July 26, 2006

July 2006, Vol. 5, Issue 7

1. Memories in a Box by Tenzin McGrupp
The emotional weight of all those photographs combined would equal forty thousand elephants. No person is strong enough to walk through life with such a cumbersome burden on their shoulders... More

2. The Returning by Mella
The room seemed larger at night. The corners receded into black, the walls pressed back by shadows, everything coated in a thin veil of blue-gray moonlight. It spilled in through the sheer curtain, flooding the wooden floor. The air was thick, and it smelled like us; sex and sleep... More

3. Grits by Falstaff
when you're drunk, fearless and hungry, you'll go places where no Yankee has ever gone before, the Birmingham Waffle House at 3AM. And trust me, in Birmingham, being from North Carolina marks me as a Yankee... More

4. JetBlue Judy Greer by Derek McGrupp
As I waited at the gate to board my return flight to New York City, I noticed this girl who looked very familiar to me. I couldn't figure out who she was. It was killing me. Then it hit me. She was an actress... More

5. Flying Shotgun by Matt Robertson
I begin screaming and this seems to agitate the bird who in turn begins flapping harder, slapping the side of my face, and screeching louder. I am swerving all over the road at this point... More

6. Rain by Sean A. Donahue
I heard the fire trucks roll as the lightning flashed and as the thunder rolled across the plains of West Texas, I found myself loving listening to the rain again... More

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

From the Editor's Laptop:

Welcome back to another late issue of Truckin'. We have two new contributors this month in Derek and Matt. Both Falstaff and Sean A. Donahue are back, along with Mella who shares one of the best short stories I've read in a very long time.

Thanks to everyone who took a leap of faith with me and submitted their bloodwork this month. I'm extremely lucky to share the same space with excellent writers. I always say that the other contributing authors inspire me, because it's true. You guys write for free and if I could pay you, I would. Your time and effort is worth more money than I can ever afford to pay.

I ask that if you like these stories, then please do me and the rest of the writers a huge favor: Tell your friends about your favorite stories. It takes a few seconds to pass along the URL. I certainly appreciate your support. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you know anyone who is interested in being added to the mailing list.

Thanks again. I am grateful that you wasted your time with my site. Until next time.


"If it weren't for luck, I'd win everytime." - Phil Hellmuth

Memories in a Box

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2006

I needed a couple of pictures for a post that I was writing for a article. During my search through my past, I sorted through two banker's boxes filled with pictures dating back from college. During a three hour period, I was bombarded with flashbacks. I was in hundreds of pictures. Some I recall taking and other memories are a blur.

The ones that hit home the most were from the ex-girlfriends. The ones in college seemed a distant memory, but seeing images of the girls and women I dated in my 20s was a lot for me to handle. That was in an age before digital cameras and I have dozens and dozens of those white envelops from the film developing joint filled with old memories.

Sabine was the French artist. We took pictures one afternoon about 10 years ago. I worked on Wall Street at the time, and we were in the middle of the last spurt of our relationship. We dated on and off for a few years and those pictures represented the last time we were happy together. It was the dead of winter and she met me for lunch on Saturday on one of the coldest days of the 1996. She had never seen my office, so I took her upstairs and she finally got a visualization of "the trenches" that I often spoke of. We headed downstairs for lunch and she was bundled up in a thick woolen green hat with a matching scarf as we walked the near empty streets of Lower Manhattan. French women are fanatically infatuated with scarves and the one Sabine wore stood out. I know it was ten years ago, but I'm still awestruck by the vibrations of that shade of green scarf she wore. I can barely recall the contours of her face or what she used to smell like, but that scarf continued to make an impression on me.

We asked a tourist to take our photo as we sat in the square right in front of what used to be the World Trade Center. I also snapped random pics of the Twin Towers. That was a difficult set of photos to get through. Not only did Sabine break my heart and shatter it into several thousand jagged edges, but I was reminded by the horrible acts of 9.11. People jumped from 100 stories up to their death and landed a few spots from where we were happily sitting. I plunged into a pool of sadness and despair after sorting through those pictures of Sabine.

Lene was my roommate in Seattle. She had purple hair, loved Thai food, and listened to indie Seattle bands like the Supersuckers. We starting sleeping with each other, unknown to the entire house of seven other housemates. After midnight, I'd sneak through her window in the basement apartment and escape before sunrise. When I moved back to NYC, she was in the middle of switching jobs. She was a political activist of sorts and took two or three weeks off to drive cross country with me. She made that epic roadtrip where we drove from Seattle through Wyoming and St. Louis then down to New Orleans, Biloxi, Hilton Head, Savannah and DC before reaching NYC. I smiled when I glimpsed at a photo of her collecting seashells in her shoes as we walked along the beach in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Sookie sat on my bed in my old studio plugging away and writing something on her laptop. She had no idea that I took her photo. That one in particular is black and white and ads a timeless quality to. Very few people I have met in my life could ignite the creative spark in me like Sookie did.

The photo of Angela was taken somewhere in California in the parking lot of a Phish show. She was holding up a veggie burrito in tin foil trying to sell it for $3. She spent the morning and rolled her own, hoping to sell enough to earn money to help cover gas expenses. Her hair was tied up in a Librarian's bun and eight or nine piercings were visible on her left ear. I forgot she used to wear so many earings. At the time the photo was taken, I never thought I could be more in love with someone.

Of course there were pictures from epic overseas trips that I took which included following Phish in Japan and going to Iceland with Senor. I had pics from fraternity formals, drives down the Pacific Coast Highway, from my porch in Seattle, and random pics of partying with friends in Brooklyn.

It was an emotional three hours digging through those boxes, opening up old wounds and falling in love again with the life I used to lead. And the places I used to live. And the friends I used to party with. And the women I used to sleep with.

Since I've been living out of my suitcase/backpack for the last 18 months traveling all over, the only material items I have are what I can carry with me... and those are very few. The rest of my life... my past... has been boxed up and tossed in the corner stored with old CDs, books, and paintings. I don't take those boxes of memories on the road with me because it's too much for me to carry. The emotional weight of all those photographs combined would equal forty thousand elephants. No person is strong enough to walk through life with such a cumbersome burden on their shoulders.

It is what is was. The past is the past and does not exist anymore, unless I allow those fleeting memories to linger in the present.

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.



By Falstaff © 2006

It was my friend Melinda's birthday and we were in Birmingham, Alabama. That right there should tell you that this will not end in a pretty fashion. We start our night at Dreamland, a legendary rib joint with the face of a smiling pig painted nine feet high on the side of the building. I'm always puzzled at the desire of barbeque restaurants to make you feel like you're dining on a Looney Tunes star, but the smiling pig picture has kept legions of sign painters in business for eons through the south.

So we get a table for twelve, and the waitress who seats us obviously knows how to deal with rowdy convention-going dorks like us.

"Y'all want beer or tea?" Remember this is Alabama; there is no question to the sugar content of said tea.

In chorus, a dozen theatre lighting salespeople harmonize the holy chorus of "Bee-eee-eeeeeee-eee-rrrrr!"

"Y'all want chicken or ribs?"

I've never seen the word "chicken" sneered before, but I swear that's what she did. This lovely woman, Alabama's own answer to George Jefferson's Florence, with (I swear) an Aunt Jemima-red bandana on her head, actually sneered the word "chicken."

"Ribs. Lots," this from Alan, Melinda's boss, who had very fastidiously tucked his napkin into his necktie in preparation for the splatterfest that was soon to ensue.

We suggested that he might consider removing his jacket for the feast, but he assured us that he was a trained professional, perfectly capable of making it through a meal without wearing any sauce on his sleeve. In other words, this was not his first barbeque.

About 16 seconds later, Florence came back with twelve beers, emerging from various pockets and apron receptacles like clowns from a VW bug, deposits two rolls of Bounty paper towels on the table, and two loaves of Wonder Bread.

The sad thing was, not a soul at the table even thought to ask "what’s the bread for?" Every single, solitary person seated there immediately understood that not only was the bread going to be a far more effective napkin than anything else, but without bread, there can be no sopping. And with any good meal, the sopping is the best part, obviating any requirement for dessert or after-dinner drinks (although there would be plenty of after-dinner drinking).

About 47 consumed beers later (about 28 minutes in real time, but we were drunks on a mission), we had consumed everything but a local microbrew called Iron City Beer, and there were three aluminum foil roasting pans in the center of the table, playing host to enough ribs to create a 1/8th scale model of the Capitol Dome. If you are ever in Birmingham and get the opportunity to try Iron City Beer, haul ass to the Mississippi line as quickly as possible.

After decimating the ribs and making short work of both loaves of soppin' bread, we decided that it was time to DANCE! This serves as an acceptable indicator of the higher level thinking that a dozen adults with about 19 degrees between them can engage in after consuming roughly their body weight in beer and ribs. This was not going to be pretty. It got less pretty when we found the nearest dance club, a charming place called Bell Bottoms. All disco, all the time. And me without my white suit. But it was Melinda's birthday, and she wanted dancing, so a-dancing we went.

Immediately upon entering the bar we were confronted with the sight of the inimitable Randy K and thirteen kamikaze shots. Walt two-fisted, because, well, somebody had to drink the last one. Several hours worth of dancing, drinking and Twister ensued (no Crisco was harmed in the playing of this Twister game), finally culminating in the removal of neckties, the blowing of kisses, the sprawling on floors and the closing down of the bar for the night. Salespeople in their barbeque-splattered convention clothes are less than appealing at 2:30 AM in fluorescent lighting.

But since it had now been six hours and about 137 alcoholic beverages since we all last ate, we decided that a Waffle House run was mandatory. Now, let's look past for the moment the fact that Waffle Houses are somewhat frightening before midnight. Even when you're sober. But when you're drunk, fearless and hungry, you'll go places where no Yankee has ever gone before, the Birmingham Waffle House at 3AM. And trust me, in Birmingham, being from North Carolina marks me as a Yankee.

There might have been a few wrong turns to get us to the Waffle House. This might have been assisted by the fact that we had no directions and no one in the car was sober. Or had ever been to Birmingham before 24 hours prior. There may have been an incident where we made a Secret-Service level reverse-and-peel-out change of direction when we noticed a field sobriety checkpoint up ahead as Walt hung out the rear passenger window yelling "Here, piggy, piggy, piggy" while we ran like West Virginia virgins.

But finally, up ahead, was the welcoming golden glow that told me all would soon be well with the universe, the familiar yellow squares with one burnt out letter (because there’s always one burnt out letter in the sign).

We took our seats at the bar and placed out order. In my best amazingly drunken Elwood Blues impression, I ordered eight slices of white toast, two orders of bacon, and a chicken breast. Plain. Melinda had a waffle, which I'd never actually seen anyone eat at a Waffle House before, so it struck me as odd. And Walt ordered a monstrous breakfast with eggs, a double order of grits, bacon, sausage, toast and black coffee. I became very concerned with the upholstery on the ride back.

As our food arrived, two members of Birmingham's finest walked into the diner, looking for all the world like they really needed to find some drunken out-of-towners to lynch before they got off their shift at sunrise to return to their coffins. They walked the entire length of the bar, paused behind each one of us as we tried our best to sit upright, and sat down on the stool right next to Walt just as our food arrived. BubbaCop 1 ordered, asked Walt to pass the napkins, and as he turned around after giving BC the napkins, all the stress, strain and Kamikaze's of the night finally caught up with Walt. He took a good look at the cop sitting next to him; his face took on an expression of the deepest thought, and then morphed into utter calm as he finally passed out, facedown, right into his double order of grits, extra butter.

The cop and I looked at each other over Walt's slumped shoulders, shrugged in unison, pulled him back into a sitting position, and ate our meals, one hand on each of Walt's shoulders while he snored little grit snores in the middle of the Waffle House.

Falstaff is a poker player and writer from Charlotte, NC. He can usually be found at Poker Stage.


By Mella © 2006

The room seemed larger at night. The corners receded into black, the walls pressed back by shadows, everything coated in a thin veil of blue-gray moonlight. It spilled in through the sheer curtain, flooding the wooden floor. The air was thick, and it smelled like us; sex and sleep. I was swimming in it, alone.

It took her hours to fall asleep. The blankets and pillows would disappear, swallowed between her knees. She grunted and sighed and shifted well past our last goodnight. She was miserable. We were miserable. It was her stomach that had awoken me; swollen and tight like a drum, it nudged against my back.

I was careful not to disturb her as I slid from the bed; gingerly lowering my feet to the pool of wavering light. I quietly eased the door enough to press myself past into the hall.

The nursery door was cracked open, a wedge of blue light cut across the dark floor. I pushed it wide and leaned against the doorframe. The room had been easy to convert; a few layers of blue paint, a truck or two on the dresser. I stared at the crib’s solid wood legs pressing inch-deep into the new carpet. The changing table was the same, a little wooden cart with a lip so that the baby doesn’t roll off. But the crib was new, it was the thing she insisted that we change.

I closed the door behind me and followed the wall into the kitchen. Her fat gym bag was sitting beside the door, waiting. I nudged it with my toe, remembering the soft weight of it over my shoulder the first time, as we hobbled to the car, stopping to breathe at each flagstone.

I reached down and tugged the side pocket open. Lip-gloss, hair ties and a soft cover book. I shoved a packet of cookies in and pushed the bag back against the wall. I sat on the counter with a glass of milk and stared at it. Ready to go.

I held her for weeks after it happened. We’d never slept so close; my nose and lips resting on the back of her head; the soft curve of her back pushing against my stomach. I could feel her heart beating under my arm. Neither of us slept well, but we were too afraid to pull apart and feel the chill of it all alone. Exposed.

Do you think she felt anything? She asked me calmly, as I lay behind her. It was the first sentence she spoke about it without her voice wavering or faltering to tears. I tightened my hold on her, burying my face in her neck. She was warm and smelled sweet like vanilla - like coming home. Her hair fell around my eyes. I felt my lips brushing over her soft skin, as I answered, no.

My hand slid down the length of her side and then lingered on the small of her back. It was the first time we had made love since Claire. At first we were bumpy and awkward, like strangers meeting in tangled sheets. But, when she turned towards me and pulled my face to hers, firmly, bringing our lips together; we returned to one another in the gentle pulse of lips and skin.

Mella is a full-time grad student and over tired mama, staving off insanity by writing.

JetBlue Judy Greer

By Derek McGrupp © 2006

As I waited at the gate to board my return flight to New York City, I noticed this girl who looked very familiar to me. I couldn't figure out who she was. It was killing me.

Then it hit me. She was an actress.

I didn't know her name but I've seen her in several movies. I wasn't 100% sure it was her since we were in a Las Vegas airport and not an L.A. one.

JetBlue started boarding the plane. She got on before me. Walking down the aisle, I noticed she was sitting in my row. I sat down and we were the only two in the row.

I looked over and started a conversation shortly into the flight. She was just opening a movie manuscript to read.

"Excuse me but I think I know you. You're Judy, aren't you? Judy Greer?"

"Uhh, yes I am. Do we know each other?"

"Yeah, I think so. We met last year at some party in L.A. I think it was an Arrested Development wrap party. My friend's an exec over there. I drank way too much SoCo that night. I was hitting on you pretty hard. Then, I saw you at John O'Groats the next day and you totally blew me off."

That was a complete lie on my part. I never met this girl before in my life. I pulled a Joaquin Ochoa... and the crime scene investigators at CSI have nothing on me! I glanced at Judy's personal info while waiting in line to board the plane. She had her full name, address and cell phone number on her bag tags. I was feeling frisky leaving Las Vegas and decided to screw around here with her to see how far I could push it.

She chuckled and replied, "Yeah, maybe. I think I remember that party but I'm not sure if I remember you though. What's your name again?"

"It's Derek and that's OK... I'm pretty forgettable sometimes."

"You look familiar to me too now that you mention it. I'm sure I didn't mean to blow you off. I was probably in a hurry to a meeting or something."

"Good... I thought I did something wrong the night before."

"Like what?"

"You don't remember the leg humping incident?"

"During the party?" she said with a puzzled look on her face.

I nodded.

"No, I don't remember that Derek."

"It's probably best that you don't."

"If I did, this seating situation would've been awkward."

"No doubt. I couldn't get you off my leg Judy. It was kind of embarrassing. Everyone was watching you.”

"You're funny."

"Thanks. I'm just kidding about the leg humping."

"I'm sure you are... aren't you?"

"Of course I am."

"I thought so."

"You know Judy... I usually don't allow leg humping until the second date. I'm conservative like that."

"I'm sure you are, Derek. It sounds like it."

"Hey, I think this flight counts as our second date."

After some silence, she finally laughed.

"So JetBlue huh?" I asked.

"Yeah, I like the satellite TV. I'm hoping to watch some Law & Order."

"Sweet. So you must get stopped all the time by fans. It must get annoying especially when horny guys do it?"

"Sometimes. I love my fans though."

"I gotta say, I'm a big fan of The Wedding Planner, Jawbreakers and 13 Going on 30. I really love what you're doing over there. You do great work."

"Over where?"

"Sorry, just a figure of speech. I mean... Fern Mayo... gotta love it."

"Thanks. That's an interesting shirt you're wearing. What's a Snailtrax?"

"It's a long story but it has something to do with a friend of mine. It was his birthday this past weekend. It's a shirt I wear in his honor."

"What's the back of it say?"

"Daddy likes 'em stout!"

"So, why are you going to NYC?"

"Me? I'm going home after a week long vacation with friends and family. You?"

"I have a business meeting in Manhattan. I have to read some of this manuscript before I land.

"Nice. Hey there's a Dark Angel marathon on the Sci-fi channel right now. Four hours of it. Sweet!"

"Excuse me?"

"Sorry. Did I say that out loud, Judy?"


"You gotta love Jessica Alba though."

"I guess most guys love her. I can't blame you."

"Do you know Jessica?"

"We've met."

"Can you introduce me?"

"Only if you let me grab your ass, Derek."

"Excuse me, Judy?"

"You heard me. I want to grab your ass. I heard you have a pretty tight one for a fat kid."


At that moment I started to smell something out of the ordinary. It was a great smell too. It was almost orgasmic. I looked a few rows back and noticed someone was cooking bacon of all things. And it was poker pro Gavin Smith!

What's going on??

I heard some commotion going on up front and turned my attention to it. I saw Bobby Bracelet playing poker pro Chau Giang heads up in a high stakes Blackjack game. Bobby had a t-shirt that said Bobby Blackjack on it. Chau was cursing in another language when I noticed his shirt. On the front, it said "CHOW GANG" and on the back it said "Pimpin' ain't easy."

I realized I was dreaming when I saw Phil Ivey prop betting with old ladies near the toilets. They were playing Roshambo for $100 a pop. Ouch!

That's when I felt a sudden jab at my rib cage. I woke up a little confused. It was Judy Greer. She needed to go to the bathroom. I must have fallen asleep during the Dark Angel marathon. I was pretty tired after partying all week in Las Vegas.

Judy came back to her seat and I asked her if I was snoring. She said no and that I was only drooling. I think she was joking.

"Excuse me but I think I know you. You're Judy, aren't you? Judy Greer?"

"Uhh, yes I am. Didn't we have this conversation already, Derek?"

"I dunno. Did we? Arrested Development? John O'Groats? J-Lo? Fern Mayo?"


"Cool. You rock, Judy."

"Thanks. So do you Derek. How's your Dark Angel marathon?"

"It's going great. I love Jessica Alba!"

"I know. And I'm sorry but I still can't introduce you to her. I don't know her that well."

"Hey, did they come by with drinks and snacks yet?"

"Not yet. You getting thirsty?"

"Yeah. A little bit but I'm really craving some bacon right now for some reason."

"Me too actually. But I don't think they have that on the flight menu."

"You're my kind of girl Judy. My kind of girl! By the way, do you know Bobby Bracelet by chance?"

"No. Should I?"

Derek McGrupp is a poker player from New York City.

Flying Shotgun

By Matt Roberston © 2006

Every Friday night I stay up late partying at the bar, or donking off money online. This makes me sleep late on Saturday. I spend the day doing the typical Saturday things (sitting on the couch in my underpants eating Doritos) and then go out on Saturday night till the wee hours of the morning. Sunday arrives and I'm not getting to bed until the afternoon. Consequently, my body's sleep schedule is shot to hell, I don't get to sleep till late, and I can't get out of bed in time for work Monday morning.

I roll out of bed about five minutes before I am supposed to be at work, throw on some clothes and head to the office. My eyes aren't even fully open yet, as I back out of my driveway. So now I'm just cruising down the road on my way to work. Gas is pretty expensive lately, so I've got my window down instead of running the air conditioner. I turn onto the main street and I start thinking about getting a cup of coffee once I get to work. The classic rock station I'm listening to is playing Boston and the warm morning air feels good coming in from the open windows. I sigh as I see that I am already late for work.

I never saw it coming. I don't even understand how it happened, but all of a sudden something hits me in the face.

A bird has flown into my car through my driver's side window. Its wing slapped me in the face as it entered the car. Its body is caught by the seat belt strap that I am wearing. This has left the bird screeching and flapping right around my left ear. I begin screaming and this seems to agitate the bird who in turn begins flapping harder, slapping the side of my face, and screeching louder. I am swerving all over the road at this point. Luckily it is just past 8 o'clock and most of the morning rush hour is already off the road around here.

Suddenly there is a loud honking and I manage to divert my attention from the bird attacking my head to the large yellow school bus that I am barreling towards on the wrong side of the road. I the bus with a good seven inches to spare. As I pass I can hear the screams of the children on the bus. The bird begins to crap all over my shoulder while continuing to screech and slapping me in the face, and I continue to scream like a little girl.

The bird breaks free and tries to escape by flying out my rear window.

I stop screaming and began swearing. I'm still trying to figure what just happened when the bird flies back up to the front of the car and tries to go out the windshield.

The bird is now is fluttering around the dashboard right in front of me. For a brief moment, we lock eyes... It's if in that one moment the bird and I can communicate. I look right into its black eyes and the bird and I have an singular understanding between us. This bird is going to kill me. It stands up on the dashboard, flaps its wings at me and screeches the loudest yet. Of course, that makes me scream as well. It again flies to the back of the car and goes down in the cargo area of my Jeep. I manage to pull over on a side street and I roll down all my windows. I get out of the car and open up the back gate of the Jeep. The bird from hell comes out like someone shot it out of a cannon.

I watch as it flies away and try to wrap my head around what just happened. My shirt and the inside of my car are both covered in bird shit. I was almost in a head on crash with a school bus, and I just got my assed kicked by a tiny bird.

This beat up grey Honda that was behind me has pulled in on the side street also. It is some 16-year old pothead laughing his ass off. He tells me he saw the bird fly in and what happened. He asks me if I am OK. I said, "I think so," and he replies, "Dude, I just wanted you to know that was the funniest thing I have ever seen in my life."

Matt Robertson is 25 year old computer tech and amateur poker player living in Tulsa, OK. He is a lot like Jesus except he's fat.


By Sean A. Donahue © 2006

I used to love to listen to the rain. It was peaceful and wonderful. Then severe weather and my responsibilities at the radio station took over. I couldn't enjoy the rain anymore. All I could do was curse as I was stuck in a studio giving important, yet boring information to the listeners of my station.

But tonight was something different. The severe storms were nowhere near and I got to go out and just listen to the rain. Listen as each patter of rain hit something different and made a slightly different noise.

I heard the fire trucks roll as the lightning flashed and as the thunder rolled across the plains of West Texas, I found myself loving listening to the rain again.

I remember the day I first hated the rain. Angie and I had broken up in one of the many fights that littered our relationship. I had invited a friend over for a drink and to watch the storm. We sat in my candle-lit apartment and she and I just watched the rain.

Then Angie came over to "return something of mine." Yes, it was an excuse to see who I was seeing at the time but there was something about it that bothered me.

"We used to listen to the rain together," Angie said.

"And now I am listening to the rain and Mozart with her," said I.

“Asshole," was Angie’s quick comeback, which caused my date to quickly leave.

I sat there as Angie walked away in her smug, "I spoiled that encounter!" mood and tried to listen to the rain.

But all I heard was her words. We used to...

Such hurtful and painful words to me they were, but they had no meaning. There was nothing in the listening of rain, just something we used to do when she first moved here to Texas.

Why does listening to rain mean I am cheating on her?

I was defiant and tried to hear the same sounds, smell the same smell, and feel the same emotions that I used to.

But it was lost.

I had lost the touch to smell the rain, to hear the splatter on a leaf, to be able to anticipate the thunder, to be able to choreograph the lightning. For that was the greatest feeling in the world!

But I had lost it, until tonight. I had lost the adrenaline flowing as the thunder approached but tonight it flowed. I had lost the ability to smell the lightning, but the acidic smell filled my nostrils. And the sounds, the wonderful sounds that I am hearing engulf me as I sit in my car typing this. It is such a great thing to do, get something that is lost and find it again.

I have found things that I thought were long lost and gone in these last couple of weeks, some slowly and surely, some with passion. There are issues in my life I am addressing. I am taking care of my responsibilities and needs of family and myself. Some things cannot be solved in one sitting. Some will never be solved. But instead of racking my brain, making myself miserable, I am just taking one thing at a time.

Love? Not looking for it. Can’t help it if I don't find it, and will deal with it when I do.

My kids will be coming to see me soon and I cannot change the way they feel about their mother or me in nine days. So why try? Just give them unconditional love and the benefits will come.

I could look at all the improbabilities of my job and the issues I have to deal with daily.

But, instead I am taking my time, enjoying the moment and smiling, for sometimes you just have to turn off the lights, open the windows and listen to the rain.

Sean A. Donahue is a freelance writer, radio personality and poker amateur. He plans to move to the semi-pros with stops in Topeka and Albuquerque some day. He has been published in For Kids Sake Magazine, Sunlight through the Shadows and is the author of Instant Tragedy a website looking a life, liberty, and the ability to have Instant Tragedy when you just add water. He is divorced with two children and lives in Lubbock Texas.