Archive for May, 2007

Lucky and Stinky came by this weekend. We spent all day yesterday shopping at the Home Depot around the corner and working in the back yard garden. I purchased a humming bird feeder and a bag of charcoal. They wanted hotdogs, hamburgers and smores. The kids were not interested in the hummingbird feeder, nor did they believe me that tiny birds, not much larger than bees will come into my yard to feast upon the sweet liquid we mixed up and placed inside the heart-shaped feeder.

We not only made a fabulous pre-holiday dinner, but we weeded the garden and transplanted a flock of sunflower seeds that I had germinated in a little flower bed, just outside the bedroom window. The tiny seedlings still were popping out of their shells. I showed the kids how the seeds start. They were not all that interested, so I assigned them the task of flipping burgers and rolling Hebrew franks while I carefully placed the two-inch long seedlings throughout the garden, next to the gladioluses and bleeding hearts.

After the marshmallows were lit on fire and the smores were stuffed, we headed inside for the evening.

“Why don’t you have a new computer yet, Chals?”

“Oh, I’m going to get a new one. I hear that they are only $350 at Walmart now.”

“I can fix that one,” Lucky insisted. “Do you have a screwdriver?”

I did not believe he would fix it. It hasn’t turned on in months. I didn’t take much interest in the weeding he was doing to the computer. I figured it was trash anyway. What harm would there be in letting him rip it apart?

Well, what do you know?

It’s working better than it ever has, and its chips are fluttering away like the wings on a humming bird.

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Beaded Man

 He will never know how much I love him because he never asks. The communication in our relationship is like the codes of a goldfish in a fishtank bubbled to the man who gently dribbles flakes in the universe above. I move my lips, opening them wide all the time, but yet the words just don’t come out. He knows how I feel though.

 Bradley cruised me on the A train– that’s what I tell my gay friends. I can’t tell them the truth– we met in a buddy booth in Times Square. I met two lovers in those triple X places. Both relationships lasted for years and years. Both men were worth the dollars I spent to keep the buddy-booth shade up as they stripped in front of me– showing me their cock, tempting me from the other side of the plexiglass.

He is different from the other men I’ve picked out like diamond rings in the window of a fancy Madison Avenue jewelry store. He’s such a hard core thug that my legs still quiver when he undresses in front of me. And he has a gold tooth– I swear he does. There is nothing gay about him– unless you count the fact that we are happy together.

I was in a wife beater and flashed my hard rod by lifting up my tight white t-shirt. He went into the booth next to me.

I showed him my ass– that’s how you can tell if it’s a top or bottom on the other side. If it’s a bottom, they’ll often lose interest and press the red button, lowering the shade inside the ‘peep-booth.’

Bradley smiled with his gold tooth. I let the dollar run out and he followed me out of Badlands Video. He was a keeper. I wanted something more from this one– he is hung to the knees. He followed me out, I invited him home and I’ve been causing him to shake out his beads ever since.

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(Read This Story From The Beginning By Clicking Here…)


Mom wasn’t pleased that I quit my job at Burger King. “What are you going to do now?” You can’t stay here for free,” she said while hanging jeans on the clothesline. I watched as a humming bird swooped under the porch roof to grab a drink of the sugar water that she had placed in a heart-shaped feeder. The tiny bird was no larger than a bumble bee and it seemed that I could possibly catch it in my hand if I were to slowly walk across the cement patio and reach for it.“Don’t worry, Mom. It’s just a meaningless job. I should have signed-up and collected unemployment, but I took that job because you were paranoid about my future. I could have collected $250 for sitting on my ass; instead I make less than $150 a week at Burger King. Cut me some slack. I just gave two years of my life to this nation and its economy. I need to relax a little. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep since I shipped off to basic training.”

She turned her back to me and placed two wooden clothespins on my step-father’s fat ass jeans. I saw her face before she turned away from me. She had that look in her eyes again. The worry was always there—the concern about finances. The same dreadful, crow’s – feet promoting frown that now plagues my aging face. She had every right to look worried all the time. Things were hard for her and Bob. The mortgage payment was almost $400 and the electric bill had escalated to over $150 a month now that I was back at home taking long, hot showers.
The truth was, she was pissed that I was calling Anthony in Germany every night. Who was I to be spending hundreds of dollars each month just to stay in touch with an old Army buddy?“You listen to me, smart-ass,” she shouted while picking up the wicker clothes basket and walking back to the porch where I was sitting on a wooden swing. The hummingbird fluttered away. She didn’t even notice that it was feeding. “If you can spend all that money calling your friends, you can give me $75 a week to stay here.”She was right. Mom and Bob could have used the extra cash. Finances were not my worry at the time. I was still young and beautiful, besides, I had the G.I. Bill and Army College Fund at my disposal.

She went to the bathroom and started another load of clothes and I picked up the phone to make another long distance call. This time, I was only calling Huntingdon. My parents were so cheap they still had an old black phone that was not push-button. I actually had to dial the number (814) 643-4040 to reach my old friend, Jo McMeen at the “Daily News”.

“Charlie? Charlie Taylor? Is this really you?”

“Yes, Jo. I’m out of the Army now and ready to head to Penn State this Fall.”

“What’s your major, Charlie?”

“I’m undeclared. I’ve been accepted at the Altoona Branch of Penn State. I will not declare my major until my third year, when and if I’m transferred to the State College campus.”

“Do you want to be a writer? You should want to be a writer, Charlie. Would you like to go to State College for all four years?”

“Well, I would, but…”

“Give me your number. I’m going to call a few people and I’ll call you back.”

“Actually, Jo, the reason I was calling was because I’m looking for a job.”

“I’ll call you back. I can’t believe Charlie Taylor is home,” she cried.
Mom walked into the kitchen, glaring at me as I hung up the phone.

“Don’t worry so much, Mom. I was only calling Huntingdon. I think I may have a new job. See that!”

“What do you mean? What job?”

“I’m trying to get Jo McMeen to give me a job at the ‘Daily News’.”

“You know what I think about your high-class friends. Why does she want to give you a job there?” Mom asked.

“Have you ever read anything I’ve written for that paper when I was in school?”

She looked at me as if she were upset that she would no longer be receiving free Whoppers.

To be continued…

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Along the Juniata


Gerri Wakefield worked as a secretary for the ‘Huntingdon Daily News’ for more than 20 years before my by-line appeared in the paper. She was the real editor-in-chief of the place. The front office was her domain. It was a time when women still fetched cups of coffee for the guys. When she wasn’t running to the corner store to buy more milk for the break room, she collected money from those placing classified advertisements, answered the phone and did the payroll. It was obvious to everyone who worked at the “Daily News” that Gerri loved her job and co-workers. Her bright cotton dresses were often seen floating past monitors where staff writers were busy assembling articles and trying to meet deadlines. She bathed in Jean Nate body wash and wore gallons of Charlie perfume. She loved flowers and her apparel reflected the country girl’s zest for life and sincere desire to make everyone in the newsroom feel like life was a front page story. 

Management appreciated her work ethics too. Joseph Biddle III treated all the support staff with dignity and respect. His secretaries were just as important as his writers. He knew that those on the front lines are the ones that make a daily newspaper worth reading. They are the link between what goes down in black and white and the eyes that read religiously. The girls in the front office were the reason why residents of the
South-Central Pennsylvania county trusted what was published in the daily paper with a circulation of more than 20,000.
 The office girls were extremely polite when subscribers called to report on news or to complain that their paperboy had thrown their newspaper on a porch roof—“Good morning, Daily News, How may I help you?” was how Geri and her co-workers answered the calls.  

Josephine Biddle-McMeen was Joseph Billdle III’s great aunt and the power-player behind the pages. She was Huntingdon County’s first and only celebrity. The newspaper heiress attended every ground breaking ceremony in the county. She was at every ribbon-cutting ceremony with her favorite photographer, Jimmy Smith, in an effort to promote economic development in the stagnant business climate of the Protestant farming community comprised of 92.8% lower to middle class Caucasians. Josephine often appeared on the front page of her own family’s paper, holding shovels while wearing expensive pairs of silk gloves. Readers looked up to the Biddles, especially Josephine, as the only upper-class members of their community. With the exception of the exposure Josephine brought to new businesses at ground-breaking ceremonies, ‘Jo’, as she preferred to be called by common folk, had nothing to do with the news stories. However, as a face that everyone knew, Jo’s appearance in front page photographs guaranteed successful grand openings for the few business ventures taking off in the former farming village. The “Daily News’ was started by Joseph Biddle, Sr., Josephine’s father. He left his newspaper to his only son, but guaranteed Jo her own column—‘Along the Juniata’ for as long as the paper ever remained in circulation.  

The column still runs to this day. It’s often found on page seven next to the Church Social Page, but guest writers often overflow its banks with gossip-like adjectives. Jo’s over 100 now. I have written for Jo and her column several times since I retired from the paper as a paid intern, back in the summer of ’88. Despite the fact that everyone in the office adored Gerri Wakefield, Jo could not stand her. Perhaps it was Gerri’s natural ability to be the most popular girl around. She was at least 50 years old, Jo had no reason to be jealous of the ‘younger woman’, although at the time, Jo was in her late ‘80s and Gerri’s lingering sensuality may have been the reason why the two old news hens didn’t get along after working side-by-side for decades. 

Josephine gave me the internship at the Daily News. I knew her for more than four years as a reporter for my high school. In addition to her column, Jo also sponsored a “School News Page” for the seven local area high schools. I became Jo’s favorite reporter and the old woman insisted that I was blessed with the gift of a talented writer. I couldn’t stand working at Burger King along the Pennsylvania Turnpike following my discharge from the U.S. Army, so I called Jo and begged for an office job. She came through for me. Not only that, she used her influence to have me transferred from Penn State’s Altoona campus to the State College branch where I was accepted into the School of Journalism despite my combined SAT score of 850. Gerri was my water-cooler girlfriend during the summer of my internship. What a fag hag she was! She taught me the ins and outs of the place, who was sleeping with whom, the real power-players of the news, how to manipulate the punch-in time clock and where to make long distance phone calls from without getting caught.  

Gerri and Josephine were both like my mother. I didn’t like being caught between their feuding affection for my pen. The only thing more destructive than a privately owned newspaper are two divas in search of a gay understudy. “I’m giving Charlie Taylor the Managing Editor’s office,” Jo announced to Polly McMullen, Lynn Streightiff and the other staff writers who had written for the paper for decades, yet remained behind cubicals.  

They sucked their teeth and looked over their monitors at me, furious that Jo and her nephew had yet to make a final decision on who was going to be promoted to the editorial board.  Jo had on one of her infamous hats that day—a bright pink one that glowed far brighter than the summer dress that Gerri was wearing. Gerri was way at the back of the newsroom, near to the door where the copy editors work to capture run-on sentences, missed periods and improper usage of past-participles.  

Gerri listened closely and watched as Jo rubbed my fresh out of boot camp, Clark Kent physic in their thesauruses. Gerri smiled at me as I lit up, learning that I was given the largest office in the newsroom. I suspected that Gerri was envious of the power that Jo had over the staff at the ‘Daily News’. She must have adored the way the writers bowed down to the old woman when Jo played games with their minds and professionalism by giving me my own private office with a door that slammed.  

Continued here…


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Akmed was at the Laundromat on Sunday morning. I call him ‘Akmed’. That may or may not be his real name. He and his brothers run a deli on the corner of DeKalb and Bedford Avenues, in Bed-Stuy. Of course they are Muslim. Why else would I have named him ‘Akmed’? I always bump into one, if not several of the Arab brothers at the laundry on the corner of DeKalb and Franklin. They do laundry on Sunday too. Yesterday was the first time I bumped into Akmed outside of the deli. It must have been his turn to do the laundry. He’s the Muslim brother who I suspect may have gay tendencies.

I see him almost every day behind the counter at my favorite deli.

“A pack of Newports,” I say.

“Six-Ninety,” he replies. That has been the extent of our conversation.

After five years, our exchanges have become intimate. When none of the other brothers are around, when they are at the back of the store slicing Bore’s Head meats, he sometimes allows his fingers to softly brush the palms of my hands when he gives me my change.

Our affair started when I went into the store to buy a box of condoms. They keep them behind the counter and one must ask for them by name.

“A box of condoms,” I said.

He looked at me like the sinner I am and without asking handed me a box of Trojan Magnums and gave me a look to imply—do you need something a little smaller?

I made the purchase and his face lit up with delight. He smiled at me. It was our inside, joke—a subtle pass, a flirt with a potential terrorist. I only wished I could show him that I need Magnums anyway. He’s like fresh meat. I’ve never slept with a Muslim before. Heaven knows, I’ve sampled just about everything else there is out there. When I buy my condoms he gets a lost look in his eyes as if to say, ‘Sorry, I’m Muslim, I can’t be gay.”One evening in April I stopped by their shop for a late night fix of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. A trapdoor near to where the cat food is stocked was opened. Down below was Akmed saying prayers to Allah. He didn’t notice that I was looking over him like a god. I grabbed a pint of Vanilla Swiss Almond and went on my way wondering why Allah makes his men pray like that.

Yesterday we made eye contact at the landromat. He’s so sexy out in the open. His eyes were so piercing and bright that I nearly poured bleach into my machine of dark clothes.

Mirrors line the walls at MetroSuds. We caught each other stealing glances in the reflection. We both quickly looked away, back to our loads.

He shook a pair of boxers before tossing them into the Triple Queen Loader. I got a hot flash and pressed the button on my aluminum machine and selected ‘cold’ for my color load.

He looked into the mirror again as I poured what was left of my Tide into the trap door at the top of my washing machine, but I pretended not to notice him checking me out like a god.

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Priest Confession

The aroma inside this confessional is like an old book. It smells like the pages of a hymnal from a

Church on a rainy Sunday morning. Spoken words of sorrow linger long after sinners have been forgiven. Abandoned fears leave behind a sweet, pungent smell that I have grown quite accustomed to after listening for more than fifty years.


My optic, olfactory and acoustic nerves have melted into one large ball of sensation. I can no longer tell if I am hearing their woes. It seems like I feel their sin now. It’s as if I were the one participating in gluttonous acts of selfishness, yet I remain a humble man of the cloth.


I no longer chain-smoke in here, but I do calm my anxiety with drops of Jack’s precious blood.


As I sip, it’s easy to have compassion on their souls. Without a drink from time to time, I become possessed by demons and my mouth lashes out with words that are not my own.


If only I could turn water into wine. Pulling out demons is hard on the nerves. Without my whiskey I give less than a sheep’s ass about the fate of their souls, but fill me with the spirit and I’ll press on and forgive more in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.


Ann Marie Esposito came in for another confession today; as if that were a miracle. She stops by every day ever since Harry died. She’s in need of company, I suppose. Her asthma keeps her from spending too much time on the other side of the wooden trellis. It’s stuffy in here and she can hardly breathe. Praise the Lord!

“Father, all I do is eat. I feast on the pleasures of food non-stop. I cannot control myself. These pills are like the wings of an angel. They have taken away my high cholesterol, but that only makes me want to eat more,” she whispers over her Rosary beads that dangle like a tea bag between the large crevasse between her large breasts. When she leans against the wood to speak to me; a crucifix forms on the center of her chest. I consider it a sign.


I quickly took a sip of Jack before spewing forth what was on the tip of my tongue—‘I cast thee out in the name of Bisquick.’


“Repent, widow,” I say instead.


She cries again and pulls the curtain closed, leaving behind the scent of sin.


I place my faith in Jesus and wash away my own sin with sour mash.

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Priest Confessions

I’ve sat in this booth for many, many years and nothing I have heard has put rings around my white collar. But today, a non-parishioner came stepping into the confessional.

“Father, forgive me, for I have sinned. I am not a Catholic and have never been to confession.”

“Why are you here?” I asked the woman with the piercing brown eyes.

“I sold my soul. Father forgive me,” she said in repentence.

“How much did you get for it?” I inquired.

“Two hundred.”

The spirit entered me. I looked at her and replied, “Woman, it is not in me to forgive you. Anyone who paid you two hundred is the one who committed the sin.”

“Thank you Father. God is truly merciful isn’t he?”

“Yes, now go and sin no more,” I insisted.
“How do I do that thing with my hands?” She asked.

She was beautiful, but I would not permit her to give me a hand job.

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