Homeless Though Not Hapless!

imagesToday was a special day. I got to tour a homeless shelter very close to my home here in CA. The reason for the tour was two fold, but before I go into detail, let me relate to you the scene that greeted me as I drove up in my brand spanking new sports car, a car that I wished I’d left at home, and was met by a scene of such depravity, it made me ashamed that I actually belonged to a race called humanity, but incredibly proud to meet people who actually care and are trying hard to right this terrible wrong called homelessness.

I’ve had various dealings with the homeless throughout my life, from working closely with those who carry a real desire to get back on their own two feet, to assisting many charitable organizations who would like to raise money in the hope of ending homelessness, to simply being deliberately homeless myself, for a week. My biggest grievance with the human race, is that we allow homelessness in the first place. I look around, especially hard, in this area in which I live, Silicon Valley, and I wonder, often out loud, HOW CAN THIS BE??? There are so many clever people here, so many in fact, we are swamped by a ‘billionaire’ glut, spoilt for choice when naming someone who has redefined our modern planet with technology to die for, and yet, just in our small county alone, we have 7000+ people who are continually homeless and who have very little chance in their lifetime of ever being anything else. If you take a pen and draw a circle outside of this county, that number is multiplied by ten for every 20-40 miles it’s expanded. So pathetic, so ridiculous and so very frustrating.

When I arrived this morning, surrounded by a scene commonplace on many of today’s street corners, the thing that immediately struck me was how surreal the shelter seemed. There it stood, slap bang in the center of a prosperous neighborhood, (prosperous being perhaps the wrong word) where restaurants and large chain-stores occupy a huge mall and where droves of people line up daily to spend liberally on goods they really don’t require and feast on food they really don’t need, as they do, all over America, right in front of those who can’t and never will. The have’s and have nots, all together, although very separate, co-mingling in sprit alone, or perhaps never at all. My instant reaction when I got out my car in the parking lot, was to double check that the car was indeed locked and that no one was looking at me as I walked the 20 yards or so towards their reception area dressed in my Levi’s and my Nike shirt, standing out like a beacon amongst those would be watchers, all with lives that are supported generously by others and all dressed in clothes that were once worn by others, all living an existence we (as non homeless) hope is only ever lived by others. There was no malice in their stares, no jealousy, at least not that I could see, and a general acceptance that I was just another rich, lucky, comfortable fucker who was here to do something that might just help them all out one day. Although no one intimated that fact and no one even spoke to me, I felt I was being regarded as a somewhat of an interesting morning addition to another somewhat very uninteresting mundane day.

My tour guides, two wonderful ladies called Liz and Cindy, greeted me at the door and proceeded to escort me all over the shelter showing me everything from the kitchens to the sleeping accommodations, to the courtyard, where, on any given day, most of the residents or those who are just passing through, are able to rest, contemplate and chat amongst themselves, trading stories, experiences and perhaps a cigarette or two, in an effort to make the acquaintance of a new friend. Their safety, nutrition and and perhaps even their sanity, guaranteed, if not for ever, then certainly just for today. Veterans made up a large part of this complex, some watching a movie, some assisting the permanent work force, and some just taking council from those who are their to give. This was not paradise and indeed this was no party, but what it was, what it always will be, hope!

With my tour complete, I bombarded my hosts with a multitude of questions, each one carefully chosen in order that I might find a way to help, to assist, to raise money and awareness for a cause I deeply relate to and sincerely believe in. By the time we finished we had a plan, if not cast in stone, good enough to make me go straight to my doctor and take a TB test ( a requirement for anyone who wants to work there)  in order that next week or the week after I can be passed fit to undertake volunteer service in the center’s kitchen. They serve 250 to 500 men and women a day in that kitchen, depending on occupancy, and this folks, is where my new challenge shall begin. My aim, my ambition, my desire, is to help this shelter and perhaps some others, to attain the proper funding they require to once and for all rid this city, and then all other cities, of the homelessness and despair that has blighted our landscape for too long.

Look out for more articles on this matter, coming soon and in the meantime, if you see someone who is genuinely homeless, please try and help them out. A small gesture can often go a very long way.

 

Irresponsible Rouges for Sure – I.R.S.

imagesSo these bastards at the IRS have squandered over $50 million of OUR money on parties, dance video’s conferences, and more, for what? They have been found out, BIG TIME, and the full truth has yet to emerge showing the extent of their shenanigans. I am so pissed, as you all should be, that a government agency, and not just any agency, but the government agency we all love to hate, has the gall to spend my tax dollars for events that are so farcical, so needless and so beyond belief, that outrage and disgust would never be words strong enough to explain the disdain I now feel towards them. I am not and never have been a fan of any tax system, but the one in this country is so backwards and useless that it’s disappearing up its own arsehole! And if you take a look at who actually pays their taxes, you, me and only about 30% of the rest of all 150 million people who should be paying, then this folly, this irresponsible behavior that these pricks have managed to slip through our supposedly rigid and secure system, beggars belief and warrants complete internal change and reorganization.

Singling out groups and companies because of their names and beliefs? Well why don’t Homeland Security just arrest every Muslim or Jew,Buddhist, or right-wing Christian because they think they might be troublemakers? Why not? It seems the order of the day that these huge governmental juger-naughts can just do what the heck they want. It’s pathetic. I am paying thousands of dollars a month in tax so some people who chose to work for the IRS can go out and make a dance video at my expense? Don’t they have a conscience? It would be interesting to know if anyone in that video actually pays tax! Are they exempt because they can line dance? Do they attend these conventions just to avoid paying as much as the rest of us? If that’s the case, then I am there baby! I can learn to dance and to drink and party just as easily as they can!

So someone at the IRS will probably read this and I will get audited. Let’s see, what do I have to hide? Oh yes, I remember, the thousands of tears I’ve shed with every dollar I’ve had to pay! Why don’t they stop wasting our money on unnecessary past times and spend our money chasing those who simply refuse to pay tax, or those who are hiding their money in so-called legal off-shore entities to avoid the 50% base rate that would wipe them clean? Where’s the common sense here people? Where is our USA Springtime? Why is it the arab world has all the fun when we, the greatest country on the planet, sit back and just accept everything as it is? We are stupid! We are complacent! We are a bunch of sissy’s, just sitting around being ‘yes’men and women. Shouldn’t we all be annoyed right now? Shouldn’t we begin an uprising to rid this country of all government, all lobbyists and all those who take advantage of our mighty system? A system, by the way, that is absolutely, 100% broken?

Time to go and count the money I don’t have because that dancing squad I’ve watched on TV for the past week have practiced their routine and are off, at my expense, to the world line dancing championships under the banner name of IRS ( Income tax Really Sucks) and so do we!

 

Taking Off – Airplane Stories To Make Your Toes Curl

imagesI made my first journey from London to Hong Kong in 1980. In those days I only flew economy, because that’s all I could afford. Business class was a pipe dream and first class, well, first was for celebrities or billionaires only. It took 8 hours to fly to Bahrain or Mumbai, formerly Bombay, and then another 8 hours from whichever stop you’d made, onwards to HK, and when you landed, you knew you’d been cooped up for more than a day, just by the length of time it took to get your legs back in working order. It was brutal, and coming back to the UK took even longer, due to the winds and direction of flight. East to west is always longer, as any seasoned traveler knows. My first time in HK was followed by a sweet diversion to Singapore on the way back, and then another 11 hour flight to Brussels, and after a refueling stop, an hour back to the UK. The 747’s of that era, just could make the journey without stopping. And so, for many years, probably until the mid 1980’s, it was ‘suffer in silence’ in a back row seat, cramped up and surrounded by smelly human beings. Case in point.

One night, (all flights to London left HK around midnight in these days), I was booked back to the UK on BA, leaving from HK after a two-week stint going in and out of factories, none of which were anything other than salubrious. I arrived at my gate, exhausted and ready for bed, but knowing the change of grabbing any sleep was near on impossible, only because I rarely ever sleep on flights, let alone doze off when cramped in a back row with my legs touching my chest. The flight was called and I boarded, and having been ushered to my aisle seat, I was pleasantly surprised to find the plane empty, other than another 40 or so fellow travelers who’d boarded with me. We were supposed to fly HK to Bombay, spend 4 hours there and then fly on to London. “This won’t be so bad” says I, whilst navigating my tired body towards an empty row of four seats in the center of the plane. I was delighted to find there were several empty rows and so I spread my belongings out across all 4 seats as if  to ‘claim’ my territory, and then went for a quick pee. Arriving back, and then spreading out to relax and hopefully lie down and sleep, the cabin director made the following announcement, “We are expecting one or two more passengers so please be patient and keep your original seats until we close the door.” One or two? No problem! There were 250 empty seats! How wrong can one be.

235 turban clad Indian gentleman, all carrying 6 plastic bags each, filled with all sorts of exotic goodies, dressed in traditional garb and all wearing open toed sandals without socks, smelling like they’d all been at some curry feast, proceeded to sit in every available empty seat, put their plastic bags above, beyond and under every available space, take off their already smelly sandals, spread out and stunk up that flight for the next 8 hours. There was no escape, other than to the toilette  which eventually took on its own personality, and one that reminded me of a street gutter in Delhi! It got to be so bad that all the flight crew immigrated into business class and hid, deciding not to serve us anything, unless they had to. Arriving in Bombay, when the doors opened, there was a mass exodus and those of us traveling on to London made a run for it. Having settled down, some three hours later, with my stomach back in tact, we boarded the same plane, which had thankfully now been fumigated, only for the same experience to happen one more time. All 235 of them re-boarded for London! We were distraught, those of us with sensitive noses that is, and we hunkered down for another 8 hours of doom and gloom accompanied by the worst odors I have ever had the pleasure of inhaling, other than this one time, again, from HK to UK some years later, when a guy from Yorkshire sat next to me, in business class, smelling like he’d just come out of a sewer pipe and forgotten to wash. 12 more hours of vile disgusting odors, enough to make you puke more than just once.

Then there was this old lady, sitting quite nonchalantly in front of me on TWA from London to New York. Suddenly, and without warning, placing her coffee cup up towards the air nosel above her seat and continuously pushing the flight attendant call button. DING DING DING DING, but to no avail. It went on and on and on. I decided enough was enough so I rose, tapped her on her shoulder and asked her very nicely, “Can I help you, is something wrong?”  She looked up at me with such an innocent grin and said, “the flight attendant said if I wanted more coffee I should push this button!” She believed that coffee would flow from the air vent and had no idea that she was pushing the flight attendant button.

On a trip to Dublin, again from Heathrow, we were hurtling down the runway, wheels ready to lift off, when BOOM! Actually it was more like a POP, one of the engines gives out, and before we knew it, the air brakes, the hand brake and any other brake they had, came on full speed, shutting both engines down immediately  and stopping us about 100 feet from the end of Heathrow runway 28 right. The doors were thrown open and whoosh, before anyone could say, “mine’s a Guinness”, we were shoved out onto the slides that appear when an in flight emergency happens. Leaving all belongings on the plane, it took 4 hours to get us back into the terminal, claim out baggage and get on another flight to Dublin. Only positive thing being, we were all safe!

Guangzhou, China, April 1983. Time to fly from China back to Hong Kong, a 30 minute flight. Remember, this was before China had come alive to modern technology. There were no roads, no boats, no trains and no other way of getting in and out. The aircraft was an ancient Russian something or other, and when checking in, the first in line got seat 1A, the second 1B etc.. You had NO choice. This was in the days when you received a sticker from a map of the plane and attached it to your flight ticket. We boarded, I was in 3A, (I will never forget), and was hemmed in by 2 disabled French tourists. It was only 30 minutes, so who cares? Right? The plane was full, the doors closed, they pushed up back, and the captain started the engines. One exploded! Kaboom! The cabin filled with smoke, and every westerner got up to run out, except me, hemmed in by the disabled Frenchmen. I was in panic mode, they were crying. Two Iranians behind me were praying to Allah and the Chinese, including the flight crew just sat, arms crossed, patient and calm, as if nothing had happened. I was suffocating and they were all smiling. As I looked back towards the rear of the aircraft, there was no panic and the flight crew, 2 very petite Chinese ladies, began opening all the aircraft doors. No one, other than us westerners, was in any hurry to do anything other than sit. As the smoke cleared, and the passengers settled down from panic mode to just plain acceptance, and with the pilot uttering something in either Mandarin or Cantonese,  out of the corner of my eye, through a very smokey window, I watched with some curiosity and amazement, as a Chinese man peddled towards us, with a step-ladder over one shoulder and a cigarette in hand. After 5 minutes he arrived at the base of our aircraft, making his way towards the rear, where both engines were situated. He put his bike on the ground, erected the ladders, stepped up to the right hand engine, took the casing off that engine, gave it a couple of whacks with a hammer he’d produced from beneath his coat, put the casing back on, took the step-ladder down, got back on his bike, cycled up to the front, gave the pilot a ‘thumbs up’ signal, and we took off!! For the 30 minute duration of that flight, the 2 Iranians were kneeling on the floor with their worry beads, the two Frenchmen were shaking like leaves and I was shitting my pants waiting for the plane to explode in mid-air. Needless to say, it didn’t!

Xian is situated in the north-west of China, and after the discovery of a Terra-cotta army, everyone on the planet wanted to visit there, well, I did, perhaps not everyone. Again, this was in the early 80’s and so, from the south of China where I’d been working, I boarded a flight for Xian, ready and willing to die! In those days, any Chinese aircraft you boarded, you had to be prepared to stick your hand out the window and flap like a bird to assist in its take off and landing. Dangerous times indeed and I recall that the UK government of the time put out a warning for its citizens only to travel on recognized airlines and not to use any internal Chinese companies to fly on. I had no choice and without any real drama, I arrived and enjoyed Xian and all its wonders. Arriving back at the airport for my flight to Guangzhou, things were just a wee bit different. The flight was full, 100% full, and there were people wandering all over the terminal with chickens and crabs and other animals, all in boxes and ready to be taken aboard as hand luggage! I checked in, went to the gate and stood in line, military style, ready to board. I had managed to wangle an aisle seat, no mean feat in those days, and was ready for yet another 3 hour Chinese air extravaganza. We boarded, I sat, they plane was ready, and then, an announcement. No idea what they said, but within 2 minutes another 25 people boarded the plane. There were no seats, and they stood, hands grasping the top of either aisle seat, ready and waiting for take off. “NO FUCKING WAY!” I thought, as the doors closed, we taxied out and began to scream down the runway at Xian international airport! These ‘clowns’ were holding on for dear life and we climbed, quite rapidly, out of harms way and up into smooth air and cruising altitude, whereupon they went into that now, well-known, Chinese squatting position, and remained there for three hours, smoking, laughing and doing anything they could to have a good time while we hurried back to Guangzhou. On out descent  they balanced their bodies the opposite way to the position they’s been in on our climb out of Xian, and as I looked at them all, standing there, in the aisle, I began to believe they’d all done this several times in the past. They turned out to be experts and probably friends of the pilot! That was really the ‘wild-west’ and to be perfectly honest, although things have improved greatly in China over the past 25 years, I often miss the innocence that these people used  to have as they began to accept and then navigate, OUR ‘real’ world.

Philadelphia, city of brotherly love, unless you’re a flight attendant trying to pack everything up ready for landing while being buffeted around in severe turbulence. No love there! The lady I’m talking about was standing up next to me as we made our approach into that particular city when suddenly she was sent three feet up into the air, her head hitting the aircraft ceiling and then her body crashing back down into the seat right in front of me where her collar-bone struck the top of the chair and penetrated her skin! Broken in two places, she was unconscious and needed to be carried off in a stretcher when we eventually landed.

But that was nothing in comparison to the time we were over Moscow heading for HK, when the man sitting next to me, although he was one seat removed, the middle one being empty, suddenly and quite unexpectedly, put his head on my shoulder. Surprised to say the least, my first reaction was to look at him and try to push him gently back to where he’d come from, believing he’d fallen asleep while the movie was playing. Unfortunately my suspicions that he might be dead were proven correctly after his refusal to move, the heaviness that seemed quite unusual to me in his head and the obvious sign, and one I should have recognized immediately, he had no pulse! Shitting my pants, this being the second dead body I’d ever seen, the first close up, I pushed the call button repeatedly for the flight attendant to come. When she arrived, she was as shocked as I was and she called the captain. Did you know that if there is a death on board the pilot is supposed to land straight away, no matter where he is? Conversation between the pilots of this plane became heated and so I inadvertently decided to join in by asking ‘what the fuck their problem was?’ It was related to me that we were over Moscow, and if they radioed in this death, they’d be forced to land, the plane would be quarantined for two days and we’d all be stuck! “Would you mind saying he died 30 minutes outside of HK?” Was he talking to me?? I had to hear this request twice more before I agreed to comply. The pilots told me that police would come on, simply asking when the man died, and me, being the only real witness, would lie through his teeth in order to save us from a fate worse that death, 2 days in Moscow airport! “Ok I’ll do it” I proclaimed, as the dead body was placed inside a body-bag retrieved from the lower deck, dragged into business class and then placed inside the onboard elevator and taken to lie with all the baggage. For my trouble, they upgraded me into first class for the remaining 9 hours and served me like a king, although I wasn’t in the mood to be treated in any way other than with sympathy! None of the other passengers on the plane would hound me in first class and those who were curious as to what had happened were kept at bay by the flight crew. When landed, the police came on board, the questions were asked, I was released and free to go and the poor widow was left to claim her husband’s body. They were both HK residents. I’ve never fallen asleep on any flight since and although no one else ever died on me, I still remember that evening as if it happened yesterday.

With more than 4 million miles flown and having taken more than 4000 flights, I have had many more good and bad experiences on board planes, some which I can honestly say scared the shit out of me and some which left me speechless. All in all, I am happy to still be here and when people say to me ‘did you have a nice flight?’ I always answer them with one line and in the same way I have done for more than 20 years, “I arrived with both legs in tact, so yes, it was good!”

John Noonan

imagesWhere do all the guts and innards from sheep and cows and horses end up? Ever wonder that? No, not Safeway, although recently that would have been my first guess. John Noonan,  a company that was situated in the east end of Glasgow, was famous for one thing and one thing only, it’s stench! A stench that came from said innards!

Brian Freeman, a large, often lovable crook, sat behind his desk, windows open with the stench of animal innards wafting casually into his office, unabated. Brian was English and spoke with a kind of slur in his voice, even when sober. A chemist by profession, or so he said, he was the buyer at Noonan with whom my father had been dealing with for many years. Supplying plastic sheeting, bags and packing tape, the account was worth many thousands in profit and whenever asked to quote for something, there was always a bidding war between my dad’s company and one of his competitors, who slugged it out with Brian until the bitter end, carving each other up into little pieces, always to the detriment of each other and the sole benefit of Noonan and Brian’s bonus.

I was 11 the first time I was taken there. I had to wait in the car while my dad delivered something. He told me it would take 5 minutes, and 45 minutes later, with this horrible stench now seeping through our car windows and my stomach about to puke its contents onto the front seat, my dad returned, just in time to save the day. As I grew older, I became wary of anything he said that resembled even thinking about returning to that horrible place, so, you can imagine my shock, when, as a van boy, and now 14 years of age, John, the driver told me we were making a delivery to John Noonan that morning and collecting some faulty bags in return. My immediate thought was to run, my reaction obviously confirmed by the look of shock and dread written across my face.

“Dinnae worry, it’ll onnae tak a wee munit” said John, in his broad Glaswegian accent. John had been my boss all summer long. Wherever he went, I went. He loved Glasgow Rangers, as did I, so we got along just fine. He used to reminisce about all our victories and triumphs, as we drove round Glasgow every day. Collecting me from home at 7 am and then dropping me off at 6 pm, we put hundreds of miles on that van each week and lifted thousands of boxes. John was my introduction not only to flat sausage sandwiches from McGuire’s bakery where we’d make a scheduled stop every day around 11 am, a time which we called our elevenses, but also to heavy beer, a dark flat concoction, loved by most Scotsman. Only when he asked me to try my first pint, I was reluctant as any 14-year-old might have been and yet curious too. One sip of that crap however, put me off for life. I was lucky! Yes, he would drink and drive. A couple of pints around 1 pm with fish and chips accompanying the ‘heavy’ and we would be off once again, running round Glasgow and it’s suburbs making deliveries.

This particular day, on the way to Noonans with a huge consignment of cartons loaded neatly on the back of the truck, he asked me if I wanted to go into the factory and look around.

“It’s no as bad as it seems, ah promus” he offered, as he put pedal to the metal and we shot off, fully laden and headed for anything but paradise!

As we approached the gates, two tall green monstrosities, I could already smell that disgusting odor as it belched out into the grey Glasgow sky and breached my sensitive nostril passages. My stomach started to churn, my mind went into lock down and my face must have turned pure white.

“Dinnae puke up in ma van” said John, without one iota of compassion. The gates opened, and in we went. Brian Freeman was in the courtyard awaiting our arrival. This delivery was urgent, and so it was all hands on deck to offload it asap. Brian looked at me and then at John and said,

“You brought the wee fella with you then?”

“Aye, but he’s no gonnae last long”

Just as John said that, I puked all over Brian’s shoes, and half way up his trouser leg. All my elevenses came pouring out, and bit by bit, left a permanent stain on Brian’s suit. No one uttered a single word, and as if nothing had happened, Brian turned round to me and shouted,

“OK you got that out, now offload the fucking van!’

And I did. It took us half an hour, and while Brian was away changing his clothes or getting cleaned up, all the workers from Noonans we out there with John and I pissing themselves laughing at what I’d done. Some of them seemed quite pleased in fact, but none of them gave me peace and each one asked me, in turn, if I’d like to tour the inside of the plant, mask free! I told them no thanks, and with my stomach running on empty, we left, back to the warehouse to collect our next load, which, thankfully was not for Noonan!

Years after that experience, I used to call on Brian regularly, and each time I did, he told me I still owed him a new pair of shoes and new suit. He eventually got his revenge when he asked me and my father for a loan, some 15 years later, when he’d invented and patented this new idea which required financial backing. We agreed to give him the money, but we never saw a single penny repaid. Don’t know where he is now, don’t really care, but I can still smell that place and still turns my stomach every time I think back!

A Threesome, Twice, With One Exception – A Short Sex Story

Joanna and Winnie worked together, as they had done for many years. Their job? Well they were in charge of purchasing for one of the world’s largest liquor companies based in Dallas Texas. Joanna was in charge, and although Winnie saw herself as an equal, there was little doubt that when in meetings, Joanna held all the authority. Joanna had tried for many years to find someone, anyone with the same qualities that Winnie showed in the workplace, but had always failed miserably, until that day Winnie had walked in for her interview and the pair had hit it off instantly. Winnie had moved positions twice in her short career since graduating University of Texas with a degree in business, Magna Cum Laude. She’d begun as an intern at Neiman Marcus, working her way up to assistant manager at store level before taking a position with the Dallas Cowboys in their front office. her dream was to be independent, free of all debt and to run a department inside the Cowboy organization  which, as time moved on, became more of a pipe dream than reality. And then, out of nowhere, an interview with Saga 4, the second largest liquor conglomerate on the planet. Winnie had attended the interview dressed to thrill, having been told that Mr. David Thorndyke, would be taking that meeting, and so, arriving early, as she always did, and wanting to impress, in more ways than one, she was embarrassed and very surprised when Miss Joanna Letchen had entered the room on Mr. Thorndyke’s behalf, looked her up and down, smiled and then sat opposite Winnie with an attitude that Winnie swore would kill many weaker than she, and in moments, not hours.

And here she was, 8 months into her job, loving every minute of it and as close to her boss, Joanna, as she could have ever imagined.

It had begun within days of Winnie arriving at her new place of employment, and it had started quite unexpectedly. Joanna had asked Winnie to stay after hours to assist in the completion of a new proposal that Joanna had to present to her boss David Thorndyke. Being ambitious, curious and of course conscientious, as she always had been, Winnie agreed instantly to help, and around 9 pm, with both herself and Joanna stuck and unable to solve the final issue of TV budgets for the new Vodka roll out, Joanna had suggested they take a break, go across the road to Black Angus and get a steak, bottle of wine and some peace for an hour, come back and finish their task. Winnie was starving and followed her boss straight out the front door and into a welcome meal, courtesy of her new employer, Saga 4.

Two bottles of wine and a martini or two later, Joanna and Winnie, sitting close to one another in the booth that had been provided to them by an over attentive hostess, had begun, what was now, a serious and animalistic affair. Winnie, whose preference had always been men, with an occasional woman thrown in for good measure, was, at first, very cautious, as Joanna had suggested and then confessed, that her feelings for Winnie were more than just platonic and business like. Winnie, fearing of course for her job and also her sanity, had been very attracted to Joanna since their first meeting, and although she’d felt ‘curious’ as to what Joanna might be like in the ‘sack’, common sense had prevailed and Winnie had veered away from any thoughts of even trying to go in that particular direction, until now. Joanna slid up close to Winnie, and while dessert made its way from the kitchen, Joanna’s hand had made its way into Winnie’s crotch. Both ladies were alive with the scent of passion and before the waitress could arrive with their check, Joanna had whisked Winnie off by one hand, back to the office, leaving a $100 on the table for the meal, and where, behind a very closed-door, they’d stripped off and were making haste for the best orgasm either woman had ever experienced. Ever!

That was now in the past, and both had decided they were now very much in love, figuring out how to work together in public and how to fuck together in private. Joanna had always been a lesbian, but in this, a very male dominated industry, she’d kept her sexual preference to herself and despite the advances, on a regular basis from several men at Saga 4, Joanna had remained ‘single’ and impossible to date, according to all the office gossip. And so, the rumors grew. No one, not even her mother, knew about Winnie, and likewise, Winnie had played the game, understanding fully that this was their business and no one else’s. It had been a while since Winnie had felt the way she did right now with Joanna as her lover, and she’d sort of given up the idea that any man could offer the anything close to the feelings and satisfaction she was enjoying in this relationship with Joanna. She’d tried, now and again, the occasional penis, but it just never seemed to fit!  Recently though, she’d been fantasizing on how nice it would be to have a man inside her again, on a more regular basis, and these thoughts were raising their head once again as, around 11 AM on a Thursday morning, she made her way out to the companies’ reception area to meet George, a vendor who’d come to sell her blocked advertising space for local radio. She’d never met George before, and when she walked into the room where he sat waiting patiently for her arrival, one look told her that she was immediately in trouble and that a penis was indeed what she was missing in her now, almost complete, love life.

George was about 6 foot tall, thin and very good-looking. His charm ran in tandem with his looks and at the very moment their eyes met, George knew that he had to get to know Winnie outside of their proposed working relationship. He couldn’t take his eyes off her, and she was smitten too. They laughed and joked for about thirty minutes before George took the bull by the horns and suggested they discuss business. Winnie was amazed at how much she’s learned about George in the short moments they’d spoken and she too was now of the opinion that she needed to explore him further. George began his presentation, taking about 45 minutes more before concluding with a one line remark that sent Winnie into a tizzy!  To her, his voice was mesmerizingly sexy, and she was relieved slightly when he finished talking and she was allowed to digest his proposal and then re group as she fought off all her inner urges that said ‘jump him’

George spoke, “… and of course, if you decide to go with us, I would insist on christening our deal over dinner”

She wanted so badly just to say ‘yes’ and ‘no problem,’ but she knew she had to report to Joanna and then to David, to confirm that indeed, George and his corporation where the company they would eventually work with.

“I need a week” she told him as she stood up and looked at George as he ogled her from head to toe. She was dressed in her favorite ‘see through’ white blouse, frilly bra and black mini skirt, which Joanna had insisted she’d put on when they left Winnie’s apartment that particular morning, and Winnie could see that by the look coming from George’s face, Joanna’s insistence had inadvertently paid off. His eyes looked like they were fucking her from every position, she thought, as she stuck out her hand to say goodbye and thank you. George took it gently, and whilst looking straight into her eyes, with a quick and minor diversion towards her full bosom, he came closer, pecked her on the cheek and made her blush instantly, and with her skin turning a very bright pinkish color, Winnie realized that she’d just become wetter than wet inside her freshly laundered panties.

“Oh Shit” she blurted.

“Is anything wrong?” asked George. Winnie muttered something under her breath and made a B line for the door. George followed her like a puppy dog and before he knew it, she was gone, and George was left standing alone in the reception area pondering what he might have done to facilitate her exit. He knew that now was not the time, and like the true salesman he was, he bid farewell to the receptionist sitting behind a huge brown wooden desk, and left, hoping all the while that he hadn’t done anything to upset his potential new client.

Still in a daze and absolutely convinced that her ‘needs’ required some serious attention and a lot more thought, Winnie arrived back in her office with a new-found determination that she should think more seriously about her life and where she was going. Her relationship with Joanna was in a good place, but her inner desires and certainly that wetness which she could still feel, were sending pangs of doubt as to what her real purpose in life should be. She knew she wanted a man, and in particular, she wanted George, but she also knew that her loyalty and her love for Joanna meant that she would have to be completely open and honest with her partner when they sat down that evening to dinner, a time normally set aside for both of them to express their feelings and go over their day together. Winnie was sort of dreading this conversation, but she was also excited that her sexual preference was still as open as it had been when she was 16. Growing up in a small town in Texas, where men ruled and women were cheerleaders, had turned Winnie into a complete cynic when it came to sex. She’s always like boys, indeed she’d slept with over 20 before she was 18, but then a lady called Thora has marched into her life during her freshman year at college, and after spending one night with Thora, Winnie had decided that men were perhaps not the be all and end all for her. She’d continued to have sex with men, even though this had upset Thora tremendously, eventually deciding that she was bi-sexual and although her preferences were certainly lending themselves towards same-sex relationships, she hoped one day to settle down and have a family, with a man as her permanent partner. And then, out of the blue had come Joanna and for the last 8 to 9 months, Winnie had found herself ignoring her past and concentrating only on the love she now felt for a woman, with whom she believed she would spend the rest of her life. That was, until George had walked in to her confusion, earlier that day.

“How’d the meeting go?” Joanna asked as she walked into Winnie’s office, gliding casually towards her desk with a large smile and a formidable ‘I am going to fuck you later’ look on her face. One that Winnie knew all too well, and one that before her meeting with George, would have set her on fire for the remainder of the day.

“It was good. We should give them the account to work on. Here’s the full proposal” she said softly, as she tossed Georges report onto her desk towards the advancing Joanna.

“What’s wrong with you?” Joanna asked. She could sense something was up. She’s known Winnie a very long time and when she was ‘off’ Joanna knew it in a heartbeat.

“Close the door please” Winnie said, with a scowl on her face. Joanna retreated back towards the door and shut it tight, before coming back and sitting on top of Winnie’s desk, with her legs crossed and eyes looking straight into Winnie’s sadness.

“Ok” Joanna said, “so what’s your problem?”

Winnie had no intention of getting into the rights and wrongs of their relationship during working hours, but her heart was pounding, and her mind was in overdrive. She was about to burst, and Joanna could sense that the next few minutes were going to be very uncomfortable, although she had no idea why.

George sat in the front seat of his Ford Escape, his XM radio turned on listening to the Texas Rangers play the New York Yankees in a rain delayed game coming from New York city. His inclination had been to get out of the Saga 4 offices and return to his own desk, put the meeting out of his mind and get on with his day, but something about the way Winnie and he had connected, was driving George to distraction. He was seriously thinking about walking right back in there, finding her desk and fucking her on the spot, should she allow him to do so of course. He sat, one ear on the game and one hand on his cell phone, number at the ready, willing his way to push the dial button that would connect him to Winnie’s direct line. Should he or shouldn’t he? George was nearly 30 years old, had never been married, had been in love more times than he could count, or so he’d thought, but this encounter with Winnie had just set off alarm bells inside his heart and a fire drill inside his penis! He was sure he was going to fuck this woman and right now, his mind was telling him to do it before his courage waned. He sure hope she was single, and if not, he was determined to get her to admit to their attraction and finish any relationship she might be involved in, in order that they could pursue time and space together. ‘Am I going nuts?’ he asked himself more than just once. But he knew he wasn’t and with all that said, George turned off the radio, got out the car, locked the door and made his way back inside the Saga 4 office complex.

Winnie’s palms were sweaty, her normally calm demeanor was gone, and her desire to get this over and done with, well…., well lets just say she was definitely on the verge of just blurting everything out. Joanna could sense this, and after dismounting from the edge of the desk where she’d been sitting, came round to the other side, grabbed Winnie by her waist and stuck her tongue deep into Winnie’s throat. The two of them were now entwined in the most passionate of kisses and suddenly, if only for the briefest of moments, all of Winnie’s concerns and tribulations, vanished under feelings of pure enjoyment and sexual desire. She was so turned on by this woman, always had been and probably always would be, and right now, she was consumed by her wish to be fucked right there and then on her desk.

George had a dilemma. How to get past the receptionist without her making a call to alert Winnie he was on his way up to her office. This wasn’t going to be easy, but he had a plan.

Joanna, wet as ever, had already removed Winnie’s blouse and was in the process of removing her bra. Winnie was lying, legs spread, on her desk, begging for more, panting, eyeballs inside her head,  and seriously considering her next move, which she knew would be the removal of all of her clothes and then her number one wish, for Joanna to go down on her and bring her to climax, something Joanna did with skill and tenderness and something Winnie looked forward to every time they slept together. Only there was still an issue to be resolved, and Winnie didn’t quite know how to resolve it. Her door wasn’t locked, and it was common practice for anyone at anytime to come barging in though with any questions, thoughts or otherwise, unannounced and with an open door policy. Winnie was so wet, so engrossed in what was happening to her at that moment in time that she just put the thoughts of her unlocked door to one side of her brain, opened her legs even further and lay back as Joanna removed the very last piece of her clothing.

George was now inside the Saga 4 reception area. He was hell-bent on skipping through their security area and making his way up to the 6th floor to where he knew Winnie’s desk was located. He felt like such a fool, but he was determined and when George was determined, there wasn’t much anyone could do to halt this steam train, as many had found out to their detriment in the past. The receptionist recognized him immediately and was surprised by how quickly he’s returned. Without blinking, George blurted out,

“I left my sample case with Winnie by mistake. I just called her, she told me to come right back in and straight to her desk to retrieve it. I need it for my next meeting….” And as quick as a flash, before he could finish his sentence and while waving off all attempts by the receptionist to suggest she call ahead, George jumped into the first elevator as it opened its doors, smiled at the security guard, and pushed 6.

David Thorndyke was married to Ann. They’d been in love for 5 out of the 6 years they’d lived together, but the past 12 months had been difficult, with continual counseling sessions unable to bridge those gaping holes that had been created in a marriage that was supposedly ‘made in heaven’.  David had been suspicious that his wife had been unfaithful to him, not just once, but several times, and although Ann had vehemently denied this, David was convinced and unable to move on with the same passion that had brought them together all those years ago. David had been promoted 4 times at Saga 4 and was now a senior VP in the purchasing department, a job that paid him well over 6 figures plus a bonus every year, depending on how much money he was able to save the company. He loved his job, probably more than he loved his wife, but at this stage of his marriage, his feelings for Ann had waned to the point of no return, and without question, his focus had turned to keeping his business life busy whilst looking around to see if there were any women he would like to fuck occasionally. And, as stupid as it seemed, there were plenty, giving David the opportunity and the release he required to put his relationship with Ann on a back burner until he’d decided in his own mind if she was telling him the truth or not, which, at this stage, he was dreadfully unsure either way. His passion, outside of his work, had been fishing and golf, and it was his good golfing buddy John Speitz who’d suggested that David interview George Gregerson from PT Advertising, to see if there was any common ground from a strategic point of view, for Saga 4 to take on radio advertising as a media buy. John had assured David that George was a great guy and would ‘look after him’ David had taken John’s advice and set up a meeting, which unfortunately had coincided with one of his and Ann’s counseling sessions, and so David had asked Joanne to take the meeting on his behalf. David had no idea that Joanne had also made a prior commitment, and had passed the buck to Winnie. With his wife’s final words from their morning session still ringing in his ears, ‘why don’t you just fuck your assistant Joanna and divorce me’, David was about to make his way to Joanna’s office to catch up on the events of her meeting with the man from PT when his telephone rang. It was Ann.

“Yes dearest?” David said with a certain amount of sarcasm in his, by now, frustrated voice. He hated when she interrupted him, especially when he was on his way out of his office.

Crying, and with a voice that could have been heard for miles around, Ann shouted “WHO THE FUCK IS WINNIE?”

The elevator reached the 6th floor and out popped George…….

How would you like this story to end? I am open to suggestions even though I’ve written the ending. I would like to hear from you. Please send your responses to my private emails address, alanzoltie@gmail.com, and I will read them and decide on the best one. The winner, if I believe it’s better than mine, will receive a signed copy of my book Kennel Hill. So, get writing!

THE Royal and Ancient – Deaconsbank

imagesI don’t care what anyone says, and believe me, they don’t care what I think either, but, the ONLY place to play golf when visiting Glasgow is NOT Troon, Gleneagles, Prestwick or Turnberry, NOT even Loch Lomond, now rated as one of the top golf courses in the whole of Scotland, it’s definitely THE Royal and Ancient Deaconsbank, situated just off the Stewarton Road in Thornliebank, one of Glasgow’s ‘leafier’ suburbs. Where?? I hear you all say, yes, Deaconsbank, a challenging  course, to say the least, and one upon which my golfing career began in earnest.

Rouken Glen park was situated about one and a half miles from my house in Heathwood Dr, very walkable, especially when you have no other means of transportation other than a bike. Inside Rouken Glen, there is a waterfall, a lake and the aforementioned Deaconsbank golf course. The park was built in 1906, from lands that used to belong to the Scottish crown, Rouken Glen was the best and only spot, when we were growing up, close enough to our homes for safe recreation. We used to go to the park to get ice cream from the many ice cream vans that would line up outside one of the park’s main entrances, and we’d also enjoy a round of ‘pitch n put’ or a wee journey out on a rowing boat around the small lake that boasted, of all things, an island! (This island was completely out-of-bounds to everyone who dared to venture close to its shore, except the park keeper, or ‘Parkie’, as we called him back then, but more about that later.) Yes, when the weather was good, or even when it wasn’t, we could be found taking a walk, with or without parental control, through the many miles of manicured pathways that Rouken Glen boasted. But it was Deaconsbank golf course that soon became our regular haunt and the golf course that would see most of my friends and I become addicted to a game that would taunt us all, throughout the rest of our lives.

My Uncle Stanley was the first person to ever take me to Deaconsbank, and I believe I was about 8 or 9 years old. I recall him being a good golfer with a low handicap, and I remember distinctly that as we stood on the first tee, him with his three wood and me with my 9 iron, he began to explain to me in great detail how the game of golf was supposed to be played. My dad had just purchased a half set of clubs for my birthday, this set included a three wood, 3,5,7 and 9 iron and a putter. Stanley taught me how each club should be played and what distance I could expect to get by using each one correctly. Before his intervention, my aim was to use my 9 iron for every shot and just THUMP it, because no matter how and where I played that club, the ball went soaring high into the air just like Jack Nicklaus’s shots when I watched him on TV. Stanley though made the nuances and subtleties of golf come to life and eventually I would be eternally grateful for his education and patience.

As the years went on and my good friends, Howard, David and also Stephen took up the game, we could be found spending all hours at Deaconsbank, often together, playing 18 holes under the most competitive of circumstances, but, as life always dictates, there were some good times and some not so good. With Rouken Glen and it’s surroundings shared equally between Glasgow’s middle class, upper class and, I use this term loosely, lover class, and with golf having no class boundaries at that time in Scotland, this led to a very mixed bag in the way of character participation on Deaconsbank’s   not so manicured and not very smooth fairways. Some of the experiences we had were often marred by the behavior of those who not only felt they were superior to us because of the distinctive and obvious age gap, but sometimes because they had a certain chip on their shoulders. They didn’t live in the best part of town and, in their own minds, had something to prove to the 4 of us, with whom they felt, for one reason or another, they had an inferiority complex. It would be with that attitude in mind, these imbeciles would take out their aggression on us, lesser mortals,  4 weedy 12 and 13-year-old boys, out to enjoy themselves until that ‘fear’ factor was directed almost deliberately and extremely often in our direction.

We would sometimes be playing the 6th or 7th holes, or perhaps it was the 7th and 8th, both with blind tee shots, one over a hill and the other down a hill,  not knowing when the right time to play should be. We would innocently hit balls into groups playing right in front of us, without any real intention or knowledge of their exact position, only for some imbecile with a 4 iron to hit the ball right back at us in a fit of pure anger. They would miss us by inches, and as this tirade continued, swearing like a trooper and gesticulating irreverently, one of them would always be seen marching towards us as if he were about to commit murder. Yes, unfortunately there was always one tough guy with a point to prove! This situation could sometimes be reversed, with our group the victim of a wayward drive by a nutcase baring a grudge, standing teeing off on the hole behind us, complaining that we were holding up his group due to slow play when all the time they could see clearly we were waiting for the people directly in front of us to move on, and that we had no choice other than to wait. But we would never try to intimidate any of them. We were too frightened and too young! Other times, we would be accosted by some of these morons who’d insisted we’d stolen their golf balls and then, as if we were thieves, asked or told to open our golf bags to prove we weren’t hiding this missing ball in our golf bags! Oh yes, these idiots roamed Deaconsbank at will and without any proper marshaling to keep them under control, we were all at the mercy of thugs who had nothing better to do than tease and accost kids!. One day, in the middle of summer, Stephen was chased by a thug golfer brandishing an 8 iron, just because this imbecile had missed a four foot putt and insisted Stephen had laughed at him from where he stood, some 150 yards away, while waiting for the guy to finish so we could play up to the green. The chase ended when the man with the 8 iron, who was on his 5th can of McKewans lager, stumbled on the edge of a burn (stream) and fell in, head first, can second, soaked to his skin and filling the air with so many expletives directed at us and Stephen that we believed he was about to have a coronary and die. He was eventually calmed down by some of his friends coming the other way on an opposite hole, but Stephen never returned to the course that day, scared off by his fear of being beaten to a pulp, and indeed didn’t come back to play there for about three months because he genuinely feared for his life!

Deaconsbank was filled with memories like that and also wonderful experiences too. My first birdie, my first eagle, my first ‘dinky wallop’ A dinky wallop was a motion that went something like this. We, Stephen, David or me, would approach the tee, (Howard never partook in this ridiculous act) taking out the club we were about to use for our next shot. We would throw our bags to the ground, take out a tee peg, place the ball on that peg, and without any practice swing, run up to the ball and whack it off that tee peg, more often than not, straight as a die and 200 yards down the middle of the fairway! We patented this stroke, only to see it copied in the Adam Sandler movie, Happy Gilmore, some 20 years later. Stephen and I mastered this shot and when we were bored stiff, often after waiting for ten minutes behind a golfer who thought he was putting for 5 million pounds, we would automatically turn to each other with that now familiar question, “Dinky Wallop?” and we would go for it. Sometimes it worked so well, we did it at every hole, often scoring better because we had nothing to think about other than contact with club and ball.

There was no clubhouse at Deaconsbank in those days, there is now, and so after walking three miles with our clubs over our shoulders, we would then proceed to walk the 6000 yards round the course before walking 3 miles home again, clubs still draped over our shoulders!  We were fit, we were tough and we were just being teenagers. I dare anyone to admit that their kids still do the same today. For all its inefficiencies, Deaconsbank was our course, it was championship standard in our minds and even though there was nothing very Royal or Ancient about it, we golfed until we dropped, even when the course was muddy and completely unplayable. We played in rain, hail, snow, and sometimes all three in the one day. We always walked, there were no buggies in those days, and we never ever complained about it. This was pre video game era and this was our life. We were privileged to have a course so close to our home and eventually even when we got to outgrow Deaconsbank and graduated onto nicer courses, we would return now and again, just to savor our younger days with some fun in the mud and appreciate how our lives had progressed and our golf game improved. My last time round Deaconsbank was in June of 1977, and I will never forget it. Howard and I were playing with two other men we’d never met before, paired up with each other by the course starter, and on the 11th hole we witnessed two Celtic fans attacking two Rangers fans on the green. It might have been the other way round, but we arrived too late to be the judge of who was to blame. The scene was surreal and both sets of ‘brawlers’ ended up being taken away in an ambulance, which had shot onto the golf course in its endeavor to get to the scene before the 11th green turned blood-red. It was my last experience of that golf course and although we never went back, the tree-lined fairways of that ‘park’ course we called ‘home’ remain ingrained in my blood today as if it was yesterday. It cost 2 pounds to play back then, I wonder if you can even get a coffee for that in their new clubhouse today??

If This Doesn’t Bring A Tear to Your Eye, Nothing Ever Will

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/21/tornado-victim-barbara-ga_n_3312226.html?ncid=webmail1