Ted was on his tail. "Need Help." Ted said rashly. "Doing fine." Tom replied and headed to the revolving door that lead to the street. Soon he'd be sitting in the hailed cab, handing the cabbie the other half of the bill, and taking off toward Worth Airport. As Tom walked out onto the busy street, rain had entered the scene. Hard rain. No umbrella. Tom thought. It was a good thought. A normal thought. The types of thoughts he trained himself to embed in his rushing mind during the emergency of thievery. He was a master. Never think about the steel. Never think about being caught. Always have normal day occurrences, like the rain, or taxi cabs, a movie scene, a the neck of a virgin or airport hot pretzels, or breakfast on the beach on Jamaica. In your mind when running off with the lute, thoughts must be pleasantly planned. The revolver doors spun him out into the wet gray sidewalk and thunder clapped at him like the roar of a pistol. Wasn't a gun fire or nature. No. It was more than guns and lightning. It was God. The almighty screaming at him. It had to be. The sky was overcast, dark and almost non existence. It was a scene out of the crucifixion when God turned away from his beloved son. The city, even though busy with traffic, couples walking hand to hand, artist selling work, guitar players hustling for nickels, dimes or even pennies, all of it, every breaking noise from the passing cars were amplified and alive and in motion. The city was nervous with energy, but Tom saw it as still as a rock. Still as death. No time for anxiety now. In his mind, the city was whispering about him. Talking about his sacrilegious deed. But it had to be done. He felt it was the order of things. Boy, he had done it now. Now he was stealing from God.

He did it. He took the holy Mary from protection. The thieve had stole away with one of God's creations. Another thunder clap. Strong lighting. Tom still fooled himself in believing he was simply off to the airport on one of his flights of fancy. "Tom. Hey. HEY. Tom. Stop." It was Ted again marching after him. He had turned on him. Betrayed him like Judas Iscariot. He was going to bust him. It was a pinch. The cab was around the corner puffing out a thick smoky breath from the tail pipe and the driver was smoking with the windows cracked. Its going to work. Tom thought. I'm getting away. No, no, don't think that. Your not getting away, your simply hailing a cab. Normal thoughts, normal plain average day thoughts. Normal, normal, normal in my head. Tom slowly and calmly without bracing a bone in his body, raised his hand at the cab driver and singled again and again, rushing his hands back and fro. HE CAN'T SEE ME. He walked closer, the rain spilling on his face, and the holy black bag that it now had become. I have God's lady in this bag, I must make sure it's zipped properly. No, no. Don't think of the lute. Don't think of that. Just the cab ride. Get your ass in that cab. Get away from, "Hey. Tom wait." Ted. "Hey." Ted again. "God, Ted don't make crack your neck." Tom made his way, with a few stumbles and a slight slip to the cab. "I just want to tell you something." He was going to pull his side arm on him. He was going to shoot him cold dead in this icy rain. "Wait." Tom would have never stopped, but he knew Ted. Maybe he could give him a knuckle sandwich and knock him cold on the pavement. Tom's body grew cold. Ice cold. But Ted had this peculiar, devilish grin on his face that warmed him a bit. Tom placed his index and middle finger in his lips and screeched out a alarming whistle. The cabbie finally saw him and put the yellow getaway into reverse. Tom pulled out the other half of the bill and tucked it in his side jacket pocket. The rain was un-forgivingly cold, and the weather had changed from a light luke warm, to now a freezing Alaskan chill. Damn it's cold out. Good thought. Tom said to himself silently. Think about the weather. The cold weather will sooth me from this amplified feeling. I'll have to confront Ted before getting in the cab. Ted, Ted, Ted. Why Ted, now. I must stop for him. I must be brave and face this foolish wannabe law man. I don't know why but I just do. Tom stopped nearly skidding to a fall. He wanted to give Ted his time even though he had none to spare. It was his last act of kindness, despite the evil deed he had executed. "What Ted. I'm in a hurry. I got to make it to the Kimble. I've been ordered to get there in ten minutes. The curator's will be pissed if I'm late." Wait I told him I had to meet the museum an hour before. Wait. Shit. He'll catch on that it's a fib. "Just wanted to tell you this joke I heard on the radio the other day." Ted. Joke. Ted wants to tell me a joke. I have the Pope's precious article in my bag and now I have to hear a shabby joke with a sketchy punch line. .. no wait, bad thought again. Not the pope, just a bag full of travel gear, like toiletry items and maps. The head of Mary doesn't make good traveling gear, too damn heavy and not to forget holy. "Just listening to this joke I heard." Ted was grinning like he knew I was about to get away with it. Maybe it's time. Ted had his side arm drawn for some inane reason. Ted wouldn't shoot me. I know the man. It was a 38. caliber in his hand at his side, thumb on the hammer. 38. caliber. My God. The old fashion kind to take down any thieve, even the great barbarian and king Ganges Kahn couldn't shield that bullet. "Okay. Just this one joke." Tom said. "But first. You got a cigarette on ya." Ted asked politely. Oh, he wants a smoke. Thank God. Just a smoke. "Sure. Keep the pack." Tom handed over his last Camel lights and opened the hard pack lid, and even charmingly lit the it under Ted's cheap, automatic umbrella which was now flipping to bloom and protect him from the chilling pellets dropping from the stormy sky. "Okay." Ted stuck the camel in his mouth and brought his lips to Tom's silver zippo with an American Flag on the side. "Okay. This guy, uh, will call him Roberto. Okay. Roberto is his name. Anyway he is walking along on a Sunday stroll and runs into this ladder climbing toward the heavens. The Ladder of Success." Ted puffed up the end of his cherry and took in a large inhale of smoke. A gray tiny cloud, like the rain clouds above, fell from his nostrils. He was serious about his jokes. "Okay, Roberto, decides to climb this ladder of success. Okay, he comes to the first cloud and there is this fat ass bitch laying there spread eagle, she says 'okay Roberto please me in every way, you can have me forever and ever or you can climb higher. So he looks at this flabby fuck and decides to climb on up toward success." Tom was getting impatient. The cabbie was too. The cab backed up closer to the curb and Tom politely rolled down his window. "I'm gonna need another torn fifty if you don't hurry up." The taxi driver said in a rusty, slippery gritty tongue. He was a rough man, many miles under his seat and he wasn't going to wait for this costly joke. "Hang on. I'll add another hundred if you wait. Hurry up Ted." HE continued with the joke. "Okay. So he gets to the next cloud higher up on the ladder. It's a chunky lady this time, but she's got knockers on er', most likely silicon dooms, but knockers nevertheless, and she has pretty eyes, like those contact lens ones, real blue and pretty and shit." "Please hurry." Tom urged. "Okay, just be patient. Patience is a virtue." Ted said inhaling and taking his sweat ass time. It's a set up. The police are on their way. No. No. There not. No police. I can't have the police in my mind. Thinking like that will get me busted. You think it, and it becomes. Tom knew this philosophy about reality. He'd listen to the joke, not because he was brave, but because it was the thing an amateur thieve would never do. "Shoot." Tom said. Ted fastened the gun back in his holster and joked on. He knew he was thieving it. He knew he had the holy item on him. But Ted was raised strictly protestant and this helped immensely. Ted took another long drag off the cig and gave him a informed look, as if he was telling him to run. But Tom knew the fighting techniques of two cats. Cats don't when fights by dueling to the end. Cats lose by turning away. The last cat to turn away in a fight is the loser, it isn't the one that gets the most clawing in. "Okay, so he decided to climb higher. The fake contacts didn't do it for him, and plus she was a plus size in the jeans. So he climbs higher to the next cloud of the latter of success." Hurry, please God hurry. I pray to you to make this joke fast Almighty one. Good thought. Tom thought again. Keep thinking like a pro. Holy thoughts. No not holy, but good thoughts. Holy is bad at this particular moment. Ted went on, "Now this cloud houses a beautiful, voluptuous blond, with real blue eyes, honest tits and the nicest ass out there. She says, 'I'm all yours. For eternity. Do with me as you please." Tom decided to fasten his seat belt. The fear had taken him, but he rolled down the window to keep his professional coolness. "Okay get to the punch line." Top pleaded. Ted picked up his speed. "Roberto thinks to himself. Okay-if this bitch is fine what about the next higher up on the ladder. She's got to be a ten. A ten in a half." God how Ted could get wordy. Another inhale, more smoke, more rain, more thunder, more flashes of light from the sky. God was warning him, just as he once warned Salomon in the tunnel of the minds. "So he climbs higher." Tom said through the half rolled down window. Tom's eyes where on his sidearm. He was sweating bullets. Thirty eight caliber bullets. "So he gets to the top and guess what's there." "Who?" Tom said reaching in his billfold to pull out another fifty for the unselfish and kind cabbie. "This big ass fat guy named Cess." Ted hurled out a brilliant guffaw. He always'd laughed at his own jokes. The cabbie kept stern and hit the meter. His financial clock started at $2.50. Tom clambered up and let out a fake smile and then a chuckle came, and then, not expectantly Tom bursting into a machine gun fire of laughter. Tom's face turned blood red and he flared his pearly whites. Even a couple of spit balls lurched. "Get it. Suck Cess. Success. Suck Cess." Sucksess straight out of Bob Dylons mind. Sucksess, cheaters, theatre and get paid. . .get laid, get paid, get laid. . . Tom stopped all together and covered his smile. The fear had taken a quick exit. "I'll remember that one Ted." Ted winked at him and cracked a charming grin. "There is loyalty among thieves my friend." Tom said and rolled up the window. "Loyalty." Yes, loyalty. And the cab sailed off into the rainy night and across Houston street and toward I-35, a straight zoom to the airport. Ted's laughter rang in the back of his head. That is all he heard in his mind as he placed his nap sack between his legs and closed his eyes in pray. A holy shrine lay now between his legs, a shrine worth it's weight in gold, worth it's weight in money, and desire and spirituality. A shrine that everyone will now be looking for, between his legs it hid and only he knew how to pretend it was simply his overnight bag. I did it. Tom said. I really did. The head of Mary is mine. I'm going to hell for this, but hopefully someone, maybe Shelly will pull me out. He had done it for her. She always told him to be brave and never give in to those bastards. Only if he could of stole Shelly, but she was far gone now, lost from him, only housed in his memories which where now full of laughter. He was happy, but as his mother told him once, an Evil happy is never real happiness. He wasn't goodly happy, but evilly happy. One day, he find true happiness, when he puts down the gold of this earth, to wait for the gold above, and the good happy would arrive. The cab was on the highway now. "Hurry my flight leaves at six AM." "Six Am." The cabbie returned. "It's only Eleven PM." "I'm gonna nap at the terminal. I have to get out by morning." "You artist type." The cabbie said mistaking him as the gallery hopper." You in a rush to sleep at the airport." The cabbie said in a patronizing tone. He had a feeling he was on a getaway. Tom took in a deep breath and decided he quit smoking. He didn't answer the cabbie. "Hey, your in a rush to sleep in some terminal." "Funny enough yeah." Tom said keeping, his eyes still closed. He didn't look back at Worth. He never looked back. Never again. Under Ted's laughter, that had glued in him, the tinkering native steal drums of the faraway golden beached island began to dance inside of him.

Now, for Roberto he was becoming the lucky man. His parole meeting was coming up tomorrow. The riot had be concluded and Nick was sent to maximum security and rumor was out he was going to get lethal for killing the guards. Roberto wasn't for lethal injection, no prisoner was, but people, if you want to call them people, like Nick, don't deserve life. It's not a Christian concept by far, but look at what Nick did to others. He took their lives. And eye for an eye theory still has relevance in today's society. There is justice. Rumor had it, Nick was beaten by the a group of men hired by the Warden. Not too badly, the only used wooden poles and padded gloves for punching. It was top secrete, his torture. They say Nick will sit on death-row for ten years or so before his final end. He ain't Saint nick anymore. "Your getting out this time." It was Jackson. "Hows the class going?" "Got a B. I can't believe it. I really got a B. Next, I'm taking Sociology and then Math. Can you believe me thinking all logical and shit." Roberto had never seen Jackson so happy. "I may make something of myself in here. I may become a scholar." "Good for you Jackson." Jackson handed over his last pack of Marlboro to Roberto, even though Roberto would never smoke anything but Camel. "Thanks." "It's a going away gift. I didn't have anything but cigarettes." Then, Jackson face lit up in a strawberry red, under his beautiful black skin. "Oh, and this poem. I wrote for my final assignment in English. I want you to take it with you." Roberto smiled, and felt his eyes turn watery. "I'll keep it in my wallet always. I won't forget ya Jackson." Jackson vanished down the corridor in his Bo Jangle foot steep routine and then disappeared. Roberto never saw him again after that moment. Rumor had it he was released years later and became a youth councilor to teenage juvenile prisoners in a program called Scared Straight. Chuck stopped by. "I get to walk you out. I talk to the warden. He's going to let me see ya off for the final time." "How do you know parole will set me free." Roberto asked. "WE know these things. I work here remember." Roberto knew Chuck would never leave the prison. It was his home, his work, his place of life and well, Chuck secretly liked being on the inside. It was his home away from home away from home. . . The outside scared people liked Chuck, like pirates admired each other or like pirates that had killed Pan and taken over the lost children and began to instigate and underground plan to overthrow The Man. He knew the system and was too familiar with being a prisoner to ever leave again, with out leaving a deeper foot print.

Spoil drifted down the narrow stair unit now gaining in cobwebs and dusts, and other unexplained particulates. He made it to the last step. There it was again. That funny cold feeling on the bottom of his soles. The cold was still present outside, still trembling him, his every inch. The kitchen felt still, and almost empty. No one was around. Ann had left and would not return until after the next semester of nursing class. He decided to make a bowl of corn flakes and mix it with chocolate milk. The regular, white milk was nearly empty and well, rotten, and spoiled. He poured a bowl and slurped up the flakes staring outside at the falling snow flakes that lingered in the cool breeze. No was outside. No one was in the house. At least, he didn't feel that anyone was. Hairison, most likely, had gone off to the shop. It seemed no one was around anywhere. As if the whole world had stopped for Spoil to finish up his corn flakes. He added another filter to the drip pot and used Folgers, like always. He figured Hairison would need another cup when he returned for lunch. The afternoon was rising and soon the warming sun would begin to melt the icicles from the linings of the rooftops. He loved the sound of icicles hitting the garden, or the white gravel driveway that laid before the house. It was time to clearn. Hairison told him to clean up the back room and to make sure his room was picked up, and he told him he needed to dust before he returned home. Spoil finished up his last bite of corn flakes and put the bowl in the sink, soaped it up with Dawn detergent, rinsed it, dried it off with a faint red dish towel and headed in the back room, where Hairison usually slept. The room was dead when he walked in. There was a lump where Hairison usually slept. Must be a pile of pillows. Spoil thought. He didn't figure it was Hairison. The lump under the bed spread was far too still. No motion of breath, or the sound of snoring. But then, he noticed something peculiar. It was a few thin, long grayish white hairs poking out of the top of the comforter. It couldn't be Hairison. He isn't moving, or snoring, or kicking, or grumbling, or even, well, breathing. Spoil walked over to the edge of the bed and removed the comforter to expose the figure that lay beneath. It was Hairison, but it wasn't. He was far too pale. Far to still. And not a breath lingered inside him. Then, Spoil noticed his eyes. Almost crystal color and blue. They spilled no light out of them. They where absent and hollow. The color of a aqua blue. Spoil softly touched his forehead with his palm. It was icy cold and stale. No sweat. No temperature. Nothing. He was nothing. No more. Hairison wasn't in some type of deep sleep, or even a coma. No. Hairison was dead. Ice cold dead. What am I going to tell Ann. Spoil thought. Then, suddenly he felt responsible. I wonder how he died. Too much sugar in the coffee. Maybe I misplaced the rat poison, or stirred in too much salt, or. . .or. . .or. No, it can't be my fault. People die every day. Some one most likely died just now as I worry over this death, just as someone has been born. People die and people are born it is the way of life. No one can stop it. Death happens. I can't tell Ann. She would be too hurt. She loved her father so much. Spoil hurried back into the kitchen to pick up the phone. Maybe She'll call. Maybe Ann will call. Hairison thought. But the phone never rang. Ann hardly ever called. She was too busy with work and study. Work and study. Ann is always busy. How can I get a hold of her. What about the hospital. Maybe they could resuscitate him. CPR. I remember that from junior high. We took a class on it. The dummy model came to him, the alcohol swabs and the pumping near the heart. Take two fingers from the sternum for measurement. I will try to breath life back into him. Hairison rushed back into the cold still room. He hovered over Spoil and touched placed his first finger and middle finger over on the side of his neck, under the chin. No thumbing. Nothing knocked inside. Then, the placed his cheek to his chest to feel if it raised, just a little bit. Nothing. No movement. Complete and utter stillness. He forgot if he should blow air in his mouth first, or pump his chest. First, I'll blow air in his mouth. Get him breathing. He tilted the back of his head back by placing his palm under the back of his neck. Hairison's head fell backward and small cracking pop announced. He was stiff. Dead stiff. The airway was open because a slight breeze escaped from his lungs. Spoil took a deep breath and placed his mouth over Hairison lips. He exhaled and filled Hairison's lungs to full. His chest rose like balloon filling with water. He let Hairison's limb chest fall again and release his own air. A small cracking sigh sounded from Hairision. "Hairison. Are you wake buddy." Spoil said with stern eyes. "Can you hear me." He placed his mouth over the gaping hole again and blew a full breath. His chest rose again and the same sigh escaped as Hairison's cold chest fell closed. Spoil searched with his first and index finger for his sternum with his right hand. Found it. It was a hard little knob of a thing, short and stubby, but sharp. He placed the two first fingers for measurement and then placed his hand left palm above the mark he made with his fingers. Then, he linked his fingers of his right hand, adjoined with his left, and placed the palm flat against his chest, above his still heart. He began to pump five times in succession. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four Mississippi and five. Then, he pinched his nostrils shut this time. Yes, the nostril must be sealed for the breath to fully arrive. He blew in his mouth, covering his lips with his, and closing off his nose airway, so the air could arrive to his lungs and then, to his blood, if the heart beat. He did this over and over again, finding the sternum, covering his nose, tilting his head back, listening to his breath fill his friends lungs expand and contract. After a five minutes or more of CPR he finally rested. Spoil was sweating a mess. He wiped his brow off with the edge of the bed spread and stood over his dead friend. "I'm Sorry old buddy. Your in heaven now." Suddenly, Hairison's eyes snapped open. "GILDA." He screamed. Air escaped his mouth and his lips blubbered. "Gilda is that you." Hairison was alive. "Hairison. Can you hear me?" Spoil rushed to the phone. "Come to me Gilda. Hold my hand." Spoil picked up the receiver and started to call 911. "COME TO ME NOW. GILDA. NOW. IT'S GOING DARK." Hairison hit the buttons on the phone 9-1. . .and then, a force came over him, a cold feeling, freezing like the icy rain. He flew back into Hairison's icy room in a flash. "Hold my hand Gilda." He knew Hairison was in trouble. He was shaken and his face was as baby blue as the wall's of his baby room Spoil remembered as a child. "I'm here." Spoil said in a high rusty falsetto. "I'm here for you now." Hairison's eyes filled with water and turned a light red. "Gilda. I'm coming home baby." Hairison's said in shaky voice. "I'm coming back to you." Spoil squeezed his hand and placed his palm over his forehead. He was as cold as snow. "Your going to pull through this Hairision." Spoil said in a low voice. "Who are you?" "It's me. Spoil." "Spoil. Who is Spoil. Who in the hell are you?" It was as if Spoil had become a stranger under this confusion. "I'm going to call the ambulance." Spoil said. "No. Don't leave me. Don't stop holding my hand. Hang on to me." Hairison tugged on his hand. He had a grip on him. A grip that could pull in a great whale from the bottom of the ocean. Hairison could not escape. "The phone. I need to make the call." "NO. Gilda. Coming. Home. Stay with me." Hairison was crying now. Whining like a small school boy, pouting and hissing a small fit. "NOOOOOO. Gilda. I'm coming." He began to cough and the inside of him was vibrating now. He was on the edge of all this. The edge of passing through to the other side. "I'm gonna leave now." "No hang one. Hang on to my hand. I'll call 911. Get ya help" Spoil was afraid to leave him now. Afraid he may slip back into that icy winter he had found him in. Then, everything fell silent. The room grew still. A sun beam landed on Hairison's face spilling through the sheets that were nailed over his bedroom window. "Tell Ann I love her." Then, Hairison stopped breathing. "No." Spoil shouted. He was tired, tired beyond death. "No. Don't go now. Not now. Wait for Ann." "Tehwl Awwhn I luv er." He said as another breath arose and he fell into that stillness again. "What?" Spoil said. Tewhwl awwhn I luv her. Oh, yes. Tell Ann I love her. Then, Hairison's chest stopped raising. His breath left him. Spoil checked for a pulse on his neck and wrist. It was as still as a rock. He was gone again. I'll make the call. The call. 911. 911. Spoil repeated in his hand. Then, Hairison's grip fell lose and dead. He dropped his hand and it swung to the side of the bed, dangling their like a worn out rag doll. Spoil slipped into the kitchen it took a tumbling fall on the icy floor. A stream of frozen milk stretched from the bottom of the stairs and out the front door. It was frozen like a long white bridge skimming on top of the kitchen floor. Gilda. Spoil thought. Gilda took him. He stood up, still staring amazingly at the frozen stream of white. He picked up the phone and began to dial 911. "Don't." A voice said from the stairs. He looked up. Gilda was standing there, almost hovering over the last stair holding a bottle of white milk. Don't make the call. Let him come with me. Spoil stared at her with wide eyes. He began to tremble and shake. He grew cold and the sweat under his armpits and forehead seemed to ice over. But it's Hairison. He is my keeper. "LET HIM GO WITH ME." Gilda said and a beam of light passed through her and she flew across the room and into Hairison's bedroom. Spoil followed her. She hovered over the still lump in the bed and then the ghost's hand caressed Hairison's pale face. She fell vanished into him. The room was freezing cold and still again. Gilda was gone. It was as if she had entered him. Then, the beam of sunlight lifted from Hairison's milky face and drifted to the ceiling and slowly dimmed to a familiar shadow on the ceiling, which remained. Spoil ran back into the kitchen. The icy trail of milk was gone. He picked up the receiver and then, hesitated to call this time. Let him go with me. Let him go with me. The voice rang in his head. Let him go. We are done here. Spoil dropped the phone and ran the narrow stairs to the attic room he spent so many hours writing in. I must leave here now. He thought. I must get out. Leave Hairison and his wife and Ann. I must go now. Go to the Big City. He thought.

Spoil peeked out of the attic's makeshift guest bedroom upstairs window. There was a priest walking with a small black cane. Limping, alone. What was Hairison. Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Mormon, Jehovah's Witness. What? Well, he couldn't of been Mormon or Jehovah's witness because he would of tried to convert him. He must have practiced Catholicism or Baptism. What was he? He knew who he was, where he lived, what work he had done. But he never remembered him reading the bible, or going off to church on Sunday. One time Ann mention a quote from the bible. The sickness will not end in death. She said that one time talking about her hospital and her type of work, where the dead come and go on a daily basis. The sickness will not end in death. He knew this.

Perhaps, he should stop the priest. Ask him for (last rites) last rights for Hairison. I could stop him now. It looks as if he is headed to someone's house, maybe to help pass a soul to heaven. He wore a thick beaded necklace of black with a crucifix hanging on the end. It swung slowly, in little movements, side-to-side, almost hypnotizing Spoil to come out in the cold and talk with him. The priest was humming something. A religious hymn. Yes, he remembered. Come walk with me. That is what was in the Priest's mind as he thrashed through the snowy street in his black holy rain boots, leaving his foot prints behind him. He had a slow walk, almost in a fixed rhythm, as if nothing could stop him from his next step, but his steady, concentrated gait was not hurried or rushed.

Hairson left the frosty window that he had cleared with his palm to make a hole to see the holy man make his way passed the house. Then, he noticed something pecuriliar. It was a snow man, with two big coal eyes, broom stick arms, with leather snow gloves for hands and two hard cold ashy black rock eyes. What was a snow man doing in Hairison's front yard. How did it get there? He had no explanation. Maybe the priest made it. Perhaps some kids in the neighborhood to play a joke on Hairison, who was now as cold as the snowman.

The priest suddenly came still, almost infinitesimal before the Hairison's oak red mail box that read 407 Farmer Road. The priest turned and looked up at the frosty attic window, glinting and squeezing his eye lids as if he was trying to make out Spoil. Then, he nodded and looked up toward the now graying morning sky. Spoil decided to retrieve him and ask him to pray over his passed friend. Spoil walked down the stairs, in the same rhythm that the priest had gaited to. He arrived at Hairison's front door and swung the door open, the hinges squealed like a door mouse. Spoil walked out in the snowy front yard in his thin morning slippers, soaking them to a soggy slush. "Excuse me, Father." Spoil said. "I need your assistant." The Father turned to him and made his way to the front yard and off the Farmer road, which was as dead with immobility and non-movement. There wasn't a bird in the sky, nor did the squirrels rattle in the trees, or the field mice run under the embedded snow. Everything was infinitesimal like his dead friend that lay awaiting degeneration. "Sir, the owner of this house has passed and I would like for you to. . ." And then, nothing was there. No priest. No father. Nobody. Just the snowman staring back at him with the set of ashy black eyes. Hairison scratched his head and rubbed his eyes. I must be dreaming. He thought. Then, he heard a set of foot steps clogging far down Farmers road, but he saw no one. It was just the sound of someone slowly walking toward North. He had a feeling it was the priest's spirit, or maybe his own foot steps, heading out toward the city. The sun slowly crawled out behind the gray storm clouds and shinned speckles of lights down upon the house and began to losing the firmness of the snowman. Spoil saw the it slowly melt as the winter fell close in his mind and summer transformed the ice into slush, then water and then vapor and back up toward the clouds to wait in moisture.

A small second passed, and Hairison was back in the attic, as if he had never stepped out to find the Father walking in his unseen way. He reached under the mattress and removed his new black leather bound journal of poetry entitled Cold Town. Then, he made his way to the kitchen to cook his last meal until his next stop. He opened Hairison's refrigerator and removed two pieces of lumped foil about the size of footballs. He opened them and removed the reddened frozen meat and placed them on the countertops. As he let the meat thaw he opened his journal and began to write.

Hairison has left me. He was passed to the heavens to a better place. I will remember him always. 407 Farmer road, a place I learned about people and the country.

He continued writing about the small house, the attic, Hairison's stories of the hair saloon, and Ann's dream of becoming a nurse, and how pretty her green eyes where, and then, he began pondering over the little things. The coffee maker, the gas oven and the grease that had formed on the facing and under the handles, on the grill, and how the field mice would borough under the house, and the rabbits. . .Then, his pen stopped. The rabbits. Spoil looked over at the thawed meat that lay limp on top of the foil. THE RABBITS. He flipped to the beginnings of his thick journal and found the Rabbit song to Jackson, Chuck and Robert.

Then, the song came to him:

Run rabbit run

Take to your fun

Life ain't a game

No one wins anyway

Run turtle run

Take to the sun

Look out for rain today

Rabbits only a sleep away

Rest, rest the pain away

Hide in your shell today

Get lost in my way.

Race on and on today, today, and today.

I'm sorry Chuck, Roberto and Jackson. I gotta eat ya today. He preheated the oven to 360 and walked back to the bedroom to cover Hairison up with a few comforters. Then, he tore a sheet from his journal and set it on the table. He walked into Hairison's room and opened his nightstand. That is where he kept his phone books, and his address book,. He had told him about it long ago, if he ever needed to call the shop, or the local feed store, the numbers for Ann and the Hospital were listed in the Rolladex. He found Anne's address in the Big City. 1002 Twenty third street, Big City, 00017.

Spoil set down and spiced the rabbit meat with pepper and salt. He began to write Ann a letter as he finished off Jackson.

Dear Ann,

Your father has passed away on the day of 17th of cold early morning of January. I do not know the cause of death. Most likely natural causes. I found him laying unconscious and he wasn't breathing. I called the ambulance but they did not make it on time. I had to leave town so I wrote this letter to you because I could not reach you by phone. I'm sorry I could not reach you. I tried calling your home several times but no one answered. I hope school is working out for you. You are a beautiful lady and will make a wonderful and caring nurse. I must leave now. I am headed to the Big City to make my new home. I will not be here, in Cold Town, when you return for the funeral. I have called the mortician at the Cold Town Morgue to pick up your father as soon as possibal, possible. I love you and will miss you dearly. I am sorry to inform you that I will not be able to make his funeral, but I will send you another letter once I arrive to the Big City. I have your address and I know you are very busy. I may not come across you in time before you receive this letter. Till now I guess this will do. I am sorry about the death of your father. He was a good, honest, hard working man, and the best barber ever. Hairison was the best friend I have had in years and I miss his long stories about Cold Town and the memories he shared about his wife Gilda and you growing up.

P.S. Jackson, Robert and Chuck are no longer with us either. They have passed away and I buried them in the back yard. A wild dog got a hold of them when I on the front porch when I gave them some free time from the cages. It was a tragedy. The rabbit's graves are unmarked, but they are resting with God now. This was a hard winter. Anyways, I will honor and have him and you in my heart always. God Bless you Ann Hairison.


I will look you up when I arrive in the city.

Love Forever,

Mr. Spoil, your friend.

Roberto small black alarm clock began to beep. It was low in battery and now the beeping had a more baritone beep, and it sounded like it was getting horse. He hit the snooze, took the battery out of the back. Boy, if he left that old alarm beeping for hours why he was away at the parole meeting, the prisoners would have his hide before sun up. The Warden showed up. Cigar and all. His face looked much older, more wrinkly, more crow feet under the brow and under the eyes. He led Roberto down passed the mess hall, under the weight room and nose close to an elevator. The prison guards that shadowed Roberto uncuffed him. He might be free. A voice rose in his head. He might really be free. It was the inmates talking to him, from above. The inmates he shared the a hard decade of his life. The voices of Chuck, Jackson, and the Guitar man's tunes rattle in his head, far in his head, the many cells he had dug and concreted and barred up behind his fondest memories. Voices he'd never forget, nor want to. . .voices of time.

"You did it man." "You're the man." "Good ol' free Roberto. The pace maker." No one ever called him the pace maker before, but it fit his last name. Roberto Pace Maker. It did it and at a reasonable cost. My life, time, hard time, sitting before the typewriting clacking away through riot and through the thick silence of criminal mischief. Now, Roberto was going to be free and soon a real writer.

The committee was as usual. There were five members plus two guards. The member that caught his eye was a sharp, smart and pretty lady dressed in a white business suite and white tie. She reminded him of Annie Hall. He tear'd up for a minute and began to take big breaths. Crying at your parole meeting revealed a sign of weakness. "One must be strong. One must hold your head high." It was the guys from the cell talking in his head again.

"State your full name and number." "Roberto Pace. Number 17667 block C." "Roberto do you know why you are here today?" The man that asked this question must have been the one with the PHD. He wore a brown suite with a thick blazer and even kept his light weight scarf around his neck. "I hope you do." He got up and walked out of the room. For some reason, he didn't want to attend this meeting. That left five, I think, five or six more members. I was seeing double at this point. Then, something caught Robertos eye. The scarf. Why was that man wearing a scarf and jacket. It was only spring. I think it was spring. Is it spring out there. What month was this. A scarf. It must be chilly out.

The month. What month. They'd ask the month. They ask that. To see if I was sane. "What is the date today?" A voice blurred. Roberto stiffened up and went into a cold sweat. Beads of water formed on every part of his existence. Then, a group of men, that all sounded like Chuck rattled off, far under his consciousness, "May 15th, 1999." "Good answer" The man in the brown suit returned politely with a jug of water and then exited again and returned seconds later with two glasses. Then, the brow suited man exited and returned with two more glasses. He kept doing this, coming and going, clicking his expensive dress shoes across the room, carrying in glass after glass until everyone had two or more. He seemed nervous. For some reason, Roberto took him as the press. He must have been a press man, a reporter for some magazine or news channel. The other parole members seemed very educated and too sophisticated to be real prison parole officers and guidance councilors. They had these councilors there to help you figure out how to make it once you get on the outside. It seemed everyone had already had plans for Roberto. Their were two men that looked like they could have been twins. They both weigh in at about a buck fifty and wore thick bifocals: each in matching blue suites and blue checkered ties. "Do you know why we are here?" The warden, now Roberto could tell, was wearing a yellow rain cover, poncho, with a gray cowboy hat with a silver star at the brim and a feather, perhaps turkey season. . ."Do you know why we are here today." "No." Roberto answered with an honest look. "Why?" "We are here to ask you about the story." "What about my freedom?" Roberto's tears were acting up again. One of these members had a Doctorate degree in Psychology and two others in criminal law. "What about your freedom?" "I want to know. Am I a free man or another year?" "First tell us about the story and then we will tell you if you are a free man or prisoner." "First, I want to know, before I talk about The Criminal." The twins looked at one another. They must of each had on a ton of cologne. And the after shave was not to die for. . .Easy Breeze, or some Wal-mart home job brand. Bad news on the after shave. Good news on the cologne. These people might be important. It was a cheap after shave, but the cologne was expensive. It had to be Hugo Boss. Yes, Hugo Boss. Yes. Yes, Boss. Seventy dollars or more a bottle at your local Follies. "You want me to tell you the story?" "Yes." The twin on the right said. The entire meeting was seated behind a long, cheap picnic table that looked like the last supper table, but with business men awaiting an answer, and, well, Christ was left out of the picture, but I am sure he was there in spirit. "Yes." The twin on the left said. "No." Roberto clattered back and lowered his head. The other member was dressed in a tan business suite, with what looked like a pair of FBI ordered sunglasses sitting next to his two hundred dollar silver pen made by some unknown jewelry store. "First, the story, then we tell you were you stand. It depends on the story." Roberto went erect and became hot headed. "No. I will not utter a word to you about my novel until I find out if I am here for another year or I walk tomorrow or now or whenever." "Okay." The twins nodded to the Warden. The Warden placed a Cuban cigar in his mouth, lit up, puffed a cloud of smoke and nodded to the lady in the white business suit. She nodded to the black man in the tan suit. The warden lifted his barrel chest toward the ceiling and tucked in his gut. It was as if he was getting ready for prom or a big date. He smiled and showed all his pearly teeth, which Roberto did not know how he could of possessed with out Dental enhancement, and a four bottles of Colgate White and a electric powered spin brush. Perhaps he used a waxing device. See, the Warden was a vain man, but he had style and never let anyone know he was peacock at heart. "Should I tell him or yall." The Warden said a small white puffball of smoke escaped his rounded lips. The Warden remained behind the godly table and hovered like a lost shadow looking for a resting place under a thick old elm. He was the tallest and most intimidating man of the bunch. And what a bunch it was, the tan suite man, who was African decent, spoke up. "I'll tell him." He stood his spine right in the chair and talked in a low commanding voice. "As of today, May 15th, you are now a free man. Your crime has been redeemed. You are free to go." "We would like to here the story." The lady in white quietly said. The twins stood up. The left one dented in his glasses to the upper region of his nose and belted out, and with a ton of emotion "We are from Garden City Books. We heard you had written a story about your life as a criminal and as a prisoner. WE are very interested and want to read your manuscript." "For how much?" "Well, we would like to review it and then give you a price." The Warden cracked a shit eating grin and tipped his hat at Roberto. According to the forecast there was no precipitation in Roberto's eyes. He was a serious business man now. "Okay." Roberto stood up stretched and bent over. He hung upside down for minute, touching his toes and stretching out the long stiff back muscles he had accumulated laying on his un-springy hard as stone mattress in Block C.

"You want to here my story." "Yes." The twin on the right said. "Shall I recite it to you." Roberto grinned and tipped an imaginary hat to the Warden. "You have it memorized." "Most of the first chapter. I figured it was better to get it in my head, you know, in case of another riot. Out of control fires and reams of papers don't mix." Roberto straightened up and sat back in the steel silver chair. "First, I would like the Warden to give me one of those fine illegal Cubans and a match." The Warden guffawed, leaned his head back, reached in his jacket and pulled out his small golden cigar case. He walked over to Roberto, placed it in his mouth, as if he was a proud father, and struck the match for him. Roberto puffed away and took a half inhale. His eyes fogged over with red and tiresome time. "First, I would like to thank the Warden and the committee for freeing me. And I would like to admit to you that I wrote this think on everything from napkins, placemats and toilet paper and of course the fine Underwood and paper that the Warden provided, I would have had a hell of a time chipping this thing out on the concrete wall, if it weren't for the Warden here." "Shucks." The Warden said and returned to his shadow behind the table. "Where would you like to begin." The educated twin said removing his jacket while pouring a tall glass of water. "We are interested in publishing your story." The twin on the left said and cleared his throat and poured another glass for his brother. "Thirsty." "Yes." Roberto said while puffing the room full of more cigar smoke and ash. The twin poured Roberto a glass of water and walked over to him. His fancy dress shoes, most likely form Italy, tapped a odd beat as he made his way to Roberto. "Thanks." Roberto said and took a large sip. The man returned next to his other half and sat swiftly in the exact same intellectual position behind the holy table. "Were should I begin?" Roberto asked. "From the beginning. That seems to always work." Roberto face went red and then slowly ivory. "From the beginning Roberto Pace." The Warden said smiling ear to ear. Roberto had become a model prisoner and The Warden was going to take credit for every educated modeled moment. The room became a thick as leather and as cold as Alaska. A breeze fell through Roberto Pace like no other wind had produced on his body and mind. A breeze that could end all breaths. He took in a deep breath and began to quiet his body and breath at a steady rate. He took in one last big breath and quietly open the story up for the searching eyes before him. . .It seemed a sun ray had found its way through a barred window and onto his pale and tired face. "Okay. Here it goes. . . .Uh. It starts off fairly simple. I give a definition. Are you ready." The entire room nodded. Roberto continued,

"A man rotten away in a prison cell in the land of free. Atrophy. The idea of prison. Atrophy, the idea of hell. Atrophy, my beginning and my end. Atrophy, never will I walk but in circles along wired fences and bullet proof glass and hallways arm stretched lengths. Never will I remember the beauty of a pastoral field. Never will I remember the opposite of atrophy. Atrophy; true hell, true crime and punishment, true death. I am dead because of atrophy. I am dead because my desires are dull and I can never think to possess anything more than my body. My body, my true cell, the bars, my true thoughts. My punishment, my savior, my life and my end.

Now for Roberto's Pace's fictional story, inspired by wasting away in his Cell #1776 A Block. Down the hall from the blue collar crimes." Roberto took in one last huge breath and lost himself, once again, in his telling of the story, " Tom Burnet was lost in a familiar, unerring thought. It was not a breath away that he could feel her, almost touch her soft lips. Shelly Thorns, the women he never mentioned, never, not even softly uttered her name. Like thorns that grew in the garden and that had stung too deep, far too deep to remove from the sole. A scar was left inside him that he could never repair. The thought that he pondered on was intrinsically planted carefully in the corner of the dark rooms in his head. It was not a breath away that an unforgettable sound, in one of those rooms, painted baby blue, a carriage, and white wool baby blanket that kept him heavenly warm, had fully enveloped his every movement he despairingly needed now. The feeling, even the sound of this warm web, was always with him, constantly spinning and beating, like a series of master drummers far off in the jungle, in the wilderness inside him, thumping at the soles of his feet to dance it all away. This feeling, cool, dark, azure, deathly deep blue was out there, above him, beyond reach, beyond comprehension. Then, the sound that awoke him as a infant at night came again. That strange little noise we all are so familiar and surprisingly in awe of during dinner time when the talk of the commercials and TV shows intrude upon our reality. The sound of a mimicked life. Then, the rawness of truth arrived in a simple beat. Lub dup, lub, dup, lub dup. The sound in his chest pumped away and it scared him. That familiar big city sprouted up inside him, burning his urge to write it all down, to commit it to the world, to existence, filling him like some strange evergreen plant that would never die, not in the coldest town. A hidden secret like the forbidden fruit once was and had appeared before him in the form of a tall city.. He had never tasted this strange sensation until now, this very precious rushing time, enraging energy and force, giving him an bestial energy he had never used and now aided and burned the story of his life in him like an iron imprint. Tom was constantly putting down in some journal, or shadowy corner in his back pocket, or doodled and tucked between restaurant napkins. Perhaps an answer. Perhaps the answer was temporary but it warmed him, soothed him for the moment he waited on the subway bench for the R train to arrive.

Breaths buried into his structured and planned out mind. Ashy thoughts, once pure, but now growing polluted and far from taintless were coming and going in long puffs off his Camel cigarettes. Then, in a flash he had landed in the future. Years passed him in a blink and he began to write.

Buy one get two free Camels at the local junction in the town of Crow where he marked the story from now. He went back to this city again for an answer. It was sad such a man could lose his innocence, some of the greatest of his blood had never suffered from the glitch, the tiny dot, by which the mechanics of the machine's black blood and grinding, oily and drippy desire of fame and fortune, operated. In such an evil way his voice changed and became rusted with knowledge never meant for man to see and take in. Of course it was the big city. He could blame it on that. But the blame, you see, never ends. The blame never ends. It is more dangerous than cyanide or any toxic chemical growing in the refineries that charged the light and energy for mankind. This collection of the richest of men, in the spot of a financial moment, a dent in time had opened for him, a fortune offered for his words and thoughts, his paper turning to gold. It was this, the temptation he fought. The temptation of fame and fortune and to enter the Great Wall.

It was not some mere philosophy, or art, or performance, or trickery that he so treasured and tried to organize and plan his life around that was saving him. This type of feed, this entertainment was eating away at him like the blue and yellow pills he ingested morning and night to calm his mind and heart. No it was more than that. It was touchable, in sight, before him, breathing like a lover. Shelly Thorns was lost. She left for the south. Left him behind for another lover, another heart to heal and grow.

There he was in this big city that everyone flocked to time to time for financial award and fame. There he was again. This lost man. Alone. In some deep thought about the essence of what a city really is, a living force with form, a unknown necessity, like technology has become, a new fruit. . . and now with an almost a godly perfection it hovered and shadowed over him like a great God asking him questions and leading him to empty dead ends.

Like an organism larger than most gigantic killer whales, or Moby Dick. When the Captain of Captains, of the mighty ship able to take under killer sea creatures, Ahab, without fear, or self consciousness, may have tossed his ragged self upon it's flapping fins and slimy skin, sticking his mighty spear into it's fishy ribs and his flesh joining the whales flesh, holding on to this stubbornness in unison, this hate and this sailor's revenge that lead him far beneath the drowning sea, like a giant iron ship anchor, of no desire and salty downward, gravitated truth; Now, and again, and again, he watched the bars in his cell, the brick hall ways and passing inmates, like Ahab, once had bravely been, fighting in the rushing waves, salty water for their next fishy meal, and greater than the any peril of the sea itself, that now tugged on his puerile and silly, childish direction of man versus the sea (rather than Man versus God). He typed, like Ahab harpooned the watery mammals hearts: A direction once, in youth, lead by God, and now guided by what seemed to be his own choosing, words, words, words making up giant stories of his own precious chosen scene. He was a chosen one, gifted to speak, to own the past, to control the future, to change the past and revise the present. Those who changed history, changed the future and those who changed the past, powered the present. He was far from 1984's concept dreamed by Orwell and far from the dream of Big Brother. That was already implanted in everyman, free or not. These thoughts, this stories, which was his downfall, in his youth once mitigated toward Christ's solitary popular words, barred by his fructification of fiction, "Worship must have crucifixion, and understanding, but now what tempted him from that saving grace he was lost. He needed Him like a plant needs the power of water for fermentation. And God was always there in fermentation of his mind and body. Carrying him, mind and body, in the shadows and pain that slowly sucked from his lungs, which derived by Rene Duamal's plants and Sogol's climb to Mount Analogue. Stories now lost, in libraries across the countries, like the fictional talking plants and the invisible mountain made visible by Rene's imagination..

This city needs grace like a plant needs water. He thought. Without grace the trash will just pile up and take over and corrupt what could have been nature.

Even though long ago he was born now he felt he had just arrived.

"You did it pal." Jackson said. "And one day I'll write one that will kick that one right in the ass." Jackson's voice echoed away.

"Taxi." The cab past him in a flash. Seconds passed in his heart that seemed like centuries of war and love. He was now standing before the yellow line awaiting the underground trains, rushing, clicking by like flashes of pure solar rays, lights man made of faces in rocking pasts He hated him, his cell mates, almost blinding him into confusion, with his chattering hatred of authority, cash register locks, passwords and unbreakable bank mausoleum. The prison was not just steel and alarms. It was an organism in a way, this Big City of bars, foul talk and unforgiving rules. The prison was not just steel and alarms. It was an organism in a way, this Big City of bars, foul talk and unforgiving, hard chilling back breaking, bed sore and hellish smells of the essence of rules. It was no different that Manhattan (Big City). It was not much different than death or the blackest part of sleep a man can sleep without knowing he is alive.

"Oh man you got it this time." Chuck echoed as he told his tale on paper and tongue. "Your in the big top now boy. You are in the Movies."

It was an organism in a way, this Big City of bars, foul talk and unforgiving rules. The prison was not just steel and alarms. It was an organism in a way, this Big City of bars, foul talk and unforgiving, hard chilling back breaking, bed sore ridden, never forgetting and hellish smells of the essence of rules and proper conduct. It was no different than the scum and riches of Manhattan (Big Cities across the U.S.) the greedy and selfish faces and bodies briskly walking on Wallstreet or the artsy and creativity of San Francisco, or the crowded religions of Tokyo. It was not much different than death or the blackest part of sleep a man can sleep without knowing he is alive.