Category Archives: Short Stories & Poems

Short stories and poems I have written over the years for reading pleasure.

Running on Greed – The Journey of a Senator

For the Record

I am not saying all politicians are crooks and puppets. This short story tries to dive into the mental change that one would have to go through in order to become a corrupt public servant. They have to be okay with trading their morals for a materialistic bliss. Be able to put the wants of few over the needs of many in order to indulge in a deadly sin. It’s a frightening state of mind to be in if you one day become aware that all you are is a distraction for the evils of the world. It’s the closest one can get to being a sociopath without physically killing someone. This is a short story for entertainment purposes only – not to start a debate.

Campaign Road Trip

I ran an honest campaign. I didn’t drag anyone through the mud and I actually listened to what the people wanted. They say they want change, but they don’t know from what or how. Catch them off guard and they won’t be able to explain why they are angry, or in support of, an issue and end up sounding like five year olds trying to explain a dream. I know what the people want; they want the news to stop scaring them, not worry about Wall Street taking their 401k’s, “terrorists” defeated, even though they are no longer sure who we are fighting and why, and they want to stop hearing stories about immigration so they can stop feeling guilty when they hire a Hispanic to do something they don’t want, or know, how to do.

The election is the easy part. Make one speech, and just change the name of the city you are in. One long road trip saying the same speech that someone crafted, not wrote, with just the right amount of buzz words. It makes it sound like I’m answering questions when in reality I am not saying anything at all. The hard part is coming up with the money to win, not run.

In the Beginning There was Ambition

“I’m not going to be like them.” I tell myself as I walk up the steps of the capitol building. Today is my first day as a senator. I am young enough to use slang words without sounding like a dad, but old enough to be one. I worked hard in school, did what was asked of me and never arrived late. I couldn’t wait to start doing my part in changing the country for the better. I’m going to do great things. When I walk into my new office I stare at my name on a gold plate at the edge of my desk. My heart races with excitement at the realization that my hard work is finally going to start bearing fruit.

Exposed to Infections

I have been a senator for a few months now and I am starting to learn the jargon and operations of this place. Every hand you shake comes with a favor, or an IOU, and every dinner ends with a deal. When civilians are not around you see them take off their mask and relieve who they truly are, people. Normal people with many imperfections like the rest of us. Frat boys riding on the past glory of their fathers or grandfathers, independent women trying to play the man’s game, ex-attorneys who couldn’t make it as a judge, or ex-military trying to provide steady work for their enlisted brothers. I am an outsider to them because I have not asked or taken a favor from anyone. I can feel their judgement when I walk the halls. Like a new kid in middle school with a foreign name.

Being outside the loop gives me a front row seat to how the game is played. They try to combine two issues and turn it into a “one or the other” situation. They laugh amongst each other as they watch the country tear itself apart debating the issue they created from two mistakes. It’s all an act to them. If we keep the debate going we don’t actually have to come up with a solution. Just keep throwing logs into the fire and never let the flames get low enough to see what we are doing.

The Darkness Begins to Set In

Being here can wear out your morals. Constantly being surrounded by greed and seeing FOR SALE signs on people’s backs. I try to stay moral, but every bill I try to pass gets shut down because I am not, “one of them.” Some nights I drive home and question why I even bother going to work the next day, I’m powerless.

Then one day my mind goes dark. I see how the system works and its ugly truth sinks my heart down to my feet. I could leave but then it dawns on me – I do have power. My decisions have an impact on millions of people. I am a god, a king, a supreme being, in my own way for I have the power to make people suffer, or bring joy, by signing a piece of paper. This sense of power is overwhelming as I sit in my desk staring a bill I was about to propose. Things are going to be different from now on…

Into the Depths of Greed

A man in a suit comes into my office carrying a briefcase. He tells me that he wishes to speak to me about a sensitive issue. The meeting turns into a sales pitch and I’m the product. He is trying to sell me to myself. He opens the briefcase and I see stacks of tax free income in front of me. “One deal couldn’t hurt”, I thought. I can always make up for it on something else, something to benefit the community. It will even out. Checks and balances.

With one motion I sell my soul to him and curl up in his pocket. I am now part of the club, much to my co-worker’s delight. Now my inbox consists of invites to CEO yacht parties, top dollar fundraisers, and appointments to make more deals. They all need me because I have the power their money cannot buy, unless they buy me first. I am the missing link they are willing to pour money into in order to fuel their greed addiction. My ego grows in parallel with my off shore accounts.

One of Them

Everyday the word “enough” gets washed away from my vocabulary.  I do not recognize myself when I stare into the mirror, but a voice inside tells me that I am not the bad guy. I am just one man trying to survive and find a way to live comfortably. The oil companies are polluting the earth, not me, I am not shooting at our troops hoping for their death, that’s the enemy – I’m just a man trying to make a living. With each briefcase I take I feel a part of my soul vanishing, but I cheer myself up with a new watch and a suit to hide my inner disgust.

I wouldn’t feel as bad if it wasn’t so easy. The public will believe anything if the media talks about it long enough. The media is a business, just like us. It’s all a game we play to keep the money flowing in the directions we want. Fear is our greatest weapon.

Too Late to Turn Back

It’s been 20 years since my first day as I walk up the same steps, only a little slower now. The man that first started has been dead for years, but the memory of him still haunts me on certain nights when I am alone with Johnny Walker. It is too late to turn back now, even if I wanted to. The only way out is up and my craving for “more” has found a new target, a big white house. Ultimate power is within my reach, but I feel the weight of the favors I owe on my shoulders like a wet coat. Alcohol allows me to drown the dark reality of my live. I am a puppet – all my ideas of having power were long sold off for pennies on the dollar. I only represent the idea of power. I put myself before my country, before millions of people, just so I could have a coin in my pocket. The pain of this realization doesn’t go away no matter how much whiskey I pour into it.

The shame is excruciating and I can no longer bare it, but I cannot quit for I am a slave with a debt to pay. As I finish the last drop in the bottle I look up to see my old hunting rifle. I take the rifle and study it in my hands. This honest piece of steel and wood has never given up on its purpose in life. It was built to do one thing and one thing only, and now it was going to be the solution to all my problems. “I’m not going to be like them”, Is the last thought that pops into my head before the bullet runs through it.

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The Skeleton Driver

Headlights cut through the darkness of a lonely highway as you watch the yellow lines getting swept under the front of the car. You have an endless stretch of two lane blacktop all to yourself. The only noise passing through your ears is Johnny Cash’s somber voice as he sings about wishing he was stoned on a Sunday morning. The steady repetition can make it easy for someone to wander off into the depths of their subconscious while they let muscle memory take the wheel. Least that’s what was happening to me as I suddenly realized I couldn’t recall the last couple of miles I had driven. I was on my way home from the bar after yet another night out with Johnny Walker, and his wing-man Miller, as they helped me drown the demons that chased my soul every night.

I never considered myself a bad guy; even when a dirty, self-entitled, draft dodging hippy spat in my face as he called me a baby killer. No sir, I was not a bad guy, just a man put in a bad situation. Even with the start of a new year just a month away I felt that 1972 was only going to bring 365 days of liquid dinners and sleepless nights of regret. “I was following orders, I did nothing wrong.” I would tell myself to try and convince me that I was alright. Sitting behind the wheel of my ‘64 Chevy step-side, my body felt numb as the truck rolled along the dark road. My mind began to drift off again into the alcohol fueled anarchy of my imagination, and I could feel goosebumps beginning to form on my arms as ice cold sweat starting running down the back of my neck. My mind was going to take a trip, a trip back to Vietnam, 1970.

First thing I heard before I went back was the sound of my lieutenant yelling at us to clear a village of all hostiles. Feeling the weight of my gear on my back as I we marched into the village. We didn’t have to be stealth, the moonless night and pouring rain gave us plenty of cover to walk in unnoticed. Intelligence had told us that this village was a suspected supply dump for Charlie, and we were ordered to search and destroy. I had heard the stories of Charlie using civilians as suicide bombers to trap unsuspecting GI’s. Hiding a grenade in a baby stroller, or a woman hiding a bomb in her hat as she walked up to a platoon before detonating.

We wandered through the village, using the storm’s lighting strikes to see where we were going. It was the middle of monsoon season and there were times when I couldn’t remember what it felt like to be dry. Paranoia, exhaustion, fear, and impaired senses make for a deadly cocktail as most of the men, including myself, balanced our minds on a tight rope between sanity and suicide. I started to remember the vision of muzzle flashes as one man in our unit begin to open fire at a hut in the village. My ears going deaf and not being able to hear myself think; the high pitched ringing echoing in my head as I opened fire with my M16.

That was as far as my flashback went because I was suddenly thrown back into reality when the interior of my truck was filled with an orange glow from a set of headlights coming up behind me. “Turn off your high beams asshole”, I muttered to myself as I eased the truck to the shoulder to let the car behind me pass. The car wouldn’t pass me though, it just kept inching closer and closer to my rear bumper. Before I could decide on whether or not to brake check this dude I was greeted by a sudden shunt as the car’s front-end kissed the back of my Chevy truck, and then sped up to ram into me. Dropping the column shifter down into second gear, I forced the Chevy to give me every single rev the tired V8 had to give as I stood on the gas pedal.

I was pushing 90 as the Chevy bounded over every imperfection on the road. The car chasing me didn’t lose a beat as it stayed glued to my bumper, ramming into me as if it was hammering in a nail. Adrenaline was pulling me out of my drunken haze, trying to keep the truck from fishtailing as the hits started getting more and more violent. I could feel the truck wanting to let go as every shunt pushed the rear wheels faster than they were turning. Suddenly the car backed off, enough for me to get the truck stable. The orange light even began to dim as if the car was slowing down. The faint sigh of relief lasted only a few seconds before I was completely blinded by the orange light and thrown back in my seat by a metal crushing slam that managed to push the rear-end off the ground long enough to lose traction. Richard Petty couldn’t have done a much better job of preventing the truck from spinning out. All I could do was hang on as the truck began to spin circles down the road before smashing through a guardrail and slide down an embankment. I tired the brakes but the truck skidded on the grass before crashing nose first into a tree. Everything when black at the moment of impact as my face greeted the steering wheel.

Within the darkness, the memories started once again. I had been in the jungle for nearly 6 months and I knew I was never going to be the same again. The smell of death and decay was an invisible fog that never lifted, but instead fell over us like the thick humid air. Even my hands looked different when I stared at them, they were now the hands that had taken life away. I had six confirm kills to my name, and at least a dozen unknown. It had gotten to the point that I no longer saw Charlie as humans but rats that needed to be exterminated with napalm. My morals were slowly being erased by the horrors of war and I could feel the change happening but couldn’t stop it.

After we had cleared the area of Charlie, we had gathered all the supplies into a huge pile. Hundreds and thousands of pounds of ammo and guns being prepped to get blown sky high with explosives. The lieutenant ordered me to check the last hut for stragglers. “Clear it!” He barked. When I stormed into the hut all I find is a family of 6 small children, couldn’t have been more than ten or twelve years old with their eyes wide, stricken with terror. I spotted a couple of AK-47 rifles at their feet and a box of ammo behind one of the kids. “Davis! Clear that hut now!” yells the lieutenant, not knowing what I am staring at. I wanted to turn around and just pretend I didn’t see them, “walk away…” I thought. I lower my M16 and motioned my foot backwards to turn around. I was almost out, just a half second later and I would have been outside in the rain again, but I saw it. I saw a sudden movement out in the corner in my eye and my training took over. After the last full metal jacket casing had finished bouncing off the wooden floor, a lightning strike showed me what the sudden movement had been. It was my own shadow! My own paranoia had made me kill 6 children. I stood frozen in shock as I watched the collecting pool of blood crawl towards the tips of my boots as I felt the last moral in my soul being washed away by cold sweat.

The image of my shadow towering over the corpse of innocents shocked me back into conciseness. Drunken adrenaline kept the pain away but I could feel warm blood running down my face from a gash in my head. I put all my weight up against the door to force it to open as I stumbled out. Standing myself up to try and catch my breath, I looked around to readjust my eyes to see where I was, and what that orange light had been. Took only a moment for me to hear the sound of a souped up engine in the distance, a thumping clank of an engine with a hot camshaft singing through a pair of straight pipe exhaust. I heard the sound before I saw the source, but when I saw it I questioned whether or not I was still dreaming.

The orange light dimmed to show a ‘68 Cadillac hearse. The paint was animated as it bubbled and boiled as if it was under extreme heat. Suddenly the orange headlights turned off as a figure stepped out of the driver side door, and a neon green light beamed from within the interior of the hearse. “Who are you?” I shouted at the man sized figure. The figure stood there for a moment before walking down the embankment up to me. The red glow from my truck’s taillights were enough for me to see who it was and I froze with terror. The driver was dead! His suit was covered in mud and dirt as his skeleton hands adjusted his tie before looking up at me to revile his face. A skull with maggots and worms crawling inside his eye holes. My legs wouldn’t work, all I could do was tremble in fear as every instinct in my head was praying for me to run, but I couldn’t. The skull’s jaw moved as if it was going to say something, “Judgement”, was all it said before it launched itself at me. The last thing I saw before it all went dark was its mouth opening and running towards me in the blink of an eye.

When I opened my eyes all I could see was darkness, and when I tried to move I realized I was in a confined space…a coffin. I could still hear the engine running all around me, it was running at full throttle. “I’m not dead! You can’t do this! I am NOT DEAD!” I shouted into the dark. No answer. I couldn’t tell if it was tears or blood that was running down my cheeks but the panic was starting to set in as I begin to hit, kick, and scratch at the walls around me. Shouting for god and his mercy as my finger nails snapped off my flesh trying to claw away at the wooden box. Suddenly, I was jolted forward to the end of the coffin as the hearse slammed on its brakes to come to a stop. I silenced my screaming to wait and see what happened next.

I felt like a rag dog as the coffin was unloaded and dropped on what I hoped was solid ground. The coffin doors flew open and I was looking up at the night sky again. Not waiting to get trapped I jumped out of the coffin and looked around at where I was. I was still on the same road, the two lane blacktop I always used to get home. It wasn’t until I turned around that I saw emergency vehicles blocking off the road to attend to an accident of some kind. I felt a gust of wind push me forward to investigate what had happened. Paramedics and fire fighters seemed to run past me as if I didn’t exist, scrambling to attend to whoever it was that was injured.

Passing the blockade of police cars I saw three body bags on the ground side by side, one was noticeably shorter than the other two. Beyond that I saw the cause behind all this commotion, it was a head on collision between a station wagon, and a pickup truck…my pickup truck. The front-ends of both cars had vanished as they had both been pushed in like soda cans from the impact leaving nothing but bits of metal and glass scattered across the asphalt. I didn’t understand what was going on. I had just been driven off the road into a tree by a skeleton in a hearse and now here was my truck, completely demolished with three body bags as a result of it. I wanted to run away, run home and fall asleep so I could wake up from this hellish night terror. I wanted to wake up in a pool of my own sweat again just as the nights before, at least then I would take comfort in that this was all just a horrid dream. Why couldn’t I wake up!

I closed my eyes, “Wake up man! You need to wake up! For the love of God, wake the hell up!” I shouted. Then I heard one of the paramedics, he was shouting, “clear!” and I felt an extreme wave of heat fly across my chest. It was enough to knock me down to my knees. I turned to the ambulance to see a crowd had formed around the two paramedics. As I made my way to ambulance I could feel the strength leaving my body. I felt weak and was knocked down by another wave of extreme heat burning through my chest. I carried myself as my legs began to start feeling numb until I reached the crowd of firefighters and policemen who were surrounding the paramedics.

What I saw next threw me into shock. It was me! My legs were gone! They had been completely chopped off in the accident, my face was nearly unrecognizable, just a vague resemblance of bloody flesh. “It’s no good, I’m calling it, 12:01 am November 21, 1971.” Said the paramedic. “I’m dead…” I thought as the fully realization of my fate had become clear to me. That’s when I heard the sound of the engine again and saw the haunted hearse slowly creep up to meet me. The skeleton driver stepped out yet again and pointed at me. “Judgement”, it said in an oily voice that shook me to my core.

“Tragic, this family was traveling back from vacation.” I heard someone say but nobody was around. “How do you know?” said another voice. “I found these Disneyland Mickey Mouse ears on the side of the road, must have belonged to the little girl.” My eyes widen. The little girl, the smaller body bag. I had killed a family, and myself, in a drunk driving accident. I remembered now. Driving on the road, seeing everything go black as I tried to fight the urge to fall sleep just before I saw a set of headlights in the distance. So much innocence taken away by my hand and now it was time to answer for my mistakes. The skeleton driver opened the coffin for me to get in, but I refused to get back in that box. I turned to run away into the night. The driver stood like a statue as he pulled a handheld scythe from behind his back and then set off sprinting holding the scythe over his head.

The skeleton driver wiped the blood off his scythe before placing it carefully back in its engraved silver case. He placed the now loaded coffin in the back of his chariot of hellfire before adjusting his tie one last time and getting behind the wheel of his Cadillac. The orange headlights beamed as the engine cranked over, spitting fire out of the exhaust. The bubbling black paint boiling intensely as the hearse roared away down the two lane blacktop before vanishing into thin air leaving no trace of its presence. All that was left on the road after the accident was a set of military dog tags that had appeared to have been burned.

Happy Halloween Everybody – J.G.

The Final FInish Line

           Motorsport can be a deadly sport, as any fan or driver will tell you. The following is a tribute to those Drivers who went beyond the limits of man and machine in the name of victory.

 I wake up feeling like I had just experienced a nightmare, panting and sweaty, and then I notice that I am laying on asphalt with my race suit and helmet still on. I try standing up but I feel very weak and stumble to get on my feet. It dawns on me that I don’t know where I am or how I ended up standing in the middle of a road. A two-lane blacktop in the middle of some kind of desert, least that’s what it looks like, only the temperature isn’t warm and the sky is an orgy of purples, pinks, and orange coloring. I feel my helmet and can feel that my visor has been broken off on half of its face and scratches riddled the rest of it. My race suit is scorched like it had been in a fire. I look around for signs of life, but all I see is dark sand and a string of telephone poles that seems to go on forever along the left side of the road. A burning sensation travels through my body when I turn to the right to see my Formula 1 car laying in the sand, upside down and completely engulfed in flames. I fall to my knees in shock as I see the car explode. A human like figure in the cockpit burns in the inferno motionless – I was dead.

Faint memories of what had happened begin to imagine themselves in my head. I remember the car getting loose on the straight away, something in the suspension had collapsed. I remember counter steering as the car turned violently to the left, straight into the barrier separating the pits from the track. The sound of metal and carbon fiber crumbling was the last thing I remembered before waking up here. This feeling is strange, knowing you are no longer alive yet not feeling any since of depression or sadness. Instead, it has been replaced with a relaxing sense of numbness. I don’t know what is going to happen next.

A familiar sound causes me to turn around to see what I hope it will be. The sound of a push-rod V8 rumbling through the still air approaches me. It’s a white 1970 Dodge Challenger cruising towards me and stops just inches away from of my feet. The white paint seems to glow instead of shine and the interior is solid white as well, even the instrument panels and pistol-grip shifter. It sings to me at it pours more gasoline into its six pack intake and opens its driver side door for me to get in. I can feel music waves flowing though my head as I step into the white vinyl interior, pretty sure it’s an instrumental of Don’t Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult. Closing the door sets the car off in motion as it  travels down the two-lane blacktop on to what feels like nowhere. Confusion, paranoia, and anxiety crowd for my attention as they fight it out in the pit of my stomach. The car is taking me somewhere, I don’t know where, as the pistol-grip shifter moves on its own when it shifts from second into third gear with smoothness of a bolt-action rifle.

Time seems to have no relevance here because I sense that we have been traveling for a while but I have forgotten how to estimate time, just feels like I’m a treadmill. Time takes a backseat as I see figures in the rear-view mirror. They get closer as the Challenger speeds up with an effortless grunt from its 440 engine. Echoes of man made machines begin to fill the desert air as I see a light in the horizon begin to shine which illuminates the approaching shadows in the rearview mirror.

The first shadow came to light as the Challenger sped up to 100 miles an hour, staying as steady as a locomotive, and takes form in the shape of a 1955 Mercedes 300 SLR wearing the number #20 with the driver name of P. Levegh. I tried to see into the car to get a look at the driver as it got along side of me on the left, but the windows are completely blacked out like a pair of aviator sunglasses. Dressed on the front fender were the words, 24 of LeMans 1955. The Mercedes drives off, crossing over to the right lane and vanishes before the Challenger catches up to it. I grab the steering wheel tightly as I see a second shadow speeding up towards me in the side view mirror.

1970 Can-Am race car took the shape of this shadow, showcasing the driver name B. McLaren on its side and Goodwood Circuit 1970 just beneath it. Sporting a bright yellow paint job and a #5, it brought me memories of racer X from the cartoon series Speed Racer as it races off into the distance before also vanishing into thin air – the Challenger soldiers on mile after mile. The yellow lines on the road begin to glow as the Challenger positions itself in the middle of the road. The light on the horizon keeps getting brighter as the purples, pinks, and orange colors in the sky slowly begin to transform into greens and blues, and I start to notice stars in the sky.

My astronomical observations are interrupted by two more shadows coming behind the Challenger. I glance in the rear-view mirror just in time to catch the sight of a rear wing from a Formula 1 race car, branded in Marlboro red sponsorship and a bright yellow helmet in the cockpit. Before I can get a closer look I am greeted by an ear full of American V8 noise coming from a NASCAR stock car pulling up next to me on the right. Painted black with a big #3 on its door and the driver name Dale Earnhardt written on its roof line and the words Daytona 500 2001 on its front fender. I knew who this was but it too had blacked out windows and all I could do was watch as it downshifted and roared away into the air. Almost at the same time, the F1 car crept up on my left side. I could see the driver, but his visor was blacked out, so I couldn’t see his face, but I didn’t have to read the driver name A. Senna to know it was him. Imola 1994 was dressed across the nose of his car. The driver looked like a statue until his head turned and I could see myself in the dark reflection, he motioned with his hand and pointed to the light at the end of the horizon. As I turned to see what he was pointing at, the race car drove away, shooting flames out the back as it shifted gears. The echo of its engine ran with the wind long after the car vanished.

The scenery turns pitch black as the Challenger drives up the light which is at the edge of a cliff. The Challenger stops just before entering the light and opens the door, I think it’s asking me to get out. As I stepped out of the car I notice that on either side of the light, which looks like someone cut a garage door sized hole in space, are the cosmos of the universe. Stars and colors fill the background as I watch in amazement. Behind me is absolute darkness, only things I have in front of me is the light and the galaxy behind it. The light hums like a transformer gathering electricity. The Challenger’s paint begins to glow the same level as the light as it bellows one last torque symphony before driving into the light.

I have reached the ultimate dead end, the last finish line. As I walk up closer to the light, nervous butterflies feel like they have steel tipped wings as they bump the lining of my stomach and my hands begin to sweat inside my racing gloves. Before I enter the light I hear the sound of engines running, running at their limit. Revving, redlining, full throttle, and within a split second everything feels okay. I feel at ease as I step into the light, to join my brothers.

              “It takes a special kind of person to want to put their life at risk in the name of a sport. This short story is a tribute to those who are no longer with us, but went out chasing their never ending need for speed. I pray they have all reached the light at the end of the road and found peace. The urge to race is not a skill, it is a destine rite of passage that only few are gifted with the burden of. All I can say is RIP, Race In Peace.”

  • -Jesus R. Garcia

Red and Blues in my Rear-VIew

The first time I was stopped by the police I was only 15 with a learner’s permit, and received my first traffic citation a month after getting my license at age 16. Since then I have been asked for my license and registration 31 times, so far, during my driving career. One of my New Year’s resolutions, that I always repeat, is to go a year without getting a ticket or being pulled over by any form of Johnny Law. I have been stopped for just about anything you can think of, that doesn’t include drugs or DWI, like: excessive acceleration, reckless driving, faulty taillights, illegal window tint, speeding, expired tags, failure to control vehicle, failure to stop at stop sign, or just because racing stripes count as probable cause. I have always had an almost insane amount of luck when it comes to avoiding points on my license. Out of the 31 stops, I have only been ticketed 6 times of which I’ve only had to pay once. The rest were dismissed and all others have been warnings. Here is one story of my run-in with Texas’ finest that expanded over 6 months.

It was February, 2012, when I received a warning for reckless driving by two members of the Sheriff’s department. I was driving home from school on the dirt roads near my ranch, and I was in a particularly good mood. That meant I started goofing off by power-sliding around turns like a kid who has seen too many Dukes of Hazzard reruns. As I slid sideways in a four wheel drift around the last corner that lead onto my street I spotted a white Crown Victoria that I instantly recognized as a patrol car, which was coming the opposite way. I straighten the truck out exiting the corner when suddenly the Crown Vic steered sharply to the left to block my path, I was only 500 feet from my house.

I knew I was in trouble, but I still chuckled at the idea of getting stopped so close to my house. I lowered the windows and cut the engine as two husky police officers approached me. Once they saw that I was just a dumb kid with a smile on his face their demeanor changed as they asked me what the heck I was doing. Now, in those days the truck had worn out tires so I only had to go 30 mph to throttle out and get the truck sideways, so I argued that I technically was not speeding. They took me for a smart-ass, and they asked me to step out of the vehicle so they could search my truck for reasons they never fully explained. I had nothing to hide so I didn’t make a fuss and I stood with one officer as the other searched all over my truck. I chewed the fat with the cop, talking about car control and how the road they were on was a private road and that I was surprised they were patrolling this section in the first place – just being a wise-ass. The street where the family ranch is located is actually a private road so they really had no right being there, and they probably figured that out when they decided to only give me a warning. I received a second warning for having an expired inspection sticker as well. It wasn’t until I got back in my truck that I remembered that I had a switchblade in the glove box, I was amazed the officer did find see it.

The rest of the week came and went, and it wasn’t until I was leaving for work one afternoon that I spotted another white patrol car on my street. I gave a friendly wave as I passed it and muscle memory made my glance in the rear-view mirror to notice the car quickly turn around with its red and blues on. It was the same two cops from the previous week! They rolled up on me because I still had not gotten my inspection sticker renewed. I told them that work and school was keeping me from going to get it taken care of. However, the real reason was because I knew my truck wouldn’t pass inspection. I got my second, and finale, warning from them and they went on their way, but not before almost T-boning my neighbor’s Mercedes Benz because they did not look to see if a car was coming up behind them. It gave me a good laugh at the sight of my neighbor giving them a not so friendly gesture as she drove by.

Getting away two times with this inspection sticker gave me a cocky attitude. I decided to see, in true young and dumb fashion, how long I could go before getting popped for it. It took 6 months until a state trooper, who must have had the eyes of a hawk, spotted the sticker from three lanes away on the highway. Now I had one month before my date with the judge to get the truck street legal to pass inspection. Having friends in the local car community comes in handy in these types of situations, I had a good friend who knew a guy that ran a body shop certified for state vehicle inspection. I’m sure I’m not the only Gearhead here who has been given the, “friend of a friend”, treatment when getting their hotrods to past inspection. Cash under the table later, the truck was sporting a glossy new inspection sticker on its windshield, but there was still a chance I would pay a fine when it came time for court.

For all my younger readers, take it from me, first impressions are vital in the eyes of the legal system. When it came time for me to appear before the judge, I wore my Sunday best in a suit and tie. Looking sharp as I waited on the bench for my name to be called out, I looked around and could see I wasn’t the only teen there holding a Department of Public Safety pink slip. I was, however, the only one who bothered to dress up for the occasion because all the other kids were dressed to go to the food court. Finally I heard my name and walked to the front to stare up at the judge, feeling like a cartoon at the gate of heaven looking up at Saint Peter and his big book. He asked why I it had taken me 6 months to get the vehicle inspected, and I told my violin strummed tale of a struggling college student who was working part time and simply forgot to it get taken care of. Next he asked if the truck was legal now, which I answered yes, then he asked where the new sticker was. Later on I realized that he wanted a photo of the vehicle showcasing the new sticker, but I didn’t know, so I answered, “Umm, on the windshield of my truck where it is supposed to be?” I probably sounded like a smart-ass again, but the judge just looked me up and down and told me to get out. “What just happened?” I thought to myself as I existed the courtroom and walked to the cashier office to ask what fines I would have to pay. Turns out the judge had dismissed the ticket and I was free to go, and free of charge.

Whenever I talk about my driving record people usually respond with, “Wow, you must really hate cops now.” Given that 2014 dealt with a lot of tension between police and the public, I felt I would end this article with my opinion on Law Enforcement. I love cops, there was even a time when I considered joining Texas Highway Patrol, and they are just doing their job. The bottom line is that working in law enforcement is one of the hardest career paths out there. Hours are a pain, it is a thankless job most of the time, mind numbingly boring 98% of time except for the sudden 2% that turns into hell on earth, you have to see horrific things on a daily bases that could depress the most optimistic of souls, and the paycheck is not nearly enough as the burden you take home. Gearheads and police have a love hate relationship, but Gearheads sometimes forget that cops can be gearheads too. As for my opinion on what happened in 2014 between the police and public, all I can say is that every stereotype is born out of a truth and that a few rotten apples cannot spoil a whole batch.

The Speed Demon without a Cause

The urban legend behind the 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder that James Dean drove on the day of his tragically fatal accident has since obtained ghost story status. Mostly because nobody knows where the remains of the car ended up, it was last reported being transported and the car, truck, and driver were never seen again. Also because of the series of rumors and stories of people getting seriously injured or killed by being in contact with the car or using parts off it. The phrase, “If the car could talk…”, is what I used when I wrote this short story. What if the Spyder was here to tell its story, the world might never know but I wanted to take a crack at it. This is the story behind the mystery of the Little Bastard, told by the speed demon that took America’s Rebel.

Some say I was cursed, others say I was designed by the devil himself, but most have never seen me. My name is Porsche 550 Spyder and I was born in 1955, but my first owner used to call me “The Little Bastard”. He was a young man, tall and blonde with movie star looks. Apparently he was a Hollywood big shot, least that’s what I heard from the people at the speed shop when they dressed me with pinstripes and race numbers. I remember the day he saw me in the showroom floor; his eyes were fixed in a trace when he saw my gorgeous curves. He had a friend with him that day, but I did not care for him because he kept telling my owner that if he drove me he would be found dead in a week. Dean is what they used to call him, James Dean, and I was the last car he ever drove.

It was a beautiful day, and Dean was handling me well as we ripped through the two lane blacktop. Up ahead I could see a Ford, one of those mutants called, “Hotrods”, being driven by an even younger man coming in the opposite direction. I saw that he was trying to across our lane so he could turn around, and that I would reach him in no time at the speed I was running. I never knew if Dean saw it coming, or his friend in the passenger seat, maybe he didn’t see the Ford. Maybe it was too late for him to react when he realized I wouldn’t engage my brakes, but what I do know is that I freight trained that Ford dead center in the it’s ugly face. I felt no pain, just the chill of my drive train beginning to cool down, what was left of it, but the same could not be said about my owner. I heard his last breath escape from what was left of his body as his friend, Bill Hickman, was holding him in his arms. Who knows how long it was before Hickman was able to sleep at night.

I was a complete wreck, but I was far from death, the same couldn’t be said for my two passengers. George Barris, the nice man who painted me, purchased what was left of me for a hefty sum of $2,500. When I arrived at his shop one of his mechanics was looking at me in an ugly way and I didn’t care for that at all. I became enraged and began to rock n roll and slipped off the trailer that was carrying me. I threw myself on that mechanic, breaking his leg. That’ll teach him for looking at me ugly…

Barris gave me a once over and instead of fixing me, he takes away my engine and drivetrain! I’m a fine piece of German engineering, a rare work of art, and he treats me like some parts car at a junkyard? I was furious and was determined that whatever piece of me was sold, I would go along for the ride.

My parts were sold to these two racers who used them on their own race cars, I felt like a prostitute. The two racers would end up competing against each other and wouldn’t you know it, they both had accidents. One of them mysteriously lost control and flew off the track hitting a tree, which killed him instantly. As for the other, he escaped the devil’s hearse, but not before I maimed him when his car suddenly locked up on a turn and sent him off the track in a rollover. Barris then sold my only two good tires to some kid who was going to use them on his daily driver. He would later be watching his life flash before his eyes when both my tires blow out simultaneously making him run off the road. Dean must have been really famous because one night two hoods broke into the garage to try and steal yet more parts off me. One tried to steal my steering wheel and tore open his arm when he tripped and cut himself on one of my jagged fenders, the other was stealing my blood stained seats but I managed to tag him with a fender as well.

Poor Barris was feeling guilty of all these “accidents”, but when the California State Police showed up asking to borrow me for some road safety exhibit he just sent me away, like a common Chevy, the nerve of him! With all that had been taken away from me, I was reduced to a twisted shell of a once prime example of automotive genius. The thought of my hideous appearance boiled in me like an overheated radiator as I sat in the impound garage. My sheet metal began to twist and bend with anger as I sat there staring at a gas can across the room from me, each passing moment becoming more and more engulfed with rage. I stared at that gas can until it too began to dent and twist like my sheet metal and within minutes the whole garage was bathed in a blaze of hell fire. I sat there through the night as everything around me melted into the earth with a sizzle and a bubble. I was the only survivor, the flames never touched me, I guess fire can’t burn what has been already dammed.

The State Police must have wanted revenge when they put me up on a stage at some high school so everyone could see my disfigurement and mock me for being an example of highway danger. I reached my breaking point when a teenager came up and began to blame me for my owner’s death, I rock n roll myself loose and fell on him breaking his hip. I wonder when I will be able to run again…

I wish I could be restored and be driven again, being transported everywhere makes me jealous, seeing all those inferior cars being able to cruise around and I’m stuck looking like a wreck. My jealously turns to fury as I start to rock n roll. I feel the truck starting to loose traction as I kept shifting my weight around, and soon the truck jackknifed. As the truck begins to roll I see the driver being injected from the cab, and I feel myself letting go of the flatbed and flying across the air straight for him. A familiar sense of satisfaction overwhelms me as I feel his bones crush beneath my frame and a cooling sensation as his blood splashes over me like a fresh coat of paint.

I think the state police have grown tired of me, and I hear they are sending me back home to Mr. Barris. I will not go back to being treated like a savage yard! My fury reached new heights that day while being transported to Barris and since then nobody has seen me, the flatbed, or the driver. Some say I vanished, other say I was stolen. But I am here to ease your worry, as I am safely back at home with my new owner. He is a strange man, always red in the face and wearing a suit, but we do have a vast similarity in personality, and he has restored me to my original perfection. He even changed my name from the “Little Bastard” to, the “little Devil”.

The Runaway King, Elvis’ letter to America

Dear America,
This is the King speaking. Not from beyond the grave but from right here in Graceland. At the tender age of 78 I feel my time is coming to end and I feel I need to unload something that has, let’s just say, all shoke up. I know you all think I died on the crapper in 1977, but there were some who never believed I had actually kicked the bucket. Well those people were right and I’m writing this letter to set the record straight.
I was in a bad way in 77, my heath was as bad as LA smog and I was struggling to keep up with the times and this new fad called Disco. I longed for the good old days when I was just starting out with Berry, Lewis, and Cash, hitting the road from one gig to another. It was tough going, but that’s why started popping pills. I guess that’s when my problem with drugs began, at the time I didn’t think anything of it, neither did Cash, to us they were just wake-me-up mints. They were just a way to stay awake through those long rock n roll nights.
I think this whole thing started back in 71 when I had my little meeting with Tricky Dicky at the White House. At the time, there were a lot of issues Dick and I both agreed on: we both hated the black panthers, dirty hippies, drugs, and those girly voiced Beatles. I asked him if I could be a special federal agent, so I could do my part in the fight against drug abuse and hippies. Amazingly he thought it was a good idea and ordered me a badge from the bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, good looking picture too. I remember Dicky telling me that if there was anything I ever needed, to just ask, even if he wasn’t the president. It made sense for him to say that, after all we had become friends now. Who would have guessed that just years later I would be cashing in on his word.
Being a special agent was a gas man, but everything around me was taken its toll on me. My family, my career, my health, my fans, it was all becoming one bad trip. In order to fight the war against drug abuse I had to conduct my own research and that meant seeing firsthand how drugs had become their own lifestyle. Acid, Mary Jane, pills, you name it and I tried it… for the good of America. Not going to lie though, every once in a grey moon I would conduct extra research, just to take the edge off.
By 76 I was all over there place, and my friends and family were beginning to take concern. I felt fine, or high, I couldn’t tell anymore but I kept rocking the mic at Vegas. One show I met a “me” impersonator named Jimmy “Bucky” Walters, a Georgia kid and man he was the best one I had seen in a while. If he would have been nine year older we could have been twins. I shook his hand and made his day, I even offered to invite him to Graceland for dinner. I don’t remember if it was my mind or the drugs that invited him. The next night as I was sitting in the limo as fans pounded on the windows when the idea came to me. If I was to fake my death I could runaway to some faraway place and live in peace for the rest of my days, maybe even get sober. It seemed like a breath of fresh air at the time. All I needed to do was “die”.
That’s when I made a call to Dick; I needed help if I was going to pull this off. It was the summer of 77 and ever since our meeting in 71 we had been keeping in touch and he considered me a close friend. Granted when I told him my plan, he thought I had spent the night smoking the reefer with Lennon, but I was able to strong arm him into setting the whole thing up. He used his connections to arrange a little surprise for Jimmy Walters that involved a cocktail with enough drugs to overdose an elephant, and then move him to a lab where they would mark his body with the same birth marks I had and age his face a little with plastic surgery. The end result was a complete clone, except this one couldn’t be used for spare parts anymore.
That night we took him to my place and set the whole thing up so people would find “me” dead in the crapper. Why I ended up in the toilet was some thug’s idea of a joke when I told him to place Jimmy in a room people would find me in the morning. I never told my family because, they would never allow me to go through with it and if I did they would uncover my truth so I decided to leave them and tell them later on after the storm cleared. After Jimmy was all set up, we left for the airport on a one way ticket to China, but not before agreeing with Dick never to speak of this. Shooting a man is nothing like you see in the movies, it takes a lot out of you, and lord only knows how those boys in Vietnam did it. Dick and I disposed the bodies of the two thugs that helped us by dumping off the plane, into the sea, while in route.
Over the years I moved around a lot: from China, staying in Tibet with the monks, to the Middle East, to even South America. I grew out my hair and beard so I could walk around in public, and Dick had some of my assets moved to an off shore account so I could get around. It wasn’t until the early 80’s when I told my family, my daughter Lisa didn’t take it too well and she started dating that kid from the Jackson 5 just to piss me off and get me out of hiding, but it had been too long and I was in too deep into this lie.
I wanted to say the truth before I strum my last guitar string. I am sorry America, I am sorry for running away from my fans, I am sorry for being a junkie all those years and living a lie. I do not ask for forgiveness, I am just here to clear the air and unload my burden. I have acted like a hound dog, and I know nothing can change that now.

Your Runaway King,

Elvis Aaron Presley

may 2014 photo backup 060

Night Runner

Cruising along through the darkest of nights

Your eyes widen when the cop flashes his lights

As you ease to a stop your mind will race

What will you say as you slip on your poker face

As you wait for the law, all you can see

Nothing but darkness and a road just for me

You hear the footsteps of his boots

Thinking it’s the perfect time to break loose

In the heat of the moment you decide

Cops can’t catch me tonight

Foot to the floor, balls to the wall

Feeling the devil is behind it all

Headlights cutting through the night

Sensing the danger as you run through a red light

Tires scream as you make the turn

The car breaks loose, make that rubber burn

Up ahead a road block you see

Johnny Law is pulling out all the stops to catch me

Engine bellows in rebellion

As you force it to charge like a stallion

Cops don’t know what to do

As you drive through the roadblock at a hundred and two

Headlights smashed, hood is gone

Car still has gas, so make it run

Sparks flash in the night

Every time a cop tries to bite

With a twist of the wheel you push him into a ditch

Two blown tires making it hard to control this bitch

You’ve gotten away so it seems

Better blow the scene before it turns mean

Engine idles in dark

As you wait for law dogs to cool their bark