The Battle by the Bay

The Giants have been whooped by the As three games straight in their annual battle by the bay.  Tonight the Giants have one more chance.  Back in 1989 this same match up was set against an area-altering event during game three of the World Series.  This is short short fiction about that day from the point of view of a very young not-yet-baseball fan.

On the TV a man with no hair talked about a battle and a bay.  He called a little man a giant.  The little man had black streaks under his eyes.  The TV made a funny noise, then squiggly lines, and then it went black.  Mama Rose took my hand, put Bobby’s hand in mine, and ran from the house.  The screen door slammed.  She took us to the park across the street and set us in swings.  She kept looking up at the trees and wires. She looked at her watch and then looked up and down the street.  She asked us if we’d felt anything.  We both shook our heads.

A woman with bright red hair came into the playground with a little girl and a brown dog.  She asked Mama Rose if she’d seen the news.  Mama Rose said, “Don’t scare the boys.”

“What happened,” I asked, but Mama Rose didn’t look at me.

The red haired woman talked about a game and a stick and a cypress.  She talked fast and looked up at the trees.  Mama Rose asked if her husband was ok.  The red haired woman did not answer.

A man smoking a cigarette came into the park carrying a small girl with snot running from her nose.  The man closed one eye and held the cigarette in his lips.  Something from the smoke end dropped on the little girl’s arm.  She yelled “Ouch,” while he wiped up the snot with a white rag.

“The Marina got hit hard,” he said to Mama Rose.

Mama Rose shook her head and shushed the man.  She took me and Bobby back to the house.

She looked up the stairs and said, “Dave I need you.”

She told him to watch us while she ran next door.  He turned on the TV.  A man with wires and stuff coming out his ears talked fast with a crunched up face.  There was a large grassy place with lots of orange seats and people running.

He pushed a button on the remote.  A car was driving on a street over water.  The road in front of the car fell and the car vanished.   He pushed the remote and there was a sideways house with smoke coming out of the windows.  He pushed the remote and a car was driving on a street over water.  The road fell and another car vanished.  A woman with big eyes and a bright red mouth talked fast about an epicenter.  She did not blink.

“Daddy Dave,” asked Bobby, “What’s an epicenter?”

Daddy Dave turned off the TV and said “Let’s have a snack.”

Bobby asked if we could watch cartoons.  Daddy Dave said that the TV was over heating and we would have to wait until it cooled down.

Mama Rose came back with two kids I did not know.  The one with the orange shirt said a truck was squashed like a pancake.

“A pancake?” asked the other kid.

“A pancake,” said the kid again.

Mama Rose told the boys to play in the back yard.  The one in the orange shirt said that he’d just seen a bunch of people squashed like pancakes.

“Out, out,” Mama Rose told the boys.  “Out!”

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Steps: indoors or outdoors

This is my post for Cees Weekly Black and White challenge for STEPS.  It’s been a while since I’ve played.  Been busy bettering my writing with the Writers Studio San Francisco. They meet weekly on the seventh floor of the Mechanic’s Institute, which is a great old building at the base of Post Street near Market in San Francisco.

These are the stairs that take me there. At least part way. There’s a great old library in the building and lots of people playing chess. Next class starts June 28.

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African SUP

It’s been at least two weeks since I stepped foot in the surf.  The waves have been large and unruly but it rained which is good. My ten week workshop with the San Francisco Writers Studio has been fulfilling. This class ends Tuesday. I signed up for the next one which starts in two weeks. Between now and then I plan to publish some of the work I’ve done in the class.

Yesterday I got wet and it solidified the notion that SUP days are better than others.  Even though I lost my footing more than once, I caught waves and paddled the length of the beach. After an hour session I left the water with a clear head and sore muscles.

So why the title African SUP?  Watch the one minute video: It’s the music.

 

Daily Prompt: The Takeoff

The daily prompt is for the Key Takeaway, but Takeoff, a surf term describing the moment of catching a wave, whether on surf board or SUP, is what you may want your blog to do.

If I could only make one suggestion, take the Blogging 101 class.  For one it will engage you with the community.  Your blog will blossom under the guidance of those who know and you’ll build a community by simply taking the class.  If you’ve already taken Blogging 101 then take Blogging 201 Branding and Growth and blast your blog forward fast.

But if you don’t have time for these classes, which pay hearty dividends right out of the gate, then get involved in events, and comment on those who participate.

And if you don’t have time for events, then spend 10 minutes a day, ten measly minutes, and just write what’s on your mind.  Here’s a video from Blogging 201 by Andrea Badgley, who got way busy with work but found ten minutes a day and it worked.  You can watch it here.

If you don’t have ten minutes a day, then I’m sure you’ll do the best that you can.
Key Takeaway

The Pier

My mom was afraid of the pier. It was tall and could carry us way past the breakers where fishermen tossed their lines far into the sea. From below, surfers yelled at each other and rode crashing waves toward the pilings all crusted with barnacles, star fish and bits of fiberglass from the mistimed maneuver. When the waves hit the piles the pier shook like the ocean had some hold on it. But the pier was sturdy and wide with lean white buildings sporting shiny glass windows where life guards kept watch over their flocks. The bait shop had red licorice on racks and anchovies in tanks. They flashed streaks of silver when we bumped the tub with our hips. The bait man’s tiny furry eyes did not want us messing with his fish.

Past the bait shop my mom would not venture. It was over water and there were hooks on the pavement, old men smoking, and kids casting for the first time. It was deliciously dangerous. But it was years before we could go it alone.

The afternoon beach was tuna sandwiches with sweet pickle, wrapped in crunchy waxed paper, cool crisp grapes and soft juicy plums, plus a bag or two of Fritos. The air was thick with salt spray and Coppertone.

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The Mackerel, me, and my brother

Our cabin, the Mackerel, was tropical paradise on the outside.  A patio with hand-made wooden chairs, was shaded by dry palm branches. Inside it was creaky plywood floors, painted some kind of brown, peeling from weather, and always coated with sand. Mother moaned of bugs crawling along the Formica counter, pale blue like her eyes. Hot skillet stains could not be cleaned, but it only bothered her. I saw none of this; only a room with the sound of the ocean, right across the street. Every day held the promise of another day at the beach.

 

SERENDIPITY

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Photo Credit: Unknown


 

There are literally millions of bloggers in the blogosphere. Some mysterious entity bears upon us and we choose one, or a few, to read. Perhaps the title, the author’s avatar, or ? I really can’t say for certain but I think it was the acronym, SUP. What the heck is SUP? …click!

I begin to read about some guy and his love for the water. Empathy! I was born on a tiny island. I look at one of his pictures. It looks like Maine. “Are you from Maine?” I ask. “No, but I’ve travelled there”, he replies. He talks about his youth, of surfing and summers by the water. I harken back to the endless fun; the crazy boyhood adventures I had during those early years; getting lost in the fog and being carried out to sea in a dory or jumping off the rocks into a tidal pool at the ‘foxes den’. Glorious fun! Instant affinity! I comment. The author ‘likes’ and follows my blog. I decide to dig deeper and realize even though we were raised worlds apart, there is commonality…lots of it!

In 1973 Tom jumped in his sporty yellow MG convertible and took a road trip. He ended up on Vancouver Island, my home for the past 25 years. If you read his guest blog on my site (Stand Up In Victoria BC) he talks of joyous discovery in Victoria BC. He tells of courtship he witnessed between 2 Kingfishers and the lasting impression it made. Just a few short miles to the North, in Campbell River my band played Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock” and Jim Croce’s “Big Bad Leroy Brown” for loggers and working girls. They danced the night away amid another type of courtship.

There’s no telling exactly how many times I may have come close to crossing paths with Tom. I remember a road trip of my own in 1980 where I stayed with a friend in Marin County, just a short drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. My friend Skip was from New York City and he was the drummer in one of the best bands I ever played in, Ajax Blues Band.  Skip later went on to play for Elvin Bishop and then Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen.


I remember visiting Big Sur during that trip. Wait a minute…could that have been a younger, more daring Tom out there soaring across those thunderous waves while I stood enviously watching from the shore? We’ll never know for sure.

From these coincidences…cogent similarities, the seeds of friendship are planted. Tom is a business man; I am a businessman. Tom has travelled the globe; I’ve lived in Europe for a number of years. Tom owns a video production company; I owned a recording studio. There are literally millions of bloggers in the blogosphere…what mysterious entity was the trigger that made each of us go…click? Serendipity!

I am grateful to Tomadaonline for the opportunity to guest-blog this article. Thanx Tom!

Childhood Revisited: Birthday

My mom lay there on a shiny steel table. I was upside down, paralyzed at the ankles as a man in a bright white coat held me with one hand and examined me with one giant brown eye. Water from his eye slipped down his cheek as he breathed the lingering ether from the general anesthesia. He pulled strips of sticky stuff from my warm red body as I squirmed for a look at my mom, lifeless with a tube taped into her mouth. She didn’t move even when I cried. The man had a soothing voice for such a hard handed grip. He talked to a woman in the corner who wore a stiff white uniform and wrote fast on a hard board. A large round black and white clock ticked and tocked right over her head. The man’s attention turned to flashing red and yellow lights as a pulsating beep brought many footsteps. The man with the big eye handed me to the woman in the white uniform who wrapped me into a warm white towel. I heard my mom moan. I closed my eyes against the bright white lights.

But a year later, hanging from my mother’s hands, I laughed ear to ear as the sea rushed over my sandy feet and brought more joy than any toy. My dad was invisible, working day after day, then there all at once, helping me do circus tricks, flying from his belly with my arms out-stretched as he held my legs real tight. He looked at my mom, who gave him a wink. He just smiled.

In the blink of an eye my brother was born. He was in my mom’s lap, bathed in soft white light from the living room window on Painter Street, sucking away on a large pink breast. Cars honked outside, and there were occasional shouts from the college kids across the street. It was quiet inside, except for the shuffling of feet going by my crib, and the creaking floor boards in the corner where my mom rocked my brother to sleep. I closed my eyes and sucked my thumb loudly, wanting what I could not have.

This memory is vivid, and some say I could not possibly remember that far back, but I do and it seems so real. I think it sticks because I almost lost my mom that day; my birthday. It’s always connected with the ocean though, like a salve that smooths all wounds.

Childhood Revisited