Within a klick of departure is when it hit me. Fuck, I was wearing the board shorts that had become too big around the waste to wear surfing. It would have been so simple to turn around and accept the ten or so minutes of time wasted, but that’s not what I did.  I definitely thought about it though. I even stopped the van, began one maybe two-points of the five-point turn around process, only to decide otherwise.

I knew exactly why I forgot to switch up my shorts.  The day before, call it yesterday late afternoon, I overheard, call him a friend, mumble something under what he thought was his breath, and I didn’t like what I heard.  Like a poorly constructed run on sentence, it struck a nerve.  But shame on me for allowing it to fluster me enough to make me forget to swap trunks. Yet with the same bit of breath, fuck that guy! 

So this guy I am referring to is quote unquote an alcoholic.  Have you heard of one? This particularly shaped drunk, because I’ve come to learn they come in all shapes and sizes, doesn’t even drink much anymore. And the reason he doesn’t drink much anymore is because even he knows better.  Like if this fool drank any more than not very much anymore, he’d be a dead man. Good chance he’d take people with him along the way. It’s bad.

Drunk does not look good on the guy, and he sure as hell doesn’t wear it too well either.  However, once every five or six full moons, and especially if we are aligned internationally,, he hunts me down, declares that he is only going to have one or two, and then proceeds to guzzle down a dozen plus.  By definition, as he guzzles his way through that dozen plus, it always becomes very clear that once an alcoholic, forever an alcoholic.  

By 6pm, after he had already worn out his welcome at my hotel, he tried to convince me to go back down to the beach for a fish dinner. “I’m buying,”he said. I didn’t want to go, even if it meant going to bed hungry and refusing a free meal.  So I told him that I didn’t want to leave Quinn.  And that’s when he mumbled, and I quote, “you care too much about your dog.”  

Not cool. What hurt the most wasn’t so much what he said, but that he said it.  I had invested a ton of time over the years trying to be the right kind of friend to this dude. And this is the thanks I get? Worthless, self serving, juvenile spew? What a piece of shit drunk. So yeah, fifteen hours after the fact it had me wearing the wrong board shorts.

I began thinking of what I had in the van that could help my cause. I knew I had items like clips, ropes, string, bungees, crazy glue, zip ties, tape, wax, that kind of “hold it together” paraphernalia.  Conscious that I wasn’t up a creek, it got let go. Because after all, it really wasn’t that big a deal.  We’re talking about a bathing suit size, not a contact lens or a hair piece.  Bottom line was the the morning show had to go on as was. Forgetting the forgetfulness and regaining the focus was the only play.  

As perfect timing would have it, I spotted my guy with the atole in his wheel barrel. This made three days in a row that my calculated morning efforts were going to cross paths with his offerings.  Me in van and him with wheel barrel. Paths that may not have crossed had I gone back to the room and made the swap.  

Atole is a warm morning beverage comprised of milk, rice, sugar, and in these parts predominantly peanut. It’s the shit.  Its only rival would be Mother’s Milk.  It helps to know what the man or woman pushing the wheel barrel with a fancy table cloth covering a five gallon bucket can mean to you.  I happen to know what it means.

Amigo knows the drill by now.  He knows I have my own travel mug that has considerably more volume than his 8oz styrofoam cup.  He also knows I am happy to pay 20 pesos for it instead of the going price of 15.  He knows that because I gestured it when we first crossed paths on Xmas Day 2021.  It was that faith filled day, knowing that the going rate for post pandemic street side atole had gone up to 15 pesos, that I handed Homie 20 pesos and my mug.  

He filled my mug all the way to the top and handed me back 5 pesos.  He didn’t say anything capitalistic like my mug was bigger or he charges by the ounce and therefore.. blah blah blah.  No, he filled the mug to the brim, handed me my change and graciously said Gracias Amigo.  That’s when I handed back over the 5 pesos, insisting on paying more because my cup was bigger.  Nearly 2x the figured capacity actually.  He accepted the gesture, thanked me again, and that was that.

My favorite atole is ajonjoli.  Ajonjoli is another way to spell sesame.  He rarely has it.  Likely has to do with his family Rancho producing peanuts and not sesame seeds.  So with this guy, it’s normally either Plain or Peanut.  This day, and much like magic, it was ajonjoli.  That brought a smile to my face.  Wheel Barrel Guy was also schlepping vegetable tamales.  That was a first.  Three for 25p.  I said yes to the tamales knowing well they would come in handy later in the day. 

When I got to my land, I carried water to all my trees, waxed my board, put on sunscreen, put on socks and shoes, tee shirt, earplugs, bucket hat, and my throw away sunglasses.  During this preparation process is when I was reminded again about the fact that I was wearing the wrong board shorts.  Damnit Jim!  

From my lot to the surf is about a kilometer.  It’s but a seven-minute trot carrying a surfboard.  Because of that, I have always opted for running to the surf instead of driving.  It’s a nice way to warm up a 55 year old body before going surfing.  The concern with loose fitting board shorts had nothing to do with the running portion of my morning exercise, rather the surf portion.

Amongst the handful of gizmos that I could have gadgeted, I opted for the two meter long, brand new piece of nylon rope.  Rope that was the width of a pencil, so pretty thin.  I put the two ends together making it a yard’s length, which also gave it more of a belt feel.  I tied it around my waste on top of the suit and made a couple normal knots.  I ran to the beach thinking nothing more of it.

On the shore, and as I was stripping myself of all my wearables, I was reminded yet again that I had gerry rigged a piece of rope around my waste to keep my bathing suit from being ripped off.  A few more than zero fucks were given, but not many.

Speaking of not many, the entire beach was relatively empty outside of the normal soiree of net fisherman.  That’s to mean if I looked left as far as I could see, and right as far as I could see, I would count 20 humans along the seashore doing anything from this to that. 

There were likely handfuls of entitled tourists ooccupying some of the discreet beachfront villas and bungalows.  Certainly between the shore and my lot were plenty of field workers, construction laborers, and tractor farmers.  There was also the cement truck drivers, area shepherds, birdwatching dude, the odd architect, guy on horseback, RE shark, that sort of randomly scattered bit of human activity. 

There weren’t too many surfers in the water either.  Under a dozen, and sprinkled throughout.  I took it that the waves weren’t that good.  Plus it was big enough to keep a beginner surfer out of the water which at times can be 90% of the crowd.  Oddly, and unlike just about every other day here the past 90 days, the morning offshore winds had already shifted to a light onshore breeze.  Let’s call it 8:45am on a Thursday in very early February, 2023.

I made it out without too much trouble.  I could tell that the bigger ones were riddled in consequences.  Yet, sitting closer to shore and picking off the smaller ones also would put you at risk of having to deal with the handful of bigger ones breaking in front of you.  It was a bit cat and mouse out there, but for 30 minutes or so I was playing quite efficiently.  I must have caught half a dozen smaller sized waves and was never caught too off-guard by the larger sets.  

And then my luck ran out.  I tried to muscle into an overhead one that looked to have a bit of a corner, but wasn’t able to scratch into it.  Behind it was the first wave of a series of bigger waves that immediately put me on the defense.  I remember going full gas out to sea to give myself a chance to get under this first one, hoping there wasn’t a bigger one behind it.

I made it under the first one, but the one behind it was indeed bigger and broke well in front of me.  It was a wave that didn’t have a throwing lip, rather an immediate crumble, followed closely by gathered momentum as it rushed down the entire face, ultimately becoming a mountain of whitewash that was going to have three or so seconds on the flats before devouring me.  Still, I decided it was worth duck diving rather than abandoning ship.  I stroked hard right at it and did what I should of and could of.  Whoosh!!

I wasn’t able to hold onto my board.  I also wasn’t able to hold onto my bathing suit.  Gone.  I was now a naked, middle aged man in the Pacific Ocean.  Well not totally naked.  I still had on sunscreen and I still had my ear plugs in.  Now what?

The first thing I decided to do was be completely naked in the Pacific Ocean for ten minutes.  I won’t claim anything like how liberating it all felt or that I caught my best waves des nudo yada yada.  It wasn’t like that.  Laughable if anything. I began plotting my offense.

I had a surfboard, a tee shirt, two socks, two shoes, a leash, a bucket hat, and sunglasses to help get me back to the van. This was going to take creativity.  A stealth sort of mission.  Certainly a bit more anaerobic than desired.  This was a job for Nakedman.

As The Crow Flies

The morning of January 16, 2023 began like every other morning in recent memory.  Black coffee, dog walk, tropical sunrise, the list doesn’t go on.  Though it started off like all the others, this particular Martin Luther King morning had been scripted differently, I will leave it at that. 

After allowing Quinn adequate time to position herself as to not get left behind, she finally caved and assumed a spot.  That revolving spot in the room, pick a room, where I know that she knows that I know that she’s bummed, but that joining me is off the table.  I told her that I would be back much sooner than she has programmed herself to expect.  I turned off the lights and the AC.  I left the fan on low and the wooden door unlocked.

Just before shutting the door, I checked the iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone being left behind, imagine that.  It read 7:42am. I wanted to know the exact time so that I could guess the amount of time it would take me to run from my door to Tennis Court Rick’s door.  Door to door as might get said.  

25 minutes was the hunch, 8:07am the ETA.  I knew that TCR had an antique clock on his wall that I was told on numerous occasions kept exact time.  Exact I would ask?  Yes, exact he would say! 

I’ve become the guy that knew for certain that it takes 25 minutes to drive my van from my unfinished luxury beach hotel in Agua Blanca to Tennis Court Rick’s compound in El Tule. And that’s not actually door to door.  More like dirt street to detached carport.  Needless to say, it involves a 7-minute drive on a mellow dirt road followed by a 4-minute drive up the Hwy.  Then comes an annoying 12-minute shake fest on a washboard of a dirt road, capped off with a 2-minute crawl up a rocky dirt path of sorts.  When it dawned on me that it could roughly take the same amount of time to run there as it would to drive there, I had to test the hunch.

I wore board shorts that were beginning to wear a little too big around the waist.  I grabbed a relatively clean tee that was showing all the signs of wearing a little too thin.  I slipped on my all black New Balance running shoes, no socks.  Shoes that I couldn’t stand when first purchased six months prior, but shoes I now loved more than any other pair ever.  To finish off the look I put on cheap woman’s sunglasses and a beige bucket hat.  Ear plugs too. No sunscreen.

I walked downstairs and mentioned to Rosario what I was doing and where I was going.  I told her I would be back by 9:15 at the latest so that she could clean my room.  A room that didn’t necessarily need cleaning, but the weekly makeover for long term guests is hotel policy and I can dig it.

Town was dead empty, sparse at best.  Agua Blanca is a tiny fishing village with very few permanent inhabitants.  If I had to guess how many humans kept a year round bed in Agua Blanca, I would say under 50.  It’s a popular day time spot for Mexicans.  Out-of-towners and area locals pack this place full during weekends and holidays.  Sometimes even mid-week.  Regardless of the day, between 8pm and 8am, there isn’t  much going on, if anything. 

There are a slew of palapa-roofed restaurants and coco palms that line this stretch of beach.  Each restaurant is equipped with plenty of plastic table & chairs.  Plenty of hammocks too.  Fresh caught oysters are the signature dish.  By noon each day like clockwork, the entire area smells of fried fish.  All the laminated menus are more or less identical.  Ice cold beers are cheap and always served with a lime.  Chili flavored peanuts are typically a free appetizer.  It’s a neat spot.  Nowhere like it actually.

After maybe 200 warmup strides down Calle Uno, I made my way to the sand between two of the palapa joints that I frequent the most.  I removed my shoes and put them on my hands. The always mighty Pacific Ocean was sounding off.  Birds of all shapes and sizes seemed to be everywhere.  As per usual, there were some clouds in the sky, and the wind was blowing lightly offshore.  A perfect 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  Three whole minutes had probably gone by since last check.  

Here’s where the fun began. Ten or so minutes into the shoreline section of this run, that’s when I noticed a human being up ahead in the distance.  I saw a shimmering light. My head grew heavy and my eyes grew dim.  This person was standing on a big cluster of jagged rocks that were partially submerged in the ocean.  It wasn’t a fisherman because a net wasn’t being tossed.

From say 200 meters away I could now determine that this person, regardless of pronoun, was of female origin.  Pressure was instantly on.  I needed to make a plan and it had to be made quickly.  The plan was to run right past her without even a look or a peep.  Yep, old faithful.  Play impossible to fill in blank.

When I was within half a futbol field’s distance, and for what seemed like no apparent reason, this lady decided to turn around and look my direction.  Immediately, the new plan of attack became to run right past her and gesture something vague like “Yeah Lady!”  That’s the improbable to fill in blank tactic.

Good Grief!  This frickin’ lady just stood there looking right at me as I approached.  Right the fuck at me.  Not kidding.  Nothing else she could have been looking at.  The sunrise was already an hour in arrears and there was nobody else around.  Frickin’ nobody.  At this point, it not only seemed like she was going to engage with me, it felt that way too.

I instantly changed the plan for the third time.  Now the projection was to stop for a quick second, try and act interesting, sound funny, and exude know how.  Much like a middle-aged gringo wearing shoes on their hands might.  

Fact is, I have a shit ton of practice under my belt doing stuff down here that nobody can even imagine anybody doing.  This was one of those moments, and if she continued to play out her cards the way she had begun playing out her cards, she was a moment or two away from being dealt one heck of a hand.   

Me: Nice morning eh? 
Her: It’s lovely.  Where on earth could you possibly be running to?
Me:  Well it’s a long story and I don’t have a lot of time to explain it, but I am running up to a house owned by a guy named Tennis Court Rick, and the reason I am going there is the long part of this story so I won’t bore you with that, but the secret reason I am going there is because I have four Bob Dylan songs lodged in my head and Rick has an upright piano.
Her:  That sounds exciting.
Me:  It beats working.
Her:  Which songs are they?
Me:  You won’t know them.
Her:  Try me
Me:  Do I have to?
Her:  play along.
Me:  Buckets of Rain, Valley Below, When I Paint My Masterpiece, and Ballad of a Thin Man.
Her:  You’re right, I haven’t heard of them.  Are you some kind of musician?
Me:  Not especially, no.  I just have this way of making people think that I am, especially those that don’t play an instrument.
Her:  Like me.
Me:  like you.
Her:  Where on earth is this guy’s house?
me: about 20 klicks up the beach.
Her: holy moly! you’re on a 20k run?
me: just kidding. it’s pretty closeby. it’s just off the beach.
her: can I come listen to you play those songs?
Me:  Did somebody send you here to spy on me?
Her:  Do you have people in your life that would hire someone to spy on you?
Me:  Probably, I mean not really.  Um, sure you can come up but I don’t have a lot of time. 
Her:  That’s the second maybe third time you have said that.  Why don’t you have time?
Me:  Another long story, but it involves a dog with no eyes.
Her:  Where is he?
Me:  You mean she?
Her:  sorry, Where is she?
Me:  She is Quinn, and she’s in my room back in Agua Blanca.  This too may sound wack but I told her I was only going to be 90 minutes.  Normally in the mornings I am gone for 180 minutes.  This morning was to be different.  So yeah, I told her only 90 minutes and she’s the type that will hold me to it.
Her:  Strangest thing I ever heard.
Me:  Tell me something I don’t know.  What’s your name?
Her:  I’m Lex, short for Alexa, what’s yours?
Me:  I’m Aron, short of Aaron, nice to meet you.  Look lady I tell you what, if you really want to play along to whatever we’re playing here, I think you should walk up to Tennis Court Rick’s.  It’ll probably take you 20 minutes from here.  I should be there in 10 minutes which will give me plenty of time to take care of all my chores.
Her:  Chores? What kind of chores?  Wait let me guess, long story and not a lot of time.
Me:  smartest lady I ever knew.
Her:  OK, how do I get there?
Me:  OK you see that big house?
Her:  Yes.
Me:  OK, that big house is farther away than it looks.  The reason it looks so close is because it’s big.  Here, I have an idea, let me see your phone for a sec.

She handed me her iPhone.  It needed unlocking so I handed it back.  She unlocked it.  I went to camera.  I went to video.  I wandered a bit away so I could concentrate on not showing off or flubbing up.  I pointed the camera at the ocean, hit record, and left her with about a minutes worth of instructions:

Hi Lex, it’s me.  You and I met on the deserted beach that one time not long ago.  OK, here’s what you need to do.  When you are standing right in front of that big house, maybe go another 100 meters up the beach and walk away from the shore.  The sand will get sort of grassy and then you will be amongst a bunch of cactus patches.  Magically you will find yourself on a not very well defined path, but a path nonetheless.  Take that path and start walking uphill.  You will come to a sign that says Cuida tu Playa which is posted on a barbed wire fence.  There is only one wire about shoulder high, so watch your head.  Duck under that one piece of barbed wire and continue following the path.  You will notice cow dung, horse dung, goat dung and maybe the odd footprint.  When you get to the two blue plastic chairs, steer right.  The path gets a little wider, and then it turns more into a rocky dirt road so watch your barefoot step.  Anyway, there will be a small concrete bridge that crosses a dirt arroyo of sorts.  The bridge is shrouded in Bougainvillea so you know.  Right after the bridge, turn left and then walk along the super rocky dirt double lane path until you spot a Tennis Court.  Keep walking another 50 meters or so and you will have arrived.  The property is for sale, so if you see for sale signs you know you are in the right place.  Again be careful walking without shoes.

I handed back the phone and told her to follow the instructions and that I would see her soon. I ran another five minutes up the beach, put my favorite shoes back on, and polished off the remaining uphill five minutes.  Immediately upon arrival I checked the wall clock. It was 8:13am.  It would have been 8:07 if I hadn’t stopped to chat with sweet Alexa.  

Lex was and is a white lady with a funny accent.  France or Egypt or New Zealand or South Africa or Israel would’ve been my first guesses, but I would come to find out England.  I am awful at pin-pointing accents.  Her parents are originally from Morocco. She’s dark skinned with a warm smile.  Not the straightest teeth in the world, but white. Early to mid 40’s or so.  Lean but not athletic.  Divorced mother of Zero.  Long black hair that seems to always be in a bun.  She was barefoot at the time.  Just loves that lime green sundress of hers.  She wore designer sunglasses and a fair amount of fabric jewelry.  Carries an iPhone, not sure which model. 

I got right to work.  I immediately swept all the fallen leaves and palapa debris off the front tiled porch.  I sprayed Raid Ant Killer and killed a million ants or so.  I went out back, took off all my clothing and accessories and jumped in the pool.  I got out of the pool after a few minutes, added two cups of chlorine and one cup of clarifier.  I turned on the jets to make sure that mixed up well.  I dried myself off and put my trunks back on.  When I was good and dry, I went straight to the piano.  

These four songs were almost harmfully stuck in my head.  All I cared about was unsticking them..  That’s it.  A simple little test to see if I could understand the gist. I was very familiar with these tunes.  I knew the key, had a basic understanding of the chords, knew the lyrics inside and out, and had watched them played as originals and as covers a hundred times over on Youtube. 

It was now 8:26 according to the wall clock.  I figured Lex would be arriving any second now.  I began feeling nervous.  Almost like I wished I hadn’t invited this lady up here.  The whole thing started to feel lame. I wasn’t going to have a lot of time to spend with her because of my promise to Quinn.  I barely figured out Ballad of a Thin Man before having to switch gears.      

I spotted her at the bottom of the long driveway.  I knew I had about 90 seconds to get my stupid act together.  Actually I had about 180 seconds because she was barefoot.  I took a bunch of deep breaths and made myself yet another decision.  

I decided that when she was within hearing range, I would begin playing this kooky little song I wrote called Broken Down Concrete Arroyo.  It’s a song I knew well because I had played it a thousand times. On the surface, I knew it was bizarre.  Scratch away at the surface and it can sound profound.  It’s damn catchy if you ask me.  The lyrics go like this:

  • Listen up..(C)
  • Because I have a little secret(C/A)
  • Come get close and you might find(C/B)
  • I’ve got stuff that sure to blow your mind.(C)
  • I don’t want to go on living like that
  • Said the tied up dog to the foot loose cat
  • Can you take me to that place you know
  • Where all God’s creatures come and go?
  • Sure thing but first thing’s first
  • Let me give you all the lowdowns
  • Don’t bring your money and watch your back
  • There’s something moving in the cracks
  • At the Broken Down Concrete Arroyo
  • (instrumental in D minor)
  • It’s down from the highway, it’s up from the beach
  • There’s lots of broken glass, better watch your feet
  • Stay the course don’t walk to slow
  • Hang on tight and enjoy the show.
  • It’s likely to divide you
  • Between two sides that will decide for you
  • Trust the feeling before it’s gone
  • You can be my rook and baby I’ll be your pawn.
  • And when the tide is high and the full moon is contagious
  • And the smell of rotten carcass is outrageous
  • Those are mother natures warning sign
  • Best come back another time
  • To the Broken Down Concrete Arroyo
  • (instrumental in D minor)

She was all smiles.  She was sharp enough to realize that was NOT Bob Dylan.  I looked at the wall clock and it was just before 8:40.  8:38 to be exact.  I knew I had another 8 minutes of so. I took her up the indoor spiral staircase that led to a wood door which led to an outdoor staircase of sorts which ultimately sets you up with panoramic views of ocean and mountain. It’s a neat little perch overlooking what is still a very remote coastline. I have spent a lot of time up here over the years. Especially at night. The Mexican Skies will take your breath away. She seemed to really enjoy the moment.

I told her that I had to go and suggested we walk back down to the beach together.  She said yes.  I recall offering her a hard boiled egg and she politely declined. 

Me:  Are you sure, they’re ranch eggs?
Her:  I’m good, but thanks
Me:  What about a cold glass of water.
Her:  I would love that.  

She downed her water while I turned the jets off, locked the doors, and stashed the key.  I had left behind one small pot and a medium sized pan from when I was living at the house. I figured that now was as good a time as any to grab those. It was a weird look I admit.

We then walked slowly back down to the beach.  I wore my favorite shoes.  Conversation flowed quite easily.  I found out that she was in the area for only three more nights.  She was with her mom and her aunt and on the final few legs of their month long holiday. 

Her mom and her mom’s sister had just lost their oldest brother to cancer.  Lex had temporarily broken free from them and solo ventured to Zipolite for a night, Mazunte for a night, and a final night in Agua Blanca.  She was planning on heading back to Puerto after some breakfast. 

I will try to wrap this long winded story up, sorry.  For starter’s, I was delighted she didn’t piggyback her breakfast plan in Agua Blanca by asking me if I wanted to have breakfast with her.  Too much too soon I would have thought yet I would have had to have said yes.  Whew!  As I saw it, we had already been granted that zero times in a lifetime moment in space, and maybe, just maybe, she too was sharp enough to process moments in a similar manner as yours truly. Instead…

Her:  Would you consider coming to Puerto over the next couple days and hanging out with us?
Me:  I could probably do that.  Where are you guys staying?
Her:  Hotel Ines, do you know it?
Me:  Practically my home away from home.

When we got near the shoreline I remember thanking her for living and thinking outside the box.  I then spelled my phone number with a thin piece of driftwood in the smooth wet sand and suggested she hit me up on WhatsApp.  We kissed right cheek to right cheek and this kid was ghandi.

After taking about 50 steps or so, pot and pan still in hand, I turned back around to maybe make a final gesture, something Edward Scissorhands like.  When I turned around, I saw that she was looking down at the wet sand with her iPhone in her right hand as she pushed the buttons with her left index finger. Alexa is a lefty? Good Gawd.

The hot sun was already beginning to take control of the day. I remember being in a very good mood.  Like always, I couldn’t wait to get back to be with my Quinnie.  I did begin wondering whether or not Lex was going to immediately leave me a message or whether she was going to make me wait.  Was the message going to be cute, funny, creative, or dull?  Was it going to be well written or full of spelling errors?  A novel or a brief note?  Time tells.

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.