November 03, 2010

November 2010, Vol. 11, Issue 11

1. Hot August Night by Paul McGuire
I never particularly liked Neil Diamond. I always thought that he was fake cool and not tough, like if he and Van Morrison got into a fight, Van would kick the living shit out of him...More

2. The Fat Kid by Sigge S. Amdal
I was brought up in a Christian home, so when my mother decided that me and Tom would walk to school together, then her little rat spy Jesus would tell on me if I didn't. And so me and Tom walked to school together for the next decade or so...More

3. The Stain by Wolynski
The maid pulled back the bedspread, turned the blanket over and gasped. Everyone gasped and gathered round the bed not quite believing their eyes. Right in the middle of the bed was the biggest, ugliest brown stain you've ever seen - someone had taken a dump in the Presidential bed and housekeeping did not catch it... More

4. Getting High by Dan England
You run 8,000 feet up the mountain over almost 14 miles, and just when you're really getting tired, your oxygen gets cut in half. Oh, the pain is so sweet when you're on your fourth hour, and you can barely breathe, and cramps are knocking on your door. The endorphins are just sweeping through at that point... More

5. Dar es Salaam by Adam J. Weise
I went to buy two bottles of water and after the vendor overcharged me Billy loudly demanded an explanation in Swahili to which her reply was that she didn't have the correct change so she figured shortchanging me was a completely legitimate thing to do. For good reason white people are the target of beggars and street children and many a friendly conversation devolves into an outstretched hand and word "please" being repeated over and over while awkwardness ensues... More

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

From the Editor's Laptop

The November issue features the return of everyone's favorite Norwegian scribe, Sigge Amdal. Wolynski is back for a third issue in a row with another peculiar celebrity encounter. Dan England contributed to Truckin' in the past and he shared a tale about adrenaline junkies. This issue also marks the debut of Adam J. Weise's piece on his experiences in Africa. And lastly, I whipped up a short story about my favorite topic -- addicts.

The contributors at Truckin' write for the simple love of self-expression, which is a fancy way of saying that they write for free. I can never thank the writers for taking an inspirational leap of faith with me month after month. So, I kindly ask you to help spread the good word about your favorite stories. Good karma and many blessings will come your way for exposing new readers to our amazing writers.

If anyone desires to being added to the mailing list, or any scribes (published or non-published) are interested writing for a future issue, then please contact us.

Also, thanks to you, the readers. The long-form written word is slowly dying off, but you're keeping the spirit alive with your unwavering support of Truckin'.

Be good,

"I'd like to have money. And I'd like to be a good writer. These two can come together, and I hope they will, but if that's too adorable, I'd rather have money." - Dorothy Parker

Hot August Night

By Paul McGuire © 2010

In high school when things got rough, Birdy ditched class and drove to Denny's on the outskirt of town. She sat in one of the back booths and drank coffee for hours on end. Always with lots of milk and lots of sugar.

"The waitress was named Doris or Dorothy or Dee or something like that," Birdy told me. "She knew that something was wrong with me, but never said anything. She was polite and never asked questions. The last thing I wanted to do was talk... to her... about my problems. It's never easy being 17."

When Birdy ditched classes for a week straight, school officials notified her grandmother who acted as her official guardian for the last two years of high school. Her mother had a nervous breakdown, which was a polite way of saying that she ran off to Reno with a wanna-be wiseguy who was a third-rate check forger and second-rate safe cracker. Birdy's alkie father was long gone -- a distant memory aside from a faded picture that she used to obsessively stare out for hours on end. To this day I don't know if he died or he just left the family, because she never talked about him. Birdy was stuck living with her grandmother, a religious nut who clipped coupons all day and watched reruns of Little House on the Prairie.

"That's one of the many reasons I life Ohio," she said. "Well that, and all the redneck methheads."

These days, Birdy reverted back to old behavior whenever she was grief stricken. When things got too crazy at the office, she skipped out and hung out at a Greek diner on Third Avenue. She walked seven blocks out of her way, and past two other more popular diners, to make sure no one at her office saw her. I became fascinated with her routine -- she'd sneak out of the office, smoke a cigarette, buy a magazine at the newsstand and head to the diner. She always sat at the counter, ate wheat toast, and drank coffee with lots of milk and lots of sugar. She sat there until she finished the magazine, then she went outside, smoked two more cigarettes, bought another magazine, walked to the park and read until lunch time, then headed to the museum. It was closed on Mondays, so that was movie day and she went to the artsy theatre near Lincoln Center that played indie flicks. She'd sneak back into the office just before mostly everyone left for the day, which drew the stink eye from many of her co-workers. Birdy didn't care. She hated them all out of principle and was doing everything possible to get fired.

To cut up lines or crush up Ritalin, Birdy always used a Neil Diamond CD. Hot August Nights. It was missing Disc 2. Don't ask why, Neil Diamond just sort of happened like that one night, and ever since it became part of the ritual. Just like how most cocaine addictions begin, it started out casual and escalated. Birdy was originally a weekend dabbler when she moved to New York. She limited herself to a few keys bumps in bathroom in different bars on the Lower East Side. When things got a little boring with her life, Birdy graduated to buying her own eight balls from the elderely Dominican gypsy cab driver that a friend of a friend of a friend.

Birdy's weekend binges started earlier and earlier -- Thursday nights, then Wednesday nights and Birdy began skipping work on Mondays, which she spent most of Monday mornings ripping lines and watching Regis and Kelly. Everyone in the office noticed and hated her for her habitual absences. For the last month, I was running a "When Does Birdy Get Fired Pool" and the prize pool jumped up to over $1,500.

I never particularly liked Neil Diamond. I always thought that he was fake cool and not tough, like if he and Van Morrison got into a fight, Van would kick the living shit out of him. But then again, Van had a mean Irish temper and was a bit on the crazy side. Neil seemed to be too much of a pretty boy to win a physical test of strength.

"They used to call him the Jewish Elvis," explained Birdy. "That's what my grams called him, except she didn't say that in a fond way. Grams was full of hate when it came to..."

"Elvis?" I blurted out.

"Yeah," said Birdy. "She hated Elvis... and Jews too."

Birdy didn't like to talk much, so when she did, I attentively listened. I always felt a bit sorry for her. She was always in a dour mood, but she was hardly a negative person. I guess that's why she preferred cocaine and other stimulants -- to help pull her out of the doldrums.

I was curious about where Birdy went when she was in one of her moods and left the office, so I invited myself along without her permission. I guess you can say that I stalked her -- I waited for her to slip out of her cubicle and trailed her all the way to the diner. She never saw me, until I walked into the diner. I was surprised that she invited me to join her for a cup of coffee -- with lots of milk and lots of sugar.

Shortly after our encounter. I willingly joined her on Wednesdays -- it was the perfect way for me to split up my hellish work week. I'd fuck off all Wednesday and that way, I had only a four day work week. After a while, Birdy and I skipped the diner and just went back to her apartment to get jacked up and watch Regis and Kelly.

"That bitch Kelly Ripa is so fake," said Birdy as she gave the TV the middle finger. "But I betcha she gets some good coke."

Paul McGuire is the author of Lost Vegas.

The Fat Kid

By Sigge S. Amdal © 2010

Everybody knew a fat kid growing up. They come in all forms but one size fits them all. The fat kid I knew, his name was Tom by the way, came from a relatively poor family. That is, everyone was relatively poor back then, but when both parents are generally uneducated and run a homebrew operation in the basement, it doesn't help.

I bet Tom's story would have been a success story if his parents were any different. But that's just speculation. Add to his situation a sadistic elder brother and you've got yourself a future social case file.

I was brought up in a Christian home, so when my mother decided that me and Tom would walk to school together, then her little rat spy Jesus would tell on me if I didn't. And so me and Tom walked to school together for the next decade or so.

I wouldn't exactly stand up for him if he got in trouble, but I wouldn't make fun of him either.

I realized very quickly that Tom would emulate me to get along with other kids. What surprised me, and still surprises me, was that he beat me as well.

I was really good at maths in school, making it seem trivially easy, because there really is nothing more to it than rule-following. Tom got the message the rest of class didn't, and soon we would compete three or four chapters ahead of them all. I remember thinking to myself that while I came from an academic family he would still be able to ace my math coming from his poor excuse of one. Of course, when Tom came home after school, his parents and his brother would not recognize this, and instead belittle and taunt his newfound sense of self-esteem.

Tom was the fat kid, and the other kids made fun of him, how he smelled, his hair, and everything they could think of. And he was a bit round around the edges, but that also meant a more streamlined and stronger body than other kids, making for a really good swimmer. In swimming class I was usually the fastest because I swam two months every summer at my grandmother's lake. Tom didn't go away on holiday, at least not far enough south to enjoy swimming, but he had no problem keeping up and sometimes even beating me. After I had convinced him that swimming wasn't so bad once you get in the water. Sure the other kids could point and laugh, but he would take points back from them anytime in the water.

I lost whatever remaining respect for adults when I discovered his parents' TV1000 porn recorded on a VHS tape that I borrowed, a few minutes after Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. It puzzled me why they didn't hide it better. It was still there the second and third time I borrowed it. The last time I did it they explicitly warned me to stop the tape after Turtles too. Like that's gonna put an end to it!

It was terrible porn at that, with a plain looking couple doing the doggy-style on a pink background. It was more of an instructional tape than anything else. But it was also the only moving pictures I could get my hands on before the 'net.

Tom and his brothers were always up to mischief, and it was thanks to Tom I had my first experience with alcohol beyond just tasting it during a grown-up dinner. Thanks to his parents he had a ready supply of alcohol above 60%, just swapping some of the clear liquid with water, and not taking too much at a time.

The first time, however, we opted for an old bottle of wine that was just standing there. Having gulped it all down we walked downtown and tried to chat up some school girls we met. I later learned they would have to be drunk too. Two weeks later we found out that his parents had saved the bottle since their wedding day, since it was a gift, some twenty years before.

After high-school, in which I'd gone the Literature and Languages courses and he Chemistry and some advanced Mathematics, we sort of drifted apart. I had my rock band and he did whatever he did by then. Soon he moved away to begin University in a city at a comfortable distance from his family.

I met him one summer before I left there, and we got talking about his studies. He was doing something advanced in chemistry at university level, but I didn't care enough to get my head around it.

"Do you know how easy it is to setup a meth lab?" he suddenly asked. "You can get everything you need in regular hardware stores. I could do it by tomorrow!"

All I know is that he dropped out, or was expelled, at some point a few months later. And that is all I know about the matter.

That, and the fact he got kicked out of the local youth division of a particular right-wing party, because he chose a member meeting as the venue for coming out of the closet. That's just sad. It takes balls to do such a thing, but he should have used his brains as well that day. Of course, that part is just a rumor and may not be true for all I know. Last I heard, he was back in town and unemployed.

But these are the stories we make, of people we have already figured out. Who knows what the fat kids are up to today? Really! We just use their made up examples to feel more successful about ourselves. That's why we'll always remember them too. Long after we've forgotten the names of our best buds and first sweethearts, the fat kids will be on our minds whenever we need them. While they have long outgrown their past and leave to reminisce the troubled and unsuccessful.

Sigge S. Amdal is a word wanker from Oslo, Norway.

The Stain

By Wolynski © 2010

In my career as a photographer I had many adventures, met a lot of people, photographed a lot of stars. Then I changed careers... This is one of the funniest things that ever happened as a photographer.

It was the the late 70s. I'd been in the US for 3 years and now I was freelancing for the Hyatt Regency - in Cambridge, Mass (Boston really) - they'd call me to photograph conventions.

One day I was shooting a convention, when one of the hotel executives tapped me on the shoulder and said he needs to borrow me for 15 minutes. Olivia Newton-John was in the hotel and we needed to take a shot of her in the Presidential Suite and then a group shot with her and all the top hotel brass. But we only had 15 minutes, because the guests checking into the Presidential Suite were already pulling up.

So I gathered my equipment and we rushed to the Presidential elevator. Olivia was already there - we were introduced and I remember a very firm handshake. Six executives, Olivia and myself piled into the elevator. The executives were tickled pink - Olivia had just done "Grease", she was one of the biggest stars in the country and everyone was thrilled to bits.

The Presidential Suite was gorgeous with a spectacular view of the Charles River. But we had to rush - the guests were already checking in. The executives decided to pose Olivia by the grand Presidential bed, next to the night table with the beautiful lamp.

Just as I was about to take the picture, the director of the hotel said wait, the bed looks much better when turned down with the rose and the mint on the pillow. So a maid was summoned and the guests downstairs stalled.

The maid pulled back the bedspread, turned the blanket over and gasped. Everyone gasped and gathered round the bed not quite believing their eyes. Right in the middle of the bed was the biggest, ugliest brown stain you've ever seen - someone had taken a dump in the Presidential bed and housekeeping did not catch it.

Everyone stood there dumbstruck. I decided to break the ice and said "So... are we ready to take the picture?"

The director spun round and clamped his hand over my lens "Don't you dare, don't even think about it. And stop laughing, this is not funny." I bit my lip, trying not to giggle. Like hell it's not funny, it's hilarious.

Just then we hear a loud shriek and look over at Olivia. She couldn't contain herself any longer - she's now doubled over in laughter, tears streaming from her eyes, her make-up running. So this sets me off and we're both howling while the hapless red-faced executives are running around like headless chickens. This is not what they had in to mind to impress Olivia Newton-John with.

Sheets were changed, staff were fired, the photos got taken. On the elevator ride downstairs Olivia and I were both biting our lips, avoiding looking at each other in case we both burst out laughing again.

She saved my ass that day. Had I been the only one in fits of hysterical laughter I would've been fired. Thank goodness I wasn’t photographing Diana Ross - she’d swoon and been carried out on a stretcher.

And I figured out how nobody noticed the diarrhea in the Presidential bed. A guest probably had an accident (Elvis?) and was so mortified that they made the bed very carefully and went to sleep in another bed, like it wasn't them. The maid in the morning assumed this bed had not been slept in.

Wolynski is a photographer and former comic who lives in Las Vegas.

Getting High

By Dan England © 2010

When I haven't had a hit in a few days - most of you would call it a "workout" - my body starts to tingle.

Only it's not the kind of tingle you want. It's not the kind of tingle that drives 16-year-old boys to scrounge around in the back of seedy gas station dumpsters for Tits Magazine (though now that I think about it, that's how we did it; I suppose the Internet makes that a moot point any longer. So much for reminiscing).

No, this tingle feels like a thousand spiders crawling anxiously around in my bloodstream, turning my neurons into omelets and running up and down my legs and through my arms and all around my brain.

It's the kind of tingle that would eventually drive me to try something else to quell it, only there isn't anything else.

Nothing but endorphins.

Those of who who haven't felt the glorious, mind-bending rush of endorphins probably think I'm a healthy person.

I guess, by normal standards, I am. I guess, by normal standards, my running or climbing partners are healthy. Yeah, we don't gobble McDonald's like a nuclear war survivor, the way most of you do. We don't gobble anything really, except maybe energy chews on our second hour of running or our sixth hour on the trail. We don't drink much, either, though we're not afraid of beer, as it's full of carbs, or red wine, as it's good for your heart, or margaritas, as tequila thins your blood, or so I'm told. We don't smoke, as we would never, ever do that to our lungs. Most of all, while more Americans come up for air after a trip up the escalator, we can run three miles and call that an easy day.

We're endurance athletes. We're active. We look it, too.

Ah, but we've got you fooled.

You've got your addictions. Your fatty foods and sugar. Your alcohol. Your pharmies. Your drugs, maybe. Your poker and dice and slots. Your Facebook. Your sex. Maybe all of it in one night. That's what Las Vegas is for.

We've got our endorphins.

We're just as hooked as you. We live for the rush as well. We're willing to pursue it, too, no matter what it takes, just like you.

This wasn't more apparent than at the Pikes Peak Ascent late this summer. That's a race up the famous, 14,100-foot Pikes Peak. You run 8,000 feet up the mountain over almost 14 miles, and just when you're really getting tired, your oxygen gets cut in half.

Oh, the pain is so sweet when you're on your fourth hour, and you can barely breathe, and cramps are knocking on your door. The endorphins are just sweeping through at that point.

But it's not the event that gets me. It's the expo. This is a legal drug trade. You can buy energy chews (uppers), pills that help you sleep so you can "get more rest before a race" (downers) and some sort of raspberry colored liquid that tastes like you've just soaked your socks in it. That's supposed to help your joints. I tried it after my marathon. I think it works, too. Junkies always think their magic juice works.

Wanna chase the rush? How far are you willing to go? You want to buy machines that make water bubble, giving "life to your feet." How about sunscreen that contains energy droplets, whatever the fuck those are? And the bracelets that use holograms to up your body's energy field. I actually wear one of those. One of my running friends, or fellow junkies, gave me one. They work. She runs fast.

Nothing can keep us from the rush.

Injuries? Ha. Our long runs on the weekend sound like NFL locker rooms as we pound the pavement together. How's the foot? How's the ankle? How's the shoulder? How's the neck? How's the knee? The answer's always the same. Never better. Even when your body hurts like a motherfucker. Because admitting it hurts means taking time off, and after more than a few days, the spiders start crawling through the bloodstream.

Besides, we like that hurt. That's part of the rush too. The pain, almost as much as the endorphins, keeps the spiders at bay.

We don't eat much because we want to be thin, perhaps too thin, like meth addicts, because even a pound slows us down. Five pounds can add as much as a minute, and a minute easily separates those with medals from those without, especially at those community races ran by mostly people coming off Atkins diets and those trying to "find themselves" or celebrating a new them. We run those community races too. We're the ones elbowing our way to the front, wearing dry-fit clothing and those strange watches that tell us our pace, our total time and our miles.

The rush, as always, is expensive.

We spend our money on pairs of running shoes, special shoes, not the kind you buy at Kohl's. We sniff them before we take them out of the box. We hoard them and change into them only right before a race, even wearing another pair until five minutes before the gun because there's only so much magic in them and we want to keep the rush going for as long as possible. Just like you. We need a GPS and enough running clothes to fill part of a closet, and races cost money, too, sometimes $100 or more.

I have belonged to many exercise cults, even though I never played high school sports. I lifted weights first. That's the gateway drug. I love mountaineering, especially the 14ers in Colorado. I'm a card carrier for that group. I talk to others about how many they've done on the way up. I have far too many guide books and water bottles and head lamps.

But I'm a recent member of the running junkies. It's the most hardcore group out there. I guess the soft stuff just doesn't do it for me any longer. I need a stronger rush.

And now if you'll excuse me, it's been a couple days. It's time, once again, to put the spiders back in their cave.

Dan England is a professional writer who lives in Greeley, CO and writes for the Greeley Tribune.

Dar es Salaam

By Adam J. Weise © 2010

As I sit on the outdoor patio of the most expensive hotel in Dar es Salaam, the same one President Bush vacated two days ago after renting out every room, I wonder how it is possible for my new $30 five-countries-in-one portable power converter can break while Billy's $5 converter trudges through its third year in Tanzania. I am now completely without all my electronics except for this laptop whose battery is quickly depleting as the only outlets available here are for British devices only. Billy, who is currently pecking away furiously at his five year old laptop, has taught me how to use being white to garner every advantage and free amenity possible. Being white has not been all that pleasant, though, as it has caused me to become quite jaded with anything connected to money. Immediately upon arrival I went to buy two bottles of water and after the vendor overcharged me Billy loudly demanded an explanation in Swahili to which her reply was that she didn't have the correct change so she figured shortchanging me was a completely legitimate thing to do. For good reason white people are the target of beggars and street children and many a friendly conversation devolves into an outstretched hand and word "please" being repeated over and over while awkwardness ensues. I learned while volunteering at a Miami homeless shelter that money should not be given to beggars as it only serves to sustain their lifestyle and it leads to little positive change. Now you are absolved of any guilt you have ever felt about refusing change to the homeless, especially in the United States, where there are numerous shelters and organizations where the disenfranchised can access. In a third world country, these avenues for assistance either don't exist or are there but to a far lesser degree. I'm not sure if I can condemn charity given towards the old woman with no legs or the quadriplegic dwarf that I see every time I walk past the post office in downtown Dar es Salaam. Where are these people to go? In a country like this who will help them?

We are going to take the boys on a beach retreat and by retreat I mean a beach day peppered with one or two serious activities not involving water or the recently purchased soccer ball that has become the center of attention with the boys. This means I am wearing swimming trunks while Billy wears his only non-school teacher pair of pants which are plagued with five holes nearly all of which are in unseemly places. Despite our decidedly informal attire we are allowed to use the posh hotel's free wireless Internet due to the pigment of our skin. Being white and 6'2'' I differ from 99.9% of the people I meet. I have seen one man in Africa thus far that is both taller than I and of the same ethnicity. Wherever I walk in Mabibo, the section of Dar Es Salaam's urban sprawl where I reside, children will gawk at me like I'm the Loch Ness monster; something they've read and heard about but up until now had never quite believed existed. Jaws agape and only a few of the braver ones will address me but it is usually only with a cry from afar of "mzungu" which means white person. Some scream it from the top of their lungs while others whisper greetings underneath their breath. Many will hold my hand as I walk even if we are going in opposite directions and if I sit or bend down to their level their hands almost instinctively go to the top of my head. My long blond hair has become a sensational hit among the children, who boy or girl are forced to shave their heads up until college to prevent lice from entering the schools.

The combination of the children using their permanently dust laden hands to constantly grab at or play with my hair and the lack of access to running water has led to me being quite filthy by American standards but since I have occasional access to the upscale gym's shower I am quite clean in comparison to the boys in the orphanage. Although I alone have developed a series of rash like bumps on my hands and feet, I fear the Sponge Bob Square Pants sheets on my bed may not be as clean as they appear to be.

Whether Sponge Bob is clean or not, sleep is hard to come by as we now have a generator, which is spectacular in that it allows us to tutor the boys and me to utilize the computers I brought, but this same generator is very loud and its use has led the boys to stay up quite late which prevents my attempts at sleep. Each night I tuck in my mosquito netting and crank up my iPod to full blast and hope not to wake before the Muslim Call to Prayer which is broadcast by a megaphone from the local mosque. This message is supposed to occur at dawn but the mosque's overzealous announcer begins far earlier than the set time as he channels a both the enthusiasm of Robin Williams from Good Morning Vietnam and the vigor of a professional wrestling announcer. As the call to prayer draws out, I lie in bed sweating profusely quickly losing any hope of returning to sleep and I think of how much money I would pay to an imaginary wind God for a cool breeze. On a particularly sweltering hot morning I settled on $27, which is enough money to feed myself here for weeks, but I stand by this number nevertheless.

Billy and I recently went to Subway where we spent the equivalent of $5 on a huge meal; yet he still chastised my opulence as we could have had our usual $1 chips myai. Chips/fries, ugali, a very simple tasteless carbohydrate, or rice are combined with either soda served in a refillable glass bottle circa 1950 in the United States or one of the four African beers. I've learned from the boys not to think of eating as an enjoyable activity but simply as a necessary daily task like brushing one's teeth.

I recently set up an art project where each boy creates a piece of art with supplies we provided with the end result being everyone's art being displayed on the walls, a best drawing being crowned and a prize awarded to the most popular piece. After explaining this to the boys and not revealing the prize Justin asked me if the prize could be "we get to come home to America with you?" Not only was this heartbreaking but it made me realize that the Air Qatar travel kit with the mini toothbrush would not suffice as the prize. Later that night Haji, the smallest boy, asked me to stay here and become the new Mr. Bill. They are aware that Billy and I plan on leaving on April 25th and 29th respectively. I am giving the option of staying in Tanzania indefinitely a lot of thought as it would be an easy transition for me as I could take Billy's motorcycle, his room and his responsibilities.

I already have a job lined up as I worked two days this past week with Billy at a preschool/daycare run out of a wealthy Indian woman's house. The nannies of these wealthy German, American and Japanese expatriates drop off the four year olds at 8 a.m. and pick them up at 11:30 a.m. each weekday. The children are quite spoiled by both African and American standards but it reminded me of my college job at the Hales Corners Recreation Department which I adored. While a little fussy, none truly misbehaved except for little Zead whose family owns the sole milk provider to Dar es Salaam. Billy introduced him as his favorite and I could see why as during the first few minutes Zaed was painfully shy, clutching to Billy's pant legs with one hand and his empty bear shaped backpack with the other. I took him to see Billy's motorcycle and even though he was the only child who spoke strictly Swahili his timidity faded. Little did I know this would snowball into him spilling water on me, attempting to spit on me and his eventual metamorphosis into a full blown terror. His greatest feat was a whirlwind punching attack which made use of both his fists and his mouth which bit at the air in anticipation of his target: my leg. The second day the little Arabian hell spawn came in just as reserved and apprehensive as on the first day but before long he was trying to reenact his own hit and run with an tricycle and an unsuspecting Japanese boy named Nishi. His cuteness helped him immensely in the eyes of the other counselors as his greatest punishment was downgraded to a two minute timeout. By the end of the day he had won me over to some degree by lying next to me and draping my arm, which had to equal or surpass his body in size and weight, around his little shoulders while we listened to Billy tell us whether Gus the Goose would find K.C. the Cat's picnic. The owner of the day care center offered me Billy's job once he leaves and she wants a reply soon.

Adam Weise splits his time between Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Austin, Texas. The organization described in the writing has become the House of Blue Hope, which Adam and Billy now sit on the board of. Adam is also a co-founder of Ex Fabula, a Milwaukee storytelling group.