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Friday, December 30, 2011

“Best Of Week, Pt. VI: ‘Ginny Murphy’ by Stinkbug [hosted by Moses Scharbug III]”

The Grateful Dead’s one-hundred-and-twentieth album, “Europe ’72: the Complete Recordings, April 02-May 26, 1972,” was released on September 01, 2011 and was another great edition of the Retrospective Live Album’ Series! We love it and think you will, too, so go out and buy it by using the handy link to Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer and get it now! You won’t be disappointed!  Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.





HOLIDAY SEASON 2011



BEST OF WEEK!



HAPPY NEW YEAR’S EVE!


                                                                             
Here's the countdown to December 21, 2012: from today, we have 357 days to go until the End of Days, the End of Time, Armageddon, and the End of the Mayan Calendar!  Everybody, beware!



                                                                                     


                                                   STINKBUG 2011



                                                                                   


Moses Scharbug III

END Commentary 12-31-2011

Copyright © 2011 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 18,057.



CULINARY POLITICS



ELEMENTALNEWSOFTHEDAY.BLOGSPOT.COM-STINKBUG—THE HEADLINES

Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Saturday, December 31, 2011 by Moses Scharbug III

BEST OF WEEK, PT VI

Best Of Week, Pt. VI: ‘Ginny Murphy’ by Stinkbug [hosted by Moses Scharbug III]



Bakersfield, CA, 12-31-2011 S: Greetings, friends, I would like to inform you that we have had a programming change that was decided upon this past Sunday:  Stinkbug has decided to have Elvin C. McCardle come in NEXT week and this week will be devoted to a “best of” series while everyone except for me, Moses Scharbug III—your dedicated Assistant Editor—will be away on vacation.  I realize that most everyone is on vacation much of the time anyway but Stinkbug feels that the last week of the year will be low on the readership scale and that everyone will be away anyway.  So today, we are going to run a blog post that appeared earlier in the year on Thursday, November 25, 2010 on an event in the life of our mentor, Stinkbug, and I am sure you will enjoy it!

            GINNY MURPHY

By Stinkbug

I first met Chef Arturo Valachi Santania at the Bakersfield Hilton Inn in 1976 and struck it off right from the start.  Art was a different sort of cook, he was part Sicilian and part Mexican and it showed in his unusual looks.  He was swarthy, more like an Arab and had a large Afro hairdo, all frizzed up in a big, wiry ball on top of his head.  He was tall and had a big mouth in that it covered more than the usual space allotted a man and he knew how to use it: he was always running a line a crap on anyone who’d listen and was difficult for some to get along with except for me—I liked the guy.

The executive chef was an old Mexican-American man named Fabian Pascualnitez  and even though the word, “Chicano,” was becoming acceptable, it seemed more fitting to see him for the way he was, an old-fashioned Hispanic and when I first went to work for him, he was always breathing down my neck.  The old chef was in his sixties and always in fear of his job because no matter what he did, it was never good enough for the owners.  I was young, just 22 years old and nothing I could do was ever right and many times I went home with tears in my eyes because he incessantly picked at me.  He would criticize and then run off to do something else without telling me how to do it in the correct way nor listen to what I had to say. What a bastard!

I don’t know how Art ever got hired in the first place because when I applied for the job, Chef Fabian told me I had to cut my long hair if I wanted a chance to work there.  This was my first serious attempt at moving up and getting a high-paying cook’s job so I was happy to do whatever was asked of me.  I cut my hair; I took the earring out of my ear, and shaved my beard so I would look perfect whenever I went out front among the diners. Art, on the other hand, told the old chef that he’d cut his Afro but never did and Fabian was always griping at him about it.

The people who owned the hotels and the restaurants bankrupted in early 1978 and all of us suddenly found ourselves without work.  We immediately went to work at the Rodeway Inn which was similar to the Hilton and only a mile down the road.  Art and I got hired down there but the money wasn’t real good so my friend went out in search of a head chef’s position because he’d spent his entire life in the restaurant business and was a good twenty years older than I was. I had a lot of respect for him and was worried that he’d find another job and leave.  He made my day when he asked me if he found a good job and could get me hired and give me more money, would I go and I said, “Sure, in a minute!”

He came by my house one afternoon and I invited him in for a beer.  My wife came out and sat down and had a friendly conversation while I made a simple dinner. Art brought his wife with him, a beautiful Italian girl named Teri and I became enamored of her quickly because she was very nice and in my youth, that’s about all I needed from a woman to immediately begin to melt in sexual ooze. My first wife was a real looker and like Arturo, she was a Chicana, and I liked women who were darker than my pale white skin—don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t ugly at all and a lot of girls were always interested in me.  I had long red hair, blue eyes and a pleasant smile and was easy to get along with—except when my bi-polar complex was miring me in dark depression.

Back in 1978, I had no idea that I was “manic-depressive” but knew from the age of ten that my life had changed drastically: I went from being a happy, outgoing child to one that was plagued with fears of the dark, of being kidnapped, of my mom being murdered or of her disappearing, and a savage depression that kept me down three weeks of every month with a one week respite that saw me soar to unimaginable heights and ideas!  By this time, it had been with me for at least 12 years so I thought it was something more-or-less that everyone had to suffer for one reason or another.  The thing that was horribly bad for me was that it caused me to make bad decisions and was an excuse to be “unfaithful” to whomever I was with.

“Well, little buddy,” Art said, his big mouth rolling around the words, “how would you like to come up on the Grapevine and work with me?”

He always called me “Little Buddy,” that was his nickname for me and it used to bother me at times but by now, I was OK with it.  I thought for a minute or two, looked across the table at my wife who was giving me a sly grin and then back at Art watching as he shoveled in the pasta and washed it down with a cheap red wine he and Teri had brought.

“How much does it pay, Art?”

“I’ll pay you $12 bucks an hour PLUS gas mileage. It’s thirty miles up and back and most of the time, you can ride with me and Teri so it’ll be extra money in your pocket.”

“Wow, that’s really good, Art. What do you think, La Christina?” I asked my wife.

She looked thoughtful and looked away and then took a gentle sip of wine.

“It’s your decision, honey, but that’s a lot of money, I manage the Howdy House across from Henry the VIII’s and that’s almost twice what I make…does it have insurance with it, too, Arturo?”

I smiled at her and was glad that she always thought of the things I didn’t.  She was such a good little wife, seven years older than me and came with two kids so I didn’t have to worry about fathering anyone which was good for me as I was somewhat fearful of commitment on that scale and to take it out of my hands, she had had a hysterectomy due to internal problems.

“Yes, La Christina, it has medical, dental, and optical and what’s more, the company pays the entire amount. Plus, there are bonuses but I’ll tell you this, little buddy, you’re gonna work your ass off so enjoy your dinner!”

“Wow, you know me, Arturo, I can kick ass on the breakfast and lunch line, there’s no one that can handle the load I can!”

There, I never missed a chance to brag on myself but that’s me, I could knock out the orders like I was five cooks.  No matter how many came in, I was confident I could handle my load and then some.  It was a decision that I would come to regret in the future, it would cost me my marriage and my health but at this moment, all I could see were the dollars piling up in our bank account; maybe we could take a vacation to Hawaii one of these days!

“I’d love to Art, when do I start?”

He gave me his biggest grin, and laughed; he knew me very well, I was a pushover with a big ego. “Come on up tomorrow with me and Teri and we’ll introduce you to the crew and you can work for half a day and see how you like it.”

“Great, I’ll be ready!” Then, we went back to eating our dinners.

That night, La Christina and I made love and afterwards, we talked about how good it would be to have that money coming in.  She thought it would be great if maybe she could get a job up there, too.  I don’t know why I felt the way I did, it just didn’t seem a wise idea to take her up there with me. “Let me think about it and I’ll see what Arturo says tomorrow.”

One thing about mornings, they always came early.  Art and Teri pulled up around 4:30 A.M. in his Ford Thunderbird and before long; we were southbound out of Bakersfield on Highway 99 heading for the Grapevine.  Now, not only is the “Grapevine” the name of the stretch of the highway but is also the name of the truck stop that sits at the base of the Tehachapi Mountains which is the actual name of that mountain range.  Virtually everyone who knows the locale refers to the entire area as the “Grapevine” but that’s not the actual name. 

Anyhow, that long, boring drive takes about thirty minutes and the road is straight and very tiring.  It also will use up about three tanks of gas a week if one works 5-6 days but at the time, gas was cheap and besides, the company was reimbursing the cooks because all of us came from Bakersfield while the wait staff came down from Frazier Park, a community about ten miles further south in the mountains at the southernmost boundary line between Kern and Los Angeles Counties.

The minute I stepped out of the car, I was drained already; if there’s one thing I abhor, it’s long, boring drives.  I hate to drive outside the city because my eyes get tired quickly and then I have a need to go to sleep.  I have always tired easily but all I had to do was to think about the big bucks I’d be pulling in—WOW! FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE!

Upon entering the restaurant, the first thing I noticed was its size—my Lord, they must be able to seat about 400 people in here!  It was enormous and I began to feel the first trembles of fear—WHAT HAD I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO? Maybe I should stay at the Rodeway; thank God this was my day off.  I could envision being swamped in this place and my ego wasn’t giving me a lot of support, in fact—it suddenly was absent!

“Come over here, little buddy, I want to introduce you to some of the crew.  Ladies, this is my little buddy from Bakersfield, Stinky Caruthers, he’s going to come to work with us in the daytime so I want you guys to meet.”

I went over to three women he had called over, and he introduced them one by one.

“This is Terry Wilson; she’s been here about five years.”

I held out my hand to shake and she took mine with a firm grasp. She was in the range I like, 5’2” to about 5’6”, a couple of inches shorter than me.  Terry had sandy colored, short hair, cut in a nice shag. Her makeup accented her green eyes and her smile was captivating. Did she look pretty!

“Hi,” I said, and pumped her hand, nice, firm shake. Attractive!

“This is Tina Olinda, and she’s been here about as long as Terry.”

“Hi,” I said, enraptured by her dark looks, I love women who have dark skin, the darker the better.  She looked to be Italian or Portuguese and was just about as tall as me. Very nice.

“Finally, this is Ginny Murphy but all of us call her “Murph.”

This last woman was beautiful and young; she must have been 18 or 19 and was taller than me.  Usually, I never cared for that but her green eyes and cream colored skin was a very nice package and her chest was big, must have been size 42 D, and I really liked that. She had a playful, crinkly grin that upturned the corners of her mouth in a tempting way.  Her full red lips begged to be kissed and I was smitten—from the moment I saw her, I began to wish I was still single and the smile she returned was devious, captivating, I felt like I was being pulled in by the mirth her eyes expressed.  All-in-all, I knew here was someone I could love and what’s more, when I found out she didn’t have kids, well, that was wonderful—with a woman like her, perhaps I could father a family!

“Enchanted, Murph, this is indeed a pleasure!” I grasped her hand and was surprised by the strength of her shake.  She pumped mine and smiled again and all I could think was “wow, how could I get involved with her…?”

“OK, you women, Stinky hasn’t been married all that long so leave him alone,” Arturo warned them. “Terry and Tina are married and so is Ginny, but up on the mountain, that doesn’t always mean much but don’t bother my cook, I want him to stay here!”

With that, my friend took me back into the kitchen to meet the other cooks.  I was impressed with how small the kitchen staff was compared to the volume of business.  Summer was just beginning and you could see a heavy flow of traffic going by all day long.  By the time lunch rolled around, the place was practically full and it was only a Monday! 

Up on the line, I worked with Art and another cook from town, and old black man named Ernie Hutchins, and he had worked all over the country until an injury sidelined him for several years.  He was just getting done with his rehabilitation and had been sent to Art by the State Unemployment Office.  Old as he looked, the man was like a ballet dancer, every move did something, nothing was wasted and I was impressed by the utility of his movements.

The orders started to pour in and the wheel was wrapped over and over about 5-6 times and for any cook, that’s almost nightmare proportions!  Art was telling me that normally on Mondays and Tuesdays; one man ran the line until the next cook came in around 11 A.M. Then, there were two men until 3 P.M. when the evening man came on. He was relieved by 11 P.M. and then one man worked until we came in at 5 A.M.  What he didn’t tell me is that on occasion, one of the cooks might not show up if his car broke down or pulled a drunk—yes, that’s one of the dirty little secrets of the restaurant world—many of us like to imbibe!

As we were getting ready to leave, the Murph came over to talk to me.  Her smile was contagious and her hair was all around her head in a big frizz.  All I could think was that this woman was exciting and why the heck did I get married as quickly as I did?  I was the one of my circle of friends that almost always had to be the “first” —the first to get drunk everyday for a month, the first to move out and live alone, and the first to get married. Besides, I was in competition with my buddy, Vic: he was not a good looking fellow but this guy had girlfriend after girlfriend while the rest of us slept alone so when La Christina came along, I nailed her and then—regretted it almost immediately!

“It was real nice working with you today,” Murph said and gave me her biggest smile.

Dazzled, I couldn’t help but notice as I looked down her blouse that enough buttons were undone that I could see more than I probably should have; nevertheless, I continued to look and was aware that that’s what she wanted.

“Yes, I had a lot of fun today,” I said hoping that I wasn’t betraying my nervousness.

“Will you come back tomorrow?”

“I think so but first, I have to go home to talk to my wife.  She’ll want to know how my day was.”

“I sure hope you do” and with that, she turned and walked away and I couldn’t help but notice the sway to her hips—very, very nice.

---ʘ---

That night at the dinner table, my wife was quizzing me how my day went while the kids ate their food quietly.  Katrina was six years old and her brother, Philip was five.  They were good kids as far as kids went—it’s not like I had a lot of experience with children and if I didn’t have to take them, I would have been very happy.  I never betrayed these feelings to my wife, however, but always exhibited the correct amount of sympathy when her ex-husband tried to take them away which he did almost all of the time.

It was always a battle between the two of them and her ex was an ex-Marine and fairly mean.  He remarried not long after he divorced La Christina and his wife was a real zip, zero, and nada.  She did whatever he told her and I think that’s what he liked, total domination.  She was nice to the kids but they always cried, held onto their mother and some of the scenes were real tear-jerkers and I couldn’t help but feel my heartstrings tugged at because I had always been a mama’s boy, too.  In fact, I saw a lot of them in myself and it used to really touch me: I may not have been the kindest man; nevertheless, I played with them and read them stories at bedtime.

Over the course of that evening, I decided that I would take a chance up on the Grapevine because the money looked really good; too good, to pass up what with the bills we had.  I told La Christina that that’s what I wanted to do and called Arturo that night and asked what time did he want me at his house in the morning? 

He said, “Attaboy, you’re doing the right thing! Be here at 4:30 A.M. and don’t oversleep.” I agreed and hung up.

“What time does he want you at his house?”

“He said 4:30 A.M. so we’ll have to go to bed pretty soon, my love, I hate getting up early and that’s fricking early!”

The next morning, I showed up on his doorstep and his wife let me in.  She put a cup of coffee down in front of me and asked if I wanted sugar or cream to which I said, “No” and took it black.

Arturo came bounding out of the bathroom smelling kinda gay with some masculine cologne on and gave Teri a big kiss on the lips and she smiled. I liked her, she was a beautiful woman and I thought momentarily how much I would like to have nailed her.  She had striking almond eyes, a mixture of green and brown, really sexy, and painted red, full-lipped smile and I felt as though I were in love with her.  I liked women very much and hardly did I see one I didn’t want to drop the boom on but she was a “special one,” a person I liked immensely and I think she knew it.  Thoughts like that were usually written across my face and that’s why I didn’t have a hard time picking women up.

I fell asleep in the back of their car and before I knew it, we were at the restaurant and Arturo was shaking me awake: “Get up, little buddy, we’re here!”

Once again, I had to stumble into the building and no sooner did I come in the back door, Murph was there and put her arm around me:

“Stinky, I am so glad you’re here! Come on in!” She gave me a kiss on the cheek and put her arm around my waist and squeezed rather tight and then quickly let go.

Arturo barked at her: “I told you women yesterday, he hasn’t been married that long so don’t go causing trouble for me, you know how hard it is to get good cooks up here!  Besides—you caused me problems with the last cook, Murph, so give him some breathing room!”

“OK, Arturo,” Murph laughed, “we all promised we’d behave!” She smiled at me and said, “See you around, Stink.”

Man, I was already in heaven, Murph was so beautiful, wild looking in fact, with a semi-natural hairdo, all puffed up in a big frizzy ball over her wonderful head and down the back.  She was so pretty, beautiful eyes, full lips, and her body was to die for.  She was easily six feet tall and had a bust that knocked me out.  Her waist was petite and her legs were shapely, well-curved, and she looked like a sexual animal. 

Already I was trying to figure out ways to “dispose” of La Christina and move her out of the house.  After all, it was my house, no, actually more like my mom’s house, she owned it, the paper was in her name and I paid the note.  She did that so a woman, someone like La Christina, for instance, wouldn’t take it away from me.  At the time, I didn’t realize the ramifications of what that meant, but I must have appeared a weak dunce who would give up the shop in seconds if a female dropped her skirt in front of me.  I just thought it was because she was overprotective of her young son but I also remembered some of the women I brought home to meet her, like “the Rat,” Debbie Rutherford, a woman whom I thought to be beautiful but who my mother and rightfully so thought was a dog.  Worse, she was a big user of smack so I guess my mom was right about my tastes! 

 Over the next couple of weeks, we continued to work together and we made eyes at one another and smiled a lot.  The place was busier than hell but all I could think about was the Murph.  God, she was beautiful, her body was so tight, strong, she was the woman of my dreams and I knew I was going to have to get into her skirts because she kept telling me how she was unhappy with her husband, Gary while I kept telling her about the mistake I’d made marrying La Christina.  What’s more, Arturo was telling me how Ginny had already had a previous affair with one of his other short-lived cooks, Randy, who was thirty years older than her and she pretty much balled him out of his job! That only turned me on more—I was on fire for her!

---ʘ---

One day, La Christina said she wouldn’t be home until late because her job needed to send her up to Delano for the evening and would I please pick up the kids at her mother’s farmhouse out near Lamont, about thirty minutes east of Bakersfield.  I saw my chance and as soon as I came to work, I went to Gin and told her my good luck hoping that she would be able to come to town or we could go somewhere and maybe finally have a chance to get laid! 

“Gin, you can’t believe my good luck!  I am going to be alone this afternoon and if you could come to town with me, we could maybe get together!”

She looked at me and smiled a perfect smile, she had such beautiful teeth, lips, everything and the moisture on her lip had me entranced—a thin sheen that glinted in the light.

“Gary is going to be working late on the highway down around Valencia and won’t be home until tomorrow—they’re spending the night down there with the equipment.  I could come with you to Bakersfield when we get off work this afternoon!”

“Wonderful, baby, wonderful!” I grabbed her and pulled her close, gave her a big kiss, and felt her warm body melt into my arms.  Arturo walked by and coughed and Teri smiled and laughed.

“Looks like you two have something going on today?” he said.

“Yes, we do!” Murph smiled and laughed.

“Well, make the most of it,” Teri said, “I take it you won’t need a ride home today?”

“No, he’s coming with me in the Firebird!” Murph gave me a squeeze and headed out front while I was ready to fall over from excitement.  Arturo gave me a big smile, the evil dog, and soon, everyone was laughing.

That afternoon as soon as 2 P.M. hit, we were already out the back door and in her car.  She clapped me on the thigh and ran her hand into my crotch and I almost climaxed there.  I put my hand on her leg and her skirt hiked up very close to where I wanted to go.  She fired up the engine in that beautiful car of hers and soon, we were northbound to Bakersfield.  We hardly talked; it just felt good to be together.  I had never been around a woman like Ginny Murphy, she was the epitome of the girls I wanted in high school but was fearful of.  I picked the easy ones and avoided the ones I thought I’d have to fight for.  Not being a jock, I didn’t have much self-confidence so I dreamed about them every night when I took a shower or went to bed.  Now, I was with the first major conquest of my life and the way I felt, I hoped she would be the first and the last.

We pulled into the driveway and neither of us cared whether or not my neighbors saw who I was with.  No sooner had I opened the front door, she fell on me and began to kiss me so passionately, I thought I’d make it right there.  I started to pull off her one-piece red dress uniform, up and over her head while she undressed me.

“Where’s the bedroom?”

“This way!” I grabbed her and pulled her into the hallway, naked by this time except for bra and panty hose but they were next to go.  Her body was so damned beautiful, the skin, smooth, the muscles standing out on her calves and her ass—hell, her ass was to die for!  Before I knew it, we were on the bed and I was on top of her, plunging madly into her overheated flesh, to hell with foreplay and no sooner had I penetrated, I began to orgasm!  She held on to me and I was amazed at the moistness of her inner chamber and the sweat our bodies generated.  This was nothing like La Christina and I—that was tame, like walking a dog on the street!  I couldn’t believe my luck, all I wanted was more and more of this gorgeous woman!

After the first one, we collapsed on the bed and when I opened my eyes, she was on her side, smiling at me.  I loved her; I knew that already, she was the most delightful woman I had ever seen. Her eyes had a smile in them, her lips curled, her lashes fluttering.

“Are you ready for more?”

“More? ALREADY? Oh, my God!” I could feel myself hardening up quicker than I ever had before! “Yes, I am!” I grabbed her and rolled her on top of me and began to shower her with kisses, on her lips, face, eyelids, down her neck and down her body, next thing I knew I had my tongue in heaven. I had found her and didn’t want to let her go and we amazed one another over and over that day, working from the bedroom and into the shower where I picked her up physically and shoved her hard against the wall and lifted her onto the saddle and had her one more time.  By the time we were completely done, we were both spent and we lay on the bed for an hour.  Soon, it seemed like we were losing light, the day was slipping away!

“Oh, my God, Gin, the time has gotten away from us, I have to go out to Lamont and get my step kids!  And you, you have the long drive ahead, are you going to be able to do it?”

“Yes, my sweet, of course, I can do it.  The hard part will be explaining to Gary where I’ve been.  I know he’ll have called the house dozens of times and the restaurant, too.  After my fling with Randy, he worries about me a lot!”

“I can see why, the poor guy!”

“Hey, whose side are you on, Mister?”

“Yours, baby, I was just saying…”

“Don’t worry, I have to get dressed and go.”

Hurriedly, we picked up and put ourselves together.  I walked her out to her car and soon, she was backing out of the driveway and heading out onto “H” Street and south towards the Grapevine.  As I locked up and got into my car for the thirty-minute drive out to Lamont, the old man across the street was sitting on his porch looking at me.  I acted like I didn’t see him and soon was pulling out and headed east to the farmland between Bakersfield and Arvin, California.  During our time together, the phone rang several times and I’d heard my mother-in-law’s voice on the answering machine asking me where I was?  I had ignored her and was putting my story together on the trip out.  I figured I’d tell her I was pulling a double because I didn’t think she would’ve called the restaurant but in case she might, I’d tell her I’d had a flat.  Yes, that was it, I’d had a flat!

I hated driving the roads between here and there.  They were all dark with ditches and open farmland on both sides of the roadway and it was easy to veer off the road and have an accident.  People were always driving these roads intoxicated and it wasn’t unknown for head-on collisions to occur between drunken Mexican farm workers and normal folks going home after work.  I had a lot on my mind, quite a bit of guilt but I was also elated and thought of every single caress, kiss, touch, and smile Murph had showered on me.  She made me come alive and all of the time spent living with La Christina and sleeping with her was about to go out the window and onto the roadway behind me, if I could just figure out how…

I pulled in the driveway of the dimly lit farmhouse, was out the door and bounding up the steps.  I knocked and then opened the door at the same time.

“Hey, kids, are you ready to go home?  Sorry I’m late!”

My mother-in-law gave me a glance but said nothing so I volunteered the fact that I had to work late and then had a flat tire.  Sonja, the kids’ grandmother, informed me that they had had their dinner and their bath.  She clasped both of them to her body, gave each a big kiss, and then gently pushed them in my direction.  Still looking at me, I felt she was boring straight into my head but I made a difficult but concerted effort to block the tendrils of her gaze from penetrating too deeply.

“Thanks, Sonja, I owe you one!  Come on kids let’s go! Come on, grab all of your coloring books and toys and let’s go, go, go!”

Already they were fighting over who was going to get to ride shotgun and since I didn’t feel like battling them, I seat-belted both of them into the front seat.  I pulled out of the graveled driveway, tires momentarily scrabbling for traction and then out onto the darkened road and headed due west into the light of the full moon.  Soon, we hit South Union Avenue at Bear Mountain Blvd. and headed north back to town.  As soon as we pulled into the drive and were out of the car, I had the door open and told my young charges to head for bed.  Both gave me kisses and I kissed them back, still a strange thing for me, aged twenty-one with two young kids not of my making.  As soon as they were tucked in, I hit the bathroom, brushed my teeth and collapsed into bed.  I had to get up the next day at 3:45 A.M. so I could get ready and over to Arturo’s house.  Night had come and was halfway over before I was asleep.  What a day!

La Christina had left Delano about the time I was getting up and as she pulled in the driveway, I was waiting at the door.

“Hi, babe,” I said and kissed her on the cheek.

“Where were you last night?  I called a bunch of times and my mom was worried about you, too?”

“I had to stay over at work and then I had problems with one of the tires when Arturo and Teri dropped me off yesterday.  We were running late and I had to wait for them so I took a nap in the office at Flagg’s. I was getting ready to go out and get the kids when I noticed one of the tires had gone flat.  I called Kyles to come over and help me get the tire off and to the Unocal station.  It had a slow leak in the stem and the guys there changed it with a new one.  By the time we had got it fixed, I told Kyles I’d buy him a hamburger at McDonald’s for his help.  We were there for an hour, stopped and got a beer and then came back to the house and put the tire on and then I left!  I have to go, babe, I will see you this afternoon!”

I jumped into my car and avoided her gaze as I pulled out and headed over to my boss’s house for the ride to work.  I knew she sensed something but I felt I had it under control.  For several seconds I worried about the neighbor across the street but then dismissed him.  Before I knew it, I was back at work and it was another day. I was so glad to see Murph, she gave me a big kiss and I felt as if I were in heaven.  Every minute I was with her was a joy for me.  She was the most beautiful woman, why could I have not met her before I ever came across my wife?

---ʘ---

That day when I got home, I walked into a buzz saw.  When I pulled in, I felt like something was wrong and laughed it off.  “Guilt,” I thought.  “Nothing but guilt.  It’s OK, Stinky, you have it covered!”

However, when I came in the door, La Christina was sitting on the couch with a mean look on her face.  I thought what was going on now?  I went in and into the kitchen and cracked open an ice cold Michelob beer. It felt like liquid gold, made my throat sweet and put a smile on my face.

“What’s up?”

“You tell me.”

Oh, fuck, what’s up now? I thought to myself. “I dunno, what, I ask you again?”

The next thing I knew, she had a pair of pantyhose in her hand, holding it up to my face.  “Whose are these, Stinky?  Where did they come from?”

“They have to be yours.”  I took another drink of the cold beer and felt good.  No outward signs of nervousness, I had it under control and sat there and looked at her again.

“They’re not—they’re not my color.  Again, I ask you, whose are they?” I could hear the snarl in her voice and see the growing anger on her face—I had a problem on my hands.

“I don’t know, La Christina, I would say they’re a pair of yours and for whatever reason; you are trying to pick a problem with me today.  All I can say is that it ain’t gonna work.”

She stood up and started to pace. “I know my own fucking panties, you son of a bitch, I found them on the other side of the bed.  I am getting pissed off at you now.  I called you yesterday, no answer.  I called at work and Ernie—the swing cook—said he thought you guys went over to the Ranch Inn to have a few beers before going home.  I called over there and they said you guys hadn’t been in.  Then I called over to Art’s and Teri’s and no fucking answer there, either. You son of a----“

Dancing on the tips of my toes, I pulled a big one out of my hat:

“You want to know where they came from; I’ll tell you where they came from.  You are always accusing me of sleeping around on you yet, you never have proof, never!  I am getting tired of always being accused by you—we’ve only been married for a fricking year and all the time, ‘who are you sleeping with, Stinky?’ You want to know, huh, do you?”

La Christina started to cry, I could see the tears bubbling up in her brown puppy-dog eyes. She reached for the box of Kleenex which I handed her.  I sat down beside her and pulled her close to me.  “I found them in the street,” I lied.  “I found them and picked them up and thought, ‘you know what, Stinky, La Christina is always accusing you of being unfaithful, let’s see how she really feels…I found them, brought them into the house and put them where I knew you’d find them and sure enough, look at you, accusing me just like I thought!”

I got up, angry now; I had her and knew it.  I could see the range of emotions flying across her face.  She knew I was lying, had to know it yet, I could see she wasn’t sure.  She had called everywhere, everyone and hadn’t found me, Arturo, or Teri anywhere.  She knew I was lying but knew I had her, too.  It was going to be hard for her to prove her case; I knew she was going to jump at me so I thought I’d get her first.

“Come on,” I said and pulled her up by her hand.  “Let’s go in the bedroom and I’ll show you just how ‘unfaithful’ I’ve been.  I am going to ride your ass so hard, you’ll be sore for a week!”

She got up in a daze.  “What about the kids, dinner?”

“Where are they now?”

“Next door at Mary’s…”

“Call her up and see if she’ll keep them tonight, tell her we’ll make it up to her!”

As she began to dial the phone, I began to undress her and by the time she was finished with the call, I had her naked on the bed.  Soon, I was running my hands up and down her body, kissing her everywhere, in all of the places I knew that drove her crazy.  I pulled her close and felt her go all wet and knew I had her, I was going to have to do one hell of a job on her today and was hoping I wouldn’t peter out, no pun intended.  I had her and knew it, it didn’t take much to light her fire and by the time I got into gear, it was burning overtime, we were lucky we didn’t scorch the sheets!

The next morning, I could hardly walk but at least, I put the rebellion down the night before.  It was difficult because I really wanted La Christina to leave but didn’t have the guts to put her out because I felt sorry for her.  I was caught in a moral dilemma, how to get her out without upsetting myself but not having her make a scene at the same time.  Had I let her blow up over the panties and told her I was screwing someone ten times better than she was and in our own bed, hell, I would have had the job done without having to look back.  The only problem was, I was one weak bastard and had always been that way.  The best way to go about things was to engineer them so the woman would have to do all of the dirty work allowing me to play the moral high ground and act like I was offended!  It was one hell of a situation to be in and required a great deal of thought; worse, was how was I gonna find time for Murph and I to get together?  There was no way in hell; I was going to lose out on that piece of ass!

Things continued on that way for a few months.  I saw Murph whenever we could, even going so far to doing it on Mylon’s couch at work.  Mylon was the boss, this Jewish guy who drove up from Pasadena every damned day but we always put a table cloth down and did the deed so we wouldn’t leave any DNA behind.  If that wasn’t bad enough, the drinking of our whole group was increasing every day.  There were two other restaurants on the Grapevine exit, the Ranch Inn and Denny’s and both had bars.  Arturo, Teri, Murph, and I used to go over and drink at one or the other when we got off work and when Teri didn’t work, another food server from Frazier Park, Terry Wilson, came along with us and my boss had a thing going on with her.  When Murph couldn’t come, I brought over another waitress, Tina Smiley, and when I was really intoxicated, I tried to get in her pants.

Things got so bad that we started getting thrown out which was a bad thing because we were all supposed to reciprocate at one another’s restaurants with the different crews.  Mylon said to “quit causing so much fucking trouble, you bunch of Meshugalah!” But, we didn’t listen and things continued to be pretty rowdy. I knew I wanted Murph but wasn’t sure how I was going to go about it and her husband, Gary, was keeping closer tabs on her.  Meanwhile, at home, I was coming home drunk and wasn’t behaving as well as I should and La Christina and I were having more and more fights.

Now if all of this wasn’t enough, I played drums in a band called the Magnolia Hilltop Brewers that was made up of different line-ups of high school and professional friends and played whatever jobs we could come up with.  We rehearsed 2-3 times a week and went all over the county and played any and all sorts of gigs we could come up with.   My house was the staging base and of course, La Christina wasn’t always happy with that but it was my house (well, my mother’s) so that was tough for her but I also put her to work as our photographer.  One of the other guy’s wives, Debi, went along with us and they shared responsibilities for doing any-and-everything we needed when out on the road. 

One weekend, we played two bad shows, one in Delano and the next night in McFarland.  Both were horrible jobs, the people who booked the bands wanted more soul music but we were rockers who also played country music but nevertheless, we did our best.  However, after coming back from the second night, La Christina and I got into a big fight over an insensitive comment I made about her lack of passion in the sack.  I was discouraged with her response to my persistent attempts to have the kind of wild times in bed that we once had but now, had become a thing of the past.  It seemed that she was still miffed about the panties and couldn’t quite believe that what I had told her was the truth.

“How can you blame me for not being the kind of lover you want?  Ever since you’ve been up on the Grapevine, it seems like you no longer have time for me!”

“Look, I still come to you as much as I feel I can!  It’s not like you seem to be interested in me!  If you are not going to take care of me, I might have to go somewhere else!  If I do it’s because you’re driving me to do it!”

She jumped out of bed and threw her bathrobe about herself and started to pace.  I could see the tears beginning to form around the rims of her eyes.  I knew that with a little bit more of a push, maybe I could push her out for good and if that happened, I would have an open path to bringing the Murph into my life.  All I could do was think of her, she was with me when I went to bed, when I slept, and when I woke up.  One thing that caused me a bit of fear was that I talked in my sleep and was concerned that maybe; just maybe, I had let her name slip.  I hoped that this had not happened but it did cause me to worry; however, I would not be the first to screw things up if I could help it.

“Look, La Christina, I think that you and I need some time apart.  I want you to pack your stuff and take your kids and move in with your mom for awhile.  I can’t take this anymore, I need some space, and I am beginning to think that marrying you was the wrong thing to do.  You used to be quick to lay me and to knock my socks off and now, now that you have me in your grasp, now you’re taking advantage of my love and kindness; you need to go and you need to do it tomorrow!  When I come home tomorrow afternoon, you need to be gone!”

The next day, I felt elated and once with Arturo and Teri, I shared what had happened the night before.  Both were concerned for me and Teri was worried about La Christina but that’s the way she was, she was a very kind, loving woman and like I said, if I could have slept with her, I would have done it in a minute and risked Arturo’s wrath which was probably pretty bad.  He was a scary sort of guy and no one messed with him.  He had spent three years in the federal penitentiary for flying marijuana into the U.S. from Mexico and had intimated to me that his family was mob-connected; while his dad was a Mexican, his mother was a war bride from Sicily and the way he spoke, she was connected to the mafia and was the boss of his family.

Back to reality, Arturo said to be careful with moving Murph in because she was still married herself and while he didn’t think that Gary would pose a problem offhand, he didn’t want the men from Frazier Park coming into the restaurant causing trouble.  It was well-known than the women who lived up there were fairly loose and the old joke was that when the local men were leaving in the morning to go to work, the second shift was coming in to sleep with their wives and raise their kids.  I always thought that was a particularly humorous scene but those guys were all “mountain men,” they were burly, big, and worked hard for Cal-Trans and at Pyramid Lake and other masculine jobs up in the forests that ringed the area.  Many worked on the Tejon Ranch and the last thing we needed was a bunch of hostile men coming into Flagg’s and causing trouble!

---ʘ---

My single life began to progress really well. Now, when I wasn’t working, I could play with the band and drink as much alcohol as I wanted and when Murph could come to town, I entertained her in style.  One day, we had just finished making love and were lying in bed naked when a knock came at my door.  Instead of ignoring it, I went to the door in my bathrobe thinking that maybe it was one of my band mates.  I opened the door and there stood La Christina and I almost choked—needless to say, my erection wilted like a sunburned rose! 

“What’s up?” I asked, trying to hide my nervousness.

“I came to see if I could get some of my things that are still here?  How are you doing, I miss you a lot?”

I felt bad for her; I could see the pain in her eyes and could hear movement behind me in the house.  Murph had pulled her robe around her and walked out of eyesight to the kitchen and pulled the door quietly closed.  I glanced at poor La Christina and then saw the kids were out in the car and saw them waving at me so I waved back.

“Hi, kids!”

“Hi, Stinky!’ Those kids loved me and I didn’t know why because I was not that good of a stepfather to them. Nevertheless, that tugged at my heart, too, and I felt like a pig; moreover, I also was very scared and hoped it wasn’t showing on my face. But just as I had survived the incident with the panties, I would hopefully survive this—if I could keep her out of the kitchen!

“I guess it’s OK, I was just getting ready to take a shower so I could go to bed early tonight.  I have been working really hard up on the Grapevine and man, I am telling you, the amount of traffic pulling off to gas up and eat is killing us; we’re practically working twelve-hour shifts up there right now and are short a cook so please, make it quick.”

I stood back and held the door open and she strolled in and looked at me long and slow.  I could see that she was looking really nice today, had the white make-up around her dark eyes, the way I liked it, like the Mexican girls wore.  I was always big on different types of women preferring darker ones and La Christina knew how to fix herself up.  As she came in, she put her hand on my naked chest exposed between the “v” of my bathrobe.  Her hand felt nice, very nice, and I could feel movement below so I sort of helped her pass me into the living room.

“What do you have left?  I thought you pretty much had everything out of here already?”

“Oh, I left some clothes, you don’t mind if I look in the bedrooms, do you?”

Oh, Geez, I thought.  She is going to see Murph’s clothes, oh, dear God!

She went in there and I was afraid she’d smell the raw scent of sex that had taken place several times already.  It seems like women can pick things up that men never notice, at least a man like me who always seemed to be bothered by allergies.  However, she came out of the bedroom carrying some things from the closet and went into the middle bedroom and rummaged around in the closet there; then, into the bathroom and from there, into the farthest bedroom in the back where the kids slept.  She had quite a pile of stuff in her arms and I moved forward to help her but had to stop as I was exposing myself.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to stay?” Oh, God, the look in her eyes. I did sort of wish she had come by at another time but Murph was in the kitchen and thank God, the kids were out in the car!

“No, you have the kids and I don’t want to mix them up, make them feel like we’re getting back together and then not.”

“That’s very sweet of you, Stinky; you have never said anything like that before.  I get the idea but can I come back…one of these days…or nights? Please?”

“Let me call you, I have to go get in the shower so I can go to bed early, I am trying to give up the beer and it’s been hard for me.  I will call you.”  I walked her to the door and saw her off and once more, the kids were all waving arms and giggling smiles telling me how much they missed me. Me, nothing but a damned pig!

I heard the kitchen door slide open behind me and there stood the Murph, all naked, sweating six feet of her, her robe down around her feet on the floor! Was she standing at the door like this the entire time? In seconds, I was up again, ready, willing, and able to do battle till dawn! 

“It took you long enough, Stink.  I thought she was going to come into the kitchen and I was waiting to see what you would say?  I wasn’t planning on running away, you know; at least not until I got what I came here for, sugar pie!”

“I didn’t expect you to, come on let’s go back to bed.” I led her back to the bedroom after rechecking the lock on the front door and we resumed what we had started earlier in the afternoon with a few gentle kisses on her stomach before dropping down, bit by bit.  By the time I saw her off, I was exhausted and knew I had to get some sleep.  Tomorrow, I was driving myself up to the restaurant alone because Arturo was sick, at least that’s what Teri told me but I suspected they had been fighting—I mean, the entire Grapevine community knew what everyone was doing up there, it was getting really difficult for word not to spread when one considers that what we did, we did in one another’s restaurants so it was becoming common knowledge amongst everyone.  There were too many days when we were almost thrown out of the Ranch House or Denny’s for being inebriated.  It was bad enough that we were being unfaithful to our wives but also to our girlfriends.  Arturo had confided in me that he was scared that Teri might leave him, and that made me shudder.

“Not to worry, Art,” I told him, “Teri loves you and maybe you should be more careful—I mean, Terry Wilson?  For God’s sake, my friend, that’s a little bit close—even by my standards!”

---ʘ---

Anyhow, the next day I drove up at 4:30 A.M. and this was my first time to drive south on the 99 in the pitch black darkness with very few lights and not many cars.  I had started drinking a few beers after Murph had left and before I knew it, I had put down a six-pack, possibly a few more, I didn’t count the bottles!  I was too tired to cook so I went and fell into bed and the next thing I knew, the alarm clock was beating its metal brains out screaming at me to “GET UP, GET GOING, YOU DRUNKEN SOT!”

I had a hard time keeping my eyes focused as I headed down South “H” Street and onto South Chester so I could connect with Union Avenue and eventually Highway 99 and onto Flagg’s.  I kept looking ahead of me expecting the pit stop of Mettler to show up which was two-thirds of the way between the Grapevine exit and Bakersfield.  It seemed as if it was taking an inordinate amount of time and still it hadn’t shown up—“What the hell?” I kept straining my eyes and then when I took a look in my rearview mirror—there it was—all lit up behind me by half a mile!

This set a pang of fear roiling in my gut.  Why hadn’t I seen it?  Am I that messed up? What the hell is wrong with me?  My fear was palpable, I knew that I was drinking more and more beer but hadn’t thought it was that much?  A 12-pack a day didn’t seem like a lot, it started at work when we got off.  We had 4-5 beers at one of the other two restaurants and then 1-2 more on the road home.  Once at the house, it was another 1-2 before a quick dinner and then band practice where the rest of them went down.  I never smoked pot with Vic or Kyles Randalini, I left that to them because of a couple bad experiences in my high school years.  But playing the drums is physical work and as quickly as the alcohol goes in, it comes back out in sweat.  In fact, the way I was drinking, my skin was sticky—the secreted alcohol was broken down into its simplest form: sugar and I was sticky to the touch.  I didn’t think it was hurting me but now I knew otherwise.

I started to cut back on my drinking but saw the Murph as much as possible.  She was having problems at home with Gary, he was starting to crack down on her, wanted to know what all of the extended absences were about?  He knew that she had already had a previous affair with one of the other cooks that preceded me at Flagg’s and they’d managed to survive that; now, however, he recognized the signs once more and her behavior was worse this time.  She used to tell me how he was keeping track of her and soon he was coming into Flagg’s with the other guys from Cal-Trans and having lunch or dinner there.  We had an enormous, open cook’s line that was “L”-shaped and open to the public and there he was, sitting right across the counter where he could see me and seemed to look at me.  His unyielding gaze started to unnerve me. He was looking at me and then at his wife and then, back. Back!

Now that she was having a hard time getting away, we still had one another in Mylon’s office every morning which meant that I had to get up earlier so I could come in earlier. It was starting to put a strain on me that I thought was getting excessive but I loved this woman, I loved her with all my heart and couldn’t get enough of that deliciously beautiful body!  God, she was special, the most alive flesh and blood I had ever felt.  I would have done anything for her and she knew it.  Yet, at the same time with La Christina gone and the Murph effectively tied up, I was getting very lonely at night because I hadn’t slept alone since I moved away from home.  It was this waitress and that, there was always someone there at least 3-4 nights a week but now, because I was monogamous because of Murph, there was no one.  On my worst night, I could see Gary in my mind drilling her, my woman, MY WOMAN!

---ʘ---

One night before band practice, I was drinking a beer and eating a couple of McDonald’s hamburgers and Vic showed up early with two women.  Vic always seemed to find chicks out and about and I guess he was a sexy guy.  He was dark, Hispanic, with curly black hair, dark eyes, usually a goatee or beard and he had women non-stop.  Me and Kyles Randalini, nicknamed Pooky, used to talk about Vic:

“Damned, I don’t know how Vic is always finding women!” I said.

“That’s Vic, luckiest bastard in the world.  But, he’s pretty big!”

I laughed. “Yep, that he is, we seen him in the shower enough but man, how does he get the chicks to look at him first, it’s not like he can flop that monster out and have it say ‘hello, young lady, how ‘bout getting laid tonight?”

We laughed because he was a good looking guy but it’s typical of those who have a hard time to think their buddy’s a dog but he was pretty big, he used to stun the other guys in gym class at Garces Memorial High School.  I guess you get a reputation and it stays with you throughout life!

Anyhow, here he was with these two women and they were not lookers for sure.  Nevertheless, they had hot bodies and who knows, after a few beers, they’ll probably start looking much better.  One’s name was Rosie, and she was a dog and the other looked like a young Hillary, long straight hair, granny glasses, and her name was Karen Smart.  Boy, what a dog! I was thinking, I would have to be pretty fucked up to sleep with her but I was already feeling the lonely part of myself telling me her lack of attractiveness could be overlooked. 

The rest of the band showed up and we put in a solid night learning new tunes and getting ready for a job out in Lake Isabella at the high school.  The beer was flowing and pot was being smoked and gradually, all inhibition was slipping away.  I kept on looking at Karen Smart from behind the drum kit and she kept looking at me and all throughout the evening, we made eyes at one another.  As the time slipped by, she continued to look better and then, I started convincing myself that she really wasn’t that bad, she had a few redeemable qualities but as to what they were, I was not quite sure.  All I knew was that I wouldn’t have a hard time cracking her open but was worrying that I might break her scrawny body in my tight embrace.

“That’s it for the night,” Pooky said as he rolled up his guitar cords and shut his Marshall amp off.  Vic was doing the same but he was also flirting with Rosie and she had a look in her eyes that could lead to just one thing. 

“Do you mind if we stay here tonight?” Vic asked.

“Of course not, you can have either of the other two bedrooms you want.” Then, I looked over at Karen:  “would you like to stay here tonight?”

“I’d love to, Stinky, thought you’d never ask!”

That wasn’t hard!  Next thing I knew, I was pulling her into my bedroom and shut the door and had her down on the bed.  Our clothes were coming off and were tossed all over the floor.  She was ready practically from the first minute and before I knew it, I had her rolled up tight and was going to town.  Both of us began to climax and within minutes, the first round was over; we laid there clasping one another’s sweaty bodies panting for breath. 

“Ready for more?” she asked.

“Damned straight!”

We made love much of the night and then fell into a deep sleep.  Something was warning me that something was wrong here, that she didn’t look as good as my mind was telling me she did.  The good and the bad halves battled it out, something that was a normal occurrence back in those days but the voice of reason kept getting strangled so its message of danger ahead was unable to get out and start screaming at me: SHE’S HORRIBLE STINKY, GET HER OUT OF HERE NOW!

Had I only listened but I didn’t.  Days became weeks, and weeks became months and still Murph wasn’t out and by this time, I no longer thought she would or could and our liaisons in Mylon’s office became fewer and fewer but in the meantime, Karen was doing me every night and didn’t care if I got drunk or stayed sober.  She brought a queen-sized water bed to the house and we moved to the back bedroom and spent our days in drunkenness or with dope; well, she did the dope and I did the drinking.  I had sort of grown to like her a bit, although, at times, I also felt ashamed but when one has lost touch with reality, it doesn’t matter.  She cooked for me and cleaned the house, and did whatever else I needed. I was living like a king.

One day at work, Arturo got a bur up his ass and sold me out; why, I never knew.  He told Murph my secret:

“Hey, Murph!  Do you know what your lover is doing at his house in Bakersfield?”

I looked up in shock—we were in the back kitchen and I was running the machine that stamped out our own hamburgers, one’s that were exceptionally tasty and juicy. I was stunned, gagged, “Art!  What the hell are you doing?”

He laughed his big jack-o-lantern grin:  “Hey, Murph!  Do you know that your boy, Stink, here has a woman living with him while he’s waiting for you to get free from Gary?”

She looked surprised; looked at me, then at Arturo, then back at me.  Teri had come in the kitchen and gone over to her man and looked at him with questioning eyes. 

The color drained from her face.  Murph croaked, “Is that true, Stink, you have another woman living with you while I’m going through hell so I can get out and come live with you?”

“No, baby, that’s not true!”

Arturo laughed. “Call his number right now and see what happens!  Go ahead, do it, and see what happens!”

She went over to the wall where the phone was hanging and picked it up and dialed.  I stood there mortified, and the kitchen was dead silent.  I was praying that Karen was gone, out, left to see her folks out in Wasco.  Anywhere but there, anywhere!

The phone rang, and rang again.  I was praying that she was gone but then, we all heard the click of the phone being answered.

“Hello?  Who is this?” Murph asked. The voice said something we couldn’t hear and Murph asked who it was and the voice told her something.  She asked if I lived there and apparently the answer confirmed that it was my house and another woman living there.  She hung the phone up and came over and looked at me, tears beginning to well up in her eyes.  I knew that I was wrong, that I was an inconsiderate pig who got tired of waiting and brought a fill-in, a bed-warmer into my house just so I didn’t have to sleep alone at night or spank my monkey.  Why couldn’t I have done that?  Why the hell was I such a loser?

Why did you do this, Stink? I have been going through hell fighting with Gary every night.  I have been trying to get out of that relationship to be with you and you have another fucking woman in your house?  What is wrong with you, how could you do this to me?”

I began to cry, began to beg, plead, “Oh, God, I’m sorry baby, I couldn’t take it anymore!  I didn’t know if you were gonna come or if you were just telling me you would!  I got scared, baby, I didn’t want to be alone, oh, please, I’ll get her out of there today, I will do it today!”

My heart was in my throat, snot began to run out of my nose and I was following her around trying to get her to let me hold her, touch her, feel her.  I could feel the sobs, the tears, but she was holding them in and doing a hell of a better job than I was.  I grabbed her, held her, pulled her close and whispered all sorts of things, any things, anything to get her to stop, hold me, the pig that I was, hold me, forgive me, forgive me, the fuck-up!

Get her out today or tomorrow, but get her out as soon as possible.  I will forgive you, it’s OK, but GET, HER, OUT!”

She went out front and went to the bathroom so she could clean her eyes.  I had broken her heart, just as I had broken La Christina’s, because I was nothing, a piece of nothing, in love with myself, Stinky, and no one else mattered, no one.  I looked at Arturo who was standing there smirking:

“What the fuck’s wrong with you, Arturo?  What did I do to you, you son-of-a-bitch?  I haven’t done anything, maybe I should “out” you, huh?  You’re lucky I’m even staying here today, one of these days you’re gonna—“

“Don’t say it, little buddy, just leave it be; but it looks like you have work to do today, eh?  Do you want to go?  You can go home today, no, wait, you can’t, you came up with me and Teri today, I guess you’ll have to do your shift and be a man about it!”

Teri was looking at both of us and had no idea what was going on?  I didn’t know what was going on!  It seemed that nobody did so all I could do was knuckle under and do my job and the fact that Gary came in as usual with several of his buddies on the Cal-Trans crew and sat like they always did at the counter in front of my station.  What a horrible day, everybody avoiding eye contact, no one talking except Gary and his friends but always their gaze came back to me and his wife. 

When the shift had thankfully come to an end, we left the job without saying hardly anything and it killed me that the Murph only gave me a longing glance but then left—with Gary—like had been the case now for much of the time.  He was clamping down control onto her and worse, because he was coming in with his buddies, the women of Frazier Park were all having much higher scrutiny so the girls like Terry Wilson and Tina had to curtail their activities and go home with or to their husbands.  One affair had turned the entire Grapevine exit into a concentration camp of husbands watching wives and when one couldn’t watch his own—his buddies were doing it for him.

As soon as I got home, I was ready to go in and tell Karen that it was over, that she had to go.  A week or so before, we had gone with my friends and their girlfriends and wives to a Blue Oyster Cult concert at the Bakersfield Civic Auditorium.  That night, Karen dropped three hits of Windowpane acid and at some point, she disappeared and I didn’t see her again for seven days.  That made me mad, so mad at the time that when she showed up at the end of the week, I blew up:

“Where the hell did you go?  You didn’t call me or anything and I looked everywhere, even drove out to Wasco and talked to your dad! Blackie said he didn’t know anything!  I was worried, what the hell happened?”

“What are you all upset about, Stinky?  I met some friends and we left, I don’t even remember where we went.  Heck, babe, my mind was frying, what did you expect me to do? I don’t see a fucking ring on my finger, dude, so lighten up! That’s right, it’s not like we’re married or anything so quit sniveling and grow up!”

I could feel my temper beginning to rise—I hated scenes but always made the most of them whenever they happened:

“It’s time for you to go, bitch; I want you out of here as soon as possible.  Get your waterbed out of here, too, the sooner the better!”

She smiled that plain, farm-girl smile.  She looked at me from behind her granny glasses and started to laugh.

“OK, no problem, I’ll call my dad to come and get me.  Can I stay here until he comes or are you going to throw me out?”

“No, just get your stuff together and start draining the bed.  I am going to go out for awhile and you can stay here.  Just make sure you lock it up when you go and stick the key through the mail slot.”

I threw some clothes into a bag and left the house.  Agitated, I stopped at Big Red’s down the street for a beer and sat at the bar smoking a cigarette.  I began to think, what the hell was happening with my life?  How the hell could I have done this in the first place?  Poor Murph, Jesus Christ!

I went over to Arturo’s and asked if I could stay there that night with him.  He said sure but Teri was over at her sister’s as they had been fighting.  He was already drinking so I joined him and we got quite drunk.  One thing about Arturo, he was a mean drunk when something bothered him and that night, he was really agitated.

“You know, Little Buddy, I told you I was in the joint.”

“Yes, Art, I know that.”

“I used to fly in pot for my mom but I did other things as well.  Do you want to know what?”

“No, maybe I don’t.  Maybe I should go back home, I don’t like it when you get like this.”

“No, you can’t go, come into the bedroom; I want to show you something.”


My heart leapt up into my throat.  I started thinking that maybe I should bolt for the door.  I had no idea what he was going to show me and the fact that he’d been in prison for three years and was actually quite mean had all of my alarm bells going off.  He was clearly agitated and I started to get afraid but he grabbed me by my shoulder and pulled me with him.  The tears were starting to run down his face, and he kept telling me, “don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt you.”

Instead of trying to bolt for the door, I allowed myself to be led by him into the bedroom.  Now, I started to experience painful jabs of pain into my heart and began to wonder what was going to happen to me.  I had never seen Art like this but I was scared to try to push him off because he was a good foot taller than me, physically strong, and I had seen him angry enough to threaten people with their lives in bars over a simple argument.

He pulled me down to sit on the bed with him and he sat me down on the bed and now I knew that I was going to get raped by my friend.  My was pounding like a jackhammer and now, I was no longer afraid, I was terrified.  I looked at the door like a frightened rabbit and I knew he was watching me.  The tears were still flowing and now I began to cry.

“No, Art, please don’t do what I think you’re going to do, you don’t want to do this, for Christ’s Sake, we’re friends, man, please….”

He started to laugh and I felt like fresh bait in prison feels.  There was nothing I could do; I didn’t want to get beaten up.  My God, how would that look?  I felt like a woman must feel, there was absolutely nothing I could do but do whatever he asked.

“What do, what do you want, Art, just tell me, please…”

He turned away from me and went into his closet, and for one last moment, I was ready to jump and run for the door but I knew he’d catch me and then I’d get beaten up and then raped so I gave into my fear and decided to get it over with and be done.  I knew it couldn’t be worse than anything else kinky I’d done with La Christina. She was big on sexual toys and I submitted to her and in fact actually enjoyed the things we’d done so how bad could this be if I just gave in and didn’t fight?

“You know, I didn’t just fly in pot,” he said as he came to the bed holding a box.  “I did other things when my mom told me what she needed.  I want to show you something, I need to talk to someone, I need to tell you, you’re my only fucking friend!”

Suddenly, I was relieved, I began to think that somehow, I might get out of this, I had no idea what it was he was going to show me, but my drunken mind told me that whatever it was, maybe he wasn’t going to assault me, just maybe…

“Open the box and look inside,” be commanded as he wiped the snot and tears from his face with one big hand.  His lips pulled back in a big, Jack-o-lantern grin.  His mouth was oversized for his face and he was leering at me like I was nothing more than a piece of meat there for his sexual gratification.  His dark eyes seemed to will me to open the box so I took it and held it a moment.  Then, I opened the lid.

“Inside was a big gun that I took to be a 45 caliber handgun.  Also in the box was something that could only be a silencer.  I had never seen a gun up close and had never seen a silencer but even in my drunken stupor, I knew what it was.

“A g-g-gun, Arturo.  A-a-a 45?” I stuttered.

“Touch it, go ahead and touch it!” he commanded.

I hesitated and put the lid back on the box and held it out to him. 

“I don’t understand.”

He sat down beside me and put his long arm around my shoulders and squeezed me tight.  Again, I began to feel the fear creeping up my legs, into my groin, into my gut and up into my chest.  I knew that I should not touch it and was scared that my fingerprints were on the box.

“I’ve whacked people.  When the word has come down, I’ve whacked people.  Whatever job I’ve worked, my family got it for me and then when I needed time off, I took off for a week or two, and gone and did a job.  I fly someplace, go find the mark and then I…then I take care of him.  How do you think I have the money I do?  You don’t think it’s from working in fucking restaurants do you?” 

He began to laugh but his eyes were still sad.  He sat there with his arm around me and squeezed me again.  I had no idea how the hell I was going to get out of here in one piece tonight.  He has to have felt my trembling body and I think it turned him on.  Christ, three years in prison and I know— I know he wasn’t a punk!

“I had to tell someone, I can’t talk to Teri, women just keep their mouths shut and provide cover.  They don’t ask, they just go along with me on the trip or stay home and work.  I don’t know how many people I’ve whacked.  Sometimes I can’t stand it, that’s why I get drunk all of the time.  I had to tell someone and now, I’ve told you Little Buddy.  You know what that means don’t you?”

I began to stammer.  I could hardly contain my fear:  “No, Art, what does it mean?”

“If you say anything, I’ll have to kill you.  You know that, right?”

He squeezed me tight and put his mouth on my neck and my body tensed up.  As drunk as I was, I began to sober up quickly and began to struggle, tried to push him off of me. 

“What’s the matter?  Don’t you want me?  I always took you for a punk!  You got an ass like one, so what the hell; do you want me to kill you now?”

“Please, Art, no, I’m not a punk, I didn’t come here tonight to have you rape me, God damn it, you’re supposed to be my friend, you bastard!”

“I’m not a bastard, you bitch!” He was practically snarling at me.  He pulled me close and then he pushed me back and slapped my face.  “Go on, get out of here, but if you say anything, you’re a dead man, now get the fuck out of here!  I really scared you, didn’t I, you say a thing, I’ll tell everybody at work that you wanted to give me a blow job when you got drunk and they’ll believe me so go on, get the fuck out of here!”

I didn’t need to be told more than once.  I jumped up and made for the door, my heart in my throat, my stomach wanting to throw up there on the front doorstep as I ran through it and out to my car.  I felt as if I was being pursued by all of the devils in hell, and ran into my car and stumbled back and dropped my keys.  I fumbled for them in the gutter while he stood in the doorway laughing at me, at my fear.  I managed to get into my car and keyed the ignition and flipped a “U” right there in front of his apartment.  I ripped it around and sped off down the street and somehow made my way home and collapsed on the doorstep. 

After a period of time of lying there, sobbing, trying to find my keys, I cursed that the skank had gone and left all of the lights turned off.  Somehow, I finally managed to get into my house and ran into the bathroom and began to heave my guts into the toilet.  The spasms didn’t stop until, every last ounce of alcohol and whatever we’d been eating came out.  The tears were running down my face, if only Murph or La Christina or anyone, even Karen was there.  Anyone, oh, God, why did I have to be alone?

After awhile, I crawled down the hallway and into bed and passed out.  Following what seemed like minutes, the alarm was ringing.  Oh, my God, not already! I moaned.  I got out of bed and went back down the hall, feeling like I’d been beaten up.  I got into the shower and let the cold water pour over my head in a cascade, feeling alone and sad.  Nothing was going well, well, at least, Karen was gone.  Her waterbed was back there still draining out the cat door in the patio door and out into the backyard.  Hopefully, that would be emptied in a day or so and she could come and get the damned thing and get the hell out of my life completely.

What a mistake!  How could I have done this to Murph?  I loved that girl, she meant so much to me and I nearly destroyed it.  I was scared that she might not want me anymore so I couldn’t wait to get to work and tell her that it was over, that Karen was gone, it was finished!  The way was open for her to make her break and move in with me and that would be the start of something new and good.

Out of the shower, I drank a cup of coffee and took one with me on the road.  It was still dark and anxiously, I sped the miles in my 1975 Ford Gran Torino.  My mom had given me the car not long ago because the Pinto was having problems and she had bought a new Cobra.  The miles raced by and my heart was surprisingly light after the events of last night.  Somehow, with the new day, it didn’t seem as bad as it had the night before.  I chided myself for letting myself get involved in these situations and began to plot a way to get out of Flagg’s and into a job back in Bakersfield.  The Rodeway Inn was hiring now that it had a new owner and I knew the chef, a Filipino named Rudolpho Aguinaldo, and he was a good guy.  Yes, I would go see him as soon as possible.

Once at work I wondered where Arturo was.  Normally, he was there about the same time I arrived if I didn’t go with him, something I no longer planned on doing.  As I went inside, I greeted the night crew and looked around for the Murph but her car wasn’t in the parking lot either.  Puzzled, I made enquiries but no one knew anything so I went up on the line and relieved Doug Radle who was working the nights.  He was glad to see me and I asked him if he’d heard from Art?

“Not coming in today, B, you got it by yourself.” He smiled and wrapped up his knives in his bag and took his apron and his hat off as he headed for the back kitchen. 

I felt a cold stab of pain in my gut again, and asked him, “why?”

“He got beat up last night, Teri called in this morning and said she had to go meet him at the hospital.  It seems that he went out last night late and went over to a bar.  He got into a fight with a guy who knocked the shit out of him…I guess pretty bad.  Call Ernie and ask him if he’ll come in early and help you through lunch; otherwise, it’s all yours.  I have to come back tonight and this will be my seventh day in a row since we’re shorthanded.  Have a good one” and with that he was off the line and headed out the back door.

I felt that same chill of panic as it stabbed me in the gut again.  What had happened after I left?  Where was Murph?  Then, I had to put the thoughts out of my mind as I heard the girls calling in orders out on the line.

“OK, I’m coming!”

Later in the morning, Teri came to work and she looked as if she’d been crying and for a long time.  She came up to the line and as she put on her apron, she came over to me.

“What’s wrong with Arturo?”

“He went out last night to the Ambassador Lounge and was apparently really drunk.  He went over there and got into a fight and the guy cold-cocked him from behind.  He didn’t say much, other than that you and he had been drinking and you left and went home.”

“Oh, Teri,” I said, and grabbed her and pulled her close and squeezed her lovely body to mine.  “Yes, we had been together but Art had gotten really weird and I thought I’d better leave because we had to work this morning.  What happened?”

She looked at me with her big almond-shaped eyes, so beautiful, the full lips, red like I liked them.  “He got into a fight with a guy shooting pool.  He told the guy to ‘take it outside’ and started out the door first, and in the hallway, the guy jumped him from behind!”

“He wasn’t that drunk he couldn’t take care of himself, babe, what—“

“The guy jumped on him and put one arm around his chest and then sunk his teeth into Art’s neck and began to bite down hard, and with his free hand, began to turn it around and pummel his face to pulp!”

“Oh, my God!” I gasped.  “What, didn’t anyone help, didn’t anyone help him?” I stammered.

“No, the guy bit out a chunk of his neck, Stinky, and took him down.  No matter how hard he struggled, the guy wouldn’t loosen his bite and the one hand kept punching his face in.  By the time the police arrived on the scene, he was a bloody piece of meat.  The hospital called me at my sister’s and when I saw him at the hospital, oh, God, Stinky, oh, I just can’t tell you….!”

I instinctively held her tight and forgot about how good her body felt.  I felt guilty, extremely, I had left my friend because I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer and he had scared the hell out of me.  I felt lucky that I hadn’t been raped by my fucking friend!  I couldn’t tell Teri that, I was too ashamed myself, told me I had a punk’s ass!”

“They were wiring his jaw shut and doing surgery on his neck, he’s gonna be in the hospital for a week or two, and he said, he said to tell you, tell my ‘my little buddy to run the show for me until I come back.’ That’s what he said so I’ll help you.  You need to call Ernie and have him come in and help you earlier…”

“Yes, Radle already told me that Ernie knew.”

I held her for a few moments longer and then I let her go.  I could see she was taking it hard, had probably been crying for hours.  I took it hard; too, I deserted my friend even though he had scared the life out of me!  But where the hell was Murph?  Rita said she’d called around 3 A.M. and told her to tell me she was running late this morning but ‘not to worry.”  Here it was, almost noon and that was nine hours since she’d called!  All of a sudden, it seemed like everything was falling apart and I was feeling desolate, I had gotten rid of Karen Smart and now, Gin was nowhere in sight and I was starting to panic!

 I worked into the afternoon busy like hell but nowhere was the Murph.  I had Teri or one of the other girls call their house up in the Park and no answer.  I was in an agony that would not let up, the sweat trickled into my eyes and stung but I kept brushing it back; in it, mingled my tears as I knew something was wrong.  My heart beat in my chest and all day and into the afternoon, I dealt with the business like an automated machine.  Ernie came in and took the line and I went into the back and finished what I could to make things easier for him.  It was apparent that we would now be working seven days a week and there was no way I was going to be able to keep up. I was feeling sick, I felt like I had a fever and every time I went to the restroom, my dick burned like I had an infection.  Things were not looking good and now, depression was mixed with anxiety.

I was just getting ready when Teri came running in from out front, an excited look on her beautiful face.  “Get the phone, Stinky, Murph’s on the phone!”

Oh, my God, I thought to myself, this can’t be good.  Oh, my God, what’s wrong, I can’t live without this woman!  I grabbed the phone off its receiver in the kitchen and Teri stood there looking up at me with those lambent green eyes expectantly.

“Murph, you’re OK, I’ve been worried sick!  Are you alright, where are you?” I was hoping the concern in my voice wasn’t coming across as too possessive but instinctively, I knew this was it.

“Stinky, I can’t talk for long.  I’m calling from the Rutherford Truckstop outside Los Angeles…Gary’s with me, sitting at our table watching me…”

I could hear the upset in her voice, I was suddenly gripped with desperation so deep, and it practically was wrenching my heart out from between my rib cage. 

“Speak to me, Gin; tell me what’s up, baby, please, what’s up?”

“Gary had the car packed this morning and when I asked what’s up, why aren’t you at work?  What’s going on?  He grabbed my arm and told me, ‘bitch, get in the car and shut up.  I am tired of this crap, if you keep seeing that son-of-a-bitchin’ cook from Bakersfield; I am going to kill him and then you.  You can go with me to LA to my family in one piece or you can go with your fucking face bashed in…take your pick but do it NOW!’”

I began to stagger and Teri put her arm around my waist to steady me, hold me, she knew that this was it for me and Murph, the end, just as she knew that she and Arturo were not going to be a couple much longer.  We both knew we were at the end of the road.

“Are you OK, Gin?”  The tears began to run freely now, the sob was caught in my throat, the pain was terrible, I could feel the fever beginning to eat me up from within. 

“Gin, please, tell me what’s wrong?  What can I do?”

Her voice started, hesitated, and then, I could hear the pain in her voice:  “This is good bye, Stinky, I’m going away and I don’t know if I’ll ever be back.  Please, take care of yourself for me, I love you, but for both our sakes, this is how it has to be…”

“GIN! PLEASE, DON’T GO! WHAT CAN I DO, WHAT CAN I SAY, OH, BABE, PLEASE DON’T GO!”

The phone went dead; I almost staggered and fell if it wasn’t for Teri’s tight grip on me.  I let the phone fall and the tears began to flow.  “She’s gone,” I said.

Teri helped me over the chef’s desk so I could sit down.  My head was spinning, I wanted to throw up, suddenly, and I felt terribly sick.

“Stinky, you have a fever, you’re sick.”

I looked up at Teri and held her hand.  “She’s gone, Gary’s taken her away.”

She continued to hold me, I have to admit, and it felt good.  “What’s happening, Stinky?”

“She’s never coming back, it’s over, done, I have never felt so alone….everybody’s gone, La Christina, Karen, now the Murph.  I don’t feel very well, Teri, I have to go home and go to the doctor.  I feel so sick, babe, I feel so sick.”

She kneeled beside me, her knees on the floor, her arm around me still as I sat there and cried, never had I felt so alone as I did at that moment, and it was all my fault.  I had ruined everybody’s life and probably had destroyed mine.

“It will be alright, honey,” Teri said, looking up at me.  “I don’t think that Arturo and I are going to be together much longer.  I am going to leave him and do it soon and the only way I can do it and stay away is to go to my sister in New Mexico, I’ve already called her and will be leaving soon.  Please, don’t tell Art.  I want to get my kids back and as long as he’s in my life, I can’t.  You know he’s a felon with a violent past, right?”

I looked at those wistful eyes and smiled, wiping the snot on the back of the sleeve of my chef’s jacket.  “Yeah, how could I not?  I think he’s something much more than just “violent,” Teri, I have been wondering how the hell I was going to get away from here myself?”

She smiled.  Chef Ernie came into the kitchen, “You OK, Stinky?  I could hear you out there on the cook’s line and the girls were concerned?”

My face sort of lit up.  “Yeah, Ernie, I’m OK.  Tell the girls not to worry, I’m going home now and will be back tomorrow Ernie so you can get off sooner.  I hope that Art will be back tomorrow but if not, Mylon knows he needs to find some other cooks.”

“OK, my brother,” he said, gold tooth shining.  “Take it easy and drive safely, my man!”

I got up and hugged Teri squeezed her tight.  “Gee, I wished I’d had a chance to have met you a long time ago.  But with Arturo, I never know how he’s going to react.  I am going to have to go, I’m burning up.”

Her eyes lit up, a big smile on her face:  “Yes, me, too, but the way things are now, it wouldn’t be safe.  Besides, Murph will be back, I know she will—you two are such a good couple.  Drive safely hon and I’ll let you know about how Art’s doing later.”

I was so tired by the time I got home that I went in and fell into my empty bed, once the happiest in town.  I woke up in the middle of the night, burning with fever.  I hurt terribly so I called Mylon at 6 am in the morning and told him I was sick.  He didn’t sound very happy but that was too bad.  I went into the doctor as soon as he opened and it’s a good thing I did, I had a fever of 104° and all sorts of red oozy blemishes across my entire groin area that burned like fire.  I was scared but was so miserable about everything; I didn’t care if I died. 

Dr. Baskerville sent me over to the lab to get some blood work done and when I got back to his office, he sat me down.  “You have mononucleosis and what appears to be the worst case of Herpes Simplex Virus 2.  You are really sick and I’m thinking you need to go to the hospital.”

I protested and talked my way out of it.  However, I discovered that the mono was a bad case and that it was possible I could die if I didn’t have complete bed rest, take all sorts of antibiotics, and have someone wash my clothes, sanitize the dishes, prepare the food, clean the house, and take me to my doctor’s appointments.

“Doctor, I’m alone, my wife has left me.”

“You absolutely need to have someone, surely there’s someone else or you need to get your wife back.  Here, take this list, follow the instructions exactly.  As for the herpes, it will be with you for the rest of your life and it will come and go, go and come, but probably not as bad as it is now.  It’s because you have mono, too, and the two together are very dangerous to your health.  Find someone and call me back; otherwise, it’s the hospital.”

I went home so tired; I could hardly get out of the car and make it in the front door.  I called my mom and told her the situation and apologized repeatedly because my mom was moving to Salinas to live with her long term beau, a really nice guy.  There was no way she could stay.  It was a done deal.  She told me not to worry and called back a few hours later and informed me that she had hired a private nurse to come to the house and look after me every day until I felt better.  The person she hired was a kindly lady who did all of the cleaning, meal preparation, washed the dishes, and took me to my appointments.  All I did was lie on the couch day after day in a fog.  Fatigue kept me down while the burning, oozing sores that covered my groin and up my rear end crack made me want to jump up and cut all of it off!  I was angry, frustrated, enraged, and full of self-pity.  Most of the time, all I did was to cry and cry while asking the universe “why me, Lord, why me?

When the nurse went home after I had my dinner, I went back to sleep but then in the dead of night, I became fully awake because of the burning, oozing sores across my privates and up my back side.  I walked the halls all night long even though I was not supposed to get up and I asked the Lord repeatedly, “Please, allow me to die, dear God, I have no reason to live, I am being punished for everything and cannot take it!”  No one knew, not even myself, how close I was to castrating myself and throwing the bloodied flesh onto the floor.  I really wanted to die, was down on my knees begging for death but death would never come to collect me.  I had lost all of my friends, all of my women, even La Christina was gone.  Oh, how I would have welcomed her home with open arms!

This went on for several months and then, one day, there was La Christina on the front porch looking really nice in a summer dress, her attractive legs tapering to the ground.  Behind her stood the kids and I must have appeared the fright, hair unkempt, face shrunken, dark circles ringing my eyes.  I shaved when I remembered but most of the time went around with at least a week’s stubble gracing my haggard face.  I had lost more than forty pounds and was a taught 115# standing 5’8”. 

“Christina!  Kids!  I’m glad to see you…please, forgive my appearance, I’ve been sick.”

She stood there in front of me for a moment and then reached out, drew me close, gave me a tight hug.  I fell apart; it had been a long time since anyone had held me, her soft skin against my face.  I noticed her fragrance, one I always liked, Tabu, and it was like a thousand and one aromatic flowers awakening my distraught senses which had been deprived of love for so long. 

“I’m so glad to see you, Christina, and you kids.  Come on in.”

I explained my situation and that what I had was gradually getting better and that I was no longer at the infectious stage.  I told her about the herpes and how ashamed I was, I was embarrassed, frustrated, miserable.  Most of all, I was sorry for the way I had treated all three of them and could do nothing but smile.  Over the course of our visit, I confessed to all of my sins and explained that the Grapevine adventure was a total failure and how badly I had felt.  She called out for pizza and for the first time in months, we shared a meal together as a family.

At the door, she asked if we could “see one another again?”  I said, “by all means, please come back when you can.”  I hesitatingly walked them out to her Dodge Duster parked at the curb in front of the house.  As I shut their doors, I leaned in through the driver’s side window and kissed her on the cheek.

“I missed you.  I missed all of you.”

She looked up at me, the hint of tears at the corners of her eyes.  “We’ve missed you, too.  I will come back, I have to admit, I’m scared about it but I will come back and so will the kids if you want us again?”  She held my gaze for what seemed an interminable amount of time. 

“Yes, I’d like that very much.  Please, come back when you can, I’ve learned my lesson the hard way and hope to never do it again.”  I hesitated:  “I love you, Christina, and you, too, kids!”

A flourish of smiles and off they pulled from the curb.  I watched the car make a u-turn and flip back around to South H Street and make a left southbound.  I stood there for a minute thinking, “how nice it will be?”  And then, a sudden chill enveloped my heart and I remembered Murph’s terse words on the phone and the pain of the loss.  I remembered how long I had been sick, what seemed to have been about six months and was still in the process of recovery and what’s more, La Christina was showing me kindness by taking me back, herpes and all.  Anyhow, I was able to stifle the momentary fear and convinced myself that this time, things would be better, that I had learned my lesson, and this time I would be a better person.

Or so I thought?

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As Stinkbug tells us to tell you all each and every day and all of my companions before me; I have had a great time today and as always enjoy my opportunities to write for the Elemental News of the Day. We urge our readership to write to us and leave comments and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously don’t pay anything but you will be given a full byline and that’s worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it’ll be fun! Expect that when all of us have run through our cycle, we will be introducing some brand-new talent or so I’m told.

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people don’t care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It’s sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came.

Well, that will do it for our first Saturday together and the last Saturday of the year!  It’s also New Year’s Eve and I hope you’re going to have a lovely time! I will be drunk all night long but will still get out tomorrow’s blog post! Remember: if you drink, don’t drive and if you drive, don’t drink!  Moreover, I appreciate the fact that you’ve very patiently accepted the fact that this week is a best of week while everyone is away on their holiday vacations.  Stinkbug has asked me to beg your indulgence as we take the last week of the year off due to the fact that not many people are around and will be reading the blog.  NEXT week, Elvin C. McCardle will be here and I know he’ll have something great.  I hope you enjoyed today’s selection!  Anyhow—all we ask of you, dear readers, is that you please leave some comments and/or become a follower and why not spend some money and purchase an album by the Grateful Dead and/or buy a cookbook from Amazon.com.  We are allied with them and are pleased to market their merchandise! See you next time around! Bye!    

Thank you!

Moses Scharbug III

Moses Scharbug III
Assistant Editor of the Elemental News of the Day


This is me when I was a university professor at one of California’s State Universities in the Southland back in the 1970’s.  I’ve been retired for the past 15 years and have been the assistant editor of the END since its first incarnation back in 2009.

NEXT WEEK: ELVIN C. MCCARDLE COMES IN! WELCOME HIM!

---30---

END Commentary for Saturday, December 31, 2011 by Moses Scharbug III.



Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.

REFERENCES:

This original essay was written by the one-and-only Moses Scharbug III



Story created by Chef Brian Craig Carrick on November 25, 2010 in Bakersfield, CA.

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END OF THE YEAR STINKBUG


                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                             
This is #1329 a 24” x 36" original oil painting by Beverly Carrick entitled, “Yucca Canyon." It's among her more beautiful works and is available for sale. You can see much more of her work at her Website, located at http://www.beverlycarrick.com or at Brian Carrick's Facebook page. At her Website, you will see not only more original oil paintings but also lithographs, giclees, prints, miniatures, photographs, and even her award-winning instructional video entitled, "Painting the Southwest with Beverly Carrick." Beverly has been painting for more than 60 years and is known around the world. Her work hangs in private and public galleries and is followed by a great many fans that circle the globe. We urge you to go to her Website NOW and view her work. It's possible that you will find something you like and will want to buy it for yourself, a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor! You will not be disappointed so please: do yourself a favor and go there IMMEDIATELY! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day!

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Magnolia Hilltop Brewers and What's Cookin' Productions Trademark of Quality and Symbol of Integrity. Copyright 12-30-2011, all rights reserved. No unauthorized reproductions of any of this material are permissible unless granted by written permission. Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.

Publisher: B. Carrick

Chief Editor: Stinkbug.

Assistant Editor: Moses Scharbug III

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