I am taking my leave ahead of you
to a place that is most sublime
and rent for us a suite of rooms
at The Hotel End of Time

By the time that you arrive there
take for granted that I’m
going to ensure cocktails await
at The Hotel End of Time

We shall have an open reservation
in the restaurant most elegant
the chef is cordon bleu you know
although I’m told a little arrogant

The view here from the veranda
is to behold and quite divine
we shall breakfast there on summer morns
at The Hotel End of Time

But please always remember
that you are in your bewitching prime
so there is no need for you to hurry yet
to The Hotel End of Time

Cruel circumstance has left us apart
but I remain yours and I know you are mine
and one day we will be as one again
courtesy of The Hotel End of Time

‘The Hotel End of Time’ is one from my original 2014 book, named, ‘Gentlemen Prefer a Pulse’, of what I refer to as ‘almost poetry’. Sadly, dear Shirl got soaking wet posing for the book’s front cover…she’s never forgiven me, such is life.

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60 thoughts on “THE ‘HOTEL END OF TIME’

    1. My thanks, Liz. The older I get I wonder what future there is for an old athiest fool like me, hence I dragged out this one for another run. I am truly pleased as punch that you liked it. My thanks again. Regards, Mike

  1. I remember this one from your book Mike. It is a wonderful poem and idea for a poem. And I have always loved this song. I used to p;lay if doon in Yorkshire of all places cos the place we stayed had a baby grand and I found that one in the pile of books. I did it my way of course.

    1. My thanks, young Ms S. I had no idea until just getting into YouTube, following your lead, that Edith sung this one. A magical song. A class act was she. Yorkshire aside…it’s not too bad county, I like the city of York, certainly better than Surrey people wise…have you recorded you version? Thanks again, Mike who this very afternoon have finished a book I’d been playing with for almost two years called ‘Mayday’. ‘Tis now in the hands of Shirl to pull it apart…just a little, I hope!

      1. I am perfectly certain she will make a grand job of that.Looking forward already. Oh yes. Edith’s version pf Leaves starts oot gooey with that chorus she’d have done well tae shoot BUT see when she gets going?? Shivers in the spine.We went to Yrokshire as a whole for more years than we care to remember, not just the city but the villages, the moors, the walks, the pub…okay, the pubs. you know once we were even on this magical mystery tour by mistake…. Don’t ask.

  2. Much better than a lot of stuff claiming to be ‘real’ poetry. I for one can completely identify with that vision of an atheist heaven.
    See you in the hotel for a chat. My room is on the top floor, and the Red Burgundy is already open.
    Best wishes, Pete.

      1. What is age? I am 66. I still feel the same only I might think of jumping on the bed, but I know i would break the bed or possibly something on me! I thought about running, dropping and rolling across___but that could have the same results,so best not! Best wishes! Pejj

      2. As an aging juvenile I think I can say that my what little brain I have is that of an exploring teenager, my body an irksome creaking machine, no longer fit for purpose. I admire your positivity…I’m jealous if the truth be told…yet at just 66 you remain in your prime, and good luck and fortune to you. Beware though, my ‘creaking’ along with the beginnings of annoying impediments only sneaked in a year or so. I wish you all the very best. Regards, The Old Fool

  3. The Hotel End of Time sounds divine though I detest arrogant chefs. I suggest to postpone visits there until we have exhausted all other venues. Meanwhile I’m drifting over The Autumn Leaves 🍁 lovely poem Mike.

  4. Fab poem, TOF!
    I want to live in the Hotel End of Time.
    Sounds like a great way to wrap it up.
    The taste you’ve offered is … a lot!
    You might remember, I have been boycotting Amazon for about 6 years, otherwise, I would buy one.
    I’m trying to find authors that publish on alternative sites.
    I have a KOBO account, and have bought 3 books from blog pals, so far. Will buy another in a couple of weeks. (LOL I read slow, but review them all!)

    1. Well, young Resa, I shall have to explore KOBO…I’ve not heard of them previous, then again I’m an idiot, forgetful, lazy and older than anyone else in all of time. Regards, TOF

    1. My thanks, young DJKaye. This collection was my first in book form. Having spent my commercial life writing to millions of boring solicitors (re my PI years) I’d given the business up and begun to dabble in….hopefully…finer…words. I sincerely trust you like it. Again, many thanks. Regards, The Old Fool

      1. Crumbs, ‘twas 7 years ago I wrote this collection of what I call ‘almost poetry’. I live in hope you don’t die of boredom. My sincere thanks regardless. I shall have my new book…another novel this time…called ‘Mayday’ up and running in just a few weeks. As a thank you and providing ‘Gentlemen Prefer a Pulse’ doesn’t give cause to you opening a vein because of irreversible tedium, may I send you a copy…to any address that you are comfortable with? All the best, The Old Fool

      2. Thank you. I shall send you an email after walking our somewhat bonkers puppy dog has been out for one of her 35mph…a true stat…romps across the beach until she can romp no more.

  5. Why am I so unsurprised. Very well crafted, TOF. Glad you let us plebes in on the byplay. Do they allow scruffs such as I to book rooms? I noticed that re-blog is not a button offered. Maybe I missed that, or did it get soaked on the walkabout. Arrogance comes with the blue stick, I believe. I got mine much earlier and only sharpened the baton rather well at Parris Island in South Carolina. All the best to your wet darling and hope you survive for further reviews of hostelries to visit.

    1. Cheers, Sir. You know the last time I was in a hotel…I loathe the places…was 12 years back in Toulouse. We had to take the early train to get back to Paris then on to England the next day. The hotel I booked was close to the railway station. What I overlooked when booking was that that area was much fabled for ‘women of ill repute’. So there we were, Shirl and I having an evening drink outside a debatable café when I spotted a couple of young ladies of the night. One in particular, hardly dressed, young lady was stunningly good looking…notwithstanding her profession. Jokingly and without intent, I asked Shirl if she’d mind if I ‘disappeared for a while’. ‘Of course you can,’ her reply, then adding, ‘I presume you’ve spotted the Adam’s apple?’ I hadn’t, hence another reason for my old fool handle. All the best. Regards, TOF

      1. Toulouse? Do I know the place as Toulon, home of the Legion Etragerre(sp?, and, no I chose not to lookitup) Port town not allowed to call itself Cote d’Azure? Spent several lifetimes there over two weeks. Fortunately I had what was known as “Watchstanders Liberty) and being a paid liar (public relations/information) by the Marine Corps, I was but approaching 20 years of age and my face appeared rather prominently in both Websters Unabridged and OE(American)D when discussing Naive, which I believe falls somewhere in the region of Fool, old or otherwise. As to what I came to learn on Oahu was the Hawaiian slur “Mahu” but there the “girls” had to by law wear large buttons prominently displayed on their bikini bottoms: “I Am Really A Boy!” Indeed. Bless your watch-lovely, Shirl. Too few of us fools, Old and perhaps older, are endowed with such wisdom ready to hand. One wonders what might have ensued had Shirl loosed her old dog for a brief encounter at curbside.
        I, too, detest rent-a-bug(‘scuese, rent-a-beds), especially after witnessing what a UV wand revealed not just on the bed linen but also the decorative cover…and the walls, stall-and-all. So, when possible I poach on the kindness of friends and acquaintances (who welcome the bottle of wine or tipple and the dinner but should by now know better.
        But I continue to practice my brand of naviete(sp?) and remain willing to learn from Old Fools who have keepers whose knowledge vis-a-vis physiology and anatomy especially, give Falstaffian relief.
        Regards to all. This Fool, too, will remain naive as long as possible. I learned in drama classes how to blush and to cry on command. Wonderful skill TOF. I commend its efficacy om dealing with the self-command: Turn About, Mumble Something Approaching Apology And Return To Your Station By The Side Of Your Keeper.
        Bless, you sir, The Old Fool reigns still.

      2. I’ve never been to Toulon. Sounds interesting. Toulouse is pretty much the home of French rugby and a most splendid city within which to make my worthy Adam’s apple mistake. The missus never lets me forget the occasion. “I Am Really A Boy!” notices of bikini bums is the kind of surreality that amuses me. I wonder what they’d have printed on JC’S bikini bottoms when walking on water? “Miracles on Tap” perhaps. Thinking about it, that’s a pretty poor, witless thought. My apologies. Changing the subject, south of Toulouse are the Pyrenees. We’d been driven up top of the mountain range by an old chum who lives nearby. Pissed as a rat he pointed out we were a mile high. Wondering about said mountain across layers of snow I put it to Shirl that we could join the ‘Mile High Club’ without getting into an aeroplane. That she told me to ‘F**k off’ a given. Time to take the dog to the harbour and see what damage she can do. ‘Tis early here and already a shoe of mine for dog walking is on the missing list. Plainly the dog has stolen the bloody thing. Should I hop across the pebbles or select of better shoe? Decisions, decisions. Regards, TOF

      3. shoes, slippers, else up on a pegboard pre-loaded with appropriate hooks…I have had particularly good luck with snagging (for a fee, of course) a training device dumbdamassess use to train their pit bull terriers (the always forget the terrier part…figure it’s poor marketing for vicious fighting dogs, which said dogs must be brutalized into becoming…to hang onto by-the-jaw…bloody tough fiber-weave lands for-three-evers. Beats the overpriced often faked-up rawhide replica chew-toys for big dogs.
        Anywhere near Andorra on you sojurn up (and shot-dwinishness) the Pyrrennese(sp? But I can smell -damn, again? – Appalachian! So there!. Mile High Club, by union rules must include fight – with or without additives.
        Why else risk life, limb and others’ safety without overindulgence in spirits, etc. whilst throwing a machine at a hunk of rock bordered by a bit of road?
        Toulon is – was (1968) a boorish place with drunken sailors from several nations, kepi-wearing legionnaires always ready for an impromptu scrum between tables of bad, over-oiled pizza. But within blocks of what I will term “The Gut” can be found charming local taverna, some with actual – by now I am sure overpriced – seafood fresh from the pollution some call Mediterranean. We deal with lead in our fish – duck-hunters now have to use steel shot but what about the tons of led pellets ingested by all and sundry pescadorial pieces of still-swimming lunch?
        Returning to footwear. Give some Urban Outdoorsman (we have an abundance but they all are on the dole and doing to well to worry about where (and when) their next shoe will flop onto their feet – good-dooers abound and race each other stuffing food, frivoloties and footwear onto the haplesshelpless. Keeps porch (do y’all spell that “Portche” or some variation thereof?
        I have found – vice fly-over frolics – f**king – fun in the muddy back yard (very privately so) during a downpour of big, fat warm summer rain from a thunderstorm (sound amplification a nice touch, Lord). Less a bother what with landings, etc. And the resultant necessary shower after, after of course, a snifter of hootch on the porch whilst scraping and hosing off mud an excellent excuse to o say “what about upside down in the shower, sweetie?” Yeah, I know. A Shirl-line ensues all too often.
        “But I’ll make you a quiche…”
        Stick with Shoes Dog Gone. Safer.
        Be well and I must parenthetical now: (I liked “Miracles On Tap” as an alt-name for JC’s Bar, perhaps.
        That should Fool Them.

      4. Porch is…for the main part…a non-existent word in the UK these days. A shame. My mother always referred to her porch. A place with a front door and protection from the rain, her chair in the minimal door way and bugger all else. She was happy there doing her crosswords. I imagine said porch in the US is a worthy beast to be enjoyed come dusk over a drink of something worth drinking. Anyhow, my apologies for…once again…taking an age to reply. Bad form on my part. It’s been a hell of a week. If flared guts for me wasn’t sufficient, Shirl and I had our ‘booster’ 3rd jab re the Coronavirus. The nurse told us both that this one may well have reactions. I got zero reactions my missus not so. She’s as tough as old boots yet I reckon she got the lot in one go. On top of that we had Rosie spade on the basis that there’s no way we could cope with a mass of puppies running around the place at 35mph. The poor maid is in pain. It breaks this old fool’s heart. Over diner I had named the vet Herr Vetburger of the Gestapo yet had been advised by said missus that that’s unfair. Such is life. Talking of Shirl being ‘tough’ as old boots there was a time a few years back, not long after I’d severed my quads in an accident…long story, not that interesting…when a pride of youngsters, say 16 maybe 17 turned up with the view of mugging me while I was at the riverside enjoying a fine day…rare days in England. I was using a walking stick at the time and thought if they want some I was ready and willing to do just that. However, and ever the Tom boy she’s always been, bringing up the rear, she decked the leader of the bunch with a single punch so impressive his mates legged it. The kick in groin maybe over the top yet she told me she couldn’t help herself. A diamond girl, for sure. ‘Hosing off mud’ is an English hobby methinks. We’ve got more daily mud than we have paths in this parts and we don’t need to hose the boots clean…the constant rain does it for us. If the truth be told, I’m not happy being English. Never have, never will be. A few months ago I had a DNA test that told me I was 87% Russian. In the light of that I did a bit of research and discovered the only Russian in my line was one Elsia Mean. A gypsy girl from Mother Russia who married into my dad’s line back in the 17 hundreds. As to how her presence warrants an 87% stat I haven’t a clue. Whatever, that’ll do me.
        Splendid talking with you Sir. My regards, TOF

      5. Rosie spayed? Oh, heavens: if my Jabberwock is correct: Caloo, Calay! Of course it’s misspelled: That Carrol fella deliberately unsheathed the beamish boy’s Da in unfettered phonic phelling. Giver her my sympahth – and card for one free representation in Small Claims Court. Well, TOF, thanks for the wrning about TAOB Shirl and her punch-kick (to the ‘nads) combination. One clever girlfriend who avoided my representations of foreverness and I were doing some hardcourt tennis when a young lout – probably 15-17 years of age tried to isse me a challenge, and Barbara, dear and still bless her heart, had yet to release here racquet from its wooden press, shouted: “You want J? I found him first! You gotta come through me to get some of him, Buster!” Boy, was I ever glad I gave her an “A” in Spanish recitation (teacher’s pet, I: had the privilege to listen to – and grade my classmates’ recitations. That old Harridan had me taking Spanish II and III concurrently – but that’s another tale of woe and tribulation.
        Some ‘mericans do indeed have massive porches – wrap-around affairs imitating an open-air affair with hammocks, sitting (and perhaps light dining) areas and space to set up some indoor-outdoor games, including, thankfully my fourth-favorite (1. Lovemaking in the mud in a summer thunderstorm; 2., power-napping or (tie): eating near anything which cannot escape, 3. rinsing toes off under the impromptu waterfall such rain invariably produces, and, 4. drinking both adult beverages with or without foam on top…Did I mention horizontal practice impregnation?
        Never did trust those spit-in-cup or swirl swab around mouth approaches to find out whom was my daddy (or mommie). But I did agree I had approx. 4 percent Neandertal heritage. Hairy back, etc. Floor burns on nuckles, etc. Our public image of the poor native of the Neander River in Germany was a cripled, diseased old coot (not a fool, alas) and throug most of the remainder of the 19th and 20 centuries was depicted as a fearsome almost human but more probably apelike beast. Nothing could be further…had d a larger cranial capacity than we, was ever so much more muscular, and invariably also had speech, though we might not recognize either The Gettysburg Address (turn right after First Street, go two blocks: it’s the big house on the left) or something simpler, say, Beowulf in Old English.
        We in Central Florida have our share of mud, Sir. As boys my brothers and I used to take our dirt/clay road (right on the border of City/County demarcation) and build a clay dam halfway across the street. Our (then) twice daily mail carrier even drove around our engineering project, which pushed water upwards past our ankles. Today: once daily mail – mostly beg-sheets and all-too-few real letters – and our self-entertainment would get us hauled before some kind of court for gross mis-application of initiative and inventiveness – probably non-societally appropriate for young(ish) humans. d
        Back to genetics: I maintain anyone alive at the quarter-century mark this go-’round is descended from both kings and slaves. Provably. Kings had all the lucre and access to all the chow (and tipple) and since they were eveolved past the point of doing-for-themselves, had slaves (serfs, servants, etc.) to do for them and often to be “done” by them, thus ensuring a continued supply of do-ers (which I suspect may be a misspelling of Dewars. I prefer Old Bushmills in its many estates. My first sister-in-law remains enthralled by her husband’s family lineage. She’s gestapo through and through and was so disappointed when I told her Jewish lineage went through The Distaff side: matrilineal with patrilocal dance cards. Crestfallen she was unable to get her daughter into the University of Florida’s rampantly successful Jewish sorority. I said to her to interrupt her “it isn’t fair” tirade: but dad said we had an great(ish) uncle hanged for a horse thief after the (decidedly not a civil but a revolutionary) war in Florida sometime in the 1870s: will that do?
        I take sever of my long firearms out just after school lets out each year and do a thorough cleaning of same, on my Marine Corps-issued camouflaged poncho-liner. Often some cops ride by and check out my work and I bemoan the fates which deny me even the 12-guage shotgun approach to greeting uninvited “guests” marching down one of the hallways. “Probably go right through him – and like the M-14 I got legally in surplus back in the late ’70s, go out into the street an hit someone who doesn’t need killing” That’s why I also apply a thin coat of oil to my non-commissioned officer’s sword (a saber actually) which was made dull to protect fools old ears when executing a parade movement;. But it looks impressive – Sheffield steel. The few young louts who stop by and ask what’s all the artillery for, I reply: “You, lad, if you come through the front door uninvited.” That gets me lots of looks but not yet an uninvited guest. I told one police pal I never learned how to shoot to wound – dad, first and the Marines second – but I figure it’s better that way: I can explain a corpse to a judge best when there’s no dissent from the other party. The cop laughed and said, “Thanks, J, you don’t know how much paperwork that would avoid with your method.” And, here, I thought I was getting away on my own merits. Today, however, I suspect several dead victims’ advocate groups would prove to a dead-advocate judge the very presence of a dead victim proves the one who made the man dead was, prima Facie, a murderous scum in need of a needle-to-the-arm himself. But I know good lawyers, too, and have a standing offer for fire-arms legal representation. If possible I could argue each of use be issued our own portable typewriter-sized case containing a nuclear weapon. Imagine how polite we would be to each other knowing any of us could decide which neighborhood needed urban renewal. (Some significant aspects of this need further thought, Mike. (Maybe a five-hour delay button?)
        My own spit-wad produced the usual suspects. About half churlish Gaelic whatnots, and a suspected Welshman hiding out amongst the Scots and Irish…but how did that Englishmun worm his way into the woodpile? to bequeath is name? For a time it was suspected – and possibly proven – a Mayflower man married a Richards’ relative somewhere downstream. On the other side, Ashkanazi Jew with overtones on both sides of many times raped and resultant throws providing Eastern European and Baltic suspects aplenty. (Old squalid story I shave with our version of bigots, firmly entrenched in “Old South” family values. I say: it has been proven that any one “white” (I maintain I am pink-ish, not white) man whose family has live in The South for six generations (now, seven or so) has to have some “Black” blood in his family tree. And before they can object: I cite: Thomas Jefferson’s (a founding father, etc.) sired children through his slave Sally Hemmings, and only recently has the family Jefferson acknowledged such and held joint reunions with their melanin-enhanced kin. Rarely do I get invited for a second round of drinks thereafter.
        Enough from the almost-tropics on my side of our spit. Do tell Rosie had she only promised to keep all four knees together such surgery might never have been necessary.

      6. ‘Tis always a pleasure to see the violent scum of the earth getting a beating. ‘An “A” in Spanish recitation’ a fine line, rare yet worthy. Sadly massive porches don’t exist on this island…not even the big mansions. I put it down to the annoying weather here. A great pity we can’t have them here. Save for a glimpse on a semi-erotic movie set in the deep south of your land is all we know of the much fabled porch. I agree to an extent that the benefits of mud probably outweigh its drawbacks, save perhaps when the dog gets rolling and hence gets covered, be it pure mud or, akin to the curious onlooking eye…fox shit. The pong doesn’t do much on fox shit after a rainfall so one never really knows.
        Talking of ‘getting a beating’ I have to confess…shamed as I am…that I was a victim of such violence, albeit accidental, just two days gone. Already I believe what happened to me merits media interest. The thing was, was what with Rosie unaware of not ripping open the stiches about her body following the op at the vets, we have…for the duration…bought down to ground level a mattress one of us could sleep with her at night time thus keeping an eye on the gal. She is ‘not allowed’ per Herr Vetburger to clime stairs presently. This is a pain in the arse as this old Victorion property…like all built that way back in the day…has as many stair cases as it has rooms. Whatever, Rosie seems content with the mattress…a double, I stress, giving Shirl or me the scope to sleep at her side. Well there I was kneeling down to beckon her over for a friendly cuddle when I spotted the excited short-arse beast hurtling my way at a fantastic pace from the other side of the lounge. Such was the speed that left me with no place to hide our heads clashed as if two football players were trying to head the same bloody ball. She caught me smack in the temple, a classic punch were it an actual punch…this is the unvarnished truth, by the way…knocking me clean out; sparko; dead to the naked eye and well an truly out for the count. I’m told I was in wonderland for only a minute. As I came back to reality all I could hear was the bells rigging in my skull and the missus laughing her head off. So then, there’s me…admittedly an old fool these days…6 foot tall and still with a hint of muscle about the torso being taken clean out by a puppy dog. It beggars belief. Thankfully, victorious Rosie was unharmed.
        Changing the subject you’ve reminded me that we once had…possibly still have…a fine sabre pinned up on a wall over the fireplace. You’ve got me thinking where said sabre is. I’ve not seen it for years and have no memory of the powers that be confiscating it.
        The American company ‘My Heritage’ might be worth checking out. They were the ones who led me to Eliza Mean plus the DNA interpretations. I found it addictive to know more than just the current day family history. Back in the day before we sold up and retired, when we had the PI business we used to get many a requests from The States, Canada and Australia to act on their behalf…much better work, at the time, than my usual hunting down of fraudsters and the like.
        Time to take another pain killer and remain in hiding unwilling to take my purple swollen temple into the public domain.
        A pleasure as ever.
        Regards, TOF

      7. Rosie’s Revenge: a movie-making must in my Not-Humble-At-All opinion. Possibly a serial for The Tube. Episode six, I’d say.
        I gave my youngest niece my NCO sword; her elder cousin got the paternal grandmother’s afghan of many colors, each knitted square a Jacob’s Coat. Not even itchy. I hauled it out to cover me – knees-to-chin when I returned to an empty house Christmas Eve 1970, still sporting that half-heasd battle bandage they wrapped me in as I left for a thirty-day paid (not counted as ordinary Leave – survivor’s leave. Had to break in. When my younger brother finally showed the next day – after I paid attention to Tiger The Dog – mustard-yellow bent-tail cur and best pal – and inside enjoyed Skeeter The Cat (seal-point Siamese and Hauty – I put her through feline distemper just ‘fore I left to study war some more at The University of Southeast Asia, Vietnam Campus – whereupon I was introduced to whom she would become Skeeter II who bonded both with me and Tiger as a just weeks-old kitten who became a dog.
        That noggin-knocker, though I am sure you will say “was nothing much” should be seen to by competent medical (a paramedic will do) authority – the kind with a small pen light to waggle ‘bore your eyes to see how you track. You know the drill. Concussions, even the minor ones – are no breezy matter, TOF. Tell your – and Rosie’s – real owner to check for lofty thoughts and other misdemeanors.
        Of late I have succumbed to medical marvels and medicine. Yep. I take a 325mg Aspirin sometimes as often as twice=a=week. Quit tobacco nearly two decades ago – and except for the occasion dream sequence do not miss the nasal and elsewhere congestion and expectoratons containing colorful additives. I now happily report I can smell snakes and other reptiles long before they become a problem whilst out-and-about in woods and swamps, earning my shekels at an outrageous daily rate. These snakes are, mostly, safe: even those of venomous properties: it’s the two-legged snakes I avoid since I no longer am sanctioned by my government to return them to the factory as defective.
        Between my younger brother and I there’s a good bit of cutlery to be had, seen, and sometimes used. Bayonets from as many as five wars – both ours and theirs – several hand-forged (Randall-Made in nearby Orlando), my Dad’s old US Navy survival knife with the curious bent on one side hardguard – and I got the story from one of the old man’s squadron mates. The thermo-nuclear, carrier capable, twin enjined jet bomber – then our Navy’s first such “whale” did not have a manual landing gear crank mounted within. The pilots were landing – had to – and no landing gear. From his station at the bottom of the flight deck (too big to call it a cockpit) he left his bombadier/navigator (third crewman, enlisted plane captain’s seat and ripped away at the aluminum alloy skin to get to the stanchion-mounted crank that allowed the wheels to come down and lock and no embarrassment to be enjoyed – or not – by all. Except for the broken thumb he sustained wrenching the damn windup into reverse. Soon thereafter our Navy Department redesigned the crank and put it where it could be of better use. Such is the military – I suspect worldwide. Late to the game and later to the realization that some people might like to live a little less on edge. On a less lighter note: The Marine Corps had plans – and I have it on good authority had plans and did deploy an artillery atomic shell whose bursting and destruction radius included the howitzer from with it was fired. And those people wanted to send this then-tender-aged (19) to officer candidate school. Not at the cost of my reason, sanity and future. Fortunately one of the officers interviewing me said he did not have it in his file: “just how old are you, Private.” Nineteen last July I replied, adding the obligatory “Sir!” Oh, damn! You’ll just have to wait two more years, then. We can not take minors. In those two intervening years I became a major at minoring. Immune, to the wiles of standing out front with a Mameluke Sword, a whistle and a .45 caliber handgun shouting: All Right, Lads, Follow Me. Those people who so do such are called, mostly “The Late.” I also found out their secret name: “Os-si-fers.”
        Mike. Seriously. Do get that noggin checked. Not for my sake. Or Shirl’s. But to assuage the tender-hearted Rosie who I am sure would go all un-house-broken should you keel some fine – cloudless Wimbledon Wonder of a day – and die before you get to hand her that treat still in its cage-of-a-box.
        A Private Investigator! Gads! A gumshoe Dick. Beats having to work for a living, I am sure. I spent 20 years committing journalism, so I’ve not reason to assume the mantle of superiority. I already have apologized – publicly – for my sins, at least the ones on tape, anyway.
        Be well, all. Rosie, nest time you bust The Old Fool’s chops and he’s down for the count, it’s considered good form to micturate on your vanquished victim.
        I must be off. Later, J

      8. “Busted” The “A” went to a hottie. I have the morals of a hungry vole. Currently trying to track down a good rat poison. My home-n-garden shop is moving two blocks and cannot seem to get its phone list updated, so I schlep downtown and find the “open” old store shuttered. Tomorrow, promises the sign the new store opens. But I need it yesterday!
        Solution: big box store…with a nice, polite email to the H&G to thank them for telling me the old location is open until the new one opens tomorrow. And tomorrow. What a wonderful song.
        I am off for undeserved beer and Bushmills. Have a substitute chili/spaghetti sauce recipe working in the crock pot and the drool is causing my tennie-pumps to stop grabbing. Seems the shoetops – the only “natural” part of said tennis attire gets hungry too. Fortunately it knows a slob who does not just drool, but dribbles a spoonful or so when test-biting the concoction (wonderless white wheat sammich slicces overly buttered with a topper of grated parm, sauce and meatballs because I AM a nice guy (to me at least), more ital herbs fresh cut from the worried garden – Hey, it’s near winter and still you have us slaving away in the sun! then more cheese and a nice tumbler – to hell with matching the red to the glass, amigo Just take on a full load! – of (what is the day,,,igm giidue! – pinot noir.
        Be well TOF & Tribe. Rosie: No Prisoners!

      9. I owe you a proper reply, Sir. My apologies for sure. The thing is I like to read and enjoy your stuff and reply accordingly…easy route ‘thanks’ is insufficient. Presently the world is against me doing any of the things I enjoy. I shall get back to you shortly, you have my respect. Regards, TOF

      10. I, three (so much more that a mere too) am in arrears in my correspondence. I buy excuses by the ocean and practice reason by the grain; my world conspires to keep me in its cartoon, and though I rebel and reach for other spaces, especially in my world-class dream-aspect, I keep finding rats gnawing at my toenails because only Howard Hughes can be allowed such long and unsightly claws. So I soak in epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) and tackle the chore with surgical tin snips (scissors). I self-medicate after determining doctors (physicians a post-graduates alike) collect not just bacteria but viral emoluments as well. Hospitals is where the hale go to get infected. So far, an aspirin ever third week or so (325 mg dosage) seems to keep me in my version of stable. Chicken soup – on the boil and I’m a mile away. Just came by the library to log in, see who’s hammering my door, pick up a few books and OHMYDEITY!

      11. I’ve just arrived back from buying bloody Christmas presents for what feels like my 5,000 grandchildren. I mention this only because I returned soaked to the skin when I’d run into a gale you chaps in the US sent us across the Atlantic…even as I type the hailstones are headbutting the windows. Fair play in my book although a little sun from, say, Florida next week would be appreciated. To the point. You made mention of ‘self-medicate’. I also have taken that route. 18 months on, I still await our NHS system their promise that ‘in due course’ we’ll see you; check you out etc. Useless the lot of them. I now also self-medicate in the form of human equivalent bacteria supplied by an Irish company. In its own way it has assisted in controlling the curse of IBS to the extent I no longer…as my old dad would have said…’give a flying fuck’. The thing is, medics, at least the ones who have cared for the dreaded virus sufferers yet don’t give a toss for the likes of yours truly, do on occasion, take the metaphoric law unto themselves. ‘Mr Steeden, you must do this; must to that…’ – having said that, that was pre the dreaded virous, they no more speak to the regular sickos like me. In ordering the patient that they ‘have to’ do what they say they reminded me of a remark once thrown at a decent boxer.
        His tale goes like this. There was once a world champion boxer called Chris Eubank. He held the super middleweight title for some years. No mean achievement for a ‘Brit’. Mr. Eubank, aside from being a very accomplished fighter was…and still is I believe…an eccentric nutter. I like eccentrics. Breeding these is one of the very few things this nation does well. We used to have thousands of them, barking mad one and all. Mr. Eubank, a black man, took early on in his career to wearing a monocle and driving about his hometown of Brighton in a tractor unit with enormous wheels. He picked up hundreds of parking tickets yet cared not a jot. When not in the mood to take to the streets in his outsized lorry cab he paraded about on a ridiculously flamboyant and hideously expensive motorcycle. All this whilst dressed, not in the ‘chavvy’ tracksuits preferred by most in his profession, but in Harris Tweed jackets, jodhpurs and riding boots. True to the laws of eccentricity he was quite oblivious that he possessed his own, special brand of infectious derangement. Whilst serving his time out as champion of the world I once heard him being interviewed by an obnoxious, pushy interviewer. Mr. Eubank had just beaten seven barrels of shit out of his opponent that same night to retain his title for the umpteenth time. Unsurprisingly he was drenched in sweat and not a little shagged. I suspect that the very last thing he needed was this dreadful interviewer. Nonetheless he did his level best to answer the puerile questions thrown at him. Toward the end of the parley it was put to our champion that, for his next fight he had no ‘choice’ but to take on ‘so & so’ fighter in order that, if he won, he might truly be able to refer to himself as the undisputed king of the ring. Apparently this other man held another version of the world crown at super middleweight. It was suggested that Eubank ‘had’ to take on the suggested opponent. Taken somewhat aback and pausing to compose himself Mr. Eubank told his inquisitor that, “The only thing I have to do is to stay black and die.” That shut up the witless twit he was talking with. Whilst I agree entirely with the sentiments of Chris Eubank, namely that, save for death itself, he can choose to do whatever he decides, whether it be for the best or not, it is plainly a pre-requisite that one must have the intellectual capacity to fully appreciate that one actually does have ‘choice’ in all matters other than mortality.
        So then, sod the medics, Sir.
        Regards, TOF

      12. To all the denizens of That Maple Leaf Nation to my North who save their shekels to come across the world’s longest undefended border – not anymore it ain’t, but that’s another screed for another time – to get their doctor when they want and how they want and all too soon they come to realize the words have been changed and my nation’s brand of socialized medicine is maddeningly similar to theirs. Unless you have the coin to buy – or rent – your own universe or perhaps journey to one of our smaller nation-states extending south of our most-adjacent southern border, to wit, Honduras (and its fraternal twin Belize), etc. As a means-nothing aside: once I had this fun verbal foray with a self-accomplished assistant middle school teacher who kept insisting Mexico was NOT a part of North America, which, se insisted was just Canada and US (love the arrogance of “US” being capitalized. Spanish-speaking world slaps back: “EEUU (estados estados unidos unidos and now “EUA” on its mail-franking stamps – all because Argentina was miffed because U.S.A. was their acronym as well as mine. Suffer, suckers? Be it Bernardo O’Higgins or Jose Marti’s pal Simon Bolivar, sometimes I rail that the US – except for its anti-Catholic/anti-brown-black biases could have extended our nation all the way to Columbia (and managed a coup de main to get some pre-drug-runner Colombians to cede us Panama and finish the French Ditch to linke both oceans. Actually, the Panama Canal is too narrow and too limited by locks when the US stall has an unrepudiated treaty allowing for another Atlantic/Pacific canal through Nicaragua. And a new such ditch could be made wide enough to handle two or three super tankers or American/Allied aircraft carriers without being so tightly bottled up by the French Ditch (a slight jab at your francophilia, my friend).
        Our own encentrics are not just boxers, thoue that ear-chewer named Tyson is a good place to start. We pay our sports heroes tremendous sums and our garbage collecters pittances. which is of more value – to me, an admitted sports journalist, etc. – is no contest. I hang out for my trash and household wastes and my trash and yard/garden wastes guys and lend a hand with the cans whenever I can (could not pass that chance by a that that moment if ever one was). But I admit my own lack of stodge when it comes to defending The Rich. If damnfools will pay them our buy their often cheaply made personally endorsed products, too bad of us and more-power-too’em.
        And, yes, here it is again’ the law to commit – successfully, too – suicide, though how one expects successfully to prosecute a successful suicide beggars (or buggers) the imagination. Glad, actually, I am that there are places for the officious pricks -and notpricks – to go so as to keep my own barstool free from foppery.
        I go to attend my chores, Sur TOff. Best to your owners, Shirl and Rosie.

      13. Got cut off, Mike, rebellious left thumb. Again. I will turn Tuesday into today to atone. Thanks for your many kindnesses. Tell the guys with the butterfly nets not to bother: I have my own wack-o corps of white coats on my tail as it is.

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