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Archive for the ‘Life in general’ Category

Why read…why expand your mind.  We all have questions, and we hope to find them somewhere, even by a chance read.

What if this has the answer you’ve always sought?  The solution to the conundrum that has eaten away at you for many many years.  Some answers are simple, others complex, but even more address the failures we’re now finding in a broken system…a system that enslaves someone through debt.  Mortgage, student loan, whatever, we pay for the right to live in boxes, then a final box.  We demand freedom, but are slyly manipulated into contracts that remove any chance of utter creative liberty.  There are many systems, and the voices promoting this one are the same ones who control and administrate us daily.

Be good, help others, and do not consider yourself to be more than you are…we are not kings but brothers.  Share with others what they don’t have and you own in abundance…this can be money or a kind word, as wealth is not always a monetary concern.

Sometimes, the right word can mean more than a fistful of diamonds.  The meaning of life has value, but the cause of your pain is personal and private…something only you can fix…perhaps the answer is in helping others without a second thought  to an overwhelming  ego that drowns you in a sea of selfishness.

Keep your life free from trouble and bite the bullet…there really is a better way, and a faith in the divine can produce  a positive nature that will carry you above life’s troubles…you shall mount up as if upon the wings of eagles.

 

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D. Fitzgerald ©.

 

Everyone hears of a better way, a better life, and a better world; however, that world has become a dream.  Reality is corrupted by violence, painted in gore and hidden by lies.  That better life is a world within ourselves, within our hearts and within our minds.  We all agree, yet fail to be free.  It remains a concept…an idea we cannot share.

The real world is ruthlessly beyond some philosophical notion…it is inundated with images of blood, endless acts of senseless terror, and murder is measured with a daily tally.

Hate is hard to kill…vicious ideas survive, for fighting words needs a universal truth, and that truth depends on what you believe.  As long as angry murderers poison young minds with their invective, that ugly attitude will persist.  Murder begets murder: a vicious cycle.

Reeling from shocking images of death…acts of human anger prove their is no global brotherhood…we are a world adrift in darkness, our existence marred by a religion of revenge…a religion of death.  Perhaps an alien intervention is the only alarm that might show us we are of one race, and therefore of one mind.  Another unrealistic dream…or one that is suppressed and denied, letting the industries of war profit on our dreams.

Instead of peace we see war…instead of kindness, we see malice.  CNN reports what is relevant, and bad men command media attention with acts of brutal insanity; actions that inflict suffering, and kill innocents.  Instead of love, we only see hate…a hate that leaves a vision of bloodshed ripped apart our righteous souls.

Brutal violence becomes a poisonous tonic fed to children…kids that grow with hate and mature among lies.  Blinded and taught murderous passions, they are schooled in death, and taught to destroy.  They are instructed to kill on a massive scale.  No man an island, they scour continents, their souls twisted into murderous machines intent on maximizing their kills.  Extermination becomes their goal, and their minds are manipulated to harbor disgust for non-believers and distaste for mercy.  They never forget and never forgive.  They maim and kill with no regrets…they live to hate and hate to live.

Through hate filled eyes, they hide behind children and wives…with blinded views and lying tongues, they seek to kill and use their young.  Steered and controlled by leaders in loss of life, the fatalities mount as new bombs are found, indoctrinated, and re-programmed. Names are replaced by explosive potential.   Their goal becomes the annihilation of angels.

Bloodshed burns their inner soul, as demolition delights their angry eyes; to kill the blameless, to burn all bystanders, to lay waste to the innocent and free.

The desolation of abomination begets a vivid image…an image that controls minds and forgets the words of God…the will and grace of God.  The world must follow their hearts and fight all brutal bands of bullies; of prime importance, do something to protect the children of the world, for only love can cure hate…only peace can stop war.  Throughout the world, our future will depend on what our children learn: hate falters when fighting love.

Teach a child to love and it will spread; train them to hate and war will remain a way of life. They hear what they are told, and see what they are shown…hence, they will never perceive love, nor will they hear compassion.  Brainwashing, molding, and influencing morality, words and ideas erase a soul…replacing all with aggression and deadly delight.  Only Man can value wickedness…a hate that inflames Earthly passions.  Inversely, only God has the power of His word….words that create moral strength, bestow grace, and allow the righteous to mount up with wings like eagles.

 

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Please find the following words of truth…moreover, a few words on the meaning of life.  Presented without euphemisms or pulling punches, I seek meaning and speak plainly about life…all life.  Accordingly, the reality of life needs an update once in a while.  Yes…life’s meaning really changes with the times, and yes, it changes often, but usually holds some basic tenets at its root.  This is a small dose of reality that exposes the lies and spin doctoring that currently pass for journalism, political insight, or select words from the sponsor that is exploiting you.  Sadly, truth can only be taken in small doses; to counter this, we have fiction, which sometimes becomes so interchangeable, people don’t know the difference.  An important distinction to make, so it behooves us to take care and pay attention.These truths were realized in the past, yet are blatantly ignored today.  Wednesday morning at five o’clock as the day begins…an important line that could alter the history we think we know, and change the structure of reality we think of when listening to music.  Number nine.

I’ll avoid war, terrorism, or gratuitous violence; they are indeed serious symptoms of an improper and destructive world view, yet solving these problems is an endless debate over solution, cause, and effect.  No one will accept the hard choices that must be made, so why bother hashing them around.  Our world must change; ultimately, that is all anyone can agree on.  Implode or change…simple.  Anyway, I’ll leave war to an advanced society and more enlightened majority to solve.  Perhaps aliens really will show up and demand that we become peaceful…who knows?  Unless the power of money is removed from society, that civilization will slowly erode from this monetary power that creates corruption, greed, selfishness, conspiracy, and a host of other ills.  When the love of money exceeds the love of life, a fatal rot will continue to thrive in elite groups that lie and cheat to be falsely empowered by a duped public.  Elect the poor, for they know the value of a dollar, the importance of a meal, and the need for equity in all business transactions.

Hey…this is your life…the decisions are yours…so try and use your time wisely – help others, or at least become sincere. This is universal, although your situation at birth affects your lot in life, as well as your hopes and dreams.  It takes a lot of fighting to break out of such situations.

People can tell you what to do, but when alone, only you can make yourself busy, and find something to do.That concept leaves people frustrated with life, and often falling back on past traditions.

This is why so many people follow social patterns that have worked for centuries: get married, raise a family, and struggle to support that family. It hopefully provides love, life, and meaning to your existence…at least you’re a mother or father, and you have children to raise.  Notable and necessary, some embrace this as their reason to live, and never look beyond for different things to do. Some jump into careers that demand total devotion, and often require extensive education or specific talents. We also have free thinkers and bohemian attitudes that push more into creative careers, music, art, or writing.

In today’s world, our society has evolved into a foreseen consequence of population growth: too many creative people face not enough patrons to support their output, removing their ability to make a decent living from their labors. Pre-warned by anthropologists and basic demographics, we’ve reached the finite need for archeologists, scientists, and artists, along with countless other specialties. We have amateur astrologists with enough training to be scanning the heavens and producing discoveries, and even physicists or other graduates that end up driving a cab because there are no jobs.

Another factor at play is the inability of those with august careers to step aside for younger talent, and throughout our complex society, there is now a tendency for people to work until they die. Longer life spans contribute to this phenomenon, but the bottom line is still simply explained by acknowledging there are not enough top jobs to accommodate the scores of graduates our universities are producing.

This fact of life has had its own affect on career planning; specialists are becoming even more specialized, creating areas of expertise that were once covered by one all-encompassing title. As our technological society advances in equipment and training, there are new areas of expertise opening that were not there before. The key to a thriving economy of labor in Marxian terms is successful only when the instruments of production and overall advancement maintain pace with the number of people ready to enter that field. A consequence of this reality is that education becomes more central to success, and without a long and carefully planned period of preparation, many intelligent and skilled people fall through the cracks and become over-educated for the job they end up with…just to pay the bills.

In our technological society, money is needed more than ever, and the only areas to live without money are far from the centers of industry or large urbanized dwelling places.   The last few centuries have drastically changed humanity’s way of life, but the greatest change has taken place within the last 60 years. Population increases have urbanized all land around a city, and living in isolated areas now requires a lot of money and an independent trade to maintain this life, or the ability to devise some method to make money from the land itself. Gold mining is again popular, as the price of gold makes a few ounces valuable.

These are our realities: they influence our lives, limit our choices, and dictate our responses.   Becoming a lone wolf or independent operator that scorns society is not possible in our modern world. Living off the land requires that you buy the land…with large acres of wilderness, our governments limit access, and squatting is now punishable by jail. Yesterday, we had sojourners and travelers: today, we have homelessness and abject poverty. Lack of money is a major part of our modern lifestyle; poverty now produces widespread depression, alcoholism, and drug abuse. Proverbs from long ago, the wisdom of the Bible, stated that we should humanely give strong drink to those who suffer, and wine to those in despair.   They didn’t have drugs back then, but what they had was legal. Modern attitudes have stiffened outlooks, and our evolved society has made the only cure for depression only legal by a doctor’s prescription. Everywhere you look, bureaucratic laws and statues exist for every conceivable situation, and we live in a society of rule, law, and paperwork. The pursuit of freedom in such a society is impossible. People need proper identification to exist, social insurance numbers so they can pay tax, and an economic powerhouse that controls all forms of wealth, and charge you for the privilege.

Our modern society does not represent all the people, but since the system includes the majority, the minorities that once had options in life are now subject to approval by politicians, police, and a court system without mercy and rules without exception. An absolute conclusion from all this is that yesterday’s decisions make today’s quality of life.  Advice can be helpful, but personal insight helps traverse life’s bumpy road.

This is our brave new world,  Orwell’s 1984 nightmare, our technological revolution. We are either in the painful early stages of a miraculous new order of life, or suffocating in an explosion of elitist expansionism and secular growth. The meek are trampled underfoot, the weak are exploited by the strong, and the poor indentured slaves of the rich.  Not much has changed, and as Solomon said, there is nothing new under the sun, except the gap between the rich and poor is now a chasm of galactic proportions.

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© D. Fitzgerald

Note: also check out my new historical action thriller sample:
https://artidan007.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/novel-document-enigma-sample/

this novel is an exciting look at history, a past men are willing to kill for to keep hidden…and religions that create believers who will die to protect their personal versions, and bury anything that threatens to undermine its absolute authority. out soon…

Don’t Try This At Home
Preface:

Youth is a blunder, middle age a struggle, old age a regret, or something like that…

Secluded interview room – Police Station – 52 Division – 1988

Downtown Toronto, 10:15 P.M..

It was a small room—an extremely functional police interrogation room. Dirty concrete walls dripped with past agonies, the scuffed and scratched linoleum floor drenched in dread and dry blood. The only furniture a table and chair. It reeked of sweat, vomit, and urine; a soundproof sweat box used to get answers, one way or another. There were no windows; the thick door was sheathed in rusty steel, designed to instill fear, it muffled all screams, while a dangling bulb lit the square room in a harsh glare…the old light-in-your-face cop routine out of a bad detective movie. Interrogation tools were simple but effective—Corporal Polanski repeatedly opened and clenched his ham-like fists, while Lieutenant Storminsky juggled a battered phone book. The chair’s occupant, Lou McCraven, was baffled, beaten, and bruised. The two cops worked on Lou for over an hour—no good-cop bad-cop, both pummeled him at will. They sat on the table, staring at Lou. Polanski, a large uniformed harness bull, leaned over and whispered in Storminsky’s ear: “Unbelievable…I never thought I’d say this, but beating the crap out of this punk is starting to wear me down.” Storminsky smiled, gave him a knowing look, and said “Watch and learn.”

Storm quickly jumped off the table, folded his arms, and glared at Lou, drumming his fingers while he chose his words…“What’s with the silence Lou?” roared Storminsky, “I’ve had enough of this bull shit—I want the whole story, you spineless little puke, I want everything…that was the deal. Remember our little deal? Is this water-downed junk from the Enovo heist? What’d ya do, get a gram then cut it to nothing? Did it come from Forrest, and, if so, where the fuck is he…Talk, I want answers!”

The tall 6’, 2” Storminsky walked around the seated and cowering Lou, a mean frown pushing his thick eyebrows together. Stopping behind Lou, he bent over, and shouted in his ear, “Remember the deal? I let you walk on that drugstore beef…now I get everything—names, numbers, addresses…everybody and anything! I still have you on that drug store, so start talking, or you’re turning right when you leave, not left, right to the cell block. Who pulled the Enovo heist? Forrest and Deal? Talk!”

Suddenly, a heavy phone book caught Lou unaware, hitting him so hard he saw stars. Seconds later, Storminsky held it against his face, while Corporal Polanski slammed it with a body-backed haymaker, the blow pounding through the phone book, the thin pages preventing cuts—ergo, no Police brutality. That whack did it; Lou had enough—his head spinning from the blows, he feebly raised his hands in surrender. Storm leaned over Lou, straining to hear what the battered informant struggled to say. Lou coughed, shaking his head to unscramble his marbles…his throat sore, parched, and full of blood, he managed to moan, “It was Forrest…he’s in a warehouse…an abandoned building…on Lansdowne, north of Dundas West.”

Storm smiled, slapped Lou on the back, and ordered Polanski to get some cold drinks. A gust of fresh cool air wafted through the hot stale room as Polanski left. Lt. Storminsky, Detective-in-Charge of Toronto’s Drugstore Squad, lit two cigarettes, giving one to Lou. He’d spent two years tracking the crew that stole pounds of pure opiates from a pharmaceutical manufacturer. Those drugs were now showing up on the street as cheap heroin pills, and Storm wanted the guys who started this mess. His list of suspects was long, but Forrest was always at the top. Storminsky could get him to court, but Forrest always walked out a free man. Ironically, he felt a begrudging respect for Forrest; he’d really done well at school, but it didn’t reform him, and didn’t deter Storm’s vendetta to put him behind bars.

Zach Forrest’s Warehouse Apartment: 10:20 P.M.

The sparsely furnished, old-industrial style studio was a good place to hang my hat and stay out of sight. Often cold and damp, I survived the winter there, keeping my head low and my profile lower. The secluded location was perfect. Crumbling walls and other drawbacks didn’t phase me. Parts were done in my favorite color…drywall and cement. Hey, it was a hideout, not some Martha Stewart decoration project…somewhere to avoid the cops and hope their interest in me vanished, and it performed that function well. Besides, with all the drugs I had, carefree instant karma came loaded in a 1 cc syringe. It sure beat that “Hole in the Wall,” the James Gang used back in the real cowboy days. We were still cowboys, but drugstore cowboys were our updated sobriquet. The whole building was over-do for demolition: rent was cheap, and all my neighbors needed a short-term place to live, with nobody asking for identification. Everyone had their own reason for enduring the conditions, and it was “don’t ask, and don’t tell,” a perfect place to duck the constabularies. I didn’t socialize much…my best friend came in a 1 cc disposable syringe, and he didn’t talk much.

Gusts of wind pushed rain through my plastic covered windowpanes with sporadic rage. Rips in the flapping assortment of shopping bags and tattered tarps let the cold wet night sneak inside. Small puddles formed under the windows, turned into streams, ran across the old warped floorboards, finally disappearing through cracks and an old pipe hole…once connected to a painted and retro-cool, but long dead hot-water radiator. In desperation, I nailed a frayed camping blanket over the crumbling back corner to retain some heat. The corner needed major brickwork and a new, warehouse-sized window, an impossible expectation in my semi-squatting status. It was a make-shift, make-do living arrangement that served me well. I knew my business in Toronto was over…I was just being lazy about leaving, saying goodbye to my home city. In the wonderful world of hindsight, I should have left when I had the chance…unfortunately, heroin makes you a little bit slow about everything…except another hit. Ha…the story of my life.

Sitting on the edge of the sofa, the most comfortable piece of furniture in the room, I was hunched over a bent spoon, slurping up the heated contents through a cotton ball with a 1 cc disposable syringe. With routine patience, like following a sacred ritual, something akin to the Chinese tea ceremony, I sucked spoon’s contents into the syringe, my eyes focused and intense. I held up the syringe, tapped it to remove the air, pushing the mix up until a drop appeared above the tip. Air bubbles could be deadly. I was now ready for the final step, if I could find a volunteer vein…they all seemed to spot the needle, and disappeared in fear…a game I always went through doing a hit. I’d blown a lot of veins over the years, and finding fresh volunteers was always a problem. Cold weather didn’t help, as they retracted for warmth and circulation, but I was wearing three layers of clothing, and my space heater was on max.

When your body knows its getting something pleasurable, your stomach tends to tremble, as your brain prepares for euphoria. Shaking slightly, a tightened belt around my arm, a decent vein finally appeared—I jabbed it with the needle, eased the plunger back to ensure it was in the vein, and quickly pushed the contents home in a well-practiced motion. A warm euphoria slowed through my body, and I settled back on the sofa, my face now glazed with that illegal smile, my shaking and twitching body now relaxed under the narcotic’s insidious spell. I was totally wired, although I didn’t care; with all the opiates I had, my ample supply was always there to feed my heavy habit. The dampness seemed to vanish, along with the rest of my concerns. They were still there – I just ignored them…now internally warm and cozy. I tossed the rig against my dart board, an old game we used to play in Ross’ basement. Half a dozen rigs were in the inside circle, dangling and showing contempt…something that people always noticed when they saw the board. As the Heroin’s blanket of hospitality kicked in, leaving me snug and sheltered, I burrowed in the soft couch and pillows, and pulled a blanket over me for extra warmth. I put on my headphones and listened to a cool jazz CD.

My screwy world disappeared in a drug-induced reverie; images appeared with no substance – like the ephemeral dreams of Morpheus, devoid of meaningful explanation, they scurried around, like thoughts from some hopped-up hamster on a wheel. The pure heroin, diacetylmorphine, was part of my personal stash from our huge score from the laboratory of a large drug manufacturer. With $200 grand in my safety deposit box, along with an assortment of pure, popular opiates, I could travel…anywhere, anytime. I kept a mix of strong, pure-base narcotics…all the good stuff. We sold everything else; dozens of 20, 16 and 10 ounce bottles…every major narcotic base available, along with exotic narcotic derivatives—totaling several pounds. They were now converted into tons of pills flooding Toronto. The cheap heroin pills were selling like hotcakes, and the cops were pissed and wanted blood.

The cops were still all over this score, and wanted blood. No forgive and forget. The night of the score, we lost them in a car chase, something that makes them crazier than a shit house rat. Losing criminals in car chases did not make for happy police officers. Luckily, we had it all planned out, and lost them through a barrier because their car couldn’t fit, we’d previously measured the gap. After that, they were all over me for six months, finding nothing. Ironically, they showed up at my door when I still had the drugs, but I convinced them I’d been in all night, and they didn’t have a warrant. They even checked my car to see if the motor was hot, but missed the ride we actually used, parked four cars down. Later on, I staged a diversion that suggested a New York crew pulled the job, and the heat died off, until the pills showed up. Once the pills hit the street, they knew what they were, and renewed their interest in me….adding fuel to the fire, they got some bullshit information from an informer, and really wanted to talk to me—that meant beating the crap out of me for a confession. Maybe a ride on the Cherry Beach express…after a bloody beating, they dumped you on Cherry Beach, a lonely spit of land near the Scarborough Bluffs. They couldn’t drag you into court after that, but it sent a brutal message…they wanted to toss me in jail, so that wouldn’t happen, although I’d met many guys that took the ride. I knew the game, and I knew my rights…being a wisenheimer just added to their personal dislike of what I stood for…a cowboy that always rode off…free as a bird. When I became a top university student, looking through my bag for blank prescription forms, they pulled out a transcript and drooled over my A+’s and straight A’s. They weren’t dumb…they knew how hard it was to get top marks at one of Toronto’s biggest Universities. I used my hard work to prove I’d gone straight, but they didn’t trust me anymore than I trusted them. After all the B.S. charges against me, wanton brutality, my law-suit against them for shattering my shoulder, and so on…there were a lot of hard feelings on both sides.

Well, good luck, I thought…the old cops and robbers game. I was always in close touch with my lawyer, one of the few that knew my number, and any physical abuse would be shown to a judge…actions that had already backfired when they had me on some bull crap charge. With her cute courtroom charm, I walked away from many courtrooms, when I should have been dragged away in chains. I could take my licks, always keeping my mouth shut, but I instantly screamed for a lawyer whenever cops decided to check what brand of shorts I picked for the day. Harassment for just having a record, especially when you prove you’re making changes, is something Judges don’t care for. Like the time they re-broke my collarbone and I walked on 31 charges, their reaction to my charges for excessive violence, backed by photos…but, as they say, therein lies another tale. Since Storminsky was personally in charge of solving that Enovo job, he wanted a nice clean bust…something I couldn’t duck and walk away from. It wasn’t kiddie crap anymore, this was the big time.

In January, an ex-girlfriend told me they had a warrant, trying to scare me; now I was hiding, biding my time before I left Toronto for good. Prior to December, I’d planned to leave once I beat a nonsense charge in court, but my old partner dumped the contents of a drug store at my place, then got jacked. I had to sell everything before leaving. I sold the last three 80-ouncers of cough syrup last week: I had enough hydrocodone to make thousands of 80-ouncers, but $1,600 bucks was still a lot of money, and I liked money. I wanted a lot of money when I left Toronto.

As I snuggled on the couch, I removed my headphones and listened. The wind abated, but a steady trickling could be heard—dripping water splashing into accumulated puddles of rain, draining down the old buildings many cracks and holes. I imagined the apartment below had problems when it rained—the water ended up somewhere, probably through his roof or walls. It was now the end of March—winter was sliding into spring – and the perfect time to scamper, split, skip town and skedaddle, keeping my freedom while I could. At two hundred bucks a month, the warehouse served my purposes well: it kept me safe, anonymous, off the street, and off the grid—and away from my nemesis…Toronto’s finest.

Toronto Police Station, 52 Division, 10:30 P.M.

Reflecting on Lou’s reluctant interrogation, Storm wasn’t surprised by his refusal to talk. Just as he thought, once he tasted freedom, he didn’t feel like keeping his end of the bargain. It meant loosing and giving up his dead brother’s friends, the big boys…guys with the dope connections Lou valued. He had to send a car, drag him in, and remind him about his deal for freedom. The deal Storminsky gambled on, hoping it would give him information he needed.

Storminsky knew Lou’s brother had just died; after running away from a pharmacy with an 80-ouncer of cough syrup, he was later found face down in a nearby stream. Forrest was good friends with him, and he wanted to use that connection to get Forrest. He eased off Lou, after catching him red-handed on a drug store beef, telling Lou he could walk if he linked Forrest to the large pharmaceutical heist, buying heroin from him directly. It was time to collect on the agreement…Lou was just a link – a link to Forrest. He placed the phone book on the table, right in front of Lou, a silent and malevolent reminder to keep talking. Lou sat still, puffing his cigarette, occasionally glancing at the battered book. Storminsky’s history with Forrest was long and convoluted. Catching him overdosed in a drug filled van, he thought he had him cold. Some fast-talking lawyer had the charges thrown out, and Forrest got a stint in rehab. The court thanked Storminsky for saving Forrest’s life. Since then, Forrest was personal; he’d dragged him in a couple of times, but his lawyer always saved him. Finding Forrest with his pants down would be a sweet victory.

“Ready to pay for your freedom?” asked Storm, “Selling your brother’s buddies down the river…well Lou, you’ve finally crossed the line. Like it or not, you work for me now, and better stay out of jail. I hear rats have a hard time, especially after we put in a good word for you. Did you think I was going to let you slither away, giving me low-ball punks and bullshit samples of Heroin?” Storminsky gloated, sitting on the table, letting his legs swing, happily puffing his cigarette. Polanski returned with the drinks; everyone cracked them open and took long sips. It had been an intense interrogation.

Lou coughed, leaned over a trash can, spat out a mouthful of blood, taking another drink to rinse his mouth. Notebook in hand, Storminsky butted his cigarette, ready to write anything down. After giving Lou a few minutes to recover, the questions flew; he didn’t get all the information he wanted, but he got the address he’d been searching for: apartment 2-B, 1750 Lansdowne Ave. Forrest’s hideout – maybe they could catch him off guard, holding dope from the heist.

Storm opened the door and let Lou go; Storminsky kept his deals, content to let one crime slide to bust a bigger one. He had his own reputation to uphold; if he didn’t keep his deals, no one would ever deal with him. With this tip, he might nab Forrest with leftovers from the heist…enough to nail him. They grabbed pounds of pure opiates; knowing Forrest, he probably kept an ounce or two, and if he caught him with dope from the heist, no bleeding heart Judge would let him go this time. Forrest had lived there a while, and wouldn’t be expecting a visit. Within minutes, Lou was a distant memory, a human stepping stone to the biggest bust since what…the Shoe-shine boy? Back in his office, he started putting a task force together to pay Forrest a visit. It was 10:50. He called his favorite Judge, and a proper warrant was faxed to his office. Among his giddy flurry of activity, one name and face stood out in his mind: Zach Forrest

Zach’s apartment, 10:55 P.M

I didn’t care about the weather and the continuous stream of water that ran across the floor. My head was dry, as all the furniture was situated near the warm and dry front corner. A series of bamboo screens blocked off the studio’s demolished south corner, making the apartment more livable. The screens were free, and I enjoyed the aesthetically pleasing decoration. Free is good: some places have shit that costs a lot—in other places, things are free, but they’re all shit.

Omar, my shady landlord, must have been quite the technician where he came from; he was able to hook up the electricity and phone lines, but constantly shoved warnings under our doors saying service would be interrupted—without explanation. We all knew he was a scamster renting illegal apartments in an abandoned building, so no one complained. Everyone was running from something, knew the scam, and enjoyed the anonymity and cheap rent.

Most of my neighbors were drug dealers and users, people on the lam, illegal aliens, or wanna-be gangstas. Omar showed up once a month to collect rent, and I found out you could get a month free if you missed him. He only showed when he had to. It was a quick fix all round: everyone was ready to make the midnight move. I was ready for an instant dash, out the smashed back window, onto a roof, and bingo, over a fence into the railroad track ravine. We were told not to leave lights burning at night; an obvious clue the electricity was an illegal hook up (Omar suggested using candles, and almost admitted, in so many words, that a fully lit building would bring unwanted attention). People were happy to comply—no one wanted any officials nosing around. Some of my neighbors used black out curtains. I avoided socializing and mostly kept to myself. I made a few friends, all into something illegal.

Donato, a dude on the ground level, had stacks of brand-new stereos and other electronics piled to the ceiling. He offered me a good deal on a stereo, but I declined; when I had to leave, the less I had the better. I knew my neighbors across the hall-Tony dealt pounds of weed—they were always partying…smoking pot and drinking beer…a real blast to visit for an evening. We were all squatting, and knew the scam. We joked about it all the time, but we had electricity, phones, and plumbing, just like real apartments. I don’t know how Omar worked the phones, but I didn’t care. I trusted four people with my number, and only used it for drug deals or emergency calls.

Along with selling Deal’s drugs, the other reason I stayed in Toronto was a court case, thanks to Rhoda, a nut case with fatal attraction syndrome. Fortunately, the case was in November, before the cops wanted me for questioning. After Rhoda threw out some important documents, making a briefcase neater by emptying it, (another nut-job quirk), I asked her to leave my apartment for good. She refused, and I had to grab her and toss her out. She booted me in the leg, leaving a big bruise, but I never hit her. She called the cops and tried to get me charged with assault, but astonishingly, even the cops believed my side of the story. When the Police refused to charge me, she went to a Justice of the Peace and swore out a warrant. She claimed I beat her, kicked her and did all kinds of physical damage; unbelievably, all this abuse didn’t leave a tiny bruise or scratch. Even an ultrasound came up empty: nothing is always nothing, no matter how many lies you tell. She even joined a battered women’s group…unbelievable.

The ensuing court case was a comedy of errors. It occurred while I was drinking heavily—I drank most of a forty-pounder before my trial—just to relax my nerves. Alcohol loosened my occasionally acerbic, but witty and sardonic tongue. Since I had no lawyer, a duty-counsel was appointed to represent me, but after giving them my name, he flubbed everything so badly, I politely dismissed him and acted as my own attorney. The Judge smirked at this, and was already on my side. I focused on the Judge and told him what really happened. When informed about the magic ultrasound, just to see if she was supernaturally injured internally with no external marks, he actually chuckled. Using terms like miraculous, magical, and immaculate, I ridiculed the allegations, exposing them as fanciful lies. I looked at Rhoda and smiled, knowing the Judge saw through all the lies the Crown was trying to sell. This Judge wasn’t buying. After hearing what I had to say, he smashed that gavel, and said case dismissed. When the counter-charge I laid against her came up, I just dismissed it…that really twisted her already screwed up head around, and I walked out, drunk as a lovable skunk.

That was November—stupidly, I took another job in December, and made the same mistake of dating a co-worker. That also blew up after a month and a half, and the cops later showed up with a warrant for the drug heist. When I showed up to get my stuff, thinking she was rubbing it in, she told me how much effort the cops were putting into my capture. So, thanks to her, I knew I had to hide. She’d tossed me out of her apartment, and while staying with a friend, I hooked up with Omar in late January. She gave them my friend’s address, but he didn’t know and wouldn’t say where I went…he told them I left for Calgary. As usual, they didn’t believe a word he said, and pulled him in for unpaid parking tickets.

Now relatively safe with Omar, I knew my smiling face was in every bus station, train depot, even the airport. My plan was to leave by buying a car, but my name had more red flags than the United Nations. Leaving was problematic; I needed an escape route, and I needed it soon. Shooting heroin like there’s no tomorrow made me lethargic and complacent; the warehouse also gave me a false sense of security, and I needed to wake up and devise an exit strategy. I always managed to stay one step ahead of the cops, and I had to start thinking that way again, or I’d be stuck in Toronto for a long time.

My wardrobe was simple, portable, and functional. I favored military-style cargo pants—the large extra pockets on the legs helped keep my valuables close: money, phone book, passport, jewelry, wallet, I.D., and dope. I could grab my bag and be gone, leaving everything behind in a heartbeat. I saw this movie about professional thieves, and the lead character said real pros should be able to walk away from everything in under five minutes—I had that down to 2 minutes or less…ready to run if they tried breaking down my steel bar re-enforced front door. By the time they got through that, I’d be out the window and on the run. Being a wanted man made you careful…never get too comfortable, and always keep your back door open.

I leaned over my homemade table, with a 2’ X 3’ burnt and sanded plywood top, grabbing my hit kit and extra new rigs. I also returned the bottle of pure heroin to my pocket, an easily accessible location in case I needed to lose it fast. The heroin was like a security blanket—I felt better with it in my pocket.

Securely ensconced on the battered sofa, I nodded off, enjoying tunes on my portable CD player, when the phone’s loud ring snapped me awake. Few friends had the number, so I wondered who would phone this late—it was cold and wet outside, an uninviting evening to mosey around, unless someone was close by. I casually answered the phone, thinking a friend was near, but quickly sat up. Twenty seconds later, the call was over. I heard what I needed; plan or no plan, it was time to go. I quickly donned my outdoor gear: shoes, thick sweater, warm hoodie, rain coat, and my always packed backpack—when living on the lam, you had to be ready to dash…and it was time to fly.

Staying focused, I zipped around the apartment, gathering odds and ends of my life there. This was exactly why I didn’t want extra stuff; I knew I’d have to leave it in a heartbeat. I left my dartboard with the rigs sticking out…a personal touch, something the cops would eventually find, minus me. Everything I had was free, discarded or second hand… my dishes and other stuff were donated—east to replace…easy to leave behind. I stuffed a few personal things in my backpack, swung it over my shoulders, clicking the waist-strap to make it secure. In under two minutes, I was ready to go. Circumstances are real motive makers, helping you make up your mind and move; I was ready, forced to make plans on the fly. I put any evidence or crap in a bag and put it in my pocket, ready to dump in the nearest garbage can. I left the dart board for the cops to marvel over.

The call was from my partner Deally, or Deal: he was in 52 Division on some charge, and they left him in a room with a phone. Everyone knows dialing 9 gets you an outside line, so, probably handcuffed in front, he managed to call me. Without knowing how long he had until the cops returned, he quickly told me everything: there had been a buzz of activity there—they got my address from some police informant, and were doing a raid on my place—right now. While advising me to get out of Dodge, he hung up. I figured he heard the cops coming, and hung up before they knew he used the phone. I took a last look at my home for three months, went to the rear and tore off the blanket and plastic, unveiling my secret exit. The rain had slowed, but everything was sodden and soaked: I hoped the nearby roof wasn’t too slippery.

Suddenly, there was a loud crash in the hallway. I quietly tiptoed to the peephole, and saw a bunch of cops in the corridor, equipped with a steel battering ram to knock down doors. The cops were on the front side, about one apartment down; they had the right address, but the wrong suite number. I knew the couple that lived there, and felt sorry for Tony, the pot dealer. I had a steel bar screwed to my floor, angled into a metal hasp, padlocked to my sturdy door, making it hard to knock down. He lived at 2-B, and I was at 2-E, so maybe they heard it wrong. I wondered if they were only there for Tony, but dismissed that, as I knew how much they wanted to talk to me…and not for casual conversation over a coffee.

Sneaking back to my window exit, I checked to see if any cops were watching—nothing—only flashing lights from the front. I crawled out, hung from the window sill, easing myself down onto the adjacent roof. I crept to the edge, jumped over the train-track fence, landed quietly, narrowly missing a large puddle. Thick bushes grew along the fence, so I snuck along, heading to the bridge. Passing the section of the parking lot only blocked by bushes, a cop stood by the side door, but seemed focused on the front of the building.

A silhouetted target, I watched him and avoided puddles, skulking along, painfully aware my sneak escape could become an instant hot pursuit if spotted. Once clear, I ran to the bridge, clamored up the opposite side, emerging on Dundas west. Red and blue flashing lights reflected off dead glass buildings, but they were down Lansdowne, in a run-down factory section, blocked by several buildings. I wondered how the cops got my address; on the phone, Bark only had time to tell me to run, even if he knew how they found me. A rat; it must have been a rat…once again, some dirt bag slime got my address…it was the only explanation. Maybe someone was worked over, coughing up the building, but screwed them on the apartment number. Maybe they just had it wrong.

Lucky me…once again, unexpected and unwelcome cops appeared, thanks to someone’s big mouth. If they had the right apartment, I could be in the back seat of a cruiser right now, with Storminsky grinning at me, waving my vial of Enovo’s Heroin in triumph. Maybe the wrong apartment number was the rat’s only way to help—anyway, it gave me enough time to vamoose…whoever did it tried to give me a chance, but that was close—too close.

There was a working phone by the buildings on the North side of the bridge. My only chance was cabbing it out of here, or jumping on a street car. If the cops got me, my future would be brutal and painful. In my current, heavily wired state, I’d be climbing the walls for a hit in a few hours, a fate worse than death. I checked the address on the nearest building, phoned a cab, and heard it be there 5 minutes. Great…I ducked between two buildings, managed to slow my pumping heart and think. If I headed downtown, I could mingle with the crowds on Yonge Street. I also made a serious promise to myself: if I got out of this mess, and made it to Vancouver, I would never repeat this nonsense…and live as a normal, law-abiding person. The cash and dope would be a leg up, but once that was gone, I’d quit narcotics, do detox for real, and avoid retox…a few blocks down the street.

Still trying to calm down, my thoughts were on the flashing lights, and what would happen if I got jacked. I was in Storminsky’s district…my future was totally fucked if he grabbed me. Mulling this over, the cab seemed to show up early, slowing as he neared one of the buildings…I popped out, waving him over. Sliding in the back seat, I told him to take me downtown. He made a U-turn, and headed away from the sizable posse behind me. He asked about all the flashing lights…I gave a curt answer, “accident,” my brooding mood discouraging further conversation. With my hood pulled down, I sat like a statue, occasionally checking our progress as we fled the scene. I wondered how long they’d linger at the warehouse, and whether they’d find my real apartment, and the gaping hole around my rear studio. It didn’t matter if Tony answered their questions…I screwed up his situation, and hoped they wouldn’t make any pot charges stick. I was constantly ready to split, and grabbed any evidence…except for the dartboard with rigs sticking out. I always rinsed them out after use, so there’d be no trace drugs if they did lab work. The huge hole at the rear would show them how I left, but they wouldn’t know where I went. Sorry, no nice note with a forwarding address. Thinking about it, I wished I’d had more time…a moment to send Storm a personal F.U. Hell, I didn’t even know where I was going, for now — so tough luck, no clues. If they went so far as to check any cab pick-ups around that time, I didn’t want this Cabbie to see my face. At Young and Dundas, I tossed him a twenty for a fifteen buck ride, jumped out, saying keep the change. It was a good tip, but small enough to forget. I moseyed about, enjoyed a few drinks at bars with live bands, saw a friend playing in a band, hung around and talked with him over several drinks, eventually registering in a nice 5-star hotel. Using my fake I.D. with hundred dollar bills for pre-payment, I killed the clerk’s snobbish attitude towards my casually filthy attire: muddy shoes, cargo pants, thick waterproof hoodie, and backpack. I wasn’t their usual clientele. I told him my car broke down and had to wait for a cab. I didn’t want to raise any questions, and gave him a fifty to make him smile, and send me some nice hot food. I paid for three nights, hoping an escape plan would materialize before my now expensive rent expired.

The cops had to cool off…move on to some other crime and put me on the back burner. There were crimes happening everyday, and, apart from Storminsky, the cops had better things to do…I’d become a piece of paper on a rather large wall. And, I needed time to clean out my safety deposit box. After that, I’d head out of the city, anonymously, but with style, especially if my new plan worked. I’d buy a nice suit, attaché case, get a hair cut, and play the business man on an out-of-town trip. An attaché case would hold my money, valuables, and dope, and a change of clothes in my backpack. I might sneak on a train that way, as they were looking for a long haired, scruffy-looking drug addict. Cleaned up, wearing a suit, I’d become the exact opposite of what they expected. The bus might be easier, but I’d already done the 3,000 mile bus trip—it was an ordeal I’d never repeat. And the long ride would make me remember Angel, something that always caused me emotional pain…a previous run to escape the cops, but one that ended in death and despair. Right now, I wanted to clear my mind, turn off my life channel, and just forget about Zach Forrest. As usual, my channel changer was heroin, and after the tension and excitement of my escape, I just wanted to melt into a comfort zone, a Heroin-induced subdivision, were everything was beautiful, however ephemeral it might be. I didn’t care about the short-term cure, I needed to take a break, to step outside my personal insanity. Key in hand, I took the elevator to my new digs.

My room was big and well furnished. With indifference on my mind, I dug out my handy vial and mixed up a fix. Major problem: still cold and chilled to the bone, I couldn’t find a vein brave enough to withstand a hit. My deteriorating veins were getting harder to find. Fishin’ for veins, ya fishin’ for veins; after the number of abscesses and whacks I’d experienced, all my veins were calloused, blown, or too ingrown. I pull out a needle, and they all dive for cover. My only solution was a hot bath—by warming my blood, I could find an unperforated naïve conduit on a foot, a finger, or somewhere on my leg. I could use my massive jugulars, my biggest veins left, but they were too hard to hit. I tried fixing in a mirror, but it was all backwards; seeing everything in reverse, trying to hit a delicate target with shaking hands was impossible.

I ran a hot bath, dropped in some bonus hotel bath beads, and soaked my tired and twitching body. With the rig already loaded, I did the hit in the tub, as soon as a volunteer vein popped up. I nodded off right away, the rig falling from my hand, as my now massive shots provided a hell of a rush. With my problem finding veins, I shot as much as I could, rotating my attack zones so they would heal. As soon as I snapped to, I got out of the bath, recalling the fate of a true love: nodding off, she slipped under the water and drowned, too stoned to resist…too nodded out to try. The old recollection tugged at my heart—I lost many friends over drugs—two by drowning, both too stoned to fight back. After a quick towel down, I donned the hotel’s complementary terry-cloth robe, fell on the King-sized bed, and was lost in haze of shattered memories. The food I ordered showed up, and I attacked it with a ravenous appetite…gone in 60 seconds.

Stretched out on the bed, I had a pity party, brooding over the mess I’d made of my life. I claimed a personal stake in my life at 13, rebelling against overly cautious parents…I soon found out there were no stakes but high stakes. Life and death were kin and cousins. I stood up for myself, ran away to claim my life, but turned myself in to legally re-claim it for good. I learned to accept life, even when life didn’t accept me. After the boo-hooing subsided, I saw my life scurry by, some episodes so painful, they were quickly reburied. I managed to pick out some of the major disasters, as they all grouped together and fled in shame. My life was a series of fresh starts with equally fresh disasters. A Doctor once told me it was a miracle I survived a massive O.D. and 5-day coma – surviving a long coma was like starting life anew; if that were true, I’d been rebooted over 30 times, always returning to what put me there. Getting shocked to re-start your heart is like a re-boot. He made sense—after a re-boot, it took several weeks to fully regain my memory— incidents I’d rather forget.

Regardless, you never forget a life of reckless living that provided an always-on-the-edge adrenaline rush. After that, I got a buzz from the drugs I stole. Well, no matter how you look at things, it’s done…over…history. Maybe I never woke up from those comas and I’m still dreaming; perhaps my life is just one big dream. One might hope for a better dream, but you take the good with the bad, and make the best of it. I developed my own philosophies on life: compared to classical teachings and erudition, mine are up to date, work in the modern world, applying the wisdom of the ancients to 21-first century problems. I’m no genius, but I understand life, learning my lessons the old fashioned way…through trial, and a lot of errors.

Forgive your enemies…it really pisses them off, and showers you with inner peace. Holding grudges, after all, only hurts you. Let go, let live, and embrace true freedom. Apt proverbs rapidly rationalize reality—and show the absurdity of life. Idiots know the price of everything, but the value of nothing. Don’t look back if you know where you’re going. Morality is mainly stuff some people don’t like—ignore them, as they dislike all the neat stuff. Life can be a great teacher, if you learn from your mistakes.

Enjoying the King-sized bed, nodding in and out, my now chemically cozy brain peered through my riotous past. As misty memories merged, I recalled my numerous brushes with death; mulling over my predicament, once again trying to flee my interminable distress, I hoped to forecast a more friendly future. A potentially peaceful future, secure and safe, tucked away from sirens and flashing lights.

I really wanted to make it to Vancouver: I hoped to find the friends I made during my teenage sojourn there, before a deplorable death forced me to run…a major part of my past. It seems I’m always running; from one dream to another, from a crime to freedom, or from one nightmare to another. Geographical positioning doesn’t cure something you carry inside you…doing the midnight dash doesn’t open a new life…the same crap that wrecked your old life will ruin a fresh start, unless you change that inner demon that makes you vulnerable, you’re going to mess up again.

Problems are like metaphysical bug-burrs…they stick to your soul, and unless you go through a high powered soul-wash, all that muddy shit that pushes you to screw the pooch is still there, and odds are it’ll encourage you or tantalize you enough to make you do it all again…where ever you run…you can’t run from problems, they follow you around like a shadow. It would take a real moron to try and out run his own shadow, but many people try.

Questioning my situation, flashbacks, bad memories, and unfortunate recollections, all whirled about inside my brain. Whether this was from my recent mad dash for freedom, or whether I was really examining my lifestyle, several good ideas began to sprout, and I had some thoughts about what I should do with my life.

Armed with purpose and determination, I got up, sat down at the room’s antique desk, and let my thoughts flow. Everyone thinks they’re special, but I lived through a lot of definitely unique circumstances. Reminiscing over past perils, I realized my life was more than a standard sob story—it was packed with astonishing, cataclysmic blow-ups, the sort of shit you only see on the screen…I wished I could just pay five bucks, boo and cheer, then leave the theater and continue on with a different life. Considering this, I remembered some of Hollywood’s less memorable efforts, Like Attack of the Atomic Swamp Creatures, and I realized I had an idea for a movie or book…my life. Stranger than fiction, and funnier than a stand-up comedian hyped-up on crack.

Not knowing where to start, I went back to the beginning…the burdens of a wanted man, forever on the run…it had a nice ring to it…and while my pen danced over the stationery, I felt soulfully substantiated…my crazy life was just poured out on paper. Tears of release accompanied this confessional catharsis—it was an output of torment, insanity, despair, and sadness. The writing unleashed an emotional burden I’d carried far too long. Not one of those “once upon a time” sort of tales, my chronicle was all over the map: city to city, cell to cell, jail to parole to jail again, doctor to doctor, pharmacy to pharmacy, door to door detox, emergency to intensive care…wherever I hung my hat was my home.

After a wild childhood, I started running at 14 and never stopped…escaping confinement, I chased a dream of freedom…a fleeting, fleeing dream…outrunning authority, I left nowhere, seeking somewhere. A marathon of marauding, a story of slap-stick skullduggery, and everlasting evasion…avoiding jails and institutional sovereignty, I clutched my autonomy and liberty, looking forward, and never looking back. I always knew what was chasing me. From one crossing to another, from thought to action, this continuous journey created my life—revolutionary, riotous, and rambunctious…a crazy life on the run. Forever moving from one safe place to another…always evading someone…always running from something.
…Chapter One ©D Fitzgerald
this is a sample of a new book…
Don’t Try This at Home…soon to be in bookstores and on Amazon as a Kindle-format E-book. Prices will vary, but this is a take on life that is priceless and not for the faint of heart…it’s dripping with adventure, love, pain, humor, absurdity, insanity, and drama…all wrapped up on one book. A priceless take on life that somehow didn’t take this life…yet.

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I must warn you, this is another do-good point of view on a problem, a sociology 101 textbook phenomenon. Word food for the starving reader. Something for those that care about others, or stuff I shouldn’t bother writing about…the same old lollipop, even coated in fruit-loops, still tastes the same. Whatever, however. But, if you don’t write about these things, they fall by the wayside…like cigarette butts flicked into oblivion by careless smokers…people who think if it’s out of their hands, it’s not their problem anymore…until the nightly news shows a massive forest fire, thousands of loving and friendly trees burnt to death…thanks to the careless butt of some unknown and nameless smoker. Regardless, the eternal question always raises its beaten face…who are you to tell me what to think. Hey, words are harmless, unless they hit home and reveal something you don’t like.

Without pointing fingers, naming names, or tossing blame around, it’s hard to explain or justify Vancouver’s homelessness problem. It’s warmer here…maybe that attracts more street people…but it’s an embarrassment that should be cleaned up. The Main and Hastings intersection is like junction of hopelessness and despair…the epicenter of a blatant drug problem that radiates out into a circle of destitution, misery, and endless torment. Hard done and done hard. A hard life is life that’s hard. Be nice and open your doors. Smile. Let someone camp in your backyard…if you have room. That’s what they did in the old days, but modern life is about property…and my property is private. No entry. Violators will be shot. How humane. One in the head would end a life of misery. Thank you. That sure solved things.

On the street, there is no responsibility, and no one has an easy answer to change this sort of attitude. Police walk by crack smokers and people shooting drugs…they’re like giant cockroaches…infesting every alley in the neighborhood, an infestation beyond extermination. When writing about this problem, caution is in order…you must not offend certain governing or socially interested parties, or they will have your balls for breakfast, and make sure your writing is boycotted, censored and stifled. Not too attractive to a writer…but, w.t.f., I’d like to put the pricks of the world on notice…I really don’t have your best interests at heart…if greed and human nature are to blame, I’m all for roasting the dickheads that perpetuate or profit from this problem…and yes, certain establishments fight over monthly welfare handouts…steady cash, and it adds up…the more bodies you cram in your hovel of a hotel, the richer you are…every month, like clockwork.

Every problem has a cause, then a symptom, and usually has several solutions. Seriously, are all the solutions just crap that backroom municipal mouth movers come up with? Just a lot of endless talk and no real action? Like any social creature, the homeless exist for many reasons…some enjoy kissing responsibility goodbye, thumbing their noses at collectors and banks…some are temporarily caught in unfortunate circumstances, some are medical patients who had the hospital stripped away and are still wondering what happened, some are textbook apathetic gentlemen that tilt at windmills, sell drugs and curse the damn wheel of fortune, while some actually want real homes. The major problem these poor people face are the well off, homesteaded families, groups that put their own interests first, and say to hell with all the lazy, no-good poor people that can’t afford a house. They have stories about hard work, scrimping and saving, doing without, hardship and personal sacrifice…according to them, that’s how they got their million dollar home in Point Gray or North Vancouver. Balderdash, they got help from rich friends or relatives. Uncle Joe’s 3 million estate? Got a loan from a rich family member? Gloating over high paying jobs to cover a high mortgage? Overpaid jobs they got from cronyism, pork-barreling, tutelage, patronage…never from personal merit. Or, get rich the old fashioned way, inherit.

The recent Vancouver blowup over a small, temporary winter shelter demonstrates a significant problem homeless people face…hubris and selfishness…the snobbish “not in my backyard” group. Homeless are considered pariahs, while smarmy, self-righteous, and greedy people only care about themselves. If it’s good for homeowners, they’re all for it…yet, as soon as there’s a tiny problem, some unknown situation they only heard about on the news…they instantly call foul…yelling and screaming about their expensive real estate…how less fortunate people are driving down the price of their property, infringing on their privacy, and disturbing their peace and quiet. Heartless and cruel would be a kind way to describe these people…I’d start wondering what God is going to say when asked about love, charity, and being the good Samaritan? Even ET’s believe in a God, according to reports.

Sorry, no one owns the world, we’re only temporary tenants, and the world is already way over-stocked with crazy people, some that actually run entire countries. Basically, we all have the same dignity and free rights we are told exist – somewhere.

These rights might only be philosophies of the mind, tasty brain food…concepts that exist on intellectual levels, problems that are debated from leather chairs over 18-year old scotch, and are buried in thick, College-only books. In reality, that’s where philosophy is, and they can philosophize about the existential nature of that truth until the cows come home. There’s many voices in the world, and there’s a lot of hoarse throats in Vancouver. Voices that backbite and whine…voices that cry, sob, or beg…pleas and reasons that fall on deaf ears…utterances that are merely whispers…untold realities of life that successful people ignore…these are the voices that matter. Hope slowly disappears through neglect, and the croaking for support eventually fades away, until there’s nothing but a D.O.A. to deal with at the local morgue.

This is when I often wonder…why do people still argue about this, or bother writing about it…political hot potatoes, hey, it’s big at election time…but normally, no one cares or wants to read about it…no one does anything, and people get bored hearing the same old, same-old re-purposed, re-packed social problems over and over. E-gads. Screw it. Live and let live. Vancouver has a large share of the homeless, poor, and addicted…all broken lives that implode nightly on the six o’clock news…yet no one listens, no one wants to interfere with their comfortable lives by feeling remorse…the same story heard everywhere…while these true unfortunates really need our help…genuine assistance that treats the source, not the symptom…help by people that actually care and have the power to help.

No one wants to get involved…watching T.V. is always a more pleasant family-oriented activity. Go downtown with the family and hand out hot soup. Teach the kids the reality of life. Only action groups throw it in society’s face, so when it hits home, people start to feel guilty about the poor, especially around Christmas…this makes them throw some coins in a relief can…or dig around cupboards for expired canned goods…donating this wealth of unwanted over-ripe edible crap to food banks, then feel like they have done their bit to pitch in.

Vancouver…the condo-capital of Canada. People here spend more on parking meters than shelters for the homeless – parking downtown is six bucks an hour, and shelters are merely one-night stopgap fixes that ignore the long term solution of permanent housing. Everyone likes a roof over their head…food in the fridge…money in the bank…high paying, secure jobs…all the stuff so-called normal people take for granted. As long as it’s not in their backyard, they don’t care…and if it is, they just build bigger fences.

Politics aside, action groups only come forward on their own behalf, picking a cause to champion, and something for them to get paid to do…they get the same treatment…asking for government handouts…getting results like unwanted cousins begging for money, and just enough is done to give elected officials something to say when asked what they are doing to solve this blight upon society. These grants are usually eaten up by staff salaries, office space and expenses, and when it comes time to put money in needy hands, there’s barely enough to order a super-sized meal at a burger joint. Their overall attitude was blatantly apparent throughout the 2010 Olympic games…authorities warned our multinational visitors to stay within certain boundaries, and never venture near the social blight at Main and Hastings… Vancouver’s dirty little secret.

Unlike a broken record, I’d like to offer a few observation on Vancouver’s homeless condition. Omitting labels like unfortunate, problematic, or other wordy presentations crammed with fanciful facts that end with a period, it’s time someone looked into the situation and gave an honest report. A truthful analysis that showcases what is really happening, discarding the previous useless and endless government reports full of euphemisms and incredibly self-serving studies. The crap that always makes the Government shine like a white knight…the metaphor that tells of a crazy man…the great Don Quixote tilting at windmills of the mind. Well, go big or stay home…if you have one.

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These words could be classified as opinion to some, a guide by others, or a lifesaver for the few. Many have read and tried the grandiose guarantees from magical success manuals—methods that promise to transform your life for the better. And, it takes a whole book to do so. If so bewitching and poignant, why do people forget the main premise, or overlook that punchy statement that changes everything. The one that offers a better strategy for using your knowledge. For everyone has their own education, a curriculum uniquely their own. Weak in some areas, but expert in others. Does it take a book to point that out to you? If I discovered a simple sentence to re-shape and revitalize my life, I’d memorize it…repeating it again and again, like a mantra to myself.

A single sentence of absolute wisdom, in crystal clarity, would be hard to forget—moreso, if truly wise, and entirely absolute. There are many books focusing on positive thoughts, but few ring and resound throughout a person’s mind. Ultimately, if their life can be turned around by this mystical phrase—they would shout and dance with that phrase falling from thieir lips and cavorting in their hearts. A mighty statement indeed, with the power to erase failure, croon success, and chant victory! What a miraculous string of positive words…or paragraphs. Or perhaps the whole chapter held the key!

People know when suffering depression, or feeling sad and lachrymose, it’s a good idea to get out and see the world: meet new people, talk with old friends, or do something to take your mind off whatever is troubling you. Frequently, it’s because of something nasty or mean someone said or did to discourage you. Don’t let them have any power over you. Thinking with a positive attitude is an accepted strategy for self-help. Natural endorphins can re-charge your inner batteries, stimulate certain areas in your brain, and like the Energizer Bunny, you’re be-bopping around in no time. People only have power over you if you give them permission; deny them that power, and start chasing your dreams. Don’t take anything personal…no one reads your mind, or knows the real you. Off-the-cuff comments are meaningless; like water, let them run off your back. Develop a strong back-bone, and believe in yourself. Nothing people do is because of you—it’s because of them. Never make assumptions; usually, they’re untrue, false, and cannot influence you, unless you give them power. Don’t empower them…ignore them. Only love puts you in a state of bliss; love everything, and nothing can harm you. Happiness is our lost paradise: Moses called it the Promised Land, Buddha called it Nirvana, and Jesus called it Heaven; mystics call it a new dream, or your personal realm of enlightenment. You can choose suffering, or complete happiness. To live in Heaven, or live in Hell. Pick your attitude; believe what you want, and forget what other’s want you to believe. What you truly believe makes you happy and full of joy, so don’t accept what other people think…that’s their problem, not yours.

True hope is a waking dream. Follow your dreams with confidence, in the direction you’ve selected. Live the life that fills your dreams, a life that brings happiness and inner peace. You have every right to dream heroic dreams. We grow great by dreams; notice that all great men are dreamers. Martin Luther had a dream…sadly, it’s still being fought over, but the positive power from his dream reshaped our notions of race and human equality. As wishes inspire dreams, so dreams inspire wishes. What is the difference? A wish is seen as an ethereal action with no substance, yet a dream contains a reality, but a reality that is reshaped into something good.

In dreams, we are true poets, true philanthropists, and full of love and charity; turning that into reality merely takes work, commitment, and determination. Go confidently in the direction of your dream and live the life you’ve imagined. You are the only one who holds you back. Hope is a waking dream, and your reality can be refocused, reshaped, and altered. We have so many great adages that all push us in the direction of that apple in our eye…the apple can be real, and it takes willpower and charisma. Some think they are without these qualities, but we need only believe in ourselves. If courageous enough, our dreams are great enough to change the future. They are goals to reach, milestones to pass; only through truth and effort will them exist. Stare deeply and fearless into that dream, and you will soon be dreaming dreams no mortal ever daring to imagine. There’s nothing like words to move a heart, yet confidence and faith are required to get up and start putting your wishes into reality. We must pursue the ineffable with effort, for from nothing will always come nothing…add action, and the world can be at your doorstep. It’s easy to say, but all we need is true faith and we start marching towards that wonderful horizon we see in our mind’s eye.

Whatever you’ve heard, whatever you’ve been told, there is nothing like the dream to build a new future. We grow through our dreams; what you’ve fantasized about in real life becomes alive in your dreams…everyone has the right to dream heroic thoughts. Follow your dreams, for as you dream, so shall you be. Think big, or stay home. Home is safe, but take fortune by the horns, and boldly take it where you want it to go. Unlike the endless reams of motivational sentences, this is succinct, and to the point. Hold on to your dreams; young or old, always dream, for dreams are what makes life challenging. Without challenge, we fade away, disintegrate, and cease to have a purpose. Hang on to your instincts…chase your natural intuitions and grow, for when you lose the desire to upgrade your outmoded mental software, you’re left in the dust, and sadness takes over.

Pursue your imagination, dream your dreams, as the dreamer, dreaming, dreamt. And forevermore, chart your desires, dream with all your heart, and grasp what you will. A dream is a phantasmagorical image, a picture from your soul, a vision of a future, a daydream of what you want from life. If your reverie stimulates your personal gumption and drive, focuses and orients your mind to the attainable, you search for that dream, with all your heart, all your soul, forever reaching, until you touch the untouchable. A poor man is not without a cent, but without a dream.

Go softly and surely in search of your dreams! Live the life you have imagined. Not the virtual video game version, the real McCoy. If your life is not what you’ve imagined, keep dreaming, keep track, and then walk the path to fulfill your imagination. There’s never been a more rewarding experience. Dream on. Almost sounds like a song…wait, I think it is one…sing it, and sing it with conviction and belief…only you know what you really want, so go out into that big wide world and find your little portion of heaven. Do not be afraid to put your dreams into action…once you’ve passed that hurdle, anything is possible.
thanks,
Fitz…www.saatchionline.com/Artidan, my art gallery, but lacking my newest art,
or newly out, @ artFitz – a new site in progress, as the artfitz name seems to ring…
check out http://www.createspace.com/5025327 – a book on the unknown
or my action and philosophical reality http://www.createspace.com/5080668 – finally edited and on sale.

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Marcel’s critical eye scanned the canvass. A homemade easel secured his painting at a rakish forty-five degrees. The background was spattered and roughly daubed in dusty lavender, accenting the random blue and red lines of various heights and lengths. His artistic eye probed the piece for that decisive coup d’oeil that would satisfy his artistic soul. This was how he finishing his abstract paintings. No one would notice any difference, but his artistic muse and inner Weltanschauung needed to be sated. Using a two-inch flat’s chisel edge, he added a straight line, blending the rough stroke with a fan brush. The purplish red complimented a series of similar slashes in the bottom corner. He felt an ethereal contentment that triggered a creative closure. The painting was concluded. His artistic essence was fulfilled; its form and function satisfied his strict creative principles. He would have to write another paper on form and function. He would share his unique insights with the uninformed masses that were unaware of the proper utility or art. Ravenous audiences could appreciate art with his inspired guidance. His convoluted thought process began to whir, as he scribbled a quick outline.

After capturing some brilliant insights, he got up and surveyed his work. The colorful mishmash of haphazardly placed lines atop the dappled background was agreeable. Everything seemed in proportion, and the finishing tangle of geometrically opposed lines seemed acceptable. He jotted down more notes about his methodology, adding them to a growing stack of notes on his creative processes. Writing, he believed, verbalized the artistic experience, and could teach a great deal. After he conducted his business at the bank today, he would finish the paper at once. Marcel’s apartment housed a great deal of writing, but it did not generate the paltry income his paintings received. His Magnum Opus was incomplete; when finished, it would reverberate throughout the art world and stun the ignorant critics. He was adamant that people that who enjoyed his art would agree with his opinions.

Mixing a watery black, he added his well-practiced signature. The buyer should be here with his cheque in an hour, and the quick drying acrylic would be dry in half that time. He hoped the man would show up; the money would help him pay his rent. The cramped quarters under the bar were dirty and rat-infested, but provided a base to promulgate his enlightened ideas the world desperately needed. Displaying his work near the Chicago Museum of Art, making a sale was always a financial juncture, as he was constantly on the move, being told to pack up and never come back. One day, he mused, my ideas and creativity will transform the art world.

The burdens of genius were onerous indeed. Strict bylaw governing sales without a vendor’s permit was a mere inconvenience. He could rant on about Van Gogh and the treatment of starving artist’s in general, but without a permit, the constables were limited in the leeway they could allow the poor artist. Explaining creative confluence, with the museum’s august location as its focal point, fell on deaf, bureaucratic ears. His overbearing attitude and promises to write scathing attacks upon the degeneration of society did not encourage pity.

His self-assurance predicted this misunderstanding would soon be settled. Upholding his principles and invaluable insights on the creative process would stand him in good stead when upscale galleries recognized his genius and clamored for the privilege to showcase his creative masterpieces.

His eye drifted back to his painting. The colors were soothing and peaceful. It was a creation he enjoyed. He did not want to venerate the piece. He was sufficiently detached from his useful handiwork; his creation could impress a viewer without disturbing his stubborn definition regarding the function of art. He adamantly endorsed Oscar Wilde’s view of art. Art is surface and symbol, and that it is the spectator, not life, that art really mirrors. He loathed pride and excess, believing that only humility could provide someone with an acceptable moral center. Like Wilde, he forgave a man for making a useful thing, provided he did not admire it: obversely, the only excuse for making a useful thing was to admire it intensely. All art is useless. Yes, he felt creating this piece propelled him to write a brutal attack on modern mores and aesthetic values. Like his art, they had become debauched. The world needed his advice to re-evaluate artistic values.

His significant daydreaming was interrupted by a knock on the cellar door. The buyer he thought, scrambling to the door. He had a subconscious fear that his client might change his mind. That happened to him several times. He threw open the door, and was relieved to find the well-dressed gentleman that commissioned liked one of his works, but asked if Marcel could change the background colors. He disliked customers critiquing his inspired work, but dismal circumstances taught him brilliance endures darkness before illuminate artistic appreciation. Also, money excused many mistakes. He greeted the man warmly, brush in hand, and returned to his easel.
“Come in Sir,” he said”, I have just completed your painting, and was taking in the overall influence the piece displays. It projects a warm, almost morally soothing ambiance, but that is just my impression. Come, come, have a look and tell me what you think.”
The tall stranger ducked under one of the ceilings many pipes, working around the clutter to catch the light from the room’s grimy window. He rested his chin on his hand and appeared lost in thought.
“Yes, I can see what you mean”, the man agreed, “it does have a somewhat calming affect upon you – I wouldn’t say it had a moral effect, but it does reveal a sense of ease. You used the colors I suggested beautifully. I like the way it demonstrates a warm and engaging situation that gives straight strokes a sense of vitality.”
He moved towards Marcel’s kitchen table and pulled out his chequebook.
“Indeed sir,” he continued as he filled out the cheque”, I’m so impressed with your work that I shall give you 100 dollars for the piece, not the five we agreed upon the other day.”
“Oh thank you sir”, bubbled Marcel”, that is most generous of you. I could tell you had a fine eye for artistic display. Perhaps I can interest you in some of the essays I have written on the nature of current artistic appreciation. Art, along with fine writing, are the two mediums we artists have that can shift emotions, even return a soul to its moral center. The great masters enthused viewers from bouts of bathos to the pinnacles of joy, captured by the aura their work aroused. Marcel held up a thoughtful finger, formulating the thoughts that were swirled about his cavernous mind
The stranger noticed he was preparing another long-winded speech and quickly interjected, “No, thank you, I quite agree, but that’s okay, perhaps some other time”.
Marcel looked down, his crushed soliloquy draining from some mental orifice, realizing his brilliant visions were sometimes hard to grasp in verbal form. “I’ll just shuffle off to my shipping department”, managing a grin,” and wrap up your painting”. He disappeared in a portioned area that showed the edge of a bed peeking out.
The stranger glanced around the dingy apartment, noting stacks of dusty printing paper and thick books crammed in any opening. A flood of brushes and paint surrounded the strange easel, the overflow contained in a circular area around the stand. Several finished paintings leaned against the wall. The rest of the residence was being slowly crushed by the weight of numerous alphabetized binders and precariously balanced paper towers. The wide kitchen table held a series that had some sort of order. Every inch of the place was multifunctional; the kitchen acted as paint station and canvass stretcher department. Everywhere showed the signs of writing, reading or painting. He imaging the bed was the shipping and wrapping department.

Prominently displayed on a blank wall was a three by two foot sign of black lamacoid with engraved white writing. It was a quote from somewhere, some tidbit of wisdom that Marcel obviously held dear. He quickly scanned it.

The artist is the creator of beautiful things.
To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim
The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression
of beautiful things.
The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography.
Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming.
This is a fault.
Those who find beautiful things mean only Beauty.
There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.
The nineteenth century dislike of Romanticism is the rag of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass.
The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium.
No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved.
No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style.
No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything.
Thought and language are to the artist instruments of an art.
Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art.
From the point of view of form, the type of all the arts is the art of the musician. From the point of view of feeling, the actor’s craft is the type.
All art is at once surface and symbol
Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.
It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.
Diversity if opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital
When the critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself.
We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it.
The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.
All art is quite useless.
Oscar Wilde

The stranger saw the sign echoed the comments on life and art Marcel had enthusiastically explained when he first met him and bought one of his paintings. Indeed, this odd view of art and morality clearly formed Marcel’s inner core. He felt as if he had peeked into Marcel’s soul. Deliberately placed near the door, Marcel probably read this whenever he left this hovel. He looked around at the prolific stacks of essays. Long, pedantic inscriptions indicated theological and philosophical issues, with frequent references to modern morality. He noticed the source: a closet-like area embraced a rickety desk holding an ancient computer and ink jet printer. The painter would make an excellent subject for study.

He enjoyed a moment of detached anticipation; this guy was committed in more ways than one. Morality was a big part of his life. As the bubbly man returned, his now wrapped painting under his arm, an incisive gaze bored into Marcel, piercing his very essence.

“Here you are sir, Marcel exhaled, “not proportionally exact – Christmas and birthday presents were not my forte - but it is protected from the elements”.
“Thank you Marcel. I will enjoy it on many levels. I must take my leave now, I have much to accomplish by tomorrow.”
Marcel had hoped for more insightful banter, but was thrilled that the extra fifty dollars gave him more than enough for his rent. He could only hope this might become a repeat customer.
“As you wish Sir. Feel free to call on me again, or look for me around the museum sometime if you might want to make another purchase. Thank you, and I hope to see you again.”
The stranger paused as he opened Marcel’s door, and replied, “I’m sure you will see me again. I bid you good day.” The door closed, leaving Marcel with his swirling thoughts.
He did not feel like venturing out today, he had made the month’s rent, and sat down to write more on his great vision.
The stranger squinted in the bright sun, his eyes accustomed to the gloom of Marcel’s dingy basement. He walked towards his BMW chirping it as he juggled his keys and his new painting. Fitting the painting in his back seat, he removed a digital voice recorder from the glove box. “7 Oct. 2007, Marcel Dupris, psychotic schizophrenia. Believes he is a successful author and painter and collect assorted magazines that he imagines contain his writing, art critic reviews and other signs of success. Marcel is entrenched in this world of delusion and believes he will soon be given a showing at the Chicago Museum of Art. I discovered the subject selling his worthless art on the street and commissioned him for a piece. I confirmed my analysis when I picked up my “masterpiece” today. The subject is self supportive, self reliant and self deluded.

***Stranger is Dr. Victor Fiske, famous TV psychiatrist, who sees an unorthodox approach is needed to help Marcel. Perhaps hired by a rich family or friend of Marcel’s. He sets him up, then shows up at the station to explain that Marcel is his patient and is being treated for psychotic schizophrenia. The police release him into his custody and he explains that Marcel needed to be jolted out of his delusional writing and painting fantasy, that the magazines didn’t have articles by him and reviews about his art.
He will do a paper on him.

The next day broke sunny and warm. Marcel decided the grubby sunlight making its way past the built up dirt was inspiration for a new painting. Securing a new canvas to his homemade easel, he pondered the blank space for a moment then began mixing paints. After several hours, most of the background was sketched in, and Marcel had an idea for the overall painting. Noticing the time, he began to prepare himself for the trip to the bank.

Tells him what bank he uses and what time he likes to show up.

The old turn-of-the-century structure made a formidable bank.
He loved these old purposely-designed buildings; modern glass towers, in his artistic eye, were tasteless glass rectangles that projected height and size over form and function.

Tastefully chiseled in a neo-gothic style, the large granite blocks gave the building redoubtable dependency and impenetrable strength. It offered a perfect fortress to safeguard your money. Tom Surrey climbed the broad front steps, firmly stacked to support the bloated, beautifully fluted columns, thoughtfully carved in the Doric tradition. In his early art studies, he had studied classical sculpture and architecture, and appreciated the older sections of the city for its eclectic array of Victorian and other, more time consuming styles of construction. Minimalist towers of glass with no taste had replaced early aesthetics, the modern shrine of capitalism.

Tom eased into paycheck Friday’s lengthy line and leaned forward to grab a deposit slip. He had sold four paintings this week, an influx of cash that would help him barely meet the month’s rent.

A quick take on the crowd ahead of him reminded him he should have brought a book. Unlike other waiting rooms, the only reading a bank offered were glossy pamphlets advertising financial services for which he had neither need nor any money. Cashing several cheques was a lot easier when you could take your time and use the check counter. He fumbled for leverage as he used the back of his chequebook to write on. A quick head count confirmed he had not missed the lunch hour crowd. His watch read 11:45: the bank thought it was 11:58. Damn. He reset his watch. After finishing his deposit slip and signing his cheques, he fell into the watching game, guessing how long each customer would take.

He remembered the difference had something to do with the entablature at the top of the column. Some were plain, scroll-like or ornately carved. As an artist and old building enthusiast, he should study up on some of the city’s more colorful districts, the ones were he loved to go walking.

Ionic capital, column and entablature.
Doric: plain, first style.
Ionic: scrolls at the top
Corinthian: elaborate carving around top.
Gothic: elaborately carved, fancy flying buttresses etc.
Roman: arch, functional, solid.
Greek:

The soaring columns supported a stretched triangular frieze.

Chiseled granite blocks showed neo-gothic accents and regal Ionic columns.

A man that hand him a zippered leather folder joins him in line. He does not return. When John gets to be third in line, he opens the heavy folder to see if it is a gold brick or rolled change. He puts his hand on the handle of a gun. Fingerprints are now only his.
There are two letters. One to him, telling him to rob the bank, or be shot by the brown car he can see parked in front of the side door. The other letter is to be given to the teller and instructs her to lead him to the end of the counter and open the small door and lead him into the vault. He is to fill the case with the bundles of fifties on the shelf, have the staff lie on the floor, and lock the vault as he leaves, gun in hand. He is to then get into the car with the stranger.

The stranger is a robber, but a psychological nut who likes to push people to their moral limit and see if they will rob the bank or risk getting shot, or getting caught with all the evidence leading to him. The stationary is from his apartment/studio, printed on his printer, and probably has his fingerprints or other incriminating mark, and other personal trace evidence planted there by the robber.
His choice is to rob and leave with the guy, or shout out and hit the floor, in which case the robber would just drive away-it would be his word against the evidence…maybe he does that and gets thrown in jail, as the police find a plan written on his computer that shows he might not have the nerve to carry it out.
So, either he robs the bank, or gets set up and sent to jail for attempted robbery and conspiracy.
If so, he gets a letter from the guy at the end explaining why, or a visit or something.

Have it a surprise ending, like he yells about the guy in the car that is not found, but goes to jail when the police find all the evidence against him

Or, the guy calls his cell phone and tells him to do it or face the consequences…and just tells him he will go to jail, that he’s arranged everything so all he can do is go through it, get shot if he leaves, or goes to jail if he yells frame up.

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