Shenandoah Nat'l Park

VA Farm Bureau



The Faults Of Tom Jones

July 3rd had been their anniversary, she guessed it still was, but to Shirley Jones it was just another day.  Not that it had always cracked up to be such a special day when he was alive.  There were the war years, Korea, when she obviously forgave his absence, even found it romantic to receive his happy anniversary cards with a few sincerely scribbled words of love and yearning, anywhere from a week before to three weeks after July 3rd.  But then upon his return he was changed.  And she didn't read it as some sort of post traumatic syndrome but rather a part of Tom's makeup that would have clicked on at a certain time in his life no matter where he had spent the previous years or what he had been doing there.  He became distant (oh how she hated the cliche, was it really a noteworthy thing to say about any man, that he was distant, might as well try and distinguish your man from others by saying he had a dick.) But Tom after the war just seemed increasingly to get everything out of context.  There was the year little Jimmy had received his first bicycle on their anniversary (it was on sale honey, there are no good sales around his actual birthday), and the years he had simply forgotten but would sheepishly grinning bring her breakfast in bed days or weeks later (remember during the war when my cards would be delayed?), or the three or four hard years where there was no card or gift, or remembrance of any kind excepting that palpable angst arriving around the end of June like a ribbon wrapped box of shit.  She didn't consider herself blameless in all this, she could be a hard and unpredictable woman, sometimes irresistible and seconds later quite the opposite. But she had been good to Tom for the most part, there was no one that saw it any differently. Maybe it was all men, maybe they all really were shits, except for those ones you didn't marry but kept in your fantasies to puff up your self-esteem. Shirley however had not been married to all men, only the one, his name had been Tom, and for the last 17 years the only absolute certainty was that he was dead, and that despite his many, many faults (don't get me started on the faults of Tom Jones), she did (was she cursed?) miss him.

- jimlouis 7-04-2014 4:58 pm [link] [1 ref]

The Contrition Of Abel Gardner

The opportunity to contribute his world view via film did not present itself to Abel Gardner and instead he was made, per instructions from his lawyer, to apologize to the judge and this he did sincerely without being obsequious, reading from his own hand written script.  The judge, a dour, grey bearded black man kept his head down during the brief apology and it was hard to tell if he was a man prone to forgiving foolishness or as might be construed from his demeanor, more likely to throw the book, make an example, or put some other common euphemistic hurting onto Abel that would certainly result in his future times being unhappy ones. Abel felt shame as he read, his head down not unlike that of the judge.  But his lawyer had made it clear to him that however noble might be his intentions, neither he nor his film nor the impressive handful of fellow radicals he had asked to support him at the hearing, nor even the two Times reporters invited by one of his group, would in any way change the justice system, except perhaps in the minutest way, like how might be changed the disposition of a rhinoceros from a mosquito bite on its ass. The judge let out an almost inaudible grunt following the completed contrition of Abel Gardner, still looking down and at no one, which strangely made it seem that he was looking at everyone all at the same time, and then slowly raising his head and with black mirthless eyes locked on Abel's lawyer, beckoned with a slight wave for him to come forward. There was then a muffled conversation between the two of them, punctuated with many nods; nods from the judge which did not convey agreement but rather you better be hearing me and nods from the lawyer of yes absolutely of course I understand and thank you judge.  Abel and his lawyer were then allowed to exit the courtroom under no constraints, excepting those just discussed in private between the lawyer and the judge: that there must be no outbursts of celebration from the gallery, no fist pumping or expressiveness of any kind, and under no circumstances was Abel Gardner allowed to speak to the press about this matter.  Other than that, he was a free man.  The mandate extended even to the outdoors surrounding the courthouse and Abel was persuaded to keep his distance from his friends until that time they could all if they chose to, meet for lunches and get back to their private discussions about any number of things.

- jimlouis 6-30-2014 1:41 pm [link]

Diagonal And Askew

The mylar walls of his toolshed abode shimmered mutely with the light of dawn. This was Ward Ambler's introduction to each day.  The one east facing window had no drapes but could be covered with a pink plastic shower curtain whenever he desired privacy from the black squirrels, who routinely perched their jittery selves on the flower box outside.  This morning he lay fetal, slightly askew of the diagonal axis of his plywood floor.  On the diagonal was the only way he could stretch out his length unobstructed.  The rabbit Leander could be heard moving around in the attached doghouse on the western side.  There was a chill in the air and Ward knew the patchy backyard grass would be wet with dew.  Birds were waking up. Nothing too unusual this late in June, just the resident Jays, Robins, and Cardinals.  There was a Catbird he called Cal, but there was no Mockingbird to be called Mike.  And also, there was this morning like there had been last night, an uneasiness that pervaded Ward Ambler.

- jimlouis 6-25-2014 1:24 pm [link]


Ward hooked the diamond jig to the bottom guide of his ten foot paraflex rod and reeled the 30 lb braid taut.  He turned his back on the crashing waves pounding the shore by Old Inlet.  A front was moving through, that seemed certain, but his understanding of how meteorology affected wave dynamics was lacking.  Hell of an east west current on a south facing shore was all he knew.  He had been casting far to his left into the wind and by the time he got his lure to shore the trailer hook was digging a skinny trench across the sand well to his right.  Covering a lot of ground he reasoned at the same time knowing that if there was a sweet spot in this water his lure was actually in it for only the briefest of moments.  He was now barefoot.  As he walked back to where he had left his boots, near that minimally protected area enforced with a string fence and warning signs, behind which the plovers laid their eggs on top of the sand, he was as he blinked walking on a gum and spit dotted sidewalk in New York, with a rabbit named Leander inside a tote bag in his left hand and his tool bucket in the other.  He zig-zagged back and forth, dodging the cell phone worshippers and the overly confident, the women walking three abreast and the parents with strollers.  He felt that he spent a lot of time on the lateral in New York, always moving sideways to move forward.  He picked up snatches of conversation.  At 23rd street and 3rd Avenue a somewhat masculine looking woman with large hands wearing her wig slightly askew said to her companion, that was my second daddy, my first daddy, my real daddy, he got beat to death with a baseball bat, it was over drugs, oh my it was very sad.  It was cold on the beach in June.

- jimlouis 6-17-2014 12:30 am [link]

The Rain

A sodden Ward Ambler trudged gamely in the rain.  To a fellow angler on the beach he called out, any luck?  A lousy sea robin and a bunch of eel grass, said the other.  Catching shorts in the river from my kayak but nothing out here.  Ward nodded, his mind blank, unable to respond verbally in some commiserative fashion he just went from nodding to shaking his head like some goofy assed scar faced bobble head doll.  He continued up the beach with a barely audible see ya later to the other fisherman, whose back was already turned. Earlier, having misjudged an incoming wave his rubber boots were now holding an inch of water and sand and were pulling away from his feet with every step. His socks were all but slipped off and they floated bunched up in the toe of each boot. He didn't want to carry the damn things, they would be heavy, so he kept them on, and kept moving forward, miserably.  On his walk he periodically casted out into the ocean a chunk of shiny metal with its green tubing covered tail hook and unsurprisingly brought back to the beach only eel grass and the occasional sand flea wriggling on the dull hook piercing its belly.

Jimmy Jones was four feet deep in a hole shoveling sand and rocks up onto the growing pile.  The rain was not constant but the mosquitos were.  His trip up the river had been a short one and now in his back yard he was determined to finish the digging of the ditch for the new dry well, into which the dishwasher and washing machine drained.  The old well had been container-less and was apparently some old school attempt at a french draining system but instead of containing a combination of pebbles and larger smooth river rocks had contained 50 to 80 pound blocks of broken up concrete foundation material, surrounded by a few river rocks, and dirt.  His three-year-old hernia scar glowed red.  He climbed out of the hole and dropped one of the two 50 gallon dry well containers into it to test its alignment with the incoming drain pipe, which ran from near the washing machine in the basement to this hole in his back yard.  It did not align and he would need to make adjustments and probably a trip to Hardware Hell for an elbow or two.

Oh be serious William, how many people can tell you what day it is and who's the Vice-President.  It's no secret that my memory is fading but it was never that good to begin with.  Is it Tuesday?  Nope, said William Fillmore.  Well who gives a good goddamn?  I can remember a lot of things.  Just this morning I was thinking about when Tom was still alive.  It was 20, 25 years ago, he had just turned 65 I think and we wanted to get him set up with Social Security but he never got a card, don't know why, seems unlikely but there you have it, he didn't have one.  Didn't have a birth certificate either, or had one and used it to wrap fish, either way he had to prove his age to the people down there so he takes off his shirt, shows them the gray hair on his chest and they cut him a check.  Comes home, shows me the check and you know what I said to him.  Dr. Fillmore spoke up.  You told him to go back down there, pull down his pants, and see if he could get disability.  Oh, I've already told you that one?  Yes, last time you were here.  Ok, Ok, so I need to get some new jokes, but I'm fine, I'm as good as I'm going to get, so please just back off with all those silly questions you keep asking.  Ok, Shirley.  Anything else you'd like to tell me, any complaints or concerns?  Yes, I can't stand that new rap and roll music the kids play but whaddaya gonna do?  Now I'm going to get out of here so you can try to get something useful done today.  It was a pleasure to see you again Bill.  You as well, Shirley.

- jimlouis 6-11-2014 1:40 pm [link]


In Dr. Fillmore's waiting room, sitting next to each other on burnt orange cloth covered foam seats framed in tubular chrome Shirley and Janice Jones looked with bewilderment at the hysterical receptionist. What do you think is wrong with her Janice?  She's blabbering as if the devil himself has a finger up her butt.  You don't remember her Mother Jones?  Shirley frowned, not at all, can't even remember ever seeing her before. Last time we were in here you said some unusual things to her.  Unusual how?  Well, you were upset that she asked you for your insurance card.  Why would she ask for my insurance card, I've been coming here for 30 years?  She didn't know that mother.  She is new here.  She was just doing her job the way she was trained to do it.  Shirley huffed. I think she might should find another line of work because I can't see how it would be comforting to sick people to be greeted with all that hysterical snot gobbling.  Janice became alert at the word, "gobbling."  The incident with the baby was still fresh in her mind, and some variation of the word often signified that Shirley Jones was under one of her spells.  During her last checkup three months ago, when the receptionist had asked for her insurance card, Shirley responded calmly, now you listen here you gooch gobbler, I have been a patient of Dr. Fillmore's for 30 years and not once in those 30 years have I been asked for an insurance card.  I am not some homeless person off the street.  Ma'm, I am not saying you are homeless, I just need to verify your insurance card against our records.  Do you have a dog? Shirley asked abruptly, the non-sequitur stutter step being  one of her signature maneuvers. Because if you do I sure hope you treat it better than you treat people in this office.  Not such a bad exchange really in the scheme of things Shirley but as it turned out the receptionist did have a dog.  And in what could only be coincidence, upon returning home from work that day she found the dog dead in front of her house, it having crawled under the fence and into the street where it was struck by a school bus.  The driver had not wanted to traumatize the children and so had not stopped to check on the animal, but just as well for the dog had died instantly from the blunt force trauma of a bumper moving at 30 mph meeting its skull. The receptionist, new to the area and not quick to make friends was especially close to her Phoebe, a mixed breed mutt with at least some poodle in its lineage.  The receptionist naturally assumed that the crazy lady who wouldn't give up her insurance card and weirdly asked about her dog had somehow caused this "accident," and upon seeing that witch again today suffered the opening of what she had thought was a healed wound.

Ward was back in the Winona tool shed he called home petting his new pet rabbit. In New York Abel had at some point become curious and asked, what are you looking at Ward?  Ward admitted he was looking at the construction dumpster across the street, wondering if there was anything of use in it.  Ward, you mustn't wonder, you must act, and rising from beneath the broken pieces of sheetrock in a cloud of dust, his black clothing etched white, Abel went to the magic sock drawer and this time pulled from it two fluorescent lime green safety vests.  Put this on, he said, giving one of the vests to Ward while donning the other. Let's go have a look. No, wait. From the closet near the door he brought out two hard hats. In answer to Ward's barely raised eyebrows, he offered, for verisimilitude. From the pocket of his vest he removed a laminated ID tag attached to a lanyard. Emblazoned on the tag was an official looking seal and below that, Inspector 23.  I get to wear the lanyard, but I'll let you wear it next time. Ward nodded.  Abel continued, it is my belief that a man without a lanyard is barely a man at all.  I don't know that I can adequately express what this lanyard means to me, he said reverently, fondling the tri-colored nylon weave.  I understand, said Ward. Unable to determine if he was being patronized, Abel said, come on, let's go get you something good, and they left the building. The two of them, looking almost authentic, had stood in front of the dumpster until two workers came down carrying old wall studs with remnants of lath and small pieces of plaster still attached.  Stand down men, Abel had ordered while flashing his Inspector 23 badge.  He then explained to the workers that pursuant to article 16 of the building code all wooden studs of a length greater than eight feet must be de-nailed before being placed in containers exceeding 70 yards of cubic volume.  The two men had stared at him for a moment before abruptly dropping the lumber to the ground and re-entering the building.  OK Ward, you have five minutes until the foreman comes down, before which we must be gone.  It took Ward only three to find the rabbit, which he at first thought was a giant rat, accept his congratulations from Abel, and be off in his Jeep towards the Williamsburg Bridge, and the LIE to Winona.

- jimlouis 6-10-2014 11:33 am [link] [1 ref]

Parallel To Water

And cut, said Abel, rising from the floor where he had been sitting Yoga-style pretending to peruse the Constitution of the United States. I think that will do nicely, don't you Ward.  Ward removed the Reagan Halloween mask, provided by Abel from the same sock drawer that held the sickle and seemed to consider at great length before simply saying, sure, I think so.  Abel, not so practiced at contortion, limped over to a small table set off in a nook across from the kitchen, and from a dish in the shape of a milky white pair of cupped hands removed a half burned stick of something.  This he put in his mouth and with a blue plastic lighter sitting next to the glass hands set the tip of it on fire.  He inhaled deeply.  My lawyer called last night to tell me he got my court date postponed.  Ward was staring out the front windows at a construction dumpster across the street and wondering about the treasures it might contain. A day not in court is a day worth celebrating, he said.  Exhaled puffs of smoke punctuated Abel's response, you speak the truth Mr. Ambler. Furthermore, I think you are the holder of many great secrets and a fellow seeker of hidden mysteries. Ward wondered if Abel was reading his mind, knew that he desired to know the contents of that dumpster. Abel exclaimed, oh, oh, and laid down on the floor, covering himself with the broken up pieces of sheetrock.  Ward, push the red button, I want to get a shot of this.  The camera ran for five minutes, during which Abel was inert, except for occasional outbursts of experimental dialogue between himself and the state. I have broken down your wall yet still I lay buried beneath your rubble. That's right. Why dost thou doest me this?  Because its easy. I mean you no harm.  What you mean is of little interest to me.  I seek only justice.  Good luck with that, Mr. Gardner.


Jimmy let his passengers off at the dock around noon and after hosing everything down and storing his gear below deck went out to the Offshoot Marina parking lot and hooked up his Chevy Silverado to the small trailer carrying his 14 foot Smoker Craft jon boat, which he then backed down the ramp and into the water at the mouth of the Carman's River. After parking the trailer he headed north, running the 40 hp Evinrude at just above idle.  Osprey circled overhead.  One wrestled with a small tree limb in its beak, apparently off to maintain one of the giant, crudely constructed nests which lined the river. Some of these sat atop ancient dead trees and others on human constructed platforms erected to assist in repopulation after Osprey, drunk on DDT, were decimated in the sixties. There was this moment, after their intent yet casual search for fish below, after being parallel to water, then 45 degrees, then wings folded tight to a body pointed straight down, getting ready to fall like a cinder block from a skyscraper, where they don't fall but defy gravity and are a still shot in an otherwise moving picture, a moment that may have only existed in Jimmy's mind, for Jimmy knew that things which cannot be, cannot be, but it was that moment, where a bird without wings just hung in the sky for the merest fraction of a second, that shook his etch a sketch clean, erased all squiggly lined bullshit that was his mother losing her mind, and dumb assed frat boys, and even that dick bump just now, fishing from his kayak, who ignored him, just shook his head dismissively when all he had asked was are you seeing any bait.

- jimlouis 6-01-2014 2:48 pm [link]


From out of the fugue state into which she had drifted, or had pretended to after making that innocent baby cry, Shirley Jones turned to face her daughter-in-law, who was driving her to Dr. Fillmore's office for a routine checkup.  Did you just now call me batshit?  Did I?  That's what I'm asking, because I'm not sure what you think I've done to deserve your disrespect but perhaps if I had a better idea we might work it out together.  We've had our differences I know but you are my only son's wife and I think it counter-productive to a harmony I'm sure we both desire if one of us is calling the other names.  Janice glanced over at Mrs. Jones and briefly studied her eyes, just to gauge which Mrs. Jones she was speaking to.  It could be the sane one.  There was not exactly that telling glint of evil in her eye, but she had been fooled before, set up to believe she was conversing with the kind hearted mother-in-law only to be sucker punched with Shirley's uniquely sinister vitriol.  I might have called you batshit just now Shirley.  I don't know.  I was beside myself after what you said to that baby.  A baby?  Where is there a baby?  Oh, I know it's no one's fault but I so wish you and Jimmy had given me a grand-child to enjoy in these my last years.  Last years my foot, Shirley.  You are going to live forever. Do you really think so?  I don't feel so spry anymore.  None of us feel spry Mother Jones.  There was no more talk of the baby.  A few minutes later they arrived at the office of Dr. Fillmore, located in a small strip center between Pesaro's Pizza and the SaveMore Discount store, just off the Parkway before Sunrise Highway.

- jimlouis 5-24-2014 3:50 pm [link]

A Onesy With Pink Lace
As a passenger Shirley Jones felt insecure.  Her son and that bitch wife of his had taken her independence away when they stole her car keys and told her she was no longer allowed to drive.  She, that Janice person, a real cunt in Shirley's honest opinion, was always telling her what was best.  Shirley honey, put your seat belt on she says when they got in the car. I don't need to.  Yes you do, dear.  I'm not your dear, I'm not wearing a seat belt.  I've been around long enough now, before seat belts were even invented, dear (she said snidely), and I am allowed, as a senior citizen not to wear one.  Oh please Shirley, Janice pleaded, the car will make an awful racket if you don't fasten the belt.  No more awful a racket that what comes out of your mouth every time you open it.  Janice, stung by that, relented.  The ding ding ding of the seatbelt alarm followed by a more rapid succession of dings, followed then by an automated voice stating the obvious, seatbelt not fastened, seatbelt not fastened, was the only thing that had made Shirley smile in a long time.  Eventually the alarms ceased, as did Shirley's smile, for in the silence she was left alone with her thoughts.  And those, she realized during her very brief moments of clarity, were becoming increasingly dark.  


In the apartment of Abel Gardner, Warden asked if he could wear a mask while tearing down the wall.  Abel thought that was a great idea.  It would help further the symbolism.  Ward was mostly interested in not being recognizable to authorities.  Abel set up a camera on a tripod and told Ward to just go at it, we'll edit out the dull parts.  After about ten minutes when it became obvious that the dull parts might constitute a majority Abel asked Ward if there was any way he might use a hammer and sickle as the tools of his deconstruction.  Ward said he had a hammer but had not thought to bring a sickle.  Abel rooted around in a sock drawer and pulled out a rusty curved blade with a splintery wooden handle.  He gave it to Ward who in the very receiving of it got a splinter in his hand.  We can just use it for effect, at the end, Abel said, looking at Ward Ambler removing the sizable wooden sliver from his palm.


Janice was stopped on the Parkway at the Clearview light.  At the crosswalk, a petite young mother in a floral print sun dress, with her baby in a carriage, was also waiting for the light to change.  Shirley Jones, blank faced and apparently harmless, stared out at the baby carriage.  Turning, the young mother softened at the sight of the frail woman and pivoted the carriage ninety degrees, ostensibly to show the woman her baby, dressed in a pink onesy with white lace and wearing on its head a matching pink sun hat.  Mrs. Jones could see the light controlling the Clearview traffic turning yellow and frantically rolled down her window as the mother smiled.  Just as the light stopping the Parkway turned green Shirley pointed a shriveled finger at the baby and shrieked, look at the cob-gobbler Janice, look at the goddamned cob-gobbler, would you?  Have  you ever seen such a thing?


Jimmy was in his boat, the I.M.Fluked, with his charter, a trio of Pi Kappa Alpha boys whose names he had already forgotten but could be described easily by size as Skinny, Shorty, and Fatty.  Shorty was up on the starboard gunwale goofing around.  Hey guys, look, I'm fluked up.  His brothers giggled.  Jimmy turned starboard and goosed the engine a bit, causing Shorty to stumble back into the boat and grab on to his skinny pal.  You're gay.  No I'm not.  Then let go of me.  When they began to fish, drifting a bay channel near Moriches, the boys quieted down and Jimmy took the opportunity to call Janice.  Is this a good time?  There was a pause on the other end during which Jimmy could hear a bizarre combination of staticky high pitched breathing, and voices that seemed almost human, but every other syllable was an electronic distort and Jimmy stood hypnotized by this for he didn't know how long before finally trying again, Babe, are you there?  Yes Jimmy.  Are you OK?  Another long pause, with more distorted background voices (an army of intergalactic aliens smoldering under a layer of napalm), and then clear as if she were standing in front of him Janice said, OK?  Sure Jimmy, if driving your batshit mother around and being verbally abused all day and just now having her call a newborn baby a cocksucker is OK then yes, I would say I'm OK.  And you Jimmy, how is your day going?  I have three frat boys.  Oh you poor thing, do you want to talk about it?  Janice, I'm sorry, is there anything I can do?  There was more electronic feedback, the suffering aliens, and then he was sure the call had dropped, but after he had shut off his phone and was putting it in his pocket one clear word came through the tiny speaker, and it sounded like something from the garden section at Home Depot--Parenticide.  Jimmy frowned, removed the phone from his pocket and, after having Google help him with the spelling and meaning, put it back into his pocket.  He had done this last part with two fingers, as if he thought the phone might now be carrying some infectious disease.

- jimlouis 5-20-2014 6:23 pm [link]

Cannibals Of The Deep
All the other persons with rods between their legs were set up wading knee deep in the bay by the bridge, because that's where the Blues were running (giant toothy aggressive rod bending drag screaming yellow eyed Bluefish, who when hungry will attack from the rear any living or dead thing, including their own young, or any shiny or dull piece of metal or wood dragged under or across the top of the water), and reportedly were unusually large this year, for so early in the season.  Warden was pulling nothing from the crashing waves before him because his line was not in the water nor was his rod between his legs. Emasculated by circumstance, he was alone one hundred yards from the surf, squatting slowly before lying back on  a dune with a groan barely audible above the sonorous sea.  Earlier while casting into deep water with a confidence born of no practical experience he had been startled by the staccato screech of a Killdeer flying unseen in the fog above him, startled enough to cause just the right, or wrong movement in his torso, which injected a fresh dose of pain into that sweet spot in his lower back.  It was on the right side today.  Two days ago it had been on the left. Five days previous it had been on both sides and with some intensity on the left side of his neck. The Percocets would not touch it so he left them in his lure bag next to the Uncle Josh pork rind trailers.  Ward Ambler closed his eyes and felt a contemplative mood coming on. This was a thing he did not welcome. So he opened his eyes, counted the waves, and closed them again, as reset.  And felt nothing except that which could be described by even the most skeptical, as good.  But apparently there was a time limit on feeling good and thoughts began to creep in.  Should he join the throngs by the bridge?  Would it kill him to be a part of the human race?  He was still a little shook up and embarrassed from getting hooked in the face last year when a small three pound schoolie bass had leapt at him from the beach after being yanked from the ocean, while attached to an SP Minnow lure and its two treble hooks.  The fish dangled and tugged most excruciatingly from Ward Ambler's left check while he first panicked under the throes of a thing which heretofore he literally could not have imagined, and then slowly he dealt with it one step at a time, first cutting the line (which does nothing in this situation but is easy and feels like progress.)  He then removed the thrashing fish from the lure, in the process digging another prong of the front treble into his face. He had been strangely relieved at that point and considered heading home with the lure attached to his cheek but found it uncomfortable hanging like that with its internal steel balls rattling, and had in the end clipped the hooks with his magnum wire cutters so that only the parts of the hook that were actually piercing his flesh were left. He had been the talk of the community for a while over that one.  Jimmy Jones had explored the various humorous appellations his limited imagination could muster: Fish Face, Hook Head, Captain Hook, Barbafella (which Ward begrudgingly admitted was almost funny), but over time the hook wounds healed, the swelling in his face subsided, and as for Jimmy, he became consumed by family tragedies, not the least being the progressive mental deterioration of his mother, who was now known to utter the most imaginative and hateful obscenities to any man, woman, or child, irrespective of time or place. Ward took no consolation in Jimmy's misfortune but just moved seamlessly from feeling bad for himself to feeling bad for someone else.  The two felt the same.  The fishing was the escape and that his time spent at it could border on obsessive, and implied an inordinate need for obfuscating the simple bland facts of his life was a thing he did not overly ponder.  As much as Ward wanted to be into fish he still felt an unreasonable fear of being gaffed by another one and wasn't sure he could handle the ignominy of it happening in front of the whole crew down by the bridge.  He knew there were fish in these waters in front of him. He sometimes imagined last years facial piercing had imbued him with a special sixth sense, yet nothing in his life supported the idea that he had any special powers or insights into finding and catching fish.  Lying there he came to accept that he was going to have to miss this run.  He had a couple of hours to kill before attending to a small job in the city. The owners of the bighouse were having a weekend party, somehow in honor of something to do with RuPaul, the details were fuzzy to him, but it was suggested he might enjoy being away for a few days and Ward Ambler agreed that he might.  And in any case as a squatter in their tool shed he tried to be sensitive to their hints, if not their rights. The job was for an anarchist named Abel Gardner, with whom he had become acquainted, when just a few weeks previous, pulled off on the shoulder of the Long Island Expressway to change a flat tire during rush hour in a thunderstorm, the rain suddenly stopped and when Ward looked up there was a silver haired man dressed all in black holding a giant red umbrella over him. While Ward changed the tire Abel regaled him with his recent adventures battling a Grand Jury, of which he had been a member, but apparently not an agreeable one to the other jurors, nor especially to the judge, because on the ninth day of his thirty day requirement Abel had been removed from the courtroom and taken to some other address on Centre Street, where he was informed that he was being held in contempt of court.  All for simply asking questions before allowing indictments to be drawn up against some clearly retarded people.  Ward had nodded at that while tightening his lug nuts.  I'm not being figurative here calling the people retarded you understand, the people, well some of them anyway, some of them were by the descriptions given of their crimes, which is all we really had to go on, well it was patently obvious they were retarded.  By the way my name is Abel, Abel said extending his hand and not hesitating before grasping and shaking the greasy palm offered by Ward.  Ward, Ward said.  Ward, I hope I'm not offending you by calling people retarded. Not really, no.  That's great, well anyhow I did not feel I could just blindly be part of that machinery that was processing the meat, you understand.  Especially retarded meat, so I was asking questions attempting to ascertain truth, and for that I may go to jail. It's not right. Ward stood up to put his tools away while agreeing it didn't sound right.  Abel then asked him what he did and Ward admitted that he mostly fished, not successfully though, and was also known to do small home repair jobs. Outstanding, just outstanding, was Abel's response and they exchanged information which led to this job.  Abel had a half wall in his apartment on W 23rd Street, had been wanting to get rid of it for ages, and now with this court thing hanging over him he had a brilliant idea. Which was to procure graffiti specialists from the street, have them paint up his wall into some semblance of the one formerly in Berlin, and then have someone, and now that someone was Ward, tear it down while being filmed.  The film would end when exposed behind the torn down wall was Abel Gardner reading a yellowed copy of the Constitution.  This film he hoped to show at his hearing.  Ward was skeptical but offered no opinion, so far was any of this from his experience.  He was neither a film critic nor a legal expert.  Or an actor for that matter.  Just be yourself and do what you know how to do, Abel advised.  Ward stared blankly at the wall.  The graffiti had been done, seemed a little off (Hitler sucks cock)? but what did he know. 

- jimlouis 5-17-2014 4:55 pm [link]