Phoenix Bad-Ass: Return of Boss

Boss was back in town, and this time it wasn’t on the D.L.

Walking into The Eagle, Boss waited for his eyes to adjust to the smokey darkness that filled the room. Coming into view was a shadow he knew well. Slouched over an empty 40oz of Old E was his old partner’s son, Zone.

“Hey Kid, you still drinking that shit water?” Boss said laughing as Zone recognized him.

The leather jacket was the same one he had worn for years.  Zone had never seen him in anything else besides Levis, a black t-shirt and that jacket. Even in the squelching 120 degree Arizona desert heat, that was it.  Zone smiled thinking about how pissed he was at Powell falling off the jet ski wearing it.

“Aww, there he is…What, this?  Zone replied looking down at the bottle. “This is the finest shit water you can get north of the border.  You want? ”

“What the hell.  It’s like what…?”  Boss answered looking at his watch, “9:45 in the morning.”

He pulled up the empty bar stool next to Zone. The cold 40oz sat sweating in front of him. It tasted like shit, exactly as he remembered it. He watched Zone take a drink. The image was just as it was twenty years ago when he had sat there with the kid’s father.

“Damn where you been? It’s been a minute since I saw you last.”  Zone asked.

“Shit kid, you how it is when you are on that DL.  You learned that at what, twelve?”  Boss said as he punch him in the arm.

“Hey watch it asshole.  Zone said laughing,  “I am not twelve any more. I can kick your ass while blindfolded, hung over and my hands tied behind my back.”

Boss did not doubt that. He had a kick no one else could touch. When his foot made contact it was like every once of anger and power in him came through at once, exploding on contact. Zone’s reputation preceded him, so it was not often Boss had seen it.

“Yeah, I guess you could kick my ass.”  Boss said looking towards the tiny girl standing by the Jagermeister  cooler.  “Hey sweetheart, can we get a couple of shots down here?”

Boss watched her turn, her eyes flashing sharp blue. It was like looking a negative of her mother. Everything was the same, except black where the blond was.

“What the hell did you just call me?  I ain’t your sweetheart, Asshole.” she paused recognizing the now silver hair and the old leather jacket,  “Boss…? Damn it is you, when did you get back in town?”

“Shit, girl I just rolled up. Damn,  you look good! Wanna take a run up north? My bike is outside.” Boss asked, with a grin.

She could feel her face get hot, “Shut the hell up Boss. Your older than my daddy.”
“I know girl, I know… but in another life time..”

He said, winking at her as she handed him the shot.

The cold went down smooth and fast.  Setting the glass down his focus went back to Zone.

“Speaking of your pops,  where the hell is that asshole?” 


Two Worlds

They look at you with disappointment…. thinking they know something…they have no idea how wrong they are…if they knew that would they act the same…would they make stupid comments…tell you they are not involved…ask you what are they doing to you…do they remember the innocent one in the middle…

You scream….yell…FUCK OFF…as loud as you can in your writing…they act shocked at your choice of words…writing “stuff it”  instead of using the words that come out of their mouths…they like to share your thoughts with each other…laughing back and forth…like your life is their game to be played with as they wish…to them it is pure entertainment…

Do they feel better when their foot shoves your face into the mud…when they grow tired they find someone else to shove down you some more… they all stare, laughing as they watch you struggle to get up… wiping away the spec of dirt that splattered back as their boot kicked your innocent one…you stand up out of the mud…you look deep into their soul…you see nothing but anger and hate…

You wonder…can she see a time where he did not get into the car…there is no insurance settlement…the older wise one did not start her in that house…no free and clear…she gets pregnant…he is screwing her friends…she is upset…she takes one more of the pills the Dr. gave her for pain…everything seems a little brighter…a year money… over due bills… and that new problem…dope-sick…is she strong enough to handle that…can she turn down the needle full of heroin knowing the sickness is approaching fast…

Does he know how inches could have changed his entire life…he has been drinking with his friends…gets into his new truck…lines start to blur just a little… he tries to bring them back to clear…cannot see the car with the single mom of three…can he see the felony DUI…the manslaughter charge…can he feel the guilt ripping him apart…does he feel the relief when the vodka slides down his throat and starts to numb the pain…

They judge with only the knowledge formed from their own world…based on what they think is normal…

THEIR world where…. compassion is conditional…monetary success required…functional addiction mandatory…
YOUR world where…. empathy is expected…sharing required, as you cannot take it with you……AND the understanding there is only a moment in time…only one wrong decision before they come slipping into YOUR WORLD ….

The Unavoidable Move


You hear the click as the new lock settles into place behind you. The words being spoken come at you like a tornado with no sound.  Your mind so loud with your own jumbled thoughts, nodding yes is all you can do.  Feeling the weight of the bag hanging off your shaking shoulder you wonder if it holds what you will need.

 You wait…You lean against the old reliable truck trying to stop the spin of ideas flying through your head when you realize the gas gauge reads empty. Gazing at the horizon you recognize the outline of the faded four-door sedan break free from the glare of the sun.  As it drives slowly towards you the protective walls your mind created start to crumble; allowing the once contained ominous feelings fill your soul with dread.

Your mind is blank when you hear your son’s laughter coming from the sedan. He smiles at the inside joke only his father understands.  The vacant look in your eyes is a tell he learned months ago.  As you try to explain, the reassurance in your voice fades with each word.

Your wife smiles at you through the rear-view mirror.  The split second eye contact shared says more than words ever will.  Driving away your mind becomes stuck in a flood of “what if’s” that cannot be answered.  You wonder which decision started this path you are quickly sliding down. Hoping for the direction to change soon, you pray you are not wandering in the wilderness.

The knock on the window jars your mind back.  Watching him open the door you wonder what is going on in his head.  His smile still flashes effortlessly, but his eyes show wisdom well past his years. You flash back to a picture of your home cluttered with possessions collected over time.  Anything of real value had been sold months ago in a futile effort to keep your head above water. Your eyes start to burn holding back the tears.  Hoping he does not hear the despair in your voice you ask him about his day.

The rhythmic tick coming from the clock is interrupted with a noisy crackle followed by the voice of your principal seamlessly rambling about nothing.  The ringing bell is always a welcomed sound. A friend asks if you can hang out on Sunday.  You reply with variation of a story you often use for an excuse.  You grab the faded backpack and let it settle on your shoulders. The weight feels heavy as you walk out the door into the bright sunlight. 

Everything you know in your momentary walk on earth has changed. The home you spent most of your life in is gone.  You move to a new state and a new school.  Family you do not really know start to become part of your world.  Time passes and the laughter you grew up with is replaced with a deafening silence. Decisions are made in low whispers behind closed doors.  The move comes.

 The attempt to keep you at the same school becomes difficult with the added forty five-minute drive.  The struggle to find gas money is becoming pointless.  Their eyes sadden, as your grades drop, knowing it is their fault. You only see your friends at school.  Watching them jump on bikes, headed for the park, you think about what you are missing. You walk towards the faded sedan thinking back to the chaos of the apartment you left this morning. You start to wonder when that unavoidable move will happen again…

The Supper Bell

The swing went back and forth with a slow harmony.  The sun was fading across the horizon as the stars began to twinkle through the leaves.  They watched him gaze up, pausing for a moment to admire the full moon.  His vibrant blue eyes making contact as he wandered towards them. They looked at each other and smiled. The glimmer they had not seen for so long was back. The supper bell rang across the yard, interrupting the silence reminiscent of every night.

The table was set with the familiar nine places. The smell of the homemade macaroni and cheese filled the kitchen.  Small talk continued until everyone was seated.  Grandpa looked around. After seeing that everyone was there he bowed his head…  God is great God is good and we thank Him for this food. By His goodness we are fed, give us Lord our daily bread, Amen…

Plates were piled high with fresh homemade goodness.  Grandma made sure no one walked away from her table hungry.  The conversation about the upcoming election died down as Grandma opened the little book she read from each night.  The Daily Bread somehow always fit the events of the day.  As she read about giving thanks in everything, they all knew how blessed they were to be there.

Homemade pie replaced the empty supper dishes.  Warmth and content filled their stomachs. A story being told was given a twist, in hopes of a reaction from Uncle. As he noticed the stillness come over the table, his eyes came up to them staring and waiting. The silence was broken with a laughter that echoed throughout the house.  A sound heard each night after the supper bell rang.