Happy 43rd Birthday to My Oldest Son…

Joshua – 1977…
You probably don’t remember that day. Even for me it now seems like it was another universe. It was your first birthday. We called Fort Ord California home and, as it was with most Army families, we were as penniless as the winos down along the banks of the Salinas River. Your mother baked you a chocolate cake from a .29 cent box mix and decorated it with some homemade icing. We stripped you down to your diaper and sat you in your highchair while we sang birthday songs to you. You laughed as you crumbled your cake into oblivion.

A Flash of Life – 1976, You’re still in the Army boy.

Dressed in denim jackets and bell bottom jeans with colorful patches sewn over holes that never existed, we tried to be normal 1970’s youth. We listened to Neil Young, Cat Stevens, Eagles, America and Pink Floyd. Our attempt to be non-conformists only managed to create more conformity. And short military haircuts can’t be disguised in a world where the length of your hair is a status symbol. No matter how hard we pretended to be friends, it was still just a stranger that passed the hash pipe back across the table. We’d take a hit and dream we were home.

100 Words

Another Flash of Life – He wasn’t a superman…

A 100 word story

My friend would sit quietly in the corner and talk to himself when he only drank beer; nicest guy you ever met. A bottle of wine would have him shouting obscenities at passersby for reasons unknown. He might walk naked into the police station after a night of tequila. Once, Jim Beam sent him staggering down Highway 24 to do hand to hand combat with a moving semi-truck. Later he walked away from the altercation on two broken legs, a broken arm and 3 broken ribs. My friend died alone in his apartment last night after 60 days of detox.

A Flash of Life – 100 words

On The Train…written while stationed in Germany – 1976

We ride the train at night. Store front signs flash neon onto our faces through the window. Red, green, blue in words we don’t know. Just four foreigners crowded in with a hundred faces. They speak in a language we can only catch a few pieces of. We get stern looks from disgusted fellow travelers each time we speak. So we travel in silence. But I know what they are thinking. They don’t need to say it. I can see it in their anger. “You’d think if they are going to be stationed here, they’d learn to speak our language.”

A Flash of Life – 1974 – Trust…(100 Words)

She led the way up the path. I couldn’t keep from staring at her, thinking about all the things I had discovered…the things that no other person has ever known. She had chosen me to share her soul. In my hands she had placed all her trust and innocents and when you go that far, it forms a connection that can never be destroyed. Purely from the virtue of knowing how your life will never again be the same. She turned to me, smiled and dove off the cliff into the water below. I vowed I would always follow her