Chapter 7 Visit Death, but Don’t Stay Long

Gregson was handcuffed to a beautiful woman by a skeleton from hell. Under the water, the pressure compressed his mind. He cracked a vial between his teeth; not cyanide, but adrenaline. His heart raced like one beat was trying to beat another beat. Gregson clicked his watch and the skeleton faltered. Its arm was outstretched. “To the torpedo roooooom.” It slunk over like a wind puppet without air. Gregson felt bloated and squeezed at the same time. The room was asleep; gas. He uncuffed himself and manned the controls.

He had minutes to warn Voodoo Sands and sink her.

The pressure inside him kept building. It desired a release. His torpedo was cocked—ready to explode inside the pleasure cruise.

He throttled ahead and called in advance.

“Hello, all guests and crew must evacuate. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY.”

“Only the captain and the con use this broadcast. Identify yourself!”

“This is Gregson. Identification #: 01134. I’ve been assigned to protect this vessel. Take her beyond the seaboard and abandon ship for pleasure island.” Gregson prepared the forward torpedoes and aimed for her hull.

The skeleton moaned on the floor, but Gregson ignored him. His focus was on Voodoo Sands.

FIRE. Gregson instantly felt weak. He watched the torpedo drawing nearer and nearer. It closed the distance. The explosion cut the air like the big bang, but the ship didn’t go nuclear. It sunk below the water blanket and Gregson manned the con, launching himself towards another sandy beach. Hopefully, there would be a prison cell and endless umbrella drinks on the shore.

Epilogue

“Oh, my head,” Tiffany moaned. “What happened?”

“I just prevented the system from going nuclear,” Gregson said.

“The what?”

“She was carrying death and the bomb, but now it’s buried. And death, well… he will have to go away for a while and do time on pleasure island while I go on solving crime.”

“I don’t understand what you mean, but you’re a hero and so much man.”

“Don’t I know it,” Gregson laughed. He put his arm around her and turned the submarine towards the setting sun. He wouldn’t stay on pleasure island, but he would visit from time to time. Death needed company because most people ignored him. Gregson valued death and visited often, if not just to cheat the skeleton one more time.

THE END

The System

When power is questioned, it is recognized. By reacting to power, power is enforced.

A natural and unspoken hierarchy develops—similar to what is observed in the animal kingdom, but a bit more socially sophisticated. People willingly submit to this hierarchy because they depend on it for their survival. In time, they think about themselves in relation to it, especially if they are career oriented and pursue higher education. They become different people at home and at work and this fracturing of their identity fits the needs of the greater system.

Most turn to another system for relief, but the real trick is to beat the system.

-Intellectual Shaman

Flowers without Fragrance

He sits alone

at a perfect table

staring straight ahead

while groups of people

in multicolored clothes

compare stories

He does his time

sheltered by unkept hair

and plain clothes

Colorful things talk

like flowers around him

while his beard

cringes

quietly.

I move through the groups

of sports, social media, and gossip

to the silent man

with missing teeth

who grins.

I speak first. Then he says…

“I have short-term memory loss

and I won’t remember your name.”

“Really?”

I smile

because I can tell him anything.

We talk about life and death and everything in between,

but then it’s time to go

and I walk back through the flowers

without fragrance

Stopped by a beauty

And we talk

I look at my multicolored clothes

“Something smells funny,” she says.

“That would be my fragrance.”

What Life is All About

I’ve been good for far too long

so, I think about being bad

but that doesn’t lead anywhere

My brain tells me “Just do it!”

But those things don’t satisfy

I’m getting thinner

and stronger

but I still see the world

through lack luster eyes.

Why choose pain

when desires

can be had?

We shoulder the burden of less

because the burden of more

is not worth the weight.

It seems like we aren’t gaining anything

by choosing less

and we are right.

Why have less

if you can have more?

Because more is less

but I don’t think

less is more.

It’s something else.

When you figure that out

you know what life

is all about.

Black and White Me

I watch movies in a dark room

and shut the world out

There is a call for heroes

but I keep watching.

The world wants me

and I keep me

to myself.

Passion is pure gold

under black and white lights

I long for childhood

and the sweetness of the sun

but wars want men

ground up

into human sacrifice.

I’m alone

looking

at peeling paint

Perfection

in this tiny room

There is nothing to be gained

Nothing to be had

on the outside

Expression

laid naked and bare

born from the womb

without permission

and ready to die

on the outside.

Chapter 6 In the Belly of the Beast

Inside the U-Boat, the skeleton handcuffed Gregson and Tiffany to a pole. It was Caribbean Voodoo and WWII.

“You’ve threatened my entire operation. So, tell me what I want to know.”

“What?” Gregson asked.

“You tell me!” The skeleton said. He walked to a basket and bumped the lid. “Nagina knows when you are lying; she senses fear.” His bony hand went into the basket and pulled a thin green snake oozing poison from her expressed fangs. It jumped towards Gregson, but the skeleton restrained the tail.

“Don’t cry my dear; the venom is painless.”

“Okay, we know about the cocaine. We know about your operation. We didn’t mean to find it, but the cat is out of the bag,” Tiffany sobbed.

Gregson looked at her. She didn’t know. She wasn’t even close.

“Tell me what I want to hear,” the skeleton said. The snake spit poison at Gregson’s eyes.

“It’s not the diamond and it’s not the drugs. It’s the ship.” Gregson pulled a watch from his pocket.

“Is that an Omega?” Tiffany asked.

“Something like that. It tells the time, but it’s also a Geiger counter. They’re moving cocaine for the cartel to learn smuggling routes.”

“Who are you?” The skeleton asked.

“That doesn’t matter,” Gregson said. “You’re going to blow up DC.”

“As high as I can.”

“What?” Tiffany cried.

Voodoo Sands is a nuclear bomb.”

What the Weather Man Wants

A churning connection

with gray clouds

the sky speaks

Birds flit in the wind

this torrent of nature

throwing raindrops

and fallen leaves

He walks across

broken

neon-blue

graffitied trees

Discovering

shadows that can’t be seen

They exist

in him

their power

reaching out

turning

a sunny day

into a storm

Twisted fences

can’t contain

his hot and cold feelings

blowing across

a saturated sea

of green

Expressions

of Everything

Everything Expressed

Whispering…

Where he should be.

Lost Love

She eats quickly

The waiter brings the check

“Separate checks!” I shout.

He jumps out of his skin

and brings the bill, a second time

He looks at me

like I’m an incomplete man

Maybe he’s right

I’ve been used many times

and there isn’t much left

“Would you like to go for a walk?”

She nods

We move under summer trees

and I like her company

but I can’t get close to her

and I don’t know why

I kiss her

a dry cringe-worthy kiss

and it takes her by surprise

Then she travels

3 states away

to live

and she’s quite content

while I write this poem.

The Vanishing Point

We face blackness

with eternal fire

devouring

useless arguments

love lost

and no security

The Dead Zone

without oxygen

Beautiful sorrow

like sand castles

on the sea shore

or sunsets

at the vanishing point.

Chapter 5 When Horses Run Under the Sky

Gregson needed to see the dangerous parts of people; the things kept hidden. It was a spirit that drove him and was only kept at bay on the razor’s edge. Gregson pushed his horse up the volcanic ridge. His imagination solved crimes and every now and then he peered out from it. 

He soaked in the island air and smelled sweet in the tropical heat. “I’ve got to lay off the sugar.”

“Let’s see if you can catch up,” Tiffany said.

Gregson smiled.

Death was one mis-step over the rocky ledge as they tore down the valley.

A red biplane flew out of the blue sky.

Rat-a-tat-tat.

Gregson and Tiffany charged through a faded barn that exploded in white powder. They were higher than kites and thicker than dusted donuts.

“Cocaine, I think,” Tiffany said.

“Hold the reins.” They went through a curtain of green and found themselves falling towards the ocean.

Tiffany hopped on Gregson’s belly and they floated to shore. They lay in the sand and Gregson felt Tiffany’s dangerous parts; those regions that enslave a man. Danger is a thousand different things to a thousand different people. It makes horses go. The ocean was beautiful and under the dark water a black thing emerged. It moved towards them and crawled onto the land. It was a submarine. A death head popped up.

“If it’s not the gambler that took me for 50,000. I’m going to take more than my money back. You put your stomach where it doesn’t belong.”

“What?”

The skeleton pointed at Gregson’s belly. “You’re covered with cocaine. The sharks will love you. You’ll be like a raspberry dusted donut. We’ll launch you through the torpedo tubes, if you’ll fit.”

Bad guys always came up with creative ways to kill him, but Gregson didn’t mind. In times of stress, the solution always presented itself when he ate.

“Can the condemned man have a last meal?”

“Excellent! What will it be?”

“Caviar and Champagne.”

“What are you celebrating?”

“Our dance with death.”