Friday, May 17, 2013

Buddha Thug - 5


Notes from the ├╝ber grind:
     Everything hurts, most of the time.
     Buddy Haha was round-robin leader of group for the day.
     "Do you remember the day you were born? The moment? No?  Let me tell you, I was there."
     Buddy did his best all-knowing bub-bub lip and squinted into the past.
     "Life and death mingled that moment, a viscous rolling, tumbling into the calloused hands of a strange giant." 
     "But I was born on beach off San Paulo,"whispered Juan. " It had to have been warm, no? And my mother, a Brazilian hippie with beautiful brown breasts - She drew me from herself and cradled me up against them. I've heard the story."
     "Never-mind. I'm talking about your spirit, not your bones. Birth into life..."
     "Suffering and coffee - a bad combination," noted Maxine. "Can we smoke now? I want to smoke now."
     Buddy, ignoring Maxine, followed his own thread, "My head throbbed this morning, I felt confused, irritable, no reason, no good reason - as if a great weight had been cast upon me from another realm, another dimension - the resonance of some great suffering from a sympathetic karmic plane."
     "Allergies!"
     The group laughed. Buddy nodded. Wanda smiled.
     Then Buddy relaxed. "You know right before you blow the brains out of your mark - that little tingle? I miss that! It's sick! Sure, that's why I'm here, but man, no karma, no kindness, no words - just a little 'uh-oh!' And BLAM! Done for the day!"
     Wanda winced, Maxine puffed up her cheeks and Juan balanced the tears in his eyes until they filled right up to the top before spilling. The others sat motionless.
     "There it is! That's the pain and suffering  I'm talking about!"
    The end
     

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Buddha Thug - 4


     "Emerald green! And - hey, listen - indigo, if you think maybe you'd have it."
     The clerk paused in mid stride, either looking for the items in his mental inventory or, in annoyance at having to hold back a wry comment about indigo underwear.
     "You okay there?"
     "Yeah," replies the clerk, "Just trying to remember if we carry any indigo boxer-briefs." He smiled, "I just don't think so! But I'm going to look!"
     The little man scampered off.
    Bud got away with murder - Haha! Literally and figuratively. He was tall and wide and good looking with hair that did tricks; Hawaiian waves, mud-slides, Fast Eddies, you name it. A little grey looked like marble on a slick black night on the Seine. His shoulders were friendly huge, his large hands almost always working a welcoming gesture. Bud got dirty but never dusty. He sparkled clean.
     "I got ocean green and lime, I got something they call True-blue, but it's closer to cobalt than indigo - and there's a very cute pink - I know, you didn't ask for it, but I just thought - Wow! What a man for pink!"
    Wanda later noted, "We get love for the wrong reasons and left for the wrong reasons. A child still has the purity of spirit to see that - it hurts, it's lonely, it's frustrating, and, as adults, we can't see clear through the mess of our own tangled confusion to remember what a straight line to love or loss looks like anymore."
     "Life is rough, Wanda. You catch a smack because you catch one. You get a kiss because you get one, if you're lucky. You walk away when the time is right.
     "Or stay when the time is right?"

     Bud stares at the little man for a moment, and then another. The pink underwear dangled from the Clerk's index finger. He gestured weakly to Bud, but the large man didn't move a muscle.
    "I know," Bud said through the pink underwear, "I should buy my socks to match my underwear, not the other way around - but," he swallowed embarrassment and rage alternately between words, "I got the socks as a gift..."
     "Wow!" Said the clerk with growing excitement. "You match all your socks and underwear?!"
     Bud went red in the face.
     
     "I was ready to squash him!  Some nerve, licking his chops, like I was some kind of winged side of beef!"
     "But you didn't squash him?"
     "No."
     "Why not?"
     "I'm working on my stuff. His words made me angry, I didn't want to take on that anger. Kind to myself..."
     "So how that work out for you?"
     "For me, not bad. For him, well ask him yourself."
     "What?"
     "He's in the trunk of my car. I'll go get him."
    End of part 4

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Buddha Thug - 3 - Buddy Haha - the early days



     The name tag said, 'Buddy Haha'.
    "Yes, Buddy, short for Budwald - and Haha, short for nothing - and no, not funny Haha, just Haha. Nothing funny about it I suppose," he said, "except for that its not." 
     You might imagine that Buddy would have found some fluidity in that introduction. There was enough good material in his name for something soft and humorous, but it always got tangled up. 
     Hit-O-Rama. A one-stop trade-show showcasing the latest products and services for you, that hard working "Elimination Contractor". 
     Bud got the nerves during these things - there was physical morphing: his hands grew, shovel-sized. His feet and legs narrowed up and trailed off below him. Bud could feel his head swelling up, ears hissing, pounding. The whole thing made him top heavy, confused.
     He'd discussed the social anxiety with his shrink, Wanda.
     "My wife says its social anxiety. I kill people for a living, what kind of anxiety haven't I worked through by now?" He said, smirking more out of embarrassment than jest.
     "Perhaps that list of self-defined inadequacies that allow you to take lives in anger also allow you to treat yourself poorly in a group of your own peers. Other killers have problems too. You are neither above or below..."
     Of course , bud smiled, in a room full of hit-persons, he was likely to be a bit above, haha! 
     So why the the teetering, the groundlessness?
     These days people dropped dead in the street for no good reason. A new-age chemical bullet, a modern day block-N-drop. Old school, Five Corners style, would poison a mans already fouled moonshine, just enough dope to let him get a bock before he dropped. Roll the sailor in the back of the bar and send him on his way. Dead and dirty and all by his lonesome.  These days, injectionable pellets of untraceable material can be shot through outter-wear, like, this one - Bud scans the claim on the display;
     Boost! Dissolving micro-capsule leaves no trace!
     No trace, Bud thought. How nice.
     "It's always 'You feel! You feel!' With you" he said, alternately to his wife and his shrink. "How about, I know! I know!"
     Which Wanda quickly cleared up. "We 'feel' everything and 'know' very little. Your emotions are your window into what is real, what you 'know' behind the illusion that suffering offers."
     "You just want me to cry. You want to see a big man cry so your trying to confuse me into - I don't know what."
     "Not at all," said Wanda, said his wife, said his mother.
     "Oh brother!"
     But that was before. Bud would take out his aggression on poor souls, marked and payed for as 'Done'.
     Whack-A-Crumb! Fun stuff. Cudgel on a wire tells you the velocity and accuracy of your strike. Too violent for Bud these days. In fact, he's gone non-vio, completely, and nearly vegan to boot. He also feels his feelings. Believe it. And not one long angry moment like the past forty years either. He can sift through a moment now, pick out some sadness, some longing, tweeze up a bit of remorse and spit-shine it to see the facets.., nice work, King-Kong!
     "When someone makes you explosively angry," Wanda had said, "what happens? What do you feel? What do you do?"
     "Squash everything into anger, use the anger to squash whatever, whomever it was that made me feel this way."
     "What's behind the anger?" She asked.
     "Hatred"
     "What's behind the hatred?"
     Bud winced. "Why don't you just tell me instead of trying to find out the hard way!"
     "We'll, I suspect it's all of your emotions, and things you find threatening."
     "Ha! Rich! And I'm paying you too!"

End of part 1 - buddy 
     
    
     
     
     

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Buddha Thug - The Red-eye (Horrible Marriages Collection)


     The plane's tight: tight seats, thin air, narrow aisle, narrow folks, pinched faces and Bud. 
     Bud's wedged into row 21, seat B.
     It's an hour before midnight with little hope of finding Chicago through the squeeze of ice and wind without the wings flailing hard enough to make every soul on that jet pray they've done enough good to make a difference in the eyes of a wrathful God. Everyone's preparing. The silence says so. Everyone except for the woman in row 20, seat A. She's not worried. She's done with God, done with good, done with it all - she's all done. 
     "What!" She shrieks at her husband, "What is it! What! Tell me! What!?" Her voice is hateful. She's putting every ounce of done and nasty into each word, waiting for her husband to finally snap, spin around, break her neck. She wants him to end it, put his once loving hands around her throat - right there, near Detroit, before the plane has a chance to do it for him. 
     The man can't. 
     But Bud, he's thinking he might be able to lend the old couple a hand.  The foul woman's husband is in even worse shape than she is. He can't articulate his own horror.  He simply shakes his bony skull. A bit of tired white hair forgets where it belongs and so gives up trying, dangles air-born.
     "I asked you! What! You made a face! What was it? What is it!? What? Tell me!" It's toe curling. Bud's thinking he can reach through between the seats, get one arm around, if he can't reach her, he can at least reach him. cause Bud's thinking, 'if I get one of of'em I got both of'em'
      "Jesus Christ! It's my back! My back!"
     And the old man saying it is her reward. He's in pain. Good, her lips smack with joy. She sucks the last ice-cube from a soft-drink cup - bangs the upturned thing into her mouth - smacks the bottom of it with glee.  She looks over, leans in on the old man and whispers, "What! What was that? You just said something - I heard something !" But the old man simply turns away.
     The plane lands in Chicago just past midnight. The woman in 20A stands triumphantly, lips pursed, head bobbing, she stretches to show her husband what it's like.
     "What!? What was that face!?" It starts again.
     Bud wants to step on her foot, fix her brakes.  He's looking at their bags. One of them has a tag - if he gets a glimpse of the address... 
     "I need help with this bag." She says out-loud, to no one  and everyone. At this point Bud would have to get on line to garret the hag. The folks on the plane are tired, cramped and it's that moment before the cabin door is opened, the teeth-gnashing moment everyone feels will be the final moment of sanity before eternal chaos and confusion.
     Bud stands and smiles. Those nearby give him a dirty look. Is he crazy? A young man elbows Bud. A woman with a child in her arms shakes her head with disgust. 
     Bud's a big guy, six-two. He's over the woman, his large head suspended directly over her face. It looks like Bud may just clamp his mouth right over the small woman's head and have done with her. But no, his smile is his weapon. He's so close she can see the bubbles on each strand of saliva as his broad mouth widens. He reaches around the woman to get at the bag in the overhead storage compartment. As he does his body envelops the hateful woman, just for a moment. He doesn't take his eyes from hers. She doesn't flinch. There is no threat, no worse, no this or that or here or there or I and it for this creature. 
     When Bud puts the heavy bag in her hand, the woman says nothing. Her husband doesn't even watch the exchange. He has no hope left at all. Their misery is perfect. Transcendent. As the crowd ruts down the aisle a moment later, some folks are grumbling, snickering, yawning their way into the welcoming gusts of icy Chicago wind.
     Bud's still got a smile on his face. He'd met his match. He thought he's seen the worst of the worst: Killers, addicts, lunatics and mountains of self-righteous, self-doubting, self-hating sufferers clogged the city's and fouled the countryside, but this pair.... No. Bud caught that address on the travel bag, but he'd never visit. He owned that. Meddling in the old couples lives, or deaths, that would just pour bad karma on eternal misery. He, like everyone else that had the misfortune of running into that tragic pair, had to draw that horror in, hold it, feel it, and then either let it go or suffer the consequences. 
    The strength of their hatred for each other had eclipsed into a singularity, a black hole of undifferentiated fury. Nearness meant oneness. Oneness meant....
    Bud blanched at the thought of it, turned up his collar and steadied himself into the wind.

Buddha Thug - The Red-eye (Horrible Marriages Collection)


     The plane's tight: tight seats, thin air, narrow aisle, narrow folks, pinched faces and Bud. 
     Bud's wedged into row 21, seat B.
     It's an hour before midnight with little hope of finding Chicago through the squeeze of ice and wind without the wings flailing hard enough to make every soul on that jet pray they've done enough good to make a difference in the eyes of a wrathful God. Everyone's preparing. The silence says so. Everyone except for the woman in row 20, seat A. She's not worried. She's done with God, done with good, done with it all - she's all done. 
     "What!" She shrieks at her husband, "What is it! What! Tell me! What!?" Her voice is hateful. She's putting every ounce of done and nasty into each word, waiting for her husband to finally snap, spin around, break her neck. She wants him to end it, put his once loving hands around her throat - right there, near Detroit, before the plane has a chance to do it for him. 
     The man can't. 
     But Bud, he's thinking he might be able to lend the old couple a hand.  The foul woman's husband is in even worse shape than she is. He can't articulate his own horror.  He simply shakes his bony skull. A bit of tired white hair forgets where it belongs and so gives up trying, dangles air-born.
     "I asked you! What! You made a face! What was it? What is it!? What? Tell me!" It's toe curling. Bud's thinking he can reach through between the seats, get one arm around, if he can't reach her, he can at least reach him. cause Bud's thinking, 'if I get one of of'em I got both of'em'
      "Jesus Christ! It's my back! My back!"
     And the old man saying it is her reward. He's in pain. Good, her lips smack with joy. She sucks the last ice-cube from a soft-drink cup - bangs the upturned thing into her mouth - smacks the bottom of it with glee.  She looks over, leans in on the old man and whispers, "What! What was that? You just said something - I heard something !" But the old man simply turns away.
     The plane lands in Chicago just past midnight. The woman in 20A stands triumphantly, lips pursed, head bobbing, she stretches to show her husband what it's like.
     "What!? What was that face!?" It starts again.
     Bud wants to step on her foot, fix he breaks.  He's looking at their bags. One of them has a tag - if he gets a glimpse of the address... 
     "I need help with this bag." She says out-loud, to no one  and everyone. At this point Bud would have to get on line to garret the hag. The folks on the plane are tired, cramped and it's that moment before the cabin door is opened, the teeth-gnashing moment everyone feels will be the final moment of sanity before eternal chaos and confusion.
     Bud stands and smiles. Those nearby give him a dirty look. Is he crazy? A young man elbows Bud. A woman with a child in her arms shakes her head with disgust. 
     Bud's a big guy, six-two. He's over the woman, his large head suspended directly over her face. It looks like Bud may just clamp his mouth right over the small woman's head and have done with her. But no, his smile is his weapon. He's so close she can see the bubbles on each strand of saliva as his broad mouth widens. He reaches around the woman to get at the bag in the overhead storage compartment. As he does his body envelops the hateful woman, just for a moment. He doesn't take his eyes from hers. She doesn't flinch. There is no threat, no worse, no this or that or here or there or I and it for this creature. 
     When Bud puts the heavy bag in her hand, the woman says nothing. Her husband doesn't even watch the exchange. He has no hope left at all. Their misery is perfect. Transcendent. As the crowd ruts down the aisle a moment later, some folks are grumbling, snickering, yawning their way into the welcoming gusts of icy Chicago wind.
     Bud's still got a smile on his face. He'd met his match. He thought he's seen the worst of the worst: Killers, addicts, lunatics and mountains of self-righteous, self-doubting, self-hating sufferers clogged the city's and fouled the countryside, but this pair.... No. Bud caught that address on the travel bag, but he'd never visit. He owned that. Meddling in the old couples lives, or deaths, that would just pour bad karma on eternal misery. He, like everyone else that had the misfortune of running into that tragic pair, had to draw that horror in, hold it, feel it, and then either let it go or suffer the consequences. 
    The strength of their hatred for each other had eclipsed into a singularity, a black hole of undifferentiated fury. Nearness meant oneness. Oneness meant....
    Bud blanched at the thought of it, turned up his collar and steadied himself into the wind.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Buddha Thug



     Sunlight behaves differently high in the sky then it does near the ground. It's thick stuff; grainy, nearly tangible. I was thinking about the nature of light as it sifted, sunset-honey colored, through my client's thirty-second floor skyscraper office window.
     Pinch. Call him Pinch. He was shouting at me. I'd asked him to check his accounts, there was a large invoice outstanding. It angered him. My asking. So I watched the sun stream in from behind his desk, where it pinched his already narrow head, narrow body. I watched and slowly drew my own anger in around myself, saturated myself with it until I felt it in my mouth. I rolled that stuff around in my mouth while the sunlight warmed my face. 
     He leaned over to shout at me again - got one finger jabbing, insulting the air in front of my nose - did it for so long that I had finished my own personal exploration of my own anger. 
     It was time.
     I slipped around his desk, got him in a headlock, pushed his long, bony chin into his suit and grabbed one elbow. 
     I yanked on that wing until he screeched.
    I screeched back, "You didn't!  You didn't do it! It's not authorized - not paid!" I said firmly, without shouting. 
     " Say it," I asked. "Say it!"
     His narrow bones clicked and rattled under a fine sheen of expensive wool.  "I did! I authorized it!"
    "I didn't pay it!" I parroted in his ear, "I made a mistake! Say it!"
    "What's the matter with you!"
     "Say it! I'll look into it! Say that! No - Say this: I won't shit on your path! Go ahead!"
     He wasn't ready, his sense of compassion needed prompting, he owed me money, all on the up and up - just another day trying to do the right thing. Today called for this. 
      I forgave myself, wrenched his jaw upward and drove one index finger into his mouth. The teeth. Teeth, teeth, teeth! Just to see how healthy he was - healthy body, healthy mind...
     But he couldn't admit that there was an oversight. 
     I was living in the moment, being kind to myself, but I was off the path - reacting - he'd dropped a mess of rage and laziness at my feet and, well - I was off the path.
     "How am I supposed to do this!? Don't bite my finger.., Don't!"
     Blood dribbled out from the corner of his mouth, I felt the incisor grind against the bone of my index finger.
     "I reach the edge, my edge, my limit, and I don't get a chance to face it because a little shit-twist like you gives me a turd to slip on!? How an I suppose to sit with my anger when I'm slipping on your god-damned turd!?"
     "I authorized it! Here, look!" He pushed the keyboard with his nose. The screen flared up, the account was highlighted. And the invoice was red-flagged. His eyes went wide and wet. 
     "What's that say!?" I shouted, poking the screen with the ragged finger. "Pending authorization! Pending! NOT! - spell it with me! N-O-T!"
     My blood sparkled crimson silver on the surface of the monitor when he spit around my finger.
     "Oh shit! They didn't... It's on hold... I don't know why!"
     Before he had a chance I got the finger back in the mouth.
     "I'm trying to put some space around this! But you have my money and I have your incisor and we are not being compassionate or loving!  Not to each other! How are we suppose to be compassionate to ourselves if we can't admit that we fucked up!? If we can't touch what hurts! It's sick! Say that - its sick! Say it, or ill rip this tooth right out of your mouth!"
     "Id thig! Thig!"
     "It is! 
     "Ethhhh! Thigggg!"
    Here we were, at last. "Yes! Pain! Half our lives avoiding the fact that its painful! You are a fuck-up! That's gotta hurt! I'm quick to anger, that's my walk-away!"
     The whimpering got to me. "Listen," I said, letting his body slump over the desk, "Lets say you and me, we let go of the struggling, avoidance - stop pretending we're not ashamed of our own inadequacies! Lets stand with this suffering before I have to  push you out the thirty-second floor window!"
     He nodded weakly, face down against the surface of his desk. I sat back down in the guest chair on the opposing side of the desk. We listened to our breathing, the fan on his CPU hummed into action.  Silence filled the spaces in the rest of the office.
     After a minute of sitting he lifted his face from the desk, cleared his throat and said weakly, "I'll have this expedited."
     "Thank you," I said.
     "I could have you arrested you know."
     "I suppose you could."
     "I could. I may!"
     "Yes."
     "And, your no longer welcome here. I mean, your off the account. I'll have security escort you out."
     "That's honest," I replied. "See, we're being honest with each other. That's something!"
     "I will meet with our legal team to assess how to proceed with actions against both you and your firm."
     "You may," I said, grabbing my hat and briefcase.  "And you may not."
     He looked at me and dabbed blood from his mouth. He was standing with his anger, holding it, examining it, sussing out the fear. It was nice to see.
     "We are growing.., both of us, just a bit, every day," I said as security arrived to escort me out of the building.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Big top - part 6


     Slim had an idea about touching the earth with their sorrow, marking their loss in the form of an offering to nature. Something stoic, something with dust and stone and silence. He didn't mention it to Angel because when he tried the words clenched up in his jaw and a flush ran over him. 
      Angel convalesced for two days in a free clinic on the edge of southeast side of Natchitoches. It was hot in there. She watched fat flys bang their heads against the loose screened in windows.
     "Why'd they open the windows, Slim? They've got air conditioning! It's as if they enjoy this heat!"
     "Maybe to them it's just it not hot. "
     But the folks there were friendly. When Esther, a large and slow moving woman the color of Red River silt, found Angel doubled over at the foot of the bed, she took her in her thick arms and held her until both their tears drew dry. And Gaff ( they called him Gaff cause he was always ready for a good laugh),  had the good sense to point out to Slim, in a most serpentine fashion, how sorrow and anger look a lot like the same kind of pain if you aren't mindful of the tangle we let drag behind us.
     "What tangle?" Asked Slim.
     "My mama called them 'yesterday's knots'. She said,  'Ain't no past, there's simply no stuff there - just yesterday's knots in our heads.' 
     We all look back to yesterday to get a look at what tomorrow may have in store, but all of us see the same yesterday differently - that's knots, long ropes of our lives, tangled again and again. Makes now difficult to read unless you get out the shears. Makes tomorrow livin-hell."
     "Why of course there's a yesterday," exclaimed Slim . "See this scar on my forehead?! Chainsaw got me! That's yesterday! Brother, that yesterday hurt  enough for tomorrow!"
      "That's your's to do with," said Gaff.
     The wind pulled through Natchitoches as it pleased. The aroma of pecans and rain, Cane River musk and the low burning sulfur pitch from the fish hatcheries wove distraction into Angel and Slim's slow shuffle to the pickup. Angel's release was quick and quiet. Slim poked a finger into dangling roadmap.
     "We follow this here, river to river. Cane River to Little River to Red River. Why, with all that winding, maybe we unwind this sorrowful knot we got tied to us.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Desperation Hill (Horrible Marriages Collection)




      "Ralph felt it first, the pull."
      "Yep, in the bathroom. I felt it in the bathroom."
      "What was that like? We're you frightened?"
    "Nah. I was checking to see if the hair treatment was working, you know - its been a while, nothing on top moving - and that's when It hit me!"
      "Was it a voice, a picture in your mind of this mountainous area or something like that?"
      "No, just a tugging feeling. At first it was awful, I thought I was going crazy. Like I needed something, I didn't know what, but whatever it was I needed it bad! Usually I'm watching the high school  varsity cheerleaders over the fence at Regional when I get that feeling!  Har-Har!! Well, The next thing I know, I'm in my car, up here on  Sunset Rock, waiting for the spaceship to arrive."
    "That's how I found him! Ha! He was in his car, no pants and shaving cream still on his chin!"
      "I didn't want to miss it."
      "Miss what?"
      "The ship."
      "We're all here for the ship!"
      "Actually, I don't know about them, I'm waiting for God."
      "Oh? They didn't tell me that was part of the story - God, you say? From, uh - up there?"
      "No, we'll, maybe. I can feel that he'll be inside the ship."
      "Wait, I thought the ship was going to take us to Sanctuary."
      "I don't know about him, I didn't feel no tugging  - I used a map! When Ralph called Eddie here, Eddie called me and told me where it was. I needed a map cause we just moved here from New Mexico after the plant shut down."
      Is the rest of your family going to join you?"
      "Not mine. They're not believers."
      "Who said God was com'in out of the ship? Ralph, did you say anything about that?"
      "Eddie said, 'I'm heading over to see Ralph but there's no more beer in the cooler. Would ya mind getting a case of two, is what he said. "
      "First thing will be I won't have a drinking problem no more either."
      "My wife won't be joining us until she sees its for real. That's what I said about couples therapy!! Haha! It'll teach her!! Couple this!"
      "How many of you are there up here, waiting for the ship, or God, or what-have-you?"
      Sixteen. Maybe twenty, unless - Edna! Anyone seen Edna? Huh? Maybe her kids might stay behind."
      "Any other kids?"
      "KJ and hers, but she told'em to shut up when they said they were scared, now we don't know where they are..."
      "Florence and Tammy are sixteen, maybe they're kids - Willy, your girls kids?"
      "Uh. No. That's why we're going you dumb-shit!"
      "Did Florence and Tammy feel the pull?"
      "Ha! You might say that!"
      "Knocked up - both of'em!"
      "Shouldn't they be in school?"
      "Yeah, and not knocked up and we should all be hanging up our firearms! Ha!"
      "What kind of arrangements have you made with your worldly possessions?"
      "You mean what we owe or what we got after the Sheriff auctions our belongings?"
     "Will you leave any kind of legacy?"
      "Dorothy wrote a nice letter and her husband - shhh.. He's a retard- he's going to chisel it into a rock and glue purple glitter to it so we will always be remembered."
     "Do you know exactly when the ship will arrive? and how long will you wait if it doesn't arrive at the expected time."
      "I say it's coming tonight, Eddie says before the beer runs out,  which is shortly, and Meg said she felt like it might be next Tuesday but she's not taking any chances."
    "I'm never going back, come ship, God, or if I'm just going to drop dead here from exposure."

      "Wow, that's some sense of dedication! And with that, I'm Darlene Overunster for DBJ news at ten, on Drake Hill overlooking Sam's Diner on Little Route Six, with a handful of would-be space travelers and die hard hopefuls who believe tomorrow may bring a brighter day! Good night!"