Sunday, September 10, 2017

THE DEATH WISH DRIVER by Mark Anthony Given

Writing is like driving at night in the fog.  You can only see as far as your headlights, 
but you can make the whole trip that way. -E. L. Doctorow

                    I HAD THIS guy pick me up hitch hiking one time down south who turned out to be The World's Worst Driver of All Time.  Late 90's pick up truck with a beat up Mississippi plates with four on the floor and a fifth under the seat...
                  THE FIRST COUPLE of times he did it I thought he just made a mistake, he was nervous, or he was just plain stupid and a bad driver.  Not this idiot.  Whenever, and every time we came to a STOP sign he would almost come to a complete stop like your supposed too, and then ease out into the middle of oncoming traffic, and suddenly stop dead center of the road.  Half turned, and half didn't. A fifth of Traveler's Remedy or banged up bottle of Southern Comfort rolled out from under the seat and got wedged under the brake right before I was fixing to throttle him to let me out.  Broad daylight middle of the afternoon, not a cloud in the sky and no rain in sight after nearly causing a four car pile up we battered down the road at probably thirty forty miles an hour because someone set the idle too high.  Swerving in and out of traffic on this busy back lane road heading for a major intersection.  Fuck me.  We were going too fast to hop out, and I knew it was a matter of time before gravity came calling and this was probably gonna hurt...   I found out later,
 THE DEATH WISH DRIVER didn't drink;  The fifth under the seat was for his passengers....

To be continued...
10:32 AM 6/24/2017

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Bad Dreamer by Mark Anthony Given


 The dreams of good men are better than those of ordinary people. -Aristotle

           EVERY SINCE I quit smoking pot I been having bad dreams.  Growing up I would never watch horror movies because I didn't want them images in my head.  Always turn my head when bad things appear on screen or passing car accidents.  And, if something did happen I or I would see something I would immediately block it out of my mind.  That's why what I'm fixing to tell you might have really happened and it's not really a dream; it might have really happened...
           I THINK I was in California because of how bright the light was, the lighting in California is much different for some reason, which is why so many movies are made there.  Or even Montana where you immediately notice how nice your photographs come out because of how clean the air is.  Anyway, it could have been anywhere because I have hitch hiked from one end of this country to the other many times.  It was probably early on because it was in an urban environment on a kind of busy street four way street  mid day, traffic was blowing by probably forty miles an hour and I was watching people closely as they passed me actually making eye contact with them as they passed me with my arm out with my thumb out facing on coming traffic.  Close enough that if someone stuck their hand out a car window they could have high fived me.  I was always terrified of getting hit by a car or getting picked up by a serial killer and watching out for the cops all at the same time.   

          A single dream is more powerful than a single reality. -J.R. Tolkien

THE DEAD GIRL in my dreams won't die.  She was probably twenty with long straight blond hair and striking blue eyes staring right at me.  A classic  Corvair van that was highly polished and gleaming like a show car on its way to a weekend rally with an excited middle aged man had made eye contact with me and tapped his brakes as he came up on me like he was going to stop and with a big smile on his face and a crazed look like he was stoned out of his mind slammed on the brakes coming to a complete stop.  The pretty young girl who wasn't wearing a helmet driving a Honda small engine motorcycle or even a Vespa never even had time to stop slamming into the back of the shiny show car exactly parallel to where I was standing and was looking right into my eyes.  And she stuck there for some reason and time stood still as I stared at her like looking into my eternity and my first thought was that she's all gone and I'm still here and it was all my fault.  
                     IN THE MIDDLE of the night, here in the quiet of Montana thirty years later she returns, her expressionless face stares at me in what I hope is only my bad dream...  

Friday, July 15, 2016

Smile by Mark Anthony Given

Use your smile to change the world don't let the world change your smile.

           SMILE TO YOURSELF when nobody's around; just you, all alone,  a slight smile to yourself no one will ever see.  I read a scientific study in the Seventies that held that by just smiling, the arraignment of over one-hundred muscles releases a  drop of happy juice into your bloodstream, so I decided to try it.  I was hitchhiking across the country in 1977 and smiled at people like a lunatic, but after a while decided to tone it down and just smile to myself.  That inner secret just between me and myself nobody will ever know.....  
             AFTER A WHILE I began to force myself to just bust out laughing for no particular reason, to try an accelerate the process... and I still do.  Bust out a small laugh and then maintain the smile as long as possible.   Smiles are infectious;  people start smiling back at you, and you get an instant charge of happiness transmitted from Soul to Soul like secret knowledge passed between humans the first time they Kiss.... and Smile at the same time... 
             ABOUT three weeks, BAM!  I started bursting out of bed like a spring chicken hopping the fence out back with nobody around, and happiness was upon me like a coat of warm sunshine from the inside out...

 I had created my own Happiness!!! 

It Could Make You Happier
Making an emotional face—or suppressing one—influences your feelings
We smile because we are happy, and we frown because we are sad. But does the causal arrow point in the other direction, too? A spate of recent studies of botox recipients and others suggests that our emotions are reinforced—perhaps even driven—by their corresponding facial expressions.


317 Words
Copyright by Mark  Anthony Given 2017
All Rights Reserved

Friday, June 03, 2016

12 Indians 1 Bottle of Brandy by Mark Anthony Given

           Spring 2002, Idaho border heading into Montana on Interstate 90 thru some of the ruggedest, hairpin death defying curbs over miles of Mountain's and three thousand foot inclines with snow on top in the middle of June.  The last town before all that half way down a long entrance ramp so I can be seen by the traffic on the interstate.  Traffic in the Northwest on Interstate 90 is busy all year round and that was before legal pot with people going to Florida or Maine.  I have hitchhiked every inch of it to the Montana / Wyoming state where I do a sudden U-Turn.  Every time I leave Montana I have a feeling in the pit of my being that feels like I am dying of cancer or some imagined terminal illness until I cross that state line and my soul is again at peace.
VAN FULL OF DRUNKEN INDIANS, floor to ceiling, a big commercial twelve or twenty seater Econoline with four bench seats with twelve Indians in various states of inebriation the double doors swung open right where I was posted up leaning against the barrier to keep people from running into a mountain.  Fuck me, I look up and some are smiling, some are passed out, they were all young men except the driver who my age and stone sober kinda pretty Indian women, telling me to come on, get in like it was a done deal.  I could smell Apricot Brandy and similar noxious odors emitting from several feet away, I couldn't refuse without insulting them, so I acted like I was thrilled to be getting a ride through the mountains with a load of drinking Indians.  I grabbed my stuff and made my way to very back squished between the biggest of them doing three bills, anyway (300 lbs.) passed out.  Another of the biggest of them was on my immediate right about twenty with a brown paper bag of reeking Apricot Brandy, blue bandanna, denim shirt opened and everyone was smelling like the ass end of an eighteen-hour road trip.  
First thing out of his mouth was, 
"Here, have a sip." 
             Handing me the roughed up small brown bag.  I refused it, non-shalant, like I just wasn't thirsty.  I looked around to see where I was in case I didn't know I was surrounded by Indians and most of them were curious to see my response.  I could see the guy next to me was kind of in charge, like the Captain of their team, or whatever, and I could see he was at first shocked, then, angered, and then calmed back down, I suspect because of how calm I was.  
The sober lady driving explained that they were coming back from some tribal event in Priest Pass, Idaho, going back to Ketchum, Idaho, an hour down the road and an hour north from there.  Before I got out of there I felt like I had a shot at the pretty one and they all but begged me to come up to the Rez with them, but I told them I learned long ago, don't get off the Interstate.  If you live like within a fifteen-minute walk of it, I might, but by and large, I learned early on, and it says so in the Book of Proverbs, stay out of other people's houses.  I got everything I need right with me, right down to a couple cans of Sardines and peanut butter and Tang. 
THE BRANDY MADE its appointed rounds, and the most boisterous fell off into a slumber as the miles piled up.  After the initial death defying curves coming down out of the mountains, once in Montana, you could see it leveling out into farm land and an exit every so many miles.  I was wide awake and the guy next to me, who looked like would give me the most trouble if it I made it past the other twelve Indians, said to me after we warmed up to each other.
"You looked like were about to shit your pants when we pulled up....."
He left that hang there, but I 
To be continued.
3:59 PM 6/3/2016

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

My Katrina by Mark Anthony Given


 Any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still know where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.
 -Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

               THE SILENCE was eerie and every night I woke up in the five-hundred dollar a night hotel room at President Casino Broadwater Resort overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, one month after Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005, made me question my sanity, and now ten years later, I'm fixing to tell yall what really happened.  Boots on the ground (maybe flip flops) eye-witness first-hand account.  When people didn't check out thru the front desk Fire and Rescue had to kick the doors in because the electric locks weren't working.  They had to verify no one is in there because the computer said they never checked out.  Usually, two or three whacks with an ax and the could reach in an unlock them.  Two or three on each floor.  I found one on the top floor front and center, and like another twenty thousand vacant motel rooms:   no human's allowed and even the birds were gone.  No squirrels, bees, not a bug on the ground and it looked just like a bomb went off and this is what's left.  Shit scattered everywhere.  All I could think of was the novel I read when I was a kid by Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land because absent any sign of life other than the gentle constant sway of ragged and torn small plastic shopping bags caught where the moss should have been hanging from the ancient Oak Trees, it was dead silence and totally creepy.  Most folks would have been way too scared but I'd been living on the streets nearly all my life, and I kinda liked it.  It was a lot like being in a real world Twilight Zone.
               I HAD BEEN running out of New Orleans, the den of inequity, to the tranquility of twenty-six miles of man made white sandy beach from Biloxi to Pass Christian, Mississippi, just forty-five minutes from the New Orleans French Quarter my base of operation in a twenty year one man crime wave I still write about in my blog Real Life Heist.  I knew every inch of the beach and even walked the entirety of it listening to Jack Kerouac's "On the Road," on audio CD's I swiped from Barnes and Nobel.    There was armed national guard at all the main arteries to the beach right where the railroad was, usually about a mile off the beach itself.  But you could turn into neighborhoods and meander your way down to the beach if you knew the area, and that's just what I did.  Went straight to the richest part where the President Casino and twenty six hole golf course and every room upscale with real oak furniture and giant televisions with FM radios in stereo.  I went to the front high roller suites which had the best views and I could watch for anyone coming both ways.   The first day there headed straight to the administrative offices and casinos and that's where I spent most of my time in the back in the laundry and Maintenance offices.    The only damage was the very front pool area and hotels rooms facing the beach.  The President Boat was directly across the street at the back of the Marina full of yachts now a few laying everywhere.  The riverboat itself unmarred came ashore down the beach on top of a Denny's.  For some reason people believed that the beach was contaminated and for nearly two months anyone and everyone was banned....except me and I never saw another soul the entire two weeks I roamed the halls of wealth and opulence four hundred thread count sheets and giant Turkish bath towels and read the book of Deuteronomy to keep my my mind right.....

                 AND THEN in the middle of the night, just like a Stephen King's unreal horror story, in reality, was a dull knocking and thumping far away like another section of the hotel and the knocking and pounding was added groaning labor and a metal pipe ringing off a concrete floor in the bottom of the hotel all sounding like it was coming out of the back walls, and then the sounds of footsteps getting a little close each night.....

                THE STRANGEST thing happened to me I have to tell you about before I finish the bump in the night story.  I had left for a few days and the beach was officially opened or at least most of it so I headed straight back because I knew there was money literally laying on the ground everywhere you went down there in copper and aluminum and who knows what else.  Right around the second week of October, the sun sets early and it was just getting dark when I got let out right where I-110 empties onto Highway 90 heading West back towards New Orleans always a spectacular sunset.  Very little traffic and nothing was open I began walking looking for a place to sleep.  I had a backpack and sleeping bag and everything I needed, I walked maybe a mile and an old historic cemetery behind a wrought iron fence the old red brick had collapsed and part of a headstone and mausoleum lay all over the sidewalk almost in the road.  My first instinct was to start picking it up but I didn't, but I did notice the name: Stern as in Howard Stern and Stern means "Star," according to Howard in German.   He had my birthday April 27 and died on October 12 a hundred years ago, tomorrow...
          I DON'T KNOW why but it really spooked me walking into the unknown, no street lights just the moon and the stars and occasional car lights.  Much of the sidewalk was broken and I knew I had to find somewhere to sleep before I broke my neck.  I finally come on this stretch of beach that used to be old antebellum homes with wrought iron along the sidewalk and the homes set up high and mighty off the road except now there was just a slab there and nothing else.  I turned into one at random, I walked up the few steps to the perfectly manicured front lawn at a turn in the road where I had a perfect view of both directions.  I stretched out right there up high where I couldn't be seen from the road on plush St. Augustine grass under beautiful old oak trees blown to bits but still standing with a beat up and tattered plastic grey shopping bag in shreds for leaves.   The next morning I set on the front steps to the house that was completely gone except the red brick steps and the bare slab and I notice the ornamental mailbox was bent all the way over and level with the ground from the direct hit and two-hundred and thirty mile per hour winds.  Ancient black wrought iron and on it said, "Stern".....
           IT'S EXACTLY three miles from Biloxi to West Biloxi highway 90 tracks the coast line in one of America's Greatest Drives.  Twenty-six miles of combed by giant machines white sandy beach and patches of motels or old homes and large apartment complexes.  The main gate of Keesler Air Force Base is just off the beach right where the Biloxi Lighthouse is.  Along the beach in that section are a handful of nice homes where one would be a slab and the next barely damaged.  One minute your life is going along like you always known it and the next your looking at your entire house gone and everything you ever owned and now your sole possession is a muddy torn black and white sepia photograph of your mother when she was a little girl on her first bicycle looking up into the camera at her daddy and your whole world ends right here, right now.....
           WHEN I GOT to West Biloxi it was gone.  Just the front of the beach was wiped out, and sucked back out and then blown back in and shit was everywhere.  When the tides out you can see for a mile and the early morning hours the fog provides a horror movie set for the grave yard scene.  When I was the only one down there I developed a sudden urge or fascination with linen and expensive terrycloth bath towels and made my way a bee line to housekeeping.  Because they were always in the back they were nearly always never touched.
           I KNEW I needed to find the highest ground so I could assess what was where and that just happened to be the Wet & Wild Slip and Slide a good seventy or eighty feet up.  When I got half way up there I discovered a maintenance room for pumps and water work's, etc.  Had a beautiful 360-degree view with a wrap around or peninsula porch and an entrance in the back so I turned it into my temporary command post and hauled up all the stuff you find in a motel room along the beach into my maintenance room in the sky....
         REMEMBER I TOLD you when I first got down to the beach how spooky it was with no birds or bugs or squirrels?  Now all the fish are gone and the entire beach was now littered with all that tourist crap found in the dozens of t-shirt and souvenir shops.  It was like being in a dream in broad daylight and everything you would ever need would appear before you as you needed it.  Brand new bottle of expensive Tropicana Banana Boat Sun Tan Lotion?  Flip flops?  Sunglasses?  Snack food?  How about a hot Miller Lite?  Right across from my new command post seventy feet above the fray used to be one of South's best inventions, the BEER BARN where you drive right into the barn and point at what you want and are served right in your car...  They were known for fifteen foot high stacks of beer and now that stuff was all over and everywhere...
       I KNEW this place would be crawling with people/scavengers searching for copper and cast aluminum and it was everywhere.  Every one of the thousands of motel rooms had individual air conditioning units and every restaurant had huge refrigeration and freezer units made of all copper and everything was everywhere.  I made another bee line for that giant barge casino The President made up to look like an old Mississippi Paddle Boat they had tied to pillars at the end of the Broad Water Beach and Resort, Marina.  Sure enough, in a straight line from where it was to where it came ashore on top of Denny's, probably one thousand yards West, the beach was littered with the floatsom of capitalism.   Took months to dismantle piece by piece under 24-hour security to keep the metal scavengers away.  The first thing I noticed was that all the marine life was still gone.  Usually smells of sun tan oil, boiled shrimp, and an occasional dead fish.  Everything looked the same absent the smell and any sign there was ever any fish even there...very spooky.  To make it even stranger, the water was sparkling clean.  

I found this on the beach then and I still have it.  
        THE CASINOS had several days to prepare for Hurricane Katrina so I didn't expect to see money everywhere but I did find dice.  Found six or seven all told but gave them away over the years.  I still got one though.  Do you know how well they guard their dice?  If one comes up missing during any given shift, someone will be fired.  You can see mine the nicks and mars in this one I have left that it's been through a Hurricane and says "The President," right on it.  I might put it on eBay just for the hell of it...
          BEFORE I ABANDONED my luxury accommodations at the Presidential Suite at the Broadwater Beach and Resort I manhandled a giant mattress next door into the middle of a huge vacant lot with three hundred feet of beach view, that was completely overgrown with bushes and trees over your head.  Smack in the middle was a huge oak tree with branches in every direction I set up a wall tent with the big mattress on the bottom and began looking for work.  Everywhere you looked once the recovery was in full swing you would see Fireman size water hoses used to keep the dust down as motels and apartment buildings and restaurants, all were scooped up into buckets of front end loaders and hauled off at a thousand dollars a pop for every truck you seen heading to the dump way out across the Back Bay Biloxi, to landfills fifteen or twenty miles inland.  With the government footing the bill, money was being made hand over fist.  One job site I was on actually had a woman, and you would see people just sitting in their car all day logging the coming and going of the trucks and if this lady didn't give you here stamp of approval, you didn't get paid.  First time I talked to her she asked me if I knew where she could score pain killers...
    I WALKED up to a job site on a side street right by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum that was rearing down and hauling off everything in site.  The only thing left when we left was a slab and we tore a couple of them up and hauled them off.  They were hell on your equipment and why do that when you got paid by the "yard," not the "weight," or "gross."  You could have a 72-yard trailer slap full of hotel mattress and TV stands or concrete and rebar.... and got paid more for the TVs and TV stands...
The first guy I talked to standing around in the middle of the street watching everybody else so I  figured he was in charge.  Turned out to be Wild Willy Something and he was the boss man's longtime right-hand man and hired me on the spot.
    WE WERE SURROUNDED by devastation in various stages of recovery and basically looked like a war zone and the place had taken sustained direct hit's with cars on top of houses, it was completely bizarre and something I never thought I would see in America.  They had two huge John Deere 770 Front end Loaders smashing down what was standing and scooping up and dumping in waiting trucks and away it went.
    I showed him my Montana Identification Card that I'm sure he thought was a License and asked me what qualification I had.  I looked around a moment at all the destruction and just said;
    "I'm pretty good a tearing shit up...."    

             WHAT A LOT OF PEOPLE don't know that on the ground floor of the two hundred room motels have a cable of solid high-grade copper about the size of a big man's wrist and there's usually six or seven of then running the length of the building, say one hundred feet at three or four dollars a pound;  that's a lot of money just laying there...but getting it out needs a specialist.  Somebody that can turn this ten thousand pound machine on a dime and take several hundred pound tong and grab onto them just so and then just start backing up.  Looks like black gold snaking out of the earth the operator took off down a side road and dragged them into an area already cleaned but out of sight.  Like they were,  we'd get two-grand for it, but if we got the black rubber coating off it, it was worth ten grand and that's where I come in...
            WILD WILLY told me he'd give me $500 if I got that rubber off nearly a thousand feet of copper cable.  How do I get it off?  Said he didn't know, most people burnt it... Boss was back in Mobile an hour or so away, he'd pay me for the afternoon and five-hundred.... I had that shit off there forty-five minutes and spent the rest of the afternoon two blocks away laying on the beach and trying to burn the house down with the 420. I stretched them all out side by side and just bent over them with my Leatherman and slit'em open all the way down and they popped right out... It was like the Wild West immediately after the storm and you knew because all the fast food joints suddenly didn't have any dollar menu items, anywhere.  The Home Depot looked like a trap house with the cops on vacation 24/7.  You never have seen so much sheet rock in your life.  Anything that got wet in the South humid viral atmosphere immediately began to mold.  That's why they had the water hoses keeping everything wet to keep the mold down....
           I FINALLY FOUND my calling and busted out of bed every morning and hopping over the fence to get to work to smash shit up, break things up into little pieces and stomp on them before throwing them away.  All my life things broke right in my hands because I was too rough with them and now I get to break shit up and get paid for it.  You know that scene in Analyze This? Where he shoot's into the pillow and the analyst ask him if he feels better and with a big smile he say's 

"Yes, I do!"  
Imagine that times ten every day, that's how good it felt, I ain't kidding you.  After I walked into a dozen or so apartment house or hotel rooms and even big nice houses before smashing them to the ground, scooping them up and dumped them into waiting seventy-two yard dump trucks, I quit caring about all the stuff.  One twenty four hour storage facility where people pay to keep their stuff I shoveled soaking wet family albums and boxes of people's personal lives into the trash like an undertaker.  I stopped to look thru one when the boss wasn't watching me like a hawk so I wasn't sucking the clock and vowed to never to do that was heartbreaking...
    I WAS DOING the stomping.  After the truck was loaded I would have to jump up there and make sure nothing was going to fly off when it went over the back bay bridge.  A sheet of plywood thru your front windshield can't be good.  I usually stood around with giant water-hoses keeping everything soaked to keep the mold inactive and tried to figure out a way to be an "Operator," the guy who is wheeling them giant machines around that pick up a full-size van and or smash it to pieces, that's where the real fun's at...
          IN EVERY WALK of Life Aristotle said there is The Best, Not So Good and Bad.  Aim High but settle for the middle.  In the World of Destroyers reigns the Don of Destruction.  I'm talking about a guy who will pull up in front of your fenced house and have it in rubble in an hour and a half and have it gone to a slab fort-five minutes later....with all your stuff in it.  You could always tell a rookie because they would have half the house on the side walk and all over the street but this guy you wouldn't find nay a misplaced brick;  the place completely collapsed in on itself is a lot easier to haul away.  Were 'Fools Fear to Tread they called, 

"Where's Bode?"
    I heard that twenty times a day before I met him and ten times a day after I met him; the World's Most Destructive Man was a one hundred and twenty pound black recidivist probably thirty something crackhead.  He had worked for the company longer than all of them except the Son and this son of a bitch could slap get it done.  He drove this ten thousand pound behemoth like it was a Go-Kart!!!  When Diesel engines reach a certain temperature you don't have to keep revving it like a chainsaw or a minibike....  Not this idiot..... and when I told him that he said, 
"Fuck that!  Watch this!"  
Off he went just like he always did....  I know we tore down several one hundred plus motel rooms along the beach, a couple of trailer courts, a bunch of apartment houses.  I went in some and it looked like people left their dinner on the table and took off leaving everything....  Anyway, the hopped up out of his mind crack head took out a half a dozen power lines, gas lines and water and even the Trifecta taking out a complete trailer park right on Pass Road.  He backed into a power pole and the transformers popped he jolted forward knocking a trailer that wasn't scheduled for demolition off it's foundation, hence to water and gas lines ruptured.  Less than an hour later the power company's there asking questions but we didn't see anything...
          THE HOUSE was forty or fifty years old and took three months to build and the Tax Assessor in 2004 said it was worth $186,374 and Bode had som bitch smashed to pieces that would fit in a big 72 square yards truck and on the way to the dump in an hour an a half.  He found a shady spot nearby and called someone to serve him and they'd be there in under twenty minutes.  Whenever he wasn't dismantling someones whole world with the focus of drone pilot firing laser weapons he looked like he was bent over the wheel talking on the phone or fiddling with something under the seat.  As soon as the dark sedan with a large black women would pull off it wouldn't be long and the phone in the pocket of the Willy standing next to me would ring and he'd say, 

"What's next boss?"
              THIS ONE MAN wrecking crew could tear down six or eight house down a day to a bare slab where most guys would be happy if the done one.  It was amazing to watch.  Would you trust your hundred and seventy thousand dollar machine of destruction over to a crackhead?
            BACK BAY BILOXI Bode was leveling some lawyer or doctor or politicians beautiful home that took a direct hit while I ransacked all the surrounding properties.  When we get done the Loader has to be taken to our staging area at Edgewater Mall right on the beach near the Colosseum but he doesn't have a license is on parole and won't drive on public streets.  Everyone's left and before he leaves with his dealer I get up in the driver seat and he says, "You see this?"  "You do this if you want to do that?"  You got it?  Leave it in fourth gear, 
I'll see you tomorrow."  

Jumps in the car and leaves me way the hell across the Biloxi Bay, probably ten or so miles from the beach.  I didn't have a drivers license much less a "CDL" or Commercial Drivers License you need to operate this on surface streets but I ain't never set behind nothing I couldn't operate and one day when the World's Most Destructive Man didn't show up for work the real party started when I got to smash up entire apartment houses, motels you name it...
It looked just like this not as green.

           FIRST THING I notices when I got on the surface streets in this giant machines is people tend to get out of your way and the more reckless I drove the less traffic I encountered... Oh, and you can't drive real fast because it will start bouncing around and won't stay on the road, and had  a tendency to pull sharply to the right for mailboxes...

              MY TENT was in the middle of a large overgrown lot probably three hundred yards from the beach, had a seven-hundred dollar hotel suite mattress nearly covered the entire floor, and I slept like a baby, every night.  Completely surrounded by debris mainly from the Broadwater Beach Resort right next door, I never bothered to pick any of it up because at night walking around anywhere near there you would break your neck or step on something to smack you in the face.  Stuff like four or five feet of copper tubing you would see behind every shower wall.  Anything you would find in a hotel was in that field.  It was better than having a sentry posted outside my tent while I slept.  If they got within shouting distance of me all you would hear is "Oh shit!  Owe!" every few minutes before they ever got to me... I was sleeping in a tent with twenty-three hundred dollars on me and there wasn't a motel room within a hundred miles.... The staging area at Edgewater Mall was less than a mile away and I had a bicycle.  That's what they called me at work, either "Bicycle Man, or usually just "Montana."

          I WAS directly underneath a ancient Southern Oak tree probably thirty, forty feet wide and a good sixty or seventy feet high with not a single leaf on it.  At night against only moonlight with just tattered plastic shopping bags making any noise at all, it provided a haunting reminder that something bad happened here.  Something bad enough to blow every leaf and moss off the trees and level entire buildings and four or five weeks later, not a bird or a bee not a squirrel, nothing.  It was truly eerie.  The one thing that made it all all right even after crushing peoples entire world like so much trash, was the surf.  Every couple of days when the tide was high you would hear the gentle slapping of the waves on the pristine beach and the water itself had not been this clean since before all the drilling rigs just miles off the coast, you can see them at night.  Some how that sparkling clean water and surf on the wind before I fell asleep at night, I just knew everything would be alright....
1:10 PM 9/16/2015

To be continued...


To be continued....

Copyright 2015 My Katrina by Mark Anthony Given
6:10 PM 9/1/2015    

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Holy Goof by Mark Anthony Given

Condense some daily experience into a glowing symbol, and an audience is electrified. 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson


          WHEN I WAS eighteen I hitchhiked across the United States; I got all my stuff stolen in Oklahoma and was a wanderer on the side of the road penniless with nowhere to go and no hurry to get there.  After I lost everything I had spent months preparing, the next night I was alone in the middle of the New Mexico desert a hundred miles from civilization, I suddenly knew why it's called "The Land of Enchantment," when the desert under a million stars and early Fall became completely alive, like I was in Grand Central Station in New York, except you couldn't see anything.  The strangest sensation of being completely alone with millions of eyes watching you.  Years later my first night in the middle of Montana miles from any town again the Big Sky Country was alight with stars, but a creeping eerie feeling from the complete absence of sound....complete silence... it took some getting used too, but it was exactly what I was looking for.  I lived in the Helena National Forrest in Grizzly Gulch, Montana where I could stop all the outside distractions, the incessant car alarms in the city or car doors slamming in the parking lot and time clocks and deadlines that need to be met.  Somewhere I could read and study the Torah.  No cable bills, car insurance, rent or mortgages.  Turn off the digital age long enough to grab onto to something that has been around since at least the Tenth Century before the death of Christ.  Before I even finished the Old Testament the first time I knew it had to be true.  What history of people would make up a story of betrayal, disobedience, murder, incest, on and on and expect you to believe it?  You would think they'd leave that part out....
          BUT BEFORE THAT, standing on the side of the road/interstate hitchhiking with nothing but the shirt on my back and shredded dignity, it became increasingly difficult to meet the eyes of oncoming traffic blowing right by me and never tap the brakes.
           CRISES OF CONFIDENCE and defiance and youth gave way to shame within hours of facing head-on hundreds of people glancing at you and stomping on the gas and merge onto the interstate and you and the 'likes of you, five minutes from now are a distant/forgotten memory.  There are a few times in your life where you are called on to the carpet to answer to yourself.  How the fuck you get here?  What the fuck just happen and WHAT are YOU going to do about it?  You idiot.  I had stuff in that backpack since the sixth grade, everything you would ever need to hitchhike across America and like the best-laid plans, I had no backup plan.  It never occurred to me that I would lose everything I owned in the middle of the country and be standing on the side of the road with nothing, and what surprised me more than anything, and my biggest disappointment at the time? I didn't have anyone to call.   Nobody to rescue me or send me money or check into a motel to figure something out, make a few phone calls...


SLOWLY THE IDEA of a perilous journey was recreated out of the debris of failure.

-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Last Tycoon

To be continued.10:34 AM 10/19/2014

Here's another story about loosing all my stuff while on the road.  Six time across country over twenty years....!/2014/10/the-sandals.html

"The Holy Goof," is a line from "On the Road," by Jack Kerouac
“The HOLY GOOF,” a wanderer incapable of fulfilling his obligations as a father and husband.
and also the title
The Holy Goof: A Biography of Neal Cassady


Copyright 2014 by Mark Anthony Given
All Rights Reserved
28 USC 1746, Invoking 90 Stat. 2541 and
Article 2(4) of the Berne Convention for the Protection
of Literary and Artistic Works

Friday, June 20, 2014

But still, like air, I'll arise. -Maya Angelou


You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll arise.

-Maya Angelou