Goin’ off the Rails Pretty Fast…

Leaning on the warm hood of my Camaro, I have no illusion of ever understanding her or how quickly the chill comes on. In an instant she strikes a pose with her hand on her hip and takes a dramatic step back leaning on her left foot. Dressed in tight cut-off shorts; a ripped white slightly translucent t-shirt without a bra; and her hair tied in a loose ponytail; she shifts her gestures abruptly as if to say “what the fuck…?”

In a blink of an eye and without a word said, she flips around and walks insolently back into the house. Slamming the door as she screams out “Get out of here. I don’t ever want to see you again!”

Enraged and emotionally deflated, my anger boils over like a volcano spewing lava. I jump in the car, crank up Ozzy on the radio – playing it super loud to diffuse this moment – and I do an impetuous burn-out and dash out of there.

? ?  “Crazy, but that’s how it goes
Millions of people living as foes…” ? ?

“Maybe it’s not too late… I can apologize!” Suddenly a hundred different images flash before my eyes as if to kill off that thought!

Images of the times that I, conveniently just let slide. Blind love, I guess you could call it. You know, letting things go convincing myself that forgetting was the better option.

But here they show up again…

I recall the way she leaves her kids in second place – choosing a temporary boyfriend over them; even skipping her weekends with them to be with me. At the time I felt content that she was wanting to be with me, but these are her kids. When I found out, I felt it in my bones that it wasn’t right…

Or maybe the way she would belittle her ex every time he’d came by to drop off the kids. She would beat him up verbally. He’s a jerk in my eyes, so the justification was that he deserved it, but I knew there are two sides to every story…

“maybe I’m better off without her…”

? ?  “Mental wounds not healing
Who and what’s to blame
I’m goin’ off the rails on a crazy train…” ? ?

“I am goin’ off the rails pretty fast here…” The speedometer hitting 55, in a 35, as I cross the bridge over the railroad tracks at Southern Boulevard. I don’t know how I got here from the other side of the airport – but here I find myself. The thoughts overtake me and I come to a realization: “She is not worth me getting all wrapped or twisted over.”

Up ahead, the light at Dixie Highway is about to turn red, so I take the turn rather quickly before it changes. Maybe a little too fast. Wheels squealing and rear end swaying, I regain my composure on the road and find my way back into my lane.

Looking back into the rear-view mirror, I catch a glimpse of a Black & White pulling out of the corner gas station.

“Shit! I didn’t realize he was in there…”

Turning on his lights, he whips out of there quickly! In a hurry to catch up, he cuts off another car. The siren wails it’s too familiar tune and knowing there is no way out, I pull over at the corner. With a bitter taste of surrender, I park the car.

“Fuck! I can’t be getting another ticket. I got enough points to plaster the length of the curb. I’m on my own now and I better figure a way out of this one…”

The officer takes his sweet time strolling up to my window. I had already lowered it in expectation, but I didn’t imagine him pulling his revolver on me.

“Get out of the car with your hands up!” he yells. “Now reach out and open the door from the outside!” As he is frisking me he asks “What the hell is your big hurry?”

Like a deer-in-the-headlights, I am frozen in my tracks. I don’t have words to rationalize that move. As he continues frisking me, a million thoughts flow through my head as quickly as my blood pulsates through my veins…

still no words…

“Kid! What’s your hurry?” he asks again…

“I gotta get somewhere…” was my generically lame and idiotic response.

“Where is that? And why in such a big hurry…”

“Fuck! I can’t believe you said that.” My inner voice chimes in a condescending tone. “You’ve got nowhere to go & no one to see…”

The office, losing patience shouts at me. “Hey! I’m talking to you! Where are you going in such a hurry?”

I don’t know how to respond! Still trying to figure out what would be so important to take the corner like that. I don’t think he would like to know my current state of mind.

“I’m-m going to… Doctor’s Hospital… you know – on 10th Avenue!” I replied faking anxiousness while hiding my disposition.

“Why? Are you sick?”

“No, no… my… my mother… She is in the emergency room!”

“what? Are you kidding me?” The office asks concerned. His eyebrows raise in the middle and dip on the ends, looking as if he’s buying my story. He has a kind face & his eyes reveal a softness in him. But I don’t know how soft he will be when he finds me out…

“Yeah! A friend called me and said my mother was taken to the emergency room…” Now I’ve done it! Not only am I playing this cop’s soft spot but I’ve given my mother a severe injury!

“I’m really reserving my spot in hell now!” I whisper softly hoping the cop didn’t hear that.

“Yup, you’ve really done it!” My little voice chastises me again as the officer drags me to the back seat of his police car.

“Wait a second o-officer…” I yell out in vain as he slams the door shut. Too late to turn back now! If I tell the truth, he will just be angry enough to drag me to jail – obstruction of justice – or something like that…

He walks around the front of the car to the driver’s door. Speaks into his mic and then sticks his head in the car window. “What is your mother’s name?”

“What officer?” I question not because I didn’t hear him, but from the astonishment that he’d ask me such a question…

“Your mother’s name – last name first…”

“Holy fuck… you’re done!” my little voice again contributes to my state of shock.

“Solis, Hilda Noemi…”

“Fuck! My goose is officially cooked.” I now find myself replying to my little voice “I’m answering in very official terms by even stating her middle name.”

He walks away from the window but stands next to it. I do every effort to hear what he is up to. I slide over to the driver’s side and put my ear up to the glass. “…yes dispatch – emergency room… Doctor’s Hospital…”

He noticed that I’m eavesdropping on his conversation and walked away toward the front bumper of the cruiser.

A few minutes go by but it feels like an eternity! I’m shitting bricks waiting in the back seat of this police car. I can’t hear him now but I can see him exchanging postures. Shifting from leaning his head to the left to speak into the mic on his shoulder; to tilting his head to the right to look down to his notepad. The one thing I do hear is the officer responding in a bewildered tone.

This time his posture shifted to a rigid, upright position as he exclaims “What? Can you confirm?”

Now his eyebrows are crunched together over the bridge of his nose – looking pissed. He is staring right at me and will not break the gaze. I cringe and shrivel in my seat because I clearly understand what he is going to do next. He comes to the driver’s door and climbs into his cruiser. He sits there quietly for a minute or two – enhancing the suspense! What is he waiting for, I don’t know. He should be yelling at me and calling me names for playing him. But he is not. He is just sitting there staring at his notepad.

The answer becomes obvious as his supervisor arrives. When he sees him, the officer seems to be giving me one last chance to come clean. “Kid, your mother is not in the emergency room at that hospital…”

I pause to let my mind and my lie catch up – maybe I should fess up and stop this charade. But my mouth just takes over and blurts out “Maybe I heard wrong and she’s in another hosp…”

He cuts me off… Lifting his gaze up at the rearview mirror. His furrowed eyebrows staring right through the glass directly into my eyes, he says “She’s not in the emergency room…

in A-N-Y hospital…”

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Too Old To Rock & Roll….

Thursday afternoon & the sky is gray. A thunderstorm rolls in with the wind and wisps away my desire to venture out. I gather a better choice is to stay in and finish my packing.

“you’re not taking that box of old albums…” my mom yells from across the room. “We have no room in the new house for that kind of stuff.”

“What do you mean that kind of stuff?” I question knowing that she & dad do not approve of rock & roll nor my heavy metal albums.

“You know what I mean. No te hagas el bobo…” replies mom. Telling me not to act dumb is the answer I expected, but then she shocked me by adding “…you’re too old for that childish Rock ‘n Roll, anyway!”

Wow! she shocked me but got me thinking. Most of the other kids in the neighborhood have switched to disco. We no longer hang out together since going out to the parties & dancing is what is popular now-a-days.

But the rockers at school would never contemplate Disco. We rather listen to a heavy riff of Led Zeppelin or a slurry drool of Ozzy than ever injure our ears with the rhythm of that dreaded Disco beat. We would never be caught having a glare from the Disco ball enter our eyes!

Danny used to love Disco. I wonder what he listens to now… Working on the road and away from home, he probably doesn’t have time for dancing. But I never did like Disco. I like rock & roll and specially Jethro Tull. I don’t know why… it is an oddball choice – or at least that’s what the guys in school say.

Every time I bring it up, they reply. “Tull is dull man!”

I don’t know what it is, but that British/Scottish folk sound really syncs with me. I like the sound of the flute & their crazy medieval costumes. But when I share that at school, they call it weird. I guess it’s time to give up that thought, since the rousing is starting to get mean…

I guess we are ‘Unfashionable to the end’ since the disco kids at the mall just stare at us & giggle calling us long-haired hippies. We seem out of date! This crowd fashions white suits with black wide-collared shirts, their polyester skin-tight slacks – bell-bottomed – with the platform shoes. They no longer work on their Camaros or race their Mustangs.

I guess Rock & Roll is now old & maybe mom is right – I’m just too old to Rock ‘n Roll.

Anyway, we’re graduating tomorrow & that will be the last I see of those “blokes” as Ian Anderson would call them. To continue his vernacular, I will find me a ‘filly for my proud stallion seed’ and never have to deal with the rousing & hazing over a song preference again.

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Happy Birthday to You

Her birthday’s today. A special bouquet, custom made for you.
“Space is what I need.” is what she said…

Cold, & firm – didn’t even let me in to get my stuff…
Slams the door is all she did…

As I turn around and head back to the car, my grip loosens & I can’t hold onto the disappointment. That special bouquet of pink, yellow & red roses, slips from my fingers and falls into the reflective puddle. It’s stark, cold reflection, is broken by the slow ripples of sadness spreading thru the surface.

“A dreadful, stormy night ahead and the music on the radio is lame!” I say to myself as if expecting a bit of sympathy. Nothing, will be able to soften the mood today – maybe not even music.

OK PowerMix cassette! “Lets see if you can lift my spirits, once again!”

Sure enough a mellow, sad song comes up mid stride…

“I’ve been waiting for you…

Signed with a home tattoo
Happy birthday to you
was created for you.” ♫

“how ironic… I would have done anything for her.”

Sitting back into the bucket seat, I just try to dwell in the sounds of irony…

Pulling up to a red light, I get a pause to contemplate the moment. I put my head back on the head rest & close my eyes for a second. A sudden sensation that someone is watching me, smacked me in the face! I open my eyes and look to the car to my left. Two guys sitting in the front. The passenger with long, stringy blond hair and the scruffy driver with short messy black hair – thinning on the sides and balding on the forehead. Being caught, they quickly look away.

“Hmm that’s odd…” that driver seems very familiar. “I’ve seen his face before…” When I look back the car drives off.

Words, playing me deja vu
Like a radio tune
I swear I’ve heard before…

I drive on as if this smack didn’t hit me. Really, it didn’t mean anything anyway… My attention goes back to the comfortable moment with Duran Duran on my stereo – just trying to dismiss the worst day of my life.

“It doesn’t matter anyway… I didn’t need her. It was all just a fun game of Cat-n-Mouse…” I say out loud knowing its a white lie but trying to convince myself that its better this way.

“I got entangled in her sharp claws but instead of running, I stayed…”

I pull into the Hess gas station and decided to call a few friend to reconnect – you know – see where they’re hanging out. “Ring, ring, ring…” is all the receiver would volunteer. They have all moved on to their own cat-and-mouse games.

“I might as well go home & put these pieces back together again.” I tell myself in a tone of surrender & with the strong desire for this day to be over!

Heading down Military Trail, the traffic is flowing slowly & below the speed limit. I just get lost in the tune of the music & the soothing rumble of my Camaro…

“Lost, in a snow filled sky
We’ll make it alright to come undone”

Trying to obliterate the last few moments, my mind returns to the trip home. It seemed shorter, but glad that it’s coming to an end. As I put my blinkers on to make the right turn onto Purdy Lane, I notice something weird in my rear view mirror.

“Hey! it’s those two guys who were starring at the red light!” What are they doing here? “Have they been following me?” In a split second my mind shuffles thru what seems like a flash of a hundred faces…

Shit! that’s her X!!” I knew I’ve seen that face before – a picture of a weary guy hidden in a drawer…

He’s a tall, lanky guy. Wearing a white t-shirt, beaten & transparent from obsessive over-use. Just a blue-collar guy, with scruffy hair. He seems weary from trying to put his life together again with her. No wonder he wants to get out his frustrations on me!

As I make the turn, he speeds up & tries to ram my rear bumper. I hit the gas to get him to miss & he spins out onto the oncoming lane. My tires, startled by all this sudden excitement, squeal & leaves black trails in the asphalt. He accelerates, trying to catch up, but is at least a few hundred yards behind. Barreling down the road, trying to get away from him, we’re doing 50 on a 25 and Bonnie Drive is coming up.

“Do I turn & pull into the driveway – or – keep going?” I ask myself as if I would answer back – I don’t know what to do… “turning in & stopping, would be two against one – and it will be revealing my sanctuary.”

My heart pounding, I see him gaining distance on me. All I can thing to do is floor it and speed away from him.

I pass a slower car & he gets stuck as oncoming traffic blocks him. A good gap grows between us as he tries to pass the slower car. Finally I reach Jog Road and luck will have it! The light just turned yellow.

My tires squeal around that turn & he, like his future with her – is stuck at the light. As for me, I’m long gone – not sure of what’s next…

“Who do you need?
Who do you love?
When you come undone

Who do you need?
Who do you love?
When you come undone”

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