Owner Of A Lonely Heart

Ava texted me twice before I sat down at in the restaurant. It was striking how much our relationship hadn’t changed over the years. She’d manipulate and antagonize, I’d run away and reject, then guilt would take over and we’d behave irrationally. I ignored her for now.

Thurman Ober’s social skills were better in Serendipity 3. He greeted me with his tiny hand extended and a wry smile. Everything about him was small and quiet. It was the opposite with Breann, Lena and Clare. They had two months of internet contact, phone calls, and face to face conversation that I did not. Breann stepped forward to introduce them but Clare’s large hands grabbed mine and she pulled me into her long red hair and porcelain face for a hug. Lena was tall, raven haired and muscular. She seemed to wear a “big, Texan housewife” sign on her round expressive face. Lena and Clare smiled broadly and Lena grabbed me for an awkward embrace. 

“Finally! We were starting to think you were Breann’s imaginary brother not a real live person. Getting to meet you is awesome! This is  the icing on the cake!”

That drew a smile. I sat next to Dr. Ober. Breann had pontailed her shoulder length brown hair with a pencil. She mouthed “we okay?” to me and I reached across the table to squeeze her nervous fingers. We were okay.  After pleasantries about families, jobs, and health, I started the conversation with Dr. Ober.

“My doctor, Ava Pennington, showed me a picture of what the heart will look like, as well as the other nervous sytem and brain connections. Is her information accurate?”

Dr. Ober removed his round glasses to clean them with napkins from the metal holder on the table. He put them back on and began.

“Caleb, I’m a scientist, not a physician. I’m a futurist at heart but a biochemical and structural engineer in study. What I  know is the hearts that were implanted in each of you , as well as at least two others you all know about, are called CVR14 or cardiovascular replacement models. The 14 stands for something on the patents I assume. They were designed by Connor Bulas and Anson Cluber in 1968 for a study about android technology. I was at the conference at the University of Columbia where they showed these models. They were crude but effective in relaying how metal hydraulics could pump blood, centralize neurons, and operate a human being for years at a time. Bulas and Cluber kind of disappeared after that. They didn’t show at any science fairs or medical conferences until 1971. Which, of course, is post implemnetation into you all. I can not speak to what happened during your surgeries. I studied their CVR14s for many years, and thus that’s how I knew to change the opening valve mechanism.”

Breann took over. Telling our waitress to come back in five minutes. She started asking questions.

“How much of us are robotic? Why are we failing? What can you tell me about Lucas Bonner and his advanced state of repair?”

Dr. Ober never changed expression and never took his eyes off Breann as he spoke.

“Your heart is a metal encased, hydraulic pump controlled, inhuman mechanism. It is not an organ. While it uses your blood, membranes, tissues and cells, it can work independent of your body after it is extracted. Now, inside of you, it’s outdated. You bodies grew over the last 40 years. The metals shavings caused from acids, food, foreign particles and other antibodies have become poison. Your other organs are rejecting your heart because of the poison and it’s obsolete hydraulics. Your bodies are most likely incapable of accepting human hearts because of the poison, areas that were cut during surgery and repair, and brain actualities such as mental illness or synapse control. I have not met this Lucas Bonner. By what Caleb described to you, Breann, I am to believe Lucas Bonner’s claim of being made hybrid is possible. I have studied futuristic possibilities for four decades. Technological singularity or man becoming machine will happen within the next one to two decades. If Bulas or Cluber or some other person has perfected this, I would not be surprised.”

With as much time spent on the internet between me and the three women at the table I wasn’t shocked no one’s eyes were glossed over by Dr. Ober’s analysis. The waitress came back and we all ordered. Lena’s Texas drawl was up next for Dr. Ober.

“So, are their other people capable of helping us other than Cluber or whoever this Bulas is? I mean, so far things have been unusual, weird, and a flat out mess .”

Thurman Ober seemed a calm man of certain refinement. He chose his words carefully. Offending or disparaging fellow doctors, regardless of field or action, didn’t appear to be his way.

“The problem all of you share is your doctors are likely the only people who know how those robotic hearts work inside of your bodies. I may have repaired a valve but I was not familiar with how those mechanisms were used in your chest cavities. Even your personal physicians that are being tutored by Anson Cluber for your upcoming surgeries probably are not aware of the complexities of implanting advanced robotics. “

Ober stopped speaking and looked away. Breann begged him to continue.

“Dr. Ober, we need all the information we can get.”

He took his glasses off again and looked at each of us with sternness.

“Everything I know about technological singularity comes with an awareness that the doctors who work on you own the parts. Those hearts belong to Anson Cluber and Connor Bulas. Now, both men are in their seventies. They also may take the glory througout the medical community and the robotics industry but I am certain that the doctors they entrust with your care will be the only people who know how the robotic parts inside of you work.”

The food came to the table and the smell of my burger was so delectable that I put hands over my face to retain the scent. I knew what Dr. Ober’s words meant but I didn’t want to ask the question. Clare did.

“You’re saying our doctors own us?”

*blogger’s note* – This is another episode of the story I am writing. The rest is located here under a working title of Crazy Robot Stories : http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/crazy-robot-stories/ This is also based off a prompt from the good folks at Studio30plus http://www.studiothirtyplus.com called THE ICING ON THE CAKE.

Today’s song may be way too obvious. It was the first thing my wife and I thought about after I finished editing this episode. YES was a progressive rock band. Maybe they know a thing or two about technological singularity. Here’s some 1980s classic rock, YES’ Owner Of A Lonely Heart.

‘Riting Robot

I had no intention of writing today. I was going to wait until Tuesday and publish a new story episode. Someone called me a ‘riting robot on twitter yesterday. I’ve dropped 29 posts in 31 days.

The real story of my creative output is, I am so busy with life right now, I should be posting the “sorry I haven’t been blogging lately” thing .

Two months ago I received a promotion/raise/bonus from my job. They were huge surprises. With the way things are in the world, I feel lucky to be employed and have the debit card go through at the grocery store. I just finished a year long project in Tennessee. I am scheduled to begin another in Maryland after the 4th of July. The amount of planning, scheduling, organizing, and researching is overwhelming.

I am writing two short stories (each will be between 40,000 and 50,000 words) that you can find on this blog under the working titles Crazy Robot Stories and The Ballad of Helene Troy. I’m over halfway done with the former, and about a quarter finished with the latter. I’m writing during commercial breaks of my kids’ television shows, at night before Bobina summons me to the bedroom, and during lulls at work when I don’t have something pithy or straight stupid to put on twitter.

Then, I really took on something extra in my life Saturday night. I got outvoted/lost an argument/was bamboozled/emotionally hijacked into getting two kittens. Jeri with an i and Monki with an i have joined our family. Two more chicks in the house. I now live with six women. Let me assure you, the anxiety meds are working and in my system as I type.

For research on the book about Helene Troy, a struggling female rock musican, I picked up Juliana Hatfield’s memoir, When I Grow Up. To the uniniated or musically tasteless, Juliana was the lead singer and guitar player for college rock darlings, The Blake Babies, in the late 1980s. I played their records a lot when I was in college. Juliana went solo in 1991 and made several well known and moderately successful solo albums. Her songs My Sister and Spin the Bottle (featured in the movie Reality Bites) were on rock radio a lot. Juliana is a respected artist who battled depression for many years. Her voice is girly, almost cute, but mixed with her gloomy themes and solid guitar work, Juliana is very original. Her book is a revelation. She details her mental illness which led to anorexia and a sleeping pill habit. She also provides background on being a female performer and songwriter in a pretty unforgiving industry. The book’s not what you’d expect. It’s funny and brutally honest. You don’t even have to like her or her music like to like the book. I read the 300 plus pages in one day in between the new kittens, being a husband and father, going to the gym, and writing. There’s a character in the Helene Troy story based on Juliana. I just found Juliana on twitter. I hope she finds this place.This is word number 530 and all you know is how busy I am, I read a cool book, and they’re two kittens with names ending in i in my kids’ rooms. I’ll do better next time.

Today’s song is from my muse, Ms. Hatfield. I couldn’t find videos for Let’s Blow It All or Choose Drugs so I’ll stick with the popular song from Reality Bites. Here’s Juliana Hatfield’s Spin the Bottle:

Vancouver Riot Kiss/Love Like A Bomb

How much can you really love someone?

Last Wednesday night Scott Jones loved Alex Thomas this much:


love like a bomb

The story and the photo speak more than a thousand words. I know Scott and Alex are a long distance couple and they’re young. But if Rick and Ilsa always had Paris in the movie Casablanca then at least Scott and Alex will have that riot filled street in Vancouver.

Before I get to the song, I had a day similar to Scott and Alex’s night in Canada on Thursday. It was more of an internal riot but when I came home, around the chaos of kids, crap to do, some major bad stuff and life, my wife gave me a kiss like the one on the picture. You’re damned right it made everything better.

*****UPDATE***** The kiss was real and the couple talks:  http://t.co/MAiJh3P

Oasis is my go to band for poignant song titles and wistful lyrics. Love blew up that Vancouver street Wednesday night. Love also blasted the hate away in my life Thursday.

Happy Father’s Day to me, my dad (he got his own blog post last year and I know he reads this place) and the rest of you dads like Chopper, Alan, Jacob, and so many others. Keep being the shining examples you are. Hope you receive this Father’s Day post as it’s meant.

Here’s Love like a Bomb


Ava walked into the other room. Shampoo stung my eyes. I heard her singing and murmuring to herself.

“When did the fevers come back?”

I rinsed and realized Ava made the bed.

“Today is the first one since you put the magnet inside me. I’ve had pains in my chest, arms, and shoulders for about a week.”

She reappeared silouetted in the doorway.

“I like the boxer briefs, especially the red ones.  I think I was the girl who turned you on to those. Glad to know my fashion sense stuck.”

Her figure turned toward the mirror and she stared at herself.

“I knew you weren’t feeling well so I got standby on an earlier flight. I’m checked in, on the second floor. You left your door open. I saw the sheets and got housecleaning to change them.”

An odd silence joined the bathroom. For the first time since meeting Ava 19 years earlier as a college junior, I was scared of her.

“Caleb, after January, you will own your physical beauty. Do you know how powerful you will be? I can’t believe I’m helping you do that.”

I turned the shower off but hesitated to reach for my towel.

“You need to leave for a while, Ava.”

I heard her sigh, walk into the next room and pick up her keys.

“You’re welcome for the hundredth time Caleb Runson. Call me when you’re done  with your internet sewing circle. Tell the amateur detectives their doctors say hello.  You and I have a lot to talk about before the surgery. I’ll be reviewing metal heart valves and sensory connectivity with doctors Oliver Wicks and Gavin Todd. We thought it would be cute to meet at the same time as you all since we are saving your lives.”

I dried off and wrapped up quickly. Ava knew how to make me feel guilty. I walked slowly to the door, clutching my towel to my waist. Ava turned and faced me with a suspicious grin.

“Av, I do appreciate everything you’ve done. I hope there’s an amazing payoff for you. You deserve it. This is an issue of boundaries between us. I have them. You….

She threw her keys into her large, white handbag and put her black sunglasses on her blonde hair. She reached out with her open right hand and flattened it over my bare chest, interrupting me.

“All I care about is this robotic heart of yours.”

The light of the hallway caught her weird smile. For a moment, I believed her.

I closed the door, looked at my hands as they shook. Pain filled my chest. I dropped to my knees and the room turned black.

*blogger’s note* – This is another story episode based on prompt from The Red Dress Club http://thereddressclub.blogspot.com/  PHYSICAL BEAUTY and one from Studiothirtyplus – http://www.studiothirtyplus.com/  “THE AMATEUR” . The other episodes are here:

1) Synchronicity

2) Personality Crisis

3) Serendipity 6

10) Drown
11)  Toyed
12) Fever
17) Numb
18) Cage

27) Running – http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/runningonempt/

28) Crush with Eyeliner – http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/crush-with-eyeliner/

29) One Headlight  http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/one-headlight/

30) Dreams So Real – http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/dreams-so-real/

Today’s song is one of two Toto songs I like. Rosanna is the other. Hold the Line is the song that plays sometimes in Ava’s head while Devil Woman plays in Caleb’s.

Here’s Toto’s Hold the Line:

I Won’t Do That

There are three rules in my marriage. Don’t screw other people, don’t lie, and don’t ever let the house run out of toilet paper. 

I write a lot about living with 4 women. There are as many as 8 or 9  ladies in my everyday life when you consider my niece, sister in law, mother in law, the neighbor girl across the street and the imaginary girlfriend my wife and kids say I have. So, finding pockets of masculinity is difficult but necessary. Bobina and my daughters are forgiving of my need to spend an hour at the gym or go for a run. They let me watch sports. Of course I usually have to buy them something in return. I get my guy time.

I do a lot of things most husbands or fathers don’t have to do. You can say I pick my battles. You can also say I’m whipped. But I think sitting through a girly movie, a rash of dumb kid shows, walking through Walmart/Target/The Mall isn’t that bad when you consider they need me to kill bugs, give kisses, and throw a perfect spiral in the front yard.

There are things I won’t do. Even for the love of these women.

1) Certain televisions shows. I’m looking at you Grey’s Anatomy and Glee. The lesbian couple on Grey’s is very pretty. But the characters on that show are mostly unattractive and thoroughly unlikeable. I know why my wife digs it. She thinks the guys are hot and the women are nuts. It makes her hot, bothered, and more secure in her everyday kookiness.  Glee is so bad it makes one wish Sex and the City would come back. Really, I wrote that. I know that Lea Michele is talented but let’s drop some honesty. The show is for gay men and chicks. Straight guys have NO reason to have Glee on their cable system.

2)  Model clothes in a store. I’m a medium in shirts,  32/30 in pants, 9 1/2 wide in shoes. Now go buy them for me. Thanks. You don’t need me to try crap on. You know what looks good on me. You want me to be a bad mood, yell at you and ruin your shopping experience, make me an integral part of it.

3) Talk about, purchase, for,  or even contemplate what to decorate the house. When you met me I lived in stark bachelorhood of stained couch, sports and rock n roll posters on the wall, and cups from ballgames or restaurants. I DON”T KNOW WHAT LOOKS GOOD IN A HOUSE. Just don’t make the whole place pink unicorns. I have some pride.

4) Paint your fingernails or toenails. Unless it leads to the word that rhymes with tex or mex. I can barely stay inside the lines of a Spiderman coloring book. You really want me painting areas of your body with precision?

5) Let someone other than me grill. I’m an expert at it. Seriously. It’s like a superpower. Why would I want you near my grill? Just make a request, give me twenty minutes and you get charcoaled goodness.

Today’s song is not Meatloaf. After The Archies last post and Toto coming in the next post, I just couldn;t bring myself to post 7 minutes of Marvin Lee Aday as The Beast in a sappy over the top pop song. Instead, get your power pop groove on from one of the most underrated bands out there, Wisconsin’s Locksley. Here’s The Whip. The lyrics are perfect.

The Bazooka Joe Effect

This was my saturday morning…sort of

The clock read 9:15am. My almost 8 year old, Bug, was antsy, because, you know, she’s my kid, and I’m the poster boy for antsy (and angsty). She wanted to go the park and I wanted to do nothing.

Buddy the thunderstorm freaked golden retriever had been up all night. It was my turn to stay up with him so I got three or four hours of sleep. Bobina was nice to me when we got up and Bug was wide open because she got plenty of shut eye. I predicted a long stressed day. Then, something happened. I found Bazooka Joe.

It was my favorite bubblegum as a kid because it came wrapped in a comic. Baseball cards had cooler information but their bubble gum tasted like sidewalk chalk. Bazooka Joe is what I bought went I went fishing, rode bikes with my friends, and played outside all day. Joe, as I called it, was a symbol of my childhood.

A couple of days ago, Bobina bought a couple of boxes of bubblegum for the girls (and herself, don’t let her fool you). Bug had been devouring it because she’s trying to learn how to blow bubbles. As we left the house for the park (she twisted my arm), she picked up two pieces of gum and threw me one. I hadn’t tasted Joe in twenty years. Not since club football at college.

Bug had trouble blowing bubbles, that led to some tears. I had my work cut out for me, other than exhaustion. But I loosened up.  

Showing her how to stick your tongue in the middle of the gum and blowing the perfect gum dome led to swinging which led to playing on the playground which led to chasing her as she rode her scooter down a long hill. I was drenched in sweat. My faded superman shirt was defintely worse for wear and prophetic.

My wife had been lecturing me the past few days on loosening up, getting perspective, and working on being happy. For an hour, until Bug’s flip flop accident and 123 degree Georgia morning heat said otherwise, I had that perspective. I give all the credit to Bazooka Joe.

Today’s song is a little controversial. I like it. The late great rock critic Lester Bangs, a hero of mine, loved it. The late great Joey Ramone said it was one of the coolest songs ever written. So, I think it’s ok to admit I like this. It was written by Andy Kim and Jef Barry who went on to 1970s success as rock singers. It was produced for the 1960s cartoon The Archies, ironically, featured in bubblegum comics of their own. Here’s The Archies Sugar Sugar:

Devil Woman

Breann never came to the hotel nor answered her phone. I went to the drugstore.  The concierce stopped me coming back.

“Mr. Runson, your wife left this.”

He handed me Ava’s credit card.

I inhaled deeply and opened the hotel room door. It was empty. The bed had been remade.

I stepped into the shower, hot water washed away the fever. I reached out of the curtain to grab shampoo. A long slender hand gently touched mine.


She laughed provocatively and gave me the shampoo.

“You knowing it was me is one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received.”

*blogger’s note* – This is my answer to the now one handed @velvetverbosity ‘s 100 word Challenge at http://www.velvetverbosity.com. She sliced up her mitt and is on the mend. The one word prompt is COMPLIMENTS. Please give some in your comments.

 This is also a new story episode. The other ones are here:

1) Synchronicity

2) Personality Crisis

3) Serendipity 6

10) Drown
11)  Toyed
12) Fever
17) Numb
18) Cage

27) Running – http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/runningonempt/

28) Crush with Eyeliner – http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/crush-with-eyeliner/

29) One Headlight  http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/one-headlight/

30) Dreams So Real – http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/dreams-so-real/

Today’s song is something I heard on a oldies station in Tennessee this week and later discussed with Tar Rah aka Tara over at http://thinspiralnotebook.wordpress.com.

Here’s cheesy Cliff Richard’s 1976 soft rock take on Ava, Devil Woman. Enjoy the velveeta.

Dreams So Real

The brown in my eyes were invaded by streaks of red. My bloodshot pupils happened from no sleep after arguing most of the night with Shane. I wanted to leave for a while. I packed for New York, hurriedly. I didn’t realize I forgot underwear and a toothbrush until I got to the airport parking lot. Ava called, I hit ignore. Then she texted.

_Taking the 4 o’clock to NY. I’ll call when I land_

I just wanted everyone to leave me alone; Shane, Ava, Juliet, and Breann. It was hard to think with their conflicting agendas. I typed back, without courage.

_ OK. I’m staying at The Stanton. Meeting the other at 5:45pm._

I returned phone calls and texts from work, Shane, and Breann. I turned off my phone until the plane landed.

When I got to New York, I still hadn’t slept. I felt feverish and my hands shook. I fumbled with my phone and dialed my wife. She answered on the first ring.

“I’m in love with you,Shane. Stick with me through this surgery and I’ll make things right.”

She answered tearily.

“Ok, I love you.”

I smiled for the first time that day.

East 60TH Street was vacant. It was the afternoon rush hhourI was the only person on the street. I looked inside Serendipity 3, saw Breann, Lena, and Clare laughing and having dinner. They were by themselves in the diner. I heard Ava’s voice behine me.

“Caleb, come with us”

I twisted violently and saw  Ava  dressed in a black cocktail dress , standing next to a black suited Lucas Bonner. He was expressionless but Ava smiled seductively, licked her teeth. She reached inside the seam of her dress, near her stockingless left thigh, and pulled out a syringe with a long needle. She smirked, pushing her shining blonde hair behind her right ear.

“I can make you better.”

My hands were shaking. My chest pounded. I didn’t look back at Serendipidity 3. I walked three steps toward Ava and Lucas. Breann’s voice wailed behind me.

“No! Don’t do it, Caleb. They’re lying to you!”

I sat up in bed quickly. I was breathing so hard and fast I thought I would lose consciousness. The sheets on the bed were wet and ripped. I had a broken a fever, my first one since getting the magnet implanted a few weeks ago.  My phone was vibrating continously until it bounced off the night stand into a puddle of sweat in the bed. My left hand shook like a leaf in a March wind as I answered.

“Caleb, it’s Breann. I want to meet your hotel before we have dinner with the Lena and Clare.There’s stuff I have been chasing that I haven’t told you about and I know that you’re keeping stuff from me. This whole thing is spiraling out of control. Ava’s screwing both of us.”

I remembered what I had forgotten to pack in Georgia.

“Yeah, that’s fine. Meet me here. I’ve got to buy some underwear. You can tag along.”

She laughed loudly.

I smiled for the second  and last time that day.

This is a another story episode of a book I’m writing. The other ones are here:

1) Synchronicity

2) Personality Crisis

10) Drown
11)  Toyed
12) Fever
17) Numb
18) Cage

27) Running – http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/runningonempt/

28) Crush with Eyeliner – http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/crush-with-eyeliner/

29) One Headlight  http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/one-headlight/

This entry came from an idea/prompt from The Red Dress Club’s Red Writing Club who said “come up with a happy ending somewhere in your fictional story then write around it. Caleb making up with Shane is the false happy ending.

Today’s song is from one of my favoriite band’s in college (late 80s, early 90s) – Dreams So Real. I thought about them when I wrote this out then listened to the song today. I thought it worked, especially the empotionally intensity. You’ll like this one. Here’s Dreams So Real’s Rough Night In Jericho.

One Headlight

I drove slowly through numerous neighborhoods. Halloween night in the suburbs meant kids running in the streets with and without parents; trick or treating. The eight mile ride took almost thirty minutes.

The inside of the car was silent. Juliet didn’t ask to listen to the radio. I knew there would be conversation after meeting with Ava. I was afraid to speak. Not because of Juliet’s reaction, but because of mine. She leaned over and turned on the radio. The male pop singer yelled, “it’s alright!” We laughed together.  Juliet looked at me. Her blue eyes shown through the shadows as we passed by streetlights.

“Mom’s going to be mad no matter what because, it’s your ex-girlfriend and all that drama. But, I think Ava’s right. I mean, I’m not telling mom that or she’ll ground me forever. So, maybe we can figure out a way to make it all sound like our idea?”

I swelled with some pride. Juliet’s savviness had to come from me, I thought.

“Why do you think Ava’s right? Is it because you just want to go to Los Angeles so bad for your birthday or because it’s best for our family to keep everything private?”

Juliet turned the sound back up on the radio and I could see the teenage gears working. Then the sound went down again.

“You don’t really know the other ones. You know,  Breann the other people with robotic parts and stuff. You know me, you know mom, my sisters, and you know Ava. I know you and mom think Ava’s shady but she wouldn’t put this much time into you if she wasn’t somewhat trustworthy of at least your health. You have to trust the people already in your life even if we aren’t big dumb robots.”

I started laughing. She smiled then spoked once more before turning the radio back on.

“You have a headlight out. Don’t hit any little kids.”

We waited at the intersection leading into our neighborhood as two dozen children went from one street to another. We saw our three witches; Shane and the girls, waving manically at our car. Juliet let the window down on her side and yelled something mindless at them.

As I pulled into the driveway, I looked at my daughter and made a decision.

“You want to call your new best friend and tell her the news?

Juliet opened her door, shivered at the cool October air.

“Oh but no, dad. Ava’s all yours. You call her. Unless she has more makeup. Then I’ll get involved.”

I stepped into the Halloween breeze. The coldness moved over me as I dialed Ava’s number. She answered.

 “Hey there, I knew you would be calling back soon?”

I rubbed my now pounding temples, briefly realized the cons of dealing with Ava yet, still said the words.

“Call Anson Cluber and Lucas Bonner. Let’s do it your way, Av.”


*blogger’s note* – This is another story episode. The other ones are here:

1) Synchronicity

2) Personality Crisis

10) Drown
11)  Toyed
12) Fever
17) Numb
18) Cage

27) Running – http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/runningonempt/

28) Crush with Eyeliner – http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/crush-with-eyeliner/

Today’s song is obvious. I saw Bob Dylan’s kid, Jakob sing this with his band, The Wallflowers, 15 years ago this week. They opened for Counting Crows. I was going through something similar to Caleb’s emotional tug of war. The song hit me profoundly.

Here’s One Headlight…


Gone Fishing

“Fish tend to bite first of the mornin’, so let’s get up before light.”

My grandfather made me a morning person. When I was 7 years old, my grandparents bought a house in the North Georgia mountains. The tin roof had to be constantly tarred. The pipes made growling noises when you turned on the water. But it looked over Lake Chatuge; a huge body of water that contained the some of the finest fishing in the state.

My Paw Paw as I called him, was a good fisherman. He knew how to judge fish bed depth, water temperature, and proper bait. He was also the most patient man I’ve known. He probably caught a lot of fish when I wasn’t around, but his favorite pastime was taking me with a  few poles, a rickety boat, and plenty of time.

One morning  in the summer of 1979,  Paw Paw said those words “come on, now, let’s get out there before light, bet we get some fish”. Like brains to zombies, I stumbled to my prey.

It was hot that summer day. It felt like 100 degrees at 7am. The morning started weird as our boat stalled, we dropped a bowl of worms in the lake, and we forgot to bring drinks with our sandwichs and crackers so we had to make a shopping trip that took away from putting poles in the water.

In the late 70s, rules  out on the lake were rarely enforced. But this game warden was new, young, and over eager.

” I need to see your fishing license”, he said to Paw Paw.

While my grandfather searched through for something he rarely showed, the poles got happy. We had four in the water and three of them were being pulled. My 8 year old eyes bulged and I chose the one in the middle. I jerked a medium sized brim into the boat. The next pole was almost completly overboard when I snatched the reel and frantically spun it. A small perch, yellow and sad, flipped over into Paw Paw’s lap as he found his license. Lastly, that third one. The pole was wooden and heavy for my small hands. I felt Paw Paw grab my arm and together we tried to reel in a large bass. The line snapped. My heart sank. I let go and Paw Paw’s huge hands shot the string into the tree above us. The big one got away.

As I tried to pull the fishing line from the tree, the game warden cracked,

“Boy, I’ve tried that many a times and never caught nothing.”

I was an expert at sarcasm by age 8. I wanted to punch the guy.

We caught a a few more small fish as the day wore on. None of them were the big one. We told everyone we knew about our crazy day. It always got grander and funnier and more exciting each telling.

Two days ago, June 5th, marked 5 years since Paw Paw passed away. He joined my grandmother after a short illness. I miss his patience, his huge hands, and his extreme kindness. He was the sweetest person I have ever met.  His heart was a gift.

*blogger’s note* This is a response to the RemembeRED prompt from The Red Dress Club http://thereddressclub.blogspot.com/ They asked me to write about a childhood memory.

Today’s song is a huge break from My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog norm. My grandfather liked this song. It makes me think of being on the lake with him listening to Atlanta Braves games, eating Lance crackers, watching him chew on cigars and hoping the fish would bite before the sunburn kicked in. Here’s Roger Miller’s King of the Road….