Category Archives: writing

Land of opps

California is without a doubt the land of opportunity for those with creativity and guts. In Southern California, 1963, my dad noticed there were no shoe shine boys in the town we had moved to. In all the big cities there were plenty of shoe shine boys, usually black kids standing out on a busy corner hawking their trade next to the paper boys. My dad put me up to my first job, shoe shine. He told me how to build a box to carry my waxes, brushes and snap towel. He also instructed me the right price to ask to ensure I would always get tips.

I started one beautiful Saturday morning riding my bike into town with my shine box hanging over my shoulder. I stood on a corner and didn’t have to call out or anything, men just started lining up for their shoe shine. Then I went to the car lot where my dad worked and about a dozen salesmen, including the owner, all had their shoes shined. One thing my father had neglected to instruct me on was the finer aspects of the art of shoe shining. My problem as a novice was that I would get wax above the shoes onto the people’s socks. It didn’t show much on dark socks but boy if a guy had white sox it was a mess! After a short day of work I rode my bike over to the bank and opened my first bank account. The friendly tellers seemed quite amused, but gladly made my deposit. This was really an incredible day for a ten year old boy.

I continued this Saturday job until we moved to another city a few months later. There is one thing my mother said that I will never forget. She said that one of our relatives had commented that they thought it was shameful that I would be doing that kind of job.

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poem; Word smith

Word smith

Words wiggle free

Cannot be confined

imprisoned these

words that escape

floating freely

above intellectual

libraries of doom

 

words wiggle free

when held tightly

to confine floating

freely above all

human entrapment

singing they float

above, ascending

in circles to heights

where humans cannot

(copyright 2002 Mark A)


High school bully; Killer!

Do you want to hear a true story, a true story about a high school bully? I was sixteen, in high school, there was a fellow called killer, Steve Killpatric, alias KILLER! He was a couple of inches taller than me, though it seemed like a foot, big and mean looking, messy yellow hair and teeth to match, cowboy boots, sloppy clothes, and loud, mostly loud.

For some weird reason he picked out me to bother. “There’s that fuckin hippy Anderson” he would announce for everyone to hear. I really wasn’t much of a hippy, didn’t have long hair. But in ’69 not many of us did, mostly just bangs, tried to make it look long. I did wear hippy clothes, talked kool, (far out) and hung out with other social outcasts (freaks).

Killer would humiliate me right in front of everyone. His friends and him all sittin’ together, I would try to slip by unnoticed. Oh no! “Hey Anderson give me a quarter ya fuckin hippy”. I had seen a fight before, it looked so humiliating, every one standing around yelling for blood. But I didn’t want to get in a fight at all. Remember, peace, love, hippy? Well old Killer had my number and it just made his day to make me quiver!  Where did he get that name any way?

Well one night I went to a party, and it was dead as dead. So me and my buddy were just leaving. I opened the door and guess who was standing right there, face to face?  KILLER! Drunk as a skunk he shouted with joy “look who I found, the fuckin hippy”. He grabbed me by the neck, dragging out onto the porch and pushed me backwards against the hand rail. He was laughing and yelling about what he was gonna do to me! The porch was several feet off the ground, and was leaning back, way back. Then, in a breath, I’m fell backwards over the rail. My leg caught killer and we both went off the porch together in a move that would dazzle Bruce Lee! I did a little tricky bar flip and landed stumbling to my feet. But killer went up over my head and landed flat on his back, knocking the drunken slob out cold. All his friends like a bunch of cowboys at a rodeo were yellin’ “get up killer, ya gonna let that hippy do that to ya?” I had the chance of a lifetime to jump on him and really let him have it. But actually I was still afraid that he was going to get up and let me have it. Amazed, I stood there looking at him, brushed myself off and headed for the car. Ya know what? I never heard another word out of killer.