Da Bears

I found my blue mesh fanny pack with 15K inside. Three bundles of 5K. Each bundle had a rubber band around it. All Benjamins.

I zipped it up and put it around my waste. I got in my van and drove down Sahara Avenue to The Palace Station. Choo Choo.

“Yeah I’d like to place a bet. I want to put $5500 on The Bears.”

The lady asked for my players card and I told her that I didn’t have one. She told me that I needed one in order to place this size bet.

So I wandered over to Guest Services, and signed up for a players card. I then walked back to the Sports Book and stood in line again.

“Yeah I’d like to place a bet. I want to put $5500 on The Bears.”

The lady asked for my players card and I slapped it on the table. I handed over the money and she handed me my paper ticket.

I went back Tuesday morning to collect.  I took that newly found 5K and slapped it on Northern Illinois.  It pays to be good.

Spiritual Manifesto

We walked to the west side studio to stake claim to my prizes. I had never been to this location so I was stoked to finally see it. When we arrived, I gave Quinn the hard glare to suggest she better not move an inch while I was inside. I walked in and told the young lady my name and that I received an email from Sheila that I had won The Humble Warrior giveaway.

With as little fanfare and hype as can possibly be imagined, the young lady reached under the counter and handed me four envelopes in a cute, little, recyclable bag.  I wanted to ask a dozen questions, but I knew not to ask any.  I thanked the girl and went back out the swinging glass doors. Dog and me walked home, prizes in hand.

Envelope One was from The Chaminade Resort & Spa.  I opened it up and there was a short, hand written letter on letter-head from a guy named Trevor.  It basically said call or email ASAP to schedule a convenient time to meet and sign the six month agreement.

Envelope Two was from Divinitree.  Again, a hand written letter, and again on letter-head.  It was another Congratulations and a receipt for a six month unlimited at any of their three locations.

Envelope Three was a small beige envelope w/ what appeared to be the letters AA written on front.  Inside was a business card from a lady named Annette Aberneal with a little note that said, “Hey there Mr. winner. Let’s have a chat Wednesday this week, late morning, say 11:30?  My cell# is on my card.”

Envelope Four contained an anonymous type-written letter that struck a chord or two.  I read it a number of times.  Aside from wishing I had written this beautiful piece, I was super extra curious who had written the piece, and equally as curious how and why it ended up in my goody bag. It read:

My dear proud brother,

I know why you’ve always struggled to truly, fully love every woman you’ve ever wanted to truly, fully love.

I know why every romance you’ve ever indulged in for more than a sweet, fleeting moment soon threatened to overwhelm you.

I know why you still sometimes feel the urge to run from the burdens of relationship toward the promise of freedom in quiet, faraway hills where no woman will ever find you—and why you may be tempted to stay there forever.

I also know why you always return to her…and why you always will.
Because you’re not just merely a man; you’re a goddamn warrior for Love.

Deep in the marrow of your masculine core, you know you didn’t come here to play safe and pass time, simply scoring goals and notches on your bed post, or making money and fragile monuments to your pride.

Hell, no.

You came here to throw down with life, to get bloody and muddy earth all over your soul, as you charge gallantly each day beyond the edges of your hard-earned comfort zone.

You are wise, ancient stardust sculpted into mighty earth come alive. You are a volcano with a hot molten heart at your core, risen to offer your authentic love even in the face of forces that would overwhelm lesser men.

I know what’s been asked of you in this lifetime isn’t easy.

But if you’re ready to claim your birthright as a King amongst Kings, a heart-centered warrior-protector of the planet and all things true and good and beautiful, then it’s time you learn how to love a wild woman in her deliciously untamable fullness.

And you are ready to love all of her, because you’re a goddamn warrior.

I know your fathers and brothers and schoolyard playmates warned you to be wary of her. Through stern faces masking an ignorance they dare not confess, they insisted that the emotions and tears and unpredictable extremes of a feminine heart have no place in the productive, rational world of a “real man.”

Either flee or subdue the unpredictable heart of any woman in your midst, they cautioned, lest her raw power snap all your straight lines, ruin your portfolio and mercilessly break your fragile grip on sanity.

But you don’t buy that bullshit anymore.

Oh, I know you still tremble at the thought of her fiery Kali spirit unleashed like a hurricane in your world. You’ve been gutted and wrecked countless times by awful perversions of love. Too many women in their own fear and immaturity have assigned you the Mission Impossible task of making them happy and then tried to hang you when you failed.

Your psyche has been so badly burnt you can barely imagine anymore the woman who would inspire your devotion.

Fortunately, my good man, all that agony was just warrior boot camp.

Every chaotic, heart-wrenching love affair only served to bleed out the immature and wounded parts of you that would otherwise overthrow your Kingly heart.

You didn’t know it, but life has been preparing you for what’s about to happen: your unconditional surrender to a dazzling love that will sweep through you like a wildfire at dawn.

When she arrives, this love will finally teach you how to breathe through your heart down your spine and into your balls so you can stand full and courageous before the fire-breathing dragons life will never stop sending at you.

Naturally, your woman will train you with your own dragons, the ones still lurking in your shadows. She will know exactly where to find them and which spells turn them against you. She’ll delight in casting those spells, too, but only because she revels in watching you, with hungry, primal eyes, claim your mastery.

For that’s her greatest gift to you: mastery in devotion to love.
She will send those dragons after you whenever she doubts your commitment—not your commitment to her little tyrant ego’s selfish demands. No, she’s done her deep inner work enough to know we didn’t come to serve that scavenger dog.

It’s your commitment to love’s will that she wants to trust deeply. That’s the only way she’ll know you won’t abandon her and run for the hills when her own dragons get loose and try to set your hair on fire.

Oh, it’s gonna be spectacular, my brother!

For this journey of devotion is your awakening to the massive truth of who you already are: love, itself!

So give up once and for all using women’s healing energy to fill the goddess-size hole that ages of patriarchy ripped out of your heart.

Stop trying to shrink women into cute, manageable little pets who ask so little of you, and who you can easily love and accept. That just turns them into not enough for your daring soul, anyway.

You don’t need some passive sex-toy with an off-switch that you keep in the closet. You need a spirited sorceress singing shaman songs beside you as you sharpen your sword for battle, because you’re a goddamn warrior, after all.

You’re ready for the sacred quest to love all of her.

She will serve you well on this journey, for this one likes to run with the wild things. She will shine like bright starlight in your eyes and dance like fire to light your way home to your true self.

But it’s only her courage to offer you the fullness of her feminine soul, from her rage to her radiance, that will truly help you navigate deeper into the mystical realms of devotion. No timid woman will ever do for a true warrior.

Your muse is looking for you, my brother, and she’ll probably show up all smiley and sweet-scented. But make no mistake: she will be the best teacher of unconditional love you have ever known.

I suggest you leave your armor behind for this quest. Protecting yourself will only keep away what you most deeply desire, anyway.
Learning to love all of her will require you leave everything behind, actually, except your own authentic heart.

For she’s aching for nothing less than your true authentic heart to step up and boldly claim the untold treasures buried deep within her own.

Motivational Lying

what do you do? i’m a writer. really? yes, really. well what have you written? tons of shit, i once wrote a short story that made no sense according to my one critic. who’s the critic? it sounds like you are. [sic]

It was Valentine’s Day.  I was sitting alone on a sidewalk in Mexico when Tatiana approached and sat down. Her nervous twitch was twitching nervously. It seemed to be getting worse, bless her heart. She is maybe 50 Something. Beautiful lady. Married. Bizarre. Heart of Gold. Mexican.  In English, it went something like this:

Aron where you are been?
I’ve been living out at the lagoon.
Why you not come visit us anymore?
Spending a lot of time out in Manialtepec is all.
You like it out there?
Oh yes, very tranquilo
What you are doing out there?
I’m writing a book.
Oh wow, what is the book about?
Tatiana was not the first person that I told I was writing a book. I am going to say she was like the sixth. Maybe the eighth. So in calling a spade a spade, I had now told the sixth or eighth person that I was writing a book. Strange behavior I must say. She was about to be the first person that I was actually going to tell what the book was about. It reminds me of the time that Costanza drives his in-laws out to the Hamptons. You know the one.
 
Look, I’ve logged time behind a thesaurus, and i’ve written a short story or two, but for me to make the leap to “author in progress” was just downright lying. i didn’t know why I was doing it, and in the same breath, I knew exactly why.
 
It’s not like i walk around telling people that I am writing a book. I mean if somebody asked me how it was going, or what I was doing, my answer would never be that I was writing a book. However, from time to time, and at times when I least expected it, I found myself in front of some human being telling them that I am writing a book. No, not that i am a writer. No, not that i write short stories. And no, not that i run a corny business blog. No, No, and No. I would say that I am writing a book.
 
So that’s what i told Tatiana. I told her that I am writing a book. A book about a boy and a dog. I told her that I couldn’t give up the title, but once I had one, along with a beginning, a middle, or an end, I would be happy to share.  Trust me..

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All in a Days Work

Well, after a cup of coffee and some fresh pan, I put on my one pair of long pants, shoes & socks, a shirt, and walked the single path through the jungle to the other end of La Alejandria. It’s a piece of land known to those as El Paraiso. I was walking to work. I opened my mouth one too many times about my abilities in the field that somebody finally told me to put my money where my mouth was. Who said anything about money?

With a catch, as so many of my promises seem to be these days, I promised to work for seventy five cents per hour. The catch was that I could only promise one hour a day. If they got more than an hour out of me, I told them they were the winners. I thought seventy five cents per hour was a pretty decent wage considering I was ready to work for free.

Once I found the boys, and trust me it wasn’t easy, I immediately knew it was going to be my kind of work. Sketchy ladder work that takes a desperate kind of balance and balls that can only come from experience. Because remember, there are only two ways to set up a ladder. Truth is, they didn’t really want me to work so much as they wanted to show me their work. Aw, how cute.

The views of the lagoon from the workplace were off all charts. We used man made ladders made from both aluminum and wood. Both seemed as sturdy as any Werner I’ve ever used. While on the site, I tried to show the boys a thing or two, but again, they weren’t really interested in my thing or two.  Toy Gringo!

Lupita suddenly appeared in Boy’s Town to tell me that Juan had called the restaurant looking for me and said he’d try back in fifteen minutes. Well that was my calling card to tell the boys Luego.

On our way back down along the path through the jungle, I asked Lupita if Juan mentioned anything about the nature of the phone call. She couldn’t understand what I was trying to ask. I tried to say never mind, but couldn’t make that understandable either.

At the restaurant I had myself a Coke. In a glass w/ ice. The real shit. Juan called and I took the call. He said he had $1200US and 2100MXN cash in his pocket. He suggested I get my ass over to Vivo Resorts immediately to collect it. He told me to bring “The Dawg”. I didn’t quite understand what he was talking about.

I don’t quite understand what you are talking about, I said.
Just get here ASAP, and you’re buying me lunch, he said.
Is this for that guy you told me about Rex? I asked.
No, Rex is separate.  This guy is named Brian, he answered.
Do I know this guy Brian? I asked.
You ask too many questions, he answered.
Whoa, I said.
Whoa is right, he said.

I walked back thru the jungle and up the path to where the boys were sitting in the shade counting screws. I told them that I was giving up my job for seventy five cents per hour so that could go collect $1,350 in about two hours. They started asking me 99 questions. I looked at my watch that I wasn’t wearing and said I had to go to the place with the person and check the thing.

It was just after 10am. There was cloud cover. There’s been lots of cloud cover this winter down here which I love. I told them that I would be back at 4pm to log another few hours.

I loaded my van with the goods. One paddle board, one paddle, one fin. I drove my van about two miles Southeast on Hwy 200. I turned off on a dirt road, and followed the power poles another two miles or so Northwest. I was headed to the one and only Vivo Resorts. A six star spread. I was going to see Juan the Lifeguard, have some lunch, fill my bathing suit pocket with cash. That sorta stuff.

I arrived at 11:30. I walked straight out to the beach where I was immediately handed cold hard. I gestured a 500 peso spot plus the lunch for brokering the deal. He accepted the 500 pesos and the lunch. We walked up to the Infinity Pool and Bar Area. He ordered the fish and chips. I got the chicken burrito.

Juan mentioned that there is a new chef, and the kitchen has been somewhat slowww. With that bit, I decided to go for a twenty minute run on the beach. Ten minutes each way. No people, no trash, no houses, no nothing. Deep in the Southern Mexican tropics. Stiff ocean breeze. Paradise.

I jumped in the ocean and then showered off up by the pool. Perfect timing! We sat out by the pool under a giant umbrella. I had an ice cold Corona out of the bottle with my lunch. He had a Coke in a glass w/ ice. With tip, the bill was a 220 pesos. WAY more money than I am used to doling out for food.  220 pesos?  Who has that kind of money to fork out $15 for lunch for only two people.  Not me!  I guess I do.

After lunch, I bodysurfed a bit out front.  I drove back to the lagoon around 1:30pm. I snuck in a little siesta in my cabana. I woke up around 2:30pm and went into the restaurant. I showed Lupita and Juanita how I make coffee at home. They pretended they were blown away. I got jacked up on bean.

I went back to see the boys at around 3pm. I made sure they knew I was back an hour earlier than I had promised. Despite there being sharp metal, rusty rebar, nails, broken tile and concrete, and other hazardous Gringo traps everywhere, I still decided to show back up to work in a bathing suit and flip flops. For me, it was too hot to dress any other way.

I told them I could give them a couple hard hours. I said I had an appointment with The Manialtepec Lagoon at 5pm. They told me that I talk too much. So without saying another word, and right at 5pm, I disappeared like a man on vacation. On my way back to my cabana I stopped in the restaurant and told Lupita I wanted Caldo de Camaron ready around 6:30pm.

I went for an hour paddle. Tropical Sunset, Birds, Iguanas, Crocodiles. You name it, I felt it.

I came back and took a cold outdoor shower. I went back into the restaurant with a clean bathing suit. Juanita had prepared my soup with fresh vegetables and about ten jumbo shrimps. As the soup cooled, I pulled each shrimp out and cleaned them on a separate plate. I put all the shrimp back in, washed my hands, added the chopped onion, avocado, and chiles, and went to town.

After dinner, I didn’t brush or floss, and read about five paragraphs words before passing out. It was 8pm.

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Unwilling & Abel

My friend Abel is single without kids. He was married once.  The majority of his so called friends are married W/ kids. Most of them, at some point or another, have announced to Abel that if they weren’t married W/ kids, or single W/ kids, or homosexual W/ kids, or whomever they are pretending to be W/ kids, that they would have SO much time to [fill in the blank].

No Seriously..if they just weren’t so fucking tied up with their wife or husband, and of course the lives of their spoiled children, they would have SO much free time that they wouldn’t even know what to do with themselves.

“Fuck Abel, if I was in your shoes, my life would be so much better.”

Ha. Abel is quick to point out that these people W/ kids wouldn’t know what to do with themselves if they were in his shoes. And that’s because their day to day wouldn’t be so precisely laid out for them like it is now. Wake Up. Pat the Dog. Check the Market. Drink the Coffee. Kiss the Wife. Kiss the Kids. Work the Day. Support the kids in their Chosen After School Activity. Eat the Dinner. Drink the Beer. Kiss the Wife. Kiss the Kids. Pat the Dog, Listen to the Lies on the TV. Go to Sleep. Repeat the Day.

To Abel, that sort of lifestyle trap seems so easy that it’s almost sickening. In fact, 99 out of 100 people are doing it because it’s so fucking easy.

So to ruffle some feathers, Abel began telling all his little friends and family within his social circle that they are so far gone that if their lives were any other way, they actually wouldn’t know how to live. Take away their family and they would probably sit in the corner drinking their personal Kool-Aid while staring out to space.

Oh no, Abel is not done talking.  He then goes on to tell anybody that will listen that it takes way more passion, self esteem, thought, desire, and especially creativity, to lead HIS so-called life. By no means does Abel claim that he’s better or smarter or nicer or superior to his fellow man or woman. He just doesn’t have the benefit of having to go to a Little League game or a Birthday Play Date to fill his time. Instead, he finds other ways to productively keep on keeping on.

My boy Abel then says that any-old human can have kids and become completely emeshed in their kids’ lives. Don’t get Abel wrong though. He’d be the very first person to tell you that if things had been a little different here or a tad different there, he’d be one of those humans.

Please don’t shoot the messenger.

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Love Me Tender

stoked!! i had forgotten all about the $375US that I had hidden in a book that i hadn’t opened in years. no way!! $378US actually. it smelled moldy. i cleaned it in the sink, and put it out in the tropical sun for about 20 minutes. after it dried, i introduced it to the 4500MXN in my wallet. everybody seemed to get along. this US money would come in handy because the Mexican money was running low.  so yeah, i really couldn’t believe it. i realize that sometimes one might find a twenty spot in a jean pocket, or maybe even a cool benjamin within a dinner jacket, but this was $375.  and even so, it’s not like $375 can carry you for life. we all know it barely gets you out of Whole Foods.  yet timing tends to be everything, and so it didn’t surprise me that this little found find of mine felt like a pot of gold. a lucky stroke. a four leaf clover.

If the shoe fits..

Nicknames. I’ve made a career out of them. A large percentage of the people that I consider friends and family have a nickname. The great ones evolve. I’ve got some great ones.

And I’ve been given nicknames too. I’ve made a career out of accepting them. In many cases, I make subtle suggestions to the giver of the nickname, how he or she might even improve it. It can be a sensitive subject. But trust me, I’ve been given real stupid ones. And in some cases, the only reason why I am given a nickname is because the person figures I have one coming. Have one coming?

I know this guy that I have given about eight or so nicknames to. One of them I use more than the others. But about eight all said. Well it came to a point where he finally drummed up the courage to give me one.

Unfortunately, the nickname he chose was Milky. And his reasoning is that I milk everything. And he’s right. Problem is, I have already given that nickname to somebody else. I’m sure my Milky milks everything too, but I can’t say that with 100% certainty. But that’s not why we call him Milk.

And like I said, I’ve been given plenty of others too.  And you might even know one or two of them. But the very best of the best, most all ya’ll don’t know. 

Of the best, here’s one you probably don’t know. It’s a small circled nickname that continues to pick up speed. There are probably, ohhhh, say about 10 women, 25 men, and but a handful of children(one in particular) that know me as Bird. Bee Eye Are Dee, Bird. I think it was given to me in 08′.  A star was born.

But Bird has been good to me. Heck, I might have even given it to myself, I forget. Regardless, what’s interesting about Bird, is that long after it should have been buried in the vault, it’s still lingering. Lingering hard actually.

Which is why, on February 19th, 2014, when my partner said to me, “You will now have to be known as Pollo, Pollo Fresco,” I was immediately taken back by it. Like it was meant to be.  

****** 

OK, so I needed a place to crash last February for about five nights. My partner said I could stay with him. I told him that I would have a BBQ chicken dinner ready for him when he came home from a long work day in the hot tropical sun. When he came home from work, I had done nothing. I mean I tried, but I just couldn’t pull it. Puerto must have had me in the grind.  Anyway, I told him that I couldn’t find any chicken.  He stood there motionless with his mouth open.  He said, and I quote, “You couldn’t find any chicken in Puerto?”

Of course then he went on to say stuff like not being able to find chicken in Puerto is like not being able to find ice on Everest. Or sand in the Sahara.

“Well i guess from now on, you will have to be known as Pollo. Pollo Fresco.”

Works for me..

Goony Golf

There was green astroturf on the steps that led into the office area. There was green astroturf on the patios in front of every room. There was green astroturf that was used around every one of the many palm trees that were on the property.

Astonishingly, the one place that I figured should have had all the green astroturf, had none.

Instead, the 18-hole miniature golf course that was on the property of Las Palmas Motel in Matehuala, MX was all concrete. Rough concrete to boot. I was perplexed. I told my partner that it would be easier to make par putting a hacky sack.

Welcome to Mexico.

Late Sunday Night.

Long Day in the Saddle.

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Las Cosas

I was behind the wheel. In the passenger seat sat my partner. Inside the van itself there was stuff. Lots of stuff. Like What??

One 8×11 Expensive Turkomen Rug
One 5×7 Kmart Throw Rug
One Blue Coleman Igloo
One Yellow Craftsman Toolbox(filled)
One Green Werner Ladder
One Black Plastic Utility Box(filled)
One Black Briefcase Full of Books
Two New Coal BBQ’s(still in the box)
Two Old Suitcases(filled)
Two 10×10 Shade Tents
Two 5-gallon Buckets
Two Piano Speakers
Two 11 ft Stand Up Paddle Boards
Two Expensive Carbon Fiber Paddles
Seven Rolls of Fiberglass
Twelve Adjustable Paddles
 
 

On top of the van there was also stuff. Seven of them. There would have been Eight of them, but One of them had already made its way to Puerto Escondido three months prior. So Seven. Of Them. Bungee’d down like nobodies business. And then some.

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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.

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