July 30, 2003


By Tenzin McGrupp © 2003

With an annoying penetrating sweat that burned his right eye, Halibut raced down the street towards his destination, the grocery store. School let out at 2:50 PM daily and if he didn’t get there as quickly as possible, he was caught up in an uncomfortable cluster of incessant teasing. When he was in the fifth grade, his mother Cici had a job as the check out clerk at Meyer’s grocery store a couple of blocks from his grammar school. Cici timed her afternoon breaks perfectly. At 2:45 PM, she strolled out in front of the store with enough time to step outside to smoke a cigarette before she joyfully watched her son sprint down the hill, past the pharmacy and the real estate office. When she caught a glimpse of her son from about forty yards away, she took one last huge drag before she stomped out a Benson and Hedges cigarette with her heavy black studded boot.

A relentless smile formed on Cici’s bony face as she snatched up her tiny Halibut and kissed him three times on each cheek. She straightened out his messy brown hair and made a fuss over the chocolate stains on his mouth. Halibut nervously peered over his left shoulder and didn’t like what he saw. A group of six or seven of his aggressive classmates barreled down the hill. Halibut struggled to break free from his mother’s tight grip. If Halibut’s classmates saw him getting hugged by his mother, then he’d get teased the entire next day at school. Even the special ed kids picked on poor Halibut with no one in his school brave nor compassionate enough to stand up and come to his defense.

But it was not his fault that he was the only one in his school who had a mother with a pierced nose and purple hair with blue-green streaks. The other kid’s mothers always looked nice and normal and rarely found the need to use the word “cockslinger” in every other sentence. The other mothers never wore biker boots in the Spring and they drank coffee and orange juice for breakfast. They definitely didn’t sip tall-boy cans of Budweiser, pathetically covered up in a brown paper bags. Sometimes the kids teased Halibut in front of his mother and disaster always followed. The previous week his classmates followed him inside the grocery store and ridiculed Halibut for ten minutes in the frozen foods section before his mother cornered the malicious posse and spit on all of them. When Socky Green, the biggest bully in the neighborhood, called Cici a slut and a whore, she shot back, “Well if your Momma just took it in the ass once in a while, your Daddy wouldn’t have to pay me $100 every Thursday, would he?”

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.

July 2003 (Vol 2., Issue 7)

Welcome to my monthly blog-zine and the late July edition of Truckin'! This month's issue includes three new stories. I brought back a crowd favorite, the infamous Baby and Winky for another incident. This issue represents another idea for a screenplay and one for a new novel. Sit back, enjoy, and please spread the good word about this site. Be sweet, McG.

1. Halibut by Tenzin McGrupp
With an annoying penetrating sweat that burned his right eye, Halibut raced down the street towards his destination, the grocery store... More

2. Baby, Winky, and Van Gogh's Ear by Tenzin McGrupp
Baby kissed me on the cheek, sat down on the couch, and sipped my Margarita. “How was work?” ... More

3. El Diablo Rojo by Tenzin McGrupp
I sipped my beer and stared at her necklace, a half inch unpolished silver cross attached to a slightly larger dark brown wood cross... More

El Diablo Rojo

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2003

I sipped my beer and stared at her necklace, a half inch unpolished silver cross attached to a slightly larger dark brown wood cross. When she talked and moved her head back and forth, the dangling cross bounced up and down. My thoughts danced with the cross while I finished my beer. I knew that her necklace had a great story. And I was going to find out.

When I first quizzed her on it, she grabbed her necklace with both hands. Her firm grip tensed as she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Her faced flushed three kinds of blue and the all the blood in her arms rushed to her fingertips as she held back tears.

“I promise I will tell you the story, but not right now,” she assured me four years ago.

On three other occasions I desperately tried to pry away from her the origins of her mysterious necklace. And each time my attempts failed. I only got one interesting bit of information. It had to do with her grandfather Diego, a fisherman on the Sea of Cortez.

When Diego was a small child, his father, one of the many fisherman in the town of Ascencio often took Diego and his brothers out to work with him. It was a local tradition and the best way to pass down the trade secrets of the family business, as the young boys helped out their father. Diego’s father was a small and patient man, but he had one firm rule: Do not fall into the water. He only had one fear: El Diablo Rojo. He witnessed too many deaths from fishermen that were not careful and fell overboard, only to be pulled down into the deepest part of the sea and eaten alive by the red devils. Diego’s uncle escaped death, but lost four fingers when he fell into the Sea a decade earlier. Since then the overly religious and superstitious family became extra cautious. Every Sunday they prayed an hour longer at church before they went home and lit fourteen candles in front of a tree that looked like the Virgin Mary. Each candle represented one of the family members that died after falling into the sea and eaten by the red devils. Diego’s uncle should have been fifteen but he was lucky.

When Diego was nineteen he had finally earned his own boat. He got to set his own rules, make up his own schedule and most of all, he didn’t have to work in front of his father, who muttered every two minutes, “Be careful Diego. Don’t fall in the water.” Life seemed perfect for the now married Diego, the father of twins and another on the way. His family fishing business thrived after decades of industrious work from everyone. He moved into a new house with a courtyard and a new boat and crew. He had a beautiful wife, two plus kids, and a sexy mistress. Diego’s happiest days were almost over.

One evening after visiting his girlfriend Maria Madeglana he stumbled home extremely drunk. Before he reached his house, he came across the tree that looked the Virgin Mary. The memorial of flowers, candles, and small trinkets set up by Diego’s female relatives was a perfect place for Diego to piss before he puked three times. He wiped his mouth and stumbled on home, not knowing that his urine and vomit put out every candle. The eternal flame vanished and so too did the good fortune of Diego and his family’s fishing business.

The next morning a hung over Diego was not paying attention while he worked. His balance was off, and he slipped and fell into the water after his boat capsized. His father and brother worked on their boat close by and when they saw Diego’s crew struggling to try to get back in the boat, they hurried over to help. When he was close enough, Diego’s brother jumped in and tried to rescue Diego. But he could not find him. A large squid pulled down Diego. As he tried to break free from the grasp of multiple tentacles, another squid grabbed a hold. Then another and another. Within minutes a orgy of cannibalistic squid dragged random parts of Diego and his brother down to the deepest part of the sea. All three crewmen disappeared, assumed eaten by the squid. They even tore apart most of Diego’s new wooden boat. Only a few pieces survived as they washed onto the beach, which Diego’s mother made into small crosses that she gave her entire family and made them swear not to take off the cross under any circumstances.

“The red devil ate my grandfather,” she finally confessed after she kissed her cross and silently repeated an Act of Contrition. “And that’s why I don’t go into the ocean or to beaches.”

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.

Baby, Winky, and Van Gogh's Ear

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2003

Baby kissed me on the cheek, sat down on the couch, and sipped my Margarita.

“How was work?”

“Great. Do you know Van Gogh?” she said as she lit up a menthol cigarette.

I was caught off guard. The only famous painter she ever talked about was her Uncle Earl. He owned the largest apartment painting company in Northwest Alabama. Unfortunately he lost his business after he neglected to pay taxes for nearly a decade. The IRS seized everything; his house, his above ground pool, his truck, his Harley, even his favorite painter’s cap that he wore everywhere. After his wife divorced him, she took his kids and moved to Florala. A desperate, depressed, and despondent Uncle Earl went on a drunken frenzy and robbing spree. He stuck up over a dozen Denny’s restaurants in Missouri and Ohio. He had a routine. After he finished a French Slam breakfast special, he took a shit, slowly walked back from the bathroom then robbed the cash register. Uncle Earl caused panic and fear in heart of the Midwest. It’s one thing to have a guy with a ski mask run into Denny’s waving a gun and demanding cash. It’s another to have to guess what customer was going to be the one who robbed the joint. Instantly every male who entered Denny’s and ordered a French Slam was a suspect. No one wanted to eat at Denny’s anymore. Waitresses quit by the hordes and tried to get jobs at Crackle Barrel and Waffle House. Uncle Earl’s infamous French Slam Bandit story appeared on America’s Most Wanted for no less than seven minutes before he was caught on the outskirts of Tulsa after he ordered a Big Mac with no special sauce and foolishly waited the extra ten minutes for it to be made specifically to his tastes, unknown that his image was splashed over America’s airwaves. As the local sheriff’s department surrounded the McDonald’s on Highway 34, he calmly ate his entire meal before he shot himself in the left foot. Uncle Earl bled to death on route to the hospital.

“Do I know Van Gogh? Not personally,” I quipped back.

She laughed. “You’re a wise ass sometimes, Winky, Jr.! Do you know who he is? Did he really cut off his ear and mail it to Picasso’s girlfriend?”

“Where the fuck did you hear that? What was in those drinks you were pouring today at the bowling alley?”

“The TV was on and some customers watched that Jeopardy show and one of the questions was about Van Gogh cutting his ear off. Did he really do that?”

“Sort of.”

Baby’s attention grew keener after she did a line of cocaine. She slid closer to me.

“Tell me the story,” she pled with her blue, sappy, coked up eyes.

“First of all it wasn’t Picasso’s girlfriend. It was a prostitute.”

“A hooker? He cut his ear off for a hooker?”

“And it was not his entire ear, just a part of it, here on the lobe,” as I grabbed her left ear to demonstrate, she squealed and jumped back.

“Here’s the deal. Van Gogh was studying to be a priest and got this vision about God or something like that and he didn’t like what he saw, but all the experts thought he was just going crazy at that time because he eventually died undiscovered, broke and lying in his own piss in an insane asylum. His brother Theo owned a gallery in Paris and sent him money every month to paint. Van Gogh bought art supplies first before he got food. Sometimes he spent his leftover money on Absinthe and hookers. Van Gogh frequented one whorehouse in particular and fell in love with a woman who worked there. Sometimes she posed for him as he sketched or painted.”

“Was she the one he cut of his ear for?”

“Yeah. She was also banging Gauguin.”

“Who’s that?”

“Another painter. Van Gogh and Gauguin shared a studio together in southern France. Gauguin was kind of a pretty boy. You know, a rich, well educated, snooty guy. He could have had any woman in Europe but he was jealous of the talent that Van Gogh possessed. He decided to fuck with him. Maybe he really dug Van Gogh’s hooker, I dunno, but they feuded all the time. Van Gogh was nuts and Gauguin was jealous. The bottom line: Van Gogh was horribly crushed and mortified that Gauguin stole his woman. He spliced off some of his ear and sent it to his lady friend at the brothel. The guy was crazy.”

Baby sighed. “Sounds like he was just in love. Did I ever tell you about the time my Great Grandma cut off three of my Great Granddaddy’s toes after she caught him having sex with one of her nieces?”

“And did she do that because she was in love?”

“Nope, she was just plain crazy. Don’t fuck with Alabama women after they’ve been drinking moonshine for three straight days.”

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.

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

From the Editor's Laptop:

Well I am back. Although this month's issue is late, I feel the content is some of my best work to date.

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Be Sweet,

"The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world." - Allen Ginsberg