A Day at the Races


It is a hot summer day high 90’s and my wife and I are bored. We hear an ad for Top Gun Raceway outside of Fallon, proclaiming they would be featuring Jet dragsters. We look at each other and within minutes we are on our way. It is an hour long drive, Lori has never been to this part of the state, and it has been a decade or so since I was. We arrive in Fallon. I’m not sure which was to go to get to the drag strip, but at the corner of US 50 and US 95, I see a sign trailer pointing the way to the track. It is 15 miles of highway to the entrance to the track. About 10 miles away we see what we think could be the strip, although the it is difficult to be sure through the shimmering heat waves the stretch before us. Did I mention it was HOT. We pass thousands of acres of green fields, and the final few miles of desert scrub. We turn right and follow the signs to the parking lot; lot is a superlative term for an acre of dirt filled with cars.

We walk the several hundred yards to the ticket booth and pay our admission, and sign a waiver that pretty much says; “if you get hurt here, it ain’t our fault”, we sign and then walk another quarter mile to the north side grandstands. There is a small building next to them that sells beer and a few hot snacks; a small dried out hamburger or hot dog, not really worth eating. We get a beer.

It is a NHRA sanctioned event, but most of the cars we start watching are mostly locals out there for the fun, and it is fun.

We get up and cross the concrete over pass to the south side of the track into the staging area and look at the cars. There are a couple of trailer next to the control building and we buy a hat for me and a t-shirt for Lori.

We begin looking at the cars waiting to be called to the staging area.

As I walk by one, my brain starts to shudder, and kicks me back to the late 50’s. There sits Swamp Rat 1, and sitting beside it is my one time hero, Don Garlits. Don Garlits was the first man to go 170, 180, 200, 240, 250, and 270 miles per hour in a quarter-mile. He even went over 200 mph in an 1/8th of a mile. I am in awe as I look at Swap Rat 1, he has brought it out for the event, it was no longer painted with flames, just a brown primer. I wait in line and ask for his autograph, which he gives me on a small pink piece of paper. My day is made; until I move to the next car.

Sitting next to him I see a woman; not just any woman, but the FIRST woman to have ever won the NHRA Winston world points CHAMPIONSHIP, Shirley Muldowney. I am godsmacked, and I wait in line for her autograph, also on a small pink piece of paper. We had heard nothing of this dual surprise.


It is several hours later and dark as we get to the Jet dragsters. We move up to a wire fence on the north side of the overpass and see the jet dragster pull up. It is only about 5 yards away from us on the starting line.

The jet begins to whine as we watch, and then it gives a loud bang, causing both of us to jerk to attention, it pops three or for more times, and then we watch as a four foot flame bursts from the rear of the car. It takes another minute, and several more bursts of flame before it begins to warm up. Soon it roars to full power and sends out a cloud of white smoke reeking of Kerosene fumes. We are engulfed in smoke. At full power my wife is now in a trance, the volume and vibrations are effecting her in an almost sensual way. We are oblivious to the fact that if the jet were to fail, and explode we are in a direct path of any shrapnel, that could easily tear through our hearts or brains. We are lucky as the jet dragster tears from the lights and hauls ass down the track. There is another car after that, that we luckily survived.

It is late as we arrive home and get ready for bed, and as I climb in I can smell Kerosene in her hair.



A lot of my Ffriends talk about their Mom and Dad, like they were a UNIT.

I had a MOM.

I had a DAD a time or two.

The first time was when I was bundled up, placed in a car, and a few hours later I found myself in Burney Falls, California. It is still morning as we end our trip, and Dad has a surprise for us. Two brand new Huffy Bicycles from the nearby Western Auto store. Dennis’ is bigger. And mine has a clunky set of training wheels.

Within a few days one side of the training wheels gets raised, I am so proud, and by the end of the two week visitation period, the training wheels are gone.

The visit is up, it was lots of fun, we went camping and had a generally good time. It is time to load up for the trip back home. We pack the car, but notice that our bicycles are not strapped to the car. No, the bicycles would soon be returned to Western Auto for a refund. Good memory?

I am now 12, when a car pulls up in front of our house on Ridgeway Court. It is DAD. He pulls himself from the car; a large white cast covers his leg. Dad was a Lumberjack; I knew that and was proud.

One day, I don’t know if was a wet fog-filled day, or one with dazzeling sunlight, my dad was helping a crane load an immense log onto an idling tractor and rig. The hook, holding an immense log failed and crashed down on my father’s leg, shattering the leg bone into 16 different pieces.

When he comes to visit he is on his last cast. He comes into the house and talks to us boys, but within a half hour he is in a fullbore argument with my mother. A few minutes later, dear old Dad revealed a deep dark ‘secret’ of the family line. It was easily dealt with.

In 1963 I am once again under control of the law. I am being sent to Mt Shasta under Visitation rights; even though Dad has forgotten the “child support payments” for years. It is November 1963. President Kennedy had been assassinated. I was informed by my teacher at Mt. Shasta Jr High. Later that night as we discussed the assassination, I rudely interrupted my step mother; stating “I was talking to my father”

A day later I am at my cousin’s. The cousins I did not know; I had a dozen other cousins I did know a mile away. I am watching TV when I see Lee Harvey Oswald, shot by Jack Ruby on a 13 inch B&W TV.

I am back home as I watch the funeral procession.

I see nothing of Dad for years, and then one day in 1989 I answer the door. Dad is standing there. He wants to see his grandaughters, It is the first time in 26 years that I have seen him. I allow the meeting to happen, and he is gone within an hour. Over the next few years there had been a few unexpected knocks on the door and there is Dad.

What do I do?

Oh my, where do we go tonight?


      May 15th, 1968.

     I am 17 and homefree/less, who knows? I have always slept in fetal position so the back seat of the 57′ Pontiac was quite comfy. Rob is shorter so he gets the front seat whenever he could’nt meet up with Diane, usually often enough.

     A month earlier I had set a personal best on being held at Whittenburg. That morning Rob came running back to the car after exiting Diane’s bedroom, hopping the 4 ft Tholl fence. He wasnt being chased, just hyper—a word that wasn’t in vouge–, he had lots of energy.

     He was also Dyslecic, another term not yet understood. He was smart, funny and not nearly as handsome as me. Rob was an expert ‘shade tree mechanic’, if his dyslexia had been known about, he could very well have been a NASCAR lead mechanic; he liked greasy hands, and abhorred ties.

     As he is getting into the car and I am pulling a blanket off, a RPD car rolls around the corner. An few questions, and 45 minutes later we hear the clang of the door at the Hall. An hour later, Kenny, Robs dad shows up. Somehow he managed to get me out too, so mom didn’t know. No Harm Done. It takes us an hour to walk back to the car, but the rest of the day has been cruising.

     I was actually living at home most of the time; if I got home and went to my room and stayed quiet, my stepfather would never now. At about curfew I began walking home up Coleman, when I was pulled over, once again by RPD, it could have been the same two cops. I once again find myself at Whittenburg, this time I spend the night, the bunk wasn’t that bad. I didn’t want then to make mom come down until the morning; which she did and I was once again a free child.

      OK. Back to May 15th, 1968.

      Diane now has her own house, a small bungalow, near Mary S. Doten; it will be condemned six months later, along with many others in that area. I-80, you know.

      Diane tells Rob to bring home a quart of milk, and a loaf of bread, as we leave in the morning. Rob and I have $30.00 between us. We head out and stop at the Texas Independent Gas station, and fill up the tank, 30 gallons = $10.00 + .20 cents for two quarts of recycled oil in slippery glass containers. Recycled wasn’t a word then, this was old drain oil poured through a screen and a magnet, that would pull all of the shaved metal. It worked.

      We start the car and look at each other. Ten hours later we are headed north up I-5. To my left is the glittering skyline of Portland Oregon. It is not surprising that there is a light rain magnifying the glitter of the lights. Four hours later we have arrived in Kent, Washington, at the apartment of Rob’s cousin. I hate Rob’s cousin, he’s nuts; a Hells Angels candidate, that Sonny Barger himself said no. We stay there a couple of days; I managed to avoid the cousin. We spend a day loading corn at some farm for a day, and headed south, back to Portland.

      We arrive in the morning, and spend two hours driving through towns and crossing all the bridges. Within a year I would be trolling underneath the Hawthorne and a block away from the Burnside Bridge. I was enchanted. This and SF were the biggest cities I ever lived in. Portland is #1. We are broke now but a visit to the blood bank cures that problem. Two hours lying down, bag full of blood sucked out of a vein, the plasma removed, and then the blood cells pumped back into your arm. We now have enough to get back to Reno. 10 hours later rob pulls into the Keystone 7-11. He returns five minutes later and we head to Diane’s.

      As we enter the house for the first time in two weeks, Rob hands her a small brown bag; inside is a loaf of bread, and a quart of milk.

      Rob was smart, despite his dyslexia, and funny, but sometimes he was a complete DICK.

The Asocial Media.

Facebook, Snap Chat, and Twitter, ad naseum, Democratic, Republican party logos_35712674_7960360_ver1.0_1280_720all state that they want to provide a Platform for the People. This is not a condemnation. It is a WTF moment, the W standing for Why.

For the recorded past it has been shown over and over again that when one group meets another there is usually an orgy, or a battle. 95% are battles. That is the way we are; not the way we should be. I am sure that last statement was met with more boos, than smiley faces, or thumbs up.

Five years ago after a number of years of abstinence I got a Facebook page. I remained friendless for two years, the only thing I did on FB was get easy access to Candy Crush Saga, et al. I would sometimes scroll down my home page, meh; no big deal. I would occasional comment on something I read. I had no notifications set so I never saw any options to reply. I was a FB virgin then.

One day when I was feeling a bit depressed I searched for Reno on FB and a site came up. I looked at what I could see; and found out that I liked what I saw. I asked to join, and was invited to join.

I became a poster, I would post an obscure Reno photo with a single line comment. The first post was a picture of a self-serve laundromat, that had been in Reno for decades. My comment was a mild sarcasm about how much “FUN” it was to do two loads of laundry on a night I should have been out driving around. The first reply to my post was a vitriolic rant by a woman who “LOVED” to do laundry. It wasn’t a reply offering ‘critical critisim’ it was just rude. It kind of hurt for awhile. Then the postive comments and replys started. I was ready to quit ‘social media’ for good, but I read the positive comments. A day or two later after getting over the blast from my retractor, I wrote another little story. Within hours I watched the likes, and comments grow and grow. A while later, after another half dozen stories, I was informed by FB that I had achieved 6000 likes. The notifications grew more frequent, at one point the likes increased by a thousand in less than a week. I have made a few Friends, there are more requests than I accept.

I continued to explore and joined a few other groups, mostly political. I had fun I guess, but then in 2016 it became vicious to engage a lot of people. It became DEMONCRAT vs. REPUGNICANT. I still don’t understand why. What ‘good’ does a political designation do?

The first time I registered to vote I registered as a Non-Partisan, no one has the right to classify me. I have never changed. We hear about the left-wing; all people oriented, and the right-wing all business oriented. Fuck Both of you. I am NP, or should I say the HEAD of the Eagle, the one that keeps both ‘wings’ in sync.

What the Fuck is wrong with you — wing people? You go out day after day; picking up groceries, buying gas, and eating out. You run into scores of people every fucking day. A red hatted overweight man opens the door for you, you enter and tell him “thank you” and proceed. As you leave the store a young Mexican man holds the door for you, and you tell him thank you? When you get home you forget about the 20 people you have interacted with; without conflict, and come home and turn on your FB, and immediately pounce on the most racist rant you can find. You like the quote or the pic, which you have no fucking idea if it is true. You see a post with something in the picture that catches your eye. You have not read the post or bothered to see who posted it, but yet withing seconds you comment.

If you are a “T” supporter or not, shame on you. You are an “American”

There are dozens of old driver’s education films, which empasize the way a mild mannered husband becomes a devil in control of a 200 hp Vehicle of Mass Destruction. It is the same for a lot of us when we get behind the “invisibilty of asocial media”

Political Affiliation is NOT a genetic trait. If you describe yourself as REPUBLICAN or DEMOCRAT. Shame on you, and everything you have been “told” that you believe, are you unable to “THINK” for yourself?


William Firestone


There is a small brick house on Vine St between 2nd and the river. I am with Rob and Diane. We are going to visit his grandfather, William Feuerstein Sr. He is 99. We walk into the house, it is small but comfortable. William is sitting on a stiff backed cloth covered chair. The place is immaculate; especially considering that William lives alone. I use the bathroom and notice a small wash rag where the toilet paper should have been. William doesn’t use toilet paper only a washrag.  We are there to try and get a little money from the old man. Rob begins talking to his grandfather, as Diane moves closer to the old man. She has a love/hate relationship with the con. Was letting an old man cop a feel, especially at 99, have a joy, better than a minor pinch. We get a five, that will fill the tank and DQ, once Diane made the mistake of wearing a skirt, we got a $20.00 out of that.

We go back a few days later to give William a ride to church. Rob and he are talking, William with a thick German accent, I cant translate anything. Rob is from Omaha, he knows no German. The understand each other. He sits as erect as a 99 year old man can. He is wearing a black suit, the waist, uh, band of his slacks were just below his arm pits. A thin black suspender held them up. His shoes are shined, an when he stands, he places a black Homburg on his head, it is banded with a wide silk band. We are not looking for money, but Diane gets inattentive and gives up a freebie grope.

William immigrated to the US into Omaha, and finally to Reno. At one time the Germans were the most populous immigrant group. I imagine him as a survivor of WWI, coming here well before the Third Reich. William had five sons, William Jr., John, George, Kenny, and Henry. William Jr was a housing contractor in the late 30’s, doing quite well.

On Christmas eve 1951, William Sr, answered a knock on the door. There is a police officer informing him of the death of William Jr, who had been crossing 7th and N. Viriginia who was struck and killed by a car driven by 25 year old Billie Lee Dunning, a UNR student; she had a .139 blood alcohol level, a level not sufficient to determine if she was intoxicated. A bit later William Jrs’ wife is awarded a $10,000 settlement.

Rob never mentioned his Uncle William, he was born the year he died. I did meet three of the brothers, all Renoites now. Uncle Henry “Hank” was a cantankerous man, he was the one that I found out about them being Jews. Hank lived up to the ‘prototype’ of a Jewish conman. I can give you two examples. Hank owned a 64 Pontiac Catalina convertible; by 1969 the car had taken on a few flaws. One was a chipped and cracked windshield. Hank went on a drive one day and soon finding himself behind a Isbell Construction gravel truck, which he followed, all the way to the construction office, angrily telling the boss that the truck had thrown some gravel and cracked the windshield. Two days later he had a new windshield.

Ah but what to do about the weather worn convertible top. He gets his chance; Lindell has a crew painting a house just up the street. Uncle Hank parks his car four spaces away from his house, upwind of the sprayers. He shows up at Lindell’s angrily telling the boss that his crew had gotten paint all over his soft-top. Three days later Hank has a new white convertible top; tops are a bit more labor intensive that windshields. They also gave the car a professional washing and waxing making the car shine.

Hank lived at 661 Lake St, just north of the DQ. A two story clapboard house most likely a Feuerstein Construction house. Hank was retired, not sure from what, probably a contractor of some sort. I can’t recall his wife’s name, Ruth maybe, Rob only called her snaggletooth,. She was a mean woman, I understand why now, but had no clue then. She was a victim of Alzheimer’s of some sort; there are many varieties. When she was lucid she was wonderful, always offering Rob and I something to eat, but progressively she worsened. On one visit she had been stupified by her dose of Stellazine, which caused her to drool, but did little to control her temper and she would fling things at you in anger. They had a Scottie, named MOPSY, a foot tall, three feet long, and a foot thick. Mopsy had never been groomed, and the name MATTY was more appropriate, the dog’s teeth were as snaggled as it’s owner. During her down times, she lashed out at everyone in her path, but never once did she lash out at Mopsy. She died a few years before him; and if she hadn’t she might well have killed him. The house remained there for several years, used as a halfway house, until it was burned down; it is still an empty lot that will soon be covered but a student housing complex.

Uncle George lived in a beautiful brick house on Gear St, he designed it and built it, one of the first houses using glass blocks. George was a quite friendly man, always civil, even with the long-haired hippie that I was. A contractor in town, I don’t know if it was still Feuerstein Contractors. If we needed money, George was a last resort, he would make us work for it. His house is still there, as elegant as it was then.

Then there was Kenny, Robs dad. Think of the 3 Little Pigs; George was the brick house, Hank the wood house, and Kenny was the straw house pig. Sober he was a gentleman; a great wit and sense of humor. Kenny was a Journeyman carpenter. Kenny was also a ‘hardcore’ alcoholic. He was Union and could always find some kind of work, usually a day or two as a ‘finish’ carpenter, rarely anything longer than three days. He was an excellent carpenter.

The first time I met him was the day I met Rob. I met Rob through his girlfriend, and he was usually the jealous type, but we hit it off. It was also the same day I met Uncle Hank. Kenny was drunk the first time we met. Kenny was a loud, shouting drunk, but never threw a punch at any one. He was mad because Rob had come home so late. The louder Kenny yelled, the louder Rob laughed at him. After an hour Kenny has passed out; Rob invites me to stay overnight and I accept. I wake up the next morning in a small apartment on Valley Rd, just north of Sierra Vista. I smell coffee, bacon, toast, and greasy fried eggs. Kenny is at the stove, stone cold sober and he puts breakfast in front of the two young boys. He is smiling as he drinks a cup of coffee.

Rob and I were nearly inseparable for the next 15 years. I lived with him and Kenny, from the apartment on Valley to fourteen houses within the area of Grove and Wrondel.

Kenny as I have said was an alcoholic, and he helped me to become one at the age of 17. One day we are at Crystal Peak Park in Verdi, it is late August and 101 degrees out. Kenny has a Mercury Comet. It is a wreck. We have been at the park for hours. Kenny reaches under the driver’s seat and pulls out a pint of Ten High Whiskey, his favorite; not for taste but price. He unscrews the cap and takes a large pull. He hands me the bottle, and I put the rim of the bottle to my lips. I take a mouthful and swallow an ounce of cheap bourbon. The bottle had been under the seat for hours and I am not expecting the booze to be 98 degrees warm. In less than 30 seconds I am having dry heaves outside the car, which continued for several agonizing minutes.

During the most severe winter of the 70’s the three of us are living in our cars, we are on the curb of a friends house on Wrondel. Kenny lives in his 49′ Pontiac, Rob and I are in the 57′ Pontiac. During the day we can be in our friends house, and one day we begin talking. Kenny is okay with living in the 49, there is enough room, but his main complaint is that his feet get to cold. It is one of the coldest winters in a while. I don’t know how the conversation turns to the fact the Kenny sleeps with his shoes on. I read, and in a book I have read where soldiers slept better with their shoes off, and I tell this to Kenny. He is half drunk and tells me I’m stupid, I agree; I am by now able to diffuse Kenny from his aggressive tantrums. I say nothing more. The following morning I see Kenny, he is smiling. He approaches me and grabs me around the shoulders; I am baffled. He tells me that he has had the best night’s sleep in weeks, he took of his shoes last night, and his feet didn’t freeze. Kenny never questions me again. If I tell him something he believes it.

One afternoon Rob and I meet up with Kenny at Smorgy Boys on Keystone to eat. Kenny stops us before we go into the buffet. He hands us both a pair of bib overalls and we put them on. In each overall there is a large pocket in the front. We go in and pay for our meals; all you can eat for cheap.

We hit the friend chicken, and fill up our plates, along with a few other items. We fill halfway up, and go back to the smorgasbord. We load up on more fried chicken, and I grab some butterscotch pudding from the buffet. As we talk and slowly eat our deserts we take the dozen pieces of fried chicken we haven’t eaten and wrap them in napkins, and then place 4 to 5 pieces into the chest pocket of our overalls. We saunter out, three carpenters, working men in our coveralls, each one with a front pocket filled with tonight’s dinner and tomorrows breakfast.



Now, re-read the above question. The first ‘book’ you ever ‘picked up’; not read, or bought, or borrowed from the library. I can’t remember and I am confident that you can’t either.

80% of you will answer The Bible; quite confidently and proudly, but really?

I don’t remember a ‘book’ in my life until I was given a small, well used book in the 2nd grade, in Miss O’Sullivans class at Mary S. Doten. It was “Fun With Dick and Jane” I ran with Dick, talked with Jane, and tossed a ball to Spot. I learned to READ there, but didn’t learn WHAT to read. A couple of grade later I find my self eagerly waiting for the newest My Weekly Reader, to be given out in class. It had all kinds of neat stuff, promises of things to come; Sputnik, and our attempts to achieve space ‘superiority’. Three or four times a year we would receive a small pamphlet from the Scholastic Book Club. We would take it home and order a book or two, giving the order blanks to our teacher. A few weeks later it would be book club day. The teacher would open the large cardboard box, and would start taking out dozens of paper-bound books. The teacher would call out your name and you would go up and get your books. More often than not there would be one, sometimes two books you didn’t order, but your teacher added two more books she thought (correctly) that you might like. Teacher’s are like that, yeah, they are.

In 1959, my mother and I enter the State Building on the Center St entrance and proceed to the Washoe County Library. It is our only library, the Carnegie Library had been demolished and the new Post Office sits in it’s place. I get my first ‘official’ ID; a small manila card, it has a small metal address-o-graph plate attached to it. It is my Libary card. I can check out two books at a time. I check out two books. We take a walk through the Nevada Historical museum before we leave. I check out the six legged, two headed calf, and the mummified girl indian baby, in her papoose.

I still have my Washoe County Library card. I currently have 32 books checked out. Two are presidential biographies, McKinley and Grant. There is one on the history of color, another on the way our senses interpret the colors we see. Two more are True Crime books. And the other I forget.

In the 60’s, my mom was a ‘hook’ for a door-to-door salesman. Not a ‘MARK’ but a hook. A Mark would by anything, a ‘Hook’ was more restrained. Fortunately for me she made a purchase that molded me into who I am. The purchase is a complete set of “The Encyclopedia ( thank you Jiminey Cricket) Americana. A bonus is a 15 volume “Book of Knowledge”. I pour through the latter. I check out the encyclopedia, reading every at least the heading of each subject. The Book of Knowledge I devour.

During my reading, I progress three grade levels in what they “teach” in school. I begin to challenge the teacher’s; the don’t like that I am being smart.

In the 6th grade I begin to reach out. I learn that there are to books that are banned. Tropic of Cancer/Capricorn are in the lead and “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”. They are banned but I easily find and read both. I don’t understand the banning.

Again, I have 33 books checked out at the Library; behind me in two large bookcases I have an additional three presidential biographies, Washington, Kennedy, and Johnson, and a 30 volume set of the Encyclopedia Americana. There are two compilations of historical ‘Literature’, in the back bedroom I haven’t entered since my wife died are three more bookcases filled with books. {My defintion of a book is anything over 400 pages.} There are several boxes of books.

I read. I have a lot of books; do I read them? Yes, No, Maybe.

Truth be told, no, except for a few.

The last books I read, start to finish was the Trilogy by Ransom Riggs, starting with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

So back to the Original Question. WHAT WAS THE FIRST BOOK YOU EVER PICKED UP?

Several Near Death Experiences.


Truth be told they weren’t that near.

There are four, one perhaps a mescaline, peyote, or LSD inspired desert mirage. A second a Seattle wet dream—please feel free to lift your mind out of the gutter and step back up on the curb. The second and third seen from a Sacramento rooming house. All four have serial murder as a commonality. Two are from Charlie, one Bundy and the third Puente.girls


It is some time in the late 60’s, my friend and I are trying to make it to LA, using the totally wrong road. Hot, dry, and almost devoid of traffic good for two hitch-hiking long-hairs. It is almost dusk, when a truck pulls over, there are three people in the cab and four in the truck bed, three are female, and quite cute. We throw our gear in the back and hop in. They tells us they are going about 20 miles up the road, and invite us to spend the night at their ranch. The girls are cute, did I mention that they were cute, and we a tired so we say okay. There are about 50 people at the ranch, most of the old buildings are lit with lanterns, maybe one or two hooked up to power.

One gal seems to take a liking to me but, I am funky after two days on the road, but she is downright rank and I pass on her affections. We are lucky that one of the guys had to drive into the L. A. area the following morning. It was an unusual night, forgettable, until 20 years later, when I am watching a show about Charley, I see a blurry film of an old wooden building in the desert not far from LA, and a quick photo of a young woman; the image sends a message to my brain and nose of the rank aroma of a woman I had once met. Did I really temporarily become a member of the Manson Family??????.

A while later I am now a member of the ‘homefree’; I do not have a ‘home’ because I do not want one, therefore, I cannot be homeless. There is a difference. I live in the Tri-cities of Auburn, Kent, and Renton. Living is a nicer rendition of Surviving. We haven’t had enough money to escape; and when you are 17, 18 it doesn’t take much. We are living on corn, we scavenge from the million square miles of fields, surrounding us: on the cob, creamed corn, (barf). I hate corn, even popped.


I am in Seattle after my escape, I spend most of the day downtown, just to look at the city. It is very difficult to hitch a ride in the area, and after an hour a dingy white VW pulls over. I open the door and I see a young man, real friendly looking, smiling. The front passenger seat is gone, he gives no excuse, and I dont ask as I sit in the rear seat; this is the first time I have ever had leg room in the back of a bug. He is headed about 20 miles away, and the end of the ride at Lake Sammamish Park. I pile out and than the young man, he smiles back. I get lucky and get a ride about ten minutes later, I get a ride to Issaquah, and onto I-90. It was an unusual night, forgettable, until 20 years later, when I am watching a show about Ted. I hear the name Sammamish, and a VW with a missing front seat. OMG did I temporarily become a “Bundy Buddy”.

Another time. I am now a lodger. I am lodging in the lettered and numbered streets of Sacramento. I am living in a rooming house. The State of California is helping me with the Rent and Food Stamps. I have been following the rules, even found a few bus boy jobs, for a day or two. I do not recall the number or street, 16th and K, maybe, but what ever the address, it was equidistant from two other houses. It is a lovely rooming house, the woman who owned it was in her 70’s, there were five other tenants, all of them elderly gentlemen. I would join them in the common room and watch TV, maybe play a game of chess.

I had a shelf in the kitchen, and if I wanted to cook anything it was only allowed from 6am to 9pm. My shelf rarely had more than a few cans of soup. It was my responsibility to clean up my dishes. I rarely cooked there. My room was small and tucked up on the third floor, a small window the only ventilation. I rarely slept there.

I took a walk one day through the heavily shaded blocks of houses. There are a couple of small markets. I stop in one and score a rare treasure. It is July. I enter the small store and open a squat freezer. Inside is a solid brick of EGG NOG. I keep constant vigil on its perfect melting point. I continue my walk and take a right on 14th and F St. I pass a good sized Victorian house, there is a Room for Rent sign. I keep it in mind in case I have to move, but it seems a bit creepy. There is an old woman out in the yard, tending the flowers.

I head toward downtown, ahead of me there are two young women. They are dancing under a tree; it is 98 degrees out and they are in long heavy robes. A tall brunette in a white robe, and a shorter red head in a red robe. They say hi, but I continue on.

I stop at Capital Park, and watch the black squirrels run from tree to tree. I hate rodents but these guys were kinda cute. I sit down and shake my quart of Egg Nog. It is ready. I open it and pour a mouthful downs my throat, there are still ice crystals in it. ALL IS GOOD. An unusual day, forgettable, until 20 years later, when I am watching a show about Dorothea. I hear the words 14th and J, and about the old woman who killed several of her renters for their Social Security checks; they think it may have been more than ten, and buried them in her garden. I see a picture of her house. Could I have been a future tenant? My God.


Not much later I am watching an old film about Gerald Ford and his first assassination attempt. A not unattractive young woman, a red head fond of wearing a red robe, tried to kill the President.

I look at a picture of Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme. The visual sends signals to my brain and nose, as I recall the rank aroma of a young woman I met in the desert near Los Angeles.


She was kinda cute though.