A D.L. CRUMPTON SHORT: SINNER’S PRAYER

eyes_of_the_great_depression-034When his mind was set on something there was no turning it around. Beg, plead, try to reason, it didn’t really matter what you did. In the end all any of that ensured was that the thing you were trying to dissuade him from carrying out was not only going to be done, it was going to be done in a much worse way than he had originally intended. The corner of his mouth would tightly curl, his forehead would tighten, causing his eyebrows to arch upward and when he wasn’t using his hands his fists would stay clenched. Stomping towards the barn on the far side of the cotton field at a hurried pace, Myron was being closely followed by his Uncle Catfish who couldn’t help but grow more worried as each step took them closer to the old barn.
“Come on, Myron, it’s Sunday. Why you wanna waste the day on some fool idea. Just put it out of your mind and lets walk into town. I got a whole nickel I been holdin’ on to. We can get us some pops and Mary Janes, maybe even see if there’s a flicker show playin’.” Catfish said.
Still seeing nothing but Myron’s back, the only response he got was a flippant hand gesture and a slight increase in speed as he tromped barefoot through the field, aiming to reach the barn even sooner to avoid another temptation from Catfish. The idea of heading into town was indeed hard to pass up, especially after one of the hardest, hottest weeks the two of them had ever spent in the cotton fields. Summers in Georgia were hot already, but when those summers were spent in the cotton and tobacco fields of Telfair county picking for the benefit of parents and other sharecropping family members one could almost feel the beads of sweat on their back forming beads of sweat. As young men just barely breaking into their teenage years, waiting for Sunday was sometimes unbearable. It was the one day of the week that they were able to do as they pleased and not have to worry about waking up before the chickens to tend to the land. This had crossed Myron’s mind for a moment and he could imagine Catfish and himself sitting outside of Powell’s pharmacy gulping down R.C. from a bottle still covered in cold beads of ice. He could almost taste the caramel taffy Mary Jane stuffed in his cheek and indeed for a moment he swore he could hear the hiss of the serpent tempting him to turn back.
“Well? Come on. Forget about this mess and lets go.” Catfish said, stopping dead in his tracks.
The temptation had failed however and Catfish watched Myron disappear into the old barn. He stood there for a moment to see if Myron would pop back out with a reconsidered expression and a joyful declaration of ‘yeah, you’re right. Let’s head to town,’ but instead all that filled his ears was the hissing of the hundreds and hundreds of locusts basking underneath the southern sun. Catfish looked back over his shoulder to the small shack of a house they had come from. It was the kind that was built slightly raised from the dirt with a wooden-planked porch that went all the way around and couldn’t help but creak no matter where you stepped. The tin roof seemed to sag in the middle and the whole house had looked old even when it was new, a sight very common in 1948 when most people were still recovering from a depression.
Catfish had hoped to see Millard sitting on the porch keeping an eye on them, but once again he was disappointed. Somehow he felt cheated. He was a couple of years younger than Myron which meant that he always seemed to be tagging along after him, but in his mind age shouldn’t have made much difference. He was, younger or not, Myron’s uncle and that should count for something he thought. So he begrudgingly made his way into the barn intent on finally putting his foot down with his nephew by telling him how things were going to be. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the dim light inside the barn but he knew Myron was up in the loft. He could hear him scrounging around up there, looking for who knows what.
At the bottom of the ladder Catfish saw that Myron had already thrown down several small spools of chicken wire, probably the remainder of the fence they’d put up a couple of summers ago. Stored up above, behind some hay and broken garden tools, the chicken wire was probably forgotten and never intended for any use in the near future. This wouldn’t have been the case had Myron’s daddy, Millard, been a full fledged farmer. If that were the case there wouldn’t have been one inch of wire unused or one broken garden tool that wasn’t patched up to perform its purpose or at least substitute for another. However, because Millard was by trade a painter the task of being a farmer was something he did with less passion but nevertheless did to make ends meet. It had been his hope that when the state of the economy took an upswing he could lay down this side work and pursue expanding his painting business full time, but until then he had his kids doing most of the work anyway. This being the case, Myron knew this long forgotten chicken wire wouldn’t be missed so he saw no reason why he shouldn’t put it to good use.
As Myron climbed down the ladder Catfish was standing below with hands on his hips doing his best to put on an authoritarian posture. When he saw that Myron had a bottle of whiskey stuffed in the back pocket of his overalls Catfish was strengthened in his resolve.
“Alright. Enough messin’ around. Get this wire back up there where it belongs and you’d best stash that booze right back where you found it. Unless you’re fetching that for your daddy or something, ain’t no thirteen year old ought to be touching that stuff. You hear me Myron? I said you hear me?”
Myron made no eye contact, instead he continued to look around until he spotted his prize hanging on an old rusty nail near the back of the barn. It was a bugle that had been hanging there for as long as he could remember. He had to climb over a few feed sacks to get to it but that took no effort at all. Now that he had collected the items he came looking for he saw no harm in entertaining his younger uncle.
“What are you going on about?” Myron asked.
“I said put all that stuff back where it goes. Especially the whiskey.”
“Oh…I see. Put it back, huh? Catfish just what do you plan on doing if I not only don’t put this stuff back but take this stuff with me? Especially the booze.”
“I won’t tolerate it.”
“You wha…” Myron laughed “…you what? Did you say you won’t tolerate it?”
Catfish could almost hear his ego deflating like someone nearby was giving him a raspberry.
“It’s not funny. You’re gonna get us in trouble and your daddy’s gonna tan our hides if he finds out what you’re doing. If you think I’m gonna stand by and let that happen to me then you’re dumber than you look. Not this time. No siree.” Catfish proclaimed.
Myron was putting all the spools of wire together and binding them so they would be easy to carry as he listened to his uncle spout off his orders.
“Go on then. Go on to town and take your nickel with you. Just leave me be.”
“Fine. After I have a little ching wang with your daddy.” Catfish threatened.
He couldn’t believe he actually let the words slip from his tongue. It was a mistake and when he saw Myron coming at him the look in his eyes told Catfish how big of a mistake it really was. Before he could move out of the way Myron had already cleared five feet and pinned him against one of the barn’s beams with his left arm while the right arm was pulled back with a ready fist. Catfish was wincing, waiting for the inevitable pop that should’ve come. When nothing happened, he cracked one eye open, fluttered it, then opened the other.
“Well? You gonna hit me or ain’t ya?”
“You know what…” Myron said as he lowered his fist and released his uncle “…I don’t think I will.”
He stepped away from him and headed back towards his spools of chicken wire.
“I think what I’m gonna do instead is take you back to that ditch if you even dare head towards that house.” Myron said.
Catfish already wished that he was tending to a shiner rather than hear those words. He stepped away from the beam and ran his hands over his shirt to straighten out the wrinkles. It was one of his favorites because it had been store bought, unlike his pants which had been sewn together from a burlap chicken feed bag by his mama.
“You know you can’t hold that over my head forever.” Catfish said.
“Yeah, well I don’t have to. I just have to hold it over your head for the rest of the day. Now grab that wire and follow me before I beat you to a pulp.” Myron said.
Actually, truth be told, Catfish would have allowed the prospect of the ditch to be held over his head forever if need be. It was one of those incidents that defined the relationship he had with Myron, an incident that he could never wiggle away from. It had been a hot summer day, much like the current one, only three years prior. They had been told to plow the dirt with whatever tools were available to them, and that’s exactly what the boys had done. They worked out in the fields underneath the sun and as expected after so long the two became bored. Catfish, with an overwhelming compulsion to break the monotony, thought it funny to take his hand and plunge it deep into the crack of his sweaty ass, bringing it out and wafting it just below Myron’s nose was the icing on the cake. The smile on his face had been nothing more than brief as Myron instinctively swung his shovel towards Catfish’s head and landed it with a healthy clang. Catfish was out cold. He hit the dirt as if his body had no weight to it whatsoever. Myron looked around, saw that the adults were far away, then looked back at the still body of his younger uncle. He figured him for dead and that meant that only one thing was appropriate for the situation. So, as a reasonable young man, he commenced to digging a grave in the midst of the field until it was deep enough to push Catfish’s little body into. Once there, Myron looked around again and saw he had the time to cover him with dirt. When the adults finally caught up to the two and realized what was going on Myron received the beating of his life and Catfish was simply lucky to be alive. This memory was enough for Catfish to know that when Myron set his mind to something it was simply best to just go along. So, he counted his blessings as he pushed out the wrinkles from his clothes, thankful that Myron hadn’t popped him hard and let him sleep off a whopper. It was now his resolve to go along and ensure that Myron caused as little damage as possible. That was the best that he could hope for.
“Fine.” Catfish said as he picked up some of the wire, “But you could at least tell me what’s got you so fired up this time.”
They went around the back of the barn and found a little spot to stash the items they borrowed, careful to conceal them the best they could, especially the whiskey. Then Catfish followed after Myron who seemed to be heading to the house, the very spot he warned him not to go.
“You wasn’t in church this morning.” Myron said.
“Now you gonna ride me about that? Mama said I didn’t have to go today. She said preacher Simmons wasn’t gonna deliver the message and she wasn’t gonna take me to listen to some man she ain’t never heard preach before.”
“Well that’s what’s got me fired up.”
“What? Me missing church?”
“No. It was that evangelist everyone’s been talkin’ about coming for the past few months.”
“You talkin’ about Bishop Lester Riles?” Catfish asked.
“Bishop? That must be a five dollar word for snake in the grass.” Myron spat.
“Myron, you better watch what you say about a man of God. You’re liable to get struck down or something.” Catfish warned.
They were halfway back to the house and could see Millard sitting on the front porch with the Sunday paper folded in half and raised to eye level. Myron stopped before they were within earshot, not wanting to risk his daddy overhearing what they were on about.
“You might be right, Catfish, but Lester Riles aint no man of God, that’s for sure. So you don’t have to worry too much about keeping your distance from me out of fear from getting struck.” Said Myron.
“But from what I hear he came all the way from New York or someplace where he preaches on the radio. Folks around town said sometimes a church has to wait years for him to come down and preach revival once they write to him and Lord knows we need something in this county with the drought and all. So how you figure someone as well known as him ain’t no man of God?”
“And he wears a three piece suit too, just like the devil himself I imagine.” Myron said mockingly.
“You ain’t got to be snyde. I was just sayin’ is all.”
“Yeah, well you ought to pay more attention to your Mama, because it sounds to me she already had this guy figured.”
“Well what’d he do then that has you bent?”
“After me and my brothers and sisters finished the morning chores Daddy rounded us up and put us in the wagon to head to church. The whole way there he kept telling us we were gonna hear some good preachin’ this morning, kept goin’ on and on like you were about how this Lester Riles was some big shot from up country that come down here to preach revival and all. He said that maybe Riles could preach a little mercy from God on all the farmers around here that’s been suffering with bad crops and all. Don’t know if you know this but it ain’t just our family that’s in a bad way, it’s most of Telfair county.” Myron said.
“I figured. Last time I was in Powell’s pharmacy there was a great big jar on the counter with ‘Farmers Relief Fund’ on it. Too bad there were only a handful of coins in it though.” Catfish replied.
“Yeah. That’s because ain’t nobody got money enough to spare for the jar. Anyway, when we were coming up the dirt road to the church I saw tire tracks and kept my eyes on them until we came up to the church yard. Most everybody was just getting there too, tying off their mules and horses before they went in and that’s when I saw it.”
“Saw what?” Asked Catfish.
“The cleanest, shiniest, most pristine automobile I ever seen. Daddy called it a Cadillac but I tell you what, I ain’t never seen anything like it. Not even in magazines. I wasn’t the only one looking at it either, everyone in the churchyard was just standing there with their mouths open like the thing dropped from outer space or something. I wanted to go over and look at it too, but Daddy just shooed all of us inside and made us line up in the pews.”
“I’m guessing it belonged to Lester Riles?”
“Well how many folks you seen around here in one? Heck, for that matter how many folks you even seen around here riding one of them tractors, something way more likely.”
“Go on. What happened next?” Catfish prodded.
“Well, preacher Simmons introduced him and did the opening prayers and all, then Riles got up to deliver the message. Everything went all right really, he huffed and puffed and got all red in the face like you’d expect, but truth be told I didn’t get much more from him than I would from any other preacher. What set me off though was when the service was over they passed the collection plate around like they always do and everybody pitched in what they could. Daddy even threw in a whole fifty cent piece.” Myron said.
“Well so what. That ain’t nothing to get all ruffled about.”
“No. No it ain’t. Thing is when the plate got back up front Riles took one glance at it and started to shake his head. Then he took the pulpit again and said he came all the way down from New York and what was in the plate just wasn’t gonna be enough, that’s when he had the deacons pass the plate around again. You could’ve heard a pin drop in that old church house. Then I watched as all them poor and starving farmers dug back deep into their pockets and dropped every last bit they had on them in the plate. All of them except for daddy.” Myron said.
“What did he do?”
“I kinda looked up at him out of the corner of my eye and could see he was mad as fire, but also a little embarrassed. Embarrassed he talked this fella up so much on the way to church only to have his kids see the man was a charlatan. He held his tongue though. He held his tongue all the way back home and I’ll tell you that was the longest wagon ride I’ve ever taken with him.”
Catfish glanced over Myron’s shoulder and could see Millard rocking back and forth as he read the paper. Every so often he would fold the paper a little and peer at the two talking.
“I think your daddy is getting a little curious as to what we’re doing.” Catfish warned.
Myron nodded and gestured for him to follow his steps up to the porch. When they arrived their heads were eye level with Millard’s feet and they had to look up to address him.
“Hey daddy.” Myron said.
Millard kept rocking as he read the paper giving a short response back.
“Son.”
“Daddy, me and Catfish…”
“Catfish and I.”
“Oh, right. Catfish and I, well, we were gonna grab some poles and head down to the creek for the rest of the day. See if we can’t catch us some brim. Is that all right with you?” Myron asked.
Myron could never figure out why his daddy insisted he use proper English, especially when the conversation involved another person going by the name Catfish. Though he thought it a bit silly he certainly would never voice such an opinion and doing so while looking up into Millard’s inquiring eyes was certainly out of the question. He stood there as his daddy slowly rested the paper on his knee and examined his face carefully, probing to see if Myron would flinch or give any other indication that he was up to something. Millard knew his son, he knew that the boy was prone to mischief and the chances of the simple request to go fishing being an understatement of his true intentions were probably more than fifty-fifty. Yet even with his suspicions Millard was a just man and wasn’t going to refuse his son based solely on a father’s intuition without something concrete to bring to the table. This didn’t make the long gaze any easier for Myron though, and until he heard a word of approval he stood there attempting to give Millard his best poker face. This made the situation that much more tense because there were two things Myron knew about his daddy; one being that he was a notorious poker player and the other being that though he had a very long fuse it was a dangerous thing indeed to light it.
Millard had never spoken of it himself, least of all to his kids, but in a small town any incident of interest spreads like a wildfire in the brush and one he had been involved in several years prior was no different. It was before he had become a family man and learned to temper his anger, but nevertheless the tale would be told and retold until it became legend and firmly solidified many people’s opinion of him. He wasn’t much of a drinker but did reserve one night a year to make up for the three hundred and sixty four days he never touched the stuff. Usually that night would either begin or end in a little tavern on the edge of Telfair county where he could be found in the midst of cigar and cigarette smoke sitting comfortably behind a healthy stack of chips, staring over trip aces at three or four other men who weren’t sitting so comfortably. On this particular night he had managed to rake in nearly fifty dollars in a considerably short amount of time, most of which had come from a very sore loser (William Danforth the third, otherwise known as Cooch) that made three mistakes he’d never forget. His first mistake was thinking he could drink Millard under the table, the second was thinking his poker playing skills would improve while trying to drink Millard under the table, and the third mistake was yet to come.
Cooch had called Millard on a game of seven card stud, three kings in his hand with two fives showing. He didn’t feel the need to conceal that he was sitting pretty, and having gone all in was needless to say very disappointed when Millard threw down the two tens in his hands to greet the two tens showing. Millard didn’t say a word or crack even a half smile when he leaned forward to pull in his winnings, he did however pause when Cooch failed to hold his tongue.
“One of these days you ain’t gonna be so slick and somebody’s gonna catch you cheatin’.” He said.
Millard quietly collected his money without saying a word and walked out of the tavern and into the night. Cooch had never been at odds with a short man before and didn’t know that they are the most dangerous people to rub the wrong way. Unbeknownst to him Millard was walking to his brother-in-law’s house as he sat there. It took about an hour for him to get there, sneak in the back door, creep into his brother-in-law’s bedroom, reach under his pillow and retrieve a six shooter he knew to always be there, all without waking a soul. Another hours walk back to the tavern and Millard was still just as drunk as when he had left, stopping about twenty yards from the door of the tavern.
“You sorry sum bitch who called me a cheat, you come on out here now. I’m gonna kill you.” Millard shouted.
Cooch, in keeping with his idiotic form, did indeed step out. Millard, in keeping with being a man of his word, did indeed fire six shots directly at Cooch’s head. Millard would have spent the rest of his life busting rocks upstate somewhere and Cooch would’ve been colder than Horse Creek if it hadn’t been for all six bullets barely nicking the skin of his face. That night kept two things from ever happening hence; Cooch never touched a deck of cards again and Millard was never called a cheat for the rest of his days.
Having heard this story from several witnesses, Myron fully understood the gravity of the stare down he was in, yet still felt so compelled by his convictions that it was worth the gamble. Millard squinted a little, shifted his eyes to Catfish who dared not make eye contact, then back to his son.
“Bring those poles back in the same shape you take them. Understand boy?”
“Yes sir.” Myron replied, trying to hide the lump he had just swallowed.
The second the newspaper was lifted back up the two boys darted off and fetched the fishing poles from around the house and headed back out the way they came. Careful to enter into the woods with the barn blocking Millard’s view, they had a little bit more than the poles in their possession. When they found a nice little spot by a collapsed tree they tucked them underneath to be picked up on their way back home. As Myron lead Catfish along he explained to him his intentions and what he was planning to do with the chicken wire and the bugle. As he laid out his plan Catfish was simply tickled to death thinking about it, but still felt jittery fearing they might not be able to pull it off, so understandably he began throwing out questions.
“Well how do you know Riles is gonna be preachin’ over at the nigger church anyhow?” Catfish asked.
“I overheard him asking for directions in the vestibule this morning.”
“A white preacher in a nigger church? What kind of sense does that make?”
“Perfect sense. That snake came down here to milk this county dry. He’ll preach in a pub so long as they got a collection plate, Catfish. Not to mention, niggers are people too. Ain’t right lettin’ him take advantage of ‘em.” Myron said.
Catfish thought about it as he readjusted the chicken wire he was toting and couldn’t argue with that.
“Well what makes you think he’s gonna preach the same sermon?” Catfish asked.
“Cuz’ he ain’t preachin’ the free gift of salvation, he’s charging by the word. It’d be too much for him to come up with something else to blather about when he can peddle the same thing to different churches. You got anymore questions, Catfish? We’re getting close and I don’t want to still be having this conversation when we get there.”
The sun had already ducked behind the tree line and was being chased away by the dusk but Catfish could still see ahead, albeit a good distance, the church Riles was going to be at. He rattled his brain until he found the last question he could come up with.
“Alright, I got the wire and the bugle but what’s the whiskey for?” Catfish asked.
Myron stopped in his tracks and tapped his forehead with his palm, a little disgruntled that he had forgotten all about it. He reached in his overalls and pulled out the clear bottle nearly full of reddish brown liquor and spun the top off with one flick of the finger. He turned it up for a snort and before his face had unwrinkled from drawing up he was offering it to his uncle.
“The whiskey’s for drinkin’ stupid.” Myron said.
0605181906221cades_cove_church_2_cc_medium_When they were as close to the negro church as they could get without being spotted they hunkered down on a couple of stumps to wait for night which was coming quickly. They could see several members of the congregation filing in with their best Sunday smiles, all excited that some big shot bishop from up country had humbled himself enough to come wail across their meek little pulpit. Both Myron and Catfish could tell that it was much more than the usual attendees and the crowd must have also had the Easter and Christmas bunch too.
It wasn’t long before they could see coming up the dirt path a pair of headlights which no doubt belonged to a certain shiny Cadillac. When the beams tore across their heads the two young boys instinctively crouched down to keep from being spotted. Though they were safely blending in to the thick chaotic scenery of the surrounding woods they didn’t want to chance it. Bishop Lester Riles parked his car out front of the church and got out wearing a suit nearly as shiny and no doubt just as pricey. The deacon he had brought along with him stepped out of the passenger side and rushed around the front of the car to escort Riles inside. The negro congregation flocked around him as if he were some sort of celebrity and ushered him up the walkway and into the vestibule of their church. As soon as the crowd had packed into the small church house the doors closed behind them.
“Now?” Catfish asked, wincing from a quick sip from the bottle.
“Not yet. Wait ‘til they start a singin’.” Answered Myron.
In twenty or so minutes the two boys had nearly filled themselves up with the spirits in the bottle before the bunch inside of the church had even started to fill themselves up with the Holy Spirit. It had not made the two incapable of functioning, on the contrary it was giving them just the right amount of courage they needed to be able to ignore the butterflies one gets when performing acts where the consequences for getting caught would certainly give a sober man pause. After the announcements and what not the church and surrounding area started to vibrate with the voices of spirit filled negro men and women singing “Nothing but the blood of Jesus”. Myron nodded to Catfish and picked up his half of the chicken wire.
“Now.” Myron ordered “And when I give you the signal you blow on that bugle like there ain’t no tomorrow, understand?”
“I got it, I got it.”
Myron and Catfish fixed the ends of their chicken wire to the same tree about five inches above the dirt making sure it was tighter than a drum and then shot off in different directions. They kept low as they circled around the tree line that surrounded the church running the wire all the way around, stopping at random trees to wrap excess wire around once or twice.
Inside the negro church Lester Riles sat on the front pew with his deacon as the congregation around them breathed some kind of life into the hymns that no white congregation ever could. When “Nothing but the Blood” was finished, they broke out into “This is my Father’s World” and finished the singing with an upbeat, feet stomping, hand clapping “Amazing Grace,” with enough soul to raise a cemetery of corpses. The regular preacher gestured for all to sit then stood behind the pulpit.
“Hoo Lordy. I says, I says, I says, sho’ ‘nuff if that ain’t puts a smile on God’s face I don’t know what will.” He cried.
The congregation shouted back with a hearty “Amen!”
“Hoo Lordy. I gots to sit. I gots to sit myself down over there after that. I says ya’ll make me so weak in the knees I can’t even preach to you tonight. You hear?!”
“Amen!”
“But it’s alright. I says it’s alright. Lord knew it ‘fore hand He did, He did, He did.”
“Amen preacha’!”
“He’s gonna bless us tonight though. He done sent us Bishop Lester Riles to preach. He done preach at the Baptist church this mornin’ and was gone head on back up country but the Lord done laid it on his heart to stay a spell. He laid it on his heart to find his way out here to us, and now here he is”
“Praise God! Amen”
“Amen, amen, amen. So I’s just gone sit down yonder. I ain’t wantin’ to take up no more time where Bishop Riles could be preachin’. Ya’ll be good to this man now. Ya’ll betta’ bless him as he bless us.” The preacher said.
He came up from behind the pulpit and passed Riles who was on his way up. His deacon came up front and led them all in opening prayer then sat back down on the front pew. Riles started into his sermon, but unlike the service he had conducted that morning, his voice and mannerisms were much more flamboyant. Outside Myron wrapped up the last of his chicken wire leaned in as if they would help him to be able to hear better. Though he already had a feeling it would be the same sermon he wanted to be sure. It took a few lines before Myron honed in on Riles but once he did his suspicion was confirmed. The sermon was indeed about the last day and how much Riles was looking forward to meeting his God. Myron also took note that the manner in which it was being delivered was customized to the audience.
“Snake.” Myron sneered to himself.
“Oh yes” Riles bellowed “When I hear Gabriel blow that trumpet, I’ll know my God is a coming.”
“Amen!” Came the congregation.
Myron, still staying low darted over to where Catfish was and quickly made sure he was done tying off his wire as well. He brought his finger down to the wire and gave it a good pluck to see that it was pulled as tight as it could be. Satisfied, he took another chug from the bottle and looked down at his uncle.
“That stuffed pigs playin’ the same song. We’ll let him get a little further before we make our move. I’m going back to my spot so you just be ready and watch for my signal.” Myron said.
“Oh that sky is gonna split open up yonder. The heavens are gonna shake, the stars are gonna fall. Then this old world better get ready for what’s coming. They better get ready to meet the Lord thy God!”
“Amen! You keep on with dat truth!”
“Oh when Gabriel blows that trumpet it’s gonna be glorious!”
“Glorious!”
“And all His saints are gonna stretch out their arms and look up for their redemption!”
“We lookin’ up! Amen!”
“And when sinners hear Gabriel blow that horn they gonna run, you hear me?”
“Where they gonna run preacha’, where they gonna run?”
“Ain’t nowhere for them sinners to run. Oh Lord God I thank you none of us gonna be ashamed when Gabriel blows that trumpet.” Riles Preached.
Myron had crept up to the trunk of the Cadillac outside and pressed his back to it as he inched around it to get to the door. He was getting more and more disgusted the more he heard from the windbag inside and was tempted to give the signal, but held his patience. He slid up and peeked inside the car looking around to see if anything was laying around, but as he suspected what he had come for was not there. So, feeling he had let the serpent’s assistant go on long enough he rose up and waved wildly in the direction of where he had left Catfish.
“Oh listen to me people, when you hear Gabriel…” Riles was cut short as the sound of a terrifying horn ripped into the church house from outside. The thunderous noise blew louder and louder as Bishop Lester Riles’ eyes shot open wider than the gates of Hell and he shot out from behind the pulpit screaming and down the aisle. As the congregation witnessed him and his deacon flee the church in sheer terror a panic filled each and every one of them and they began scrambling over one another to get out as fast as they could. Some were pushing out the front door as others poured out side and back doors.
The two boys stayed low as everyone ran by them, too scared to pay them any mind and heading straight for the tree lines. When the church house was empty Myron shot inside quickly, made his way to the front pew where he saw a locked bankers bag that had earlier been under the arm of Riles’ deacon and retrieved it without hesitation. He came out of the church just in time to hear the uncontrollable laughter pouring from Catfish’s direction, then looked up to the tops of the tall pines surrounding the area and to him they were waving as wildly as sailors on a ship coming home from war.
When the two boys got back home they weren’t entirely shocked to see Millard still out on the porch waiting up for them. They didn’t say a word, rather just stood there with fishing poles in hand looking up at Millard who studied them for several moments. What did come as a shock to them was that he didn’t say a word about it being late, or them not coming home with a single brim, or anything except “Go wash up for dinner” with a sort of satisfied gleam in his eye. The tale of Bishop Lester Riles soiling his pants at the sound of the Lord’s trumpet and leading an entire congregation to a massive trip line in the pines of Telfair county was something not easily shaken for the rest of his days. From then on he never preached to a crowd more than seven or eight and by no means was he ever able to support himself off of the hard work of others. However, his visit was not entirely a waste to all the suffering members of the community, because after his departure something miraculous happened and the jar for the farmers relief fund down at Powell’s pharmacy was filled with quite a generous donation.

END

A D.L. CRUMPTON SHORT: THE PROBLEM WITH BUTTERFLIES

14075_570689353068158_3331986514574927754_nJack had been sitting on a bench at the park near his house for the past few hours now with a beat up copy of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. At his feet was a messenger bag with a large bottle of water, some stones of sentimental value, some pens, some paper and the odd object or two he had picked up on his walk through the trail to the park. He had reread the current page nearly five times and still had yet to actually comprehend what was going on in the story. It wasn’t that he had poor reading skills; much the opposite actually. It was that his mind was elsewhere and while his eyes ran across the words the chamber of his imagination was playing a different movie altogether.
It frustrated him that simple things like reading a book was now to him such a task. Once upon a time he could run through a book like one watches a movie, but now it seemed like trying to run with cinderblocks tied to his ankles. The theatre of his mind was playing a different show altogether, and it did it all the time. From the moment he woke up until the moment he fell asleep; and that was only on the nights he could fall asleep which were far and few between. He had closed the book on his thumb for a while and just stared off into the park watching parents play with their kids or loved ones holding hands and stealing a kiss from time to time. On occasion such sights and sounds would bring a smile to his face and then the movie would replay in his head, bringing him back to his present moment.
He couldn’t really put an adjective on it like pain because he was well past that. He couldn’t say it could be described as being numb because he of all people knew he indeed did feel it. Jack figured the best word he could find to describe his current emotions as of late was that of displacement. He felt completely displaced, as if no matter where he was he could not make himself feel at home-especially in his own home.
He supposed that was why he found himself visiting the park down the street more and more each and every day. He wanted to remember what it felt like to be in a place called home. From time to time he could get a sense of it, but that feeling was fleeting. However fleeting, in those moments that sense came he was thankful. It was something he had not been able to feel since the separation. A separation from the woman he had known most of his life, most of his youth, and up until now most of his adulthood.
This life changing event had happened a handful of years prior but the effects of it still hovered around him like a radioactive cloud after the impact of an atomic bomb smashing into the ground. The explosion was long gone but the ruin of the aftermath was still all around him. The tragedy of the blast staring and screaming at him with demands of wanting to know why it had to come to such a thing. Like looking into the hollow eyes of skulls, the only answer Jack had for them was that he simply didn’t know. He had no answers to give those haunting voices, nor comfort to those eyeless eyes. Any answer he would attempt to give them would be nothing more than guesswork because the truth was that he was just as much a victim of the blast as they were.
Jack had loved Nichole more than anything. He even pushed such a love to the point of worship, which can be dangerous when such a love is at risk of coming to an end. What does one say when God walks away from you? How is one supposed to go on with life when there is no longer hope of salvation or comfort from Divinity? Jack had no way to answer that and perhaps that is why he had been in a steady state of limbo ever since. The two of them had been doing fine, better than fine in fact and all of a sudden a rapid series of events transpired that tore them apart and sent them into a whirlwind of confusion. A multitude of voices and poor opinions from people who had no business getting involved insured that the union they shared, no matter the potential it once had, would come crashing down in a heap of pride, hurt, lies, misunderstandings and miscommunications. Jack couldn’t help but to think that Nichole had been just as much as a victim of this hurricane as he himself.
The most painful thing for Jack was that the two of them had never really had the opportunity to work it out themselves. The chance for the two to sit alone together and anyilize the problems that had arisen was stripped from them by third parties and in that fault all hope was lost. Their fates were no longer in their own hands and in sacrificing that right both of them were subject to the dictations of others. Such a course lead them to separation and since then they had had little to no contact. For Jack this was probably the most painful of facts in the course of events that tore them apart because he knew they did not tear apart from each other but where torn apart by everyone else. As he pondered these things he could still see her ghost in the park from the corner of his eye.
He shook it and reopened his book to where he left off when an old man casually sat down beside him with a half-finished crossword puzzle. The old man sat with a huff, aching in his old bones and carefully placed his pen where he left off. The old man said nothing, yet pushed his glasses higher on his nose as he stared at the word he was currently working on. Though Jack pretended to continue reading, he couldn’t help but eye the old man from his peripheral vision. The old man was about five feet tall, button down shirt from the eighties, rolled up wrangler jeans revealing thin, black socks tucked into orthopedic shoes. On his right was a wooden cane placed neatly on the bench. Other than that the old man had nothing but a pack of Pall Mall full flavors with a Zippo lighter in his breast pocket.
Jack pretended not to be bothered as the old man lit one and coughed as he took the first drag from the cigarette and pressed his pen to the page without intent. He chose to simply jump into the current chapter of Cloud Atlas and ignore the fact that some old man had chosen his bench out of a dozen in the park to sit on so he could work on a puzzle. Now he was finally able to pay attention to what he was reading. However, as soon as the visual images began to formulate in his mind, Jack found himself interrupted.
“Damn puzzle.” The old man muttered.
Jack looked over at him with slight perplexity.
“I’m sorry?” he asked.
“Been working on this crossword for the past hour or so. This one has me stumped.” The old man said.
“Oh…I’m sorry.” Jack responded.
Jack broke off eye contact and went back to his book. He really wasn’t in the mood for a conversation. To such a reaction the old man laughed.
“No you aint.” The old man said.
“I’m sorry?”
“There you go again with that sorry shit. You aint sorry and because you aint sorry you say sorry and you think it’s supposed to actually supposed to do something.” The old man replied.
Jack was a little taken aback at the old man’s straightforwardness and didn’t know the polite way of replying. What he did know was that his late father always told him to pay attention to the silver head for wisdom and guidance and so he dog-eared his book in order to proceed with the interaction.
“Well I apologize then, that your puzzle is causing you such distress.” Jack said.
The old man laughed as he scribbled at the top of the page to make sure his pen was ship shape.
“Are you serious, son? Is that how you talk on a daily basis?” the old man mocked.
“No, not really.” Jack answered.
“Then stop blowing wind up my skirt like a whore with a navy man on shore leave.”
“I’m sorry, have I done something to offend you? I mean this was my bench you know, you’re the one that sat beside me.”
“Oh this is your bench?”
“Yeah, I was sitting here first.”
“And that makes it your bench? You plant your ass here before anyone else today and all of a sudden it becomes your bench? Is that how it works nowadays?” the old man questioned.
Jack thought the old man rude, crude and yet somehow the glimmer in the eye beneath the lenses of his glasses appealed to him. It brought a smirk to Jack’s face. This man was very much like his father.
“Maybe we started off on the wrong foot. I’m Jack.” He said as he put out his hand.
The old man laughed and slapped his large stubbly fingers into his with the firmest of grips.
“Just call me Sarge, done gone and forgot the name my parents gave me.” Sarge said.
This brought a laugh to Jack as his father had been the same in abandoning his Christian name. In the handshake Jack could feel that perhaps there was something he could learn from this uncouth old man.
“Jack.” He replied.
“Nice to meet you simple named Jack.” Sarge said.
“Simple named Jack? What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing, just a common name for such a young man that looks so uncommon, that’s all. One would think you could have done better by now but that’s a different thing altogether.” Sarge answered.
“Yeah, well who has time to change their name when there is so much else you have to take care of?” Jack asked.
“I was in two foreign wars and two marriages and still found the time simple name Jack, so what’s your excuse?” Sarge asked.
Jack thought for a moment with a half-smile still on his face. He appreciated the abrasiveness of the old man as he turned his attention back to the puzzle and fell silent for a moment. The silence allowed him to turn back to his book but he was no more than a paragraph in before Sarge interrupted him again.
“Goddamnit, what’s a nine letter word for metamorphoses’?” He asked.
“I’m sorry?” Jack asked
“Are we back there again? I said, what is a nine letter word for metamorphoses’, boy.” Sarge replied.
Jack thought for a moment and then glanced over at Sarge’s puzzle until the answer came to him.
“The answer is butterfly.” He said.
There was a moment of simple surprise on Sarge’s face as he contemplated the answer followed by a steady and confidant filling in of the word. Sure enough Jack had been correct. The answer was butterfly.
“I should have figured. Butterflies are the damndest creatures.” Sarge said.
“Are they now?”
“Oh yes. The most dangerous life forms on the planet in fact.”
“Butterflies?”
“Yeah, butterflies. Deadly beasts they are.” Sarge said.
Jack found it amusing that there was this surety in the old man’s voice that he had to follow the rabbit trail of his logic. Though he knew it would probably upend him from finishing his chapter he felt it was worth the price. So he closed the book and put it safely in his bag in order to give Sarge his full attention.
“Okay, I’m all ears. Please explain to me how butterflies are the most dangerous life forms on the planet, I am dying to hear this.” He said as he propped his chin up with the forearm on the bench.
Sarge shook his head and placed his pen on the puzzle page as he took off his glasses and put them in a protective covering which afterwards was placed in his pocket. The old man cleared his throat and mimicked Jack’s posture.
“You see that young man over there on the horse, the one all dressed in black that’s just trotting through the park?” Sarge asked.
Jack looked over his shoulder to see then returned his gaze and nodded with the affirmative.
“Well you see that young man is calmly riding his horse on a fine and sunny, calm day with no care in the world. It is probably something he does on a regular basis if you really pay attention to how he and the horse seem to have an understanding. Chances are he will be doing that exact same thing this time next year, wouldn’t you say?” Sarge asked.
“Well people tend to be creatures of habit.” Jack answered.
“That they are. The thing is, creatures may be habitual but nature isn’t necessarily so.”
“What do you mean?”
“Did you know there is a difference in climate and weather?” Sarge asked.
“No I didn’t. Explain.”
“Climate is constant, for the most part. It only changes after perhaps a millennia of so. Think of it as the overall condition of what we call earth. There are ice ages, there are warm ages, there are tropical ages, yet within those ages we have slight changes in weather.” Sarge explained.
“Okay, I don’t know if I follow.” Jack said.
“Well for the most part things are warm overall, however tomorrow there could come a cold front from seemingly out of nowhere. That is weather. It is the variable in the constant. Changes from day to day and most of us never stop to ask what causes such sudden changes.”
Jack thought for a moment on this trying to find some answer from high school or the last forecast from his local weather station. The old man had a point; changes are reported but the cause never is. This intrigued him.
“Alright, so what causes weather to change?” Jack asked.
“Goddamn butterflies, boy. Goddamn butterflies.” Sarge answered with a hint of anger.
Jack let a laugh out as he opened up a bottle of water and took a swig. He wiped the excess from his goatee and returned to serious.
“Okay, please enlighten me. How do Goddamn butterflies change the weather?” Jack asked.
“Right now, let’s imagine a butterfly is in Africa somewhere learning to flap its wings, as in for the first time. The flapping of those wings sends out a current of air and as small as we may think it is that single current of air travels through the jungle. It’s shaped and formed and strengthened by the trees and the flapping of other butterfly wings, or the wings of birds or the thudding of a gorilla on a tree. That gust of wind gains strength as it travels to the ocean where it meets the current of another gust of wind of equal strength. That gust of wind came from India where there a butterfly had done the same. Once the two currents meet over the ocean with the pervading winds they start to form a whirlwind. At first it’s small and fragile but as the tides of the ocean sway beneath it that current gains strength. Before long you have a raging hurricane.” Sarge answered.
“And then what?” Jack asked.
butterfly“And then the hurricane heads towards the eastern coast and dies somewhere in the ocean, but before it does it sends out winds to form tornadoes or snow storms or what have you. They might be weak at first, but once they hit land a dying current might come in contact with the virgin flapping of wings from a new born butterfly. And that subtle flapping of air gives it strength enough to propel the dying tornado back into a thriving one. So a year from now let’s say that boy all dressed in black is on his horse in this very park, on this very day and some damned tornado sweeps through and takes him off his saddle.” Sarge says.
“All because of a butterfly flapping its wings?” Jack asks.
The old man nods with assurance.
“Yeah, all because of Goddamn butterflies. Vicious creatures they are.” He says.
Jack thought about that for a moment. There really wasn’t too much he could argue with, having studied physics and all. He looked up at the sun for a moment only to return his gaze to the old man who was responding to the ring of an old cell phone and rising to his cane.
“Well, I got to be on my way. The old lady is calling and when the old lady calls you have to come a running. But you know about that being married and all.” Sarge said.
“Do I?” Jack asked.
Sarge winked at him before shuffling off.
“Sure you do, son.”
Jack watched as the old man disappeared into the forest along the trail. He sat for a few moments and tried to absorb what the conversation had meant to him and perhaps why it had happened to him at this particular moment in his life. When the old man was out of sight he thought perhaps that he would continue reading his book but found that such a thing would be too difficult. So he just sat there until the damndest thing happened. A butterfly landed on his knee without a single flap of the wings. The words of the old man permeated his thoughts and he had to fight the smile on his face. It was then that another idea occurred to him. If a butterfly were able to cause destruction on a massive scale by a simple flapping of wings, could it bring something else?
He closed his eyes and thought of Nichole’s face. He thought of when he met her, he thought of when he courted her, he thought of all the happy years they had been together and could see them in his mind just as vivid as the moments they had happened. He took in several deep breaths with those feelings in his heart and then finally held the last one in. When he was ready he opened his eyes. The butterfly was still there, unmoving. With a slow and low pressure he blew all of those thoughts and feelings onto the butterfly until his lungs were empty. It wasn’t until he was finished that the butterfly began to beat its wings over and over again until it finally lifted itself up and flew off into the trees.
“God speed vicious creature, God speed.” Jack uttered.

GHOST TOWNS

 

484937_10200709910256290_884434542_nNichole was grabbing her wobbly shopping cart and entering into the local mom and pop grocery store of the town she had moved to, hundreds of miles away from where she once called home. For once in a long time she wasn’t in dirty jeans covered in mud and animal feed. This day she chose to wear clothes that reminded her of her old life. She didn’t know why she had done that, but when she had awoken that morning it just felt right. She was going to go grocery shopping in the clothes of her old life. She had showered and covered herself in strawberry lotion, then fitted herself in dress pants and a button down from some time ago, complete with old scuffed up grey heels.
She hadn’t felt like this woman in a long time, but today she would. Today she would be the old Nichole as she shopped for a nice vegetarian salad at the local mart. As she pushed the cart into produce she carefully chose organic lettuce from the other stuff that gets delivered. Afterwards she went down all the aisles looking for the ingredients to her salad that would fit the lifestyle she had adopted since she and Jack had separated. It was a discipline she didn’t want to give up. Her world had been broken apart when she broke away from him and though she had done all she could to break herself from thinking of him, it seemed that everything she did reminded her of him and she hated it so.
Her cart was nearly full when an old woman smashed her cart into hers and gave a sudden apology.
“Sorry young lady, I was lost in thoughts of a life long ago. I didn’t mean to bump into you.” She said.
Nichole took her forefinger and traced her hair behind her ear with a smile.
“Oh no. youre fine, maam.” She said.
The old woman paused and tilted her head as if she knew something Nichole did not.
“I am, are you?” She asked.
Nichole shook her head for a moment wondering what the old woman meant. It took her by complete surprise and she didn’t really know how to respond.
“Yes, I’m just getting dinner tonight. I’m fine.” Nichole said.
“Is that dinner for one or dinner for two?” The old woman asked.
Nichole smiled and looked at her cart which was meager with ingredients.
“It’s just for me maam. Just for me.” Nichole answered.
The old woman shook her head and pushed her cart ahead as she muttered the words “…aint that a shame. Aint that a crying shame.”
Nichole ignored it as she threw the rest of her salad in the cart. She didn’t have time to pick apart the words of an old woman in a grocery store while she had things to do. As she went up and down the aisles she finally found a houseplant on sale for less than three dollars. It saddened her that this plant only cost three dollars and she wanted to give it a home. So into her cart it went, for she knew she would give it a home to be loved despite the price set on it by the manager of the local piggly wiggly.
When Nichole had finally finished shopping for her salad, ingredients far away from the lamas and sheep she had fed at the commune she once lived at, a dinner fit for a two bedroom apartment in a country town she didn’t wish to be in, she made her way to the checkouts.
She waited patiently as the family before her ran their things across the conveyer belt. All of a sudden she felt a bump which forced her to look up. She saw a young red haired girl, complete with freckles, reading a comic book.
“Sorry about that, I was just really into the story.” The girl said.
Nichole looked and noticed this store was different than most. She was so used to commercial stores that she forgot the spindles of comic books at the registers that mom and pops offered. The young girl had been enthralled with one near the checkouts and had become so involved that she forgot where she was at. Such a displacement caused her to bump into Nichole’s cart.
“Oh don’t be sorry sweetheart. What are you reading?” Nichole asked.
“A Spiderman comic. Sorry.” She answered.
“Well that doesn’t ask for apology sweetheart.” Nichole said.
Nichole had a flash of her childhood and knew that the young girl had offended nothing. It took her back for a second but there was no way she could correct the young girl, rather take note of any lesson the girl could give her.
The girl eyed her.
“You know comics huh?” the girl asked.
Nichole thought for a moment. She had been in love with someone that did indeed and in fact they would not have married had it not been for comic books. A sense of pride came over her and she answered.
“Yeah, I know a little.” Nichole said.
“Then you should be able to spot it.” The girl said.
Nichole flipped though the book but found nothing. She did the best she could but still nothing popped up.
“Maybe it’s not for you to see right now, maybe you need to read it in your own time. I gotta go now, my mom is calling me.” The girl said.
Nichole nodded and threw her things on the conveyer belt.
It wasn’t until she got home that she placed the veggies on the counter and took the plant she had purchased out on the back porch of the grubby two bed room apartment she had leased. One bedroom held her bed, the other her vanity and artwork. It was the back yard where she could plant her independence and the plant she had purchased was ready to find its home. After Nichole had placed it carefully she sat down on the only chair she had and opened up the last bag of her groceries. After placing them in their given position she found that the last thing remaining was the comic book the little red headed freckle face had suggested.
In her sense of innocent guilt she made a glass of wine, grabbed the comic and the plant then waltzed to the back door. She put the plant down in her make shift garden and gave it a sprinkle or two of water. She went back inside and poured a glass of wine. She came back outside and sat down in front of her garden with the new, disregarded plant. With a huff she opened up the comic book the girl had suggested. She read the story from cover to cover; it was a Spider-Man story. As she made her way half way through she realized the artist was J. Scott Cantrell. Jack had always told her that J. Scott Cantrell always hid a single butterfly in all of his artwork, yet she had not seen it so far. Perhaps that is because she hadn’t looked for it up until now. As she turned the page she saw Mary Jane walking away from Peter Parker and there it was…in the smallest panel of the whole book. Mary Jane had a butterfly tattooed on the small of her back. It was so small no normal reader would have ever picked it up. But she did.
Jack had proposed to her with a Spider-Man comic. It was cheap and it was sudden but it was hers. It was that one moment in time where she finally felt like a princess and she didn’t give a shit that the ring was hanging from wax and dental floss. He had asked her to marry him and in that moment she was the luckiest woman on the face of the earth. And now she was seeing for the first time that Mary Jane was sporting a butterfly tattoo on the small of her back.
Nichole slammed the comic shut. She didn’t want to read anymore. For the first time in a long time she realized that perhaps Jack knew something she did not. She sat there and sipped on her wine staring at the tiny garden she had made in order to escape it all, when all of the sudden the strangest thing happened. A butterfly landed on the plant she had bought.
She had thought of going in before that happened, but now she was compelled to stay. Especially when more than a dozen came after it and landed in her tiny garden. Nichole sat there as a swarm of butterflies landed in her garden and slowly fluttered their wings, threatening to end the world with the flutter of their wings.
She wanted to cry because she knew what the butterflies could do. She fought the lump in her throat and it took another sip of wine before she did what the butterflies demanded. She tossed it back and forth for a moment but the inevitable was the inevitable. If there was one thing she had learned in her time alone it was that when the Universe speaks you best answer it. So she ran inside and grabbed her phone, for a moment she stared at it. After a moment she took it outside with her where the butterflies had congregated and sipped more of her wine. She watched the butterflies flap their wings and that gave her the courage she needed.
It was courage she didn’t have before nor any kind she had ever pulled out of the ether before.
She ran inside and grabbed her phone. Without thinking she looked up Jack’s number and without thinking she typed “I Love You”…and that was it. No explanation, no reason, no prerequisite. She simply text to him that she loved him. As she stared at it she wondered what would happen if she were to hit send.
Much like butterflies, who knows what the beating of small wings will bring?

COMES AND GOES

ZENINTHECAR STORE NOW OPEN

zenopenHey all you Zenners; like anything that rapidly evolves, we have sprung up with a new little appendage; the ZENINTHECAR.COM STORE. This is something we have actually wanted to do for some time but have had it on the back burner simmering until we could see it bubbling up with goodness. Now the aroma of what was in the pot has wafted its way to our nostrils and we just couldn’t resist making it available to you. So open up and get you a taste by clicking any of the ZENINTHECAR.COM STORE links (like the one you just saw right back there) in this article, or at the top and sidebar of any page on our site.
Digital Hourglass has been busy making sure that what goes into the store is akin to the spirit of what we are all about here at ZENINTHECAR.COM as well as politically and spiritually relevant. Obviously since we are just opening up the store, we have only been able to make a handful of items available to you, but rest assured new products that will make you the hippest person in any room will be added on a regular basis. And if you happen to have any suggestions for items you would like to see in the future please feel free to share them with us with a quick email to ZENINTHECAR@GMAIL.COM and we would be more than happy to try and oblige.
So, we hope you enjoy the ZENINTHECAR.COM STORE and of course we hope you help the writers, contributors and activists here by snagging some stuff for yourself, a friend and your mother in law…not because you like her but because you just like screwing with her head. Cheers!

 

ZENINTHECAR.COM STORE (this is one of those nifty links we were talking about. Click it and get yo’self some goodness.)

DIVORCE, INDEPENDENCE, AND ZEN IN THE CAR T.V.

541642_265132400290523_886782047_nDivorce. It’s a harsh word. It even sounds harsh when you say it. It’s almost like a paper cut to the tongue as it rolls off. It’s a legal thing, it’s a thing made by the state for the state, yet it still pays an emotional toll on the ones involved. It makes a woman go stir crazy and it makes a man become an alcoholic. You can’t do it pleasantly and you can’t do it without looking utterly insane, but you have to do it. You have to look at that piece of paper granted by the state and say “no thank you, I don’t wish to contract with you; especially in regards to my personal life.” And if you don’t, the state will own your kids. You don’t want that. I don’t want that. The state may want that, but the state can go suck an egg for all I care. So all of us in the Liberty Movement must do this tough thing of stripping the state off of our backs. It’s not easy, and each and every one of us has different reasons, but nonetheless it must be done. I am currently in this process, and I can tell you it’s a roller coaster of emotions, none of which should be attached to a man and woman in love. It quite reminds me of the scene from “Clockwork Orange” when the protagonist is having drops placed in his eyes while different films play in the back ground. Yeah, it’s that bad.

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE

Of course on the flip side, misery loves company. Those in suffering will find those in suffering,…and they will make suffering rock. You can’t stop the pain of divorce, but what you can do is share it with a son of a bitch just as pathetic as you. And of course I say pathetic with the best of intentions, because that adjective can best be applied to me as well. In this process of divorce from the state I managed to drift into the ecosphere of one Jason Patrick. Jason the First, as he is lovingly called around the ZENINTHECAR.COM staff. In the short time that we have been subjected to the roller coaster of the word divorce, the two of us have agreed to mutually lose our sanity together and find it again at the bottom of liquor bottles and beer bottles alike. What more would you expect from red blooded American patriots than moist coasters and cigarette stains?

So somewhere in the chaos and booze we decided to start a Youtube channel where all our frustrations could be vented, liked, shared and twittered to the rest of the world. After all, what’s the point of being a single divorcee if it isn’t aired for others to sympathize? So I suppose what you are about to view is the pilot episode for ZEN IN THE CAR T.V.. We hope you enjoy, we hope you learn something, and we hope you come back for more.

ZEN IN THE CAR T.V. PILOT EPISODE

Does the World Need an Enema?

Samuel Gene

Samuel Gene

 

 

 

 

 

Family…what structure to desire it so.
A house on a rock as winds give a vengeful blow.
What did Alice find, on the bottom to land?
What? Was it fate, or by a devils quick hand?
No one cries yet sighs from most bothered eyes.
From house or home…and a stone that defies.
Shot gun shells of spells…so swallow it down.
The idol sees not but gives a bitter frown.
A miserable existence, to not join happiness so dear.
Fighting for Love with shove and no longer fear.
You look innocent, given the best two-face…
..and crooked crown.
Shout freedom for all before the gavel…
..slams down.
The love of money, that yearn and burns in the end.
Ashes float as we cope and gone with the wind.
Are you innocent? With best look money can buy.
Or a key to castles floating in the sky?
What fate we have if Love is not true?
Or mental capacity to judge between kind or cruel?
Full-Deck ready, between misfits of order…
..and clowns of chaos.
All around the sound of slaves yelling…
..”free us!”
Do you want peace or die to this inner war?
Trigger happy, and many lifeless on the floor.
Divide and conquer. Yet the people do see.
Cover us in caves, for wrath we cannot flee!
Trouble me sunshine on a very dreary day.
Bring to Light while shadows shift and play.
Expose the many liars, killers and selfish thieves.
Give no rest to evil. See how boldly it breeds.
Chance and roll the dice. Gather up every cent.
How can fire consume, if you have no flint?
Banners of fear wage no rest in the night.
What to fight, if the people have no might?
Bitter pills and to vomit is only natural indeed.
Hands up asses and from wood we allow this greed.
Dine with wine, maybe trouble to be gone tomorrow.
Reason with the “loonies”, to help their sorrow.
Lovely hive and the bees will still sting!
How cumbersome, for whom the bell does ring?
A crazy genius is me, with equipped slaying eyes.
Cut asunder between one Truth and many lies.
So pout and bicker with utter inflamed delight!
Dream dreams of peaceful streams under the night.
To what price between the rod and guiding staff?
The hand from a man and His continuing craft.
Writings on the wall and that kingdom is numbered.
From rage of fire, and your lightning and thunder.
Those not planting will inherit the bitter wind.
And those on the wayside to be consumed…
..in the end.
Yet! Bitter brooks give angered looks.
To shelter is most unwise.
Before all, the giant is brought down to size.
Diabolic intent, to eat more than mere skin.
Fight for life and forgive another’s sin.
Who cares? Who spares the soul of ignorance bliss?
How does control feel, before the snake to hiss?
No new thing under sun and skies of white and blue.
If too many chiefs, then tell me who does rule?
Cast in your chips and see if fortune will come.
Pay tribute to Caesar and find a pointed gun.
Slaves as before and maybe happy ever after.
It is mad!” as corporations give off laughter.
A joke to kill and steal. A ransom of very life.
So play along with vises of your own strife.
Soak in the filth, and breathe in the air.
Pick a ‘happy daisy’, and watch the careless care.
Young once, since then we left all youth behind.
A simple call and said words were so unkind.
Between north and south, yet we all walk the same.
Enjoy the silence…and wonder why you came.
Money is your solution and money is your answer.
A lit cigarette to regret and caught by cancer.
Pulled in the water by a most vengeful fish.
Knocked down to death by a hammering fist.
Is this my blood, which flows and nothing hindered?”
Or the childlike victims which softly surrendered?
The gods surround and hound like bloody beasts.
With forks and knives, they gather for a feast.
Ignorance bliss, so kiss wife and kids good…bye.
“Mr. Waterboard” did confess to “Mr.Guiltys” crime.
Lies and Truth, for some other to someday fix.
Broken bones by stones, bricks and sticks.
So pull the pin and throw the grenade in.
And hope this blast covers a multitude of sin.
Sick in the head, in the bed with every lover.
This joker picked wild, and the game almost over.
Falsehood walks and stalks the kids at play.
Catholic priest fornicate in the light of day.
Holy riders rage under bullet-proof glass.
Urging us onward and never learn from our past.
Till frogs fall and in the water is blood.
We play like pigs in the filth of mud.
The day almost done, and hurt was so much fun.
Turn on the lights and watch the fearful run.

photo from musicians4freedom.com

photo from musicians4freedom.com

Let’s End the World Together

lilith__wallpaper_by_donatelladrago-d34eemj

photo from www.imvu.com

You showed me a picture of the apocalypse and grinned
Said you couldn’t wait to see the world devoured by its sins
The scope of such a mind moved me to tremble deep
But though the pain you felt was mine, for you the world I’d keep
This orb of ours has turned on us by wrath and brutal rape
It’s used our goodness for centuries, Light turned to dark without escape
For centuries we lost our path and groped to find our way

With little more than hopes and dreams that soon we’d see the day
The day when all this hate would turn in on itself
And all their precious jewels and porcelain would fall from off their shelf
We longed to see their ivory tower crumble to the soil
When they would weep and gnash their teeth in war that we would spoil
You play your part and I’ll play mine so careful they won’t know
That all the chaos they feel now was our well written show
Without a word, without a script the two of us will plot
In hidden caves and catacombs we’ll stow treasure they have sought
You play the whore, I‘ll play the thief with masks we made alone
But come curtain call they’ll see our face, the face we’ve always shown
Your dress is white and without spot, no need to convince me
My hands are clean and without blood and this you’ll always see
As they run and hide from us, fearing what we are
We’ll make them pay their debt to us; they’ll never run too far
For now that we have broke our sleep no chains can bind us now
They wanted their apocalypse, but we will show them how
How to shake this Universe and end their best laid plans
And then our Light will shine on pyramids across the desert sands
When it’s all said and done I’ll be on bended knee
And as promised I’ll cover wasted Earth in the greenest of ivy.

236- The Revelation to John_TIF

photo from www.saint-mary.net

 

“And the Lord gave favour in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people.” Exodus 11:3

Kangaroo Court

pitchforks

photo from www.southdacola.com

When a man is innocent and to his vows been true
It’s neat to see the hit parade in his city through
Pitchforks here and torches there with nine inch nails to spare
The sounds of smiting on his cheek, and snaps of ripped out hair
The pyres built in city square, the flames are kindled hot
Convicted of crimes pinned on him, but on his Glory they think not
Dragged through the street his stripes still fresh with red
The frothing mob of hypocrites won’t stop until he’s dead
Once they all had gathered round to listen to his mind
But now they have a taste for this, there are no ears to find
They say he has a god complex, a heresy indeed
And now they’ve got all his pounds of flesh for dead idols to feed
Yet this time it’s not the same, the nails just won’t pierce through
And though the fire is kindled hot, his garments still look new
There are no darts to hit him now, no matter how well shot
And from behind the hill of skulls the horsemen surely trot
The backbiters don’t understand, that on his wrists are chords
Not to bind him to martyrdom, but to better aim his sword
So tread lite when wearing robes to judge another’s worth
Because in the end the Truth reveals who truly judges Earth.

New Seeing Eye

recent photos from phone 054

D.L.C 1999

Hey guys, just wanted to drop this line and let you know that the recent influx of inspiration in my search for new writers with the First Renaissance has inspired me to begin a new collection of poetry myself after a decade of dry pen tips. Of course I will still be posting my poetry from a decade ago from “Perspicacity” and “Wasting Despair”, but I can’t help but sharing the newest and freshest lines of rhyme from the current collection I am working on under the working title “Hearts and Arrows, Halo’s and Horns”. I am also happy to say that Samuel Gene has gotten his works together and those scribbles will also be a fine addition to our poetry and short story section alongside Khali Rodriguez and Joshua Crumpton’s works of art, to name the first of many. Hope you enjoy. So without further preface I’d like to share with you the latest from my pen. Hope you enjoy. Namaste.

 

Eyes-of-the-Universe-By-Beloved-Isis

photo from cssresources.blogspot.com

When I was young the world was clear and all these things made sense

The grass was always evergreen, no shades divided by our fence

No one owned another soul or tried to hold them down

With no contracts to tear us up or steal from us our crown

Yet along the line somewhere we lost the innocence in us

And gave away our Brand New Days for moth and death and rust

But when the cloak of death found me and in its grip I choked

A new young voice arose in me and oh how sweet it spoke

Its hand reached down into my grave and its skin at first did sting

But when I mixed its burn in me together we did sing

The boom of us shot through the night and burned away the pain

And as our eyes could see all Truth we both brought down the rain.

 

FOND AND FONDER

Scream in silence, unto a wall…do yell.
Question the four walls of this solitary cell.
Within your parade, others’ shadows I see you follow.
Another pillow of tears to feel and wallow.
Take life by the hand in its sacred trust.
The first is last and the last is first.
A riddle is me, chased daily by an angry bee.
And as I fell, lovely arms gave a place to flee.
Sweet nothings, now dismal…fading to gray.
No one but me to keep the harlots at bay.
They strut their fancy with words as blades.
Caught in grip of emotions as oceans of fierce waves.
My love is ever true and forever sweet.
Add something to nothing, as one yearns to be complete.
Be not the ship that will never come back!
No light in dreams and all…turns black.
Desire. An aspect of honor, if used the right way.
Without love, I am merely a lump of clay.
Breathing in eternity and to share with that fortunate other.
Beneath the tree, is me and my sultry lover.
Beat soft my bleeding heart.
To embrace light and no dark.
Flesh cursed with dreadful stain.
As love costs, yet most is vain.
Her tan skin, I did long to hold and touch.
I did not know that I desired too much.
Sweetness, even now gives me songs to write.
Contemplations gave melody in the still night.
Dripping dreams taught my heart…to love.
In this grand world of push and shove.
The enemy, though hidden from eyes to see.
Is it light or his darkness that we flee?
I am the rebel, turned and twisted by words of men!
Feel my thoughts penetrate the depth of skin.
I entreat wisdom which is my dearest delight.
Though we conquer and win the fight!
Fill my glass with happiness and fill yours too.
A toast we give for the mere reason…to be true.

PERSPICACITY: THE PRIDE

Last: UNWANTED AFFINITY

**NOTE: Years ago I wanted to pay homage to one of my personal idols, Edgar Alan Poe, and wrote a poem in the same fashion as “The Raven” called “The Evil Act of Alan Loe”. Unfortunately the original copy as well as the collection it was in exchanged so many hands that I lost track of it and now it is either lost forever or in some vault somewhere…hopefully. Either way the poem told the story of a man who came home drunk from the pub one late night and caught the scent of another man on his wife. In true Poe fashion, the narrator of the prose murders his wife, hacks her into bite sized bits and feeds her to all the stray and feral cats outside in the alley way. Of course no murderer ever finds contentment in their deeds so at the end of the poem I had the man haunted by the perpetual meowing of cats possessed by the spirit of his dead wife. Years later I thought it would be fitting to write a sequel to the poem and that’s how this one came along. Hope you enjoy the macabre side of my scribblings.**

 

blackcats

photo from www.glogster.com

“My screams, my screams, they filled my home’s long hall!
As a cat with fur so black would run from all my calls.
I’d stalked the thing all night you see, all my efforts failed.
I’d sought to crack its tiny spine and curse the place it hailed.
It’d turn its head and give a hiss, the claws cut through the air.
I’d done away with all his friends, and their deep grave it’d share.
For many years I’d sup inside, alone with drink in sight.
And from outside I’d see those eyes filling me with fright.
I’d take my food and find a room with no window nearby.
Yet still those pests would not give up, they’d all begin to cry.
Their taunts would fill my soul with ache; I think that was their aim.
To torment me for all my days, and burden me with shame.
Late sometimes I’d fall asleep, try and rest my seams.
But then I’d wake in drenched in sweat, those cats were in my dreams!
For quite some time I’d search for peace in what’d become my life.
But when my back’d be turned away, their eyes would be a knife.
Although I’d not look onto them, their stares would pierce my skin.
And then a hate I’d hid away would rise in me again.
I knew to make this nightmare stop I’d have to see their blood.
Find a way to end their curse and place them in the mud.
So I’d feed them every day, a bowl of milk for each.
Inside the stuff was poison see, it’d stop their silent speech.
One by one they’d fall to death, their legs would cramp like stone.
This would wipe them all away, except for one alone.
He’d not drink the milk I’d give; he’d turn his nose to it.
He’d gaze at me and lick his paw, upon my steps he’d sit.
So here I am enraged again, this thing eludes me much.
And though I’m fast this thing is more, so fast I cannot touch.
As I chased it through my house, I tripped and then went down.
And I knew I’d all but lost, as my head filled with some sound.
When my body hit the ground my neck gave up a crack.
Then all my touch soon went away, my body went all slack.
That is when the cat would stop, and take its little rest.
But where it did is what numbed me, its bed was now my chest!
So I know I’m living now the last of my poor days.
With nothing more to comfort me, except this cat’s deep gaze.”

D.L.C 1999

Behind, “The Pride”

The man telling this story obviously has some secret to hide from the world. Something so dark it’s been eating him alive for a number of years. He’s so convinced that his actions are somehow known to this pride of cats that he intends to do away with them. Unfortunately he is paralyzed in the process of clearing his conscience.

Next: Perspicacity: The Twisted Fate of Alan Loe