Friday, November 30, 2007


It’s all about me today. Me me me.

What about MY needs?


[Okay, so is this any different than any other day?]



“… don’t want it. I just need it.” Some random lyric from some Tool song. They’re one of those bands whose song titles sometimes seem totally unrelated to the actual songs, so this is probably called “Parabola Festules on the Amygdala” or something.


… got called out in class last night for my sloppy APA style on a paper I turned in. “How did you get through this whole program without being able to…?”

I can. I do. I didn’t say much. I find myself tempted now to do some clarification after the fact: The week that paper was due included recurring words like “cancer,” “ICU,” and “overtime,” not to mention the fact that I was writing another paper. Ever nodded off at a computer? I’ve done it more times this semester than ever before. Still, explaining this feels like it’d be a lame excuse.


“…want you to want me.” Cheap Trick


… need to start working out again.


… have a lot of answers now. But I need more.


…think you need to hear some Helmet today:


…emailed the prof about my paper. I just felt like I’d disappointed her.


…am feeling a bit overwhelmed in a lot of different areas.


…am getting more attention than I need or want.


…have been invited to a party.


… think you need to hear some Billie Holiday today:


…need to stay grounded


…wish I could sing


…need to get back to work.


…want you to have a good Friday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Move Me

[EDIT: Carpenters video posted at the end now]

As a counselor, my theoretical orientation is Solution-focused Brief Therapy. That is, they made us pick a theory and run with it. I actually find that Narrative therapy resonates more with me (don't gasp), but I found the idea of doing it in my second language too daunting.

I like SFBT quite a bit though.

Turns out there's an even briefer approach:


Let's zip down the rabbit hole a bit, shall we?


The first time I heard the song "All Things Must Pass" by George Harrison was in 1996, as I was leaning over the computer, writing something (again, don't gasp).

It's a demo version, just voice and guitar, from the third volume in The Beatles Anthology. It stopped me completely, this stark voice singing, "None of life's strings can last." It was so sad, so resigned, yet so wistful, and so George. I was in tears before it was over.

Harrison recorded that version on his 26th birthday. Of course, it went on to be the title track of his acclaimed solo album.


What art has moved you?


Music that sent me into therapy, part 1: After the Fall by Mary Coughlan. I can do heavy. Heavy heavy heavy. Fast, slow, sludgy, hateful, screaming... I can sit through metal of the most brutal variety.

But listening to these baker's dozen chamber ballads about wrecked dreams and unraveling seams, I lost it. Coughlan is very Irish, and easily the darkest vocalist I've ever encountered. I dove head-first into the music, taking a trip to some of the most perilous emotional places I've ever visited. Okay, I had some other stuff going on, but Coughlan wasn't exactly a bright and cheery soundtrack. Boom, I hit the therapist's couch. It was 1997.


Thing is, I got a "best of" compilation of hers quite some time ago. Toland sent it to me, I believe.

And... I can't. I can't play it. I'm scared to. Here it sits, as yet unplayed. Send me the newest CD by Cannibal Corpse and I'm cool. Mary Coughlan shakes me up too much though.


Wolfboy is quite fond of ranking things. He wants me to rank my favorite superheroes, favorite this or that. And he will sometimes ask who my favorite band is.

It's not an easy question.

But I tell him that the musician who has brought me the most joy over the course of my whole life is almost certainly BB King. I can remember listening to him when I was 3. I don't think I'd be who I am without him.


Books... Steinbeck. It starts with Steinbeck, period. He's the Great American Voice, the man who captured the dust bowl days, the hopelessness, the humor, the tragic character flaws, the wobble in our ellipse.

Larry Brown, however, remains the voice in my head. In my mind, this is what I wanted to accomplish in my stint as a novelist. I failed--so sue me. I aimed damn high.

He... speaks my language. Southern "grit lit," right? That's what they call it. It's smart and earthen and flawed, the product of willful talent, not some slick writing program. Art always belongs to the people, no matter how rarefied the pinnacles of achievement.

And that was Brown, period. Check out On Fire.


I try to have taste, but it doesn't always pan out.

That is, several years ago, while leaving the Museo del Prado in Madrid, I saw a print of The Triumph of Death by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. I insisted on going back into the museum to the see original, as we'd somehow missed it.

And there it was, this dark, chaotic landscape full of skeletal death-soldiers, slaughtering the living, covering the landscape with corpses. It's primitive and fearful and akin to folk art. It was painted in 1562.

I bought two prints. One I gave to a dear, sweet coworker whose very burps make canaries chuckle. What the hell I was thinking I don't know; she looked at me like I'd lost my mind, and perhaps I had.

I framed the other print, and it sits in a closet to this day. Where exactly does one hang such a print?


Music that sent me into therapy, part 2: "Let it Be" by the Beatles. Yep. The song. I'm sure this world is full of folks for whom this song has great emotional resonance. I'm one of them. Maybe you are too.

I remember so clearly that day in 2003. I was in downtown Dallas, maybe on a lunch break from my hellish job at BACS. It was on the radio. I knew I was taking a chance by sitting through it in a mood such as mine.

And it rattled me, just like I feared it would. I spent six months on the therapist's couch that time. BACS paid the bill, every penny.


I could go on and on, but it's getting late. I'll wrap up, though, with a nod to Charles Bukowski. His writing's not antiquated Beat poetry. He's not a caricature, not some empty voice from inside a bottle. His writing stripped out all pretense. He cut everything to its core.

During my undergrad years at UT, I enjoyed the downtime between classes. I'd often hit the library on campus and dive into one of his books, occasionally managing to read one in its entirety before my next lecture. I'd emerge in a daze, like I'd been in some other world. And I had. It was terrific, and it taught me a lot about what good writing is. I don't know if it manifests itself in the slightest in my own words, but it became a key component of what I seek in an author.


It's late and I'm tired, and I've probably put you to sleep by now. But if there's anything you'd like to add, any sort of art that moved you in some meaningful way, I'd love to read your input.


Good night.


All Things Must Pass

[Simply because I've had this song going through my head for days.]

by George Harrison

Sunrise doesn't last all morning.
A cloudburst doesn't last all day.
Seems my love is up
And has left you with no warning.
It's not always been this gray.

All things must pass.
All things must pass away.

Sunset doesn't last all evening.
A mind can blow those clouds away.
After all this
My love is up and must be leaving.
It's not always been this gray.

All things must pass.
All things must pass away.

All things must pass.
None of life's dreams can last.

So, I must be on my way
To face another day
And darkness only stays at nighttime.
In the morning it will fade away.

Daylight is good
At arriving at the right time.
It's not always gonna be this gray.

All things must pass.
All things must pass away.
All things must pass.
All things must pass away

Sunday, November 25, 2007


One of those international fusion cuisine places opened up in my neighborhood. They've got an Asian/Latin menu, and they've named the restaurant "Thai Chihuahua."


Nah, just messing with you. It's a punchline that came to me in a dream.


We got so much done this weekend. I cleaned the house, cleaned out the fridge, cleaned the study. Okay, so I nearly burned the house down with a candle... everything else was positive.

MOBB put up the Christmas decorations with almost no help from me. I was busy doing other stuff. Really.


The new tree looks great, I must say.


Wolfboy spent a few hours at the office with me Wednesday, watching DVDs, charming everyone around. One of our Venezuelan staffers asked me, "Donde esta Lobito?" after I dropped him off with MOBB.

It means, "Where is Little Wolf?"


THEGIRL drew the most brilliant-yet-mad picture today, and as soon as I can convince the scanner to talk to my laptop again I'll post an image. You'd have to just see it to believe it.

She and I had a moment tonight after we returned from buying groceries. She commenced to whining when I explained that bedtime was coming soon. She blurted out some angry baby talk, a common tactic of hers.

"YOU need to be nice to me," I said in Big Daddy Voice.

She scowled. "And you need to be nice to ME," she said in perfectly clear English.

We glared at each other for a minute.

"Okay, but bedtime is still coming," I told her.

She's not a child; she's a force of nature, like her mother.


What do you think... keep his name as Wolfboy, or go with Lobito?


Nighttime is the right time, right? Isn't that what Brother Ray Charles said?

This is it, my time. I'm the night owl all right. As I said before, if I won the lottery I'd never see another sunrise. I said that to a young woman once who replied, "If you won the lottery you'd DIE??"

(Uh no, you see, I'd have the option of setting my own hours, so to speak, and given that freedom I would never again willingly get up with the sun...)


I hope Santa brings me some biceps for Christmas.


This is the time that calls me though. It used to be so clear. It seemed like every song, every thought, every passing moment just sang to me, beckoning me. Everyone else would be asleep and I'd be wrapped in some meaningless project, maybe hunkered over a pad with a pen in hand, maybe lost in the headphones, or outside somewhere, following the piper.

I can't play like that anymore though. Sunrise will come, and I'll need to rise too, vampiric tendencies be damned. I've got kids to take to school, clients to see, a job to work, and a life to jump back into.

I'm making less and less sense. Good night, sweet night...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Las Viudas et al

I dreamed there's a new morning talk show called Las Viudas. It's got all these grouchy chismosas sitting around this round table...


My dreams write better material than I do...


Yes, Thanksgiving was fine and dandy. We hit Corsicana, ate like royalty... this new weather's a drag though. Rainy, wet, cold. Did I mention cold?


THEGIRL has this compulsion... when she plays with her toys she lines them up, like this.


It's been a terrific break, I must say. I needed to reset the counter, so to speak. Needed to just unwind, which i struggle so much to do sometimes. I spent today cleaning the house, mostly. I cleaned out the fridge, did some laundry... my solace is in motion.


"Now was Milton trying to tell us that being bad was more fun than being good?" Dave Jennings, as played by Donald Sutherland in Animal House.


A little cold makes BB go crazy...


I thought I'd be more inspired than this. Guess I'll turn in.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Have a good holiday

... and please be very careful.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I Hear Music

it's been a musical day here.

Most of the day I had either "Burden In My Hand" by Soundgarden or "Feel Good, Inc." by Gorillaz going through my head.

Or maybe "Jungle Boogie."


Maceo Parker's coming to the House of Blues... "Maceo, blow your horn!"


My iPod is working again, somehow. And just in time, because commercial radio was causing me to have carpal tunnel syndrome form pushing the damn buttons over and over again.


You should have seen Wolfboy tonight as we rocked out in the van. I played Metallica's "Stone Cold Crazy" for him (minus a couple muted curse words), and he loved it. Air drums from my boy! Or he'd sing along to "Connected" by the Stereo MCs.


Been having a playful debate with a coworker. Turns out he's a music fan, sure. Thing is, he thinks the music out of Seattle ruined things. He rues the day Nirvana hit it big, can't stand Soundgarden.

We've tried to find some common ground. Wolfmother didn't do much for him. He asked if I like Spock's Beard (a little).

We both like Rush, but he assumed that meant I'd dig Yes as well. Just say no to Yes!

He was touting the merits of their big double CD... what, Tales from Topographic Oceans or something like that. A double album with only four songs total! Who can sit through this?

I told him I did like some of the music their singer Jon Anderson did for the Legend soundtrack, but "only because he SINGS LIKE AN ELF!"


Dragged out the Live Aid DVDs tonight. The first song we listened to was "Maneater" by Hall & Oates, which Wolfboy just loves. You should see him dance! He was singing along to the Beach Boys too, and loved the Who's performance (naturally), even though they really muffed "Won't Get Fooled Again."

We showed him U2's seminal performance, and he said that Bono "needs to brush his hair!"

Wolfboy danced slowly along for a while, telling us his moves were "like Tai Chi."

Then he did some impromptu breakdancing.

Who IS this kid?


I like having broad tastes. I do. I've always seen it this way, seen that we deserve far better than what radio feeds us. I'm no longer on the tip though, not by a long shot. It's all passed me by.

I'd like to think I'll continue to move forward though, not getting stuck in this era or that.


How is everybody? Looking forward to the holidays? Big plans? Drop me a line.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pumpkins/Holiday Survey

Had a good time seeing the Smashing Pumpkins with Hood last night. I like Nokia Live over in Grand Prairie.

Billy Corgan et al led the current Pumpkins incarnation through more than 90 minutes of beautifully distorted, tripped out, metal-tinged rock. Corgan's voice sounded good and the band was tight. Jimmy Chamberlain is one monstrously good drummer. The set was this metal framework of lighting girders both above and across the stage. I knew about a third of the songs, though they played all my favorites, including "Drown." Oh, and they covered Black Sabbath's "Iron Man." Yep.


But I'm tired. Tired tired tired.


Oh, I'm tired of growing old. 39 is fine. Yep. Let's stop the clock right here.


Now for a holiday survey, courtesy of the mighty Maria.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
I like egg nog quite a bit, even if I drink it nog-free these days.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
He just leaves them there. Sometimes he's up late assembling them, and wrapping gifts cheeses him off anyway. Really.

3. Colored lights (on tree/house )or white?
I prefer white on the house, though MOBB calls the shots on this, so we end up putting up all sorts of crazy lights. On the tree we have gone to all red, I believe.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No. Why?

5. When do you put up your decorations?
Whenever MOBB tells me. No, that's not true. I do it about a week later than she tells me, so she's good and irritated at me.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
I still like green bean casserole. Really.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
So many mornings, so many times when the tree just looked like it exploded with gifts. I can't pick one.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
What truth? What are you talking about? Truth? Is there some secret? What are you snickering at?

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Yes. Yes, I believe we do.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
Slowly and grouchily.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
DREAD it. It's cold, it's wet, it gets in my eyes, and I usually drive off the road at even the lightest dusting of it.

12. Can you ice skate?
I've never tried. Still, I'm fairly certain the answer is no.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
I always receive good gifts. Um... So many toys... musical stuff... CDs, even clothes... can't pick.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Seeing the kids enjoy themselves.

15. What is your favorite Holiday dessert?
I'm usually glad to get something with coconut in it. MOBB doesn't care for it, so we don't ever have it at home.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
I do enjoy driving the kids around to look at lights.

17. What tops your tree?
It's a red bird.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
"Little Drummer Boy," though I love a good version of "O Holy Night." That is, I like the versions where the singer can nail the high note.

20. Candy Canes?
Do I like them? I guess so.

21. Do you feel Christmas is too commercialized?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Helmet '07

I'm not sure what Helmet frontman Page Hamilton sees in Totimoshi, who opened the show tonight. Their particular brand of histrionic thud is perhaps beyond my grasp.

I might not have given them another thought, except that not long into their set they began trading heated barbs with the audience. The band tried to play it cool, but it was clear that they weren't having a good time.

It soon became apparent that the source of the trouble was seated not far from me. Between songs this young man, whom I'll call PK for "powderkeg," was standing up and yelling F bombs at the band, flipping them off, and generally making a jerk of himself. His girlfriend joined him.

Totimoshi didn't do anything for me, but they didn't deserve such treatment.

The band finally ended their set after numerous shouts of "go back to California" from PK. As the set change began, PK bumped into a man in the aisle and they exchanged words, including, "Oh--you wanna fight?" Considering that the other guy was pretty buff and big while PK just looked like a big, mean fat guy, I was curious to see what would happen. The other guy just walked away.

That's when the bouncers took notice of PK. He and his girlfriend moved around a lot, and at one point he wiped out while leaving his chair, falling chin-first almost completely into the row behind him. The people seated there just stared at him.


The Burning Brides took the stage, and they just flat out rocked. Their bassist, pictured here, is a Dallas native who smiled and seemed to have a great time.

PK had bumped roughly into three or four more guys on his way to the front of the stage.

He's in this shot, right in front of the guitar player. Short, dark hair, looks like the mic stand is coming out of his head... anyway, this shot was taken about 30 seconds before a bouncer the size of one of Jupiter's moons grabbed him by the throat...

...and dragged him out. PK is an inch or two taller than I am, and certainly over 200 pounds. Can you SEE how big this bouncer is? Watching PK flop around like a trout in a bucket was pretty great.


And just before Helmet took the stage, PK somehow re-emerged. I have no idea how he got let back in. More on that later.


After he was kicked out, I talked to someone about him. This young man said PK had broken a beer bottle in the men's room, and when the young man said something along the lines of "hey, chill out, man," PK jabbed a piece of the broken bottle against his back and threatened him. Now, the man telling me this story was drunk, and he turned to talk to someone else at that point.


Anyway, Helmet eventually took the stage, opening with "Pure," just like they did in '04. Johnny Tempesta and Chris Traynor are gone now, and I didn't know anyone in the band. Regardless, Hamilton has once again surrounded himself with terrific musicians.

And just like in '04, Hamilton was happy and chatty, talking football with the crowd here and there. They did lots of songs from Aftertaste, which they said they'd just learned has gone out of print (damn!). They did the big ones, like "In the Meantime," "Unsung," "Rude," and "Wilma's Rainbow" too.

Someone threw a bra onstage, and lo and behold, the other guitarist took off his t-shirt and tried to put it on. Thing is, fastening one of those "front-loader" types is much more difficult than unfastening it.

Or so I'm told.


I spent about 2.5 seconds in the mosh pit. That is, it started all around me, and I had just long enough to think, Cool! Ouch, someone stepped on my ankle! before bailing out. I stayed at the edge all evening and got jostled plenty, but not like in the old days.

[BB in old man voice, again]; Was a day, sonny, when I'd have been in there with the rest of them, all knees and elbows, drunker 'n' a skunk, workin' out my flusterations...

(What DOES "drunker than a skunk" mean anyway...?)

One genuine fight broke out in the pit, and I managed to get knocked around by that too. Ah, aggression... See, someone accused me this week of listening to "girly" music and, well, all of this makes me feel a little better.


PK stayed at the edge of the pit too, glaring, jaw clenched, just waiting for that one provocation that'd start the fight for which he was clearly aching. And you know, it never quite happened. He shoved a few guys, but it never escalated.

Speaking of aching, between the chiropractic manipulation the bouncer gave him the the dental work he probably gave himself on that chair when he fell, I wouldn't want to be HIM tomorrow morning. Not to mention the hangover.


I enjoyed the Helmet show. Really. The setlist was great, though I was dumbfounded that they did nothing from Monochrome. That's their latest CD. I'd not been impressed with what I heard (I don't own it), but I can't believe they'd just completely omit it from their setlist a year after its release. Wow. But this incarnation of Helmet is terrific, and clearly had a ball playing the material. Heck, Hamilton was crouched at the edge of the stage, still shaking hands and chatting when I left.


Tomorrow night: Smashing Pumpkins. Good night, ya'll. Have a good weekend.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Scattershooting Past the Gloam

Let's just go all over the map, shall we?


It's done. This latest paper of mine is done. Boom, written, all that. It's not my greatest, but as usual, I feel I managed to put something respectable together.


BB's current therapy: "Third Stone from the Sun" by Jimi Hendrix. Yes, he was a god. If you don't agree, well, them's fightin' words!


Listened to Tones by Eric Johnson again today for the first time in a while. It still holds up nicely.


I'm all sugared up. Had myself a mighty fine root beer float.


Tomorrow night: Helmet. Sunday night: Smashing Pumpkins. And you just thought I was already half deaf...


I've been putting in some long hours this week. Lots of 16-hour days, days that find me taking my first breather long about the time I should be in bed.


Guys, we don't present ourselves well enough. We don't.

I saw this young woman at dinner tonight, pointed her out to MOBB. Cute brunette, well-dressed, attention to detail from head to toe. Her date? He was in old sneakers, baggy jeans and an undershirt. Junior, she's going to get wise at some point. I've seen it happen oh-yes-I-have.

What is this that gets into us? Laziness? Is it so hard to run a razor over your face, or maybe wear a shirt with a collar once in a while? I'm less inclined than I used to be to, say, hit the Walgreen's in my Bad Brains t-shirt.

[BB in old man voice}: Hell in a handbasket I say!


I'm tired. I think I'd do better to avoid trying to say anything profound.


Wolfboy has discovered the existence of the dung beetle. I'm just glad that he did it after supper.


Good day, good day.


Has Charles Bukowski really been dead 13 years?


Never got into William Burroughs though. I tried, oh I did. I took a crack at a couple different novels of his. Sometime in the early 90s when MOBB was out of town, I decided I'd read Wild Boys. I sat out on the porch with a cigar, a six-pack and the book, figuring that with some chemical assistance I might understand what the hell he was talking about.

I remember:

Phrases like "boys in rainbow-colored jockstraps."

Waking up the next morning sideways on the bed, still fully-dressed, with every apartment light still on. My breath tasted like ash. I was hung over.

I was also done with Burroughs.


What's Duck Dunn up to these days?


I surrender. Much love to you all.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

My iPod died today.

I'm... at a loss for words.


What dinner with Wolfboy was like tonight:

Wolfboy:Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Animal Planet said blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah do you know what the most venomous snake in the world is?

Me: Uh... what? Come again?

Wolfboy: blah blah blah blah blah blah the king cobra is the second most venomous blah blah blah blah but to you know what the MOST venomous is?

MOBB: Uh... isn't it in Australia or something? Or... no wait, the black something. The black... mambo?

Me: That's a dance. You mean... the black mamba?

Wolfboy: The BLACK MAMA?


Me: There's a malt liquor called Black Mamba. Larry used to have a tech at the shop who'd finish his shift on Friday evenings and tell me he was going to go out and get "mamba-fied."

Wolfboy: blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Do you know what the smartest ape is?

MOBB: Uh... humans?

Wolfboy: No, it's a chimp. Do you know how to tell the difference between a boy orangutan and a girl orangutan?

Me: Uh... I'd rather not answer that right now.

Wolfboy: It's the face! blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah


[on the way home]

Wolfboy: blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah did you know that they changed the name of the state of Australia?

Me [softly, to MOBB]: We've been through this one... I'm warning you to do your best to stay out of it.

MOBB: What?

Wolfboy: They changed the name of the state of Australia to OCEANIA.

Me: Hoo boy.

Wolfboy: See, it was the name of the continent AND the name of the state. People got tired of being asked, "Where do you live?" and answering, "Australia" and people would say, "The continent or the state?"

MOBB: Uh...

Wolfboy: How ANNOYING! blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah saaaaay... look at the moon!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

On Time

It's loud, Black gospel that gets you out of bed, BB, but you have been drifting in and out of consciousness for an hour maybe, aware that MOBB is getting ready to catch her early flight out of town.

You never know what sort of music or random sound will come out of the alarm clock; little fingers push buttons, all the buttons.


MOBB is sitting in an airport terminal while you rouse two kids, gather their clothes, feed them breakfast, dress yourself, pack some food, take out the trash and recycling, and drop the kids at their respective schools. You go to Starbucks too often, but damn it, how does one find time to eat breakfast before leaving the house each morning?


You need to pack for a trip to a partner agency, but the phone keeps ringing. Boss's boss needs something, and another agency calls up, desperate for help for a client. You hustle what information you can, finally packing so quickly you're sure you've forgotten something.


Clients roll steadily in for nearly an hour. When there's a brief lull you're almost startled. You've been up and in motion for nearly six hours. You sit down and start to mull over creating a curriculum for your new Monday morning groups.


There's enough time to grab a bite, maybe, and head back to the city so your coworker can make her afternoon appointment. You return to the office with only enough time for her to go straight to her car and take off. She won't be late at least.


Phone rings. It's your missing-in-action client, determined to give counseling another shot. You find time for her on Thursday, but it'll make you late for class.

Back at the office the phone rings more, and you're a bit overwhelmed at all the different directions you're being pulled.


Email from your friend, and you're promising that yes, you will come to the new gym at some point to work out. Maybe in four weeks when things have settled down.


Phone rings: "I have five more client files. Do you have time to counsel them?" You can take two, maybe three more on Saturday.


If you time it just right, you can pick up Wolfboy and drop by the house for him to put on his Cub Scout uniform before heading out to pick up THEGIRL.


She's happy to see you, but takes her time actually getting out of the school. She spends all day there, yet can't make a straight line to the exit, ever.


You have time to take the kids to eat, so you hit a noodle joint. The waitress is nice, offers to custom-make the spring rolls just the way THEGIRL likes them. You like her, but every second she's making small talk cuts into your time; the scout meeting starts at 7pm.


At five 'til you go ask for the check. You pay and load up the kids. THEGIRL starts wailing because her Sprite is still on the table. You consider selling her to the gypsies.


You make the meeting after wandering around the depths of a darkened church building for a few minutes. You've brought a bucket of toys to entertain THEGIRL, and that's good, because it quickly becomes clear that the projects the boys are making require the parents' supervision.

That is, the parents make the drums while the boys wander around the room and talk about Transformers.


Phone rings, and you plug an ear so you can hear the caller over the pandemonium: "Can you see two more clients on Wednesday nights?"

No. Maybe one.

"Nevermind, I'll ask someone else."


You are patient, but ready to leave well before it's over. Before you're five seconds removed from the meeting, the kids are asking for treats and to stay up late. Wolfboy asks approximately six times in five minutes, and in a smartass moment you'd like to take back, you tell him, "Ask me again. And again. More. You're not asking enough."

So he does. Damn. Sarcasm is lost on a six-year-old. I'd do better just eliminating it from my communication anyway. Bad Daddy. You take a time-out. Say... 30 minutes in a bubble bath oughta do.


You'd really like for them to be in bed ASAP, but you have some patience left and cut them a little slack.


At 9:02 they're both in bed, and the only sound is the Van Morrison concert on TV. You have a paper due Saturday, but you simply don't have the wherewithal or motivation to keep moving, to crack the books again. Maybe tomorrow night when MOBB is home, after you've counseled a particularly challenging client.


No one has anything ready to wear tomorrow including you. The Vietnamese iced coffee is all that's keeping you going, but now you wonder how you'll get to sleep.


And the earth revolves around the sun, and we all go on about our little dances, to and fro, following our whims and desires, chasing our muses and wishes. You are one little man on one little path, and all you can do is put one foot after the other, making the days happen, forging them your way, even when you're watching the path so closely that you forget to watch for your destination.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Wish I Could Tell You

about the clients I saw today, and how they made it clear they're going to break my heart.

And how they gave me hope.


about the amends I made.


about the feeling of serenity I had yesterday at Heather's.


how a winter gust on a train platform in Madrid is somehow far colder than anything else I've ever experienced.


how many times I've gone into the same Starbucks, and for how many years, before they finally remembered my name.


about this empathic ache I get sometimes.


about the pride I take in having Wolfboy proclaim that I'm the best trampoline jumper.


what it's like to step into one of the great cathedrals in London or Spain and be so overwhelmed by... something. I don't claim it's God; I think it's the overwhelming statement of faith in each brick.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Yesterday I came home from school and counseling to learn that MOBB and I were supposed to attend a dinner party in three hours.

Okay, that's not entirely accurate. I'd actually learned about this two weeks ago. That's also when I was given the task of finding a sitter.

I completely forgot.

But just when it looked like our evening was going to be a rather unhappy stay-at-home affair, our terrific sitter materialized.


The steam cleaner that I use on the kitchen floor exploded yesterday. It's not a joke, and it's not an exaggeration. I was midway through with it yesterday, and suddenly boiling water shout out of it in all directions. It was so fast that I can't even say what happened.

I was in jeans, fortunately. Though I got soaked, they protected me, and I had no discomfort. If I'd been bent down to look at it I might have taken the hit in my eyes. Or if either of the kids had been around we could have had a real emergency on our hands. It probably shot the water in about a six or seven foot radius.

I threw it away.


It was a good evening among some of MOBB's coworkers, complete with delicious food and a lot of humor. Naturally, MOBB brought up the toothbrush story. I'm glad my failures as a man can serve to amuse those around me.


The little soiree ended, and we headed out for entertainment. We couldn't really come to an agreement on a movie, so we headed to Main Event in Grapevine. I'd never been. It's sort of like Chuck E. Cheese for grownups and teens. They do serve alcohol, but it wasn't a bar or club-like environment.

I'm not a bowler, but I figured we could play pool or... say... what's laser tag?


Ho ho! Laser tag is cool!

Let me say from the get-go that I'm fully aware of the broad swaths of ignorance that run through my life. If I've not opted to pay attention to something, I've got about zero knowledge of it.

(Say... did you know that the Redskins actually play in Washington, DC, and not in Washington state? I'm just sayin'...)

So perhaps you're all familiar with laser tag. You strap on a vest, grab a laser gun, and run around a dark, foggy room zapping folks. Ours was a "free for all" format. MOBB and I were in there with two teenaged girls. I came in second place. MOBB came in last.


Wolfboy decided to get dramatic about drinking his milk this morning. Mind you, he'd been given a chocolate donut for breakfast already. I think MOBB was simply trying to assuage her guilt by making him drink the milk.

So he sat there for about an hour, mustering tears, and Olympic-caliber whining over the milk. Funny how a kid will take so long doing this sort of thing that the rejected food or drink gets to sit out long enough to change temperatures and actually become far more disgusting than it originally was.

He eventually drank it.


And that kid's losing teeth left and right. He's now got about as many as the entire front row at a Willie Nelson concert. And that ain't many.


Quite a week, quite a week. My heart's been spoken to from many different directions. Several people who are extremely important to me have entrusted me with their heartaches, their wounds both old and new, their wisdom, their inspiration, their worries... I've been very proud and touched, and I've gained a lot.


Happy Sunday.

Friday, November 09, 2007

An Update As I Nod Off At This Machine

BB's current therapy: "In the Garden" by Van Morrison. He's coming again in late December, and I'd really like to go. I'd love to be there if he spins that ethereal spell of his.


Thank you for stopping by. Yeah, I changed this to a private blog, an invitation-only setup. I appreciate your patience during this time of transition.


This evening at supper, Wolfboy referred to an asteroid as "enormous." This kid is in the first grade! I asked him where he learned that word: "In a book or at school I think."

He also thinks first grade is easier than kindergarten was.


I'm tired. Very tired. Happy though. I have been fortunate enough to experience a few epiphanies in my life, and I was reminded this week just how important that is.


MOBB is at a party or soiree of some sort, so I wrangled the kids alone this evening. Their behavior was perfect. Okay, so Wolfboy whined a bit when I told him if he wanted to read his only choice was the Spider-Man/Fantastic Four Hard Choices comic, which is a PSA about underage drinking. "But there's no super-villain!" he protested.


My hair's getting long. Sometime back I just stopped getting it cut. Funny how this works. Once in a while I walk past the mirror and think it's cool. All those other times I walk past a mirror and think, Dude, you look like you lost a bet.. But I aim to get it trimmed a bit tomorrow.


They say men are simple creatures, with a narrow range of emotions. Looking back over this week, I can tell you that I have personally felt the following:

Anxiety (who--me?)


And I know this isn't exactly an emotion, but I'd just like to add that I never once felt intimidated.


BB tired now though. Take care. More soon, I hope.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Where's BB?

I’ve been chasing the sunset.

Lo and behold, it’s emblematic of birth. Really.


Making a splash of a rather unintentional type in Mineral Wells.


Finding Waldo.


Pondering the Four Noble Truths


In the arms of a very special girl, who leans against me, tells me “Mama said no,” and names her new doll “Daughter.”


In the gaze of a very special boy, who puts his fingers to his lips and shushes me like he knows an impossible truth.


Listening to Blind Lemon Jefferson.


Living right, living clean.


Being the professor.

Being the student.


Moving forward, ever forward.


Chuckling, scratching my head.


Pensando mis idiomas, y lo que yo puedo hacer. ¿Le gustaria mucho mas, mas de mis sentimientos y palabras? ¿Quiere la verdad? ¿Un secreto? ¿Una vista de algo especial?

Ahorita, hay no mas.


Happy Thursday. Cherish your loved ones.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Two Things

Two names you're known by

1. Brian
2. BB

Two Things You Are Wearing Right Now:

1. Shorts
2. Long-sleeve grey t-shirt (go ahead and laugh)

Two Things You Would Want (or have) in a Relationship:

1. Communication
2. Connection

Two of Your Favorite Things to do:

1 Write
2 Play with my kids

Two Things You Want Very Badly At This Moment:

1. my parents' health to improve
2. To graduate

Two Things You Did Last Night:

1. Slept on the living room floor (grad school makes a boy tired)
2 Worked just a little on a book presentation

Two Things You Ate Yesterday:

1. Barbecue
2. Clams

Two People You Last Talked To:

1. Wolfboy

Your Longest Car Ride OR Other Trips:

1. Austin to Nashville
2. Sometimes the ride from the daycare to our house is longer than you can possibly imagine

Two Favorite Holidays:

1. Thanksgiving
2. Halloween

Two Favorite Beverages:

1. Iced coffee
2. Diet Pepsi

Things About Me That Are Interesting:

1. I have webbed toes
2. I'm the one

Two Jobs I Have Had In My Life:

1. Case manager
2, Fry cook

Two places I have lived:

1. Austin
2. Hurst

Two of my Favorite Foods:

1. Pho
2. Curry

Two Places I'd Rather Be Right Now:

1. The banks of the Mississippi
2. Asleep

Four people I think will respond:

1. Toland
2. Santa
3. Salma Hayek
4. Yoda

Friday, November 02, 2007

Total Waste of Time Surveys

Your Deadly Sins

Sloth: 80%

Lust: 20%

Envy: 0%

Gluttony: 0%

Greed: 0%

Pride: 0%

Wrath: 0%

Chance You'll Go to Hell: 14%

You will die with your hand down your underwear, watching Star Trek.

What Be Your Nerd Type?
Your Result: Musician

Doo doo de doo waaaa doo de doo! (<-- That's you playing something.) Everyone appreciates the band/orchestra geeks and the pretty voices. Whether you sing in the choir, participate in a school/local band, or sit at home writing music, you contribute a joy to society that everyone can agree on. Yay! Welcome to actually doing something for poor, pathetic human souls. (Just kidding.)

Literature Nerd
Artistic Nerd
Science/Math Nerd
Gamer/Computer Nerd
Social Nerd
Drama Nerd
Anime Nerd
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quizzes for MySpace

1. What would you go to jail for?
I think if I caught someone trying to harm my kids I’d probably end up doing something that’d get me sent to jail

2. If you had a chance, which celebrity would you rid the world of?
I can barely name a celebrity. They don’t mean enough to me to worry about.

3. If you were in a life threatening situation (such as being attacked) and only had these three items: a paper clip, a dirty diaper and a banana; how would you survive?
Having a dirty diaper IS a life-threatening situation.

4. What situation where someone is being injured, do you find most funny?
Wow… this was apparently written by a prepubescent sadist.

5. What's the lamest way you've dumped someone or been dumped? Why?
pleading the fifth.

6. What Jelly Belly flavor makes you want to vomit?
I never want to vomit.

7. What is your honest opinion about bums?
I prefer the term “fannies.”

8. Would you rather fight a shark or a bear and how would you defeat it?!
I’ve got a bad feeling about this quiz.

10. If you had to lose a body part, what part would it be? I could spare a pinky toe.

11. CHOOSE!!!! A week of intense discussion with Sheryl Crow about world issues, spending the night with a horny Mike Tyson fresh out of jail or the glorious honor of a Samurai suicide?
Give me the blade.

12. What board game would you least like to play for all eternity?

13. If you could have your very own attack animal, what would it be?
A Marmot.

14. In your opinion, what is the most annoying sound ever?
The 80s.

15. What do you think of getting your “lover’s” (BF, GF, etc.) name tattooed on your body?
Nah. I think I can remember her name without the assistance.

16. Would you rather be in a raging sand storm or a killer buffalo stampede?
I’ll take my chances with the buffalo.

17. If an imaginary character could be real; what character would that be?
The Continental. (Look it up)

18. Tom Cruise. Crazy, cool, annoying, or “special”?
Entirely too good looking to have the bad Napoleon complex he seems to have.

19. Have you ever had a paranormal experience? Yes

20. Gnome vs. Elf: who would win this epic battle? Nothing between two creatures of that size is epic in any way. It'd be funnier than hell though.

21. Have you ever stolen an antenna ball? no.

22. If you were magically sucked into your television set; which television program would you like to be stuck in?
Mystery Science Theater 3000

23. If you were challenged to a mêlée by an armored super monkey, what weapon would you choose to defend yourself?
Humor. “A guy walks into a bar with a little bitty piano and a 10-inch pianist…”

24. In the movie “Happy Gilmore” Adam Sandler was instructed by his golf teacher to go to his “Happy Place”; a place of serenity and calmness. What is your happy place?
Beside the banks of the Mississippi, listening to Cajun music on AM radio, smelling the magnolia blossoms.

25. Are you easily distracted by shiny objects? God I waste my time on the most worthless crap sometimes.

26. TRIVIA QUESTION TIME! What movie was this phrase muttered. “We are the knights who say….NI!”?
One of those British things that I gather would be very funny if I could understand what the hell they were saying.

27. If you were in a Japanese game show, which would you rather have happen to you. To be shocked by a cattle prod 20 times, put in a glass coffin with scorpions, or pelted with scalding rocks? I’ll take the cattle prod. Not the first time in my life
I’ve used THAT phrase.

28. What clothing article is the hardest to get off when wet?
Straight jacket.

29. If there was a movie made about you, what would its title be?

30. In this movie about you, who would you cast to play yourself?
Billy Barty

31. What superpower would you like to have? (Note: You cannot choose the ability to fly or to be invisible.)
The ability to make dirty diapers disappear.

32. What’s the craziest thing you have slept through?
The Curious George movie is all I can think of

33. What movie would you not want to be made into a sequel?
Animal House

34. What is the strangest thing you have stolen?
Your hearts.

35. Have you ever super glued yourself to anything?
Just… to myself.

36. What song annoys you the most these days?
I’m still just kind of cheesed off at the Cure in general.

37. What do you believe Elvis is doing right now?
Elvis Sinosec? I hear he retired from fighting.

38. What famous animal would you most like to eat?
Famous animal? What the heck does that mean?

39. Vanilla Ice?
Is this the whole question?

40. When somebody asks you if their baby is cute, and it is not, how do you respond?
”What beautiful eyes! All three of them!”

41. How much money would it take for you to hug a bum?
What’s with all the bum hatin’?

42. You’ve crash landed away from civilization. You’re bleeding to death, and know that you are going to die. Do you give survivors permission to eat you?
Laughing… Did they crash with any condiments? I need to know. If it’s mayonnaise, no deal.

43. There is a riot, and people are pillaging, which store do you loot?
Shame on you for asking! Go sit in the time out chair!

44. Would you rather be a Viking or an astronaut?
I AM a viking.

45. Heaven or Hell? Why?
Heaven... so I won’t have to hang out with umpires.

46. Describe in detail how you would least like to die. Watching Adam Sandler movies.

47. What do you O.C.D about? Preventing vomiting

48. You’re drunk at a red carpet event in Hollywood. You wake up the next day… what celebrity would you least like to wake up next to?
Ernest Borgnine

49. What is your favorite style of mullet?
Holy canoli, almost 50 questions into this piece of junk and I’m being asked about mullets.

50. Which is more truthful of you: I like to run with scissors or I like to make naked snow angels?
My brain hurts…

Thursday, November 01, 2007


[This is a story I wrote several years ago]


Posted on a utility pole was a handmade sign that read, “LOST. Golden retriever, male, named Mungo. Last seen Dec.1. Snakeskin collar. $500 reward, no questions asked.” Stapled to the poster was a Polaroid of the dog with a big smile on his face, sitting next to a red-haired boy.

Mungo? What the hell kind of name for a dog is Mungo? And who puts a snakeskin collar on a dog? I mean, snakeskin is cool and everything, but I’m partial to zebra stripes myself. Five hundred bucks is a lot of money, though. Opportunist that I am, I tear the number from the bottom of the poster.

The house was an easy target. The two best ways to access a house are through a backyard window or a kitchen door. These people didn’t lock their garage doors. They might as well have left out milk and cookies, too.

There’s always the chance that some retiree in an older neighborhood will be looking out the window, watching what you’re doing. As long as your body language doesn’t give you away, it’s no problem. I stole a car while a couple of college kids watched from an apartment balcony once. I just walked up, slid the jimmy between the glass and door, popped the lock, and away I went.

I grabbed a screwdriver out of my backpack and jammed it against the deadbolt. The door had enough give to let me get the head in there and ease the bolt back.

As many houses as I’ve visited in this manner, I never get tired of the thrill I get when I first set foot inside. I shake a little, and my stomach is full of butterflies. Usually I can find a bottle of scotch or something tucked away for a quick hit to calm the nerves. Hell, I’ve been known to grab a snack.

I opened the fridge. A sandwich on a paper plate looked up at me. I took a bite. Tasted like chicken or something. I put it back and grabbed a Coke.

The place was decorated for Christmas, with a gold-leafed nativity set on top of the hi-fi. I crossed myself as I walked past. The Christmas tree was real, and I guess it was a cedar, because I began to sneeze. Damn. I’d have to make this fast.

A good burglar thinks small. These people had several big boxes under the tree, and there might have been VCRs and stuff in them, but it’s not like I can just carry that stuff out of a house. I opened my backpack and started stuffing all the smallest boxes I could find in there. Jewelry maybe. Money. Gift certificates. They’d still have plenty of stuff left.

I sneezed, knocking over my Coke.

“Damn!” I said as it soaked into the carpet. I zipped up the bag and left, grabbing another Coke and a bag of Funyons on my way out.

Dexter is my homey, a stylin’ black dude who doesn’t take chances like I do. He’s more like my supporting cast. He’ll wait for me in the van while I boost a car stereo or something. I still share the wealth with him, just for being there for me. And since this was Christmas and all, I told him he could have half of the stuff I took. Spirit of the season and all.

We were splitting a pizza with extra tomato sauce, drinking Cokes and watching Cops.

“Now see, Jesse, that brother would’ve got away with havin’ all that cheebah, but the cop saw his brakelights wasn’t workin’,” he said between bites.

“I know, man. It’s the nickel-and-dime parts that get you,” I said.

I grabbed my backpack and opened it up. The biggest box was on top. “Here you go, Dex,” I said. “Happy Kwanzaa.”

He laughed, tearing into the paper as I dumped the rest of the gifts on the table. His package was a shoebox. He frowned as he looked inside.

“What is it?” I asked.

Dexter pulled out a pair of fuzzy house shoes, the kind made to look like animal feet. They were covered with reddish-yellow fur.

“Well shit, man, at least see if they fit. I bet they’re warm.” I said, taking a bite of pizza.

“Man, no offense Jesse, but I ain’t interested. Let’s see what you got.” He put the box down.

I grabbed a tiny box and shook it.

“Ooooh,” said Dexter. “Jewelry, man. I’ll bet it’s one of those cubic circus things.”

I nodded. “That’s what I like about you, Dex. You’ve got a real sense of style.”

We got quiet as I tore open the paper. I opened the box.

“What is it? What is it?” asked Dex, sounding almost like my 10-year-old sister.

I took a long look before I pulled it out. We both stared at it.

“What is it?” he asked again.

“Ah, hell, I think it’s one of those rabbit’s foot keychains or something,” I said, holding it up. It was the same reddish-yellow color as the house shoes.

“Man, ain’t that kinda big to be a rabbit’s foot?” asked Dex.

I nodded.

And then, my heart almost stopped. I jumped up, dropping my pizza on the floor. I started digging around in my pockets.

“What the hell? What are you doing?” asked Dexter, guarding his pizza.

I found the scrap of paper and showed it to him.

“Mungo! Shit, it’s Mungo!” I yelled. I was jumping up and down in place, shivering, my thoughts rising like Phoenix over Arizona.

“What? What? Who’s Mungo?” asked Dexter as he stood up.

I threw down the phone number and grabbed another gift.

“Hey, it’s my turn, man,” said Dexter.


I tore into the wrapping. Earmuffs. Reddish-yellow earmuffs. I dropped them, and I started to feel like I’d puke. I opened another package.



A fanny pack.


Twelve boxes in all, and every one contained something covered in reddish-yellow fur. Mungo fur.

Dexter and I stood there staring at the gifts and the shredded wrapping paper. He bent down.

“You missed one,” he said quietly, handing it to me.

I opened it slowly. I heard Dexter swallow as I lifted the lid. I didn’t see fur, and I felt relieved.

Jewelry. A gold herringbone necklace. I pulled it out, smiling. Dexter sighed.

I dropped the box. Hanging from the end was a tooth.

A dog tooth.

Dexter screamed exactly like my 10-year-old sister, and I finally lost my pizza, spewing red and yellow across the table, drenching most of the reddish-yellow gifts. I thought about the sandwich that tasted like chicken and puked again.

“Dude, you can’t do that,” said Dexter.

“Sure. Man, they butchered Mungo to make this stuff. This is some sort of sick Texas cult thing or something. I mean, maybe I broke into their house and all, but this ain’t right. They won’t know who I am. I’ll just ring the doorbell and front ‘em out, right there in broad daylight and all. Then I can go report them to the pigs autonomously.”

“Anonymously?” asked Dexter.

“That too.”

Only the shoes survived the spew, but I figured they were enough proof. We threw away the other stuff and dropped the bag in the dumpster on our way to the van.

“You think I can still get the reward if I give those people the shoes?” I asked Dexter.

I rang the doorbell, trying to think of what to say. Dexter and I stared at each other.

The door opened. I recognized the man from my surveillance. He was short and broad-shouldered, with blonde hair and a crewcut.

“Yes?” he said.

I didn’t know how to start.

“Can I help you gentlemen?” he asked.

I reached into my backpack.

“How do you explain these?” I said, shaking the shoes in front of his face. My heart jumped, then raced triple-time in my chest.

No one said anything for a moment.

“Where did you get those?” asked the man quietly.

His wife came to the door. “Who are these guys?”

“They’re the people who stole our Christmas gifts,” said Crewcut. “Call the police.”

She turned to leave.

“Now just hold on there a second, lady,” I said. “I know where you got these shoes.”

She stopped and turned to face me. “Wal Mart?”

“Ha!” said Dexter, surprising us all. “Ha!” He was whiter than Donny Most.

“You have something you’d like to add?” asked Crewcut.

“Dumbo. You got them shoes from Dumbo, and we know it,” he said, nodding.

I sighed. “Mungo. He meant to say Mungo. We know you made your Christmas gifts out of Mungo.”

Crewcut laughed. “You mean that dog from the posters? The missing dog?”

He laughed louder, really letting go. Doubling over, he put his hands on his knees. His wife started to giggle too, hand over her mouth, eyes squeezed into little crescent moon shapes. She snorted a little when she inhaled, and that made them laugh harder.

“What’s so damn funny?” I shouted. Dexter was starting to chuckle.

I shot him a look. “Shut up, man. I don’t know what the shit is going on here, but it ain’t funny.”

“Whoo!” said the wife. She wiped her eyes.

“My son,” said Crewcut. “That stuff is for my son.”

I looked over his shoulder and saw the little guy playing in the living room floor.

“Okay, you killed Mungo to make a bunch of sick stuff for your kid. I’m calling the cops on you,” I said, jamming my finger into Crewcut’s chest. It didn’t give much.

The wife turned to leave, wiping tears from her eyes, giggling. “Oh, that’s rich,” she said.

Crewcut took a deep breath.

“Okay, let me explain something to you,” he said. “You ever heard of that movie Old Yeller, the one about the dog?”

Dexter nodded. “Oh yeah, man, that’s sad when that dog gets rabies.”

“Shut up!” I said.

“Well, my little boy in there loves that movie. He’s obsessed with it. He already wore out three copies of the video. All the gifts you took, those were things I spent a lot of time shopping for on the Internet. Some of that stuff came from an auction on a Japanese website. Do you have any idea how many yen the fanny pack set me back?” he asked, starting to sound angry.

Dexter and I stared at each other.

“What do we do, man? You puked all over his stuff.”

The finger was digging into my chest this time. It gave a lot.

“First, I’m going to kick your ass. Right now, my wife is writing down the license plate number on your van. After that, she’s going to call the cops,” he said, not laughing anymore.

And time slowed down for me. I heard my heart racing in my ears, and thought I could feel my Tommy Hilfinger shirt swaying to the rhythm. I was suddenly aware of everything, from my toes in my shoes to the cobwebs above the door. Dexter’s stomach growled, and it sounded like Godzilla. Crewcut’s breath was blowing my hair. He smelled like a Philly cheesesteak sandwich.

Suddenly, there was Mungo, looking around the door at me, snakeskin collar and all. Crewcut looked down at him, then at me. His eyes got wide.

I threw the shoes at Dexter and grabbed the dog by the collar.

“Come on, Mungo!” I yelled. The dog cleared the steps with me as we leapt, hauling ass to the van. Dexter was right behind me, a reddish-yellow shoe in each hand. The dog was a natural-born fugitive, jumping into the van ahead of me. I put the keys in the ignition and glanced at the house. Crewcut was staring at his feet.

That family was happy to have their dog back, and I was happy to have the five hundred bucks, no questions asked. And these house shoes are warm, man.