Hogan’s Hero

I pulled over at Cafetal because I spotted 72 y/o Hogan sitting in there all alone.  He is my friend for no particular reason.  I mean that in an altruistic sort of way.  I think he is originally from Ohio.  He’s the type of guy that appreciates a guy like me.  We chatted for a good 20 minutes. He was real happy to see me and let it be known.  The big news out of Camp Hogan was that he quit smoking after 50 years.  My advice to him was Sour Apple Jolly Ranchers.

I told him that I was just now heading home from a long morning helping out an old lady.  Hogan wanted to know what she needed help with.  The better question would have been why was I helping out an old lady.  Needless, I began by saying that for three straight months, three mornings per week, without missing even one day,  I have been visiting her at her house for no particular reason.  You know, one thing lead to another which lead to twelve others.

Hogan smiled and told me that was pretty altruistic of me.  I needed a definition.  He gave me one.  His definition made more than just sense, it made a believer out of me.  I lost myself momentarily as I pieced a few more ironies and coincidences together.  Yet another signal that was attached to a meaning that had latched onto an omen that once again was reminding me to stay the course and keep my eye on the prize.  Life was whispering.  I was listening.


Seeing Is Believing

Each waking morning, after pushing the button on the coffee maker, I seem to gravitate towards the tinted window in my apt. that overlooks the street below.  I hear roosters and I hear school kids.  I hear dogs and I hear buses.  I hear surf and I hear tortilla salesmen.  Once I go to the tinted window, I can then put a couple of eyeballs onto the sound-scape.  

This particular morning, after pushing the button on my coffee maker, and after hearing all the usual sounds, I naturally gravitated towards the tinted window, yet the only thing that my two eyeballs could picture was the pretty yellow bird that lay dead on my street.  I remember asking myself why God would want me to bare witness to this lifeless beauty.


Two hours later, I decided to head out to The Mercado.  While I was waiting below for some public transportation, a lady with a pamphlet came my way.  She was Mexican.  Maybe 35 years old.  Her pretty blonde co-worker kept her distance.  Out of respect for her being of Mexican blood, and because they opted not to four-leg me, I decided to play fair.

As many of you may or may not know, my history with these people has become very well documented.  This is the time of year when a bunch of blonde haired, blue eyed, surfer missionary men and woman walk around Puerto and try to talk Jesus shop.  Last year they hit me up at the wrong time of the month, and the shit hit the fan.  This time would be different.

Our 6 minute Conversation

How’s your Spanish going?  ¿Hablas Ingles?

Yeah I speak English.

Well my name is Juanita, and that is my friend Christie over there.

Hey.  How’s it going?

Another day in paradise…

Where are you from?

I live here, and have lived here in Puerto for 20 years.  I am originally from Acapulco.  Christie is from Brisbane.

Nice.  So what’s up?

Well, we are just walking around the community, speaking with as many people as we can about Resurrection.  Do you know what Resurrection means?

Not really.

She handed me her little pamphlet.  On the top it read, Can the dead really live again?  On the bottom read, Would you say Yes, No, or Maybe.  In between this loaded question there was a picture of a man and woman.(presumably husband and wife)  The woman had her right arm around the waste of the man, and her right ear rested on his left shoulder.  The picture was of their backside.  Why their backside?  Well I will tell you.  So that in the foreground of the pamphlet, the reader could also see how the (presumably)sad parents were looking at pictures that hung on their family room wall of their (presumably)dead daughter during (presumably)happier times.  Another perfect example of a religion using fear based tactics right out da’ gate.  I twitched and bit my lip.

What do you want from me Señora?

Do you believe in life after death?


Well the bible does.

I’ll be damned.  

Would you be curious to know what the bible says about life after death?

Lay it on me.

Fact #1:

God is the Creator of life.  The Bible calls Jehovah God “the source of life”.  The One who gave life to all living creatures is certainly capable of restoring life to someone who has died.

Fact #2:

God has resurrected humans in the past.  The Bible reports eight instances of humans–young, old, male, and female–who were brought back to life on earth.  Some had been dead for a short while, but one had been in a tomb for four days!

Fact #3:

God is eager to do it again.  Jehovah HATES death; he views it as an enemy.  He has a yearning to conquer that enemy, to undo death by means of the resurrection.  He longs to bring back those who are in his memory and to see them live on earth again.

What do you think after hearing those facts?

I’m curious if God can bring back animals.

You mean like a horse or a cow?

He can start with a couple of dogs if it’s easier.

I’m not sure what the bible says about that.

Look Lady, how can I best say this?  OK, You see that dead bird in the street?


Can you, or your blonde friend over there make that bird fly again, or is that bird out for the count?  Because if you can make it fly again, I will go to Central on the next bus, buy a pair of long pants, get a clean shave, buy a pair of shoes, maybe a leather briefcase, and I will walk these dirt streets in the hot sun with more God Damn conviction than Jehovah himself.

[she chuckled]  I can’t bring that bird back to life.

I didn’t think you could.  And nor can your boy Jesus.  That bird is dead.  And all the birds that are still flying around, like that one, and that one; they aren’t the least bit sad that one of their own is lying dead in the street.  In fact, one or more of them may even come back later and steal some feathers if a tire tread doesn’t get to it first.

But birds aren’t what we’re…

Wrong again Juanita.  That bird was just as important as you and me.  It was just as smart as you and me.  It had a heart that beat life just like yours and mine do.  It deserves everything and anything that you and me deserve.  That dead bird right there spoke a universal language more in tune with the soul of our world than you and me could ever even dream up.  So if that dead bird isn’t included in the resurrection lottery, then I’m going to have to pass tambien. 

OK, well you have a good day.

Que le vaya bien..  

Captain Fantastic

I would say she is in her mid to late 30’s.  My best guess is that she is from Spain.  Maybe Morocco.  Could be from anywhere actually.  It’s tough to know sometimes.  Puerto is Oh-So-International.  I suppose I could ask, but I never understood why anyone would need to know where somebody is from?  She’s probably from Venus.  How’s that?

One thing is for sure, this young lady is a professional musician.  A bit of a Diva around these tropical necks.  She’s pretty committed to her art.  I had heard that she can instantly play by ear, PLUS read music.  She plays a variety of different instruments.  She writes and sings in three languages.  She can sit in with anyone, anywhere, anytime.

On Thanksgiving afternoon, while I was busy doing absolutely nothing, I heard someone using what sounded like my Mexican doorbell.  So I stopped what I wasn’t doing, went to my tinted window, and looked down to the street below.  No frigin’ way!  The Diva was whistling up like Juliet might have done back in the day.  I was blown away.      

“Hi.  Was that you playing piano real early yesterday morning?  I heard it from way down on the beach.  The offshores must have been carrying the sound.  It sounded like Still The Same by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band.  Am I right?  That’s one of my all-time favorite songs.  Might you be interested in playing together sometime soon?”    

Well I uh..well you know things are uh, you know I’m not too sure that uh, i don’t really normally, it’s sort of tough to, i kinda hafta take that thing to the place, and you know my piano weighs a ton, and right now the internet is uh, ehh why don’t I text you when my schedule opens up.  What I’m trying to say, is that I probably ain’t your guy. 

She wondered if I could make tonight work, but I knew I needed more time to outthink this project.  We agreed to meet the following Monday.  She asked if it could be at 10pm.  I’m thinking..who comes over to someone’s house at 10pm?  I told her that she would have to wake me up, but that Yes, we could meet at 10pm.  To Be Continued…

In Crowd

If you have what it takes, The Red Taxi system is the ticket.  I have what it takes.

A mile later, I said Aqui Nada Mas, and handed him 10p.  He handed me 5p back.  There was a hint of salsa verde on my 40 cent coin.  The Big Woman let me out.

The kid with the cast got off at The Crucero.  A woman appeared, and handed the driver an order of tacos.  An old lady with a cane and a basket full of orange flowers slowly made her way into the back seat.  I stayed focused and memorized my line.

The perfume and cologne combinations were working perfectly.  Somebody in back spoke on what was probably a refurbished Iphone3.  A ton of everything goes down in the morning hours, and this morning was no different.  Action and Energy were peaking.  The sun low.  The hope high.  By 1pm, it’s usually time to duck & cover.

Five minutes down the way, the driver pulled over for The XL Woman, and her pregnant friend, who also was carrying a toddler.  I had experience making this kind of split decision, so I quickly ran the scenarios and scooted over.  As I figured, the pregnant lady with the little one got in back, and Queen Latifah squeezed in the front seat with me.  My left kneecap was directly in line with second gear.

No more than 50 feet into my ride, he stopped for a young mother with two kids.  One kid she held in her arms, the other was a uniformed kid with gel keeping every hair in place.  They were walking to school.  The five year old conversed with the driver as if they were related somehow.  It was pretty cute.  At the top of the hill, the driver stopped in front of the schoolyard and all three got out.  They paid nothing for the lift.  One other young man got in.  He had a cast on his left arm.

Back to Red.  So I jump in the front and say Buen Dia to the driver and the person in back.  It was 7:45am.  The driver had the radio on loud.  A little bit about the driver for what it was worth to me.  He looked just like Larry Bird.  But with black hair and dark skin.  Unlike Bird, both his thumb & pinky nails on both his hands were an inch long.  Creeepy!  His reason for doing this seemed like none of my business.  Jesus trinkets dangled throughout the dashboard arena.  The Red Taxi has a playlist of horn sounds; Each sound has a different meaning.  Pay attention!

The Red Taxi sounded.  I looked back and gestured Yes.  I did a quick survey and hopped in front.  I am new to The Red Taxi system this year.  In the past, when the time came for me to hail a cab, it was always The Dark Green kind.  The Dark Green Taxis will personally drive you just about anywhere around town for about $2.  Anything you need to take with you can either be crammed in, tied down, or hung out a window.  You can bring your pet into this taxi.  You can bring a bag of cement in this taxi.   I hear that if you go directly to the morgue or cemetery, you can bring a dead body in this taxi.  It’s basically your automobile for the taking.

IMG_6306    IMG_6316    IMG_6378

Good Girl*

Sit.  Siiit.?  No, Sit!  Siiiiiiiit.  No, Down.  Bad Dog!  I said Sit!  SIT!  Down!  God Damnit, SIT!  Ouch, stop, STOP!!  Now Sit.  Good Girl. No, NO.  Stay.  Down!  SIT.  Sit the fuck down dog! Sit!  Siiiiiit?  OK..Stay!!!  No, Down. Sit.  SIT.  Dowwwwn?  Dowwnnnn. Down Damnit!  STAY!  Staayyy?!  NO.  NO!!  Down!  Down!! HEY..GET OVER HERE!  COME!  No.  OK Down!  Good Dog.  HEY!!!  NO!! God Damnit Dog, NO!  COME! Good Girl..NO.  NO, OUT OF THERE!!  GET OVER HERE!  SIT!!  Sit the FUCK down Dog!!  Good Girl.  NO..BAD!  Good, Bad! Now Sit!!!  NO.  Down Bitch!  SIT, No, Good, No, Down, BAD, Come, STAY, NO!..That’s a Good Girl, Good Gir..God Damnit, I said STAY! No, Yes, Bad, COME, UP, DOWN, SIT?!


Full Time Job

It was the Monday morning after The Texans had collapsed to Andrew Luck and The Colts.  I had gone to bed counting money.  The early news made me want to puke.  

The show had to go on though.  I walked 20 minutes uphill to the highway.  I rode a Collectivo for another 15 minutes, before embarking on the final 10 minute walk. 

I noticed the hole in the yard had been dug deeper than I remembered it being.  New to the crime scene was the futon having been shredded like cabbage.  Where to begin.  

It really is a complicated story.  Too weird to explain the situation I put myself in.  In fact, it’s not to be believed.  It involves a young dog, an old lady, and of course me.


Take Down This R(x)ecipe

My old friend Cy, who sometimes posts up in my Attic, had the Nerve to start in on me once again.  At times he can be a real pain.  Instead of dealing with him au natural, I decided to try a different R(x)ecipe.  I had heard time and time again that the drug stores in PE can be much more liberal with their products and services, if you know what I mean.  And there are as many pharmacies in this town as there are places to get your haircut.  And let me tell you, there are more freaking places to get a haircut in this town than there are fish in the sea.  So, sans shoes or shirt, I walked into this random ‘hole in the wall’ pharmacy to see what I could get my hands on.  In Spanish, I asked the young man if I needed a doc to write me up an Rx for one pain pill.  Just one I said.  He closed out his Facebook account, turned the Eminem volume down a bit, and asked me what hurt.  I told him my back was killing me.  He said that all he had in stock was 50mg tablets of Tramadol.  No Way, you’ve got Tramadol?!?!  I told him that Tramadol was my preferred Rx, especially with a couple of beers, and double especially after a good win on Sunday.  He didn’t get that part, but half-laughed anyway.  Again, I told him that I would be happy to come back with a written script from Dr. Pepper knowing DP would write up an Rx for any reason.  The pharmacist told me not to sweat the note, and handed me ten tablets for 70 pesos.($6)  I reached into my bathing suit and could only come up with 41 pesos.  A bit tight in the cash department I thought to myself.  Hunching my credit would be gold, I still continued with my audition and I told the man that I would return later.  He told me I could pay the balance manana.  And Bingo was my Gringo.


Dawn patrol on my doorstep.  It let out a diminished meow.  1000 thoughts rushed into my head.  I lifted it by the scruff and it shut its eyes.  8 weeks and male I supposed.  I had a kitten on my hands.

I crushed up two stale tortilla chips and added sunflower seeds.  It chowed like I imagined.  It then spit-shined itself up real diligently.  Confident I thought.  I will call you Junior, pronounced ‘HoonYour’.

Moral to Story:  When an unrealized pet makes it transparent that it has chosen you, turning a cheek is ill advised.  Statistically speaking, these animals have significantly more to offer you, than you might it.


El versus Yo

I was sitting down alone at the Split Coconut, trying like mad to mind my own god damned business.  But loudmouth, sitting (ohhhh, say) 10 feet away or thereabouts, was well on his way to irritating the fuck out of me.  Thankfully I had been drinking.  

“Well Dylan wrote that song because…and this one guitar player in my first touring band just wasn’t getting it…I’ll take old Canadian Blues any day over that new shit from the states…so I finally had to tell Liberace that it’s a guitar song, not a piano song.” 

The hot sun was setting over the warm sea.  The boldest cloud in the sky took after Motzart.  The whole moment had me in a trance.  Right then i overheard Jackass tell the server that he didn’t want avo on his burger because avo isn’t good for you.

That’s it!  I slammed my thrid and finul beer.  I stood up, did a couple of full neck rotations in both directions, a few light back bends, cracked some knuckles, put the mean mask on, and walked over to his plastic table in the sand.  And This Is How She Blew:

Yo:  What’s up Jimi?  Hey i tried my absolute best to under-hear most of the cocky nonsense that was spewing out of your Canadian pie chute, but couldn’t.  You are Canadian right?  Wait, let me guess… you’re some hot shot blues guitar player from the Toronto scene?

El: Who the fuck are you asshole?

Yo:  Yeah, I’m just the guy your inflated guitar hero ego hates to be around.  Stroking that string instrument like it’s your tiny dick.  I’m so sick of guys like you.  You ain’t no fucking artist.  Your a musical widget!  Dime a Dozen!  Now get over yourself!!

El:  What the fuck are you talking about?

Yo:  I don’t care how good you are, or how much you know, or how much stupid equipment you got, or how many loop pedals you push down on stage, or who you know, or where you’ve toured.  I don’t care where or how you plug in, and I don’t care about your Les Paul or your Kirk Gibson or any of your other closed minded musical spew.  And i don’t give a fuck if you got more talent in one of your fat fucking fingers with your eyes closed than i will ever have!

El:  Huh?

Yo:  And furthermore Susan, i wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if you will never be as indie or as slick as me, because my shit is the truth, and it’s from the heart.  And if I want to play Little Feat or James Taylor on the keys to an audience of nobody, then you better give up your seat, because it’s standing room only for you, and it’s coming in hotter than any of that 1-4-5 crap you put out.

El:  Hey dude, I don’t know who you are, or what you’re on, but I suggest you take a hike before you get yourself into more trouble than you can handle.

Yo:  Can you sign my T-shirt?

El:  Beat it Shroeder!!

Pick My Poison

Buenos Dias lasts until about 10 in the morning.  It seems that Buenos Dias begins and ends when the roosters say so. Then comes Buenas Tardes.  Buenas Tardes sticks around longer than you think it should.  There really isn’t a time limit on Buenas Tardes, but typically around dark is when Buenas Noches gets fired up.  Though there are sure to be some that might not begin using Buenas Noches until around midnight.

That is why I stick to Buena-uh-huh.  It can work anytime anywhere.  To ensure its effect, it should be confidently mumbled .  [Hold that Thought]  If it’s 8am and clearly a Buenos Dias moment, as an elderly man or woman is coming my way, then of course I greet them with a proper Buenos Dias.  But 19 out of other 20 times that I become aligned with the need to personally salute another, it’s Buena-uh-huh out of this guy.