Copyright Notice

Copyright: Fred Robel, and Fritz365 2010-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Fred Robel and Fritz365 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Breakfast With a Side of Revolution

The back room of the diner was packed today
Everyone was in attendance
I had expected no less
They all stood when I walked into the room
Several nodded their heads at me
"Good morning, General"

I wasn't used to that yet
But someone has to lead
Take the blame when it all goes wrong
Take the blame when it all goes right
Either way, I'm the man

I sit up at one end of the square arrangement of tables
Our waitress walks in the middle of the tables
Pouring coffee, being gawked at
Her short skirt giving an imaginary glimpse of heaven
I smiled at her
She was my best friend's daughter
She was one of us

Breakfast was served
Always cooked with excellence
Men around the tables talking amongst themselves
Some about their unit assignments
A couple texting last minute orders to the men in the field
Everyone had their mind on the business at hand

I glanced at my tablet
Almost all the units had checked in so far
Only shy Alaska and Hawaii to complete the fifty
Hawaii was going to be the toughest
Being in such a different time zone
We'd had to make smaller four man teams
And send them out to homes
To collect our targets
I still had a nagging feeling that we should have done that with all the states
On that point I had to concede
That if we wanted maximum impact
The initial blow had to be broadcast live
And it had to be seen by as many people as possible
For that, they had to be awake

I cracked my knuckles
Popping a few stress bubbles in the process
The last two units checked in
My tablet screen turned green
I stood up and regarded the map on the wall behind my chair
Colored pins marking certain places
Faces associated with those pins flashed through my head
Little flags off one pin in each state had a little name flag on it
I'd allowed the Unit commanders to choose their own code names

Some chose something associated with the state they were in charge of
Others chose something from movies
Others......I have no idea why they chose what they chose

The first time I contacted the man I now had to call "Mr. Pink"
I had had a hard time not laughing when I said it
But the next time I call upon the Commander of Florida
I won't be laughing
This is no laughing matter

It was just after eight in the morning
I turned to the group of coordinators
All watching me quietly now
Assorted devices in front of each of them
Their tools of armed rebellion in this age

"Give them the go"

Monday, January 30, 2012

We Hang Traitors In These Here Parts

It was something out of an old Western movie
A dirty rusty metal barred cell
A fat jailer with a huge ring of keys
Who smoked, and took joy in blowing it towards me
Causing me to cough uncontrollably
There was something wrong with my lungs

I knew that today was my last day
And although this was 2015
There was a wooden gallows erected in the center of the city
There were four hemp rope nooses
All carefully tied there
Four trapdoors
Rigoroously tested yesterday
The terrible sounds coming to me from the open windows

Kathunk!
A short pause
Then the almost inaudable sound of the hemp rope
Being snapped tight

Sometimes they'd get all four of them going in sync
So it sounded like a "Kathunk!" quartet
And you could really hear the ropes right after the pause

Those were the most goosebump inducing ones
The all four at once Kathunk!-pause-snap stretch quartets
Those are the ones that I winced at
Those are the ones that the fat bastard jailer laughed at
His eyes were on me constantly
There would be no escape from this place
His gaze
Or my fate

It was treason
Certainly a hangable offense
And those of us that hadn't been killed outright
Had been rounded up
Tried publicly
Sentenced to death
Gathered here in this old building
To be hung until we were dead, dead, dead

I'm trying to nap
I'd turned down my last meal
I figured, why bother?
I had just almost dozed off
Occupying that happy place
Halfway betwixt awake and asleep
When that fat jailer Smacked his keyring against the bars

Snapping me awake

I'd rolled over and knocked my pouch off the bedstand
I always kept my keys, change, and wallet in it
It just kept it all in one place is all
I hate it when you set things down and forget where

I'd overslept, but not too bad
There was still time to shower and get down to the diner
To continue my long tradition of attending
The meeting of the minds that gather there

And today was special
It was almost zero hour
Preparations over ten years in the making
Finally coming to fruition
So there would be some empty chairs at this mornings gathering
And a few fresh faces as well

Several of us had branches out across the country
So supervise the plan
Others had come here to assist the home office
Much had been done
Propaganda and recruitment
Purchasing and secure storage
A decade's worth like I said

I scrub my hair slowly
Enjoying the feel of my fingers squishing in the soapy hair
Hoping I'll get a chance to shower again soon
But knowing it's not likely

The plan is 30 days to revolution
30 days to make change for good
To play like founding fathers
To act as citizens should

Drying off briskly
Carefully putting on my clothes
A last look in the mirror
Time to go
I don't want to be late

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Regards The Reaper

I mock death
Because it is ridiculous
It is relentless
It is inevitable
It is like breathing
Like walking
Like talking
It requires no thought
It’s always there
It can be ignored
For it cannot be avoided
Might as well worry about the sun coming up
Or the moon waxing and waning
It’ll do as much good.
So I mock it
I laugh about it.
I cry about it.
Never when I’m supposed to
Never when I want to.
It’s the elephant in the room
That I quietly make fun of
Bring it up at your peril.
I might laugh at your weeping
Giggle at your grief
Respect the dead?
Why?
They’re dead.
Put up monuments to lives past?
I’ll pass
If their works
Or influence cannot stand on their own when they’re gone
They deserve not
Any memorial
That man could supply.
We are just food for the next generation.
In thought, blood and bone.
Be at peace with that.
I might just drink to your memory.
But only once.
The rest will be for me.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Baby Protest

Don’t call me babe
I don’t suckle at your breast
Drinking your milky goodness
That flavor that I like best
Drawn from your brown nipple
Warm and soft one minute
Firm and in my mouth for the next nine

I don’t then rest my head upon your shoulder
Warmly and wetly burping my baby best
Occasionally spraying a bit of spit up
To all points of the compass
North south east and west

I certainly don’t snuggle up to you then
And play idly with your ear
As my eyes grow heavy and burry
The footsteps of the sandman louder and more near

I definitely would not
Tolerate being carried in your arms
Breathing quietly
At the mercy of your charms
Tucked in tightly
In a caged comfortable bed
I have to visit nightly

I’m not your baby anymore
I’m a big boy now
I’ll show you too
I’m almost ready
I’d love to tell you
But alas I cannot as of yet talk
But I have been working out
And soon I’ll wow you with my walk

All these things I claim I am not
Of course I really am
So enjoy me well
I’m growing as fast as I can

Until then,
Goo goo
Gaa gaa
And don't you forget it Mama!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Every Day Has Its Day

Every day
Every fucking day

Someone died
Someone was born
Someone was __________
Fill in the fucking blank

Someone was
Someone did
Someone achieved

We’ve been around this rock
For more than several years now
Should everyone have their own day?
Should your fifteen minutes become a holiday instead?

I’m finding it hard to care anymore
About every ‘special’ day
Or anniversary of an event
That comes up

They come up every day
Every hour
Every second

You know what?
I think I’ll have more respect and reverence
For the thing that you choose NOT
To make a holiday
Or an anniversary
Or a commemoration
Or a moment of silence
About

Forgive me
This was “Write a Ranty Bit” day
I’ve done my part
Now shut up

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tire Hangar Hypnotic

My eyes are drawn to it
As I approach from the rear
The swinging pendulum of fascination
The "look at me" there's something missing
Flashing neon light
Eat At Joe's

Spare tire hanger swing-in-ation

It's just hanging in the breeze
Allowing gravity to tug at it
First this way
Then that
As the truck curves around curves
And turns around turns
Angling towards me as they accelerate
Trying to pull away as they brake

I can't keep my eyes off of it

I wonder in my head
If they even have a spare tire anymore
Or if it's already on the car
Or forgotten in some dusty garage
Or empty field

I guess I'm just one of those people
Those ones your parent's warned you about
The kind that likes to know
That if I actually had a blowout
Or run over a screw
That there would be a plan in place
Something logical and simple
A place on the vehicle to stash a spare
With a jack and a wrench to add assist

On this particular truck
All logic like that would be missed
If that person has a flat
Or has a bear chew on his left rear
They'll be stuck wherever they are at

Flare down
Red hanky on the antennae
Whatever mode of signaling tickles them most
Because they won't be going anywhere
With the spot where
You would find the spare
Nothing but empty air
The hangar dangling in space
Waving every which where

And if they flag me down as I pass
I may slow
I may stop
Depends on the who

And if it's a chick
I'll certainly pull over to assist
Provided of course
She first shows her tits

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Smooth As Silk

Smooth as silk
Sexy as hell
I want that porn star look
I know I’ll wear it well
Brand new Schick in plastic
I’m taking it home
To ravage my package

Everyone will be jealous
If I were to show them
Maybe I will
Via a Facebook still

I know I’ll be accused
Of Too Much Information
But I don’t give a damn
I want to share my dehairination

What to use?
Oh I guess just my trusty Barbasol
It’s served me in the past
And I’ve got sensitive skin
I grab a handful of foam
And dive right in

The first stroke
Was almost a joke
It came off so easy
I wasn’t worried
Almost getting cocky
All bent in half
To get a better view
Of my junk

Seems hard to get into the corners
The crannies if you will
I grasp my sack gently
Stretching it tight
For a close pass

Suddenly a burning sensation
Holy shit!
I throw water on it quickly
But that seems the wrong thing to do
As it just makes it worse
I bend over to take a look at the damage
And see that I’ve taken a bit too much off
All those wonderful wrinkles
That make it look like a walnut
I’ve taken the tops right off those ridges
Now a spiderweb of red lines
Marks the path of that new Schick

As I lay in bed that night
With that unending burning
Tight upon my balls
I take a mental note
To never
Ever
Do that again

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Proof of Electorate Insanity

I read once
That one definition of madness
Is the doing of something
Over and over
Exactly the same
And still expecting a different result

Doc! I just don’t understand it!
It was a million to one shot!
Every time I hit myself right there
It hurts like crazy

Then in a few minutes
I’ll do it again
And it hurts just the same!
My gosh, whatever could be wrong with me

The doctor will turn to you with sad grey eyes
And solemnly tell you to stop doing that

That will be $50 dollars
Next!

So this year
We’ll elect ourselves a President
There’s a good chance it will be a Republican
If not this time
Then give it four years
But the elephant will enter the oval room

Then we’ll be displeased with the elephant
We’ll drive him out with a shout
Throwing things at him
Which are elegantly intercepted
By the Secret Service
No harm should come
To the figurehead
Of a government

Gotta save his face
And look pretty

Then we’ll usher in the donkey
Even though it shits on the carpets
And brays to hurt our ears
Which we’ll soon tire of
And invite the elephant back again

But the elephant poops all over too
Making an equally awful
But unique to him
Mess for everyone to clean up

Suddenly the donkey doesn’t seem so bad
Until we drag his ass back in
And we remember what pissed us off last time
About his all too long visit to Pennsylvania Ave

And so we go
This time with the donkey
The next with the elephant
Sometimes bringing in a different elephant or donkey

But always expecting it to be different this time
Over and over
Elephant
Donkey
Donkey
Elephant

It’s madness don’t you see?
The doctor would look at you
And tell you to stop doing that
Then charge you fifty bucks

Monday, January 23, 2012

Egads! A Clot!

It's hard and irregular shaped
Painful to the touch
And wasn't there yesterday
Not that I can remember much

I probe with my fingers
Gently into my belly
Feeling what's there
My nerves turning to jelly

It makes me sick to feel it
Like a creature growing unbidden
Did I mate with an alien in my sleep
How could I keep this hidden?

Visions of horrors fill my head
Aliens popping up through my chest
Oddly an image of a pregnant Arnold Schwarzenegger
And an irresistible urge to nest

I'm going to sleep on this
As icky as it feels
Maybe it will go away of it's own accord
Maybe I'll wake up giving birth to eels

Only time will tell
As my eyes grow heavier
A last thought that I might die from this
Then my mind floats off like a feather

Awakening in the morning
The sun illuminating my pain
Covers are thrown off me
Dismay on my face very plain

My stomach was now distended
I'll try to describe it
Go with me on this

Imagine a plastic bag
Now put a stiff one eighth cable in there
Bend it so it pushes against the bag pretty hard
And that's what I've got here

Except it's inside of me
The skin is stretched so tight
I can almost see exactly what it is
I grab myself a flashlight

I shine it one way
And then the other
Having an inspiration
I shine it through my skin from the bottom

Looking down through the tight skin
Now illuminated redly against the dim
I can clearly see a smallish artery
Pressurized hard and bowed out
I touch it with my hand
Pain shoots to my brain telling me to stop
I can feel my heartbeat in it
Pumping it harder with every beat

I look at the left end of it
About four inches from my belly button
There does appear to be an obstruction
It's a clot!
I think to myself in a panic
It's blocking the flow
Making me manic

What should I do?
What should I do?

Then nature takes over
As I peer intently with great panic
The clot mottled pale and purple
Moves ever so slightly
Stretching itself out
Almost like an inchworm
Inching around inside

I can watch it move
A little more now
Then quickly unobstructing
Racing from view
My stomach regains
It's previous normal shape
For which I'm glad
However not perfect it is

But where did it go?
Having that running around just can't be good
But then I know where it is
As my heart skips a beat and stops

Pain lances across my chest
I know I'm going to pass out
But with my last ounce of energy
I channel Homer Simpson
And punch myself in the chest
One shot, only one

And it works
My heart stutters up again
Pushing that nasty clot through
Going to where unwanted clots go
I only hope it doesn't grow

Or go to my brain
That would be bad
Who knows what could happen
Oh, ouch!

What was that?
Smells like burnt toast
Suddenly the floor looks so interesting
I think I'll just sit here
And drool

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Interpereted Cree Prophecy


The sun finally hazed out yesterday
It was a hundred years coming
About the same time the buffalo panicked
And they haven’t stopped running

In the dim twilight
That passes for midday
The North American herd thunders onward
Flattening anything in their way

But that’s the least of our worries
All the oil ran out years ago
But having plenty of coal
I wasn’t going to let lack of oil bring me low

Converted my hot rod to run on coal oil
It’s not as efficient
And sure is expensive
Some months I have to choose fuel or rent

But the car is pretty comfortable
Which is a good thing
As the grass has started to die
Which is what lack of sunlight will bring

It occurs to me that that should slow down the buffalo
With no fuel in their bellies
They’ll have to slow
Or learn to make buffalo pyramids and eat the trees

At least I won’t have to smell their rotting carcasses
When at last they fall and decompose
I’ve got this nuclear filter I wear
About and inch up my nose

The air is mostly toxic
It’d have to be to block out the sun
Of all the people to have to point that out to you
I wouldn’t have thought I’d be the one

I apologize
I’m just a little testy
This meal just isn’t very good
It’s the neighbor’s little Westie

Kind of tough
Which is surprising
Knowing the pampered life the pooch lived
You’d have though he was a king

Don’t judge me though
Food is getting scarce
With the air so bad
The sun blocked out
Plants dead and brown
Pretty soon you’re going to look
Pretty nutritious to me

But first
Before I do something so cannibalistic
I’m going to test out the old Cree prophecy
There was a rumor about the paper and ink
That rides around in your pocket

Rumor has it
That it’s organic
And just full of nutrients
So meet me here in an hour
Gather up all the money you can
We’ll have us an old fashioned stone soup party
With greenbacks as the main ingredient

And if that fails
You’d better watch your back my friend




Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lucky Too

Rubbing my head
I rolled over and sat up
Taking off my helmet
The cool spring air touching my sweaty hair
Bringing on a chill

Getting up slowly
I surveyed the damage

A slashed front tire on the quad
I poke at the gash with my fingers
What the heck did that I wonder
I yank the quad off it's side and back on it's wheels

Still brushing leaves and dirt off myself
Wet from the recently melted snow
I walk back up the trail a few yards
Looking for whatever did this

Sticking up out of the soft ground of the forest I see it
A long dark curved piece of metal
I kick at it
It's pretty much in there

I have a shovel on the quad and I go get it
No time like the present to clear the trail
I might be the first down it this spring
But I sure won't be the last

Digging is easy in the wet dirt
Only an occasional small root slows me
I find four loose pieces of metal aside from the one that cut my tire
I can't tell what any of them are
But they sure are light
Lighter than you'd think metal should be

I knock the dirt off the smallest chunk
And laugh out loud
It looks just like......
A spur

I rub at it with my dirty wet fingers carefully
Wary of any more sharp edges
It's got a little spinny star on the back
Two horseshoe bent arms with little hooks
So one could tie them onto the back of your boot

There's something engraved on the side
Clearly by hand
As it's not at all straight

"Lucky Too"

I set it down with the other pieces of metal
And root around in the hole some more
Wondering if there is a match for the spur in there somewhere

I don't find a thing though
Just more dirt, roots and grubs

I fill the hole back in and walk on it a bit to flatten it
Stowing the shovel back on the quad
I have another look at the spur
Made of the same metal as the rest
It's a dark bronze color and maybe a little blackened in spots

The other chunks of metal go in my top box behind the seat
I tuck the spur in my breast pocket
It'll be something to talk about tonight after work
After I hike back to the ranger station and fetch the spare tire back

Breathing the good forest air
I start the walk back
Looking around at all the things I missed
When I had gone by much quicker on the quad

What a fine Maine spring this is

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dog Watched

Dog watched
As his person walked away from him
Making jingling noises as he walked
Wearing a silver baggy suit

Dog watched
As his person walked around the flying machine
Touching and looking at things
Finally climbing inside and closing the door

Dog hid in the footwell of the truck
When the engines started
Making dusty winds and loud noise
Not standing and peering over the door again
Until the noise had faded to a lower level

Dog watched
As the flying machine went faster along the ground
Quite far away
Leaving a trail of white dust along the lakebed in it's wake
Finally leaving the earth

Dog watched
The flying machine pull up into a steep climb
Growing smaller and smaller in Dog's eyes
Until it was a black speck in the sky

Dog watched
A white line suddenly appear behind the tiny black speck
Hearing some seconds later a faint rumbling in the distance
The white line extending towards the rising sun
Until that too was lost in the distance

There was nothing more for Dog to watch

So Dog lay down in the shade of the dashboard
In the topless Chevrolet pickup truck
To wait for his person to return
Dog closed his eyes and took a short nap

Dog heard
The crunching of gravel
A vehicle turning off the main highway
Jumping up with his feet on the dashboard
Dog poked his head above the windshield
Barking a hello, and a warning that this was his area all at once

Dog watched
As two people got out of the car
Dog knew them by sight
Confirmed by scent soon after
These were some of the people from the place with green grass
Dog wagged his tail
Accepting the petting and scratching the younger person gave him
The other person taking the envelope off the windshield

The envelope that said
"Read Me"

Although Dog wouldn't have known that

Dog watched
Looking from one person to the other
As one read from the papers in the envelope
The other still petting him and listening
The two people exchanged strange looks with one another

Dog watched
As the older person climbed back in the car
The younger one climbing into the driver's seat of the truck
Dog licked his face in welcome
Wagging his tail as the truck was started up and pulled out onto the highway
Following the other car driving north

Dog put his front paws on the driver's side door mirror
His whole upper body out in the wind
Tongue trailing behind his open mouth
Smelling all the desert smells
Excitedly hoping he was going to get to play
In that grassy backyard once again

Thursday, January 19, 2012

T Minus None

The suit actually feels good
Sitting against my silken undergarments
A little stiff
A little crisp
Like leather that’s not quite broken in
The helmet sitting next to me
Reflecting the rising sun
The gold foil lining sparkling

Dog sitting next to me
His tongue hanging out
It was going to be another hot one today
It usually is without a doubt

My Lear Special sits ready to go
Oxygen tanks installed and filled
Nitrogen tanks the same
Hydrogen peroxide and kerosene topped up
Just enough Jet A to get me started on this ride

I scratch Dog behind his ears
This leads eventually to him lying on his side
So I can more easily scratch and rub his belly
I love him
And I know he loves me

After one more pat on the head
I kiss him between the ears
He licks me on my face
I stand up and walk over to the truck
Putting a thick legal envelope under the wiper blade
In thick black Sharpie I wrote on it

“Read Me”

Inside are documents and papers
Explaining the situation
Everything I currently own is now the property of the Mormon family
Along with my wish for them to keep and love Dog
As well as a letter telling them what they have meant to me
With an attempt to explain what I’ve done

I open the truck door and have Dog hop up inside
As if he’s going for a ride
I clip a short leash to his harness
I’ve been getting him used to wearing this
With many rides over the last few weeks
It’s long enough to let him reach either side of the interior
But not long enough to jump out

I close the door
I tell him goodbye
I walk away and don’t look back
Because I can’t

I wouldn’t be able to leave if I did

As I walk
I have an accompaniment
ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching
In time with every step
A shiny titanium spur glinting
Small sharp star spinning
Little letters proclaiming them as Lucky One, and Too

Walking around the Lear one last time
Running my fingers along as I do
Flight controls are as they should be
Engines look fine too
The two larger rocket motors secure in their mounts
One just above and inboard of each factory motor
The third motor just protruding from the tail cone
I wiggle it’s nozzle lightly
Decreeing it ready to go

Climbing inside I step over the clutter
Of all my installed periphery
Extra lines running to and fro
Turning on the oxygen and nitrogen bottles on my way by

In the cockpit
Squeezing myself in
The extra bulk of the suit making it tight
But snug and feeling quite right
Spurs jingling lightly as I jostle myself into place

The start ritual goes without a hiccup
I read each checkpoint out loud
Just as if this were an official mission
Mission control would have been proud

I close my eyes for a minute
As the engines warm up
I have one last earthly chore to attend to
Eyes opening
Fingers retrieving my cel phone from my zippered breast pocket

After a few tense seconds the call is answered
I’d been wondering what I’d do if nobody picked up
But they did

The Mormon family father came on the line
I asked of him a favor
I needed him to pick up Dog
I had to go and needed a babysitter
After a short confusion
He readily agreed
Telling me he’d be here in fifteen minutes

I had to ask him to promise
He asked me why
I told him he just had to
He’d understand when he arrived

So he did
And my heart was at peace
I knew he’d never break a promise
Even one to me

Cel phone stowed once again
Helmet secured over my head
I put my feet on the rudder pedals
Parking brake released
Left hand on the yoke
Right hand on the throttles

I take a deep breath


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lucky One

I need some luck

The test flight went well
I got her back on the ground without too much trouble
The left main gear strut seals blew out on me when I touched down
She rode like a hardtail Harley the rest of the taxi to the tent
It’s always gotta be something
Tweaking this and that
Rebuilding the gear strut
It’s kept me busy for a couple days

Not bad days either
I did blacken my eye by tipping myself off the wing
I have no idea how that happened
Dog swears he didn’t do it
We sat around for awhile with hot dogs and cold beer
I held some ice to my face

We went on a mini road trip yesterday
About three towns over to find a notary public
Not that there wasn’t one closer
I just wanted to go on the down low

My agenda keeps changing slightly
And this was one of those wrinkles
But the documents are signed and set
Effective for tomorrow

So that puts my departure more in stone
Bringing me back to luck

The early F-104 Starfighter pilots had strange ejection seats
They came out the bottom of the aircraft
To make that work the pilot had to be able to secure his legs to the ejection seat
Hence the spurs
Little knobs sticking off the back of those pilot’s heels
To be kicked into slots right before the ejection handle was pulled
Keeping one’s legs attached in that situation is a good thing

And that’s what I want
Some lucky spurs

I’ve got some scraps of titanium out in the tent
It’s my job this afternoon
Fabbing a set of high speed Ti spurs
I’m going to name them too
Going to take my vibro tool to them
One will be Lucky One
The other is Lucky Too

A little humor gets me by
Even if it’s nonsensical
I call Dog over and take a lap around the Lear
Sitting ready to go next to the tent
Everything looking shipshape
Just like a taxi to space should

The glow of my work light in the tent beckons me
I’ve got that last lucky project to do
My jingle jangle space spurs

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Kisses, Blood, Kerosene, and Silk

She was kissing me
Kissing me all over my face
A vision in pink
The love of my life
Her lips so soft and sweet

I opened my eyes
And Dog was licking me
I was lying halfway between the trailer and the work tent
I think I broke a tooth
I sat up and spit some blood out

This has definitely been getting worse
The meds don’t seem to be helping as much anymore
I have numerous mini seizures throughout the day
The Mormon family is worried about me
Different combinations of two or three of them stop by almost every day
They invited me to stay closer to them
Their property is almost one hundred acres

I’m almost tempted

But I have to keep my agenda in mind
Test flight is tonight
And I have several little things to get done beforehand
Passing out for almost an hour in the sun didn’t help

I’ve pulled the nitrogen and oxygen tanks for the flight
I won’t need them
I’ve already tested them and they work fine
What I need is less weight
I’ve really pushed the gross weight of the Lear
What with the extra structure, three rocket motors
And assorted support crap

I’m only filling the tip tanks with rocket fuel for the test
I’m not lighting the motors off for long
I just want to see how it handles the extra thrust in flight

Kerosene in the left
Hydrogen peroxide in the right
A nice half tank of Jet A
A clear cool night

I filed a flight plan for this evening
I don’t want any trouble
A simple flight profile
Just testing out an aircraft
Performance climb
And some low and high altitude maneuvering
Nothing to see here
Move along

This is a good dry run for Dog as well
Seeing me fly away might freak him out
Seeing me come back will reassure him
That I’ll come back next time too

I feel like such a liar though
I’ve been working on a letter to leave the Mormon family
Trying to explain what I’m really trying to do
I find myself at a loss for words mostly
I’ll just do my best

Everything is all set for tonight
I’ll just go inside, take a shower and relax
I got a couple pairs of silk underwear and undershirts
I thought that would be pretty comfortable

I get a crooked half smile
Revealing my newly chipped tooth
Then it’ll be time to put on the suit

Monday, January 16, 2012

Testing, Testing, 1 2 3

The project was really coming together
I'd actually gotten a little help from the eldest Mormon boy
When I had first met the family
I'd told a tiny white lie
That I was putting an airplane together
To attempt a low altitude speed record
And it hadn't sounded that far fetched
Even to me
The dad thought his boy should learn some mechanical skills
So I'd happily obliged and put him to work
We'd finished installing the new titanium bulkhead in the aircraft
Him on the inside
Me on the outside
Putting in fasteners
Things went so much better with a helping hand
Dog would go from the inside with the boy
To the outside with me
For a certain dog allotted time with each of us
It made me smile to see the boy and him getting on so well

Spending so many days together
I couldn't really hide that I wasn't well from him
When I dropped a tool he'd grab it for me
Once my legs decided not to work at all for no reason
He offered me a hand up

He didn't ask what was wrong
He didn't pry
He just asked if I was ok
I told him I was
That that's just how things were
My cross to bear so to speak
He understood that

The boy helped me put together a test stand for the rocket motors
We welded one up and anchored it to the only concrete pad on the property
I had to move my trailer off it's solid perch to do that
But it was worth it

I prepped all three motors and had them ready to go
We hid behind the truck with a fifty yard control cable leading to the stand
He was so excited to be there for that
His dad probably wouldn't have approved

I let him push the start button
Dog ran further away and hid under the trailer at the noise
It was marvelous how the old motors fired off
We let them go for ten seconds each
Smiling like crazy at each other
Sneaking peeks over the hood of the truck
At the awesome ground rumbling sight

I also finished up the aircraft systems
Just before I lost my helper from down the road
School was about to start
September had come sooner than I could have thought

The boy stood as ground crew for me
Giving me the thumbs up
I worked all the flight controls
Idled and ran the two stock engines until I was satisfied they'd work

Nothing overheated
Nothing flew apart and killed us

Ground tests were a success

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Very Mormon Sunday

I think I've found a home for Dog

The family that invited me over for dinner last Sunday
Turns out they're very Mormon and very nice
Ten miles down the road
Up a long gravel driveway
Sits their large white house
Not large because they are ostentatious
But because there are eight members of the family there
All the kids were under seventeen
With the youngest being six
In an almost surreal contrast to the surrounding desert
Their large backyard has the only green clipped grass I've seen in the county

Needless to say
Dog loved every second of our visit

When we arrived we were ushered through the spotless home
Into the green backyard
Where most everyone was that late afternoon
I was offered ice water but no snacks
Because, I was told they were fasting until sundown that day
It was their family choice
So we played games in the backyard
Throwing the ball for Dog endlessly
Volleyball and badminton came and went
When the sun started setting Dad lit the grill
By the time the last sliver of sun disappeared
Leaving the most beautiful colors lingering in the sky
The food was ready to go
And there were mass quantities of everything!

Tired from all the playing
We all ate heartily
The food was top notch and I suspect mostly organic
It just tasted better to me
I was asked politely if I'd like to talk about their religion
Which I didn't mind
Religion is a favorite topic of mine
And I didn't know much about Mormonism

I learned a lot about them that day
How they lived and what they believed
And while I wasn't too tempted to convert
The way they were living made them happy
And I have to admit a certain degree of jealousy

Dog was jealous too
As I had to coax him into the truck
It's the first time he's had kids to play with
And he wouldn't have minded staying

The sixteen year old son complemented me on my truck
Smiling at it's lack of a top
Asking me when I was going to finish it
I told him I probably would not

I might leave that up to the next owner.
I didn't tell him that as he had said that
I'd decided it would be him

The mom and dad had enjoyed having me
And told me to stop by anytime
Giving me their numbers to call
Offering to watch Dog whenever I needed it
Even asking me where I'd gotten him
And if there were any more with his personality
I shared how I'd found him in a dog pound last year
The personality part was just luck

As we drove home
Dog's head and upper body out the side of the truck
I reflected
I think Dog will like it with them
After a few days I'll bet he won't miss me a bit

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Late Night Return

Three days in Las Vegas passed by in a blur
Of fun food gambling and new friends
My lovely hotel suite got worked over every night
By an assortment of the hotel staff and their friends
The good part about that is I didn't get charged if something got broken
But the good times were worth it even if I did

Dog finally learned to use the natural grass square
Much to our amusement and his horror
We'd all stop talking when he went and stare
He'd stare right back and do his business
Then go back to socializing with everyone like nothing happened

My troubles felt few as I soaked up the place
But on the last night there things took a bit of a turn
Right in the middle of a semi-sober game of charades
I had a wicked seizure which freaked everyone out
I hadn't told anyone what was wrong with me
So I got a free ride to the hospital out of it
The doctor's faces were pretty priceless
When I told them my medical issues
They recommended I stay there in their treatment
I thanked them but signed myself out
I've got other plans in mind

A short cab ride back to the hotel
I made short sad work of saying goodbye to my new friends
Collected Dog from the suite
He marked his grass square one more time
Grabbing a couple box meals to go
From the five star restaurant
And out the door we went

The four hour trip back home was pretty quiet
The stars shining down on us almost blindingly bright
Heat cranked against the desert chill
Dog curled up in the footwell to soak it up and sleep
Left alone with my thoughts in the night
I reflected on things
Questioned my plans
But reasoned that it was still right

Arriving home again Dog leapt from the truck
Checking things out to see if things smelled ok
I grabbed my stuff from the back and wandered to the trailer
On the front steps was a box and an envelope
Which read, "Hello neighbor!"
There were some assorted baked goods inside
Sealed in tupperware thank goodness
Or something would have eaten them

In the envelope a hand drawn card
Signed by a large family down the road about ten miles
I've been invited to dinner on Sunday
Dog came around the corner apparently satisfied with his look around
And began nosing at the boxes
So I opened some up and spread the love with him

With a muffin in one hand and the invitation in the other
I sighed and decided to go
Though more relationships was the last thing I thought I needed
Sitting down in my favorite chair I had one more cookie
Then slowly fell asleep sitting there
Dog warming my toes

Friday, January 13, 2012

KBKS 6 - Penthouse Suite

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada
Is what the iconic sign said
After arriving I have to say I do feel welcome

Without too much trouble
And a wad of hundred dollar bills
I found a casino hotel willing to take me and Dog
The valet didn’t know what to think of the truck
He made a face at me when I tossed him the keys
Or maybe he was reacting to my squishing tennis shoes
Still wet from the run through the desert
I’m not sure

I grinned and asked him if he had a current tetanus shot
He said, “What?”
I pointed at the rough edges from where I sawed off the roof
And he laughed
He was good with it when I pressed a Benjamin into his hand
Money sure makes things easier
But I’ve got the budget to live large for a short time

Dog shook himself wetly on the bellhop
We both agreed it made the guy smell better
So I carried my own bags
Across the marble lobby
Dog’s tails clicking on the surface
Making time with my shoe squishes
A sample musician’s bread and butter

I’ll stop saying I tipped everyone big right here
Just assume I did

So without a raised eyebrow I rented the penthouse suite
We made ourselves at home immediately
Enjoying this swanky executive retreat
I ordered some champagne and two rare steaks for lunch
The waiter found us in the hot tub when he arrived
I waved him over and had him pop the bubbly
He seemed friendly so I invited him over after his shift
And to bring some friends too
This is not a date
I had him grab the spare room key as I didn’t know when I’d be back
I’m going down to the strip to take in a show or two
Dog plans on staying in and having a nap
It’s better than a kennel
The concierge even sent up a natural grass square
It’s for dogs to do their business on
Who knew?

Wiggling my toes in the bubbling water
I called down to the lobby
Inquiring about the rental of a tux and some shoes
I’d like to look like 007 I told them
I was told that it would be just so
Things sort of falling into place for the evening
I dried off and laid down for a nap
The meds make me a little upsy downsy
Sometimes I’m wired after taking them
At others pretty sleepy

Dog climbs up beside me
And rubs his body on the comforter
Before burrowing into the pillow
And staring at me

Thursday, January 12, 2012

KBKS 5 - Vegas Bound

I'm wet
So is Dog
We set out for Vegas at dawn
The weather was beautiful
The desert sunrise breathtaking
My meds were working wonderfully
All was right with the world

Then it started raining
Which normally wouldn't be a problem
After all, a 1977 Chevrolet truck is designed to keep out the weather
But this one doesn't have a roof anymore


Last week I took a short sanity break
And had a few beers
With every passing twelve ounce
My eyes fell upon a Sawzall on the bench
Then the roof of the truck
More and more often

Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore
And the red pickup roadster was born
After removing all the jagged edges with a grinder
It was pretty not half bad looking too

I rationalized that this was the desert
How often can it rain?

Not much is the answer
Or often

At the first drops I looked up in dismay
My old mentality briefly breaking in
Dog picked up on it too
And tried to hide from the water up behind the windshield

But after a few minutes of getting good and wet
I started laughing
This is awesome
I'm driving an old pickup truck
With the roof chopped off
Through the desert
In a wicked rainstorm

What an absurdly awesome situation
I turn up the radio and start singing to the '80's station
I feel like a kid again playing in the rain
With two hundred miles to go to Vegas
Dog began barking excitedly along with my singing

I share a piece of wet jerky with Dog
This is the best time I've had in years

We motor onward to Las Vegas
Dripping water from everywhere as we go
Laughing and singing
With jerky breath

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

KBKS 4 - Space Suit Gasket Blues

As the sun rises
It marks four months into this project
I've worked at it every day
From dawn to dusk plus a few hours
Dog has been a stalwart friend
Putting up with my lousy musical taste
Stoically watching me with Dread Zeppelin swirling around him
Not even flattening his ears
I think he deserves a doggy medal
I'll have to think of someplace for him to go
I don't think it would be fair to take him with me
It's a one way trip and he is only a few years old
He's got years and years left in him

I'm cutting new gaskets for the suit today
On a whim I decided that it would be a good thing to check
And it's fortunate that I did
As I took apart the sections of suit
The gaskets crumbled away
Some to literally dust
Apparently Russian rubber isn't that robust
So I figured out some durable rubber to use
and ordered several large pieces
And here I sit with all manner of scissors and x-acto knives
Cutting fitting and testing
Pretty boring stuff
Even Dog has gone to take a nap in the sunny spot outside the tent

I think I need a vacation
Not a real one mind you
Just a few days to blow off some steam
I think I'm going a little crazy
Sure, crazy-'er' if you insist
This wouldn't be a bad time to do it
I've got several things in motion on the jet
None of which will be ready for about a week to install
My custom titanium stressed powerplant bulkhead is being machined
All the fasteners are here though and I've laid out the pattern on the structure
It's going to look sweet when I put it in
I'm taking lots of pictures so I can share what I've done
Not till I'm about to leave of course!
Too many busy bodies would want to stop me
Probably take me down by force
Assholes

I sourced a third rocket motor similar to the first two
A little smaller in output though
I'm installing it in the rear along the centerline
Might come in handy for a little extra boost
Extra fuel tanks are being fabbed in town
One for each chemical compound
I'm maxing out the takeoff weight
And I hope there's enough to go around

I'm leaving the tip tanks on and using them for extra propellant
I'll just use the wing tanks for Jet A
I won't need as much of that
Just enough to get me up to altitude and speed
Everything is going swimmingly with months to spare
The day looks to be beautiful
What more could a man need

Right
A vacation
I think I'll go to Vegas

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

KBKS 3 - The Moon Is My Mistress

The moon is my mistress as she rises and sets
I dream of her nightly always at my best
I have no real reason to go
I don't know anyone there
Nor is it a great place to retire
Due to the known lack of air
But it calls to me like a siren

Now on these baby steps to get there
My time slowly ticking down
I draw sketches on my pad carefully
Unable to keep the shakes at bay anymore

I've taken a few private lessons in a Cessna 172
That combined with my aviation knowledge
Should be enough to help me do what I need to
My temporary outbuilding concealing my skunk works
Flutters at the bottoms as the desert breezes blow through
The dog keeping a watch for the occasional animal to wander in

At the center of attention is my project dujour
The Learjet in question is currently in partial disrepair
I dragged it home two weeks ago behind my pickup truck
What a sight we must have been on the county highway
Then cutting across three miles of dry lakebed

In this project I'm making liberal use of plywood and glue
Industrial strength deck screws are doing their part too
I'm not neglecting the traditional arts
I'm bending some metal and shooting rivets to make a few parts
I'm just cutting corners on a few things
The grains of sand are not forgiving
As they funnel down the hourglass
Time adding up for it all

I'm routing nitrogen lines throughout the fuselage
These I will use as primitive reaction jets
They'll stick through the fuselage at various points
I'll control them on a plywood control panel via manual flip valves
Fed from the two standard sized 3000psi tanks mounted behind the cockpit
Which rests right next to four oxygen cylinders
It looks like a spider's web on my hand drawings
The feed line coming from the cylinders to the board
Then fanning out to different places on the external skin
I've been bending tubing for two days now, but the end is in sight
I'm not bothering to seal up holes or get new gaskets
My new suit it coming by FedEx this week
It's Russian space program surplus from 1972
A marvelous piece of cold war engineering
Shiny, lightweight and just my size
Still saying "CCCP" on the breast too

This doesn't feel so mad anymore
It feels much like any job you do with a deadline
It's just that after my deadline date passes
One way or another I'll be through

Sun setting on my home encampment now
I fire up a few more halogen floor lights
Telling Dog to get me a beer just brings a crooked look
So I trudge over to the fridge and grab a couple
Throwing him a treat in the process as it's not his fault he misunderstood

I think I'll stay up on this for a few more hours
Make the most of this lovely night

Monday, January 9, 2012

KBKS 2 - This Happened Before The Last

I think I’ll blame the Tequila
And way too much reading of certain Sci-Fi authors
Otherwise I have zero defense for this mad idea

I want to go to the moon and I don’t care how it happens
Everyone has a bucket list
At least lots of people do especially after that movie
And since the diagnosis I’ve decided that I’m kicking mine in
Before my body betrays me and succumbs to the sickness

I’ve got about a year

So I’m doing the easiest thing on my list and I’m going to the moon
How? A sane person might ask
I’ll try to explain this madness:

Ever seen the movie The Right Stuff?
Regardless I’ll elaborate on the scene I’m talking about
Yeager takes his NF-104A on a zoom climb to an altitude record attempt
There’s a rocket motor on the tail of the aircraft for high altitude thrust
Reaction nozzles on the fuselage assist in maneuvering in the thin air

It looks like he could get into space almost

I cashed in my retirement fund, sold my house, my collections, and moved
Here in the high desert with my truck and my dog, Dog
I can gaze out at the dry lake bed next door and think about what I’ll do
I’m seeing a guy about some surplus rocket motors tomorrow
I found an old Learjet online this morning only twenty miles away
It’s being sold for salvage
But it looks like it’s all there

I have to hurry
My left big toe has gone numb on me
I cut myself shaving today too
My hand jumped for no damn good reason
And wouldn’t stop shaking for an hour

Not enough time, dammit!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

KBKS 1 - Picking Up Towards The Middle



So I lied

The ground flashes by as I streak along at full power
Just twenty feet above the blurred earth
Razor thin wings cutting the air at six hundred miles per hour
I’d be worried about being reported
But I’ve taken measures
Well, I painted the registration on the fuselage
Just like I’m supposed to
In block letters about one shade in contrast
To the ghostly flat white that covers the exterior of the Learjet
And in the absolute minimum legal size

This is the first
And only
Test flight
So I’m flying it like I stole it
Some would say reckless
But I beg to differ
This dream
The last dream
THE dream
Is coming true
It’s my mental musing done in metal
The original sketches done on a Burger King napkin
I have no engineering degree
But I have faith and that seems to be enough
To suspend the laws of physics and fear at least for now

I pull back on the yoke hoping and praying
Leaping out of ground effect at just below the speed of sound
All the blood rushing to my feet as I pull at three gees
My thumb taps the red button
The Shiny Red Button
Held to the left grip with a dozen loops of safety wire

The airframe shudders as a new vibration joins the rest
Accompanying the sixteen thousand rotations per minute
Of internal General Electric suck squeeze bang blow
Now a trio of hydrogen peroxide and kerosene combustion
Compressed through three fixed nozzles
Collectively add twenty five thousand pounds of thrust
Bristol Siddeley’s finest contribution to chemical propulsion
Escorts me through mach one and to a predictable problem

Almost simultaneously the primary engines compressor stall
I chop the throttles
Release the button
And level the aircraft out
In a few moments once again becoming a subsonic beast

Before descending I bring the now recovered engines back to power
Happily cruising at twenty thousand feet
And five hundred miles per hour
Yes
This airframe will do nicely I think to myself

I told the man I was going to make myself a man cave out of the
fuselage
The coolest aviation themed man cave there ever was

The wings were going to become high end conference tables

The engines
To be disassembled for decorations

Like I said

I lied