Alone I sat, in my mentally made cell.
Why was I there, in that self created hell.
Thinking back to school, and my days of dope.
Foot by foot, rolling out the damn rope.
Hallucinogens were my rope, meth my noose.
Heroin in the needle, would have been my cooked goose.
One day in April, in the year ’99,
I awoke, did my prep, and did my last line.
I looked in the mirror, deep into my eyes.
I’m not am addict? Bullshit! No more lies!
I have stomped a mans head, into a curb.
He only mouthed off, something he didn’t deserve.
I broke my glass pipe, and then walked away.
No hospital detox, not even N.A.
17 years, this wagon’s been on this ride.
Not one relapse or slip up, I say this with pride.
For many years I sat, staring at my cell floor.
In the end, it was up to me, to walk out the door.

**17 years ago today I decided to get clean. I hear people browbeat others when they say they have only been clean for one week or one month and it upsets me. The truth is, we all start at day one. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you aren’t good enough, or haven’t been sober long enough to be respected for the amount of time you have been sober. Be proud of your accomplishments, and stick with it. One day you’ll look back at all that time, and your use will be a distant memory.**

  I had gone shopping for a few things today, and stopped by the gas station on my way back. I walked in like normal and stood in line. There was a long line and a woman standing off to the side leaning on the counter looking sad. As I got closer, the clerk asked her, “Are you going to be alright hon?”
  The lady said nothing and shook her head no. The clerk spoke to another customer saying that the lady had just told her that she was about to have a seizure. Then she told the lady to sit down and she would go get her mom in a moment. There were still like 4 of us in line and I couldn’t stand there and do nothing.
  Some people have the ability to sense a seizure coming on, and if she really was about to have one, I didn’t want her to fall and get hurt. I walked up to her and offered to help her sit, as she looked very shaky and was trying to sit on the floor. I got an arm and helped lower her to the floor as I was telling the clerk I would go get the mom. Suddenly the lady dropped into the seizure.
  I told the clerk to go get the mom immediately as I took hold of the back of the lady’s neck so she didn’t slam her head into anything. I held onto her throuought the ordeal and her mom came in after it was over and helped as well. She had been sitting against the ice cream bin, so we slid her down all the way to the floor and another customer gave us a sweater to put under her head.
  She awoke confused and didn’t remember anything prior to it. I understand this happens often. She didn’t even remember leaving the house today. We helped her up and were walking her to the car as she was talking with her mom. “Where are we? We aren’t at home. I don’t remember coming here.” Then she looked at me, then back to her mom while she motioned toward me, “I remember him tho. I don’t know who he is, but I remember him.”
  I was floored. Why would she remember me? I would figure that I’d be forgotten like everyone and everything else. I helped her into the car, told them to take care, patted her mom on the back and told her it would all be ok, and went to my car where I cried almost all the way home.
  This is the second person in the last few months that I happened to be in the right place at the right time to help like this. It freaks me out a bit, because my father had a seizure just before he landed in the hospital where he died so it brings back a lot of emotions that i dont enjoy dealing with. But when I’m there, I am calm and alert. I seem to handle the situation well until it’s all over. I’m thankful for that! Could it be that I’m being shown part of my purpose in life? I don’t know what it means, or if it actually means anything at all… but one thing is for sure… I’m happy I was able to help.

  It’s difficult when you don’t have a place to call your own. You start to feel like a failure, a loser, even worthless. I don’t mean having to rent instead of owning… I mean not having a home at all.
  Shortly before Thanksgiving, my roommate’s boyfriend got us evicted. I could have stayed the owner said, unfortunately I couldn’t afford it.
  A coworker told me to come stay on her couch. I did so. I don’t like taking up space in someone’s home. She wouldn’t take any money when I’d offer. A good friend of mine is going through a rough time. Good friend doesn’t fully explain it, but let’s just say that she is not ready for anything more than friends. I love her dearly, and I understand her position… mostly. Anyway, I digress… her daughter and grandson have come to live with her while her daughter is going through a divorce. I love those two like my own. I’ve even told them that I officially adopt them as my daughter and grandson.
  Well, I have been helping them babysit so nobody has to lose hours at work. My boss will usually let me come in at 4 am so I can get off at 1. So, I’ve been doing this for awhile, and the lady where I was staying (after making sure she was ok with all of this) decided it was time for me to leave because I would spend many nights out since nobody got home til 11pm and I had to be at work by 4, there was no point in driving. So, my friend has let me stay at her place now for a few weeks. But it’s getting tiring not having a place to call home. Almost all my stuff is in my car still.
  I do love this woman, and will wait as long as she needs to heal… and my wanting to call this place my home has a bit to do with that, but mostly I enjoy being able to help the people who I consider family. I am prepared to ask tonight if I may consider this my home, or if I should try to find a place I can afford. Regardless of the answer, I will still be helping them… but I pray she says this can be my home.
  I have wanted to ask this question for awhile, but I’m scared of the answer. Then today, with no warning… I started to have a severe mental breakdown. I mean crying at work and just feeling so low that my old self harming thoughts were creeping back into my mind. I asked one of my managers if I could leave for the day, and kind of explained the situation to him. He told me that if I need, they will throw a benefit for “an anonymous employee” to try to raise the funds to get me into a place. 
  I would rather stay here because not only do I get to help with the childcare, but I throw money towards rent which also helps her out more. I’m praying she says yes, but again, I’m afraid of the answer.
  I’m asking for your prayers and good vibes on this one. I know in the end, it is as God wills it… I’m having trouble with that as well, but I do have faith. Thank you for reading, I’ll keep you updated.

    I saw a vet today. A Vietnam era vet. He was having to use a motorized cart. I came up behind him and he dropped his cane off the cart. I was too far away to help. I heard him sigh in exasperation and he picked it back up. I could tell it pained him to do so. It saddened me to see such a sight. Here we have a person who risked his life, for an ungrateful country, gaining years and not as spry as he once was. I could tell he felt like shit because of his inability to walk.
    I did what everyone else seems to do and just let it be… but I continued to see the image in my mind’s eye. Around the corner, I was putting away some vegetables and I heard something drop. I turned to see this man trying to grab a pot pie that dropped. It landed in front  of him and slid across the floor. I picked it up and handed it to him.
    I pay a lot of attention to my surroundings, and one of the big things is looking people in the eyes. As I handed it to him, I noticed tears. He accepted the help graciously, but I could see that it hurt him to do so. We could all use a bit of humbling from time to time… but this was too much. He made a “joke” about the eyes going first, then everything else, but what I heard was, “I didn’t used to be this way. I was once young, strong, and almost unstoppable.”
    How quickly our youth goes huh? One day we’re climbing trees, jumping from great heights, and the next we’re in an electric cart trying in vain to pick something we’ve dropped up off the floor.
He thanked me and went on his way as I told him, “No problem.” And I was left thinking… One day this will be me. A mere shadow of what I once was. Not able to do the things I once could. Possibly relying on help from strangers just to get through my day.” Then I started thinking. I believe in karma. And I believe that at times, we can become karma incarnate. Today I got to be a good part of the karma for a man who has done noble deeds in life… and for that I am thankful. I only pray that one day I deserve good treatment like that.
    He went on his way and I went back into the freezer at work and cried my eyes out. It was too much emotion for me to contain. Many good people are looked down upon and treated like crap because they aren’t as mobile as the rest of us. That’s no way to treat people!! Treat them with the same respect that you would treat your mother or father. I mean hell… they have been through more than you most likely… and if not… who cares… they’re human beings, and everybody needs a kind word and deed in life.

    It’s been awhile since I wrote anything.  I’ve been busy as hell.  But I find myself with some time this evening to tell you a short (ish) story about the rattlesnake situation out here in the prairie lands. 🙂  (Keep on reading this one John… it’s a good one) 😉
    I hadn’t given much thought to the fact that the prairie is loaded with rattlesnakes.  Well… it is. Bwahahaha. XD So my buddy and I are in the barn one day when we hear the distinct rattling from somewhere in between us.  There isn’t a lot of room to move around in the barn, and it’s pretty messy after years of not being touched.  So we carefully moved away and tried to look for the snake without endangering ourselves too much.  We had already relocated a few young snakes this season, but sometimes, they are in places where it’s unsafe to let them live.  Well, we found him in the middle of the pipes too far away for us to grab him with the snake grabber.  Well… we couldn’t leave him in the barn because of the danger.  Don’t get me wrong, all rattlers are dangerous, but the two types we have out here are no joke.  Western Diamondback and Prairie Rattlers.  They have both Neurotoxic and Hemotoxic venom.  You have about 2 hours to get treatment if you get bit… otherwise you’re pretty screwed.
    Being the awesome farm boys we are, we fashioned a long hook so we could scoop him out of the pipe and dispatch him.  Well, you know how farms have a lot of old equipment on them?  There just so happens to be an old broken tractor in the way so we could get him with the hook, but when pulling it out, it would get hung up… putting us in pretty decent danger.  Add to the fact that I’m holding the flashlight and can’t see the damn thing so I keep moving a bit when my buddy needs the light.  The snake was pissed!!  I would love to claim I’m so awesome that I wasn’t scared at all… but I was shaking pretty bad.  This was the first grown rattler that I had ever dealt with.  The babies aren’t so bad.  A rattler can strike up to 2/3 of it’s body length, so a one footer isn’t too scary… but when dealing with a three or four footer… it’s a little different. LOL
    So here we are, trying to figure out what to do when my inner redneck shines through.  “Hey… you got bird shot for your shotgun?” I ask.
    “Yep.  Guess I’m gonna go grab it.” replies my buddy.  And oh how the fun started.  I’m sure you all know how strong steel is right?  Well imagine shooting a shotgun into a steel pipe that’s six inches wide, and about 20 feet long.  My buddy comes back out and shines the flashlight into the pipe.  “There he is.”  Then he turns to me and says,”You might want to plug your ears.”  They were already plugged.  He raised the muzzle, took aim, and BLAM!!!  The sound was deafening even with my ears plugged.  “Son of a bitch!!”  he screamed when he looked again.  “The bastard is still alive!!”
    I’m not sure how much you know about the physics of birdshot, but ponder this for a moment.  Have you ever skipped a stone on water?  What about 30 or 40 stones at once?  Well, bird shot isn’t enough to damage the steel, so if the angle of the shot drives it into the steel, it bounces… at about 427 meters per second. So here we now had a very pissed off snake, who was probably reeling from the concussion… but he didn’t take one hit from the shot.  What a lucky snake.  If I got shot at, I can say with certainty that I would get hit with almost every piece of shot in the damn bullet. LOL So he shot again… and again… and again.  If he wasn’t so pissed off, I would have been rolling on the floor laughing.  My buddy is one of the best shots I have ever seen, so to see him miss so bad, and get so pissed was frigging hilarious!!
    After five shots, he finally took of it’s head… and 3/4 of it’s body.  It was a scary ordeal, but of course, as we leave the barn, and walk a short way out into the field… we find another snake.  This was much easier to get rid of.  I grabbed it with the grabber, and he lopped off it’s head. It turns out that it’s much easier dealing with a snake when you’re out in the open and not in some super close quarters. Now… being that we live on a ranch in the middle of nowhere, we don’t like to waste things.  I had done some studying on how to cure snake skin, and I had always wanted to try eating snake.  The grilled snake was amazing, but the skin curing is a story for another time.  I might write a post on that shortly, as I’m at the end of my day and I’m not too tired yet.
    I hope you have enjoyed the story.  There should be plenty more of them as I find the time to write more often.  I’ve had a few cool adventures out here, and I’m sure there will be many more.  🙂  I’ll leave you with a shot of the snake on the grill we made, and a shot of Ranch hand Grinning Bear. 🙂
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   Nothing quite like some fresh grilled snake. 😉
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I think the straw hat suits me. 🙂

  Death comes in many forms;
Death of an era, death of a marriage, death of your childhood, brain death… then there’s having a heart attack and dying in the flaming wreckage that about two minutes ago, was your car.
  I was notified yesterday that my ex wife’s grandfather died in a car wreck. He was a great man. A self reliant, good ol’ boy from Missouri. He was an engineer, who owned his own well digging company. Even in his late 70’s you could still find him out there, climbing the rigs to get things set up. No ropes, no harness, just… climbing.
  When I first met him back in 2001, I had a big black Mohawk and piercings all over my face. He didn’t even bat an eyelash. He shook my hand, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “Welcome to the family.”
  My ex and I had just gotten engaged, and I was nervous about meeting him. My grandfather had been from Missouri, and he was very vocal about not liking my piercings. So I worried that he might also judge me by all the metal in my face.
  But he didn’t. I did notice however, that he kept a close watch as I opened doors and pulled out chairs for his granddaughter. I wasn’t trying to impress him though. I always did these things for her. Needless to say, he approved.
  As we left to return home he took my hand and shook it. He said, “I think you’re an OK guy… I don’t care what they say about you.” He gave a smirk and a wink as he said it. I smiled back, and got in the car to drive home.
  Over the years he has asked about me through the rest of the family. Always wanting to know how I was doing, and what was going on in my life. About a year ago, my ex mother in law told me that he said he missed me being around at family gatherings.
  Jim… I have always remembered you fondly. You were always nice to me, and as far as I know… never had a bad word to say about me.
  Rest in Peace Grampa Jim.

  So… we all know I don’t make a bunch of money. Hell… who really does?! But I had quite the adventure in Povertyland yesterday.

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(Enjoying the beginning of Adventure Time)
  First, my bus didn’t show up. In fact… the first two buses didnt show up. Luckily, I discovered that my little sister wasn’t working, so she was able to give me a ride to work. I gave her part of my bus money, leaving me with enough to grab the trolley on the way home, and had enough for the next couple days.
    My boss, whom I commute with (After getting to his house via the bus) had some type of emergency with his gf and had to leave. He wasn’t able to make it back.
    The bus that I normally don’t have to take is more expensive. It takes you over the mountains, and back to my area. After having to catch that, I didn’t have enough money to catch the lightrail home. It’s about 10 miles. Mind you, I stand at work all day and my shoes are worn out.
    See where this is going? My sister asked to only be asked for rides in an emergency due to lack of funds. I didn’t deem this to be one.
  Off the bus finally at 7:00 p.m. I started walking. My journey started near the H.P. Pavilion.

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(Home of the San Jose Sharks, and former home of San Jose Stealth Lacrosse)
    There were many people on the path that I walked, but it was much nicer than walking through downtown. I had figured out the milage, and the path running next to the Guadalupe River was less than half a mile longer.
     I was feeling pretty good at this point, and was only moderately tired. There are lots of wild animals along the trail; and many dog walkers too. I saw some rabbits and stopped for a moment to thank the universe for such a cool sight. We don’t see many wild rabbits out here in San Jose.

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(I know it’s not a rabbit, but I didn’t get a pic of them)
    I continued my journey north as the sun started reaching the horizon. I was approaching my halfway point. The San Jose Mineta International Airport. I’ve seen airports, driven by them and all that… but I don’t know if you can appreciate the size unless you walk past one. It took about 45 minutes to walk past. I mean, I was right next to the thing. The short term parking was very pretty in the quickly fading light.

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(With the sun blocked by the building, I got a nice second shot)
    I continued onward… although my feet were starting to feel the effects of my journey. Lol.

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(It’s not poverty, it’s ventilation)
    I mentioned in my last post that I discovered geocaching. Well, I’m always checking the official site to see if anything is near. There were about five or six caches along the way. I skipped the ones in the beginning, but after dark had finally fallen, I couldn’t resist finding at least one. So I took about five minutes, found it, signed the log, and moved on. I couldn’t take a pic of the log sheet like I normally do. On my next journey through the area, I will have to grab a pic. 🙂 But here’s a shot of a sign log about the same size.

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(Writing that small is tough)
    Have you ever walked down the street at night? There’s something moderately scary about it. Well on the trail it gets real dark. You can hear animals crashing through the brush. You hear mysterious noises behind you and imagine it’s something awful. Only to turn around and discover that it’s only the sound of your backpack. Lol
    I was texting my best friend all the way home. She is my dearest friend. She’s on the east coast, but insisted on staying awake until I arrived home safely at about 1:30 a.m. her time.
    I had to stop texting at one point around 9:00 because as I looked up from my phone and my eyes adjusted to the dark, there was a skunk walking across my path. That could have been a disaster. Lol

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(Wish I had a camera instead of my phone. This was beautiful)
    The final mile took about 45 minutes. My eyes were blurry and my mind was foggy because I hadn’t eaten since the night before. Ever experience hypoglycemia? It sucks. But thanks to the fact that I’ve been in that position before… and I used to party a lot as a teen… it was nothing I couldn’t handle.

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(One for the sports fans. Levi Stadium, future home of the S.F. 49ers.)
    Crossing the final street with about a half mile to go, a car decided he wasn’t going to wait for this pedestrian to cross before turning. I know he saw me, because he honked at about the same time I felt the wind from his side mirror. After a long day, I lost control. I saw him look at me through the driver side window as this all happened. I yelled, “That’s right!! Keep driving asshole” He was about 50 yards away when he hit the brakes, “This is it” I thought, “If this dude gets out of his car with anything but a, “”sorry”” I’m gonna put his head into the pavement.” I threw my arms out and yelled, “Fuck you!!!” I guess he decided he didn’t want any, because he sped off.
    When I got home, my feet were so sore, that it didn’t even feel good to take off my shoes. I said hi to my uncle, (who gave my his last few bucks for the bus) made a sandwich and some top ramen, and passed out.
    A quick note for those that know the San Jose area. I started walking at Diridon Station by H.P. Pavilion, and my house is near 1st and Tasman. Lol
    Thank you Blue, for staying up to make sure I got home safe. You are truly a great friend! *hugs*

Geocaching:  The outdoor sport or game of searching for hidden objects by using Global Positioning System (GPS) Coordinates posted on the internet.
I’ve known about this for a long time, but always passed it off as a dorky thing to do.  Who the hell wants to go out and find a box of crap, only to sign a log and leave?!  Well, recently I heard about it again and started thinking it might be fun.  I started researching a bit, discovered the rules, and decided that this morning I would take my young son with me and find one.  I registered on Geocache.com and got everything ready.  Did a search within five miles of my area and discovered that there are about 650 caches in that radius. 

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I was amazed!!  So I found one close and decided that before my son and I went rollerblading, we would go find it.  Now, I can’t give anything away about the positioning of the cache in case someone in my area reads this.  That would totally take away the thrill of the search… but I will explain what I can. 
We awoke and prepared for the journey in the earlyish morning light.  My son was excited at the prospect of what we would find.  We were total cache virgins, and didn’t really know what to expect. We grabbed our backpacks, some water, and headed out into the day.  The cache was only about a half a mile away.  I downloaded a program that kind of goes along with geocaching.com and allows me to view the cache on a live time map, radar, or static map.  We chose radar.  It was great!! 

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It was like playing a real life video game.  Following a blip on the radar until we got close enough to find it.  We came upon the area where it was and I shut the radar down.  We kind of knew the area… hell, I had been by it many times in the last few years, never knowing it was there.  There had been a hint within the posting that said, “Walk in and look up.”  We did just that.
Tristan spotted it first.  He was so excited.  A small Tupperware container rested in the area.  We took it out, and sat down to open it.  Here are the internals.

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Tris was way into all the little trinkets, even though I explained that today we would be taking nothing.  If you take something, you must leave something in return.  I was more interested in looking at the logbook.  It turns out that the first signing was 08/05/09.  Almost four years to the day when we found it.  Someone even found it yesterday.  I had seen the log online.  It just blows my mind.  So many people have been here, at different times, and we all have this in common.
So after we took some photos, and put the unit back, we were supposed to go rollerblading.  (I’m in the process of teaching my son how to blade)  But I asked my son, “Hey, there’s another one not far from here.  Wanna go find it?”  He agreed and off we went. 
One of the things I find are that it’s the adventure that’s important.  As we were walking down the street we found this tree.  Tris laughed so hard he almost fell over.

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So we approach the next cache via radar and start looking.  I became super excited because Tris passed the cache and I found it.  The clue had been, “Tree low, sweet chariot.”  We opened it up and found the log, and one tiny little trinket.

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We signed it and replaced and headed off to go rollerblading.  It was a great day, and I’m very happy about the caches.  As I posted on the website when I listed the finds… A lot of times as a divorcee, I feel like a failure as a father.  But the people who place these things give us a chance to bond with, not only humanity… but our children as well.
If I can give you one piece of advice… go geocaching.  It’s great fun, and you can kill a bit of time.
Have a great day everyone.  Luv ya all.

Chapter 1

Tristan lay awake in the upstairs area of his school cafeteria thinking about his father.  They had often joked about the zombie apocalypse, and what they would do if it ever happened.  “If it ever happens, the first thing I’m going to do is come find you.” Tristan remembered his father’s words as he drifted off to sleep.
His dreams were plagued with the walking dead that had suddenly and violently destroyed his world.  It had been a regular school day, and he was on his lunch recess when everything suddenly changed.  Nobody was paying attention to the man who was shambling down the halls.  He moved like he had been drinking heavily, and smelled awful. 
Tristan was playing on the monkey bars with his friend Tony.  The sun was bright, and a slight breeze blew an awful smell across the yard. “Ugh!!! Tony, did you fart?” Tristan asked with a disgusted look on his face.
“I didn’t fart. He who smelt it dealt it Tris.” He responded with a laugh.
“It wasn’t me!” said Tristan as he started looking around the yard.  That was when he saw the man lurching down the hallway.  “Hey, who’s that guy over there?  He looks like my Grandpa when he’s been drinking.”  They had been told what to do if they ever saw anything strange going on, and Tristan started walking up to the yard duty teacher.  “Ms. Sarah, there’s a guy over by the bathroom that doesn’t look like he should be here.” He said as he walked up to her.
Ms. Sarah turned to spot the man Tristan was describing.  A creepy stranger on campus didn’t always mean bad things, but it was better to be safe than sorry.  “Thank you Tris,” she said with a nervous smile, “Stay here and I’ll go figure out what he’s doing here.”
Tristan and Tony watched her approach the man while remaining behind on the playground.  “I have a bad feeling about this guy.”  Tristan said to Tony without ever taking his eyes off of Ms. Sarah and the man. 
“What do you mean bad feeling?  He just looks like some weird guy, who she is going to tell to leave.  Then he’ll go away.  Let’s get back to the monkey bars.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.  Let’s go” Tristan agreed, and they started walking back.  Suddenly screams filled the air and Tristan spun around to see Ms. Sarah in the grasp of the strange man.  He had his hands around her torso, and if it weren’t for the blood dripping down her neck it might have looked like they were making out like teenagers. 
“Tony!!” Tristan yelled, “We need to go get Val, and get out of here! I don’t know what’s going on, but I told you I had a bad feeling.”
“But shouldn’t we wait for our teachers to settle this down?” Tony asked, obviously shaken by what they had just seen. “I mean look… the rest of the yard duty teachers have got the man pinned down.  He’s not going anywhere.”
Tristan looked and saw the man pinned to the ground by four other teachers.  Ms. Sarah wasn’t screaming so loud anymore, and the rest of the kids were either huddled together on the playground, or trying to get closer and see exactly what was happening. “No.  We’re going to go get Val, and get somewhere safe.  I’ve seen way too many zombie movies to say this doesn’t seem like the start of one.  If everything is ok, then we’ll have a good laugh after this… if not… you’ll thank me.”
He didn’t wait to see if Tony was coming with him as he took off running for Val’s classroom.  Val was two years older than Tristan and was still in class.  The younger kids got to have their lunch first, followed by the fourth and fifth graders.
The path to the classroom was taking them right by the wounded Ms. Sarah, and the pile of teachers on the strange man.  As they ran by, Tristan glanced at the man.  His eyes were milky white, and his skin was very pale, except for the blood that had been smeared on his face.  The only other thing Tristan noticed as he ran by was a flap of Ms. Sarah’s skin hanging from the man’s mouth as he continued to try and bite the other teachers.
As he approached the classroom he saw the door was shut.  With all the school shootings and things that had happened in the past years, he knew the door would be locked as well.  Hearing the screams and seeing the blood would have sent the teachers that were in the classes into lockdown mode.  He arrived at the door and immediately started banging on it. “Let me in! Let me in! Please!” Tristan screamed.  He could see the teacher running to unlock the door as Tony slammed into him from behind sending him sprawling to the concrete.  Tristan’s face hit the ground hard, making him see stars.  He could taste blood as he stood up to get into the open door and get it locked again.  Before he could turn back toward the classroom, he saw about 15 more shambling people coming onto the school grounds from the street.  “This is it.” He thought, “Dad and I always joked about this happening.  Now it is.”  Finishing his thought he dashed into the classroom and the teacher slammed the door and locked it.
“What’s going on out there?”  Asked the teacher. She had the phone in her hand, presumably with the police on the other end.
“Some crazy guy bit Ms. Sarah in the neck, and now the other teachers have him pinned down.  It looked pretty bad.”  Stammered Tony, obviously on the verge of tears. 
“Oh no. We’re on lockdown now, so I need you boys to please get under the desks and don’t come out until I tell you its ok.” She said as she went back to relaying the newfound information into the phone.  Police sirens could be heard in the distance as Tristan and Tony made their way over to where Val sat under a desk.
Tristan knew better than to tell an adult about the zombies.  They would never believe him.  But his friends were a different story, “We have to get to a safe place.  I know it sounds crazy, but that guy who bit Ms. Sarah is a zombie.”
“You’re crazy Tris!  Zombies don’t exist.  We need to stay here under our desks until it’s safe to come out.  You can hear the police are already on their way here.” He responded.
“Val, listen to Tris!” Tony interjected, “He knew something was up before the guy even bit her.  Plus remember how he is always going on about all the zombie movies his dad and him watch?  If anyone knows about zombies, it’s him. Besides, if he’s wrong, we’ll still be in a safe place.”
Val thought about it for a moment and said, “Ok.  I don’t think they’re zombies, but you are right about the fact that we’ll be safe if we get somewhere else.  What do you have in mind Tris?”
“I’m not sure.  My dad and I always made plans for places to go if something like this happened.  But I always thought it was just a joke.  I didn’t actually expect to have to figure something like this out.  If only he were here.  He’d know what to do.”  Tristan looked at the ground as he spoke.  He was worried about his friends, his father, and his mom.  But for the moment, he had to push those thoughts out of his head and get somewhere safe.  “I got it!” he half shouted, “Remember when we did that play a couple months ago?  In the cafeteria, there’s a ladder in the back.  I don’t know where it goes, other than up to the second floor, but I do know that it’s the only way up there… and zombies don’t climb.”
More screams came from outside.  They glanced out the window to see the shamblers that Tristan saw while pulling himself up from the ground a few minutes ago.  They were walking down the hallways, and the kids could see there was definitely something wrong with them.  Everyone was in a complete panic.  They were running around and trying to find somewhere to hide.  Tris saw Jessica Parker from the third grade hide in the bushes next to the office.  Unfortunately for her, one of the zombies saw her as well.  As it approached the bush, she reached out to push it away.  It grabbed her by the arm and sank its teeth into her, leaving her screaming in agony as it started chewing.
On the other side of the room, the teacher was still on the phone, looking out of the window in the door, describing the scene to the police.
“Now’s our chance guys” Tris whispered, “We gotta get out the back door while the teacher is distracted.  Just remember… stick together and don’t get near those things.  We can out run them easy. Ready?”  The boys nodded in agreement and Tristan opened the door.
It was a short distance to the cafeteria, and they didn’t see anyone on this side of the school as they ran down the hallway.  The shamblers had moved towards the playground that was filled with plenty of food for them. Tony tripped over an exposed tree root while coming around the corner and hit the ground hard.  He screamed as he tried to get back up, “Wait for me guys! Don’t leave me!”
Tristan and Val ran to help him up.  He was back on his feet and moving again.  They raced around the corner to find the cafeteria doors ajar, and no one inside. “Well, at least we have some good luck.” Said Val nervously.
Tristan spoke quickly and deliberately to his friends, “Before we get up there, grab a backpack off the table, and put some food in it.  We don’t know how long we’ll be here.”
“No problem Tris.  That’s a good idea.” Answered Tony, and they grabbed backpacks.  Tristan shut the door, but this door required a key to lock it.  So they would just have to hope nothing found its way in here. The shelves in the back of the kitchen held juices, crackers, cookies, and cans of food.  They each grabbed some, threw it in the backpacks, and started up the ladder.
Tristan told his friends to go up first as he took one last glance around the room.  “Almost safe” he said to himself as he started climbing the ladder.  Just as he reached the seventh rung he heard a groaning sound.  A hand reached up from underneath him and barely grazed the bottom of his shoe.  He almost lost his grip from the scare, but continued climbing, not looking back.  Looking up he could see the pale faces of Tony and Val looking down with fear. “I’m okay guys, it didn’t get me.” He said as he climbed up the ladder through the trap door at the top.
“It’s not that Tris.” Stuttered Val “I just can’t believe what I just saw.  Look for yourself.”  He said, pointing toward the trap door.
Tristan moved his head over the edge, and saw it standing at the bottom of the ladder, peering up at them with hungry eyes.  He was looking right into the eyes of Ms. Sarah.

Hey everyone. It’s been awhile since I posted. I’ve been going through a lot lately. Just before the lacrosse season ended, I was told that my ex wife was looking for job opportunities in Australia… and my 8 year old son wanted to go. I knew two things in that moment. I could say no, and hold it up in court for 10 years, or I could allow it to happen.
  I ran these options through my head for weeks. I talked with my ex, her parents, (whom i love dearly) and my son. I know it will kill me to be that far away from him, but can I really deny him this opportunity? In the end, the answer is that I cannot deny him. He has an opportunity to see a part of the world that I have always wanted to see. And he has a chance to experience the world.
  They will be gone for two years. Then, after they return, she will be looking for work in Ireland. I have looked into the possibility of moving there to be close to my son (as my older son was actually my stepson, and he is moving far away with his real dad) but, without a degree… Most other countries won’t let you in for more than a visit. On a travel/vacation visit, it is illegal to work or earn money. So I guess that plan is out of the window… for now.
    Then, my best friend, who’s car I have been borrowing, since i can’t afford my own, decided that he needs it back because his other car is broken down. I can’t be too upset… it is his car after all. But now I’m kind of in a lurch. He still drives me to work, but I hop the bus to his house in the mornings. So instead of leaving at seven a.m. I leave at 10 to six. I get to his house, and we ride to work at about 8:30. Then on the way home, he drops me off at a trolly station, and I hop on that and get home.
    So now, I’m facing life without the option to see my kids whenever I want. (A tough thing for a father that is very active in his children’s lives. Hell, the day I broke my leg, I still drove to pick them up for the weekend…. 6 hours after breaking it.)  I have no more vehicle. (Although, if the ladies ask, I got rid of the car to be more green. 😉 lol)
…. I have let this writing sit for about a week now. In that time, I have had a lot of time to think. I had forgotten what it was like to slow down, take a walk, and just appreciate your surroundings. The first thing that happened was, I needed to get somewhere that the buses don’t travel. I thought about how I was going to accomplish this feat. I’ve had a vehicle for so long that I had almost forgotten how to get around without it. I had to go get a money order to pay rent. The closest place for me to do that, is 4 miles away. I had already been up early, taken my son to school on the bus, gone downtown to pay some taxes for my uncle, (totaling about 4 miles walking already) and made it almost home. “How would you have done this as a teen?” I asked myself. I debated going home and grabbing either my rollerblades or skateboard, which have been sitting unused since I broke my leg in 2010. I decided I would just walk. As teens, we used to walk everywhere. Now we jump in our car and go wherever. I was gone from the house most of the day, but in the end, I had walked 12 miles and accomplished everything I had set out to do. I also got to take my time, and actually enjoy seeing my neighborhood at walking speed, rather than whizzing by at 60mph.
  I have had a few other adventures, but this post is long enough already. I plan to start a series called Adventure Time, discussing the adventures I have while navigating this world with no vehicle… Stay tuned. 😉