Standing on the Outside

To Beat the System means that you must find that place between trying and not trying. It is similar to being half awake or half asleep. This semi consciousness and semi action is not easy to maintain. It comes and it goes, like luck, and the trick is to realize when the mood is right. A writer must be ever watchful of this feeling. It is a rhythm that fluctuates from one moment to the next. When you find it, ease into it; put other things on hold. The system stops when you step outside of it. Go until the music is gone; until you are drawn inside again. Being within the system does not feel as bad, when you have step outside of it. And the more often you do it, the lighter you become. It is harder to be held down by things. You float above them, unaffected. Worldly worries are distant from you because you’ve step outside again. You will seek dangerous dances with destiny and push yourself to find things that cannot be seen. You appear to risk everything for nothing, because others cannot see the system, and they don’t know what it means to step outside.

I walk into the rain

at the end of the day

and things slow down

It is the feeling one gets

when there is nothing left to do

It is the feeling I want

right before I die.

Chapter 4 What was in the Bags

It was cool in the cockpit, but that would change. The sun was rising higher in the sky. Its rays would kill things and then bring them back to life again. Frank left the plane and loaded his pack with water. It was a long distance, but he could follow the dirt road to the highway. The weight on his back caused him to wonder why anybody would load their plane with sand. It didn’t make sense.

Frank walked towards the asphalt artery. The dust from his footsteps blew in the breeze causing him to sneeze. Clearing his sinuses also cleared his brain because he had one thought; and he knew what was in the bags. Gold. Lots of it. Too much to carry. And he was in the middle of the desert, the worst place for carrying needless weight. Frank had to check his imagination before his hopes floated too high. Gold fever grabbed him, before he’d even seen it. He made it to the plane, opened the hatch and pulled at one of the sacks. It tore like tissue paper and gold poured over his hands like heavy money. He knew what the airstrip circled on the map probably was—Eldorado.

There were dozens of sacks. Just one bag was several pounds to carry, but he couldn’t help himself, adding the weight to his pack. Frank left the plane for the second time, carrying twice the load and feeling twice as light. Gold had found him, rather than him finding the gold, and that is the best way. Now he was hoping the highway was closer than he remembered. It was minutes in the sun that felt like hours. Frank followed his shadow, telling himself that he would not be beaten by the determined figure that was plodded along beside him. And on the horizon, he saw it moving, a blur that let out a roar. Frank pulled his orange gun from his pocket and shot it into the air with a prayer, despite him not being a praying man, and the steel beast stopped.

Chapter 3 The Red Biplane

Frank knew that he should be concerned about survival, but his curiosity was getting in the way. What was an old biplane doing at the bottom of a canyon? The tail was buried, but the door was exposed. Frank couldn’t see inside. The windshield was caked with mud. He yanked at the door, expecting resistance, but it opened like it was brand new. It smelled like death, the way a tomb might smell after 50 years. A skeleton hunched over the dashboard, looking as if it was taking a nap.

“Sorry friend,” Frank said. He unbuckled it and the skeleton popped out like it was spring-loaded. Frank jumped and then laughed. He didn’t know what he was looking for and the spirit of finding something he couldn’t buy made him even more excited. He noticed a door leading into the tail and he yanked at it, popping it open. There was nothing there but sandbags and Frank didn’t think much of it, just that sandbags were strange to have in a plane. Maybe they were there for ballasts. He knew ships used them, but planes were another matter. Didn’t planes have to be careful about carrying weight?

Frank looked at the smashed controls. He tried to switch on the radio, but it didn’t work. He was just about ready to leave for his Winnebago when he spotted a map poking out of the sun visor. He grabbed at it, unfolding it. “1942. Ummmm. And there’s an airstrip circled in red. This is curious, it shows a trail leading into the mountains.”

My Place

There are places that I go

that are special only to me.

I know, because I’ve brought friends there

and they always tell me, “No, it’s not that great.”

Everybody has a boundary

A place where things become less familiar.

When you reach it

you don’t quite know where to go.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the same place

Even when I’ve had chances to leave.

I’ll force myself to visit other places

but I usually can’t wait to get back home.

The strip of land that belongs to me is four miles wide.

It extends from one library to the other.

There is a bike trail that connects them and a river that flows past my house.

The golf course it full of memories. It runs next to the highway.

I see the highway man looking for golf balls. And I wonder about him.

There are so many people like that

who I know, but I don’t know.

And perhaps, it is better that way.

Every man should have some great challenge that appeals to him. For some, this is climbing a mountain; only a few have done it and none have survived. The window of opportunity is closing, like all things in life. The saddest people are those who think they still have a shot. They are living on fantasies, fumes, from their dreams when they were still burning their fire inside. Everyone needs to believe.

We need to know we count and nobody can tell us that. Have you noticed, those who need constant reassurance are never satisfied? This is because they know they haven’t done anything. It is as simple as that.

There is a longing in a man’s heart for things that cannot be handed to him. He doesn’t want to be treated the same as other men and if he has the courage, he will endure the hard times to get where he needs to be.