Tuesday, July 30, 2013


When something dies, it's body begins to shut down, starting from the least important organs to the most. Our anatomy is really intelligent and reactive to our physical and emotional situation. Eventually, without a cure, the body will begin to let go of it's most important organs...until the heart succumbs and the rhythm of that soul has ceased. Everything that person has experienced has become an archive. Very few will remember him and even less as the years add to their numbers. 1% of the earth's total population will be remembered by the future. 99% will go off into oblivion without a soul eventually remembering their existence.

This is why artists paint and writers write. This is why people are fighting day to day. We are fighting oblivion. We want to be remembered when we leave what we call life.

99% will fail.

My kids will love me forever. My grandkids will talk about me to their wives and children. My great grandchildren will see me as a Bible story that shouldn't be trusted because it was told by someone who knew me. The rest will never know my name. This is part of the curse...the worst part of the curse. Sin has made people eternally forgettable.


But the beauty. The beauty of life is remarkable. We are born and learn things through trial and error. We learn what life is through pain and laughter and hatred and perceived love. We make mistakes and correct them. We live the best way we know how and pray that God will correct our mistakes. We regret things until we die. We look at the way our sons treat their wives and are so proud, as if they did all of the work of being a good man. All the while, we know and dread the day we will be laying, hands folded in those cedar boxes below the most beloved people...the only people that will mourn or remember our lives. If we could see their eyes, I believe we would know that it was all worth it.

Then we would see the way our great grandchildren treated their wives and children. We would smile because the world is evil, but your wisdom went on for generations. We would see the things that history would not tell you directly in a book. They will see the point of life. They would know all about the need to fight through all obstacles and provide for our families. They would know about what true love has to fight through to remain...true.


Thanks for reading...Z

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Dead End Kids - A short story

We climbed into the 1990 Ford Econoline conversion van. It was the dead of winter. The part of February that everything seems sterile. The snow isn't new, it's grey and packed deep into everything surrounding the paths shoveled out twice a week. The air itself smells of salt and stale cold water.

When December comes, 30 years later, you will sit outside and catch the snowflakes on your tongue and cry thinking of doing that same action 30 years earlier as a boy. You remember the way your scarf would bother you as it collected your breath and rubbed your spit across your face. You remember the snowballs and the tears mixed with snow dripping down your red face.

It's not December 30 years later. Today the snowflakes just fall onto deaf eyes. In the van are my brothers. Kids that would never make it out of this place, just like you. There were kids that went away to college and became all of these glamorous people with glamorous things. They had cabins "Up North" and came home from work everyday without cuts and scrapes across their hands and arms. We were the kids that buried their hands in the snow to take hold of two by fours to carry up a ladder to the roof of the new construction would-be homes.

We were the ones that would never make it out, not because we didn't have the skills, but because we didn't want to. We loved this place. We loved the familiarity of every street we drove down. We loved going from place to place and rebuilding and exaggerating all of our memories.. We would get into that van and drive for hours, smoking cigarette after cigarette, making fun of each other.

This night, we would put on ski masks and go to the liquor store and just buy some coffee. We would get out of the van and rush into the store and tell people to move as we passed them and grab some beef jerky, potato chips, and machine mixed coffee from the thing by the coolers. We would approach the cashier with the masks on and look him no where but the eyes and set down our prospected goods. He would pause and stare us down. We would keep our hands on the counter and stare directly into his eyes, waiting for him to react. He did first as he reached down to the shelf under the counter and showed us the handle of a handgun. We didn't look away from his eyes, or pretended not to. I slid the money over to him. He dropped the gun back down and grabbed the money and put it in the register. He took out our change and dropped it on the counter in front of us. We didn't break gaze with him until we turned together and walked, leaving the change on the counter.

We get back into the van and laugh. We go home and build rockets out of cardboard toilet paper centers and fill their guts with rocket engines and tissue. We mold them into the very vessels we wanted to leave this earth in someday and go outside to fly them.

3 AM in the morning is when the first was launched in the middle of the suburban street. It soured into the winter night sky as if it had no intention of coming back down. We lost it when it burned out and found the end of our atmosphere. Engineering was my oldest brother's strongest gift. The second onto the roof of the neighbor's house. The third would be found in the park across the street.

We laid down on the snow packed grass and spoke about getting into those rockets and flying away one day. We watched planes scratch the sky above us, wondering where they were going and what kinds of people were on them. Maybe we would want to go somewhere someday. This night has been sitting in my memories for years and years. This was a picture of the only thing that made me happy as a teenager.


Many years later I would return to this house. One brother gone in his rocket, and the other somewhere between grief and loneliness. The house is boarded up and the the windows broken. I climb in to see the place I used to sleep next to my brothers. It's February again, the dead of winter. The street is now a dead end as the new freeway has been built at the end of it. There stands 4 houses on each side, 5 of them covered in boards.

I see my bed, still unmade and full of ashes and dust. I uncover a spot to sit down and look at the ceiling I spent so many hours looking at before life became fast. There is a feeling of emptiness there, yet I still see the memories of my life here. The wallpaper is cracked and peeling, but I still see them as they were when we were kids and everything was as it should be.

I look over to my pillow that still lays at the foot of my older brother's bed below and smile. I pick it up to smell the distant scent of my youth. I look down and see something that I cannot explain. I see a rocket. A pristine rocket lying under where my pillow was. I picked it up and examined it. It was the same rocket my oldest brother had climbed and left us behind in. I pulled out the burnt rocket from the inside of the toilet paper tubing and smelled it. I still had a faint smell of burnt sulfur to it that brought me instantly to another place. I began pulling out the tissue packing used to balance the rocket and give it weight. As I did, I found a piece of paper crumbled up. I knew I had found what I was looking for. I opened the paper up and read the words "The World Never Changes For The Dead End Kids."

The tears ran on and on until I got up and put the note back inside the rocket and put them both back under my pillow and left the house. As I walked away, I looked to the broken cement of the driveway and pictured that van and my brothers waiting for me to join them. I smiled and looked to my right to see the dead end sign that reflected the night.

I got back into my car and went home.


 Thanks for reading...Z