September 18, 2002

September 2002 (Vol. 1, Issue 4

Welcome to Truckin' my monthly E-Zine. This month's issue features two stories from Señor who writes about his Thailand experiences. Jessica E. Lapidus shares a story on San Francisco. Armando Huerta returns with a Venezuelan jet plane tale. We also have three new authors for this issue. Stephen Adkins writes a sincere reflection letter on 9.11.02. And Mona LaVigne debuts with her story on Budapest. Oh, of course, yours truly, Tenzin McGrupp, wrote another subway story and let you all glimpse into the life of a cookie addict. Relax, enjoy, and please tell your friends about this site. Thanks for all your support. Salukis! McG

A Caged Bird Sings on the Subway by Tenzin McGrupp
San Francisco by Jessica E. Lapidus
The Cookie Junkie by Tenzin McGrupp
Leaving on a Jet Plane by Armando Huerta
Angel of Death by Señor
Budapest by Mona LaVigne
9.11.02 Letter by Stephen Adkins
Mysticism by Señor

A Caged Bird Sings on the Subway

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2002

I was in the usual subway daze, standing in the middle of the crowded car, holding onto the pole above my head, staring at nothing in particular. With my mind writing and re-writing passages for my novel, I had retreated into my own world. The train arrived at 96th Street, and that’s when I noticed the young black girl in a purple t-shirt and jeans sitting down in front of me. She looked no older than 12 or 13 and she had long braided hair. Not the corn-rows, which every kid seems to be wearing these days, but old school braids, more similar to the ones worn by the Williams’ sisters of tennis fame. Her studious eyes were fixated on the book she was reading. I glanced down and saw she was clutching Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I had read her book when I lived in Atlanta and again when I was living in Seattle and I must say it was one of the most influential books on my life as a person and writer. Maya Angelou’s auto-biographical novel candidly depicts her life as a southern black child, from being shipped off to live with her grandmother in Arkansas when she was four, to the harsh and graphic description of the events around her molestation and rape when she was eight, and then to giving birth to a son in California when she was just sixteen just before WWII. When I read it the first time I was blown away by her honesty, candor and bluntness about the events in her life.

Witnessing this young woman reading powerful American literature in today’s consumer-hip-Hollyweird-MTV domination of the world’s youth was a blessing and a sincere gift of random inspiration. An empty seat opened up next to her and I sat down. I looked over to see what page she was on and she turned to me and smiled.

"What are you reading?" I asked.

With a warm grin she quietly said, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," and shifted her book so I could see the title.

"That’s an amazing book. It blew me away when I read it almost a decade ago. Do you like Maya Angelou?"

She smiled again and grew more attentive to our conversation.

"Yeah," she said, speaking a little louder, "She’s my favorite poet too. I want to be a writer because of her. Well, I want to be a lawyer or a writer."

I smirked and nodded my head. I’m talking books with a writer.

"Wow, that’s great. Stick to writing, the world needs more writers."

"O.K. Do you like Maya Angelou?"

As the subway raced past Columbia University, I launched into one of my infamous rambling lectures on racism and the South and empowerment among young women, especially minority women, and she sat and listened and at times I knew she had no clue what I was talking about, but she was polite and asked several thought provoking questions, it’s then that I figured out she’s no ordinary kid riding the subway.

"What do you do?" she inquired.

"I’m a writer."

"What do you write?"

"I’m working on a novel and I write a bunch of other stuff too," I explain.

"Are you famous?"

“Am I famous?” I laughed while the train pulled out of the station. I thought of something Mona reminds me everyday: “McGrupp, you’re famous in your own mind for sure!”

"No," I humbly began to answer, until my ego took over and continued, "Well, not yet."

"You could have fooled me, " she said, "You look famous."

We both laughed.

"How so?"

"I dunno, it’s like..." she paused, "you have some sort of… I dunno. You just look famous. And you’re the first white man I met who read all of Maya Angelou’s books."

"Well I’m a nerd. Who else do you read?"

"I like Alice Walker, Zora Hurston and Langston Hughes."

Wow. I’m impressed. I don’t know any adults who have read one of these authors, let alone all three. "Langston Hughes? How old are you? Are you in high school yet?"

"Yeah, I’m twelve and a half, and go to junior high."

"Man, I don’t know many adults who read the quality of writing that you are. Keep up the good work. It will only make you a better writer."

"Thanks. I really love to read. My aunt she work’s at Barnes & Noble’s downtown. She gets a discount and gives me all kinds of books. So who should I be reading next?"

"James Baldwin. Have you ever read him?"

"No." she said while she unzipped her backpack and took out a pen and started to write his name in a little Spiderman notebook. When she was done she looked up and yelled, "Who else?!"

"Richard Wright, but I have a feeling you already read Native Son and Black Boy."

She nodded. "Who do you read?"

"Henry Miller. Charles Bukowski. Ken Kesey. Dostoevsky. Kurt Vonnegut. Spalding Gray. Thomas Friedman. Hunter Thompson. Philip Roth."

She wrote down all the names and I kept on listing authors as the subway reached the tip of northern Manhattan.

"I think you should wait a few years before you read some of those guys."

I realized I had a book on me, Impossible Vacation by Spalding Gray. Mona had bought it for me at lunchtime for $2 from a street vendor in midtown. I pulled it out of my briefcase and handed it to her. Her eyes swelled with excitement.

"I want to tell you that you should read this is a few years. But I have a feeling if you are as good as a writer as I think you are, you will be reading it very soon."

"Thanks!" she said as the train approached 215th Street and she quickly gathered up all her things, making preparations to leave. Before she got up, she opened the Spalding Gray novel and handed me her pen.

"Do you think you could autograph my book, mister?"

Shocked, flattered and inspired, I snatched the pen from her hand and said, "What’s your name?"

"LaTonya. What’s yours?"

"McGrupp. Tenzin McGrupp."

I scribbled something to the effect, "Keep writing, LaTonya. The world needs your voice. Salukis, McG."

As she got up to leave she turned around, smiled and said, "Thanks, McGrupp. I hope to read your book someday soon."

Me too.

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.

San Francisco

By Jessica E. Lapidus © 2002

San Francisco, Golden City, Enshrouded in her own mist. She beckons me, Mistress. I left part of myself there the first and every time. How mysterious that I should be lost in her:

Ochre Bridge
Silky Bay

Muni and Bart, siblings on wheels and children of hills, bow down to the Patriarch Trolley Car. The bus came by and I got on, spinning down to The Haight where it all began, where the air is spiked with history and hash, reeking of Lunacy and sound. Amoeba Records, that towering inferno, four walls bleeding music, appropriate on that street. The 24-hour bus, my bus, writhes and rolls down Divisadero where I eat alone, filling my face with lentils. I see families walking and I say, "Come with me to The Castro, where heathens dance wrapped in their rainbow flags. Where children sit on the steps of Hizzoner’s train station, drinking vodka from soda bottles, praying that the fog will lift. Where Leather Daddies and Mama’s Girls cross against the light with people like you." The owl bus, at 2:37 AM, rumbles down Mission Street, casting its yellow glow on Drunk Mexicans crying into bowls of menudo and plastic cups of horchata. Take me home, I tell the bus, to Bernal Hill, to the site of my Sight. To my neighbors, one in gold and the other in drag, and to their cat, mink-black and toothless. To my job that I had in a store filled with dykes buying pens and Post-Its. To the lazy-eyed Arab offering hummus that makes my tummy squeal with delight. To the Tweakers with their murderous dog who killed my mink-black pal. To spark-and-blaze nights on Bonview Street, my friends and I flying high, Baseball Tonight backdrop to our laughter. San Francisco, sensual Queen, the sky sheds its skin to cover you, but you resist. Your blue face an indelible memory at the center of the world. You wrap me up in your soft white arms, "come here, little one" you croon, your salty tongue lapping at my wheels, drawing me in, calling me home.

Jessica E. Lapidus is a writer originally from NYC.

The Cookie Junkie

By Tenzin McGrupp ©2002

The small nosed loser with the brick red coat and the long brunette wig slowly took off his eye makeup, making sideways glances into the cracked mirror along side the rusty bathroom stall. The laughs, still conflicting, yet humorous, were rippling through the pond of his freshly washed facial hairs. The old blues tunes scratched their way out of the corner jukebox, as the three old drunks sat still, thinking of little aside from the sharp cuts on the inside of their throats, that burned and begged for more liquor, more salve. The little prancing school girl with the Girl Scout Cookies wandered into the open doorway of the demoralized saloon and emptied her over-sized sack, filled with chocolate covered mint cookies. Those are the fucking best. I ran over to my savior and fell down to my knees, sweat beginning to flood my forehead and brow, and kissed the ground.

You see, I used to beat up girl scouts to feed my two box a day mint cookie habit when I was shacked up in Bellingham with a dog grooming school drop out, an anorexic habitually gum chewing speed freak, with multi-colored hair and lots of poorly designed tattoos peppered over her thin body, each done in either haste or a foggy daze. I forgot her name, but she used to lure the girl scouts onto our porch and I would scare them with a priest's outfit. They would drop their stashes and go running. I would take all the good stuff for myself and pawn off the remainder of the cookies, especially those awful peanut butter ones, to Crackhead Bill, who would be seen standing in the cool misty Northwest rain selling box after box to anyone who would be walking into the 7/11 near the highway of polluted suburbanites.

Sometimes he would be standing in silence holding up individual cookies for sale. The prices fluctuated with the European financial markets, uniquely in sync with each rally and decline. Sometimes, they were twenty-five cents a cookie. Other days they were $1.50. It all depended on what the Germans were doing that day. Ah, the fucking Germans. They would love to hear that Crackhead Bill, the tall skinny, bewildered man wearing green running shorts, black socks, and white tennis shoes with no shoelaces, stands silently, holding stolen girl scout cookies, patiently selling them off until he has enough money for his next crack siesta. The hallow shrieks and innocent squeals of girl scouts keep me awake every night, sometimes giving me the occasional cold sweats and other times, I get the itching feeling on my skin when I crave for those heavenly chocolate mint cookies. I'm freaking out, man. Time for me to go fetch me some cookies.

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

By Armando Huerta ©2002

Los Roques is an archipelago about 15 miles off the coast of Venezuela. It's a chain of 150 islands, most deserted, with long white sandy beaches and a cooling breeze. I honestly have always meant it when I say that the best beaches I've ever been to in my life are those in Los Roques. Nothing compares to hiring a boat with some friends, cooler in tow, to a barren island where you can spend the day swimming, drinking, laughing with no one to bother you. You know what I'm talking about... fat housewives with so much back fat, from behind they look like melting candles. White trash families who show up with a hibachi, a complete 8 piece Wal-Mart lawn chair set and a ping pong table.

In all of Venezuela it was my favorite place to visit and I was lucky enough to go there with my dear friend Dede for Easter vacation two weeks before leaving the country for good. It was Sunday and we found ourselves in the airport, hungover and blue about returning back to reality. Well... I was anyway, Dede was heading out the next morning to Trinidad where she was going to serve as maid of honor, wedding planner and token drunk in a friend's wedding. Our regular flight had been cancelled since the plane did an emergency landing the day before with an engine engulfed in flames. (I think I forgot to mention that one of the main airlines to service Los Roques uses DC-3s which were made in the 1930s). I have no issues flying but it wasn't very reassuring to see the plane covered in black grease sitting on the end of the runway.

Luckily we were rescheduled on another, more modern carrier and were hanging around the airport waiting for the flight to be called. Before I go any further I should say that the airport in Los Roques is nothing more than a glorified parking lot. The short runway is pock marked, a wooden saw horse separates the passengers from the tarmac and there is no lighting of any kind. For that reason, understandably, flights are forbidden after 6pm. Our flight was one of the last that night, scheduled to leave at 5:30, so we had time to grab a sandwich and return to the "concourse" before departing. Much to our surprise, when we were walking back from the main street to the airport we saw the plane taking off. It was 5pm and that fucking piece of shit was sailing off into the wild blue yonder. After tearing the ground staff a new asshole we ran around trying to get seats onto another plane. I really didn't mind staying another night but Dede had to make the sole flight from Caracas to Trinidad that was leaving at 8am the next morning.

We had befriended some locals, one of whom was the daughter of a chartered flight company owner in Caracas. He was happy to send us a plane but couldn't that evening because a plane couldn't get there and turn back around before closing time. Dede at this point was ready to kill someone and I was searching for another pack of cigarettes to tuck into. As luck would have it, a couple on their way back from Miami had stopped in Los Roques for a lobster dinner before heading back home. Our new-found friends were familiar with the pilot and asked him if he minded some extra weight on the way back. He was game and we found ourselves ushered to the end of the runway where his plane was parked. It was gorgeous. Dark blue body, gray smoked windows.... As we approached the door I saw that the entire entrance vestibule had mahogany paneling. Mother of God... We were flying back in a fucking private jet! Here we were smelling like airplane fuel, cigarettes and Barney from the Simpsons and we were about to be whisked back to Caracas in contour leather chairs, plush carpeting and picture frame windows. We were for all intents and purposes hitchhikers being given a ride.... it just happened that it was on a someone's jet. Dede still talks about the grin I had on my face when we took off. It was as if I was a child again when flying was still a miracle and every flight an adventure.

Armando Huerta is a writer from Athens, Greece.

Angel of Death

By Señor ©2002

Death was lurking last night. No bullshit. For the first time in my life I truly felt that I was going to die. I believed that I would go to sleep and never wake up. I've recently been studying the ancient Tibetan healing art, known today as Reiki. As part of my study's I have received many "attunements." Amongst other things these attunements are supposed to open and expand intuition and psychic abilities. Last night had the distance smell of death. However, I did not need any psychic ability to get this premonition. I had an awful pain in my throat. Not a sore throat, mind you, I pain I had never experienced before. Every time I took a breath I felt as though I was being strangled.

It all started Friday morning as a slight pain and minor annoyance. By last night the pain was excruciating and other side effects has materialized. A vicious headache and constant numbness in my hands and feet now burdened me as well. I've never had such symptoms. I vowed to check myself into the hospital the next morning...if I made it through the night. What does one do when expecting to death to be a mere few hours away? My friend Noi came over for a Reiki healing session. As she had given me a free Thai massage every night that week I was not about to disappoint her, death or no death! After an hour session I had time for reflection. I am a true believer in fate. As such I did not fear death's eminence. If it were meant to be it would be. I've had a basically happy life. I've experienced many things and have been blessed with lots of love. If death was waiting for me, I was ready to go. I thought about calling my loved ones, but that would just cause worry. I resided to write one last journal entry. My message to the world if you will, before crossing over to the other side! I discovered that I did not have many pearls of wisdom to share. I wished for love, health and happiness for my loved ones. Not much else came to me and I choose not to force anything.

Guess what? I awoke! 6:30AM in the morning I was up. Death had not come. However, I felt no jubilation as a matter of fact I was in even worse pain than the night before. Straight to the hospital I went. On the drive over my biggest fear was that they were not gonna understand me and prescribe antibiotics for step throat. I underestimated our fine Thai physician, he knew exactly what the problem was.

"Mr. Señor, not a thing is wrong with you." He let me know. Of course! I should have known! I began to get a little angry and a little depressed, but then things got interesting. The Doctor then correctly told me that I must be taking Larium, an anti malaria drug. Larium has hallucinogenic side effects. Basically my body is having a hallucination that I am having trouble breathing and that my limbs keep going numb. In actuality none of this is happening! He told me to immediately stop taking Larium. Within two weeks it will be totally out of my system and I will feel normal again.

What a wild concept! A body hallucination. Why not? I've had audio hallucinations in the past and I've certainly had some wild visual hallucinations so now it is time for my body to trip. Imagine the possibilities if I could control the hallucination, bottle it and market it! Picture this; you are in the midst of the biggest business meeting of your life with your boss and the board of directors. It is your turn to make a presentation but you are way to stressed to speak, much less in an effective manner. No worries mate! Take my pill and your body will hallucinate that you just had a mind blowing orgasm. Your stress has been released, you've calmed down considerably and now you are ready to blow them away!

Perhaps I'm getting a little carried away here, but keep in mind I am a man living on borrowed time! Not only didn't I die, I've become all the wiser for it! If just goes to show you that we live in one funky world. Next time you feel a pain in your throat or a migraine headache, think for a moment. Is it really happening or is your body just hallucinating?

Deep thoughts from Señor!

Señor is Reiki Master from Samui, Thailand.


By Mona LaVigne ©2002

Budapest is divided in half by the Danube River. To the west lies Buda, the lush, green country. It is mostly residential, the rolling hills lined with large, post-WWII homes. My friends, István and Gabi, live in Buda. Their home is almost like a mansion: vast rooms filled with expensive European art, a huge kitchen complete with a live-in cook, three bathrooms, each with a bathtub, shower and toilet, and the master bath with a Jacuzzi. In their backyard there is a cherry tree, and when the wind blows it throws fat, juicy cherries on the ground.

When I went to Budapest to visit István and Gabi a few years ago, I was looking forward to staying in one of their well-decorated bedrooms, reclining in one of their lapis blue bathtubs, and smoking Hungarian hash under the cherry tree at three in the afternoon. As István carried my bags from the airport to the car, Gabi put her arm through mine and said,

"We have the fully-furnished apartment in Pest and we’ve cleaned it up for you. You can stay there and have all the privacy you want. Isn’t that great?"

Pest is on the east side of the Danube. It is a city in every sense of the word. There is a heavy business district, lots of walk-up apartments, department stores, and Vörösmarty Square, an Eastern European version of Times Square, except with less Disney and more outdoor cafés. I had heard about this apartment from Gabi’s letters. I was not looking forward to staying there. I was not renting a car, so I knew I’d have to take public transportation to get around.

When we arrived at the apartment, I saw that the descriptions had hardly done it justice. It was a shithole. A clean shithole. Small and worn, the paint on the walls was flaking off, the mattress in the bedroom was frayed and stained, and the refrigerator was empty, save for some moldy sausage and a half-empty jar of jelly. I was excited to see two bathrooms, but deflated when I realized that one had a toilet and the other a stand-up shower.

"Isn’t it great?" said István, beaming at his wife, who had an equally large smile on her face.

"Yes," I replied, trying to be grateful, "it’s charming."

"There’s a bus across the street that goes straight to Vörösmarty Square," said Gabi. "I have to go to work in the morning, but István can meet you there and show you around the city. How does that sound?"

I looked at the glowing faces of my friends. They were so excited to have me there, how could I show my disappointment? I couldn’t. The crooked clock on the wall read 1:00 AM, and I yawned and said, "Sounds like a plan. It’s late and I want to get some rest so I can really enjoy my first day in Hungary."

They hugged me and István and I agreed to meet in Vörösmarty Square at 9:30 the next morning. They left the keys on the kitchen table and departed, leaving me in solitude, in a foreign country, in a ratty apartment. I was hungry. I opened the refrigerator and took out the bottle of jelly. I found a piece of bread on the bottom shelf, glopped some jelly on it, choked it down, and went to bed.

I dreamed of cherry trees, Chicken Paprikash, Bela Bartók, and Franz Liszt. When I woke in the morning, I ran to the window in the kitchen. No composers and no goulash. Instead, there was an overgrown garden and a trafficless street before me, the only sign of civilization being a weather-beaten bus stop marker. I used the toilet and walked across the apartment to the shower. While getting dressed, I stared at the phone. For the first time in years, I wanted my mommy. I wanted to call her and tell her how I felt betrayed by István and Gabi, how dare they not let me stay with them, and how I didn’t think I could bear staying eight more nights in this little hole of an apartment. I finally decided against it. I had lived in Canada for most of my life, and was not about to call my parents and bitch, just to hear them tell me that didn’t I know that "everyone outside if Canada is inferior? Especially those Eastern Europeans…barbarians…huns."

I left the apartment and headed toward the bus stop. As I was about to cross the street, I saw a dead rabbit in a ditch. A shudder crossed my body. There were no people around, no cars. How did that thing get there?

I stood on the corner and waited for the bus. Every once in a while, a Honda or Toyota would fly by. I saw a few red birds that I did not recognize, and a woman with a stroller ambling down the street. That was it. I could not believe that I was in Pest, the "city side" of Budapest, and there was nothing happening. What if I had told István and Gabi that I would rather have stayed at their house in Buda? Would they have said "no?" Would they have forced me, a guest, to stay in squalor if I were really against the idea?

When the bus finally arrived, I was shocked. It was a model of modern transport: very clean and quiet, no stinky black emissions, soft-looking seats. Of course, I never got a seat, because when the doors swung open, I squeezed my way on. The bus was full. It baffled me: where did all these people come from? While waiting, I had not seen anything in any direction. No other apartment buildings, not many cars, no offices or businesses. Nevertheless, this bus was packed to the hilt. I knew I was going to the last stop, so I shoved my way to the back, hoping to find a strap or poll to hang on to. Once I was stable, I took a deep breath and nearly vomited. Oh, the stench! Were there more dead rabbits on this bus? Were there a hundred babies with shit-filled diapers? Was there a secret burial ground under the seats? Whatever it was, it was all I could do to keep from retching. I began breathing through my mouth but the awful smell seemed to be seeping in through my eyes. I looked around and noticed that nearly everyone else on the bus was a businessman wearing a suit. It was July. There was a woman standing next to me, her hand above mine, clutching the same bar. I turned my head and came face-to-face with her hairy, dripping underarm. I began to cough. On my left was a man in a blue wool suit, his arm extended above his head, the side of his jacket stained with sweat. Every time he would shift his weight, a pungent scent would pound into my face. Everyone on this bus was wearing either wool or gabardine suits. As the bus bounced over the roads, I started to gag. I was tempted to get off and walk, but I had no idea of how to get to Vörösmarty Square by foot. The windows were locked, the fans were off, and no one but me seemed to care. Where was I? It felt like some twisted Twilight Zone, where everyone is doing crazy shit, and I’m the crazy one.

When we pulled into Vörösmarty Square 20 mintues later, everyone got off. I had tried to be the first, but was shoved aside by the sweet-smelling natives. When I finally set foot on the concrete, I almost kissed the ground, so grateful to be outside, not minding that the exhaust from five or six other arriving buses was filling my lungs.

I walked into the main square and saw István in front of a statue, reading the paper.

"Hey," he smiled, when he saw me, "you found it O.K.?"

"Yes," I replied, lighting a cigarette. We started to walk.

"Are you all right, Mona? You look kind of pale."

I stopped in my tracks. "No, István, I am not all right." I told him about the bus ride, sparing no detail of the stink that had plagued me from the moment I got on until I was blessed enough to get back into the fresh air. He was laughing so hard, I wanted to punch him.

"What is so funny?" I demanded.

"I… I’m sorry, Mona…" he said, gasping.

"István, please tell me something. All these people, fuck, they smell so bad. But you…you and I have been in close quarters together. Why don’t you smell like that?"

"Oh my dear," he said, finally catching his breath, "that’s because I was born in America!"

Mona LaVigne is a writer from New York City.

9.11.02 Letter

By Stephen Adkins © 2002

One year later, I, a thug, a malcontent take aim with my Nikon F5 in order to get it down on photopaper. No, it still don’t make no kind of sense...

Dear McGrupp,

Hope you and yours, (the whole of NEW YORK CITY!) made it through in a bit better way than when it was still too fresh to get behind, like a heroin needle with a burr on the end, too painful and fresh to forget, a new world order is born not of our making. This year has been too wild, totally out of kilter and a real bummer for the people of this country. We need to have an extended time of unbridled joy and I do not know where that is gonna come from... I was at the Seattle Center, before the politicians began speaking (I just could not hear those windbags), for quiet reflection and meditation behind my Nikon. It was low key, respectful and I’m glad I went and paid my respects in my own way. I got some images so I can take that away with me.

My disgust for this administration grows like a boil on my spine, I cannot control the actions of it; too hard to get at and too big to destroy. I can only change my response to what I see, with kindness, compassion and photography. It is all I have. It is my gift to humanity, my calling. Since last year, I have re-appraised alot about myself. And, there is alot about myself I do not like. However, my life with a camera has a purpose, a meaning and a path to follow... this most likely does not make a whit of sense or difference to anyone but me, but McGrupp, I was thinking hard about you today, and I just wanted you to know I’m glad you are still around still living in the greatest city in the world with the best baseball team ever, and that I love you and wish you peace joy and happiness.

Rock on!

Stephen Adkins is a photographer from Seattle, WA.


By Señor © 2002

Saturday night, midnight. I was tired. As I walked to my bungalow I was awed and energized by the beauty of the full moon. I decided to take a walk along the beach. At this hour on this particular beach I had the place to myself. I walked along, accompanied only by the sounds of the waves crashing ashore and guided by the moon and stars. I walked on and on. Before I knew if I had put five miles between where I was and my bungalow. I was now entering Chaweng Beach. I came upon the area where all the beach souvenir shops are. You know the kind where you can buy t-shirts, cheap art work, jewelry, fake tattoos, little Buddha statues and so on. In the distance I could make out one light shining. But all the shops had closed hours ago. What was the deal with the light? I walked on. As I approached the shop where the light was coming from a little old Thai women invited me in to have a look around her shop. I had no intention of buying anything, but then again I certainly was in no rush. A beautiful bracelet caught my eye and I immediately thought of Kanjini, a particularly beautiful Malaysian women now living here on Samui. It was perfect for her! Before I could say anything the old women picked up the bracelet and gave it to me. I asked how much. She told me by the look on my face she knew that this bracelet was the perfect gift for someone very special to me. The only payment she would accept was to share in my joy of giving such a perfect gift. I was overwhelmed by her love and I gave her a hug. As I hugged her I noticed incredible warmth radiating from her body. Strange as it was a particular chilly evening. After the hug she took my hand and brought me into a back room to join her for some tea.

She poured my tea and began speaking. What came out of her mouth still boggles my mind to this day and probably will for years to come. She told me that she had been waiting for me for a long time. My stumbling onto her shop was no accident. She then addressed me by my Hebrew name, Aryeh Dovid Ben Aharon Hirsh. This name had not been uttered since I was last called to the Torah at my little brothers Bar Mitzvah back in August 1990! I was shocked and she began to tell me vague clues about my future life. I could barely focus on what she was saying. Something about being on the right path and living in India for several years. Just as I began to regain my composure she hit me with another bombshell. She called out my grandfather’s name, Phillip Goltz, she was feeling his presence. My grandfather, one of my ultimate heroes in life, has been dead for 10 years! She alerted me that he is looking out for me. Checking in from time to time to give me little pushes when need be. Who is this woman? I had so many questions to ask her. All she would tell me was that I had guided her in past lives and now was her turn to help me.

What was happening here? Was I drugged? I'm a realist from New York City. This kinda shit doesn't happen in real life! Well, believe me, it was happening and it was very real! I tried to find out more about her, but she was tired and she escorted me out. I went on my way filled with disbelief and in an utter state of shock! I didn't sleep at all that night. I needed a rationalization to explain what I had experienced, but could think of none. By noon the next day I couldn't take it anymore. I hopped onto my motorbike and drove to Chewang beach. Of course my little old lady was not in her shop. And of course, I was told that no little old lady works there at all.

Ever since I arrived in Thailand I have been living a surreal life. The factors that brought me here are inexplicable to me and the events that continue simply continue to mystify me. I don't know which pill that I took many years ago that has come back to haunt me. Or perhaps I pissed off the wrong person? Or just maybe I had been sleeping through the first 30 years old my life. I am now, finally in the real world, having real world experiences. Believe what you will. I lived it and have no choice but to accept reality. Guidance and love can be found everywhere. Going forward my eyes, ears and heart will be open and ready to receive. Who knows what’s coming next!

Señor is a pants dropper from Samui, Thailand.

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

From the Editor's Laptop:

This is the fourth issue and I am more than pleased with the impact that Truckin' has made! This month's issue has the debut of a few new writers, adding fresh voices to the mix. Our writers have taken us from Thailand to Venezuela, from the subways of Harlem to Budapest, from San Francisco to football fields to girl scouts, indeed this issue has been one wild ride.

Again thanks to all the writers who submitted their blood work to Truckin' and who shared their travel experiences with us, and thanks to you, the reader, for your support!

Please spread the word about this site and E-zine and good karma will come your way. My sources tell me that Truckin' is being read on four continents as we speak. Thanks for spreading the good word!

Take a peek at the latest E-Story: E-8: Charlie's Goldfish.

If you would like to comment or contact any of the authors, please send an E-mail to: Contact Truckin'

Again thanks for your support!
Salukis, McG

"Our desires presage the capacities within us." - Goethe