Irma Aftermath & Civil War

Prologue: Hurricane Irma Diary

Aftermath: Monday (9-11-17) 8:00 AM: Power went out last night around midnight. It started blinking after I last posted around 6:00 PM. By 8:00 PM it should have been mandatory lights out for everyone, except for their refrigerators. Many ran their units full blast, until it all went black. When the eye passed us in Orlando, you could hear the windows creaking from the stress of the gusts. The joints, seams and even the glass itself felt as if it were going to explode. When the gales are blasting at your windowpanes, that’s when you start to consider stuff. My contingency plans included using bookshelf boards, plastic wrap, and duct tape to seal any window breaches. The dishwasher is a waterproof compartment, and if you have to abandon ship, put whatever valuables you need to keep dry in there and close it tight.

After the eye passed I fell asleep quickly, as it’s the best thing you can do– if you weren’t hit. Everyone is exhausted. Morning after is surreal, as there’s vegetative debris everywhere. Everyone is still in shock, while also relieved they made it through. Three little girls dance in the driveway ahead, the youngest has the biggest smile. “Your first hurricane, huh?” I say to her as I pass. Her smile gets even bigger. It breaks my heart to think how many more she will have to endure?

My upstairs neighbors are a small family with a young boy, maybe 12. He’s walking by my porch, happily like everyone else. I casually ask him, “What was it like on the second floor last night?” He shudders and skips past me without speaking. We now both know– it is pretty terrifying. When the power is out in Florida, you mostly sit around & do nothing. My vigil on the from porch remains a constant throughout this crisis. I set up my folding chair, and try to observe what is happening as objectively as possible, while acting humanely when needed. People don’t know what to do here, and they need a leader, so I’m here. There are others elsewhere doing the same, but different.

By perching myself silently yet resolutely day after day, I indicate to everyone that we are now camping. Some people like the outdoors, and others are ill-prepared for it. A strong leader with compassion is needed in this situation. I take out my acoustic guitar and perform two AC/DC songs for the neighbors: “Shoot to Thrill” & “Kicked in the Teeth Again.” There is some (female!) applause after the second number, so I know morale is improved. I think I made a fan too. Time to stop showing off, and get to work.

All the windows and doors have been checked for leaks and there are none. The windows are immediately opened, as a cool & stiff dry breeze is dominating the air. The timing of this storm has worked out nicely in our favor, as this zephyr will continue all day and into the evening. This means we will be able to sleep tonight, even without power. The water stayed on, which is nice. If you have to prioritize, you want running water first, before electricity. You actually need both to be civilized. I have only urinated since Sunday morning. A hurricane has a way of constipating you. I’ve also severely reduced my food & water consumption, but by late afternoon the urine in the toilet is rank, and it’s time to flush. The water treatment facility is located on the other side of the hospital, so that’s probably why we still have water. Many locals are without both right now. I held out flushing over concerns of back flooding, but everyone is walking around normally, so I know the toilets work properly.

As for the electric, there still is none, so I leave my abode for an evening stroll around dusk. The cicadas are back in full harmony, and into the historic downtown I go along Lake Monroe. It took on a lot of water, and can still hold more, so it looks like we’re safe. I estimate our complex could have taken on ~6 more inches of rain, until first-floor flooding would have occurred. Good thing for us Hurricane Jose is tracking north. We still need power, so the maintenance guys can run the pumps to lower the water level in the pond. They’ve been trying futilely with a backup gas generator, and are getting nowhere. I hear lots of cursing around that pump area. They don’t have power in their homes either.

As I walk by & through the historic downtown I am struck by the fact that businesses and elite residents have power. You can hear their A/C units humming. You couldn’t red-line this power outage more precisely if you were a bank. Remarkable. As the sun sets, you can see the lights in their windows. They will sleep well tonight, while we will rough it. Perhaps we will be called into work tomorrow, to serve these people who sleep well. Can you see how working people would resent that? Roughing it now means abandoning your refrigerator. The power went out around 10:00 last night, and you have ~24 hours before spoilage occurs. Since there is no electricity, it’s much harder to work after sunset. All cleaning and reorganizing happens in the day. My freezer is now my refrigerator, as the milk, butter & eggs are sitting on ice blocks.

When you have no electric, you wake & sleep by the sun. You also instinctively flip on switches that now don’t work, over & over. The breeze is cool tonight, and everyone finally settles down by 10:00 PM or so. Lots of people are walking around with flashlights, just like when you’re camping. Except this really isn’t fun, as there’s nothing to do at night without power, except sleep or fuck. It’s too hot for fucking.

In the evening, an Ipod functions as your best low-level ambient light source, as well as tunes to fall asleep to. Captain Beefheart for me tonight. Use an Ipod instead of your cellphone, because you need to conserve charge on the latter. A flashlight just isn’t as effective indoors, as its beam is too focused. Besides, I’m now looking for my flashlight in the dark, as I foolishly didn’t return it to its main station after last use. I find it in less than a minute with no worries using this method. “Electricity” and “When It Blows It Stacks” haunt my dreams.

The Nature of the Beast is a great, lost album by April Wine which takes me back to 1982 like nothing else. It’s the record I took with me (in my mind) through this desert island experience. In this time, I contemplated which one I’d take in reality, and decided it would be Sandinista! by the Clash. Why? Well it’s not because it’s my (or anyone’s) favorite record, although it’s not a bad one either. My favorite song on Sandinista! is “Sound of the Sinners,” which I already know it on guitar, so no worries.

What Sandinista! is, are three slabs of vinyl with a large foldout lyrics sheet. I would insist that it be in the original shrink wrap, so I could better keep it dry & use it as a reflector for signaling ships or aircraft. Three slabs will hold up better than one or two. The other raw materials it contains could also prove useful. Of course, it would be completely unplayable by the second day, due to heat, moisture and warpage; so it’s song contents don’t really matter. It’s not like you have electricity on a desert island anyways, so it actually is a silly question when considered the way most people do.

There are other 3-record sets, but I wouldn’t prefer them so much. All the Motown Greatest Hits sets for their major artists don’t have the extra paper, and fold out awkwardly. Sandinista! is all contained in one extra-thick sleeve, which is better for desert island use. I would also hate to waste the genius of Marvin Gaye or Stevie Wonder. Emerson, Lake & Palmer made a few 3-record sets too, but let me make it clear that I wouldn’t be caught dead on a desert island with an ELP record.

Tuesday 7:20 AM: I’ve set out fresh catnip in a better location. The original clump actually survived Irma, as part of it was encrusted to the concrete & brick foundation. I rubbed it away in the Monday morning breeze, as water damage became the new enemy. My first catnip pile was in front of a line of ants, I noticed. These ants are now making a line towards the stairwell, as I have a stinking suspicion they’ve found a bonanza somewhere on the second floor. The fresh catnip is placed in front of my doorstop, with no bugs. It is also a little more hidden from view. I’m thinking I failed somewhere in presentation the first time. I’m also thinking that it’s a neighbor’s cat, as the fur looks too good to be a stray after a hurricane. I’m still certain it’s a she.

A wasp is buzzing around me while I sit in my outdoor chair. Everybody is active again, looking for food, and some a new home. The wasp circles then dive bombs me. I ward it off with the back of my wrist. Its nose bounces off and it flies away in another direction. People are moving in and out, depending on where they were last night. Another wasp has a pupa in its jaws as it lands on the concrete. It begins stinging at the helpless prey, when suddenly a gecko lizard jumps out and meets the wasp nose on. The wasp surrenders the meal and flies away. The gecko devours the pupa in front of me. A minute later, the upstairs boy bounds down the stairwell, and steps on top of the lizard. Just as it’s about to be crushed, the gecko scampers away into the foliage. The boy doesn’t even notice, as life goes on… A flutterby glides past my porch, another sign the storm has passed. Lot’s of weird psychology goes on when you’re without power. You just sit still and contemplate everything. It’s too hot to move or even get excited about anything. Irritability starts to go up by the second day of no electricity.

I walked down to City Hall earlier to see what’s up? Paper signs taped to their doors read: CITY HALL CLOSED TODAY. The parking lot is filled with service pickups & fancy vehicles, when it was empty last night. Sand bags have now been removed inside and out, so I know there are people in there. I wonder what they are talking about? Time to try the service entrance, as I walk around back and confront a city official attempting to slip out unnoticed. He hears my thoughts on the lack of urgency in the power resumption for certain residences. My tag-line on Facebook is:  I’m not here to be popular, I’m here to kick ass, That applies here.

Now I’m back at my porch post with my Ipod, listening to Magnified and thinking, “This is a much better album than I’ve been telling myself. It’s not perfect, as it lacks low end in the production, but the songs are strong and the beats work.” This album should be listened to as a singer-songwriter making an electronica record. You don’t get that combo very often (ever?), and that’s what makes it sound like nothing else. Jay Stanley was the colleague I worked with on it, and it was a blast to make. That’s when I started “Talented,” and the rest. That’s also when my wife told me, “Honey, we’re getting divorced.”

Long story short: Eventually I divorced my practice & Mount Dora too, and here I am. Believe it or not, I am happy to be sticking it out here with my working brother & sisters in the Sanford humidity. When “9/11” comes up, I am reminded that I wrote this song 16 years ago today, and still feel the same way. I do listen to my own music occasionally, although not as much as I used to. I do it because I like the songs & they make me happy. I had the brains & guts to do it, when most people don’t. I also do it to remind myself of what people are hearing, as you tend to forget the past and move on when you are an artist. The music still holds up, and that’s all that matters to me. Gotta get this to CD, with some promotion & distribution…

3:30 PM: WastePro is here to empty the dumpsters, as I hear the beep-beep-beep of the service truck backing-up. I took my first trash bag out this morning, filled with food waste dating back to early last week. It stayed in the refrigerator as long as it could, but was about to go ripe. Looks like I made the right call there too. If I still had garbage, I’d be quickly running out to toss it so the pros can take it away. As I said before food waste should be composted, but isn’t. There also isn’t much recycling going on around here, which really tells you how little people actually care. My fridge is now cleaned out, with the door open.

Garbage pickup usually come on Monday or today, so this is a REALLY good sign. The dumpsters are getting full, and you can smell the rancid food, as there’s been quite a bit of spoilage already. Lots of flies too. The truck & its service is operated entirely by one man, who has to constantly get in & out of his truck to open the gates and move the bins into position for his forklift. He services two dumpsters in my proximity and then moves on down the drive. It’s dead calm in the afternoon heat. It’s over 87 degree inside, and it’s really starting to suck outside too. I’m sitting in my folding chair with my sunglasses on, in my Go Daddy Danica tank-top & shorts, which is stripped down to boxers when I go inside.

All of a sudden: Pop!-Pop!-Pop!, and air-handler units turn on everywhere. I immediately begin to clap loudly in steady rhythm, as the neighbors start to let out cheers of joy in realization. We have power! Any more contingency plans you have been making for it getting worse, now disappear. Windows slam shut and everyone’s A/C is running, except mine. I never run the A/C during the day, and am too busy typing to care. By 6:00 PM I am done, but still have no Internet, so I can’t post. I finally turn on the A/C and reorganize my clean refrigerator back normal. I have enough food to get by for a few more days. I also have to work tomorrow, so it’s good to know I’ll be able to bring home fresh provisions and sleep in comfort.

In the end it’s not just about survival, it’s about how you survived. Did you do it well, or badly? Were you considerate & helpful, or thoughtless & wasteful? Looking on the bright side is good for morale, but looking on ALL sides is better– for analysis & future planning. To be a leader you have to see what’s coming and be ready for all contingencies. You have to be tougher on yourself than anybody else, holding yourself to a higher standard of conduct. You are the first to jump in & help, and the last to reward yourself. Leaders live & act in this manner everyday, knowing that any day could turn into what I’ve chronicled.


Wednesday, 9-13-17 Late Evening: Went to work today in Lake Mary. Your family are those you live with, and your friends are those you work with. The people I live & work with always share these values. The roads were clear and everything moved along well enough– for Orlando. Fire trucks & ambulances are still out, and running their sirens at will. Choppers are flying overhead constantly. This entire situation feels like a military drill, a dress rehearsal for a lockdown. Everything seems like it is being manipulated, but I need more verification.

My first question for every staff member & patient is, “How is your living situation?” You go from there, as it’s all over the board. Some have everything, including Internet; others have no power, with some having no water either. Everything is consistent along class lines. One patient was in between on his water situation. He had it, but with little pressure. He’s been told by the city they are on a backup reservoir system, and it’s half gone. When it goes, he may get sewage backup he’s been informed. That will change anyone’s priorities, and it doesn’t help with constipation either. Final memo on that is I’m finally back to regular today. You need electricity, so you can relax and be comfortable.

Everyone is looking for someone who actually listens, and shows inclination to act in their interests. I’m a dentist, and this is what we do: you have a problem, we fix it. Unfortunately it’s a business too, but I don’t make those rules– I’m just a humble dentist. It’s mostly exams, a few fillings, and a bite adjustment or two as far as the technical stuff, which is a light day at this office. What makes you a doctor on days like these is leadership. Conversely, being a leader is what makes you a real doctor.

Showing compassion for others, and speaking & acting in their interest, goes a long way with people. We don’t have a huge profit day like others in the area, but we still rock it, and my boss is very happy. At this point, no one is ready for a root canal or crown preparation appointment– even if they’re in pain. They’re in shock and looking for the right people to help them, and here we are. They’re especially looking today, because they know they can’t trust those they’ve elected to give them honest answers. This is the first day that Orlando is actually getting back to work after the mother of all hurricanes just missed us.

The restaurants are packed, as the kitchens, servers & bus boys turn things over quickly at our favorite lunch place. Same deal with them as far as their living situation is going; for some it’s good, and for others it sucks. I ask everybody I can about it. It’s not hard to tell which is which, if you just look. My boss is a good friend, and we always laugh & joke together. He doesn’t really need me today, as there are only a few patients to be seen and he’s more than capable, yet he keeps saying how glad he is I’m here today.

He’s a leader too, but of a different kind. He’s one of those doctors that always prefers to have a partner, and right now his working colleague is stranded in Germany, his vacation extended by Hurricane Irma. This vacation refugee is the president of the Dental Society of Greater Orlando, and somewhat of a workaholic, so it’s sorta good that he can’t come back yet. He keeps posting 15-20 pictures of historical buildings & ancient architecture in newly-created photo albums on Facebook, blowing up the staff’s news feeds. I ‘like’ just enough of them to keep him encouraged, and going for more. Enjoy it, you may never get back. This is how we are with each other.

The grocery stores are doing great business too, as they sold themselves out with the help of the media hyping everyone before the storm– STOCK UP ON EVERYTHING!! Now people are purchasing fresh produce, while replacing the dairy and meat (expensive) that spoiled in so many refrigerators & freezers. “It’s a pleasure to serve you!” says Publix, Winn Dixie and the rest. Yeah, I’ll bet. Fast food has been killing it for a week now. You could make serious money trading stocks & bonds on tips like these. You just gotta know the right people.

In the afternoon, I’m definitively told that I don’t come in tomorrow. One-day work week– nice! You need to be flexible towards others’ needs (particularly your employer), when you’re the fill-in doctor. I was originally scheduled to work only on Monday this week. That was before Irma even existed. When the storm tracking finally became apparent, any doctor on a planned vacation is now waiting at least one week to get back to Florida, and this is into an area that had very little storm damage. That means I’m still on call. I hope he gets back soon, as I know he’s ready to work again. He has patients whom are requesting to see only him.

Since the doctor on vacation here is the DSGO president (and a Marquette alumnus), he recognizes he’s being held hostage, by greedy airlines gouging desperate passengers. The reason he’s not too desperate to get back is because I’m here. He’s playing it really well by staying away from all this madness, until the panic ceases. He’s a retired Navy officer too, so he understands leadership & crises situations. It’s good to be working with people like this, and it’s just another weird real-life Hurricane Irma story that sheds light as to the global dimensions of what’s happening.

After work, I go to Publix and stock up on perishable provisions again. I eat vegan (mostly) at home, and all this insanity is the reason. It’s nice to fill your refrigerator with the food you like, and have the confidence it will stay cold. I didn’t have that last week, so I didn’t shop here then. I baked up my last frozen pizza on Thursday, and ate it all that night. It tasted so good knowing the results I was going to have to face if I didn’t indulge. I often feel the only reason I stay ahead of the curve is because I’m so smart. How smart do you have to be to win at a rigged game you’re forced to play?

I don’t know anybody important, and that’s my problem. Let me illustrate. I had a phone conversation earlier this evening with my best friend, and one of my many business partners, Tom. TomP has put me online, hooked me up with the best hardware, handled all my computer issues, played drums as needed, and produced my music. He built this site which was launched in 2012. We talk to each other a lot. Anyways, this conversation eventually turned to music & business as always, and I’m expressing my frustrations over being blacklisted– for real. He’s not 100% sure on this, as he doesn’t read the site regularly (I don’t expect him too) and he keeps his political convictions his own, but I need him to understand this as it’s affecting business. He finally asks me, “Have you ever tried to make contact with someone in the industry?”

My response to him was this summary. In January 2016, it was time for me to get a job again and make some money. We had finally released Electrified! (the album), after putting the rough cut of the film online months earlier. We then recorded Hwy 19 & Main St. along with Fully Covered. That is a creative peak I may never match, and (of course) it didn’t pay me anything. It never has. I still had alimony to pay, along with a significant tax bill due by April, with not much left in reserve. I had already made a vow to never go back to corporate dental, so I’m looking for the best office that is run by an actual dentist, where I can make some money without having to commit malpractice. I have been dreading this search process over the holidays, but I know it’s finally time to get busy and find a winner. As it turned out, I picked it on my first ad response on Craigslist, and I knew it from the start.

Many dentists try to build their own corporate empires, by buying up dead offices on the cheap. They gut & renovate, then bring in a doctor to make money for them. I know what I’m getting into, and am ready for the challenge. It’s still corporate, but it’s not corporate corporate, if you know what I mean. It quickly turns into a phone call with the owner dentist, then an interview is set up for a few days. I know this is going to work, so I’m excited right away. I now don’t have to drive all over, or waste time online trying to find a decent office that needs good help. That’s what I was expecting to happen. The point is I’m on a roll, so it’s time to try a long-shot on the music side. I feel lucky.

All the best entertainment lawyers are in NY or LA. The biggest wheel in the music industry is Don Passman, who wrote Everything You Need to Know about the Music Business. I read & re-read it on my Kindle, while I was still married. Early on in his book he mentions something to the effect of, “you need an angle or someone you know to get you in the door…” I’m thinking about this as I do an Internet search to find the firm he’s at in LA.

If you try this yourself, you’ll find he’s not listed, so you have to know what you are looking for. Don Passman is one of those people who is powerful, as he knows all the famous rockstars and celebrities (and they know him), but is relatively unknown to the average music fan– who is working class. He is one of the Black Hands of the entertainment industry. Don Passman is the one who negotiates the deals to put your songs on the radio, and in films & television– and I’m cold calling him. His clients include Green Day, Aerosmith, & REM– I assume you’ve heard of them.

A young female secretary answers, and I ask if I may speak to one of their attorneys concerning artist representation? She sends me to voice mail. I expected this, so I leave this message: “My name is Eric Meeker. I am also the artist known as Ric Size. I’m looking for legal representation & industry clout. Michael Stipe told me to call this number. This is my contact info…”  I don’t mention Don Passman by name, and will be surprised if even one of his associates returns my call. It’s a well-conceived & executed attempt to get straight to the top, and that’s all I can do. It took only a total of ~15 minutes. I’m pleased with myself, but quickly move on, as I can’t count on being that fortunate. I have to get to work.

A few days later, I’m home late in the morning and I see my cell phone vibrating with an LA area code– in fact it says ‘Beverly Hills’ on the info and I know who it is. I quickly pick up the phone and answer, “Hello.” A twenty-something named Kim, with a voice that just lets you know she’s a bombshell replies, “Do you have time to take a call from Don Passman?” I say to myself, “IT WORKED,” then collect myself and respond calmly, “Yes.” I’m hoping Kim still thinks I’m cool as she puts me on hold.

Twenty seconds or so later, it’s Don Passman on the other end. I’ve got X number of minutes [?] to make my pitch, as this is the Godfather and he is busy. I start in, explaining how I’ve got a clear head for business as well as being an artistic prodigy. He listens & listens some more, then asks the right questions and listens some more. Finally he asks me, “So where are you going to find the money?” I shoot back without a beat, “That’s why I called you.” I can hear him nodding on the other end, as he pauses & chuckles a bit before he goes into, “Well we’re a small firm, very exclusive, yada, yada, yada …” I understand all this, and respect him for his time (2 minutes), as it’s clear he’s ending this interview. Just him returning my call is a sign of respect, and that’s the best I can do here.

Just before we hang up he asks, “By the way, how do you know Michael Stipe?” Damn, he asked. I explain to him how I had read his book– meaning in-between-the-lines, and that Michael Stipe told me to call in a dream I had. He laughs at that yarn, and that’s it. He’s done with me. I tell myself I tried, and have nothing to feel badly about. A few hours later, Kim has left a voice message while I was out, with the names & numbers of three lawyers in NY/LA. All of them later prove to be deadbeats, but I can hear it in her voice that she is impressed that I squeezed that much out of her boss. I’m guessing 25, and you know she’s perfect. Makes you wonder why you’re blacklisted?

That is not just a cool story, but a valuable lesson. I went to the top of the food chain and was refused, so I know. This is why I don’t try to schmooze with sleazy music industry middlemen & gangster club owners who all demand their bloated asses be kissed & sweaty palms greased. That’s how it goes when you’re working class.

I went for a walk after I got home from work. Evening is the best time to go out, as the daytime is now too hot with global warming. You always (365) need a hat & sunglasses if out after 10:AM through 5:00 PM or so– unless there a hurricane going on. I’ve lived in central Florida since August 1994, and have witnessed a noticeable change in the weather, particularly the heat index which goes higher & higher every year. Also the consistency of rain now cycles back-and-forth between dry spells with intense heat producing wildfires, and severe tropical storms which produce hurricanes & flooding. We hardly ever have “normal” weather seasons anymore.

Tonight it’s nice. I slip across a dangerous pedestrian highway (46), and into the poor neighborhood directly on the other side. It’s got a bus stop, where the buses don’t always stop. Or even come. Orlando has notoriously one of the worst metro mass transit systems in the US. The bus company is called Lynx, and just search engine them and read their customer reviews. Most ratings are 1-star (out of five), with some very eye-opening comments you don’t find in the official newspapers, or see on TV. I rode it once, back from MCO years ago when I lived in Altamonte Springs. It was there waiting, and cheaper than a cab. It was a decent ride– no regrets. The problem is if you need it to be on time for work or whatever else. There you are SOL. When you don’t put any money into a good idea, it fails. The question is: what do you flush, the good idea or the problem?

This working class neighborhood adjacent to my apartment complex had no power yesterday. I didn’t have to ask, I just looked. Open windows and long faces on every porch. All races, mostly working poor. Today, I hear music from the first house I encounter, with a group of men playing cards outside. They’re always playing cards (or dominoes) outside, so I don’t know for sure if the have power or not. They seem happy, but I still ask and they tell me they’re good. Thumb’s up to them, and I move on. Two black women at the door look on with great interest. At first they pretended they didn’t even notice me. Then as I pass by they shout to their men to tell them what I asked? The men don’t care to answer, and a ruckus starts…

I’m relieved, because I now know it’s going to be a much easier walk through this ghetto with everyone having electricity. Yesterday, I had to keep my head down and book it, even though I didn’t have power yet myself. The point is I look like someone who does, and no one likes that rich asshole lingering to marvel at another’s suffering, and then carelessly moves along. This scum does exist, and karma finds a way of making sure that it eventually gets payback in the hood. If the assailant(s) have a gun (and they always do now), show them your cash and hand it to them slowly, or toss it in the opposite direction from where you’re going. That’s usually all they want, but if they want anything else you’re carrying that’s valuable, also give it to them when they demand it. None of it is worth getting shot or stabbed over, and you don’t know their exact emotional state, but you know they are unstable. Don’t carry your wallet in these neighborhoods, as it’s too tempting to too many who have too little and have become too desperate from too much inequality for too long. They will take their frustrations out on you, only because you are there & unaware, and they will inflict the all pain they feel & more. We must learn respect everything everywhere, or else we become screaming targets & animals.

With power going, the residents have been energized. Tree limbs and other debris are almost completely cleaned up, and awaiting municipal disposal service. We’ll see how long that takes. The neighborhood actually looks more like a neighborhood than I’ve ever seen since I arrived in town a few months ago. It just shows you how a little civilization goes a long way, and it also shows how people feel about cleaning up without power. For the most part, they ain’t doing it. Can’t blame them, really.

The homeless people have feelings on all this too and they haven’t disappeared either, although it was obviously an objective in this planned police/city government drill. They are sleeping on park benches or wherever they can, while the cops are staked out elsewhere. There’s less & less police patrolling, and I get a sense that even the fuzz have gotten tired of this charade, which is being noticed & commented upon by people like me everywhere. The homeless have to keep moving for now, as do those with uncertain immigration status– which is about 15-20% of Florida’s population. There’s huge immigration migration here to harvest produce, work on the muck farms, mushroom factories, construction, and basically any other job that no one else wants to do, and for much less wages. These are the hardest workers, and they are being treated like criminals because the entire economy is beyond repair due to elite looting. Any “suspicious” foreigners are being stressed to their limits, just like everyone else who qualifies for being a mouse in this bottle.

I make it to my local watering hole, which I really enjoy. When people are stressed, they go to their favorite bar for drink & therapy. Lot’s of people telling their stories here, and they do it willingly and for free. Most of the working help still has no power, with most having water by now. Internet only for the elite, who barely lost power during the storm. All kinds at the bar. The kitchen worker describes his current existence as caveman quality. The barkeep serving my brew stayed in a hotel last night, just so he could work with a clear head. He didn’t get gouged too badly on his room, especially considering he decided last-minute. I leave him a healthy tip after one beer.

My way home from historic downtown Sanford in the evening is into the sunset. On my way tonight I see the three Spectrum trucks parked around the only downed power line in the entire Sanford downtown area. It’s on Commercial St. between 1st & 2nd, in front of the Seminole County Sheriff’s sub-station.  It used to be a small bank, but those don’t exist anymore. The public library is at the end of the block, and this restricts it’s access as it’s a live wire. The line has been hot the entire time, as I first (almost) ran into it when coming into town on Monday, the evening after the storm passed. It was hanging about five feet in mid air, with no warning that it was hot, except that one could hear & feel the electricity flowing through it. I limboed underneath it the first time.

The second time I passed it was yesterday, and it sounded much louder with the electricity being more intense. It made the hair on my arm stand up this time. Today is the third time I’m passing this scene. The street has been closed due to this in both directions for the entire block, with orange barricades & sandbags precisely placed ever since Irma passed. Yesterday I thought it was odd that this dangerous line hadn’t been attended to by a linesmen crew. Particularly since service trucks meandered aimlessly through the wealthy sections of town all day yesterday.


Hypothetical service calls from hysterical blue-haired ladies in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Operator: Yes, ma’am… You have a light bulb that needs replacing and you can’t reach it? No worries we’ll have a service truck and full team over there immediately. We apologize for any inconvenience.

... and then their discussions at canasta or bridge the following week…

Blue-haired ladies: I don’t know why people are complaining so much about the power & water service? They were always friendly and came right away. I didn’t have a single problem. Everyone else I know says the same thing.


The three utility trucks I noticed on my way in, are still here. Since the sun is going down, they have to be finishing up. As I approach, I am watching a winch on the main truck pulling the power line into its proper position. It looks more like a flag-raising ceremony, than an actual repair job. Time to investigate. I’m coming up on them fast, as I’m a pedestrian and they can’t close off the sidewalks too. I’m past the barricades and into the street almost under the suspended wire. “Woo-hoo!” I shout. “Are we going to have Internet soon?” I ask out loud. There is no celebration in the faces of the crew, so I’m now searching for the liar in charge. He shows himself in seconds, by roughly calling out his crew to gather around their trucks– out of my sight. I stop at the corner and sit down in front of the sheriff’s station to see how this plays out.

No worries about the police inside. This building was heavily sandbagged before the storm and was the last to have them removed. In fact, they were still in place as recently as yesterday. City Hall and the courthouse removed their’s yesterday, while they held their secret meetings. That tells me this sub-station is an important location, but not anything they have to maintain an on site police presence for. Most people walking by don’t see any of this, as they mostly spend their time looking for sex. I like getting laid too, but it’s not happening right now, because it’s more important I understand that this is the main hub for Internet in the Sanford area, as Spectrum services this area exclusively. That means any direct rigging of their service can happen from here, and this is how they do it. There may be those complaining as they read this that I’m jeopardizing “national security,” or disclosing classified military secrets. My reply for them is to take a lesson from Ric Size on camouflaging false flag operations before accusing me of treason.

The dickweed with authority finally answers my question on public Internet availability, out loud so I can hear. “We’ll need to make assessments for the next few days…” His rag-tag crew seems less than overjoyed at this news, which tells you something. I stand up & reply out loud to no one in particular, “We’ll be making our own assessments too…” This breaks up the “meeting,” and two service trucks soon leave by driving past the barriers with left tires straddling the curb, and then out onto the street using the handicapped spillway. It’s a perfectly executed maneuver, with minimal tire damage from either vehicle. Erwin Rommel would have been impressed.

The main truck is driven by the fascist lieutenant in charge. He knows what he’s doing as he’s hauling a trailer filled with cable he’s not using. He has to use the adjacent parking lot they’ve commandeered for this delicate operation, just to get turned in the right direction. The sandbags and barricades are no longer needed, as everything that wasn’t broken has been fixed. The driver orders his workmate riding shotgun to go out and remove all the bags & barricades, while he sits and watches. I’m scanning this emaciated figure as he starts toward the other end of the street. He moves all the obstacles up to the stop sign, at the edge of the street on my side.

It’s now a Mexican stand-off, out of a Serge Leone spaghetti western. The fascist in the truck, his working dog, and me. The fascist is grinning in satisfaction at his use of power, and how easily he can exercise it in front of others. I already know what I must do. I knew it as soon as this poor creature began slogging towards those barriers. I must get off my ass, and go out onto the street and move two sandbags and a barrier to where he would put them. It’s called helping. The sandbags are 50+ pounds each, so I do them one at a time, since this is mostly a display of character versus physical strength. The barrier is next and a bit trickier, as it comes apart if lifted incorrectly. That happens, but I fix it on the spot, which actually impresses them both even more. The beaten dog arrives at my scene as my barrier is correctly placed at the edge of the curb next to the sandbags. He’s looking at me with a smile, that shows all his top teeth decayed to the gum line. I surmise he has no power at home, and possibly no water too. I look him squarely in the eye and say, “Have a good one,” then head out with a smile. Two steps away I hear him softly to me, “You too.”

Thursday 9-14-17,

8:00 AM: I’m polishing and adding where I need to. I could write much more. The Internet still isn’t connected here, so I know very few people outside this area know the truth about what’s going on. Who will tell them?

Power comes in all forms, and what makes it truly magical and “powerful” is knowing how to use it wisely. Those who wield it poorly, are corrupted and consumed by it. Wielding it intelligently & compassionately can move mountains. The Man can keep me off-line for a few more hours, days, weeks, or whatever, but it can’t hold back the truth forever. The world is too interconnected, and too many people are genuinely interested in how this story ends. The last the world heard from most of us in Florida was Sunday evening, just as everything was about to be shut down, then locked down. Electricity returning on Tuesday afternoon was a huge triumph at the time for us, but it came with an asterisk– no Internet. That means you can be comfortable and sleep okay, you just can’t tell anyone what’s happened until the Black Hand says so. It won’t be “assessed” in our favor until they’ve moved on with a different narrative somewhere else, and people have grown tired looking at this one. The point of all this writing is that no one should be forgotten, and that’s exactly why it’s censored.

I follow a few celebrities on social media, and a few of my female favorites are releasing (or soon releasing) biographies of themselves. Why don’t they contact me to be their writer? Oh, yeah– I’m blacklisted. I see this hype on my Iphone, which is a primitive computer, as that’s all I’ve got right now for going online. I have long since been able to make any Ric Size updates on it, as those Iphone privileges were revoked for me years ago. Watching the flatscreen at the bar last evening I commented to those working there, that without electric at home, none of these spectacles can occur. Modern technology allows incredible athletic achievement, but it’s only of interest to people if they are living in enough comfort to enjoy & appreciate it.

When the power is out, I don’t care about the Padres, Danica, Sharapova, or anything else in the sports & celebrity world. I write about these particular subjects because they are stories that other writers miss or avoid, and it gets me traction. I also do it to reveal hypocrisies in sacred institutions, analyzing everything through a Marxist prism. No one else does it like me, and that’s why I have fans. If I sucked, no one would be censoring me. As I type this, I observe my computer screen keeps jumping around crazily, every time I try to connect to the Internet. I know everything I type into my word processor is being instantly transmitted to Langley, the Pentagon, NSA, Five Eyes, and the rest of the intelligence community for their immediate analysis. Why don’t my fans and other concerned people get to read my analysis is real time too?

No one can enjoy a movie or ballgame without electricity. The working people who labor to make all these circuses possible, need to recognize more of what they actually are, while they are sitting in the heat. They are the only ones who produce anything of lasting value. I am proudly part of this exploited working class, that seeks to topple this house of cards and re-prioritize man’s resources for the benefit of all. This is in contrast to the current capitalist setup, that self-selects the sickest & richest few, whom are actually the worst forms of “leaders.” We must stop obeying their misanthropic orders, and halt this destruction we are inflicting upon ourselves as a species. That is what is means to be a revolutionary socialist, which is actually the most courageous form of leader.

!:00 PM: I’m just back home from maneuvers on the Internet front. Yellow tape still hangs off the Internet cable that was hoisted 10-15 feet back up into it’s original position. Remember, this took over two hours to do last evening, but they got it done before the sun went down, and it’s fixed. It was never broken, but the point is it’s now fixed, I saw it last night. I tell everyone in the library as much as I’m too loudly inquiring about Internet service at the Information desk. “SSHHHHHH” is glared back at me from the ladies behind the desk. Not a chance, bitches. I should be more quiet, but the patrons online seem to be so interested in what I’m saying.

Every public inquiry is first met with red tape and then hostility, by all those mixed- up in this charade they’re selling us. Many are simply doing as they’re told out of paranoia & fear for their jobs. That’s the case at the library. The court house is even worse (no surprise), as the female security rent-a cop working the metal detector at the inside entrance is in my face with questions and “No’s” from the start. I finally ask her if this is the place to talk to someone about Internet service? Is there a sympathetic judge or public defender available for a public grievance hearing? I know there isn’t, but I’m testing her intelligence, and it’s limited. She spits a few more “No’s” at me with increasing hostility, as I refuse to pass through her metal detector. I’m the fly walking up to the web of the black widow to taunt her. She’s not getting her prey, and is about done with all this, when I change to a softer tone of voice and ask if I may ask her a personal question, or is it not okay?

She doesn’t quite know how to respond at first, but then acquiesces– conditionally. I then inquire if she has Internet service at her home? She says, “No.” One more question, “Do you have water & electricity?” She says, “Yes.” That’s the best I’m getting with this Whoopie Goldberg-wannabe security clown. I thank her & leave on that. I’ll compare myself in manner here to Lt. Colombo, as I always have one more question that’s been bothering me… I scratch my head and sometimes dramatically throw my hands up, as it just doesn’t make sense, and then look cross-eyed at her. I do know that these people are always very helpful in getting me to the bottom of all this, and I couldn’t do it without them.

On to City Hall, where law & justice are always fair, if you can get to them. Not as easy as you might think. They’re open today, and I’m not working. The hurricane was gone by Monday morning, and it’s now Thursday afternoon. I’ve been coming by here everyday, and I still don’t see anybody working. This feels like too much work, just to get in the door. I’m now actually inside the building, wandering around like a buffoon character Fletch would mimic. Yes, I’m Dr. Rosenpenis…. looking for the Internet service department… It’s nowhere to be found. .. Why is that, do you know…?

I’m finally met by a city employee, a skinny plain-ish thirty-something, who really likes what she sees. That’s what I need. She leads me to the obese blue-haired bitch behind the security glass, who gives me nothing but “Call Spectrum” flak, and the run around. She’s obviously one of the main secretaries to the big cheese, and not the one he fucks. Her job is to say “Fuck you” to anyone looking for help from City Hall concerning their utilities for which we pay monthly. She is good at her job, but has no idea what she’s up against. I’m going to make this fat bitch sweat, and fast. I start leaning into her about the manipulation along class lines going on everywhere, that is too obvious to ignore.

Her BP is now 200+, but this conversation is going nowhere.  City Hall will not act in the interests of its citizens against corporate behemoth Spectrum. She acts like she doesn’t know what I’m talking about, to which I inform her that she’s part of the problem too, and leave. Busted down to her panties, and rolling in perspiration from her larded folds underneath her blouse & down her slacks. I’ll bet it smells really nasty too. Fat bitches are the worst for me, as they hate me because they know I’ll never return their affections. Not my fault, but I’m hated for it anyways. That’s how it goes when payback comes due.

Yet another fag tries to surprise me from behind, as he briskly walks past me with a fetching smile and the rest of this warmed-over bullshit. I’m just stopping & looking straight through these phonies at this point. It doesn’t matter if it’s a creeper trying to make me, or fire trucks that are finally waving (instead of blaring the sirens and horns) at us, and expect to see a heroes’ salute from an adoring public. Where would we be without them? They are starting to recognize this contempt more broadly, as regular people are seeing this. Poor black folks aren’t fooled one bit by any of this. I explain this stuff to them and they get it right away. “What did you expect?” is their response to me.

It’s a shit show until the end. I’m optimistic the end is near as far as this campaign goes. I saw a few beer trucks pulling up to the bars earlier, and most experienced partiers know the weekend starts on Thursday evening. If there’s no Internet for everybody by tomorrow, that could dull the party scene and nobody wants that. Book it, if you can get a ticket and find a bookie that won’t welsh.

These puppet-masters have no lives, and rely on the contact of others whom they control in this sick game. This is apparently how you live, when you sell you soul. The best pussy is working class, as the nasty blue-haired ladies don’t even register on the excitement meter for many married men. The wife is the ball-and-chain that lets you cheat on her, as long as she’s taken care of and it’s kept quiet. A woman’s reputation is everything, you know.  All this points towards beer & Internet for all– tonight, or tomorrow at the latest. The rich assholes need to be able vulture as much desperate prey as possible. There’s plenty out there now, didn’t you hear, as a hurricane just came through. If I had let myself become an asshole, I would have been a legendary pimp.

The fag is moving back in my direction, and starting to close in again. Evasive action needed now. Suddenly I feel a stone in my sandal, a big one. Perfect timing, as I stop and pull off the path onto a giant boulder. I diligently sit and unstrap by leather
clog. A good-sized rock falls out as just as he passes by, showing him he’ll never get closer than this. Ever. Not with that crap. It feels good to confront these liars face-to-face, in a silent way.

I’ve got to go down to the leasing office and pow-wow with woman who helped me get the power back on line for us on Tuesday. It wasn’t too long after we had that loud outdoor discussion, that the power came back on. She knows it too, and fist bumped me when I stopped in a few hours ago. I said to her and the other young ladies working there to call those motherfuckers at Spectrum, and harangue them to get us back online today.

I tell them I’m Ric Size, and I have vital information that must get out. The survival of humanity depends on this brilliant work of art finding the public, but no pressure. They’re laughing and loving the show I give them. Waves and kisses to all of them as I walk out. I’m a performer and I know that’s the best I can do at that time. Now it’s time to reappear and see if any of this is working. I am the stick, kicking ass downtown & everywhere else. She is the carrot who knows how to cajole & sweet talk on the phones. You need both to win in this war. I’m optimistic, except for that we’re up against motherfuckers.

7:00 PM: I had to make the end run I didn’t want to make, and drove out to Tavares to see Tom for an upload on a secure server. Still no Internet in most of Sanford. It’s the only way I’m going to get this journal online in time for it to be useful to anyone looking for news on what’s going on. I waited as long as possible, but it’s clear the longer you wait for mercy, the less they show. Now the truth of what’s going on can be known outside Florida. There are still too many suffering without power & water.

Epilogue Friday 9-15-17 10:30 AM: I crashed after my cloak & dagger job last evening. My biggest concern driving out there was getting into a fender-bender with someone on the road. I’m carrying a flashdrive with a story that is being viciously censored by the Black Hand. If someone dings me and the cops notice, I’m screwed because this is a lockdown situation and I’ve already been fingered. This is why I have to drive a hour to securely post an article on my own website. I’m an easy rider in the car by nature, and that works best for avoiding the cops.

It was a few minutes of copy & paste, then final paragraph and media links, before it’s online to the world. Tom cooked a great dinner with a splendid cup of tea. His kids are awesome too. The youngest is in second grade, and she wants to play. She’s leading me outside to a play fort she built with a neighbor friend, down the street after the storm. As we walk out, I remark to her, “You know, we used to go outside all the time, before Internet… what would you do if you didn’t have Internet?”  In an instant she replies, “I would DIE.”  Second grade.

His ex-wife is staying there also, because she has no power at her place. I’m most comfortable with my own computer, as I can work lightning fast, and I know how to do everything I need on it. I’m sure I amaze more-than-a-few NSA & other intelligence hacks when they are watching me work. Tom treats me better, as he set me up with a Mac wireless keyboard– nice. I didn’t have the energy to do my usual editing, and I finally tell myself, “this is good enough.” I haven’t slept in a day-and-a-half, because I know what’s at stake. Publish. The drive home featured an intense rainstorm with impressive lightning flashing up the sky everywhere. “There’s some light for those without power,” I think to myself ironically. “And some more water for people who don’t need it…”

I try the Internet again at 8:30 this morning. and no connection. Time to wash up and visit the management office. I walk in around 10:00, and ask to see my working partner. She’s out on the property, may I help you? I sit down in a chair and say, “Internet.” She gets the main manager, whom I’ve never met. We introduce, and she bursts out, “We have Internet here, since late last night. Thank God!” I look up at her and give a deadpan reply, “It wasn’t God.” Anyways, I am pleased with this outcome, and we all celebrate. I’m looking forward to running into my working partner again, to discuss what’s happened.

I get back to my modest apartment, and unplug my modem & router for 10 seconds, then plug back in. The computer comes on as normal, and is ready to go online in less than 15 seconds. Tom set me up with a new SSD drive. I don’t even know what that is, but it’s nice. Fast with almost no noise, because the drive isn’t spinning. Less heat. It’s able to work in higher heat too. It’s time to connect, so I click on the icon and boom– Yahoo!  Ain’t that something? That sure is something. Did anyone get a marker down on that? You coulda made some money.

I’ve posted 14,000+ words here, which are hard for even me to believe– as it’s been surreal. This is a militarized drill using police, fire and utility vehicles as weapons against the population. It wasn’t hostile action, but a soft takeover, for lack of a better term. It was a psychological operation to terrorize and strangle predetermined red-lined areas. Last night I had to travel over an hour away just to access the Internet and upload this story onto my own website. It was the only way, as Sanford, FL was locked down. This morning we have Internet. Florida is a disaster, with many areas still having no power or water. Relief & rescue workers are being held back (by class forces), instead of being dispatched to where they are most needed.

I’m out on my porch in the morning sun, swinging a Louisville Slugger baseball bat, Tony Gwynn factory signed. It’s getting hot… Nobody here minds too much, as we have power so everyone nods & waves as they go by. My catnip pile has only traces left around it, as I picked it up and threw it into the bushes last night after still no action. That’s how you work it, boys & girls. The cicadas are in & out with each other all day, until their penultimate atonal evening chorus.

Since I’m online and everything is cool, I’m running a movie in my head– just like everyone else. What is it? After a few seconds it comes: The Terminator, only I’m not Arnold. I’m John Conner; and I’m teaching you how to first identify, and then smash these motherfuckers, because this is total war to the end. I can’t be killed, and we need your help & protection– just as you need ours.

I’m back online, and I can work again. Internet is essential to everybody who works today. I run my business out of my home, as does everyone else. You are your business, and most must be online to succeed. This was all done for censorship & economic purposes, and the decisions are made at all the highest levels. The media is most complicit in this vast conspiracy against the working people and the poor.

6:00 PM: I’m at my watering hole, and the place is getting full already. I start at the bar and converse with (mostly) the help about everything, including their living situation. A few cooks & servers still don’t have power. One just had it turned on an hour ago, but no Internet. Eventually, you-know-who sits down and tries to move in. I give him two minutes, then cash out & relocate outside.

I’m now sitting with my back to the establishment. It looks like this brewery was a converted garage. They’ve opened up one of the roll-down doors for evening ventilation. That feature also helps with performing bands, as this place has good sound. My music comrades are mostly working in the Oak Hill Drifters now, and they played here a month ago. They sounded great, and the place was full until close. It helps when you have real musicians. I usually try to be in & out before the music begins. Sometimes (often) the best part of the show is watching them set up. It can range anywhere from sad & comical, to informative & thought provoking. Sometimes you’ll notice something from a “nobody” musician that strikes you as a good idea, and inspires you. Everyone should respect that.

No bands tonight, and I’m sitting alone facing the street. It’s a nice night– if you have water, power & Internet. Traffic is picking up. It always slows down at this intersection, as this is one of the hotspots of Sanford. Sanford is the northern-most borough of Orlando, as this city ends at Lake Monroe & the Saint John’s River. It has been racially & socially divided since it’s establishment in 1877, just a year after the Reconstruction of the South was abandoned. This is Jim Crow meets modern capitalism; with blacks, working poor, youth & low-income elderly being mercilessly squeezed out of existence.

A middle-age couple walks up and seat themselves at the table across the sidewalk from me. They both angle their chairs outwards, enveloping me in a triangle. This social nicety signals they are interested in engaging me in a discussion. They are definitely together, so I’ll go along. “How are you?” the woman asks. I’m swirling the last of my favorite brew in its 8-ounce glass, and look to both of them dryly, “I have my beer.” The are mildly struck for a few seconds, until they both smile & kinda laugh at that drinking cliché’.

They are still waiting for their server, so I clearly ask them, “Do you have power & electric?” They both are stunned, and insist I repeat the question, as they claim they didn’t hear. I know what this response now means too, so instead I reply, “Do you have Internet?” The woman jumps in, “We lost it for an hour during the storm. How about you?” I wryly smile and nod in a slow rhythm which dissipates into a stare, “It was longer for me… until this morning.” Expressing concern in her face, “That’s still a long time to be without Internet.” I’m looking into the last sip and how delicious it will be, and then ahead, “Yeah… it makes you wonder.” I’m blankly looking at & through them. Their chairs are now angling back into line with each other. Two minutes later I’m leaving.

Saturday 4:00 PM: I keep promising myself this is going to be the last entry, but I have a much stronger feeling this time. I went out for an early afternoon walk to review all the sites I’ve described above. The regional hospital has flood waters in its parking lots, with orange cones and yellow tape “barricading” it off. That shit ain’t gonna hold. Lake Monroe has taken on over two feet of water, and is now lapping over the seawall in places, where people use to sit and dangle their legs off. I can approximate this rise in height by a bank of weeds, which used to stand about three feet above the water, and now are no more than a foot above the surface. More rain is coming.

Utility workers I talk to are all saying it will be weeks to get most people back on the grid. What about the rest I ask? They all shrug their shoulders… Most really don’t know. This shit parade never ends.

City Hall is closed on weekends, and this one is no exception. The only recent posting on any of their doors concerns a millage rate meeting, which has been postponed due to Hurricane Irma. The meeting was supposed to have been held on Monday. On Monday no one cared about millage, and the same applies today, but there it is. The courthouse is always open but I’ll bypass it, even though there are still a few things that have been bothering me. The converted bank, that secretly hubs Sanford’s Internet sits quietly. It has a blind open on the inside which allows you to see through one of its windows. A workspace with lots of impressive technology is stacked around it. Most people don’t look twice at this building, if they ever pass it.

Downtown has festivals & street vendors hawking their wares, yawning lazily in their outdoor chairs. You only yawn like this, if you have A/C at home. I reach my saloon, and notice the same creeper at the bar again before he sees me. Take evasive action. I look at the servers in the tabled section, and ask if it’s okay to seat myself at one of them. They say yes. They’re all cool with me now, because they know I care for their interests. I’m sure at least a few who work here have read this online, somehow. Most still don’t have Internet.

I’m lucky, I get the most beautiful server. I’ve been wanting to tell her I love her for weeks, and today might be the day. But first, I ask about everyone’s living status. It appears everyone who works here at least has water & power for now. Their faces look a lot brighter & cheerful.  A few customers are here to escape the heat of their homes for a few hours. It’s starting to fill up again, and I’m taking up some serious space at this table-for-eight all by myself. I’m spread across two four-seater tables that have been moved together. I have one beer and a small dessert, which is decadent.

When it’s time to settle up, the amount due is less than $10, and the latest love-of-my-life asks if there’s anything else she can get me? Oh yeah. I pull out two tens, and look up at her to say, “Here’s all the money I have on me– the change is all yours. And if you ever decide you want everything else I have, just come through my door.” She wasn’t expecting that, and is a bit flustered for a second as she takes the money and rings the bill. She looks back and asks with her eyes if I’m sure about the tip? I smile at her and say, “I was serious about everything I said.” She’s bursting with a smile, as she scurries into the kitchen.

She’s back in a minute and laughing, along with me. She’s just told all her girlfriends what’s happened, and they’re in a tizzy. She keeps passing by busy, and anytime our eyes catch we’re giggling, while she’s shaking her head. Always my luck. Later, I playfully ask her, “How’s your shift going? Do you normally get men desperately throwing themselves at you? You have to watch out for that, you know…” More giggling… The place is really filling up, so I need to roll. As I slip out, I point to my empty table and whisper to her, “Make some money, woman.” For me it’s like always– maybe next time.