Big was explaining the ABC's of the NaCl in the underground H20 to the wealthy farmer down the road, who shrugged. He was busy caring about his fence. He could only care about so much. Smoke was blowing from the wrong direction more than two hundred miles away, besmirching the light.


Big advised, "Look out."


The wealthy farmer down the road did not learn his ABC's in kindergarten. He did like to hear explanations. His mind would wander. His ebb would flow. His eyes would glaze like porcelain pots. He was doing pretty good without listening. He knew all he needed to know. He inherited the land and all that came with it. His many smart chemicals did most of the work. His water pumps sucked hard all night and swallowed like a contingent of toothless hookers. The bumper stickers on all of his many vehicles read, NO FARMS, NO FOOD. Proudly, he grew cotton. Cotton does not grow on trees. His stumpy plants were higher than he was able to see. Looking up any higher made him feel dizzy in his poor wealthy head.


Soon, after stumbling, but before falling, and failing to see the light, he mumbled, "Too late now."


The same mistaken wind blowing smoke from the not so far east spread out uninvited in the parking lot of Mt. Loma Prieta near the summit of the Santa Cruz Mountains and injected slimy tocsins into the mist. The air only seemed to be free for breathing until slamming into an immovable object. A stray gust smelled like a fart fueled by cow shit and kerosene. Hacking a gross loogie was an understandable reaction. The Santa Cruz Mountains elevate from the nourishing floor of Monterey Bay where it does not stink. No road is a simple highway up or down with broken lines straddling the center that will not hold. The same winding road at the misty summit of the mountains swings low into the Pajaro Valley where small farms smell like all living things. The cool and verdant Pajaro Valley twists and shouts past foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains to hook up with the dry and dusty Salinas Valley close to Desolation Row that smells like dried blood. Farms are bigger, not better in the dry Salinas Valley. There is not only smoke, but flames. Big grew to his very large size breathing dust and smelling tocsins as an Okie from Salinas in that valley until his switch flipped at first sight of the world's greatest air conditioner, the Pacific Ocean. He only looked back to see nothing was gaining on him. The fading wind in his face stayed lagging behind.


Later, Big was admiring the hard left jab and powerful right cross of an American Double IPA on the patio of the Corralitos Brewing Company at the edge of the Pajaro Valley. A circling red tail hawk was keeping a sharp eye and claw on a furry appetizer who could run but not hide. No problem ever gets solved by an immovable part stuck in mud. Solutions require a free flow. The piggy farmer down the road who did not care he was hogging the water didn't drink beer. He prayed to his constipated God to smite the heathens who did. He prayed for the righteous return of douchey Donald Drumpf to kick queer faggot ass. None of that disgraceful bunch had a right to the same freedom as his. That freedom belonged to him. He came first. Entitlements bring such joy. He never missed a Sunday. After the plate was passed came slabs of limp bacon in a pool of oily lube, fat licking good. Who better to enjoy the many blessed bounties his daddy's daddy slaughtered disarmed injuns to ensure? He deserved more subsidized water from the no account socialist government, not less.


"Are you blind when you see two for one in front of your eyes or just plain greedy?"


"Checkers or chess."


"If you grab, you're greedy."


"Not if you're playing Monopoly."


"What I'm talking about is not a game."


There are those who only need to know a little bit about a little bit to know the score. It's just like daddy always said. In us v them, it's not cheating if you win. It's only natural that winners rule. The fix has never not been in. Nothing wrong with that. The God that counts highest is the one doing the counting. He came back with the only tally that counts long ago when it counted for more. He told us so, not them. Everybody who knows everybody knows that. If you are nobody, and don't yet know that you've lost, you will. If a bunch of us instruct you to stay quietly in your seat in a crowded, burning theater, that's by God our white right, and you better sit your ass down.


"How low do you have to go to keep up?"


"Butt level."


"That's bare minimum."


"Slippery goes downhill easy."


"Bumpity bump goes that butt."


"Now they explain hauling slaves from Africa in chains as black immigration to America."


"Still proud to be loyal patriots of the Confederate States of America."


"Storm troopers of the American Taliban."


"Storm preachers."


"Christian cavemen with guns."


"And dress codes."


"Christian imams."


"Go team."


An elevated level of wind finally arrived by way of the great consciousness of the great air conditioner to repel and push the rank pretender back east. The perfume of ripening strawberries soothed and caressed the mugged fields. No trial by the enemies of your peers can alter the revealing arc of your experience. Traps are not born, but made to fit. You might choose to mix and match with faint pastels, or skip steps in emerald shoes that sparkle. Ain't no stopping in the middle for gas. The wind was born from a storm in the Sea of Japan, where it was tomorrow, and easily beat the clock. Contradictions continued to mightily abound.


"Not even the nuttiest fruit loop in the box expects a deflated marshmallow to puff up fresh and new."


"Wear and tear is not easy to write off."


"It's the old used up motor oil bubbling in that same can of corn."


"Highly combustible to ingestion."


As a beleaguered survivor of an endless onslaught from two formidable enemies, the yin and yan tag team sprung from his loins to pin him to the mat for more, more, more, The Unpaid Internet Content Provider had ample opportunity to hone a keen ability to detect brazen lies in daily events. As the yin twin played coy, the yang twin chuckled and shrugged. He was not playing. There came times, and often, when flaming swords had to be swallowed whole.


He was fidgeting due to the historic remains of the many itty-bitty bites from carnivorous animals on his seat. He saw open eyes in a dream with no face in the back seat of a car parked at the edge of Golden Gate Park. He had no answers to no questions. He was nurturing an immature crush on a hazy IPA from Mendocino that had the potential to become real love. Considering what might come next, he felt stumped. He could only care about so much.


'You know the beeswax figure with the smug mug on display."


"Which one?"


"He's got that sign that claims he's no crook."


"The local politician."


"That's been old since Nixon."


"It's hard to penetrate smug mugs."


"The wax drips."


"He's a born again messiah with correct genetic connections."


"A man's man."


"First time was no charm, that's apparent."


"Yet, adored by the heavyset ladies."


"Not the only rusty bucket in that barn."


"Bucket's got a hole in it."


"It dribbles in spurts."


"Once should be enough to satisfy a messiah."


"Twice is still not enough."


"Grabby and greedy side by side tilts."


"A misshapen parallelogram with a dented muffler and busted tail."


"Too much of nothing turns a horny man into a reborn liar."


It does not matter if you never wanted to stay or go. Swinging doors remain open at odd hours. If you stand for truth you stand alone. Get used to it. Warring factions among predators prefer to eliminate the enemy, and take no prisoners. Replacement enemies are so easy to come by, go by, get by, and return for more. Nothing has ever occurred for the first time. Nothing is more subversive than that. Feel free to repeat, repeat, repeat. Though it may be hard to get your head around so much required denial, keep knocking. No middling planet in a small universe rates high in a multiverse with no beginning and no end. A lack of intellect and soul leads to mistakes among a species late to arrive, humans, including wars, religions, masters, slaves. Who else refuses to accept freedom as the highest value? Floating dust knows it. All the other animals, vegetables, and minerals know it. You don't see them branded, strapped, and tied like hogs to trends in plows.


The Unpaid Internet Content Provider objected, "Nothing from nothing is not nothing to me."


"Easy for you to admit."


"It blocks the dark hallways in my ears."


Thom Wu intervened, "Don't blow so hard."


"I'm apt to stumble and fall in that dark hallway."


Now a diagnostician, Dr. Thomas Wu advised, "You're just going through one of your immature phases."


"Nothing wrong with going."


"If the going gets somewhere."


"Though it does appear as if I'm staying."


"Easier done when said."


Thom Wu was an All-American boy born in Sichuan Province to run. He came to the sloppy track equipped with the speed and he trained hard for distance. He ran for his life on land and on sea and he ran into thin air. Air collided with water and the land that came up for air got all mixed up and knocked him upside the head. Animals shit on it. Then he learned to roll over like a mutt in a cage at the pound. When he found his spot he stuck to it. There was enough land and sea and thin air to share in California. It was not impossible to become a sanctimonious local. He felt good in his favorite color, green.


Big said, "The only gospel I ever felt the call to follow was my grandma preaching waste is a sin."


"That was my grandma too."


Governments that rise and fall may be required due to the scrupulously detailed dearth of human consciousness able to finagle human affairs, but politics are just plain ugly, dishonest, shameful, shameless, and hopelessly corrupt. Every religion organized with an army of fighting soldiers, too. Nothing organized is spiritual and nothing spiritual is organized. Isn't that every religion?


"How do all these smart grandmas beget such a dumb bunch of dicks?"


Thom Wu witnessed the snickering close up by dicks in his grille, as well as behind his back, from the patriots of the Confederate States in their shit kicking jock straps posing for scuzzy porn sites with automatic weapons and body parts as trophies. He was common fodder for smirking jokes only nitwits found funny. Sadly, nitwits were cheap and easy to come by. Until, that is, he saved their ears, throats, faces, and asses in Iraq, where none of them should have ever ventured, and transformed from the four eyed goony yellow Chink sumbitch geek to the one true knife wielding savior under fabled Heaven able to walk on water and work miracles with a Number 15 surgical blade.


He had never known a grandma, a father briefly, had never been married and never divorced. He liked to tread in deep water at high tide when not tied to a burning stake, but he was no flighty flirt playing footsie in the backseat. He knew how to be scared. He wore a mask and he took his shots. Sparks when wires get crossed cause burns to skins of many colors. Plus, he had fallen hard for the Saison Bernice from the renown Sante Adairius Brewery on the bypass road beside the freeway in Capitola, and he was a loyal sort. He was prepared to tough it out, take a hard one for the team, rub some dirt on it. He had snagged a front row seat overlooking the end of misnomered and mixed up western civilization and dug in. The sandy beach was right there between his toes, showing off until sunken by buried treasure, littered with oiled bodies. Though his small and suffering mother was forced to recount the magnitude of her lost face in Oakland's Chinatown with the precision of an ancient scroll from the Han Dynasty, and decried his disrespect for honorable elders and the absence of a suitable Chinese wife to correct his uncivilized American ways, he kept his guard up and maintained solid defenses. He churned through tubs of high SPF sunscreen that did not smell. He never felt a need to plead guilty.


The wealthy farmer who lived down the road also felt no guilt. No reason on God's parched earth why he should. He did not need to wear a mask or take shots. He had a direct personal connection to the top of the heap heaven with a capital H. His one God worked miracles day and night, no ticking heart required around that infinite clock. When the wealthy farmer through no fault of his own became sick due to God's will all the congregants of his church prayed for him from a distance. He was coughing up one hell of a fucking storm. That was close enough. What if he hocked a gross loogie and scored an inadvertent bulls-eye? What if he dribbled icky spit on an open Bible? He would not want to be remembered in such a gross way. No one prayed for that. Their prayers, by God, worked.


When the poor wealthy farmer passed to his great reward due to God's will all the congregants of his church prayed for him on calloused knees. No disrespectful loogies were hocked. Decorum was maintained throughout. More than one good man stood out as decorous. Good thing he, they, it, all believed on their knees in the only heaven with a capital H. None of them were getting anywhere everlastingly close. That should show them once and for all who's boss.


Big, upon hearing the news of the wealthy farmer's demise, remarked, "Without so many of them, where does that leave so many of us?"


Submitted: September 10, 2021

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