February 28, 2004

February 2004 (Vol. 3, Issue 2)

Welcome back to my favorite blog-zine. This month I wrote my second Miami Story and yet another Subway Story. Sigge penned his third Cuban adventure. Richard Bulkeley returns with his second story, this one about bus travel. And I'm happy to add another new scribe to the mix: Paris Wispy. She shares a great story and becomes our first Canadian writer to join the staff. I am proud to have an international issue this month with New Zealand, Norway, Canada, and NYC being highly represented. So sit back, relax, and enjoy! Thanks for your support. Thanks, McG.

1. A Monday Subway Story by Tenzin McGrupp
He was surprised I'd said anything. He expected to get away with blatant littering. So many people in New York did that and I never had the balls to call some one out on their uncouth behavior. I proudly pointed to the ground and he looked around as though he were looking for a dropped glove or a misplaced wallet.... More
2. Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright by Paris Wispy
The unrelenting humidity and humanity of Delhi overwhelms me. People press in and jostle and yell and I grip my father's hand tightly as we emerge from the terminal... More
3. History Will Absolve This... Another Cuba Story by Sigge Amdal
When we got there, however, we met someone we'd seen before: the entire Afrocuban Allstars were hanging around with a group of American girls... More
4. Rules of the Road by Richard Bulkeley
Long Haul bus travel in this modern era of budget airlines, and rampant car ownership is truly the domain of the different. The experience could be compared to a long plane trip, but that would be missing many of the nuances... More
5. At the Dog Track by Tenzin McGrupp
Everyone that I played with at my table was over the age of 65. I had no remorse about the possibility of taking some of their social security money... but hey, they're at the dog track, looking to piss money away, so I figured I'd stop in and see if I could crack that game... More

A Monday Night Subway Story

A Monday Night Subway Story

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2004

6:54 pm EST – No. 1 train

I sat on the semi-crowded subway in the corner across from two people, one of them a young lady with a fake Louis Vuitton hand bag, furiously attacking a scratch-off lottery ticket with a quarter. Her boyfriend, snuggled up next to her, sipped a tall-boy can of beer wrapped up in a brown paper bag. He sighed contently after each sip and shook his head when his girlfriend nonchalantly accepted her role as another lottery loser. A relaxed man with a gray wool hat, and wire-rimmed glasses sat next to them and quietly read a copy of the NY Times, with an old copy of a Charles Dickens novel at his side, which sat on the empty seat next to him.

I glanced over at the rest of the subway car... an exhausted secretary with a large zit on her nose napped while she clutched her leftover lunch, a sandwich of some kind, neatly wrapped up in cellophane. The man across from her gleefully listened to salsa tunes on his brand new iPod. Two Catholic high school girls in front of him giggled as they flipped through a fashion magazine. A bearded graduate student wearing Salvation Army bought clothes and his all-black wearing, know-it-all, sidekick passionately debated Charlie Parker’s contributions to music and how his drug problem was subsequently fueled by the CIA’s importation of heroin from Siam prior to the Vietnam War. An average middle-aged guy, wearing an average looking blue suit thumbed through the sports pages of the NY Daily News. "MARBURY SCORES 42" the headline boldyl exclaimed, as a young Asian woman read along over his shoulder, while another young woman with very long nails, sent her two-timing lover a text message on her cellphone.

The doors abruptly opened and a group of people departed and a new wave of passengers hopped on. A weary messenger dragged his bicycle through the subway and I gazed at the numerous salt stains all over his wheels and rims. The poor fellow still had to work through the snow and bitter winter cold. An old Hispanic man struggled to make enough room for his brand new 19’ color TV while he kept a keen eye on his grandson, a chubby kid who wore a NY Yankees hat. Two yuppie women stood in front of me and discussed the best sushi in L.A. for two entire subway stops. A young Hasidic Jew with thick glasses and a black rimmed hat, sat down next to me with a yellow plastic bag. He quickly dug through his bag and pulled out a smaller paper bag, that rattled when he placed it on his lap. He sifted through and scooped up a couple of pistachio nuts and broke the shells off of each one. He popped the nuts into his mouth. Several shells fell all over his dark pants and jacket. He lazily attempted to throw all of the empty shells into the plastic bag, but a couple of them hit the floor. He did not seem to care and continued his shell cracking and pistachio consumption. I glanced at the messy floor and blurted out, "You dropped something."

He was surprised I'd said anything. He expected to get away with blatant littering. So many people in New York did that and I never had the balls to call some one out on their uncouth behavior. I proudly pointed to the ground and he looked around as though he were looking for a dropped glove or a misplaced wallet.

"Those shells. You dropped them on the floor."

He stared at me in silence. One shell that had lingered on his pant leg fell to the ground.

"Well, just don’t sit there, pick them up!"

He jumped out of his seat and collected about twelve or so shells off the floor and placed them in the yellow plastic bag. The train stopped at the station and the doors opened. It was my stop and I got up to leave. Before I reached the door, I turned around and pointed, "Don’t forget about those three over there!"

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

By Paris Wispy © 2004


My family is startled and look up from their dinner plates. I have my face scrunched up and hands on either side forming claws. I am trying to look fierce and by their reaction I am sure I have succeeded. My mother inquires of my health.

"I'm fine - I am a tiger." My sister rolls her eyes and sighs with the long-suffering breath she uses with me.

"Motherrrrr... it wasn't enough she thought she was a horse and pranced and whinnied all over the place... now she has to be a tiger? Grow up, brat!" I stick my tongue out then remember that a wild cat would not do that so I roar at her again.

"You are just jealous because I have a new nickname and you don't." She mutters something about possible nicknames, none of them befitting a Supreme Feline and I bare my teeth. Eventually, I tell them about swim practice that day. The day before, I had been to a swim meet and won a hotly-contested race. At practice, my teammates had made me beam by recounting it and one of the big teenaged boys had ruffled my hair and called me Tiger. For the rest of the practice, the nickname had stuck.

I glance more than once at my dad as I recount the incident and I don't fail to notice the smiles he gives me. Due to the nature of my dad's work, he is often gone from home for months at a time and I bask in his presence this night. I go to sleep growling softly and smiling, my stuffed bear held close for security. I am ten years old but I imagine even tigers sometimes worry in the night...

I come home from swim practice a few months later and it is snowing. I leap out of the car and cavort in the dark. In answer to my sister's eternal question, I reply that no, I am not a Polar Bear, I am an Ice Tiger and I nail her with a snowball. This is, of course, a declaration of war as anyone with siblings knows. We all roll around and at one point I look up and our parents are at the living room window watching us with their arms around each other and smiling. It is one of those snapshots of memory that will be as fresh when I am ninety as it was then.

After dinner, my parents relax with a drink and ask me to join them. They are usually snuggling and stuff and I have no wish to witness that so I curl up with my dad to put paid to that behaviour. They don't waste any time and come to the point of this little summit. My mother sits calmly and smiles but I am as attuned to her as I am to my own mind and I can sense some subtle stress as my dad speaks.

"I have accepted another assignment, baby." My arms tighten around him.

"It will take four months but I think you'll like this one." I say nothing but am naturally curious. He has had some fascinating assignments and I have spent hours pouring over the pictures.

"It is all about tigers." I perk.

"Your mother and I have decided to allow you to accompany me for a portion of it…to India to see some wild Bengal Tigers if we are lucky." My mother grips her glass slightly but I am too busy hugging my dad and whooping. Together, we pore over maps and itineraries. I do not notice when my mother slips from the room.

The next few weeks are a whirlwind of excitement. I tack up pictures of tigers on my wall, visit them at the zoo and hungrily read everything I can find about them. As is usual, my mother does not accompany us to the airport but says her farewells at home. She hugs me especially tight and whispers, "Godspeed". She holds my father for a very long time but says little. She has said all she has to say before this.

The unrelenting humidity and humanity of Delhi overwhelms me. People press in and jostle and yell and I grip my father's hand tightly as we emerge from the terminal. An old man, weathered by time and environment tosses away a cigarette and speaks my dad's name. He is introduced to me, Bhudev, and bows solemnly but I catch the twinkle in his eye. I can recognize someone who understands children and I take to him right away. He waves us into an ancient car which spews black smoke and we careen off into the madness that is that exotic city. I lean alertly against my father, watching as Bhudev keeps up a steady stream of conversation while gesturing wildly at the other drivers. The talk is all about politics and economics, subjects which only half-engage my ten year old mind. I want to hear about tigers. At one point, Bhudev pauses and catches my eye in the mirror. He chuckles.

"Heh, in Sanskrit, the name Pari which is close enough you will allow, means beautiful fairy." I smile.

"It is a most fitting name, I am thinking. India will make you more...". He searches his mind for a word then laughs from deep in his belly.

"I leave it at that. But listen, you know what my name means?" I shake my head and he continues.

"It means Lord of the Earth." Ah, you laugh and I laugh with you because it was a cocky name for a cocky boy." He grows serious and studies me quietly.

"You will meet the true lord of the earth soon. He comes in darkness and is there and then not there. He seeks neither friend nor ally. He hunts. It is his nature. We are hunters too, of a kind but he hunts for survival and we are going into his house. We must take pains to ensure we do not become the hunted." At a movement or perhaps a look from my father, Bhudev lapses into silence and I stare unseeingly out the window. The word hunted streaks across my mind and I unzip my backpack, drawing my bear near.

That night, the same car arrives and takes us to what seems to me to be a shabby home far from the hotel. Bhudev has been replaced by a chain-smoking youth who hunches over the wheel, frowning. I am wearing a sari and the vibrant colours and whispery silk enchants me. My father, too, looks different. He is wearing flowing cream linen pants and shirt and he sits beside me in watchful relaxation.

The yard is strung with patio lanterns and music blares from open windows and doors. We are enveloped by people and I am stroked and petted by beautifully-adorned women. Bhudev comes forward, beaming and clasps my father in a bear hug then lifts me to the air. I gaze down upon smiling faces and look at my father. He nods and I raise my hands in the air as if I was a plane. A burst of laughter then I am back down and plates of food and drink are thrust into my hands and I am a part of this celebration, the cause behind I neither know nor care. I eat and dance and laugh and am only brought back to earth when several mothers grin delightedly and lament that I am not Indian or I would surely be betrothed to their eager sons who hover nearby. I am asleep by the time we leave and murmur happily as my dad carries me to the car.

We depart the next day for Bandhavgarh. It is a long, grueling trip and my father is deep in conversation with Bhudev for much of it. I amuse myself as best I can but the terrain outside the window of the plane and later truck is uninspiring and I nap frequently. It is dark by the time we reach the camp and I barely notice the surroundings.

I am up early and I wander around. Outside the perimeter fences is a dense crush of rainforest and I stare into it wondering if I am being watched by a still form. I see nothing but already I am feeling less like a tiger and more like the little girl that I am.

It is late afternoon and we set out. There are five of us and three have guns. We walk along a faint path for two hours and although I grow tired of walking, I say nothing. I sense that I am along only because my father wishes it but the others disapprove. I want to do nothing to make him regret my presence. It is much darker in the jungle and the heat is oppressive. The men with us speak mostly in grunts and I find myself adopting their vocalizations. They move silently and I concentrate instead on copying them. I keep my head down because there are walking hazards but also, I do not want the men to see my eyes. I am slightly frightened. My father stays very close.

We reach a watering hole. It is very small and surrounded by more of the weirdly twisted trees and ferns that make up this forest. My father places me on the ground beside him and gets to work. It takes several hours to set up the cameras, test them, build our hide and erase as much of our efforts as we can. The sun sets as we finish and take our places in our chosen spot. We have eaten our cold vegetarian meal. The men check and recheck then recheck again their weapons in grim silence and we settle down to wait in absolute silence.

I begin to understand through those long, cramped, silent hours the leap of faith my father took when he decided to take me with him. If I was the kind of child who would not understand what was required or was unable to fulfill those expectations, this could be a serious mistake in judgment. I look around at the other men and realize that my father commands their respect and that he has proven it in the past. The men seemingly pay me no heed but I can tell they have reservations and have planned the worst-case scenario. I am determined to rise above their fatalism and I squeeze my dad’s hand for extra reassurance.

It is hotter now and I can feel the forest closing in on me. I laugh silently as I recall rush hour on the city’s subways and how it used to leave me breathless. As trees crack from natural contraction and expansion, I close my eyes and dream of the safe urban jungle. I hear my mother’s soothing voice and I am again taunting my sister and brother. When I open them again, I cannot tell the difference – I can see nothing. My heart rate accelerates and I hear a soft clucking sound from Bhudev. My dad brushes his lips against my hair and I relax. My eyes focus slightly and I have my night vision. I go into a trance.

There is no noise but every hair on my skin rises all the same. The men have not moved but all attention is focused forward. My father has raised his lens to his eye and is intent upon its view. Nothing…nothing…then he moves.

He is a wraith.

One shadow detaches itself from another and reaches for the water. He drinks briefly and I am struck how like a demure kitten he laps. I smile and want to move down to pat his soft fur and have him purr in my lap. He raises his head, water dripping from his muzzle and stares across the ages at me. There is unreasoning wildness in his eyes and the word hunted flashes.

He is gone before it even echoes.

Paris Wispy is a writer originally from Toronto, Canada. She's currently living in Miami, FL.

History Will Absolve This... Another Cuba Story

By Sigge S. Amdal © 2004

Last night Ola and I went to go and see the piano player from Buena Vista (I can't remember his name) accompanied by the Afrocuban Allstars with others. The price: $25 USD. Expensive, but considering the fact that the two hour concert was held at Hotel Nacional - the most posh space in all of Cuba - made it worth it. Just seeing how rich Americans and exiled Cubans lived when they visited Havana, was truly an experience to learn from. We went with a couple of other Norwegians (all together we were four who bothered to go to this great musical and historical event) named Eirik and David, two nice guys I'd had the fun of meeting the previous night.

After a beer, we got a cab to the hotel to pick up the tickets and hung around until the show started. We were astonished by the luxury, and not surprised at all that gangsters and corporate men wished to stay there when in Cuba. We drank a couple of beers, accompanied by a mobile band playing "El Comandante Che Guivarra" (real name of the song is: "Hasta Siempre Comandante"), a propaganda song I had learned the day before. Really great, but it drove away all the other hotel guests trying to hide from reality.

So, before the show started, this very old guy held up by two younger relatives came towards us at the concert hall's entrance. We recognized him as one of the legendary musicians we were going to see and we were pretty excited to have seen him. When he came to our table, he shook hands with us all and asked if we were ready for a night of partying and dancing. HOW COOL IS THAT?

The concert was great, opened by a Latin-American singer who must have been around seventy or something, who really knew how to shake that booty and sing! Then another legend in Latin-American music played and really delivered some great blues, jazz and salsa on the piano. Then, last but not least, our hero from before entered the stage and appeared to be one of the most interesting vocalists I've ever heard live (and I've heard quite a few). His blues-voice was similar to great people like Tom Waits and B.B. King, but he really, really kicked it on the salsa and rumba tunes! Those people were so charming, and not at all in a distance from the audience. If you wished to, you could just leave the table and start dancing. Which we did.

After the concert, having spent quite a few dollars, we were happy as bunnies on the open fields after quite an entertaining and heartwarming concert. (And that's not to mention that we were beginning to get pretty drunk too.) We decided to go find a disco or a club of some sort, to shake some more. I'd been paying for my friend Ola for some time now, so we decided to find a mini-bank to get some more cash, which can be a pretty hard task in the middle of the night in a city like Havana. We found it, however, and the night was saved. Or so we thought.

A couple of very feminine guys agreed to help us find some club where we could have a couple of drinks or beers, dance and meet Cuban girls. They only led us to a couple of places where the girls were jinteras, which is a national phenomena after the entering of tourism, and you might say that jinteras are prostitutes. Being men of principles, we sent them away, and decided to head for Malecon - to ggrab a cab and head home. The two guys waere ditched by some guards at the door of one of these places, because they didn't serve homosexuals. Heh.

When we got there, however, we met someone we'd seen before: the entire Afrocuban Allstars were hanging around with a group of American girls. "Hey! Let's crash the party!" I thought. So we bought some beers and started to soicialize with the guys, who turned out to be pretty nice and not arrogant at all (to be such great musicians)! Hanging there for a couple of beers, until all the Americans and musicians had gone, we went on walking to find some more partying. Have you ever heard about Malecon? It's really something special. Just this mile-and-mile long pavement by the seashore. Just the kind of place to have a walk with your girlfriend if you want to impress her. We didn't find any more cool people there, though, most of them were just waiting for a ride home..

BUT, after a while we found this staircase with a 24/7 bar and music, and even though it was 3 AM, we decided to have a couple of beers and shake that ass! It was really funny, I can tell you. I mean, I'm not much of a dancer, but when noone in a mile's distance is standing still, you can´t just sit down and drink beer; you've got to dance! And it was great fun! We stayed there till about five in the morning, and by that time I was so exhausted having been drinking, dancing and walking all around Havana all night, so I was practically ready to hit the sack. We found a Cuban who was willing to take us home for a dollar each (quite cheap considering). When we got home, at 5:30 am, we were all so hungry, that we decided to stay awake till breakfast. And we did, accompanied by Cuba Libre - a drink consisting of Rum and Coke. Not that good, but it keeps you awake.

All in all it was a great experience, I can tell you. If I'd had the memory and patience to tell you all the details which makes the whole story a whole lot better, I would.

Sigge Amdal is a word wanker from Oslo, Norway.

The Rules of the Road

By Richard Bulkeley © 2004

Long Haul bus travel in this modern era of budget airlines, and rampant car ownership is truly the domain of the different. The experience could be compared to a long plane trip, but that would be missing many of the nuances.

Planes, thankfully, do not usually nearly run into the back of one another, well except when Congolese Air Traffic Control are removed from duty by some particularly insistent armed gentlemen exercising their non-democratic right to attempt a coup d’etat. That or when some guy in New York is involved in a pissing contest with the hotshot new guy and cracks under pressure.

No wait, the second one didn’t happen to me, that’s the plot of that movie - Pushing Tin. I apologise, I’ve spent too long in the company of the flotsam and jetsam that drift along the highways of North America at between 50 and 80mph (depending on if the driver is jaded enough to have disconnected his speed-limiter).

At night, the bus resembles a neighbourhood bar. The kind that is still light-years away from being renovated into a trendy brew-pub or an overpriced block of apartments for suit wearers. It’s not the kind of pub you wander into accidentally. Everyone here has got a reason to be here, usually it’s because they have nowhere else to go. This is their only transport option, and for reasons best left unexamined, they need be transported.

Some of the passengers, too, are best left unexamined. The pig-lady definitely fell into this category. She wasn’t just a fat woman; she seemed to make a point of emphasising it. Her leopard print crop top and black bike shorts forced the roll of fat around her midriff to protrude even further than it normally would. The exposed flesh was a pasty white, somewhere between cottage cheese and the dead skin that snakes shed every spring. I’m not sure how, or why she was like that, or why she felt compelled to display it. But she did, and each of us in the back few seats had to fight our own battle with nausea.

It was a regular battle too, since she walked up and down the aisle every ten minutes. She was like a force of nature. Nothing could stop, or even delay her progress. Any legs that strayed into the aisle were thigh-checked out of the way with a force that would draw penalties in the NHL. If your arm or head were outside their designated area, a sweaty torso would impose vigilante justice.

What irritates us about her was not that she is fat. The mother fleeing her abusive redneck boyfriend looks like she put on twenty pounds for each of her four children, and she is a wonderful person. Although her grotesque display certainly does not help, we bus travellers are mature enough to realise that fat people are OK – as long as they don’t sit next to me. No, what makes her the object of ridicule and irritation is that she breaks the rules of bus travel. She disturbs other passengers (and not just by being the pig-woman). More importantly, she does not apologise, or try to avoid it. We are like non-people to her. In close confinement like this, you have to ignore other people, but you have to treat them like people. She does not, and in doing so is upsetting the fragile social order of the bus.

But nobody messes with her. She’s crazy. Collected the whole set of malfunctions – muttering to herself, twitching head, and a subtle odour that your glad you can’t quite identify. Sure, everyone goes a little bit crazy on the bus, but she’s crossed the line. What is worse, she seems to give no indication that the line ever existed.

One of the key features of civilization is that there’s always a line. It’s a fuzzy line, and eminently flexible. In some circles, intra-venous heroin usage is OK until you’re injecting into your penis, then you’ve gone too far. In others, using the fish knife for salad attracts a red-card. But there’s always a line.

24 hours into our journey, we made a poo and chew stop. One way in which bus travel is superior to planes is that every 4 to 6 hours, you get fresh air. Of course, if I was on a plane, I could be halfway round the world already, instead of barely out of Ontario. But these stops, where you can purchase greasy over-priced food and use a greasy under-cleaned bathroom, are welcome oases.

We all poured off the bus and trooped back on. Then the bus driver stood at the front of the bus and counted us. This is a part of the Greyhound ritual, as inflexible and pointless as the safety demonstrations on aircraft. Except this time we were one short. He started to walk down the aisle and count us again. At this point the realisation struck me. The missing person was the pig-lady. I couldn’t see her flabby shoulder in the lineup of profiles across the aisle from me. Then I thought I had seen her enter the toilet just as the remigration to the bus began. The bus driver kept counting heads “nine, ten, eleven…” and I quickly called out “and one in the toilet”.

It wasn’t technically a lie, although obviously it was. I knew there was no one in the bus toilet. He looked up at me, an old man in a crisp uniform. Our eyes met down the length of the aisle. The few people who realised what I was trying to do held their breaths. He looked at me and I looked back. He looked at the empty seat and then back past me. I turned to follow his gaze and not only spotted a figure partially in leopard skin leaving the bus station but that the toilet door was open.

I looked back slowly. This guy didn’t seem like he took jokes well. He had only been our driver for a couple of hours, but we knew he was by the book. You could tell that just by looking at him. He looked at me, expressionless, turned on his heel and announced without a trace of irony “and one in the toilet”, and we were on our way.

It’s like I said, everyone goes a little bit crazy on the bus.

Richard Bulkeley is gentleman scholar from Auckland, New Zealand.

At the Dog Track

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2004

Monday 12.29.03… Hollywood, Florida

I've played poker all over the world. I'll play anywhere, any time. My buddy Schanzer told me about the Hollywood Greyhound Track. He went there a few weeks earlier when he was in Miami visiting Jerry. He told me about their poker room and described it as "sketchy".

I arrived just after the room opened at Noon. Located on the second floor, you have to take an escalator to get to the poker which looked like it used to be a banquet hall or something nice. There were twenty tables with new felt, and outer doors facing the actual dog track and plenty of Florida sunshine bursting through, illuminating the already well lit room. There was a cashier that took bets on horse races and the dogs. Several TV screens scattered throughout the room flashed simulcast races from all over America.

Let me set the premise here... everyone that I sat down with was at least double my age. I would say that everyone that I played with at my first Straight $2 Texas Hold'em table was over the age of 65. I had no remorse about the possibility of taking some of their social security money... but hey, they're at the dog track, looking to piss money away, so I figured I'd stop in and see if I could crack that game. I got to play with wise guys by the name of Slow Jimmy, Harry the Greek, and even a guy named Saul. In the movie Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Carl Reiner played a character named Saul. When we are first introduced to him, he was gambling at a Florida dog track. I giggled at the randomness of the guy next to me.

Almost all of these guys were from the Northeast and retired to Miami. They all played the ponies and I got a few random tips (unsolicited of course). Harry the Greek was the craziest.... my man looked like Harvey Keitel at age 82 with a freakin' voice box! Every time he'd yell "Raise!", I'd freak the fuck out!

One guy’s hands would shake so much, at first I thought he had a monster hand and I folded my cards. I realized that his hands shook all the time. He told me that he was a bank president from Ohio. I nicknamed him Shakes the Banker. Another guy was so blind that he had to pull the cards right up to his face to read them. The young female dealer sighed every time she had to read aloud the cards on the table for the Blind Guy.

Twenty minutes into the game, the security guard was called over to our table to prevent a fight. One older Hispanic fellow, who reminded me of Willie Colon, got into an argument with the player next to him. That guy was the oldest man at the table well into his late 80s. By the looks of his frail body, I felt that he should have been in a hospice instead of a poker room. He almost hyperventilated when he got into a pissing match at the table. I forgot why exactly they were arguing, but seeing two old guys on the verge of a fist fight at 12:30 on a Monday afternoon was too much for me to handle.

"I don’t care if you’re a World War I veteran, I’ll still bust you up," snarled the Hispanic man.

"Bring it on buddy, I could use the lawsuit," quickly quipped the old man.

I had to get up from the table because I could not stop laughing. I knocked my stacks of chips over trying to cover up my face. In almost a decade of playing poker in card rooms and casinos, that was the closest I ever say two people come to blows. All over a $2 limit poker game.

It was hard not to have sympathy for those guys. They were just waiting to die. And, yes, I never felt more alive.

Tezin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.

What A Long Strange Trip It's Been...

From the Editor's Laptop:

Greetings again and thanks for reading another epic issue of Truckin'. I am happy to add another new writer to the mix, Paris who adds an international flavor to February Truckin', with Canada, New Zealand, and Norway beging well represented. Thanks to the Poker Penguin and Sigge for also submitting their bloodwork and their voice to a kick ass issue.

Next month, I hope to have another exciting issue with some new writers. And I'll return with another Miami story for sure. Stay tuned.

Please feel free to e-mail this link to your friends, families, co-workers, cellmates, lifemates, etc. Help spread the good word about this site and the writers! We need all the publicity we can get.

Be Sweet,

"I never know what I think about something until I read what I've written on it." - William Faulkner