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Tom returned home to devour himself in literature. Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, James Joyce, local writers printed in Fort Worth Star, plays by Bogasian, in which he took careful notice of each work, great authors he committed to memory. He memorized various passages from The Bard and even took notice of a book his father gave him, A Documentary History of the United States by Richard Heffner. Study, study, study. It's all he could do while waiting for either his big break or his first published book. He decided to write naturally. It just spilled out of him. Short stories about suburban towns like Euless and Fort Worth's outskirts like Arlington, which was the most populated city. He studied Law, Science, Geography, Language, German, Linguistics, Computer literacy, psychology, works of Sigmund Freud From Dora. He couldn't get enough. He was smart to save all his text books from college. John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelly, Ode to the West Wind, Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, Anna Petrovna Buina and other Romantic Lyrics. Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin: The Queen of Spades and Alfred, Lord Tennyson. He even began smoking to keep up with all the words at night. His lungs started to get at him, and he woke up at nights puking up green slime. This made he turn in a one hundred in eighty degree. Instead of choking down cheap cigarette smoke from the nearby 7-11, he decided to run. He took up jogging. Six miles a day. He went cold turkey with the tobacco craze and began to clear his system out. Six miles a day. He even thought about joining a marathon. The Cow Town.

So why the thievery. Why did he steal in the past. Why was he going to hit the Milan Gallery and take the Head Of Mary. He had not yet. It was only an idea. The thought of having such a priceless figure from a religious sector of the world, kept him up at nights. He stopped by the gallery during the afternoons while looking for work and gazed in at the vault and visited with the international artist Rome Milan. Rome talked with him about selling his work and others, "On big exhibit nights, which happen twice a month, you can sell a forty thousand dollar piece and make a four percent commission." He flipped through the formulas do find the right might equation to figure the profit. If he sold one paining for forty thousand he'd make: first take point four and multiply it into forty. Forty thousand. Forty times four is one hundred and sixty. He'd make, "Sixteen thousand dollars off a four percent commission." The lady in the hall of the Milan Gallery was still playing away. They had lost their Russian pupil at TCU. Perhaps he was too busy to play in the hall fulltime. If he sold one painting for forty thousand dollars, multiply by point four and you get, $ 16,000. That beat risking imprisonment over a five finger discount of the head of Mary.

He needed to get out of his Mother's house. This would help him develop character. Or as the Germanic tribe says, KARAKTER. The only way out of the house and away from the Minyard pig machine, was money. Hence, he needed a good job.

When Tom stepped on the bus he could still feel the fat on his face from the prior evening of overdoing it at the dinner table. His step father just couldn't get away eating alone. It was holy to starve. Not even to be polite. He was a guest at the house but he still didn't want to eat alone. It is not good for the kidneys to eat alone. Eating alone is the worst thing for someone. Thou shall not do such a thing according to the good book.

He drug his the tip of his middle fingers down his nasal lines on his face attempting to smooth off what was not meant to be there. Too many hotdogs, and extra chili sauce on him. He had committed a moral sin by taking in too much. He wanted too much of the world and now he was wearing his sin on his face. In chub.

His stomach was in knots as the six bus reached downtown. He always took number six home and back. Everyone once and awhile he mistakenly hit the four bus and have to walk the extra three blocks where it left off a mile from his home. His daily ritual was efficient for his lifestyle as an artist. First, he run by the gym and suite up for two hours or so of working out, then he apply at the nearby restaurants. There were over a hundred restaurants in the extent of Fort Worth. After every corner there was a Italian, Burger joint or Americana café where they served the most watery burgers, thick, crusty golden fries and the largest plates of spaghetti in meatballs in the south. Tom's real father, James, was nearly broke. He had opened a wine store off the trucker highway leading out of Fort Worth and toward West or Dallas. The highway was very populated but it was mostly used for travel or industrial trucks. He needed better advertised to pull people out of the outskirts of Fort Worth and onto the Jacksboro which lead out of town. The liquor store most likely to appealed to outsiders or to people who traveled to Fort Worth, to Dallas or toward Denton, which was north of Town. Hence, it was a place for the more shady side of Fort Worth, near Billy Bobs and the saloons. Most likely it was water ground for Alcoholics and restaurant owners, and club owners, that needed a venture on a wine or beer run for parties. Tom never saw his father. He was once a very rich man but had somehow lost it all. His old refinery business, (refined precious metals) had burned down to a freak fire. Every since then, his father was slowly losing money. It wasn't long until he lost it all. Now, Tom was looking at the colder side of the world. He walked with tense shoulders, and weary positioned head. Only God was going to get him out of this one. The Life, the theatre world and show-business had left him near penniless. He thought about continuing his education and seeking the life of a professor. Only God would grant such a beautiful life, even though is wasn't too financially rewarding it promised him a chance to profess his knowledge.

Burnett's choices were near limited. He could finish up his MFA at a nearby college, seek a life in education or run West and hope to be discovered on the silver screen. So far he had tried all three. It was hard bouncing from one path to the next. It looked like education was the only promising path. Life of a being discovered was far too shaky and did not promise a guarantee. Tom was basically shaking in his boots, even though his last pair were wore out working on the highways near Long Beach for committed a crime that was beyond his control. He was convicted for False Charity, for soliciting business. Tom thought he was working for the Police and Sheriff support fund, but in actuality he was working for a bunch of two bit criminals in the business district in Los Angeles. This time he would only work for worthy corporation, places that had license to operate as a place of business.

He was scared Minyard, was so envious he take his own life until he arrived at major success. Why else would of Minyard lost forty pounds. Why would he walk around the house with his shirt off exposing his ripped muscular body. Why would he act jealous and hot headed around Tom. Minyard became a deadly obstacle. He was close to his mother and was an alley, but in the same time he was out to prove something to Tom. What? Why would his stepfather try so hard? What was he trying to do enter an Iron Man contest. He walked ten miles a day. For who? For what? He was once a hefty individual and Tom's mother still appreciated him just the way he was. Why would he do such a thing? Was he failing Tom?

Tom was starting to fear for his own life. Was his stepfather setting him up? Trying to outdo him to win the love of his own mother? For the love of God, that was his mother he was wanting to take from him? He had to offer him something great for that exchange. A financially secure life, perhaps. That would be the trade off. If Tom could find independence and a woman of his own, he would trade with his step father. My mother for a life of my own. My mother for a beautiful women, good job and independence. Sure why not? Go ahead walk yourself to death, get lean, feel good, take my mother, but you best help me find Independence.

Tom was being tortured at home. Thirty was too old to be left alone. He come home after a long walk to the zoo and back, and his step dad and mother would back out of the driveway with a neighborhood friend to eat a nearby restaurant, and he'd walk up to the neighbor's truck and then, his step father would back off, leaving him standing alone in the front lawn. Perhaps, it was good thing. A parental move. He needed to be alone, to find independence. Maybe, his step father was trying to help him. Perhaps, he was being too paranoid over the situation. Too cautious. Too weary. He needed to be alone to find her. Somewhere she existed for him. It was God's plan. He was being tested at home. What decisions would he make to better improve his life. What did God need him to do? "Are y'all going to church?" He asked. His mother rolled down the truck window. The neighbor, a retired principal in the local district by the name of Mr. Sharp, was in the back, his step father drove his pickup. Rumor had it Mr. Sharp was on the sweet side of life. He was into literature and art and was on the tail end of his life of his career, now in retirement. On the other hand, Mr. Sharp always dressed with prestige, and could carry one a charming conversation. He was once a considerate and respectful principal. Tom had weird thoughts. Was Mr. Sharp Gay. He talked like he was gay. Was Minyard, Gay? And if he was Gay what the hell was he doing with his Mother. Was his bi-sexaul, doing his mother and the principal. And if so, why? What did Minyard want to go with Mr. Sharp out to eat. Maybe he was just a friend. Tom was becoming to crazy over it all. He had no friends himself, he was not a long shot from being a hermit, nearly antisocial. If it wasn't for his Mother, Ann, and Minyard, and the occasional visitor, Mr. Sharp, he'd be completely and utterly isolated.

Home life in the evenings were hell. The night was composed of a series of fighting matches in the back bedroom, were Mom and Step Dad slept. It was not between the couple but rather the five dogs that slept there. Lady, the mutt (cross between Shepard and Rock Riler), Hilde, the Dalmatian, Harly, a calm, black long hair mix with the frame of a black lab, Holly, a lap dog, the meanest of the pack and last, Charlette the house cocker spaniel. The Dalmatain, Hilde, Harly and Charlete never fought. The fighters were Holly and Hilde. They were always biting at each other. Mom would try to separate the feuding dogs and catch a bleed on the end of her finger or on the hand. The dogs kept fighting regardless of the series of " No, no's" "No's" didn't always work with the pack. Then, when the dogs where calmed they'd be awakened and trampled through the house, following one by one, in a long, organized militant trail, with their tongues hanging out like fools, swinging side to side sniffing the air and the dust on the floor in hopes of one last evening treat. Then, they would be released to "Time to tee tee" as Minyard surrogated the word urinate so repugnantly and nasally unfashionable and crude. "Tee, tee," he called it, and then, after ten minutes of pissing in the back yard and slurping up more water in prep for the next Tee Tee, trampled back in to the back room to be pet by the two aging owners, or growl at the tension between Hilde and Holly, the lap dog, and the others would clean themselves to slumber.

Months had passed on the inside.

"I'm so proud of you. So proud." It echoed in the back of Roberto's head as the racing prisoner fly past half way on fire. "Soooo proud." Then, it cut off. He didn't know why his inner voice was speaking to him again, especially during the riot. He was delusional, scared out of his wits on fire.

Then, a green bill blew in the prison cell, soaking with water. He picked it up and began to read, "J 27683286 A. and to the right of Washington's had the numbers flared in green letters J 2768326 A. The United States of America." A barrel full of flaming sparks rolled passed the prison cell bars, the bars that kept him from leaving the scene. And what a scene it was. Fire, flames, hollering, roaring like wild beasts. He couldn't see any of it but he could hear every cracked voice and every intonation of pain. The men were beating one another with sticks and barrels and many were bathed in blood and grit from warring. A government, a new government inside the prison was slowly forming. The last he heard, Jackson had leaked to him about the inside news. He told him some mass murderer from death row was released into the mainstream halls of the prison. Stalking bars to bars, hunting for traders, making people take his side or else. He would go to prisoners trapped in cell, some of the guards were kept in broom closet or even, in solitary confinement. If anyone betrayed him they were locked up in solitary. The Old One was forceful with his way and held many against their wills, forced them to eat their foods and talk like him, in a very thick, hick accent. and interview them face to face, and make them give up their wills to him. Rumor had it he had his ways. The entire prison cell had be overtaken by the revolt. The revolution on the inside had begun. He was walking with the others, talking and communicate. "They call him Nick." Jackson informed him. "Nick what?" "Saint Nick." "What does he look like." "Got a tattoo under his left ear, and a really wrinkly forehead, his a little older than the rest. Some call him Old Man. Oh, and he has the number one tattooed on his chest over his heart, a one like a dollar bill has a one with the spider web looking thing. Weird guy. He can take anyone. He's slowly taking guard by guard. His got the white collars working the computers to close all the main gates, also, rumor has it he has guards held hostage in the main office room, near the kitchen hall." Jackson was gone in a flash. Roberto was shaken in his boot. "HE don't like fancy people or people with a sharp tongue." That was the rumor about the Old Man, or The One, Nick.

"His eyes are fierce green, and he is rippled in muscle. Tall guy with a thick graying beard and rough tongue. Rumor has it he is fast. Real fast. Fast with his hands, and his feet. Knows how to fight with super speed. Puts people in choke holds. Sucks the life out of them."

Jackson vanished in the shadows again.

Riots usually are sparked by anger or maddened people neglected of necessity. "Prison food here sucks anyway. They want better treatment. They want better food. Not just hot dogs and stale rolls. There angry with the meds, and the lack of attention, and lack of job training and help to get out. The prisoners feel as if they are being slowly drained of life." "They are." Roberto said. "That is why they are prisoners."

The entire prison was alive with pollution of crackling flames, from the fires lit here and there. Piles of trash burned down the hall. Roberto could smell the ash and paper crinkle in the heat. A shadow, a noisy shadow, formed before him in small cuts to the rhythm of a strumming guitar on the wall adjacent to his cell. Roberto became hypnotized by the snaky dance the fire threw against the concrete stone that lay on the other side of the bars. Heat was slowly crawling toward him, dancing from fiery paper to paper, flaming chunks of wood and pieces of mattress crawling toward his cell. All Roberto could do was write. As the flames grew thicker in chaos, he simply typed away on the old Underwood. Telling the story of Tom Burnet and his adventure with the head of Mary from Pietta.

He sat the old dollar bill next to the typewriter and began to commit to memory it's design and it's meaning. Is this freedom. Is this the cost of life? This is what got me in here. The need of this. Damn this old green waste of paper. Then, he read silently, almost calming himself into a hypnotic state, "Federal Reserve Note. The United States of America. This note is legal tender fro all debts public and private. Washington D.C. 10 One. One Dollar. The United States of America. In God We Trust. Of the United states. Annute Coepits. Hovus Ordo Seclorum. The great seal." And then he stared at the small eighteen printed in a kind green under the shadow of the one and whispered to himself. "Annuit Coepts." Lost in thought wondering what the Latin meant.

Then, at times, during all the screaming and confusion, Roberto figured he had it lucky. He was starving after all. He had not been released from the cell since the revolt began. Locked in. No way out.

But it was better than freedom in a way. He wasn't force to leave a life of shame, in some small town laced with Taco Bell's and Subways here and there, cornered to sit at home alone, who knows why, bad genetics, bad connections with the opposite sex, forced to stay at home and rap his mouth around a Turkey sub and be offered Patch Adams to play on his cheap pawn shop VCR, alone, no girl, no lady, no women, nothing, just him and a bottle of Coralba Sodium free from Italy and a lonely tomato and lettuce with turkey and ketchup. Alone, with his story, his ideas locked in a prison.

It was okay to be sorrowful and guilty. It was okay to be wrong, and to know that he might be forgiven. Mistakes were a part of life. He felt like one. At one time in his life, Roberto hated the world and was very angry with God. He was tempted and failed. He kept falling, and falling until he woke up one morning, walked to the YMCA and returned home to give in to his Step Father, fight over something trite like a boiled rotisserie chicken, rum dumb ditty and green beans, Minyard had kicked him out and own his own. The next thing he knew he was at a Chicago Grill downtown near his home, making phone calls, long distance phone calls to every one of his friend to find shelter from the streets. Hence, he was on the street, alone, and only one friend on the way. This was a few months after his first hold up.

"Why is it called hold up?" He asked T. Brown. Brown was his friend from Dallas, Texas, that lived alone, with his cat, gold fish and a string of books by the author who wrote with titles like The Red Badge of Courage. Brown didn't know the answer. Tom figured it had something to do with holding up time, or, "Holding up your hands over your head." It was some restaurant lounger, or cousin to the cook, hanging about answering various questions to Roberto. This was before his arrest.

Tom decided to go in for the kill. Snatch the head of Maria from the Milan Gallery. He planned it for a Sunday afternoon exhibit. It would be busy. Very busy. A movie star from Hollywood, Jane Seymour was showing up to show her twenty thousand dollar a paintings. Rome was showing them for her, and preparing a big sale. Tom lost the security guard job and decided to stake out the joint the previous Sunday for the Seymour hit. He walk in with the bag, and head straight to the back in uniform. Next, he walk into the vault, removing the ropes and stash the head in his large, hiking backpack and dart out. One, two, three. Simple as that. No sweat.

That day, he rented a room in the nearby Worthington Hotel in Down Town. He purchased a pair of binoculars at the pawn shop and ordered two large pizzas. It would be an all day hunt. He'd scope out the joint, checking and counting how many spectator showed to view Rome's, Henrietta's and Jane's work. Jane would not be there on stake out day. She'd show next week. Tom multiplied the turn out double fold, hence, he added twice as many to the assumed Seymour event. Since she was a movie star he figured the place would be back. He picked up a Entertainment Weekly and read a small column about Seymour's paintings. It claimed she was the next big artist in her field, something like Vincent Vangough, or Picasso. Her work usually encompassed a single figure, human that seemed to be lonely and slightly disfigured, or ill developed. Her work was sad, but slightly uplifted with a eerie charm. Tom took a break. His back was cracking do to the fact that he stiffed up looking through the binoculars and all. He was soar between the shoulder blades into the lumber region and even his ass was aching. He was pooped. The pizza man arrived on time, 2:39 PM. The gallery occupied around twenty or so people. No signs of Seymour stuff looking to customer attractive. She wasn't as popular as Rome and Beck's ingenious sculpture of naked bodies making up faces. She was mostly in the gallery due to her name as a film actress. Hell, she worked with Christopher Reeves in that film about time travel. What was it called. Ding. Ding. It was the pizza man. Damn. Already.

"Be seventeen ninety nine even." "Thanks. You take ATM right." Tom gave him his Chase card and tipped the Italian man with a trimmed goatee and floppy red hat, eighty bucks. Then, ran down the hall and picked up a few sodas, one Coke and one Diet Coke. He had to watch the figure. Later, he set up camp at the window, piercing through the binoculars and checking out how crowded the gallery got. Solid Gold head. Head of Mary. Man if I possessed that I'd. . .I'd. . .what the hell would I do with the head of Mary. Where would I put it. How would I sale it. Tom didn't even want it for the money. He wasn't going to trade it in. He was going to melt it down, or tuck it away in the corner of the earth someplace, hide if from the world. For some reason, and he didn't know why, perhaps it was the same intention the nut had when he chipped Michael Angelo's sculpture of Mary holding Jesus. That was where it came from. He wouldn't harm the head, but simply possess it, hid it from mankind. Something that perfect, that simple and holy, and graceful was not right to look at. It was a masterpiece like Mona Lisa or the Angelo's David. It said something to him. The first time he gazed at her solid gold head, perfectly round, smooth, with her eyes looking downward. He could imagine Jesus laying in her arms. She was silent, no tears, series, not overtaken, but accepted and mature about his death. It was the head of Mary in gold form. Holy. It was like capturing the arch of the covenant or the holy grail.

He could see a couple gazing at it around one of the Ballet painting by a Czech painter. Tom forgot the painter's name, but he did beautiful sensuous paintings of Ballet dancers in real to life poses. He was a man of verisimilitude and concentration in dictating the art of a ballerina at rest or play. The couple stared in at the vault. There eyes were wide, faces aglow, fixated in a calm trance with little Mona Lisa smiles. It was as if they saw something that was not meant to be seen, or experienced. Another couple joined behind them. A gold glint nearly spewed off their faces as the head pulled them into the vault. This one is going to be a tough snatch, Tom thought and lowered the binocular and sank his teeth around a double layered mozzarella with extra thick crust, pepperoni, sausage and every vegetable topping known to mankind. He swooshed down the Diet Coke and turned the TV set on in the hotel room. Tom took one last peek out over the twentieth floor, and sipped up the last of the corn syrup and high concentrated fructose. CNN blared something about the Sistine Chapel. Yep. Just as he suspected. God was in on this one. It wasn't a coincidence that CNN was blaring a piece on the Catholic Church in Roma, Italy.

Spoil was lonely. The snow had piled up and against the side of Hairison house like the slow rising of the ocean during the ice age. His time was of the cold. Spoil was raised in the north, and later in his life he decided his parent, Hank and Hilary Spoil, moved to the town of Heat, far south of Cold. Spoil's fondest memory was swimming in the town's water tower on hot summer days. He hook up with friends, Kiel, and Winston. They head out to discover that the water tower in heat was almost always dry. "Dried up again Spoil." Winston blurted with a half lit cherry from a cigar in his mouth. He'd still his father's cigar's and pretend to be a sergeant. He'd take a few puffs and try to share it with us, "Hell no man. I don't want that shit. Too heavy. I smoke Marlboro." Hank flared up his nostrils when he got scared. He thought Winston was going to make him smoke it.

Spoil missed his friends and the town of heat. Cold town didn't offer much. There was barely even a movie theatre, more less a shopping mall or a good place to eat. No fancy restaurants in this town, like Big City, or Fast Lanes West of Cold Town.

What you pay for is what you get. There is no way out of that fact of life. You reap what you so. Roberto knew this, Tom lived by this motto, even though he made the mistake in his youth that certain things, like courteous phones in hotel lobbies or airports, broken bits of cookie crumbs in the sample bin at grocery stores, chocolate mints up at the front at the restaurant's cash registers, tortilla chips and hot sauce before a Mexican meal, a news magazine behind the seat in coach or first class on an airliner, the green paper at news stands, buy one get one free on packs of Marlboro lights, candy during Halloween, Put Put golf pencils, (the kind without the eraser), words on paper and Education in Europe. On the other hand, Mr. Spoil knew that nothing was for free. Even though one could not pay cash, or check, for these items and services they still had to pay with another form of payment, e.i., with their body, mind, and in some cases with their spirit.

The small room Mr. Spoil occupied was becoming more and more homey as the days passed. Spoil routine, getting up before the crack of done, taking out the trash, mixing up some pancake mix, frying up a cake or two for breakfast, reading the morning cartoons, gardening and then, heading out to town to shovel snow and shuffle about with his new friend, Ted Rogers and his Husky with one blue and one brown eye, Matty, became as familiar and set in his heart as the back of his hand. Ted and his four legged partner were stuck together by the hip nearly. Ted had thick Coldian accents and smoked American Spirit Ultra Lights, "I'm trying to quit as soon as I get over this girl that dumped me last year." "How old you now Ted." "I've retired. In my mid fifties." "Why did she leave ya?" Spoil asked heaving a two pound scoop of icy snow and dirty, blond slush. "She died." He answered kicking a block of blackened frozen from a ice clump of toward the side of the road. The snow turned a slight yellowy tar color and at times it looked as if someone had urinated in it, or dumped yellow dye over the top of the piles along the main road into town. They usually cleared away snow amounting before gas stations and convenient stores, tow truck, offices and other places of business. Most of the yellowing was caused by pollutions from cars and weathering from nature, mix of dirt, dust and carbon monoxide altered it's original pure white state. That's what Spoil assumed. "Figured someone pissed in this, huh Ted?" Ted wiped his brow and stared up at the azure doom that hovered over his and the towns head, awaiting the release the next icy flood snow flakes.

"How do you like living with Hairison?" Ted asked sitting the snow plow shovel down on the tiny cliff of snow overhanging a shadow stretching toward the other side of the shoulder of the road. "It's okay. His daughter moved in. She's just out of surgery." "What was wrong with her." Spoil took a bit of time before answering. He peered into a ray of the sun and then spat out, "It's a little private. She didn't want it spreading around town." "So you like living there, right?" "Yeah. Its okay." A moment arrived. A chill lifted a few hairs on the back of Spoil's neck. "I don't feel like me when I am there." "Why not?" "Not my house. Not my food, or place of life. I feel like someone else." "You pay for what you get." Ted said adjusting the snow shovel against the tiny cliff of ice and snow. "What do you mean by that?" "I don't' know. Just said it. Guess we got two more hours of this shoveling shit until we had' back to town for burgers. Sonic sound good?" "Yep. I don't care, a burger is a burger." Spoil gazed up at the sun as it slowly maneuvered behind a dark gray snow cloud far in the distant snow sprinkled sky. A shadow cast down upon the two men and the sleeping dog. "Ole Matty is tired huh?" "Yeah." Ted returned. "Still on the poetry?" "Yep. You bet." "Hows it doing." "Well, good. I sent a new poem in a few weeks ago. Same place that offered me puplication. Their still interested." He noticed he said pupli instead of public- for publication. To be publicized is for the public to read the material that the author has printed. Hence, public. "That's great. You're the next famous writer in this small town. Cold town hasn't spawned any poets yet." "Thanks." Spoil took a moment to register his thoughts, yawned and cleaned his front teeth with his tongue. "I know why I write now." "You do?" Ted hinted he wanted him to continue with the explanation with a raise of his left eyebrow. Ted looked like a hungry vampire, spooky, with wide eyes and a curious position with his head. Almost leaned in like a tiger to his prey and to suck the answer right out of him, "I'm angry. The worse of all sins. Angry as hell. Angry at friends from Junior High and old girlfriends that I can barely recall their names. Angry at the grocery store for not having my brand of cereal, or not getting my way in life. In the most dangerous direction of my anger is with Him." He pointed up toward the passing clouds above. "I'm angry at our Father." "Why?" "Cause I felt skipped over. I guess I felt neglected." "Why. You seem pretty normal to me." "Exactly. Normal. Who wants to be ordinary. I don't. Never did. But every knew me as that. Normal Mr. Spoil and his normal way. Every day, average Joe. Mr. Spoil, one of the many nobodies of the world." Spoil got up and stretched his arms side to side like Samson once did when cracking the great columns that once held him after Delilah betrayed him. "We find reasons to accept ourselves as second best, or third best, or fourth, or tenth, or hundredth or three thousand and hundredth and so on. We let the mistakes pile up in our lives. The times when we turn back, fear God, and go home and settle in for second best. I'm second best and I hate it. I never won anything in life. Why is that?" "I don't know. Maybe God wants you to have what we all have?" "What. What do I have. I own nothing. I live in someone else's house. I eat what they give me to eat. They chose for me. Life is about the choosing. That is what makes it worthwhile. I can never go on a vacation. I can never drive up to the store and pick out a outfit to wear for an evening that I never can afford to go on. I'm looking to be. . .well, no homeless. I never amounted to anything. And now, all I have are these poems that might or might not get published." "But you're a storyteller. You have a gift. That's more than most of us." "Yep. A poor poet and getting poorer. I got to change. All my life I wanted to get discovered and published like Ginsberg, or Dylan Thomas, or Frost. You know. Live the life. Like Hemingway. Sip coffee at some café in Paris and find inspiration from gazing at paintings in the Louvre. Or visit Italy and walk the cliffs of Ireland. Feel free to travel any weekend I chose." Ted gave him a little frown and nearly shamed him. "At least get paid for what I do. I'm nearly sixty years old and I shovel shit for a living." "Hey. You got a warm bed to sleep in." "It's not MY bed. It's not even my pillow." "God had nothing. Christ gave up all his material, and his followers too, gave up what they owned to follow his word." "But I never got to taste the riches of the world." "Liar. Everyone had a taste or two. You live in the most gifted country, the most blessed land of all lands and here you are complaining cause. . ." "Cause I don't have enough money to fall back on, or retire." "But you got those words. Those words cost something. You'll get published Spoil. Don't worry about it. It'll work out and when it does you'll understand it's been all worthwhile. Giving it all up will make sense one day." "I'm standing here shivering in the ice cold, and you say this is worth the words I come up with to fit into some poetry magazine for rich ass holes to ponder over and use as conversation pieces." "One day Spoil you'll give it all up. The lucky ones have less to leave on. It all piles up to nothing anyway." Spoil picked up the snow shovel and began to clear off the road. "once someone told me God shows you his love with the pain you feel. You believe that." "God does work in mysterious ways."

One truth of nature and man. The way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Mr. Spoil knew this. It was his weakness to women. Ann knew this. She had won Mr. Spoil over. The holidays were approaching with God Speeds. Seven days till Christmas and today was the seventh day of the countdown. Ann had baked three pumpkin pies, two pecan and a special sweet snack made of sugar stirred butter with chocolate coated, walnuts and saltine crackers. The turkey was still slowly heating to a plumb juicy finish tucked away in the back of the new oven Mr. Hairison had picked up several months beforehand. The special sweet snack was Ann's new invention. She bake them up for the doctors in the ER room and store them in the mini fridges in the break tan and blue break room for the nurses and doctors. It was cheap and easy to make. Sometimes she gave them to her patience, of coarse if the doctor approved. She never did anything without the doctors signature. She mostly handed it out to patience that were on release or headed back home. "Special taste huh." Mr. Spoil looked up with a pair of two rose healthy cheeks and crisp smile, "Salty and Sweet. Best cracker I've ever had." She didn't have a name for it but she could describe the ingredients. "Haven't named them yet." Said Ann. "Once Again, Ann, sweet as can be." Spoil said leaning over the glossy table mat to munch down another chocolate covered buttery saltine. "Never had these chocolate crackers before. You must be a genius Ann. A culinary's gift of the world." Ann dusted her hands on her Red Robin apron covered in holly imprints and light brush strokes of wall paper green. "Lower in fat. The crust is heavy in most snacks, this crust is light. It's salty and sugary with a light crust." "Well, I don't know if this belly can swell any more. Worked many years to get it at the size it's currently ate'." Ann cracked a warm smile as she walked over to the table top to light up another Angel candle decorated with gold trim and gold silver ribbons.

The flame on the candle flared up, the cold air made it rise higher toward the ceiling, the flame seemed to large for the small wax candle purchased at the local Dollar Store. Mr. Hairison let it burn through the night until morning came. The candle flame dimly lit the kitchen. Spoil was tucked away in this bed snoring with his journal labeled Poetry on the cover laying on his large, round belly. Hairison was conked out on his side drooling onto his pillow dreaming of his new snow plow machine that he may purchase at the local Sam's outlet hardware store. And the last person, the daughter, Ann had passed out next to a half full bottle of Crown Royal, sleeping as silent as a mouse, nibbling at the air dreaming of a tall dark handsome soldier that had just returned from war, lonely, and desperate for affection. The dream was set on a cruise liner far out in the pacific near the Hawaiian islands.

No one was in the kitchen. A blue glow sipped in the kitchen window. The moon, whatever it's size and shape was masked behind a puffy snow colored cloud that glowed coin silver with a silver lining. The lawn grass was thickly covered in snow and ice. A blue haze was landing on the front lawn, from somewhere in the heart of Old Man winter. He had painted a perfect picture for any passerby.

The kitchen was a Kodak scene. There were four cards on the round table near the sink, the one Spoil ate his cereal on in the morning. It held three presents wrapped three kinds of wrapping paper: one neon blue, candy cane red and green labeled Dad, the other labeled Mr. Spoil, it had green and white with strips and one blue and gold.

The candle flame flickered with a lonely charm, performing it's dutiful dance alone with no one to see. Inviting an elf or even Santa, to peak in but with disappointment. Mr. Spoil had ate all the cookies Ann left out with a glass of milk.

Everyone snored as the night covered them to a deep sleep.

The kitchen was now filled with a golden yellow light sparked by single Christmas candle that Ann had set up for Saint Nick.

The candle, still alone and dancing, lit the scene with a perfect, melodic tone. Everything was in place and tuned to it's most finite state. On the wall, opposite of the kitchen table the Christmas candle, with an golden angel imprinted on the side projected a fleet of mysterious figures that jangled about the kitchen cabinets, window shutters, refrigerator, back door, ceiling and every part of the kitchen including the kitchen sink itself. The candle spawned a unforgettable flickering upon the wall that topped any Christmas parade or New Years Eve Firework display on any main street in any big city across the state lines. If only they could see how beautiful it was. Sleep had taken them far under. The sight was present but unseen.

Tiny shadowy stick figures danced in a various of geometric outlines across the kitchen and the window overlooking the front blue lit lawn. The scattering troupe of wavy lines produced by the shadow dancing men currently carving into the wall performed a peculiar allegro paced ballet twists in turn and jumped throughout the room. It was as if the Nut Cracker had arrived, in shadows on the walls of Mr. Hairison's kitchen, or the sprites in Midsummer Night's Dream had gathered to whisper and plan for the festive dinner approaching Spoil, Hairison and his daughter Ann. In wavy lines, curving into tree branches in which scrapped against the wall, swaying back and fro to the rhythm of butterfly wings, the candle commanded it's shadow puppets to the sound of thousands of dripping tapering spikes that clung with dear life, melting toward oblivion, clinging with existence to the underline edges of the trim that surrounded the small ice covered cottages spreading blocks apart into the hilly streets of main street. The flickering and dancing flame continued until it reached the bottom of the wick to snuff out as the digital clock on top of the refrigerator clicked to 12:00AM. Then, the shadows fell silent and still and the blue light spilled into he kitchen. Christmas was approaching in four days. The first day of winter had arrived. The only ornament missing in this holiday scene of Cold Town was the warm and gentle voice of young cheery carolers, which were now far off, away from this chilling weather, singing in a warmer, more pleasantly populated suburban town, with healthy voices asking for wishes and demands like carolers so skillfully do, singing door to door, visiting the chain of identical houses, and the next chain, and the next, and the next, caroling a message to the heavens, singing to the world "Gloria." Then, a neighborhood made from plywood and cement arrives and on the front porches of the string of beautiful pink houses, as the song goes, of this Luke Warm town not too far from Balmy County which is near perfect weather, like the spring time tropics, of Climate City, which is where Mr. Spoil was headed off to in his slumbering, deep unconsciousness and the dead of the winter sleep of little old Cold Town.

Nick wasn't going to get caught alive this time. He had set up camp in the cafeteria, breaking all the locks to the lunch and dinner freezers and preparing meals for his followers. The prison food usually consisted of sausage links, mash potatoes, green beans, various beans, macronni, dinner rolls and greens for salads. The death row freezers usually had the same foods but the last meal selections were fanciers with items such as shrimp scampi, a variety of fish dishes, steaks, casseroles, and fancy deserts like ice cream, brownies and apple cobbler. Food wasn't the highest priority in a place were man was punished for ungodly and sinful acts. Food was dished out in smaller portions to the revolutionaries due to the fact that no new meals would be provided unless the outside authority responded cooperatively. The new message to the police force awaiting over the fence line was to send better foods, stuff like pizza, steaks, hamburgers and beer. Also, Nick wanted a gas generator to run more power and other supplies consisting of stereo system with music written by Johnny Cash. Also, he had a long list of medical supplies and other necessities like cigarettes, toilette paper and fancy dish ware, most likely just to piss them off. He also asked for a DVD player along with lengthy list of films staring Arnold Swarzenegger including Conan the Barbarian, Conan the Destroyer and the string of militant combat films. Nick was a Swarzenegger fan and he had the biceps to prove it.

Later, that night Nick wrote a second message, including lists, with other movie titles with DVD director cut selections, and sent it out to authorities with a beaten but alive hostage. The note was typed up on laser printer paper found in the main office. It was sparkled with splatters of blood and pinned on the hostage's guard shirt. The guard was beaten with Billy Clubs and handcuffed. Nick didn't hurt him too badly. He only had him beat for a few minutes so the police would understand he was somewhat civilized even though he was dead series.

One day till Christmas had arrived. Tom was smashed with the festivities down town. There was a light parade a mile long, something rare for the town of Worth. Also, there were Christmas lights decorated on every corner. Even the bank building was outlined in green and red. At the end of the parade Santa slowly rolled passed on a float composed of Styrofoam and cottony, fluffy puff. Tom didn't know the name of the white snow material that was used for the mock of Santa's hut and sleigh but he called it cottony, fluffy puff. He only had a couple of thousand in the bank and hotel fair was rocketing. He had a few days before hitting the Milan Gallery. It was closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas. He didn't have anyone to go to for Christmas day. No lover. No mother or father. No real family They were far off, North celebrating by themselves in North Maine, not too far from Canada. His Grandfather had passed away years ago and his siblings had moved to the outskirts of town and he didn't want to become encumber them with the weight of his sins. He was an evil man now, or at least he thought of himself as evil. Thievery is not a good life. It is not an occupation that you learn well in school or even in College. You can't take Thievery 101. It is a trade that is picked up in the black market from Gypsies or other thieves that have mastered the skill. If, Tom wanted to he could make a few hundred dollars during the season merely poising as a homeless man. It was one of his favorite tricks. All you had to do was walk on your heels and take tiny steps and mumble. All he had to do was buy some thrifty clothes at a thrift store, dirty them up and walk around on the side walk with a snotty nose and looked confused. He saw this one man walk on his heels and count backwards, a complete nut. He tried it one season at a airport and made a good two hundred even. All he did was balance on his heels and shake his head as if he had cerebral palsy or another debilitating disease that would catch the hearts of the good. It was low but it paid the hotel bill for the night. All he did all day, was go without food and walk on his heel muttering nonsense, counting help focus his thoughts and even get him really lost in his actions. He'd mix up numbers and pause and grunt like monkey, bounce on his heel, wipe his runny nose, grunt some more, and finally, open his hand and money would arrive. Right in his palm. A twenty. Sometimes a fifty. He mostly scored fives and hand full of dollar bills, but nevertheless, the money arrived. By the end of the holiday season he had enough dough to put him up for the week, not too mention a light grocery bill. Tom decided not to stoop so low this holiday. His last hit was a bank he had cracked open with a tribe of thieves up north in the big city. They climbed through a ventilation shaft and right into the outer side of the vault. The thieves, at the time, calling themselves rookies at the business, popped the vault with mild explosives, putty high-tech stuff used in the military during Desert Storm. Some thief named Tarry had copped it under the black market on some other gig while out of the county in Iran, or in the slums black market sections of Kuwait, back when the terrorist spied on our guys and handed out black market drugs, LSD, pot, smack, cocaine, and other illegal items, such as weaponry, bomb making devices and plans to make bombs, as roomer had it. The climb through the ventilation took a few hours alone. It was a smart, quick and sweet gig. All five thieves, just like all five senses, all had a separate job to do. Sarge was in charge of the sixth sense, he knew when the heat came and went. Some say he was psychic, those that knew him well, knew he carried a mobile broad band radio unit, FM/AM and P.I.G.M. (to our small thief click, that meant police officer radio frequency) in his inner jacket hidden pocket, hooked the earpiece in his ear unawares to everyone and everyone unawares to him and listened to the fuzz make house calls and other cat burglar attempts in the city district and even further areas. Some say he had they puppy earpiece hooked up to the world wide web, and could tell us what F-15 eagles where doing over in Iraq, or by a nearby Air Force base. Sarge was the legend around here and everyone worshipped his every dexterous attempt to create a larger mythic Greek God status of cat burglary on the block. Sarge was beyond a pro, hell some had it he was MP before his Desert Storm job was caught off by special intelligentsia back in the early 90's and before he turned on the political types, the balled, fat heads as he called them, and fell from the eagle and lay in the shadow of it's massive wing. Sarge's entire team, that cold and miserable Manhattan night, had to lube up with axel grease to squeeze through and flop out of the shaft, to skillfully land, in a New York Minute, like the catty cats they were, before the eight inch vault door.

No one was hurt. The explosive clay putty barely made a sound. It was loud, but not to an extreme degree, the decibel was not powerful enough to be heard on the street far below. No one could really pick up on it since it was in the big city and activated at four in the morning. The main thief, the head man, Wes, or Sarge, due to his Sergeant background and mythical status, was trained in the military; special forces unit, high up, no one talks about his past, in the Army and nearly became a lifer but decided to quit the services, plus he was caught red handed, literally red handed, after he assaulted an officer in a bar over a gambling bet, and rumor had it the fat skull he cracked had called his mother, "A Jewish whore," and fell into crime, after he was sentence jail time, of a year, for assaulting a officer of the law, undercover he was, that night getting drunk after a Marijuana bust, the entire house was literally laced with pot, the walls, the ventilation units, everything, and finally Wes Sarge, was released, for "Good Behavior and well, . . ." plus his purple hearts had shorten his stay at the Texas Prison; Huntsville. Sarge earned his name for escaping three times, heading up to a nearby guard bar, getting drunk and breaking back in to Huntsville, while the guards were unaware, but recognized him at roll call, due to the fact he had picked their wallets and bought them a few drinks, and hell, shot the shit with a few, before the next day, "That was you. My god. Inform the warden. I was having drinks with this Son of a wise cracker last night." The warden was damn impressed, "Whats your name Sergeant." "Wes. But the boys have to call me Sarge." "Like the sergeant." Wam. The warden hit the floor cold after Sarge layed him out with a twist of the torso and an elbow to the cheekbone. Jijitsu style. "No after my last name. Sarge. Mr. Wes Sarge to you." Meaning said he hated the military for getting busted his first time back from Iraw, at customs. Afterwards, after he layed the warden out cold with one swing, Wes, went by the nickname Sarge. "That's what they called my Peepaw. And he was meaner than black shit, and a son of a sailor man." Sarge was a big man with a downward snout nose. Some called him Weevil, instead of Wes, and rumour had it he liked that name, due to the fact he could vanish from a Texas Prison, and grease through the shit pipes, like that of the Curculiionoidea, the weevils, that are destructive to the preciousness of the earth and so was Wes "Weevil" Sarge, the meanest and smartest cat burgler in Manhattan. Mostly muscle, Sarge is. He taught Tom everything he knew. He was from the big city so he had a lot of practice at using his snout to dig up from the vaults that held the precious metals of the city. Tom made his fortune mulling. He was the sneakiest heroin mule in Mexico, he wasn't Mexican, but rumor around town, was that he could eat over seven balloons of black tar, and three large Enchiladas, with sour cream and chives but no red peppers and no green sauce. Green sauce gave him the runs. . And the last thing a mule wants is the farts. Especially when the farts could be intoxicating, literally.

The team, Sarge and his three buds, like a gritty, earthy platoon of weevils, Nick, Mr. Jane, The Eyes, (good with scopes from Germany, laser devices and excellent with deactivating security cameras) and Phil, The Touch, rolled out of the back, or slide through the ventilation system with two million hard cash. He was in charge for planning the escapes and the break-ins. It was his idea to go through the ventilation system, rumor had he nearly possessed a PHD in architectural design from NYU.

The total from Sarges team. Two million cold cash was the underground rumor. They rolled the bank bills into cylinder shapes, rapped it up in long translucent tubes made custom from plastic rubber covered, PVC pipe, lubricated with axel grease, or ivory dish washing soap, and hooked at end with fine horse hair rope, greased with the same combo, around each tube's end, pulling it through, one by one in a paced rhythm tube at time. The ivory soap was only used if they ran out of axel grease, and plus it was a good agent to clean up with. Each tube was no longer than three feet in length. About one meter, for Phil. He went by the metric system in measurements. Phil leaved in England most of his teenage years, hence, the educational background and wise ass mouth. "Hey, when we get home, this shit would be slippery enough to couple with a playboy and call to Phone Babes." Phil said, as Sarge covered his mouth with a handful of axel grease. "Shove it." Sarge said wiping the rest of the grease off using Phil lips as a makeshift towel. They were dry and big enough to do so. Phil had a ethnic background. No body could tell where he was from. Romor had it he was bi racial and mix of well, all the breeds, including Vietnamese, Native American, and Cuban. But that was just the word around town. Who know what he was. He looked like a fat prince with inflated lips. They decided to call the special tubes "Meters." They had used this crafty technique on three bank hits beforehand. It went well. No leaks, and well, the media didn't figure out who did. Before every hit, the Ears, Rusty Cambells, would set up, from his office, a pipe gig, for plumbing, or city water department, routine flush outs. This meant the sewage systems had to be re-piped. Rusty never left his office, or chair, and was given thirty seven percent. He was very good in math, and never got chipped out of any of the winnings. Rusty used his mouth to get us in the backdoors, and through the vents, and was well, connected to media, to prevent any leaks or to persuade any journalist from catching on to the "piping truth" of the hit. The idea for naming it a single Meter came from when Sarge was just a teenager, pick-pocketing and busting parking meters open with sledge hammers. It really didn't have to do with the size of the loaded pipe or its worth. Every pipe was over a grand in cold cash.

About the meter.

Each parking meter on the street, back in the golden days of pick pocketing and beer running snack bars, if busted open, the parking meter, could hold up to hundred dollars or so of coined money. Because of the street name for 'parking meter', for putting money in the meter, they tagged each cylinder as, "A Meter". Stealing hundred dollar bills, each "meter", or hollowed out cylinder, a meter long, could hold up to a thousand dollars in cold cash. Hence, each meter was around or over a grand.

Each cylinder looked very similar to a cylinder used in pvc pipe; when installing plumbing, but it was translucent, so each thief would know exactly which pipe was packed full of hundred dollar bills and which where not. Plus the light weight plastic pipes, if greased, ran smoothly through the ventilation shaft. The pipes where not very thick, and light weight, each pipe was a perfect vehicle for transporting the money in a swift manner. Each pipe, worth a thousand dollars in bills, were pulled through on a pulley system carrying filled pipes and returning empty pipes. It was like a subway system, only instead of people, the pipes held money. It took over a hundred pipes exiting from lobby and into the ventilator shaft and meeting the thieves on the other side, in the adjacent lobby, where the exterior glass, overlooking the street below, was cut out and the alarm deactivated. Coming and going, the pipes slowly filling with rolled bills, carrying the poor thieves into and up the latter of success. The bank was on the thirtieth floor of a huge skyscraper overlooking Central Park. Sarge's team used a window cleaner unit to pulley up thirty floors until they reached the Bank One Level. Sarge used window cutter to chisel in, the entire team, dressed in swat gear, climbed in without hesitation or a hint of doubt that they would escape Scot-free, without the trace of a scratch and Sarge's team did it. The hit was completed with full successful. It was a fool proof plan according to Sarge and his men. Tom figured he'd join them, sense, Sarge was once with the military and all. They were also equipped with infrared goggles and small head sets connected to mini-satellites for quick and clear communication. Clarity was a must on this hit. These guys were top notch professional out to hit a long lasting treasure. Two million in hard cold cash.

Tom was still living off the Meter hit. He was only back up on the run, so he was cut a easy hundred thousand. It lasted him only two years. He traveled on the money and used it to see the world, and he developed a expensive prescription drug problem. He got into mental drugs, like Zoloft, various anti-anxiety medication and even spent a few thousand on narcotics for relaxation like Xanex and valium. He put most of his money in stocks. Pepscoe and toilette paper. Tom figured every had to shit, and toilette paper was not a bad stock. He heard from one broker that mutual funds was not a bad bet. Tom threw away three thousand alone in that category. The stock market was so shaky after the eleventh that he lost most of it. It was nearly like black Tuesday for many high stock brokerage types. He decided to lock the rest of the money on a International bank, in a safe deposit box, on an island in Jamaica. He saved around ten thousand and decided not to get access to it unless he arrived in person. Tom did not allow himself to touch any of it, no ATM card, no checks and no way to reach the money from long distance. That way, if he ran out later on, he could simply fly off to Jamaica and spend the ten thousand any way he like, and get some crappy job and eventual retire. He never believed he could blow nine hundred thousand dollars in two years. But he did it. Many of the other thieves that heard about this two year spending spread called him a genius of his own kind. A pure genius. No one in his right mind could spend that much money. No one in his right mind. But Tom was far out of control. In one weekend he flew off to Vegas to gamble away over a hundred thousand dollars on the roulette table. And never did he once bet on black, nor the number seven. It was odd. It was as if Tom didn't want the money. It was as if he hated money. Despised it. It made him sick to his stomach. He liked to struggle. Part of him liked to work. But he was far too rich now. Far too filthy now, to work. He didn't have to lift wallets any more, or shop lift. Now, all he had to do, was fly around the world to different tropical islands, drink, buy whores, settle in a hot whirl pool, drink tropical rum, and buy expensive French and Italian diners. He was getting fat of his own success and the success was from being a thief. How could an evil of the world make someone a success. He felt ashamed of himself. One morning he awoke on some Virgin Island. He didn't even know the name. "Who the hell am I?" He asked the mirror. "You're a thief, Tom. A evil thief. And your going to burn in hell for this. Your killing her. Your killing her. Give it up." One morning, after a long walk along the beach, he went up to his room and took a bubble bath. Something about his skin didn't feel right, he no longer felt good. His eyes ached, his head throbbed, his soul was leaking out his ear. Something inside of him said he's lose it all. Everything he had thieved from the world. He stood before the mirror and stared at his body, his chest and his shoulders, his arms and neck. He had bought a membership next to the hotel, plus the spa, he was staying in top rate Hilton, Tom looked down at his sculpted body and realized he had stole that as well. "You pay for what you get." It wasn't him. It was someone else. He had stole someone else's body, someone else's life, someone else's ideas and was living like a king, but not the kind his God had chose for him, but a king that only existed in his mind, only existed on paper, only existed at this moment. Really, Tom was a homeless guy, really begging on the street, really walking on his heels, with real snot running down his chin, really begging for his life. Then, he turned away. "God what have I done." Don't stop now. The voice said. If you stop now, I'll take more than your riches away. I'll take everything you got. "Everything." Tom screamed at the mirror. "Everything?" Everything. Don't stop now, or I'll take everything you got. More than money. I'll take it all. Tonight would be his last night at the Worthington. His next plan would to shack up at a motel on the outskirts of town. He take a cab in a few days before New Years, and walk around town, until he was ready to hit the Milan Gallery. He change appearances at a back conference room at the downtown hotel. Dress up in his normal security guard outfit that the Milan gave him, to guard the precious painting and the head of Mary from the Pieta. It would be the most evil hit of all, and the most worthy. He had second thoughts about it, and figured God would prevent him from lifting it. But his belief was shaky, especially after his mind was made up. He pretended a thick rain cloud, would cover his actions from God, even though God wasn't proud of his sinful ways. He decided to hit the Gallery around nine pacific time, when the exhibit was most populated with onlookers. He would dress up in the security outfit Milan provided him to guard, in a back conference room, walk around town, eat a light dinner, he always ate light before a hit, most likely he order some chips at a Mexican restaurant near the gallery, so he could case the joint. He snack on the chips and sip on a water. He kept his mind clear before taking a place in public, plus, he was doing it before everyone, if the other guard caught on that he wasn't the guard for the night he would be busted and the plan would foil. He had to be sly. He had one advantage. It was purely an inside Job. He'd wait until he had the guts to make the hit and felt the heat of his back, and then, move in with the bag, walk directly to the vault, acting as if he was in charge, trip the alarm, simply buy shutting it off, he had the code because he use to look up each night, lift the head, place it in the bag, and hail a cab and off to Love Field with a one way fair to the distant tropics. In the mirror again he fell deep into his eyes, "Don't worry guy. Your inventive. The world is riding on it's own fate." He dressed into the security guard outfit, buttoning each button and saying to himself, "Your inventive. Your okay. This world is riding on it's own fate." He didn't know what it meant, but it was poetic, and it made since in some world, no matter the dimension, or reality. Somewhere, between the pages, the words fit, and the logic arrived. The thief was stealing away with more than a plan, more than the head of Mary, more than the debt of the devil. He was stealing away with an invention. An idea. Something that may change the world. He was trying to steal something holy, for the sake he didn't understand. He was lifting something that would help him gain nothing, nor would it advance him in anyway. He was free floating again, struggling, picking up ends, fitting bits together without a clue or without a cause. Tom Burnette was falling, falling, falling, rebelling, not just against logic, but against the intention of a thief. Rebellion. This thief was just about to lose it, and for once, in a long time, it felt right, even though it was wrong. REVOLT. It felt good, even though it was evil. Tom finished up the second to the last button and fastened the utility belt. He stared at himself in the mirror and gave himself a wink. "You get him kid." Reeeebeliooon. He always called upon the child in him before a hit. If he thought of himself as a kid, it worked better.

Tom was too smart for himself. He never shared his screwy ideas about the beginning of the universe and how the Big Bang was missing components and how ylem and it's inner parts composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons and how the universe was very hot, and cold, and how their existed another particle, outside of the initial high density of what was before the bang, and if that was the right track, what if something was before the big bang, this entity that existed before the inflation and how this missing particle reacted with the original sphere which was the seed of the beginning of time. He never shared what the missing particle was with anyone, hardly himself to be honest. the one that rebelled from the ultimate force and created what man now calls, music. The rhythms, of life, all motion was part of it's plan. All things, that were still, where one with the good force, the initial, the originator of what we called creation and now, motion, or the movement, the objects in motion, were the rebels of the goodness, the stillness, the oneness, of what many call God Almighty. God was the beginning and He will be the end. The alpha and the Omega. The initial force, the sphere, the starter of the Big Bang, understood the explosion, and planed it's freedom and it's never ending motion. Only at times, does the motion cease and the way of life returns in it's purest form, they way It was before existence, holds truth in it's utter stillness and calm nothingness. Now, we suffer in it's motion, in it's unending dance with confusion and the enmity of complete, wholeness and order.

This was one of the reason's for his thievery. He didn't fully understand, so he took what he felt would make him complete and one.

And in this desire, in this wish to be whole, he broke apart into many and fell from grace.

The hit was finalized in his mind. "Walk right in, remove the head, stuff it in the bag and walk right out, hail a cab and head to the airport. Whatever you do Tom Burnet, don't look back." Tom checked his eyes in the mirror one last time, checked his watch which read 8:46 AM and downed two twenty five milligram, orange tablets of Zoloft and exited the bathroom and down the hall to the elevators to prepare for the biggest robbery the town of Worth had never seen.

Who care what the poem meant. Who care if it made sense or not. That wasn't the point. Mr. Spoil had gone far in the world and now he was going to get farther. Now with his words. The life of a gardener, the life of a snow plow'er wasn't doing it for him. He wanted more. Greed made him write the poetic verse. Greed made him send to Greed made him embarrassing. Greed made him shameful. Spoil wasn't a genetic gift to womankind. Nor was a gift to any artist walking the streets of SOHO. Spoil was a fat slob. Wasting the sight of man. Wasting aesthetic pleasure of the body. He was a fool. A half fool, with a maggot's body. The only hope for him now was to get on some type of medication and give in. Settle down in some lonely apartment away from the care of Ann and Hairison. Hell, most likely he ruined their Christmas by eating up their food and asking for their care. He didn't know what a guest's limit were. Hairison would go out and buy a loaf of Wonder Bread and Spoil would eat half the loaf and leave a few slices for Ann and Hairison. He was too big of a pig to be unsuccessful. Soon, Hairison would get tired of his greedy pig nature and boot his ass out on the streets of Cold Town. Soon, Hairison would begin asking for rent. No. He'll never ask for rent, Spoil thought. Hairison is the nicest guy on the block. He took me in for the love of God. He kept me from going homeless. Hairison wouldn't do that. Not to me.

Spoil was from a hard part of Heat town. He lived alone, in a small pad on the far end of town, near the movies. He worked there as a projectionist and even made a living projecting the motion picture onto a silver screen. Spoil made a swell life in Heat town. After the movie house shut down, he moved North to Cold Town to live with his cousin, Red. After his cousin, Red, died of an overdose of Heroin, he was left in the cold near Main Street Cold Town. There was shelter there and he was going to stay there overnight, until the barber Hairison offered him a position as a gardener. He met Hairison after getting his hair cut at the local barber in Cold Town.

The black sky, filled with a string of stars, floating above Hairison's place, on top of purple and pink clouds illuminating from a crescent moon that hid far above the approaching dark ocean blues of the night sky skimming under. Around the puffy purples and pinks a light azure rain tore down in thick drops.

"Why don't you stay at my place and work in town shuffling snow. They are in need of a plower this year and we can pay ya, seven to ten an hour. Sound good?"

Spoil agreed that it would work out. "I'll even help ya with rent." It gave Hairison more reason to live. Caring for another makes life richer and worthwhile. Also, it gave Spoil reason to give his needy self to another. They were helping each other out. Hairison provided Spoil with shelter and Spoil read his poetry and kept him good company, ate his food with him and shared coffee and laughs at nights on lonely Saturdays when the sound of the cold December rain could wear tears in a man's eyes.

Spoil could easily destroy a poem or trip up an idea just by doubting his confidence of success. He wasn't as pure as most men, and most poets usually dedicate a slice of their time to trouble. He was current on the theories of the beginning of time. A few philosophers that he had a chance to watch on channel 13, on Hairison's mini television that was giving to Hairison several years back, revealed an explanation of the order and structure of the universe known as the String Theory. The string theory suggested that the universe was composed of eleven dimensions. Each dimension was connected through an order of strings. These dimensions could exist as close as particles exist inside an atom. Hence, the strings were surrounding our dimension and linking dimensions to other dimension that scientist had not yet witnessed of today's times. Most of the dimensions were closer than we suspected and in many cases overlapped our current existence. The big bang theory was attached to the string theory just as the inflammation theory and others theory explaining the beginning of time. There existed five theories and some scientist with a name that sounded like Wieden, or Wietten, suggested that each of the five theories were the same theory explained in a different manner. All five theories were compared to a cello player performing before five different mirrors reflecting the same theory over five different directions. The string theory advised new thinkers that worm holes and even jumping from dimension to dimension was actually possible. It was supposedly proved with logical math, and the math was supposed to work out beautifully. Hence, the dimension that Spoil lived in now, was actually connected to other dimensions. This explains the names of the rabbits and the correlation with Jackson, Roberto and Chuck. Perhaps, Jackson was a rabbit in Spoil's world, but in his world he was a prisoner learning literature on the internet in his prison cell. Perhaps, Chuck was a prison guard in Huntsilve but also, existing as a rabbit caged in Mr. Hairison's back yard. There was a connection between Hairison's caged rabbits and the prisoners in Roberto's world. After all, Tom Burnet had created Spoil, just as Roberto had created Tom Burnet. Each world was connected by it's creator.

Spoil no longer desired to steal car radio's, purses and various valuables from the interior of cars in the neighborhood. He no longer broke into garages and lifted tools and metals containing silvers. He quit that life. Now it was about thieving words. Now, he looked forward to a long walk to the local library, which was no larger than a small room. It was settled in the south part of Cold Town near the Fire Station , graveyard and storage units. Not far from the Fancy Tanning saloon and the pizzeria with supposedly authentically tasting pizza with Italian recipes. He decided to check out various books containing information about poetry. There was a little bit of knowledge in that room of books kept near the storage units. The room was about the size of a large bedroom. It had a screen door, a small information desk, no larger than a teacher's desk and a few book shelves with a large amount of old fiction from authors like Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickenson, Thomas Wolfe, Virginia Woolf, and Thomas Hardy. They had playwrights too. Everything from William Shakespeare and Marlowe, to Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Edward Albee, Sam Shepard and a healthy anthology of Samuel Becket's work, including the book Watt. He decided to check out a few plays by Samuel Becket and some How To Write Poetry Books, which he decided to turn in as he passed the book drop. There was no one way to write poetry, Samuel Becket, T.S. Elliot and Walt Whitman proved that there were no laws to verse or prose. That day, was long. It was a Sunday, so everything was quit, peaceful and calm. The wind's hardly ever picked up and Spoil had much time to contemplate his next move. He pondered over the idea of heading south back to the town of Heat. It might work out there, if he ran into his old friend, Bleu. Bleu was his buddy that got him turned on to poetry and even shared a few poetry reading with him in Bigger City. They drove over forty miles, for one poetry reading, that was supposed to of invited a few famous authors. Only one showed. His name was Ink Pen. It was his pen name. He wrote over thirty books in his lifetime and published every one of them. His poetry was simple and direct and very rarely did he impress his readers with fancy verse or complex syntax attached to high vocabulary. He claimed to write poetry because, "It freed him up from the complexities of the world." Ink Pen, had a long chin, wide eyebrows and a bushy beard that reminded Spoil of Moses. Many called him Moses as a nick name, because of his hairy beard. Rumor had it, he was nearly as rich as Donald Trump, due to the fact, that his favorite hobby was the stock market. He was a man that was not ashamed of admitting to the necessity of money and the desire of it. He agreed with George Barnard Shaw, "The evils of the world are brought on by the lack of money. Not the root of it." He claimed in one of his poems entitled Green Blood. He knew that the only thing a man needed in this world, to live comfortably, was dough. "Money not only makes the world go around, but it gets you laid." He was right. Without money, there was no way, any of us, poet, writer or any type of artist, was getting any. No money, no honey. That was the lay with Mr. Pen. Ink had it down. He knew what the ladies desired. So, he got on the stock market and made a killing, then, to ride out his wealth, he got hooked on words, verse and eventually started to read at nearby poetry readings. He was known to show up in a limo, dressed in a tuxedo, smoking European cigars, or some expensive pipe and tobacco he purchased in Czech Republic and hand out pastries he bought in Paris. He was a jolly man full of guffaws, and long stories about New York and the Stock Exchange. "Always put money in Home Depot and Coca cola. You can't go wrong with Coke. Americans will always buy houses, fix em up and drink Coke while their doing it. Coke and Home Depot. Can't go wrong with betting on those stocks."

Spoil went home after the library with Ink Pen on his mind. What a man. What a luxurious life he must of lived in New York as a millioniar. What would that be like. To have that type of cash. To be that damn rich. Shit, you be able to do anything. Wake up whenever you wanted. Fly off to some exotic island. See as many beautiful women as possible. Wow. Having that much would be heaven on earth. That would make a man evil. Spoil thought. And fame. Everyone knows who Ink Pen is. He is a world renowned poet. His face is on the magazine of every poetry magazine and his knew play hit it big on Broadway. Imagine that. To walk around New York city with the finest cloths a man can buy, and buy up the tastiest, delicate cousins dished up by the most skilled chefs of all the world. To be entertained by the greatest performer in the finest theatres of Broadway. I could be in Paris tomorrow talking with famous poets and other writers, that were once like me, stuck in a small cold town, with one barber shop, one grocery store, with one type of yogurt, one type of apples, one type of everything nearly. The only thing at my grocery store that has variety is the breads which are made by Mrs. Bairdes bread, Wonder and Harvest Farms. Its so bland here. Wow. To be like Ink Pen. I have the power to do that. All I need to conquer this poverty that I exist in is this pen. Spoil pulled out his round stic Bic Pen he bought at the Local Piggly Wiggly Mart. With this pen, I could rule my own world. Write my own rules. Write my own world that is and all in poetry. That's it. HE sounded as if he was selling himself an idea. An idea about the future, that he could believe in. An idea that would change his frame of mind about his miserable, petty little life in Cold Town. Now, he was going to get out. He didn't need to steal anything anymore. All that fast cash amounted only to food, and when he could afford it, rent. Now, it made him poorer. He was living with some stranger that he didn't really trust and he was starting to become grumpier and grumpier everyday. He was tired of not being able to pick out his food at the grocer store, even though there wasn't that much of a variety to chose from he still wanted to chose. And Spoil missed the freedom to shop, and to decide when it was time to shop, or decide what type of cereal he wanted to eat in the morning, and what he wanted to eat through out the day, or drink, or where to go, and to have reasons to get there. Days flew by, and he felt like a prisoner, on the end of a rope, being tugged along, and told when to open his mouth and when to swallow. This life wasn't his life any longer, someone else was living it for him. He wasn't telling the story, Hairison was. I shouldn't be this way. My life shouldn't be this stiff.

Spoil had lost his power to choose. He was no longer in control. Now, Hairison purchased his food. He never was asked for a list. Ann just brought food home, and she cooked the meals and when dinner was ready Spoil was informed that he was ready to eat, and he ate what was before him or he didn't eat at all. He had hit rock bottom. When life becomes this controlled, one begins to understand the life of a prisoner.

Spoil couldn't choose anymore and once a person freedom of choice has been taken away from them, then their freedom is no longer present in their life. Where was the freedom? Liberty had crawled under the rug and stock her smelly bottom of control in the air. He was getting bored with Mr. Hairison. Ann was growing on him, but she was headed back to the hospital in Big Town to finish up her interment and study to make it as an LVN. Spoil was planning on leaving if Hairison remained grumpy and controlling. But he figured Hairison wasn't doing this on purpose. He was naturally this way. Men are naturally greedy. It is the one worst and most common problem of the world. Greed, was the reason why he wanted to control Spoil. Hairison didn't mean to be a dictator, it was just in his nature to hurt him. Pleasure and pain became his associations with Hairison. The love in their relationship was fading and the only thing he could look forward to know, was one of Mr. Hairison's daughter baked brownies, or a gallon of milk that Hairison may bring home, or to dip into his grape nuts, or to go on ride with him to town. Spoil had something on his mind he wanted to get across to Hairison. "I want to go now." He would practice it in the mirror. "I am leaving. I'am to old to walk the streets but I don't care. I have become nothing living over you and I want to become a famous poet, so I'm headed to Big Town to read my from my journal. I don't care if it kills me Mr. Hairison." Of coarse now he wasn't talking to Hairison but rather to his reflection in the mirror. It took practice. No it didn't take practice. That was a lie. He was lying to himself. Spoil was stalling for time. He knew the walk to big town would nearly kill him. First, he had to. . .first he had to. . .he didn't know what he had to do first. He could steal his keys, but that would get him in more trouble, even jail time, possible time in the penitentiary. Life was becoming more and more stale. But if he got away, he would really understand the words, he would really understand the meaning of this limited but limitless life. Maybe that is what God wants me to be. A wanderer. A person on the streets, selling his words to passer-bys. Perhaps, I should leave without telling him. If I let him go, maybe he'll give me a ride to the airport. If I make it to the airport, I could bum money until I save up for a flight out of here. But I am merely running from my problems if I do that. Spoil couldn't make up his mind. But I can't stay trapped up in this attic, or could I. I could die here, alone. I could have a heart attack, alone, with out love, with out the security of another's arms. I could just wither here with my useless poetry, and Hairison could just move away and leave my ass here. I'll be alone. Surely Ann won't take care of me. She is too busy with the hospital and the restaurant and her dream of making it to LVN. I got to get away somewhere. Anywhere. Then, a troubled smile lifted across Spoil's flabby face. He sat the tooth brush down, next to the small puddle of water that leaked off his hand, as he turned the facet off. The truth brush crashed over and sent the paste sliding off on the vertical wall of the transition of the bathroom sink. He was beat. All this wishing to leave Hairison places had driven him into a messy ball of anxiety and pressed tension. He was constantly wishing to leave, but going nowhere. He was Go Go (Estragon) and Di Di, (Vladimir) and his poetry reminded him of Lucky or the raving cries from Lucky's fat keeper the Pot Head, P o z z o. There was nothing in Big Town but endless paved side walk leading to the same thing, the same attic, the same loft, the same small room, with another empty journal, with perhaps, a new idea, to change something that most likely will change anyway. He wanted to be part of the game by going to Big Town, but he was just as great in Cold Town, alone, with his words in his tiny journal, caressed by his small hands.

Spoil was going to steal his liberty back by writing a poem that would fly him to the Big City. That was his only chance out of this dull misery of monotonous snow plowing, sitting around the house snacking toward death, reading the paper and listening to Hairison complain about his rusty razors at the shop. Ann was leaving in the next few days. She was headed back to the Big City to complete her nurse training.

"Well, Dad. I hate that I have to leave by Sunday. It was nice staying. I can't wait to return and get started at the Hospital." Hairison was currently bent over, scratching his ass, and exploring through the refrigerator. "Did you get mayo when you were up at Piggly Wiggly?" Hairison asked. There wasn't a moment that went by that Hairison wasn't asking her for a condiment, or some type of bread she had forgot at the corner store. "No. I forgot the mayo. Oh. Do you want me to drive back in town to pick some up?" Hairison shook his hand at her implying that she didn't have to drive back. Then, he walked over to her, with a half made sandwich in his hand, kissed her on the cheek and said, "I'll miss ya too honey." It was almost as if they were husband and wife. "How long is your guest going to stay." Spoil wasn't in the room when all this was going on. He could here every word, every foot step and smack of the lips. "I don't know. I guess as long as he is a help around the house, and as long as he starts paying the grocery bill." Spoil's eyebrows raised. Now he was a paying customer. "Shoot. I got to pay for food now." "Do you make him pay rent?" "Not yet." Hairison informed her. "I not that cruel. He is just an old drifter. He'd be homeless if we didn't take him in. He's good help around the house though. And his gardening work is near professional. Plus, the town says they haven't had a better snow plow man in the last decade, since Burt died of colon failure." "Burt's colon failed." "Yep. Ten years back. Doctors couldn't save em." "What was wrong with his colon." "It just failed him. They tried to repair it, but they couldn't save him." "What happened to Burt's colon again. Was it cancer?" The conversation was getting repetitive about Burt's ass. What do I care about Burt's ass. I don't know Burt, more or less his ass. So he had colon failure, big deal, you know how many people's colon's fail a day. Spoil was getting bitter about the colon talk. Spoil leaned over and spied out the window. No one was coming or going. No car. Not even a sign of car. Not even the slightest hint of civilization out there in the snowy lawn. The stars sprouted up and scattered throughout the blackened sky. It was as if a the universes largest salt shaker had sprinkled the opaque sky with glowing speckles of silvery salt, "So it was cancer. It sounds like your talking about Colon Cancer." Still on the colon, Spoil raised an eyebrow at there nagging about the dead fried Burt. "Was it Burt Johnson, or Burt Swan." "Burt Swan who else." "You sure it wasn't Burt Johnson?" Ann replied. "Burt Johnson died of Testicle problems." As if Hairison really knew any way. "What was wrong with his testicles?" "I don't know, one of them grew too large and busted." "His testicle busted." "Or it fell off." "Testicles don't fall off Dad." Ann said in an angry voice. "You don't know do you?" "Burt Swan died of Colon failure, Burt Johnson died of Testicle Cancer, I believe." A quite moment filled the room. Spoil could feel his chest rise up and down, and his breathing became a little more labored. He was getting excited. He wanted to know if it was testicle cancer. "It wasn't testicle cancer. I remember now. Jenny told me." "You knew his wife?" Hairison said with a horse voice. They where actually yelling over the nonsense. "YES, I KNEW HIS WIFE." Ann said. "I was close to the Johnsons." "How close." "I was dating their oldest son and nearly married him. His father died years back, of heart failure." "Heart failure. It wasn't heart failure. It was testicle cancer." "It was his heart. His son told me." "He was embarrassed. It was the testicles." "Heart." "Testicles." They began chanting back and forth like two fencer's stabbing at each others vitals. "Heart." Ann commanded. Hairison winced back on fire. "TESTICLES." "Heart." She insisted. "TESTICLES." He roared. "HEART" She insisted again. "TESTICLES." "HEART." "TESTICLES." "HEART." "TESTICLES." Hairison took a large breath. His belly swelled the size of a over pumped up beach ball. "TESTICLES. THE MAN DIED CAUSE HIS BALLS FAILED HIM." "His heart failed him." "Balls." "heart." They continued on like two school children harping on one another at the back of the school bus. Finally laughter filled the kitchen. Ann was guffawing so loud she nearly fell to her knees. Hairison overlapped her with hacking chuckles and sneering side aching giggles. began to laugh at their childish behavior. Spoil covered his mouth too. He was so embarrassed for them. Why would anyone value other's death so much. They were clawing at each other like cats. "Forget it Dad. I don't care how he died." "You don't" Hairison said with tears in his eyes. "No. I don't." She walked over to him. "It could have been his balls or his heart. It doesn't matter. As long as your still here with me. Lets not fight. Lets be friends again Dad." "Well, you act like you know everything." "Well I don't Dad." She hugged her father and took him out on the front porch. "Cigarette break." She said in a low, care free easy flowing voice. She was lose again and ready to attend the holidays. They sat on the swing chair that Dad had sat up two days back for the New Years party. "In two days it will be New Years. You know Christmas just flew by. I barely even remember it." Spoil could here the squeaking admit from the hinges of the new swing set. "You like you Christmas present." She referred to the swing set with her elbow. Her father put his arm around her and gazed up at the milky way. Above winking back at them was a large gathering of a family of sparkling angels floating in the endless night sky.

Spoil floated off to sleep, hearing Ann and Hairison's voices echo back and forth at each other, "Testicles, testicles, testicles." "Heart, heart, heart." A bizarre but small smile flipped up on his snoring face. "Testicles, testicles, testicles," "Heart, heart, heart." The swing set fell still as Ann dozed off onto her Father's strong shoulder. He put his arm around his daughter and his eyes began to water. This was Hairison's best Christmas since Mrs. Hairison was alive.

Spoil snored as his face twitched and he flipped over to his side and took in a larger breath. His breaths increased triple in size and his heart rate slightly sped up and pattered. His eyes rolled to the back of his head and he began twitching around like a mouse with his tail caught in a rodent trap. "Testicles." "Heart." The voices repeated in his head over and over again. He had never had such a strange and interesting dream in his entire life as devout snoozing fool.

This beat the old days when Spoil had to survive washing windows at the local drugstore. And it beat the time he once had to wax, spray, clean and dry fancy cars at the neighborhood carwash, or push a lawn mower in the summer to make rent. He was a young Spintrius selling his fresh body to older women, impressing them by raking their lawns, scrubbing out their bathtubs or rearranging the interior of their garages. He sold to them what they did not have, nice bodes. Fat ladies would hire him to do their windows, or walk their dogs, or plan their flower beds full of flowery exotic blooming botanicals, or deliver their morning newspapers, or for the really older ladies losing their eye sight, read the papers to them, and that is how he got hooked on words, and began playing with verse and eventually mastering the art of poetry. Words became his friends, and his only escape. He was a suppressed Spintrius and tired of ending up sleeping with these older ladies, in their late thirties, past their prime, tired of their fatty husbands and slow uneducated brains. He had education, his mother was a school teacher and taught him well. Plus, he took some college in his time. A few classes in politics and a heavy load covering World Masterpieces from the Norton Anthology and even a few science classes to help him understand the world better.

Mr. Spoil curled up with his army green sleepy bag he had bought long ago from the Army and Navy Store. The one he had before that was a loaner from a sheriff he had run across years back, when he was hiking from Heat to Cold. He left one morning and decided that the town of Heat had nothing for him. The little voice in his head told him that he shouldn't. Your too old. You'll never make it. He was too old too. Life was creeping on him. One could see it's wear and tear across his face, embedded in wrinkles, thick, deep lines and wilting hair. His eyes no longer radiated with the intense brightness they had once did years before, when he was in his prime. Now, Spoil was close to his gray sixties. Three more years and he would slowly land on the number sixty. Sixty years old. How dreadful that number was to him. That was the year one retired and laid back from work, and meditated on the meaning of their lives and the worth of the end, and eventually they come to accept the end.

Spoil listened to the Hairison's brand new cuckoo clock tick and twist, tap and tock and thump through the heavy drowsiness of the night. He compared the thumping of the cuckoo to his own rhythm of his heart. Ticking away toward the last tock to end it's precious and only time.

The train passed. Very rarely did it come by. It was roaring at full blast. Screaming away like a made child. Spitting sparks and scrapes from it's steal sides like a mad bull charging full ahead, no doubt of mind, no fear, far from slowing, or ceasing in gaining speed, frightening by the blasting from a thunder strike, and never, ever, no matter what happened, to look back. Straight ahead it dominated time and space, never once stumbling or hesitating from taking it's existence before it's iron laid path. A thick, hard, rambling steal bull with enraging hatred toward any object that stood before the rails, the train commanded ahead. Raaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh. It hissed and hollered as it banged away over and over again, until it's entire spine connected by a hundred and three railway cars, clicking and clanking by with lightning speed. Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh. Its ghostly cry set fire to the ears of Spoil. He duct under the sleeping bag, at first, shying away like a frightened little boy, alone, naïve, scared of the monster that tempted him to look at the window. The monster that once may have hid under his bed. The monster that made him check the closet, keep the doors locked, and kept his toy box sealed shut. It was the voice of this very monster he engagingly, alluringly and awesomely feared for as long as he was taught such beasts existed. He was never for sure, not hundred and one percent sure that monster did not exist. They could exist. It was possible. God was possible wasn't He. Christ ascended to heaven didn't he. Why wouldn't a monster be possible. A man, entitling himself as the Creator of the Earth and Heavens, Lord of mankind, King of all Kings, claimed he was the Messiah, and walked on water, and preached the Word of God and died for our sins, once existed, now didn't he. A man that conquered death, healed the sick and cast demons from the possessed, resurrected the dead, and even went to hell only to return and pass on His word. He was our creator and sent His only begotten son to die for our sins on the cross. And He, God, was in our form, a man, to die, for us. That was possible now wasn't it. Why wasn't a simple monster possible too. Spoil was sure it wasn't the train. It was something more. Snow flakes tapped on the window. For one second, it sounded like a thousand little hands scrapping on the glass. A thousand little hands, from the little children lost in the wind. It was the children lost in the window. The lost boys flying through the night, casting their little shadows across icy fields below sparkling from the light of the pale moon. It was a collection of beast hovering past, as big as a train, as mighty and fast. Spoil had to see. He had to see quick. Quickly as he could he sat up to catch a glimpse of the passing noise.

It was the train. Nothing more. The last five railway cars clicked by. The last car read Sante Fe. It was a train headed south, most likely emptied of cattle from Heat Town. Heat Town was famous for their cattle drives of the past. The town still raised and sent out beef from it's pasture. Loaded on a hundred cars for the industrialized towns that consumed it like wild, hungry carnivores. It was over hundred railway cars, emptied, most likely of beef, and wheat and possibly barely. All those mouths to feed, all those hungry children thirsting after life, longing to grow. Someone had to feed the North. It was southern cars. Cars from hands that invented the notions of hospitality. The north wasn't as greedy as the south. No place was as greedy as Big City. Big City was one of the oldest towns in the north, full of business men, sky scrappers, subway systems, manmade forests in the center of the concrete mountains, sidewalks that never ended and a army of greedy executives out to reinvent the wheel, over and over again, for the all mighty dollar. The almighty green. Millions upon millions of empty railway cars headed back to the south to refill and fuel a city composed of pure greed and a bottomless pit of hunger and disease. No of this will ever end. Spoil thought. The hunger goes on and on. More and more die every day. Man or animal, someone or something has to pay for all this slaughter. Somewhere down the rail road, passing each wooden tie, he could hear the last car hiss into the cold dark wind, into the thick black night and even under the sleeping bag he could hear the rattle of loose bones, the babyish whines and cut off hollers of the dieing cattle, and surprisingly enough, sharply smell the traces of the carcasses, leftovers of the beefy feed, the rank of the hides and the spirit of the dead.

Roberto was a big eater. He had the largest appetite in the prison but rarely exercised it. He rarely ever fulfilled such a bottomless hunger. He never got the chance to. Didn't have the time. The most he could eat in thirty minutes was a plate full of what the cafeteria servants served. Plus he didn't have time to eat that much. Thirty minutes was his limit. That was the time allotted to prisoners in that particular sector. "Eat as much as you can in as little time possible." That was the motto in the cafeteria in the state prison. Now that the revolt had ended all authority he decided he take longer meal breaks and eat more while he did it. The cell's where reopened. Nick had established freedom among all the other prisoner. He, Jackson and Chuck had the privilege to explore any part of the prison they felt suited to visit. The cafeteria was open twenty four seven and food was dished out in however large of the quantity desired. The value of the food had improved since Nick demanded more attention and better meals for his new people, as he called them. The New People were no longer treated as prisoners but rather treated like any other citizen. They deserved better water, food, clothing, and since shelter had been established, better entertainment. "After water, food, clothing, sex and shelter are achieved the next thing a person needs is a good movie, or some form of entertainment. Once all your needs are met, nothing more to do, but read, watch TV or go to the movies." Jackson told Roberto. "What about work." Roberto asked Jackson. "That's why were in here. We didn't work out right. If we all had good jobs we wouldn't had to steal, kill or plumage to be in here." "Good word." Roberto congratulated Jackson for using more weighty vocabulary. "Nothing makes sense unless you work. Work makes the mind think in an orderly fashion." Chuck announced. "Hell, I'm in here, and I was working while I got trapped in this shit. Now, my job has made me a fulltime prisoner." "You should have been one anyway, Chuck." Roberto informed him. "I didn't plead guilty in the court of law, why should I be trapped now." "Talk to Nick about that." Jackson said. Luckily, Roberto provided Chuck with an extra uniform he had tucked away for a rainy day. He had copped it from laundry in order to sleep in it. Luckily, Roberto was anal about what he slept in. He kept an extra pair of yellow overalls. The extra uniform was Roberto's makeshift pajamas. He hated to sleep in his prison uniform and have to wake up smelly the next day. If it wasn't for that extra prison uniform most likely Chuck would have been executed by one of Nick's people. The hallways were pretty much emptied. Most of the prisoners had gathered in the cafeteria or on the TV halls. The TV halls were where the prisoners gathered to play cards, free lift with weights or watched programs on TV. The life of a prisoner was pretty bland. It began with a duty, like cafeteria duty, laundry duty, or working in the basement factory, refining metals and what not. Also, they had a choice to take some time to read or study online in the computer rooms that were sat up near the TV hall. This was only a privilege, and one had to be on best behavior to win time to use the computers.

"Hell, I would of went homeless if I didn't get caught stealing." Jackson informed Chuck and Roberto that if it wasn't for his rape conviction he would, "Been freezing oud on da street. Shee dat bitch deserved id anyway. It was her reason I'd loss my job and was begging Grandma for dough. I was starving and she wouldn't let me in. So I broke the glass to her front bedroom, crawled in to look for her purse, she came out of the bathroom with a towel on her head, and only a towel on her head. I was crazed and on a hit of acid while I decided to do her. I had screwed her over hundred times before, why not screw er again. So I did and the court didn't like that. I told the jury we had made love for years and years. Hell, she was fixin to be my next wife. She just didn't want me fucking her at the time, but hell, when you go hungry and your on drugs, you get kinda horny. So I did her in. Afterwards she called the pigs on me and they busted me. Freakin bitch." "So, now your doing time for her, just cause you couldn't wait for her permission." "A women's got the right to protect her body." Roberto informed him. "She's got the right to say No. And when she says no she means no." "That's what no means no means." Chuck said. "Yeah but she had said yeah before." "Well, what happened in the past is what happened in the past." Chuck said again. "True." Roberto agreed. "A women has the right to make the final decision." "Your entering her, she's not entering you." Chuck announced in a matter to fact manner. "I guess I screwed up." "You damn right you screwed up. Now your in prison. Rape is a very series crime." "Crime against humanity." Roberto said. A silent moment filled the room. Jackson began to shake a little and even his face had turned red. It looked as if it was going to split open and rip apart. He was about to bust. It was only a matter of seconds until he was going to burst into tears. "You know what you did was wrong." Roberto said interrupting him from continuing with the graphic story. "Yes." Jackson agreed with him. A moment of clarity washed over his face and his eyes grew clear and widened a bit. "Yes. I knew it was wrong. She was screaming and kicking her legs. It was the hardest. . ." A knot formed in Jackson's face and a steaming burning crick arrived in his throat. Tears began to role down his face. A realization had entered the room. ". . .thing I ever tried to do. And I don't know why I did it." "Cause if felt good." Roberto said. "That's why we are all in her. We wanted to feel better." "Well, it gets cold out, you go hungry and you don't want to be cold or hungry anymore. You want. . ." His bottom lipped began to tremble uncontrollably, "You wanna be warm." Chuck said. "Its more than that. Its more than being warm or filling up your belly. It's deeper than that. Anyone can do that. Anyone can eat till there full, or find a warm place to sleep. I wanted more than that. I wanted her to look at me. To hug me. I wanted. . .I wanted. . ."to be loved. You want to be loved." Roberto finished it for him. "Yeah. I guess that's it. I wanted to be love." Jackson repeated him. His voice seemed to echo down the hall. "You think Nick wants to be loved." Roberto continued. "Maybe." Just then a scream lingered down the hall. Someone sounded as if they were being beaten with a stick. Most likely it was Nick's gang pounding on some guard, or some prisoner that challenged him and his orders.

Nick order in the Cafeteria was totally spawned for totalitarianism. He sat at one of guard balcony in a lunchroom chair decorated with tinsel and other various colorful cloth, mostly in gold colors and dark browns, to look similar to a Medieval thrown. Most of the other prisoner laughed at it, but they were never caught chuckling before the master Nick. One had to address him as "The Great One Nick" Or, "Master Nick." No one ever just called him Nick, unless they were but pals with him. Jackson, Chuck and Roberto decided to check out his set up at the cafeteria. The place was basically trashed, covered in spoiling food, old coke cans, beer cans (not much of that, due to the fact it was entering the prison from the service of the SWAT team and other hostage specialist camped outside the prison walls) His eyes were completely dilated. Most likely he was abusing a substance. Jackson guess, "Coke, Speed or Pot." Most likely it wasn't marijuana, that was the hardest drug to get into the prisons, mostly because it was the drug of choice among most inmates. The second most popular drug was prescription pills for sleeping, downers and various feel good drugs like heroin, cocaine, and or crystal meth. Nick had four security guards tied to the chain-link fence once used to separate the front food line from the body of the cafeteria. It was used to close off the kitchen area after food was to be served, if it was the usual condition which it was far from being at the present moment due to the madness of Nick. Nick had the security guards nicely tied to the fence with a dog chain, most likely used for the drug dogs (German shepherds)and their ankles tied with chord. Occasionally Nick would nurse the guards beer, or water ever other hour. The guards eyes looked drained of life and their bodies hung limp against the chains. If it wasn't for the chords and dog chains bonding them to the chain link, they'd be knocked out on their ass, or laying face down. It looked as if they had been beaten with ax handles, lead pipes or other blunt objects found in the utility basement near the underground factory for refinement of metals for license plates.

The new year had arrived. 2004 was here. The electric blinking ball touched down in Time Square on the cheap television set in Tom's motel room 2b. Tom was all alone. No women to wrap their hands around him. No lady to kiss, or whisper "I love you honey" in his ear. Nothing, no one, zilch, nill, null, nothing. And in the motel on the outskirts of Worth, he sat staring at the tube with a half lit cigarette smoking away between his index finder and middle finger. A cigarette wasting away to burn him, awake him, lift him once again into existence. An image itched at him. Something called to him from deep within. It cried for him to get back into the game, to stop watching the pointless tube and focus in on life. To become one with reality, kick in and get the job done, like a real man, or thief, or whatever the hell he was supposed to be, and do whatever the hell he was supposed to do, or be. Someone commanded him to wake up, being God, or the devil, or some unknown force in the distant galaxy, something wanted him to exist and take action. The old head of Mary appeared in his head again. The old head of Mary from Pieta, alone like him, in a vault of his own mind, tucked away, captured, and readied to be his. His for the first time. It would soon rest in his black backpack that once held the literature of the world. The literature he would study. The masterpieces of our time. He would snatch it and tuck it away in his black back pack, all his, without anyone else's touch, gaze or desire. No one would be able to look at that particular bust again. Not a soul. Only Tom Burnet. But it wasn't the bust of Mary he needed. It was someone far above a statue, far above an image, far above this useless world, this useless waste of a place. It was God. He needed God's faith, not the stature at all. Or would the head of Mary make a difference. He didn't care any longer. Now, he only cared about snatching it and keeping it far from the eyes. Nothing that beautiful and that whole should be able to be looked upon. Not any longer. He was going to take it to the distant island, far away, cast it into the ocean, for no one to see but the fishes below the sea.

Roberto had his flings in his time. Women and he did not mix any better than water and oil. He had very bad luck with gals. One time, after college, after he returned from his studies at the college in New York, he was accepted to a prestigious leftist college for the extreme liberals of the states. He studied performing arts there, but always wanted to be a writer. He had charming looks and a decent body, much more than the average overweight, overworked American, so performing the story was much easier for him then sitting down at a typewriter, or cramping his forearms trying to execute a story in freehand. Performing was more exciting than chaining your wrists to a typewriter for the sake of the publics intellect. In performance, as well as dance and theatre arts, the performer is active, living before the reader, or the audience per se, and he or she is far more alive and thirsty for life, than any cooped up writer trying to reinvent the wheel over and over again, with more or less the same vocabulary, minus the genius of Faulkner, or the creative ingenious mysteries and original rhythms of the master storyteller Edgar Allan Poe, the most literary professor extensively and satanically screwing young students entering graduate school and trying to make way into the world more or less barely begin a future career in the arts. No one is more jealous of an artist than a professor of literature, creative writing, performance, poetry, dance, or art or any other type of fine arts. On the other hand, no one is more supportive and proud of artist than a professor of literature, creative writing, poetry, dance, or any type of expression or, art, or any other type of fine arts. Yes, this happened to Roberto, before prison, before the first book, before he became a worldly success and icon of the literature. He became a devout envious student of the masterpieces of the world. He hated the fact that Faulkner's vocabulary, memory of the Civil War and other facts and Poe's grip on horrific patterns of rhythm and the nature of terror, it made him cringe that these writers, so devoutly internal and in a way that was unexplained and almost evil. It was insanely unreal that any of these writers did it all on their own. But we see that as true. We take it as so, that Faulkner and Poe wrote each word, invented each character and twist and fact or fiction, it all, every comma and period, in Faulkner's case no period, he never read a writer so prolific and in touch with syntax and the flow of a story and the free association, and prolific use of verse and prose and far beyond the stream of conscious, it was almost more pure and godly and more biblically than the deepest and richest section of the bible, this was Faulkner a man with a mind like no others, he was far beyond the storyteller, he was a story himself, unfolding a mystery of time, nature and the patterns of man and thought, he had unlocked a sense of storytelling that was more impressive than the nuclear bomb. Yes, Faulkner almost had Poe beat. Poe was known to use poetic license, but Faulkner forged his and invented a new shade of what most think of as poetic or musical. It was as if blood had arisen from the pages and the story had formed before the reader, live in flesh, thought and speech.

Yes, Roberto was envious of writers like these. Writers with so much power and beauty. Writers that could dig up the bones of the story and slowly rebuild the dead into the flesh and perfection God had, perhaps during a minute second of his creation meant for them ever be, but somehow decided it shouldn't last. Not forever. That is what Roberto wanted. Forever. A desire that can not be escaped nor denied, nor completely understood. He wanted to last forever and this was the most impossible dream that any man could dream.

Morning rose on Cold Town. The train rushed by ticking away again and again at the same old train like rhythm. Roaring and cutting away at the track sparks flew to the sides. The train had to make a slight turn near Hairison's house. Only slight enough to cook up a few sparks. "Sounds like Rain." Spoil said under his breath as he stretched to the morning dawn hanging out the window over the distant rooftops of the cold, icy town. Snow had covered everything in a frosty, sparkling white. All the rooftops looked like icing on the top of a wedding cake, glistening and mouthwatering. Spoil was thirsty due to the deep sleep winter had slung on him. Hairison and Ann had not awaken yet. He didn't smell the morning coffee, nor did he hear them chatting, or the sound of the microwave beeping, or the toaster unloading fresh waffles, or the aroma of eggs, donuts or hot oatmeal, butter and jelly. They were still snoozing away under a thick mound of sleep. It most be dawn. Spoil thought. Usually their up an hour after dawn, to get the paper and fed the pet rabbits in the back yard, or the front porch cat, whatever it's name was.

That morning Spoil wondered out in the front lawn in a nearly half conscious state. His eyes drooped down as he stepped off the front porch and headed past the fumitory plants tucked away and blooming in the front garden. The sleep had overcame him. He was barely in reality, barely in the morning sun, a barely clothed in the approaching light of day. Spoil slid in a half step and regained balance and once of consciousness but, but he was not fully awake, not fully there, not fully. The icy air puckered his bare nibbles and his buttocks clenched in little spasms. He turned around to face the house and ponder over his exact location. Was he home now, a boy, wondering around in the front yard looking for Smokey, that ol' mutt, that big collie, pure brown as earth fur and wide bid dog eyes, and a fluffy, flag style tail that waved proudly behind him exhibiting his happy canine state. No, Smokey wasn't around. No were to be found. Lost like he was. Naked, standing bare naked in Hairison's front yard awaiting for the day to hit his eyes again. Spoil was still asleep, in a deep state of somnambulism. His ramble, the somnambulated shuffle, humped him off the front porch and into the stingy ice cold slush that held it's particular frozen constitution in the midst of the old front garden and the front section of the lawn. He was slowly scooting, step by step to the mailbox, awaiting the sun rays to spray over the tips of the pointy rooftops leering on the skyline and across the front street leading to town. Cold Town was currently being sprinkled with a slight snow slurry. Thousand of angelic crystals fell upon the front lawn in an ever changing dance that had no pattern, no timing, no sense of direction, or any fixed pace, but never ending, nor hesitation. The snow, almost angry now, just kept falling, almost breathing a cool breath, hurrying upon the ground like the falling, billowing shrouds of snowy ice that already rested on top of the, once emerald green lawn. A snow covering what was once envy with life and jealous with cumbrous endless growth of nature, constantly being trimmed by lawn mowers of the summer, in that heat of July, when Hairison once sat on the old wood bench with his daughter on his lap, and a tall plastic clear glass of lemonade, and warming to his her laughs. Laughing at the changing swing of the rusty earth colored leaves, Leaf by leaf, twirling and spinning in a crazed and almost dizzy flurry, falling, falling to summer green ground, now covered in a frosty cake of white cold.

It was a year ago when Tom joined up with Sarge's team for a second fortune. This time Tom missed out on the healthy portion of the meat.

Tom had met up with a group he had shared the adventure with robbing the bank in the Big City. It was Sarge's team. Now, the group had changed up a little bit from there first excursion back in the day of the Bank One days, when they lifted the two million from the vault. Mr. Jane was a ball headed dude with the mentality of a field grunt. He had a little experience in the marines and was once a point man for recon. He even climbed his way up to sniper, so he had steady hands. Steady hands were hard to come by in these days where pharmaceuticals and prescription drugs, that half the country was on. Mr. Jane didn't touch antidepressants or illegal street drugs that gave the user the shakes, like cocaine, angel dust, black tar, meth, speed, crystal, heroine, or even weed, He was free from the feel good mentality and had his head on straight. The gang was back together again, and only a year after the initial hit. Mr. Jane composed a plan to knock off an art gallery in the heart of Soho. It was an exhibit passing through works by Jackson Pollock, Van Goghs, and even had a few Salvador Dalis. The entire hit would leave them with over five billion in art work. They hold the items in the black market to latter sell to collectors shopping in the underground. Mr. Jane wanted to do the hit for practice and because the exhibit had a cheap alarm installed with Home Depot parts. It would take under an hour to pull it off and they pay off the helpers, two thousand each in cold cash. They weren't hitting a joint that was heavily secured with real security, nor where they threatened, or risking incarceration. It was worth the try, Tom thought. Tom met up with Sarge, Mr. Jane, and Nick. Wes, or Sarge passed over a large cigar he had been puffing on for few moments. "I think the art hit is brilliant. Will run off with a fortune." Nick was a hefty man, with a thick beard and a thin set of bifocals. He talked in a rusty voice and usually had a ounce or two of liquor on his breath. Mr. Jane had long legs, muscled body, with a chisel chin and bushy eyebrows and for some unknown reason he stuttered and coughed while in conversation. The coughing was more sparked by a nervous reaction rather than he hacking up real phlegm. Mr. Jane was called Mr. Jane because of the sweet smelling cigarettes he loved to smoke. They were the type of cigarettes that left your mouth dry and aching for a snack, or some nutrition. Mr. Jane was the smartest of the gang, he was almost as intelligent as Burnet. The last man was Phil. Phil once was a jazz musician and had a college education, most likely he stole. He was the youngest and quickest of the group. He was born into crime, his father was a street hustler and his father before him. Phil was raised in the south section of Brooklyn and spent some time in Los Angeles. Believe it or not he had a non regional accent and used the language of an educated doctor. The team hooked up at abandoned coffee bar called The Shelter. The Shelter was a place young poets would hang out to do a read, or trade work over cup of Joe and smoke. It was a round room, with bent bay window covered in curtains. The tables were all round and their was a old stove in the center for hit. On the south side of the room stood a small stage with a few special for spotlighting. Before the microphone rose a small music stand for written text or poetry. The entire joint was designed for reading poetry and serving coffee. ON the north side of the café was a U-shape bar with a cappuccino maker and small troupe of electric coffee makers, no more than six and the seventh was an old fashion and overly sized drip, the kind that was popular in the fifties during the Beat days. It was used for when professional poets arrived to sale out crowds. Those type of poets claimed it was the only machine, besides the manual drip and pot that was worth a good brew. Most didn't use the old fashion coffee makers, most cafes in SOHO and adjacent writing villages used the quick and easy professional types made from plastic, or stainless steal. Not The Shelter. The Shelter was a unique place, with style and the old fashion coffee makers, those you would fine in a thrift store that required the old fashion round filters with grooves.

The Shelter had closed years back due to the necessity of money. The location wasn't very accessible to the rush of the NYU students. The owner spent all his money on a more modern coffee shop closer to the NYU university and Washington Square park. That was where the actors, writers, poets and dancer hung out to chat about the local gossip concerning the art world. Also, it was a place to launch the underground news for the struggling artist, a place for actors to read lines and set up schedule for rehearsals, a place for directors to read plays and set up schedule for rehearsals, a place for poets to speak out and musicians to hang. It was the happening joint for the real poets. But places like that sometimes got beat out by the commercial bracket. Starbucks was taking over and independent coffee shops were losing it to the accessibility and attractiveness of the modern day Starbucks. Plus, no shop could compete with the thick brews and double brews and the tastes and endless amount of variety that places like Starbucks allowed. The Sarge gang didn't care where they met. Closed down coffee shop or basement of some warehouse. Lately it just didn't matter to Wes and his people.

"This is how we do it. It will be a quick hit. We move in broad day light as a moving company. I'll flash the fake ID to the front guard. I already checked him out. He's a dumb one. Flash him the badge and show him this write up about MOMA wanting to exhibit a few of the paintings. Most likely, nearly a hundred percent for sure he'll buy it. Then, we move the Pollock's first, just two of them, each over a million, then the Vincent van Goghs, two of those, each over five million and last the Dalis, each over a million, only two Dalis. Got it?" "Got thieves?" Phil whipped out a little joke to spark up a sense of humor within the group. Everyone was confident at playing their role as a mover. The company was called, "The Movers." Wes announced. "I figured it would do. Short, simple, to the point. No chit chat. Got me?" Everyone agreed that "The Movers" would make a good name for the team. Each blue zip up, full body, uniformed had The Movers printed across the back in bold letters. "It may be too risky." Nick interrupted as Sarge continue on with the orders and procedures. "Why?" "Would about they don't buy it. Would about they catch on where not real movers." Nick stared him down with honest eyes. He was really concerned about getting caught. Nick had done a few years for auto theft in the Northern Pen, upstate near Jersey. "What happens if they do background check on us." "They won't. Look just follow along and play your part, as long as you believe you're a mover, then they'll believe your mover." A moment filled the room as Sarge played the role of the acting coach. "You believe it they'll believe. Look I'll plan out every step. I want you guys to be taking down the paintings as I explain to the guards whats up. If they counter me, or any of you, WAM, I'll nail with this." He pulled out a small block box with a small hooks poking around the sides. . ."After I zap them, Phil will hand cuff." Sarge held up a pair of silver shiny handcuffs. "Got me?" Everyone nodded. He seemed pretty firm about the success of the mission.

The cats were off to the hit. It went smooth, Phil, the tallest and most convincing mover, heading forward, right to the paintings of Jackson Pollock. There it stood, more like hung, under specials on the gallery walls. Eight security guards, two at the door, two in the main halls, and three near the Pollocks and the rest shared time between the van Goghs, sipped on their coffees, flipped through Time magazines, or itched their asses, or cut farts, or picked noses, and glanced at the crowds that came and drifted off like the tides during the tropic seasons, coming and going with great speed, checking out the modern art, "Oh, what craft, oh, what magnificents. . .Pollock did it this time, Van Gogh is still at his game, even after his death and oh, how Dali impresses with his timeless rotations. . .", sometime tears, sometimes not, sometimes a coffee between lovers or a shared smoke, and smoke was allowed to be inhaled in this exhibit, even encouraged, the more smoke the better. Fancy cigarettes lit aflame, sparking thoughts, "Oh My, My. Yes. I see. I see now." It was old art. The exhibit was a joke but the price was for real. Serious money was at stake. Nothing was for sale, but admission was charged for the price of a glance, or comment, or just to be near. The thieves acted natural and removed the paintings from the walls. Of Coarse the guards bought Sarges lie, "We're taken them to MOMA as fast as we can." He told them with a huge welcoming grind. He even told a few rabbi jokes to get those guys chuckling. Sarge knew some joke about a rabbi and parrot and a bic lighter. I forgot the punch line, nevertheless, the main guard, the butch Italian guy was puckering his lips and scratching his head at the confusing and eccentric laugh. They bought the lie. Phil, Mr. Jane, Tom and the rest made way with three Pollocks, only two Van goghs and one very fine Salvador Dalis. Sarge was satisfied. After the Dalis were carted off and the guards were laughing and sharing the rabbi jokes, the game was one. "Did you know Salvador Dali once poured coffee on himself before he use to paint."
Tom was sharing some of his art history with the guys in the van. "I can't believe we just made way with a fortune. We have over ten million dollars worth of art work, my friends, and that is if we got the right Pollocks. All three should go for a million a piece. I'll have the appraised in a few months in the black market." Sarge was happy. He paid us off a cold ten thousand each and we split off after heading off and to JFK. Sarge had a private jet there. It was large enough to load all the art, and he made way to air to the Euro art world, "lost in the underground, I heard, somewhere in France." Tom cell phoned Phil a few days before his planned day to hit the Pieta trip. He would run in and run out, like some wild, kid in action. The best thieves keep it simple. One, two, and three and that's it. Nothing complex or too planed. The more simple, the more chance no mistakes arise.

Nick was out of control. If anyone protested against his rising regime they were executed with a dull shop instrument or their necks cracked. Nick could raise hell and throw a party at the same instant. He had demanded cigarettes, weird brands, American Spirits, even French cigarettes with specialized filters to hold the tar back, filters made in Taiwan, with rocks in the filter to keep at the particulates in the tobacco, and more and more and more. Nick couldn't stop with the demands. Different shades of pizza, various long list of fast foods with well thought out and strictly ordered condiments to engage their tasty and thoughtful tongues. Oh, he was specific. "Today we will have five types of extra thick pizza with crusts. Pineapples, sausage and pepperoni, or ham and extra mozzarella, oh and for you seafood lovers, Anchovies all around. The prisoner danced around in a distorted and primal circle. They had torn their clothing and bare hairy chest poked out and nipple glared pink and their tongues cried to the their devils that rested up, down and all around. Chanting arose, along with fire pits made from any synthetic material known to the grounds including plastics, rubbers, wood tools like mops and broom handles, towels and the gaurds old uniforms. The guards were hung upside down like spies, hung from the ankles tied with rope and chain. The main guards, the larger and more meaner guards were kept to the chain link poles and fences, mesh that guarded the outer window overlooking the yards and bob wired motes that secured the heated Texas prison. "Long live Chaos and Anarchy." Nick roared in what seemed like many little demonic voices. He was on fire, his eyes sparking with envy, greed and evil. "Long live my rule. All that follow me shall be free." He kept repeated this over and over until the prisoner joined in with, "FREEDOM, FREEDOM, FREEDOM, FREEDOM. . ."the continued and thrust forward in voice and presence until the whole mead hall, the cafeteria now, reeked off pure anger, hate and shattering madness. All of them, the prisoners, together in a messy unison, FREEDOM, and where it was born from, since the revolutionaries, since the first punks of the queen, haters of a world ruled by royalty, a world controlled by the few rich blue bloods, that according to the prisoners and centuries before them, the patriots and the indigenous slaves escaping the potato famine, on long boats, boats of oak wood, leaking slowly, sipping into the bottomless blue of the Atlantic, arriving on the pilgrimage shores of purity, welcomed by their masters, the lovers, the true worshipers of God, the ones that turned against the catholic Church and denied it's worth to Jesus, they, the honest, the protestants in the name of Martin Luther welcomed their followers, Jesus people, the ones that denied the incense, or candle flame, or crucifix, in His name, and only him shall you believe, and it is His way to Heaven, and they were the ones that had worth, and value, the ones that latter rose against the Red Coats and passed down the cost and even the high price of freedom, bloody revolution, for you, my lord, god, Jesus above me, help, us will shall send for help, help us, help us, SOS, SOS, SOS. . .and God WE TRUST and the swans have landed to the distant shores IN GOD WE TRUST, help us. . .FREEDOM, FREEDOM, FREEDOM. . .and the chant lifted from the crowded cafeteria deep in the belly of the prison and Roberto Pace took note of every swat of the hands, and lash of the security guards, bloodied blood soaking with salty, stingy, sweet and pain, and the men chanted, slowly forming a unison, a bond, a chaos of no turning back, and the pain arose into one spirit, the spirit that died for them and had already washed their sins and they calmed to listen to Nick holler, "FREEEEEEEEEEDOOOOOOOOM." And a moment of breath and silence, and the crowd roared to welcome such.

Roberto knew it would get out of hand again. The seen reminded him of "Mel Gibson and the Road Warrior, the sequel to. . ." "Mad Max." Jackson cut in. "It's just like the film but set in a prison and there is no protected oil derricks, trucks and. .. " "We get the picture." Chuck added in, adjusting his fake prison uniform. "Did you have to get one that fit so tight. And why do you have a death row uniform." "It's not." Roberto replied. "Yes it is. It's the orange they used a few years back. I feel like I'm on death row. It's like God's giving me a clue or something." "Your not for from the truth now, Chuck." Jackson was shivering. "WE got to get out of here man. Nick is one mad dude. We better scattered before initiation." Then, Nick's eyes gazed down upon the three. Roberto, Chuck and Jackson could feel those two hawk eyes snaring down on them, like a set of laser beaming at it's target. Like laser set sight by a unforgiving and nor derisively by far, but dangerously maddening killer of mankind and mankind before. Primal and ticked off Saint Nick cast his finger down upon the three shivering and at the time, what looked like lost baboons being charged by a great rhino. "YOU. YES YOUR. STAND STILL WHY DON'T YA." It was just like the Pink Floyd song, the one where the headmaster is asking the boys to "Stand still why don't ya. . ." In the song where they chant, "We don't need no education." Roberto started to upon his mouth and then Jackson covered it and spoke for him. "FREEEEEEEEEDOOOOOM." It was a perfect cover. Just act like they did. Just scream freedom. Yeah that would work, but it didn't. "YES YOU. You three. Come forward." Nick let go of the black guard that hung tightly against the chain link with a limited breath. "Yes you three. Step forward." Then, the crowd separated as if they had been the Red Sea, when Moses cast the waves aside, they stepped to the side, springing forth, drilling a circle into the massive crowd of the rowdiest in Texas. "Yes step into our circle." The prisoners fell silent, almost a gruesome and sad silence lifted between the hundreds of husky, sweaty, beer basked, and dipsomaniac men.

Spoil had thoughts about running off to the Big City. A clean cut to the northern lights with nothing holding him back, no regret, no shame and no guilt. He was a sure man out to conquer what kept him from the world, what kept him inside himself, shelled, alone, darkened from the sun, pale, weak and nearly dead. He knew death would come for him one day, it was everyman's destiny and their regret. Time was unwinding, spinning out, slowly shortening like a fuse awaiting detonation. He could take his poetry and lose himself in the current art scene, a poetical group that fed each other handouts and lose change. The type of of men that must of helped Poe, or rustic Kerourac, or even Allen Ginsberg, and the other lost beats that were famed, and he looked up to and one day aspired to be like. lose himself in the massive population that circulated in and out of the thousand of streets, corners and small coffee shops. Surely he could find a life there. Surely he could run into someone. Someone would pick him up and help him out, surely. Someone would feel for him, have a heart and let him express in words, create in a trillion sentences, upon paragraph, upon novel and on and on, the story growing, an expression, a sort of life you could say, a force of life, a resemblance of what he could never born, He could never of birthed in the first place, nor give the breath of life, into the world as a child, boy or girl. Something stumped Spoil, left him there, alone, in the cold wind, to walk home, or to another's house, alone, chipping out a pattern of prose to one day hope to change the world, or summon a group of men to consider the freaks, and loser and stumbled men, that never had a chance, even if they were blessed to win, still they fell on their faces and whined at their regrets and hellish doubts that they where in fact a man, a truth in the world. He was that. He was in the world. Birthed like the rest, evil-good, a man saved by Christ, continued, thief or honest man, continued on, to find the next lever to pull, the next note to write to another, to remember, to remember that I was and shall be and never regretted the first breath. He gazed out of the fogged over window, the crack of existence that spilled a scene to the back of his head, a familiar thought, an unerring fact that beauty existed in the Big City, perhaps womanless he'd leave and then arrived upon a beautiful brunette with unpredictable green eyes, to carry him through the night and start him over in the form of flesh, bone, like she is, and he is and was and will never be forever. It was his goal, his message and his cause, to find the one, the beautiful lady that owned his every move, step and working hour upon the lands he transgressed, trespassed and one day tried to put back together and cleans in His words. Perhaps it was His words he should of planted, and not tried to seed the lady, in which, he dreamed of, and clawed for in the middle of his breathless nights, awaking in terror of the absence of touch and ownership in another individual, and another breath. It was Swan, the one that never called upon him, Swan Victoria, the one that left him in the words, to search out the one word that may change him and meet him with the perfect moment. Spoil would leave this madden place of Cold. This blue village of absence, and make way to a busy city, surrounded by the most powerful people of all the lands, a place that scared the average man nearly out of his wits. Subways vibrated the skin of the concrete asphalts, the towering building composed brick by brick by brick, towering over the hard, concrete earth below, towering over man, walking with pen in hand perhaps, writing out checks to own his food, and make his way up one of the towers, to sleep on top of the world, to calculate in the dark of his bed, why man should be numbered, planted and factorized into existence, into the world. Streets numbered like an index, like a roller index with all the names of the world, fifth avenue, first street all the way to one hundred and first and a garden made by man, with man hands, fake rock, fake gardens and bunk scenery, planted waterfalls and purchased lily pads, and fish and all the creatures God intended for man, was bought, placed and prettily organized so the people of Big City could feel nature with their own hands, pet a goat in the petting zoo, and their kids could laugh and store a memory of what the world is like far away, where the trees grow with out the assistance of technology or the comfort of money.

Spoil listen to Ann and her father talk over their evening coffee pot filled to the steamy brim. They usually chatted about the weather, or old times with mom, and how they use to garden together, or take long walks under the milky shy, when winter rushed in, and the leaves where dark brown and the tree leafless, and spiny, poking in a million different direction and angles. She told her father all the little things she use to love, like his multi-layered pickle sandwiches, with mustard, extra thick and crisp pickles, salad, and onions and his homemade pizzas made from tomato past, and hand rolled dough, and his jokes and the way he used to make her pet the crown of his head like a puppy dog. . .her dream of becoming a ballerina and trying out for the Big City Ballet company, but he wouldn't allow it because of his strict Baptist background, and how she wanted to run off west and learn how to surf, but he wouldn't allow it, he would disown her if she tried, and how she wanted to get married as a teenager, but he didn't approve her boyfriend because of his long hear and surfer tattoos, and how she hated when friends would call her the pig of the playground, because she and her friends hogged the monkey bars, and her father had to convince her that she was a pretty little princes, "Dad you weren't always there for me. Not always. What about when Rick left me, and I had to sleep in my car and get started on my own, you didn't pitch in." "I couldn't. You had to learn to make it on your own. That is why I didn't give you everything. I won't always be here. It's up to you to set your own sails." And they talked until Spoil nodded off and then, awoke to a quiet kitchen. Spoil got up and dressed in his bed robe that he was giving as a present during Christmas. He stepped down the narrow stair unit, and made his way to the empty kitchen. There was one more cup left in the brew and he topped off a large coffee cup full and poured in a table spoon of sugar. That dream he had last night kept him up. Ann had taken him to the Super-mart a few days before Christmas eve. The mart was overloaded with people, and the poor checkers were so busy scanning items, food, and clothing, and presence, magazines, toilet paper, that they didn't have time to look up. One lady, he watched in the line was moving faster than a flash, she would occasionally look up and wipe the sweat from her brow. She was a tired looking lady with dark hair, yellow green eyes, and wrinkled cheeks. No later than her late forties. She was thin, over smoked, over worked and she had nicotine stains on her finger nails. She took a three second break to gaze at a little kid laughing at her mother in the express line. It was the only thing that kept her sane, looking at the people, watching them read TV guides, or talk to their loved ones that stood in line with them, or she chatted briefly with the customers that would bag their bags themselves, asking about the weather, or how they were doing, or, "You having a good holiday." Spoil figured she was chosen to suffer over the season, suffer for some reason. Some cause he didn't really understand. Maybe she murdered, maybe she abused drugs and never got caught. He would deserve to have to work like that, scanning bar codes into the computer, slaving away, tossing items hand over hand, day by day, nine hours a day, overtime, extra pay, with little benefits and a small amount to put into retirement. What gift was she giving over the holiday. He looked down at her tag that read Supermarket and her name, Tammy. Tammy. Who was Tammy. Some good lady, that worked her ass off for who, for you, for the shopper, for God, for her child, for what, for money, for security, for the beep, the beeping sound that kept clicking, whining, and screaming as the item bar code bounced off the red ray and took down what was needed for the stores record tucked away in the super main frame computer in the head office. Tammy took her cigarette break that day and thought about leaving, she only thought about it, when the end of the nicotine cherry hit the filter, she clocked back in and went back to her station, hand over hand, tossing the cheap Japan made toys, into the light blue sacks labeled with the Supermarket friendly slogan, Best Prices Around.

Then, Spoil found himself awakening to his shadow stretched in a long, cloak on Hairison's front lawn. Fuzzy, poky ends of the green earth arose from the frozen skinned layer of the icy snow. He had a goal. It was to sale his collection of poetry in the city before he left the world. He had filled eight composition books. The type of books speckled with black and white, that held around a hundred or so pages. Hence, he had eight hundred pages worth of wisdom, history and his life memories, in words, to give to the ears of the Big City. Perhaps, they would take him in, win him to the literary world, make him a father, and give him a life long companion. He could become rich. Buy a studio flat, with a elevator, king size futon, book shelves and even a fire place. He would by a satellite dish, and big flat screen, the innards made of odd liquid, he buy a bar with fancy wines and liquor and ask up expensive women and watch Sex in the City, the final season, and he would toast on fat cigars and prescribe to Forbes and other ostentatious magazines, and even lay down a few grand in mutual funds. He'd ride it high and fear his last moment. Then, the voice, the remembrance of who died for him, "Easier than the eye of the needle." What was easier than the eye of the needle. Pass through the eye of the needle. Than, the camel and he tasted for a cigarette and then, he shook off a shiver as the temperature soared to below zero, below the freezing point, an icicle crashed to the silver covered garden. The entire city was frozen to a crystal spark. "It's freezing out here. Completely and utterly freezing." It was as if the north pole had arrived and without the warmth of Jolly old saint nick's cheerful and warming guffaw. Ice cold had taken him away from his dream and in a way shook the sleep right out of him.

Spoil was running out of time. If he stayed up in Hairison's attic for too long he'd end up the house maid for life. It was a conscious decision to escape to the Big City and find a new identity, it was like the indegent slaves of Ireland suffering from the potato famine to run off to America, to land on the New York islands, to start over, but New York wasn't in Mr. Spoil's life. It wasn't in his reality, it was the Big City that held the beginnings and the roots of his world of Cold, Heat and Warm. It was his world that held the towns that had simple names, and in each town every house had an owner, relatives, turkey TV dinners and giant TV set's and the owners had friends that sometimes stayed in the upper bedrooms and mumbled to themselves and every once in awhile a poet would arise from these small towns, and print out a picture, that only he could fully understand, but others could only glimpse at the purlieus of what he really meant. And that is where Spoil was now, in the outskirts of a bigger city, that once came from a small town, that once was a village, and eventually once was a hut, and now a larger city grew on top of what was once a hut, a larger city growing like moss, growing and growing and hanging on the sleepless inventions of man, the garrulous novels of artist, athwart, hand over hand, the words stack until a professor professes it's most finite meaning in the middle of a philosophy class and the killer takes off his rain coat to raise his hand to say, "Ah ha, I got it. He was a pig. A needless pig cast from society to leave in his own shell." And the poet falls, even further from his grave, that was designed around his life, and now he takes out his pen, after the Go to Hell's and your going to hell, leaves his brain, and he realizes that his balance, breath and control are his real angels and the walls that surround him are only temporary, because in the end, the fuse hits the powder and the heart . . .the heart. . .the heart explodes it's last flex and the blood grows cold, still and lost to a dusty, absence of warmth and the oxygen slowly lifts and twenty one grams of, whatever is not meant to be seen, rises. . .and we become one, at last, one.

"I kill you both." He couldn't tell where the voice originated from, Roberto, Tom or Spoil. "I kill you both." It said again in three voices. "I kill you both."

Tom decided. He would do it. He would go in and take the Head of Mary of Pieta. HE would die if he back down now. He was on a roll. Some time, somewhere those words escaped him, "I'll kill you both."

Spoil kept hearing it as well. "I kill you both." Somewhere in his head, his dim head, his poet's curse, it arose, "I kill you both." Am I saying this now. He thought. Who will I kill. Ann? Harision? I can't kill them. Why would I kill anyway. Who would I kill. Kill who? Kill both? Who?

Then, it arrived, those four words in succession. Leaking such violence, the words embedded in his head. I KILL YOU BOTH. It was Roberto, back in the ashy den of his cell, typing away, I KILL YOU BOTH. Kill who? Jackson. Why would I kill Jackson? Maybe I mean Chuck. I couldn't kill him. Both have followed me so far. Jackson my pupil. Chuck's a nice guy. Why would I kill Jackson? What the hell would I do that for?

Kill you both.

That morning the S.W.A.T. team awaiting attack for the last two weeks, decided to act. It didn't take long and not more than ten, or so, tear, and mustard gas canisters and a few direct hits with rubber bullets and other defense to scar the prisoners into complete order. Everyone gave in the awesome and mighty power of the law. The prisoners were not organized and didn't have enough moral and inspiration to turn the revolt into a life long revolution. Now, it ended. Roberto was found in his cell typing the last section of The Criminal. Rumor around the cell block hinted that he hid from the revolt and the search parties from Saint Nick, that he completed his story. They found him passed out, on top of his typewriter, the old Underwood with a ream of fully typed paper, in courier font and with bold setting and a few notes hand scribbled at his feet. "Roberto Pace, Cell Block 3E." "Yes, that's me." He wasn't in his usual state. His eyes were bloodshot and tired and his breath was labored. He looked as if he had just finished running a marathon. "Come with me." The guard commanded. Roberto got up and walked down the hall with the plain face and curly hair guard. "This way. We are assembling the prisoners in the main hall to take a collective roll call." "Okay with me." The guard never eye balled him, nor talked to him, or ask him any questions about the Underwood and the ream of typing paper in his cell. He simply marched him to the main hall and stood him in line with thirty other prisoners, all wearing new prison uniforms with reprinted numbers. Most of the uniforms had been altered, or ruined during the rebellion. The roll call was conducted accordingly. Roberto did not see Jackson or Chuck in the thirty group that was rounded up. There must have been a few other groups assembled in other parts of the prison. Once, the name was checked on the roll call and a proper finger prints and picture ID associated with the prisoners, they where sent back to the cells and told that they would be informed when regular duties and the old routine would rekindle.

Roberto decided, now that the prisoners were calmed and the appropriate ones that did damage, murdered and plundered, where collected, and sent to maximum security, he would borough some information from the white collars and find out where in the hell to send The Criminal. Basically, he needed to find a writing agent. That was a person, or a group of people trained to find the writer the appropriate publisher and assign the correct copy write for the story to be multiplied and sent out to the public. The warden escaped before the shit hit that fan and returned to Roberto to read over a few chapters.

"I'm very impressed with you Roberto. You didn't give up. Your persistent and your diligence has proved worthy. I'm gonna find you a publisher and get your book out there. I don't really understand all of it, it must be beyond my intellect, but, nevertheless, I appreciate the effort. I decided to write congress and ask for a small grant to get you launched out there. And I am granting parole. The interview is set up with the parole board next month." Smoked drifted in his eye from his fat cigar. His voice was rustic, scratchy and a little raw. He must have been smoking due to the stress of the recent chaotic event. The Warden leaned back in his fancy leather recliner and took in a long, relaxing breath. He seemed to melt in the chair like hot plastic. "IT is courageous of you to show such spirit under hellish circumstances. Thank you. You're a real man and possibly you might make a fine citizen." Roberto thanked him, shook his hand, using the firm hand shake method, nodded at him in a friendly way and walked out. Roberto hadn't felt a smile arise on his face since he was originally convicted by the jury. He was on his way to becoming a free man.

He found Jackson in the lunch line the following day. "I'm getting out. Warden set up the parole. And he is going to see about me getting published. I might get set up in some place as a real writer." "You should go to the Big City." "What New York?" Asked Roberto. "Yeah, why not. You only live once." "How do you know?" Jackson cracked a smile and patted Roberto on the back. "Guess what?" Jackson said. "I decided to take some college courses in English on the net. I'm on my way to becoming an English professor." "It's because of you hard work Jackson." Roberto had finally, at least temporarily, regardless of his Baptist upbringing, sort of converted to the belief of good karma. When one person does something kind to another, it is passed on and a chain of kindness forms. Roberto never felt so happy in his life. Not at this moment.

Spoils nose was running like a faucet that early morning as he wiped the off green burgers from the corner of his eyes. The world had not come in focus yet. Not yet. It was still in the in between stage where reality wasn't connected and everything felt like an M.C. Escher painting, or in this early case Duchamp's. He wasn't fully clothed as he descended down the narrow wooden stair unit that lead to the panel door which opened into Hairison's kitchen. Everything seemed to be reduced to his ideas of the Big City, his pen, his journal and the only thing lingering on his mind was the growling from the pit of his empty tummy, as the thick cold of the morning breathed labouredly in and out of his tired, round tummy was left in the refrigerator from Hairison or Ann. His feet stood cold on the kitchen's icy floor. The bedroom sleeper only seemed to warm the tops of his toes. The rest of him was numb and chilled from the morning's unforgiving chill. The winter never left Cold Town. Spoil thought.

Ann wasn't around, not even that cheap French perfume smell she left behind and those cigarette breaths she stained the wall with.

Ann supposedly had left for schooling to the Big City and ever since she left her fathers place the rooms seemed colder, more distant and hollow. She would return shortly after she'd finish up her last two weeks at the café and registered full time at the medical College. She wanted to stop back in to pick up a few things, old cloths, sweaters, and some kitchen supplies her father had saved from when her mother passed away what seemed like centuries ago. No one was home, again, as Spoil landed his, what felt like bare, naked cold feet in the middle of the kitchen. Need new bed slippers. Spoil thought. Slippers that keep my feet warm. Hm. He felt a odd presence, as if Hairison's wife was hovering over him, perhaps holding a cold jar of milk which she clung desperately in her aching fragile fingers, once before death. He made his way into Hairison's room. He was entering sacred grounds. He could feel her in the room, large lady, with big eyes and huge hands. Hairison's bedroom was dusty, and simple. The bed was draped with a thick netted green bed spread that seemed coarse to lay upon. The pillows where over sized and fluffy white, with pockets of comfort and fattening stuffing. Most likely the pillows where factory made with the same old stuffing of cushioned interior that existed in nearly ever pillow in existence. The rest of the room was pretty much emptied out. Ann told him that he wanted to forget the memories of his Mrs. Hairison. So Harison stored the bedroom items left behind by his other half that reminded him of his love. Supposedly most of it was in the attic. He walked over to the old springy bed that was carefully made, cut corner and left wrinkly free and nearly pressed by an iron. The frame of the bed must have been from the fifties. The mattress seemed to bouncy to be too old. Spoil tried it out and then patted down the tiny wrinkly hills left by his heavy imprint. It was wide bed, long, and mighty, he guessed King Size, no less. The tag on the pillow case read, 30" X 46" + 2". All new material consisting of 100 polyester. Cet Artilce Contient Du Material Neuf 100 Poly. He couldn't tell the second language, but he was impressed the pillow tag had not one, but two languages. Most be from Europe. He guessed it was German because of the Du, but the other words were not Germanic, just the Du. Most likely it was Spanish. Spanish must use the Du word. He thought again. Most things that are not in English, especially on a pillow case, were either in Spanish. At the top of the tag was a warning label. Under penalty of law this tag may not be removed except by the consumer. Conforme A la Loe Cette Etiquette Ne Peut etre Enleve gue Par Le Consommateur. Yes, it was Spanish, indeed. A pillow that was half English and Half Spanish. It was like an international pillow or something. Hm. It was the way the world of words were ending up, nowadays, especially on pillow cases, and in, well, everyday sight. For example, if one went to a fast food place in the area or even beyond, and ordered a taco, hamburger or fries, especially far south near the borders, sometimes the menu would be in Spanish too, or if you filled out a form at the post office in the south, sometimes the order form had an alternative section for Spaniards. But Spanish was popping up everywhere in the morden days of today. Hell, the words found this place didn't they. Three quarters down the tag read Reg. No RN 63817. MADE IN CHINA. Then, No De Permis Ca 07T-04401. Fabrique En Chine. Then, the maker of the pillow, the company name, caught his eye. It was made in Sunham Home Fashions 308 Fifth Avenue, Big City 00001. Damn, this pillow is from the Big City. The certification was listed as well. The pillow was even certified. Damn, Hairison had class. Class about pillows and shoes. He read the section on the pillow that regulated as a genuine and certified pillow for the world to use and sleep on as desired. The certification was made by the manufacturer that the materials in this article are described in accordance with law. It was legal, legit and savy. Most pillows revealed their innards just in case the sleeper was allergic to nylon, poly, or even cotton. Christ, who would be allergic to cotton. Surely cotton pillows don't have these tags. Then, Spoil wondered into Hairison's closet, as the cotton theory and legalities concerning pillows drifted from his mind and as new wonders lured him toward the dark oak wood of Hairison's closet door. The door opened and spilled a handful of sunny beams, in long bars and lines into the dust infested tiny square room. He reached his hand out to see what filled the dark air. He felt nothing but a tiny, thin and fragile string drooping down in perfect vertical dripped line, dangling over the mystery to soon be discovered. He yanked on the chain and a single necked 30 watt bulb illuminated the tiny room clear as a solid crystal. Spoil's eyes shot down, and directly under the row of warm wool, dark, brown and tan winter coats. There in a perfectly straight horizontal line were several sets of aligned men's dress shoes, mostly jet black or earthy brown. One scaly skinned pair proudly glowed a emerald, golden and cooper. He was quite the peacock. Spoil thought. Man had a thing for shoes. Hairison had them all. Alligator made in Australia, a pair of Italian, black leather with silver buckles made right out of Italy, fancy shiny, expensive the were. The brand name wasn't readable, so he figured the had a ten year mark on them. Old too and very peculiar and selective indeed. He thought. Then, next to the Italian made where three pairs from France. Hairison must be into the French. Three pair of funky French shoes with odd names encompassing sounds with that made the tongue and mouth Pu and Duex and Louver. What a lover this man was. Spoil thought and headed deeper into the musty of the closet. It smelled of wet wool and smoke stained canvas, rayon, rabbit fur, mink and leather. Then, that is when the tapping arrived. The rain began to skillfully beat, like an intense African drummer, on the rusty shingles that lay above his bedroom. Spoil decided to remove his gray and blue cotton/nylon bedroom slippers Ann gave him last week as a goodbye present. His feet wanted to try on the Alligators from Australian. He slipped them on and walked out of the bedroom and into the unoccupied kitchen. Next, he opened the refrigerator door and took out a half empty bottle of dated milk. It was sour but drinkable. He sipped it down and sat at the round kitchen table and picked up the newspaper. It was the Sports section. The Big City was Playing Heat in the NSL (National Soccer League playoffs.) There was a skinny man, with taught muscles sprinting off toward a goal post holding his red jersey far over his head. The shirt read Heat. Heat looked as if they had one. His eyes were too blurry and it was too early to read the article but he squinted at the paper and read it anyways. Heat had one by one point. The only score in the whole game. One point. That was the game of soccer. The game went on for hours and perhaps, if the forwards were skillful enough, a score was executed. Heat one. Hm. It was a game of the south versus the north. Big City. It was everywhere he looked. AT times, he wanted to stay, and continue living out the rest of his life in Hairison's attic. He would plough the snow, take tips for cutting grass in the summer and take care of the front garden. He could give his poetry to Ann, or even mail it to some contest in the Big City, he didn't have to go. He was happy there, but something inside called him to get up and move on. His mother taught him not to settle in the roots. "That is what Nanny always did. She never wanted to move. She was too set in her ways. Too rooted." "Why?" Spoil asked his mother as she let the cat onto the balcony. The cat sipped at the milk as Mom opened the door for him to return in the living room. The TV was playing the background, some game show, or soap opera, he couldn't match the memory perfectly. Not perfectly. "It's not good to be rooted in your ways." Mom felt it wasn't. Mom was a person that appreciated travel, accepted it, and welcomed the spirit of the wanderer. It was that spirit that was still in him, calling him to go on, pick up the pen, take that risk and fly off, run off, and this, time, due to time and age, walk off, the magnificence of the Big City, and give a read, his voice, his story, to the young. He had a coffee shop picked out near ToeHole. Toehole was the writing community of the Big City. IT was were all the poets hung out. The café was called The Toehole café. It was strictly for the poetical and risk takers off life. IT was a gamble, but it was real. It would be his last offering to the world before his breath became too laboring and too faint. He would wait for the perfect lonely moment, and then, on foot he would begin to hitch it. Hitch it all the way East of Cold Town, to the largest city and sleepless place of the world, The Big City.

That Afternoon Spoil had to go into town to pick up plant food and some rabbit feed for Hairison. It was posted on the refrigerator for the daily chore. There was one feed store that sold both items. First, he stoop off at utility store to replace a bulb that had flickered off in the upstairs bedroom. He arrived around one pm. The sun was hiding behind a odd looking cloud. The cloud looked like a robotic face, with one large scope like eye, with one dot of an counter balancing the other. It was like the clouds, or God, wanted to rearrange nature to capture his attention. He was convinced no one, out of the billions, could not see this puffy masterpiece that sailed slowly in the wet, gray sky. Spoil walked up to the front porch of the utility store Newman's. It was a independent place that every type of screws from ten buck two, to bolts, sand paper, paints, toilettes innards, plungers, rubber washers and even toilette paper and everything, including kitchen sinks. Spoil walked up to the front entrance and something caught his eye. It was a lost dog poster. LOST DOG. Black lab puppy with a diamond patch on it's forehead. Answers to Theodore. Call 715-455-1207. Ask for Samantha.

"Ann's coming over tomorrow." Hairison stepped in and shook the thick clots of snow off his rain boots. "She is, huh." Spoil responded stirring the Wolf Brand Chilly and Insanity Sauce that he had picked up at Newman's utility. Boy was it spicy, enough to shake your marbles. "She needs you to go with her. She needs drop of the snow tractor to the mall in town. It's in Ice. You been to Ice." Spoil shook his head that he hadn't. "Ice isn't too far off. It's a fifty mile drive. Take about an hour. Place is called Sears. Your heard of Sears." Spoil said he had. "Something is wrong with blower. Needs a new extension. Can ya go with her. That snow tractor gonna be a bitch to load up. All three of us can hoist her up. I have to stay in for the shop. Cutting seasons around this time. Holiday season can get busy. January right before school. Kids will crowding me. You don't mind driving up there with her. She needs the company and we need to get that snow plough'er in ship shop shape. You mind?" "Sure. I'd love to." Ann was on her way from the Big City. She had just registered for the second part of her nursing school and wanted to come in to town to bring her father some medication, a meal and a few more hugs. "She'll be here tomorrow morning." Ice was the biggest town next to the Big City. It was farther north east from Cold Town and had a few malls, a handful of sky scrappers, a convention center, ice rink and a theatre. It was nearly a metro-plex with over hundred thousand or so residents and businessmen.

The Wold Brand chily began to bubble and Hairison walked his tired body over to the main table. His face was longer, it seemed, more pale and less life existed in his eyes. He wasn't dead yet, but you could see that the tail in to his life was in his slow hands, and long breaths. He walked over to the cabinets and removed a healthy size bowl and scooted over to the refrigerator. He took out a jug of milk and sat it on the kitchen table. Next, he went to the cupboard and removed a box of Chex and a round cup of sugar. He put in a three table spoons-fulls, far more than he needed and cracked open the to the funny papers. He slurped down a mouthful of Chex and asked, "Three letters across. Looking for Overseas Courier." "UPS." Answered Spoil. "UPS. HMMM. I thought UPS was the United Postal Service. I didn't know they went overseas." He jotted down UPS in the cross word. "Will give her a try." And buried his head in the news print, until he drifted off to a nodding sleep and awoke again.

The phone had never rang before. At least Spoil had not remembered it ringing since he decided to stay moved in a year ago. He pelted down stairs quickly then usually and landed again, in his thinly covered soles on the icy kitchen floor. Again no one was home. The house was still, quiet, as if God was present. He had time to think, contemplate over why he was there, how he had arrived. See, Spoil had been a drifter for years. Ever since college and his long trip to the big city, which he never spoke of, he had been traveling house to house staying with friends and old college peers, writing in his journal passing himself off as a poet. That was all he had. Most writers carry jobs and even work at universities or districts involved in education, or even are supplied by the rich, or have inherited wealth to be able to use the precious time it takes to craft organized words to make up the story. Spoil was always on the run. Staying house to house for a year or so, working as a male maid, or gardener, or even as a temporary worker at a nearby factory, construction site, or shoe salesman, or seven eleven employee, or substitute teacher. Years had passed now, he was graying, his belly protruding pass the imprecation, but the class he was taught through university life and from his charming mother, who once modeled for calendar fold outs in bathing suites, and married an educated man of literature and southern hospitality, his father being a minister for the West of Heat and a man of wise words and simple living. His grandfather was a man skilled in fishermen and had fought in the second war on an aircraft carrier and war ship, and had once told him how the stars could rock across the sky and it was his only way to know the ship was floating and the crew was traveling through the time and space. He knew the secretes of the old and carried this in his poetry and well, I guess, his story that he carried at his side, under a jacket, or in a attaché case, or satchel, or gym bag, or book bag, or even a sweater one winter while passing from theatre to theatre with a group of thespians out to change the face of the world and the way people look and behave with people. He strayed from the jokers and actors and the clownish tomfoolery and needed the fix of under the spot light, and turn to the word for performance and to make his point about why he was born and where he should of gone, or may have gone if another life, or another occupation. Words gave him another life, another way of creating his path, and constructing a way of life for him. Life had become about stories, words and people's interactions, hugs, kisses, long tales of parties, wines, murders and poetry and ways words found there land on paper. Once, he lived with a religious group down south, and had to hide his cigarettes, back when he could afford to buy the European brands he so admired, the richer tobacco and delicately hand crafted filters. He once carried a strawberry preserves jar, or was it raspberry, back when his typewriter was covered with date juice, so sugary and nowadays covered with ashy from the burning Camel lights, where he hid his sins, in ash, in the preserve jar, and he would light up, smoke away and then hide again, his smokes under a mound of matches at the bottom of the glass jar, he claimed to use for incense, but used to hid the smokes. The ashtray was a makeshift lid from under the top of the jar's cover lid, that he popped off from the hinges, and side hooks that attached, and snap shut, as a latch would a door. The matches and cigarettes rested at the bottom, as blood does in the atrium, or the opposite of blood, a more deadly weight of a man's guilt. He turn the glass lid of the strawberry preserve canister over, upside down, fall the ashes into the opposite side, to hide his pleasurable sin of smoke and his intellectual method of sparking up, or cooking up a dangerous idea. He was quite about drink, making love, or sex, or reading about love and sex, and quite about books that flowed against what was taught to him in the bible and church. Church was sacred to him, and in every case, in every house he lodged in, and every factory town he labored, he'd attend, with bible under arm and his finest set of clothing, given or bought to look his best. He was a worshiper of Christ and tried his best not to stray from His way. It was hard for spoil. He had the nature of a storyteller in his heart, and one day he planned to turn his words over, even though some of them revealed the sins of man, which he could never escape but only try his best to moderate and control. Self control was something that came with time, and love. There was no better medicine for moderation, than another to love, and fill the whole that exist in the psyche that never can really be fulfilled until the flame of life is extinguished.

The lost dog, Theodore, was on his mind lately. He remembered it's black fur and the white diamond imprint on it's forehead, in the Kinko copy that was left before the utility store, Newman's, and how the owner, Samantha, left the phone number. He could hear it's puppy dog pout in the back of his mind, and figured it was wondering around, lost in some kid's backyard, or rescued by an animal shelter, or another family. He decided he'd go out for a walk for the day, and perhaps pick up a sandwich at the nearby deli, maybe even stop by the animal shelter, or vet's office to see if the Newman puppy was discovered. It was something he never did. He had never desired to become a rescuer of animals, until his mother taught him how to luring in a dog with kind words and a biscuit. Spoil's mother had took a retirement job with a pet clinic rescuing cats and dogs off the street, or in some field in a neighboring neighborhood. It was all for the sake of the community and the wellness of animals. She should of one a peta award for her dedication and kindheartedness. This was back when he had turned thirty and had left graduate school to study English privately and learn from the great works of Faulkner, Wolfe, Becket, and a series of Irish writers. One of his favorites was the work of Samuel Becket and his handful of plays he had crafted for the world. He found the fictional life of Gogo and Didi, and Lucky and Potzo as metaphors about how traveling men are lost in their impatience and desiring an answer from the supremeness that awaited for their return home. Once, in College he played Lucky and had sympathy for the chosen paschal lambs that society calls for, the people seemed to need in order to purify their weight of materialism and evil. His mother took a job in a pet clinic cleaning and walking people's pets for extra money until she moved away far north not too distant from Cold Town. Perhaps that is why he ended up this remote north, to find her, even though he figured she had passed on now that he was approaching his sixties. He lost contact with her when she moved up north with her second husband to become closer to nature and to witness the beauty of the northern lights and the endless walk through the beautified northern snowy trails that weaved through the pastoral snowy lands of the North. His mother was a fan of the cold and liked the images and the craving for warmth and security that the snow had to offer. There was no better feeling to know that one was warmed by the home's fire while nature froze the life outside the walls of one's safety. Toward the beginning of her retirement she and her second husband bought a small piece of land and decided to run a bed and breakfast in a little town, outside of Cold Town, near a summer lake that attracted vacationers in the sweetness of the holiday times.

Spoil had lost contact with his family now. His poetry and his travels had occupied him, and eventually he was carried by the wonders of nature, old age and lead to friends doors, where his welcome became his beauty and the muse for his journal and his words.

Spoil looked down upon his pen and realized he had a powerful tool. It was a mechanism that opened a gateway to division of man, his believes and his outlook on life. The pen could be dangerous and even life threatening at times. It was a way of interpreting the world, taking down account, history and documented what he saw, how he felt about existence, God, Christ, his poetry, his lonely life, his neighbors that took him in, and welcomed him, even though he had sinned, betrayed God and came to realization that he wasn't as holy as he used to be.

He did not stop writing that Sunday morning. Why should he. After his mother had retired and moved up north, when he was then living in Heat, she left him very little. All he had, was the pen, his story, his thoughts on the world. He continued constructing the words and forming new sentences with different meanings.

There was once, in the town of Crow, far down south, he found a small community and a church. That is when he was converted, again, reborn and decided to devout his poetry and story to God. All his confusion over the years, all that he had wrote about atheism and his anger toward God, was false. He was a false profit, prophesizing an incorrect frame of mind. His poetry mentioned horrible words that related defecation and God's name, he had confused the processes of the body, the impurities and waste that man must endure and die with and within this un-holiness a sense of reality about the rawness and disgustingness and crude truths that face man in his battle with death and life. It had nothing to do with the afterlife, nor did it have to do with the devout and true Christian religion. Like I said before, Spoil was lost, corrupted by Satan and once again, his character and morality spoiled. Satan had won a small battle with him but the war was not over. At that time, when he was writing monologues about marriage, shit and God, he was suffering from atheism and had lost his way into fear. Spoil was very lost, under the dark cloud and headed in the wrong direction. After living in Crow for several years and spending many hours with the church and listening to the ministry, he came to realization that life was for and about God and the only way to heaven was not in good deeds, or what one said over a life time, but in the solid belief that Jesus Christ was the savior and through Christ, Our Lord, one shall seek salvation and an everlasting life in Heaven. This was what Spoil wanted to read in his poetry for the Big City. This was what he sat out to do in leaving the Hairison's and starting a new life, and find the path of the devoted Christian and reveal the message of the Lord, Our beloved Savior Jesus Christ.

Tom was sure he was going to steal the head from the vault. He had finally made up his mind. He sat two streets adjacent from the gallery and lit up a few cigarettes, occasionally letting the ashes fall into a small tin ash bin that rest on the checkered colored round café table. He was very close to the glass window, poised in a fashionable fashion, head up, chin strong, eyes determined, shining emerald green with a jealous envious stare. The radio was mildly playing an old song he used to listen to back in the golden days of High School, when he dreamed of being a doctor and heading off to medical school to find his way in life. Nope. He fell into the arts and drug culture and doped up. Tom Burnett decided to study performing arts, poetry and privately study literature from Irish, English and some of the best American playwrights, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, and the great works of Becket. He thought about becoming a great actor and even studied about the lifestyle of Frank Booth and the unforgettable works of Berrymore. Recently he was even reading current modern commentary about Becket's Dying Words and the profuse reasoning for his obsession with death and the sorrow perspectives on life.

Tom stopped staring at the gallery entrance across the rain stained street and began to read a passage on page 33. 'Fully Certified' not only as the death certificate, and as turning insanity on its head (in More Pricks than Kicks Belacqua packs for the suicide pact a sign which proclaims TEMPORARILY SANE), but as calling up the Book of Common Prayer and its rendering of Psalm 39:

Lord, let me know mine end, and the number of my days: that I may be certified how lone I have to live.

Tom decided, "You only live once" in this life, rarely did a open invitation welcome a chance to lift such a great piece of art work and massive amount of gold in one area. Ever did life offer such a chance. Such a chance, ever did life offer such a chance. He got up, snuffed his cigarette butt into an ashy finish, picked up his overly sized black backpack and headed out in the sprinkling of the black, gray Sunday Rain. Everything seemed black that day. The sun seemed to be hiding from him. No light dispersed through the sky as he headed toward the gallery. Nor did the day even seem to be lit. The sunlight was filtered, smoky like the ashy cherry that he had smothered so carefully away in the tin colored ash bin. There where too many clouds seeding the sky, and the sun kept becoming blocked by anvil shaped gathering of puffy, edgy, cottony cumulonimbums clouds. The gallery was open. He was out to get her. Have to wait for a cab. He thought. A cab. Wait on a cab. He approached the end of the sidewalk and began to wave his hand side to side to slow a passing taxi. The first checker passed by, hobbling over a few pots in the road. Next, a flash from a moving van, followed by a hot sports car from Japan, most likely a Honda, the new one, what was it called, the one with the funky antenna and the big bumper and the hatchback, and then another cab, but this time the driver glimpsed at his waving hand, and he pulled over, slowed to a stop and table reached over and into the back seat area to thumb up the locked door. "Had to unlocked the back door, first." The brown skin cabbie said at the window. "Electric locks ain't working." He said again as Tom opened the unlocked door. Tom climbed in and settled into himself, and his new security guard out fit he had lifted from the gallery months before, "Just around the corner, right down the street from the Milan gallery." Tom sat up straight and took in a deep breath. He always tried methods of relaxation before he lifted something worth a great amount like this priceless Roman fancy. Hell, it was graced by the hands of Michael Angelo. "Just around the corner." He tore a fifty in half, like in one of his favorite films Eyes Wide Shut directed by Cubrick, hoped out of the cab and stuck his head back in, "Wait for me and you'll get the other half of the fifty." "Seen the film. Tom Cruise right?" "HA, ha." Tom reached in his jacket and removed a clip of bills. "Here is a hundred and I have another waiting for you if you hold up here for no longer than ten minutes." Tom figured he may need an extra five minutes. He planned the hit to take a total of six or seven minutes, but he may need two or three more minutes to get his timing down. He had to get into the gallery, blend in as a security guard, establish he was on duty, to the onlookers, buyers and to the salesman standing before the art. Then, he'd have to walk in, toss the head in the bag and well, walk out. One, two, three. "Be back in ten." He slammed the cab door. Boy, did he have balls to count on a cabbie. He figured if the cabbie took of he'd simply fetch another cab, or walk to the air-porter bus station that took him to DFW.

The gallery was packed with people. There where over a hundred in the standing room, and about fifty or so in the upstairs room where Jane Seymour and a few pop artist with neon bright colors, and thick detailed brushes, displayed their work.

Tom headed immediately to the vault, with his back pack at his side.

Roberto began to think of the heart and it's cardiac cycle. There is a diastole rhythmic dance of the heart. Diastole is when the heart is relaxed and placed. Hence, it had filled with blood and is awaiting to pump the deoxygenated blood to the bottom chambers. The systole is the second phase of the rhythm. This is when the heart beats a second time and the blood is dispersed out of the pulmonary and toward the lungs to be rejuvenated, and to provide oxygen to the body. That day, Roberto had a check up and his heart was the doctors main concerned. In many cases, prisoners sometimes suffer from heart disease, especially after being cooped up in a cell, forced with non-movement, and lessened with aerobic exercise. Many prisoners take up smoking and are very bad to their hearts. In many cases, this is why the prisoners were withheld from society in the first place. They were not just bad influences on their own hearts, but on the hearts of others and the heart of their country. The sequential contraction ensures efficient movement of the blood from atria to ventricles and then into the arteries. If the atria and ventricles contracted simultaneously then there would not be as much blood poured, during diastole, in the proper direction, semilunar valves for preparing to pump into the adjacent chamber, below, and toward the lungs. Atrioventricular valves close to prevent blood from flowing back into the atria. As pressure rises in the arteries, the semilunar valves click shut to prevent blood from flowing back into the ventricles. See, it's a forward motion. Even in the second pump of the heart is only the second chance, to fill the complete system, to push more blood through the body. There is no going back, not even with the blood flow and the many processes that occur in the heart, to oxygenate the body. And the big city was pumping far away, just like the miracle of the cardiac sequence. The stethoscope used by Spoil was many fold. It wasn't simply one tool as the heart doctor using on his patience. Spoil's stethoscope to the heart beating, from the Big City, were many, many things: the phone, conversations between Ann and Hairison about restaurants and events, and happenings that occurred on the streets, movies he had seen long ago, about the city in small towns, pictures, the net, paragraphs in encyclopedias he had coughed up during study before plays and parties late at night in the library, and poetry by the great works of J. Keurack or Al Ginsberg, or Tommy Wolfe, and others that had lived to write about the great walls of the Big City.

Spoil decided to begin smoking. He bought a back at a Phillip 66 near Newman's for three dollars and seventy five cents. It was pack named Mainstreet cigarettes. He had never tried them before and they were quiet cheap. Poetry came back to him, words he had forgotten, faces, stories, and old times, he could cook up again like faded photographs to rearrange in a family album. He pasted them onto the page in unique syntax and his personal take on poetry and it's constant changing semantics and style. It was pouring in and out of him, through others mouths, words, like blood, flowing into the heart, falling in, during diastole and pumping in during systole, and then pumping toward the lung, and back to a lull, so the blood could fill up again. It was that way with his journal, words flowing in, a lull, a moment to ponder over her face, her touch, her whispers, her snores, and then the words about her:

Oh, 120/80 my beloved dance

Soft,

Hair like the night

Kisses of I love you

I love you

I love you

I love you

Until the words

The three words

The three

Nail into him

Like the blood

Entering during

Diastole

And then,

At last,

Truth,

Reality,

A doubt

And another hug

Reassurance,

Another cigarette

A Camel Cigarette

A Light

A puff

Closer now, closer to

Baumgardner's parlor

Into the purple, the insides

So clean, so perfect

True love

130/97

At last,

And then

Systole

145/99

177/100

And period

More breath,

Breath,

Breath,

Release

190/204

Back to home.

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub

The heart lets out it's famous lub dub

And then, silence

Slow fade to blackness

And then no more lub dub,

No Alarm

No recording

Nothing available

333/666

Then no more anything.

And truth

Alarm limits 71-167

And 333/666 and His Iron rode and the face

Of the dark prince, his long, velvet ashy opaque robe

And the man fall's into a dangerous

Dispel and finally

Stillness beyond stillness

Beyond anything we can comprehend.

Period.

Oh, beloved Sinoatrial node no more

Silence my electricity.

And the world goes with out it's precious light once and finally again.

And this spinning, this precious pulse stops

And Lights out to darkness.

There I saved myself somewhat.

Spoil's was preparing, or was he pretending to prepare. He couldn't tell. But his time was coming to an deadly end. He could feel the rhythm slightly fall of beat, slightly cool to a mild nothingness and then back into play again. He was studying like a nut. He decided to go to the local library and check out books about the heart and it's mechanisms. He new his time was running out. He could feel it in his chest, like a slow burning coal about to lower in heat, and the energy doomed to run cold.

To add to the story was dangerous to all three thieves, Roberto, Tom and his Spoil. The end of this story was slowly crawling to an end. Roberto would eventually receive parole and become a free man which is nearly impossible for a prisoner to do. The criminal, Tom Burnett, would steal the head of mary, a sacrilegious act to any catholic which Tom was not. The ten year war could have been caused by such a sin, but those wars in those times were fought under the command of god, not over golden idols. Tom didn't feel the head of Mary was holy, but valued that others believed it was. Spoil had traveling to do. Hairison was growing sicker. Since Ann, his daughter had left back to the metroplex to become a nurse and settle into womanhood he turned to the bottle for comfort and forgetfulness. "I don't want to remember the ones I loved. The ones that left me here, alone, with God's solitude. I have never been thirsty in my life, and I pray every day." Hairison wanted to attend work but he kept the shop open on Sunday mornings for extra money. Spoil desired to go to church as well, but figured he have to walk, and the closet church was over ten miles away, and his bones ached on Sunday morns. Men, like children, know there is evil out there. There is evil out there. Temptation is it's name. "Want a drink Sir?" The bartender said to Tom in the gallery as he stood near the vault. "No." Tom called the security guard, his old friend back in the day, the one he spied through the binoculars with and talked of night crawlers. He was there again. Tom, the guardsmen, back in the day when he told him of Wolfe, and his book, then called the Poem, but latter changed into the Criminal. "Ted." Tom said with a crystal tear forming in the corner of his eyes over the eye buggers he had not yet wiped clear. "Ted, come er." Tom's hands were sweating like fishy catfish in the greasy part of the trinity river. His nerves were shot. He began to tremble a bit, and then took ten large, slow breaths as Ted slowly walked over dressed in his night blue security guard. "Still guarding huh." "Yep." "Got the old uniform still on eh." Ted inquired. "Yep, wore the old one. Spill pizza sauce on the new uniform." Tom smiled with a glint in his eyes, the kind criminal carry in their eyes minutes after birth. One is born a thief in this life, and Tom knew it. He wasn't sure about Ted, but knew he sparkled in his right eye. "Got an order to remove the old girl." He was referring to the head of Mary from Pieta. "Your moving the Pieta." He said. "Who said." "Its going to the Kimble for an exhibit I have paper work." Tom dug in his small satchel and wiped out three pieced of thin yellow paper he had forged up. He lifted it from the office of the Kimble months ago when he planned to take the holy piece. He had typed out the order and even placed a call to the gallery days before. He even had visited the gallery in a three piece suite from Italy, with bifocals and his best Manchester accent. It was the only one he practiced to pick up women at lizard lounges. "We received a call to have it transferred over to the Kimble. I guess your carry her away huh." "Yep, they called me a week ago to pick it up on this Sunday. Boy is this place overloaded." Tom said. "You have to take it now. Let me get Rome." Rome was the manager. "Hang on." Tom nearly started crying but he tucked his emotions under him like he was so skilled at doing. "Rome told me just to carry her off. It's a rush. The piece has to be seen in the next hour and I have to pick up a painting from the second gallery down the block. I'm running behind. Can you cut the alarm." A lull filled the room. Even the spectators looking at Rome's work and his mothers Henerietta, fell silent. It was as if the world has stopped for this moment. Then, after Tom's tenth breath, the room picked back up in conversation and Ted, the gullible dummy he was, dis-activated the alarm and gave him a peculiar wink, as if he knew what he was really happing and what he was really up to. "Okay, let me go in the back is hit in the code. It'll take me a sec." Tom waited before the vault's thick steal doors and round metallic greased locks. He knew if he stepped in, and on the red carpet under the pedestal of priceless gold head, the bells would sound and he'd have to make a run for it. The wait seemed like decades. He stood straight and scoped out the place, looking for peculiar types like himself, but without the bunk uniform. He had a feeling it was going to work. And this surety scared the hell out of him. Sweet formed on his brow and his eyes grew wide and tunnel vision set in. Time was ticking. "Only a sec." Repeated in the back of his mind as he waited for those four beeping sounds that occurred when the alarm shut off. Ted knew what was going on. His face was red with blood, and his flabby, healthy cheeks gleemed under the studio lights that shined the art on the pale white, overly painted dry wall. The studio was set up in no time. It was one of the passing through gigs, design to make a quick fortune off local and European artist, like Middlekauf, Beck, Jane Seymour, and Rome and his mother. The conversation lifted to a mild rumble, and Rome began to give a speech about his history with art and how his mother inspired him to free himself from gymnastics and pursue a life of painting. His works were done with lightning speed and exact skill, replicated the French impressionist, floating scenes of lakes, small skid boats, giant wild flowers of neon yellow and red. He was all of color and strength. Rome was the head of the gallery and was lost in speech with the onlookers. This was the time to act fast. Ted disarmed the alarm. Four beeps. Beep, beep, beep, beep. And then the click. The bolts slide free. It was now complimentary to trespass onto the red carpet and sneak into the vault without activating the alarm bells. Tom stepped in like a cool black cat, with sly charm and careful planned steps. Almost like some shy, bald Buddhist entering his holy temple. He walked near the golden, glistening head of Mary, sweat forming on his brow and chin. He was as nervous as pimp in church. He unzipped the bag slowly and placed his hands on the golden head. It was gold, and still, and held a godly strange vibe. He felt like Hairison ford in the beginning segment of Raiders of the Lost Arc. The scene where Indiana Jones carefully places the sand bag on the archaic pedestal and exchanges the weight of sand for the weight gold. And then the rumble, the bolder, flying darts, and the dead sprint toward the falling rock wall. Scenes from a major motion picture where in his head. Good thoughts. Calming, entertaining thoughts. But no, he wasn't in a lost cave in the middle of a safe lost jungle. He was in a small vault in the town of Worth surrounded by idiot security guards with names like Ted. The head of Mary safely fell into his nap satchel and he zipped it up with a holy, timed speed, making sure the zipper noise wasn't audible. Then, he slung the bag over his shoulder, stepped out of the tiny vault and began his escape. His had uncontrollably and strangely snapped to the left and he noticed a few portraits of cathedrals in Rome and godly pictures of Apostles hanging on the interior of the vault's wall. It was as if he was thieving a work of Gods. A piece inspired by heaven and sculpted by the most holiness of hands of Roma. The conversation from the visitors and buyers was loud, but Tom couldn't hear a single mixed word. He could only hear the thumping, the terrifying breath of fear that plagued his dexterity and careful finite motion. He slide out of the vault and noticed Ted was protruding from the back room. Ted was on his tail. "Need Help." Ted said rashly. "Doing fine." Tom replied and headed to the revolving door that lead to the street. Soon he'd be sitting in the hailed cab, handing the cabbie the other half of the bill, and taking off toward Worth Airport. As Tom walked out onto the busy street, rain had entered the scene. Hard rain. No umbrella. Tom thought. It was a good thought. A normal thought. The types of thoughts he trained himself to embed in his rushing mind during the emergency of thievery. He was a master. Never think about the steel. Never think about being caught. Always have normal day occurrences, like the rain, or taxi cabs, a movie scene, a the neck of a virgin or airport hot pretzels, or breakfast on the beach on Jamaica. In your mind when running off with the lute, thoughts must be pleasantly planned. The revolver doors spun him out into the wet gray sidewalk and thunder clapped at him like the roar of a pistol. Wasn't a gun fire or nature. No. It was more than guns and lightning. It was God. The almighty screaming at him. It had to be. The sky was overcast, dark and almost non existence. It was a scene out of the crucifixion when God turned away from his beloved son. The city, even though busy with traffic, couples walking hand to hand, artist selling work, guitar players hustling for nickels, dimes or even pennies, all of it, every breaking noise from the passing cars were amplified and alive and in motion. The city was nervous with energy, but Tom saw it as still as a rock. Still as death. No time for anxiety now. In his mind, the city was whispering about him. Talking about his sacrilegious deed. But it had to be done. He felt it was the order of things. Boy, he had done it now. Now he was stealing from God.

He did it. He took the holy Mary from protection. The thieve had stole away with one of God's creations. Another thunder clap. Strong lighting. Tom still fooled himself in believing he was simply off to the airport on one of his flights of fancy. "Tom. Hey. HEY. Tom. Stop." It was Ted again marching after him. He had turned on him. Betrayed him like Judas Iscariot. He was going to bust him. It was a pinch. The cab was around the corner puffing out a thick smoky breath from the tail pipe and the driver was smoking with the windows cracked. Its going to work. Tom thought. I'm getting away. No, no, don't think that. Your not getting away, your simply hailing a cab. Normal thoughts, normal plain average day thoughts. Normal, normal, normal in my head. Tom slowly and calmly without bracing a bone in his body, raised his hand at the cab driver and singled again and again, rushing his hands back and fro. HE CAN'T SEE ME. He walked closer, the rain spilling on his face, and the holy black bag that it now had become. I have God's lady in this bag, I must make sure it's zipped properly. No, no. Don't think of the lute. Don't think of that. Just the cab ride. Get your ass in that cab. Get away from, "Hey. Tom wait." Ted. "Hey." Ted again. "God, Ted don't make crack your neck." Tom made his way, with a few stumbles and a slight slip to the cab. "I just want to tell you something." He was going to pull his side arm on him. He was going to shoot him cold dead in this icy rain. "Wait." Tom would have never stopped, but he knew Ted. Maybe he could give him a knuckle sandwich and knock him cold on the pavement. Tom's body grew cold. Ice cold. But Ted had this peculiar, devilish grin on his face that warmed him a bit. Tom placed his index and middle finger in his lips and screeched out a alarming whistle. The cabbie finally saw him and put the yellow getaway into reverse. Tom pulled out the other half of the bill and tucked it in his side jacket pocket. The rain was un-forgivingly cold, and the weather had changed from a light luke warm, to now a freezing Alaskan chill. Damn it's cold out. Good thought. Tom said to himself silently. Think about the weather. The cold weather will sooth me from this amplified feeling. I'll have to confront Ted before getting in the cab. Ted, Ted, Ted. Why Ted, now. I must stop for him. I must be brave and face this foolish wannabe law man. I don't know why but I just do. Tom stopped nearly skidding to a fall. He wanted to give Ted his time even though he had none to spare. It was his last act of kindness, despite the evil deed he had executed. "What Ted. I'm in a hurry. I got to make it to the Kimble. I've been ordered to get there in ten minutes. The curator's will be pissed if I'm late." Wait I told him I had to meet the museum an hour before. Wait. Shit. He'll catch on that it's a fib. "Just wanted to tell you this joke I heard on the radio the other day." Ted. Joke. Ted wants to tell me a joke. I have the Pope's precious article in my bag and now I have to hear a shabby joke with a sketchy punch line. .. no wait, bad thought again. Not the pope, just a bag full of travel gear, like toiletry items and maps. The head of Mary doesn't make good traveling gear, too damn heavy and not to forget holy. "Just listening to this joke I heard." Ted was grinning like he knew I was about to get away with it. Maybe it's time. Ted had his side arm drawn for some inane reason. Ted wouldn't shoot me. I know the man. It was a 38. caliber in his hand at his side, thumb on the hammer. 38. caliber. My God. The old fashion kind to take down any thieve, even the great barbarian and king Ganges Kahn couldn't shield that bullet. "Okay. Just this one joke." Tom said. "But first. You got a cigarette on ya." Ted asked politely. Oh, he wants a smoke. Thank God. Just a smoke. "Sure. Keep the pack." Tom handed over his last Camel lights and opened the hard pack lid, and even charmingly lit the it under Ted's cheap, automatic umbrella which was now flipping to bloom and protect him from the chilling pellets dropping from the stormy sky. "Okay." Ted stuck the camel in his mouth and brought his lips to Tom's silver zippo with an American Flag on the side. "Okay. This guy, uh, will call him Roberto. Okay. Roberto is his name. Anyway he is walking along on a Sunday stroll and runs into this ladder climbing toward the heavens. The Ladder of Success." Ted puffed up the end of his cherry and took in a large inhale of smoke. A gray tiny cloud, like the rain clouds above, fell from his nostrils. He was serious about his jokes. "Okay, Roberto, decides to climb this ladder of success. Okay, he comes to the first cloud and there is this fat ass bitch laying there spread eagle, she says 'okay Roberto please me in every way, you can have me forever and ever or you can climb higher. So he looks at this flabby fuck and decides to climb on up toward success." Tom was getting impatient. The cabbie was too. The cab backed up closer to the curb and Tom politely rolled down his window. "I'm gonna need another torn fifty if you don't hurry up." The taxi driver said in a rusty, slippery gritty tongue. He was a rough man, many miles under his seat and he wasn't going to wait for this costly joke. "Hang on. I'll add another hundred if you wait. Hurry up Ted." HE continued with the joke. "Okay. So he gets to the next cloud higher up on the ladder. It's a chunky lady this time, but she's got knockers on er', most likely silicon dooms, but knockers nevertheless, and she has pretty eyes, like those contact lens ones, real blue and pretty and shit." "Please hurry." Tom urged. "Okay, just be patient. Patience is a virtue." Ted said inhaling and taking his sweat ass time. It's a set up. The police are on their way. No. No. There not. No police. I can't have the police in my mind. Thinking like that will get me busted. You think it, and it becomes. Tom knew this philosophy about reality. He'd listen to the joke, not because he was brave, but because it was the thing an amateur thieve would never do. "Shoot." Tom said. Ted fastened the gun back in his holster and joked on. He knew he was thieving it. He knew he had the holy item on him. But Ted was raised strictly protestant and this helped immensely. Ted took another long drag off the cig and gave him a informed look, as if he was telling him to run. But Tom knew the fighting techniques of two cats. Cats don't when fights by dueling to the end. Cats lose by turning away. The last cat to turn away in a fight is the loser, it isn't the one that gets the most clawing in. "Okay, so he decided to climb higher. The fake contacts didn't do it for him, and plus she was a plus size in the jeans. So he climbs higher to the next cloud of the latter of success." Hurry, please God hurry. I pray to you to make this joke fast Almighty one. Good thought. Tom thought again. Keep thinking like a pro. Holy thoughts. No not holy, but good thoughts. Holy is bad at this particular moment. Ted went on, "Now this cloud houses a beautiful, voluptuous blond, with real blue eyes, honest tits and the nicest ass out there. She says, 'I'm all yours. For eternity. Do with me as you please." Tom decided to fasten his seat belt. The fear had taken him, but he rolled down the window to keep his professional coolness. "Okay get to the punch line." Top pleaded. Ted picked up his speed. "Roberto thinks to himself. Okay-if this bitch is fine what about the next higher up on the ladder. She's got to be a ten. A ten in a half." God how Ted could get wordy. Another inhale, more smoke, more rain, more thunder, more flashes of light from the sky. God was warning him, just as he once warned Salomon in the tunnel of the minds. "So he climbs higher." Tom said through the half rolled down window. Tom's eyes where on his sidearm. He was sweating bullets. Thirty eight caliber bullets. "So he gets to the top and guess what's there." "Who?" Tom said reaching in his billfold to pull out another fifty for the unselfish and kind cabbie. "This big ass fat guy named Cess." Ted hurled out a brilliant guffaw. He always'd laughed at his own jokes. The cabbie kept stern and hit the meter. His financial clock started at $2.50. Tom clambered up and let out a fake smile and then a chuckle came, and then, not expectantly Tom bursting into a machine gun fire of laughter. Tom's face turned blood red and he flared his pearly whites. Even a couple of spit balls lurched. "Get it. Suck Cess. Success. Suck Cess." Sucksess straight out of Bob Dylons mind. Sucksess, cheaters, theatre and get paid. . .get laid, get paid, get laid. . . Tom stopped all together and covered his smile. The fear had taken a quick exit. "I'll remember that one Ted." Ted winked at him and cracked a charming grin. "There is loyalty among thieves my friend." Tom said and rolled up the window. "Loyalty." Yes, loyalty. And the cab sailed off into the rainy night and across Houston street and toward I-35, a straight zoom to the airport. Ted's laughter rang in the back of his head. That is all he heard in his mind as he placed his nap sack between his legs and closed his eyes in pray. A holy shrine lay now between his legs, a shrine worth it's weight in gold, worth it's weight in money, and desire and spirituality. A shrine that everyone will now be looking for, between his legs it hid and only he knew how to pretend it was simply his overnight bag. I did it. Tom said. I really did. The head of Mary is mine. I'm going to hell for this, but hopefully someone, maybe Shelly will pull me out. He had done it for her. She always told him to be brave and never give in to those bastards. Only if he could of stole Shelly, but she was far gone now, lost from him, only housed in his memories which where now full of laughter. He was happy, but as his mother told him once, an Evil happy is never real happiness. He wasn't goodly happy, but evilly happy. One day, he find true happiness, when he puts down the gold of this earth, to wait for the gold above, and the good happy would arrive. The cab was on the highway now. "Hurry my flight leaves at six AM." "Six Am." The cabbie returned. "It's only Eleven PM." "I'm gonna nap at the terminal. I have to get out by morning." "You artist type." The cabbie said mistaking him as the gallery hopper." You in a rush to sleep at the airport." The cabbie said in a patronizing tone. He had a feeling he was on a getaway. Tom took in a deep breath and decided he quit smoking. He didn't answer the cabbie. "Hey, your in a rush to sleep in some terminal." "Funny enough yeah." Tom said keeping, his eyes still closed. He didn't look back at Worth. He never looked back. Never again. Under Ted's laughter, that had glued in him, the tinkering native steal drums of the faraway golden beached island began to dance inside of him.

Now, for Roberto he was becoming the lucky man. His parole meeting was coming up tomorrow. The riot had be concluded and Nick was sent to maximum security and rumor was out he was going to get lethal for killing the guards. Roberto wasn't for lethal injection, no prisoner was, but people, if you want to call them people, like Nick, don't deserve life. It's not a Christian concept by far, but look at what Nick did to others. He took their lives. And eye for an eye theory still has relevance in today's society. There is justice. Rumor had it, Nick was beaten by the a group of men hired by the Warden. Not too badly, the only used wooden poles and padded gloves for punching. It was top secrete, his torture. They say Nick will sit on death-row for ten years or so before his final end. He ain't Saint nick anymore. "Your getting out this time." It was Jackson. "Hows the class going?" "Got a B. I can't believe it. I really got a B. Next, I'm taking Sociology and then Math. Can you believe me thinking all logical and shit." Roberto had never seen Jackson so happy. "I may make something of myself in here. I may become a scholar." "Good for you Jackson." Jackson handed over his last pack of Marlboro to Roberto, even though Roberto would never smoke anything but Camel. "Thanks." "It's a going away gift. I didn't have anything but cigarettes." Then, Jackson face lit up in a strawberry red, under his beautiful black skin. "Oh, and this poem. I wrote for my final assignment in English. I want you to take it with you." Roberto smiled, and felt his eyes turn watery. "I'll keep it in my wallet always. I won't forget ya Jackson." Jackson vanished down the corridor in his Bo Jangle foot steep routine and then disappeared. Roberto never saw him again after that moment. Rumor had it he was released years later and became a youth councilor to teenage juvenile prisoners in a program called Scared Straight. Chuck stopped by. "I get to walk you out. I talk to the warden. He's going to let me see ya off for the final time." "How do you know parole will set me free." Roberto asked. "WE know these things. I work here remember." Roberto knew Chuck would never leave the prison. It was his home, his work, his place of life and well, Chuck secretly liked being on the inside. It was his home away from home away from home. . . The outside scared people liked Chuck, like pirates admired each other or like pirates that had killed Pan and taken over the lost children and began to instigate and underground plan to overthrow The Man. He knew the system and was too familiar with being a prisoner to ever leave again, with out leaving a deeper foot print.

Spoil drifted down the narrow stair unit now gaining in cobwebs and dusts, and other unexplained particulates. He made it to the last step. There it was again. That funny cold feeling on the bottom of his soles. The cold was still present outside, still trembling him, his every inch. The kitchen felt still, and almost empty. No one was around. Ann had left and would not return until after the next semester of nursing class. He decided to make a bowl of corn flakes and mix it with chocolate milk. The regular, white milk was nearly empty and well, rotten, and spoiled. He poured a bowl and slurped up the flakes staring outside at the falling snow flakes that lingered in the cool breeze. No was outside. No one was in the house. At least, he didn't feel that anyone was. Hairison, most likely, had gone off to the shop. It seemed no one was around anywhere. As if the whole world had stopped for Spoil to finish up his corn flakes. He added another filter to the drip pot and used Folgers, like always. He figured Hairison would need another cup when he returned for lunch. The afternoon was rising and soon the warming sun would begin to melt the icicles from the linings of the rooftops. He loved the sound of icicles hitting the garden, or the white gravel driveway that laid before the house. It was time to clearn. Hairison told him to clean up the back room and to make sure his room was picked up, and he told him he needed to dust before he returned home. Spoil finished up his last bite of corn flakes and put the bowl in the sink, soaped it up with Dawn detergent, rinsed it, dried it off with a faint red dish towel and headed in the back room, where Hairison usually slept. The room was dead when he walked in. There was a lump where Hairison usually slept. Must be a pile of pillows. Spoil thought. He didn't figure it was Hairison. The lump under the bed spread was far too still. No motion of breath, or the sound of snoring. But then, he noticed something peculiar. It was a few thin, long grayish white hairs poking out of the top of the comforter. It couldn't be Hairison. He isn't moving, or snoring, or kicking, or grumbling, or even, well, breathing. Spoil walked over to the edge of the bed and removed the comforter to expose the figure that lay beneath. It was Hairison, but it wasn't. He was far too pale. Far to still. And not a breath lingered inside him. Then, Spoil noticed his eyes. Almost crystal color and blue. They spilled no light out of them. They where absent and hollow. The color of a aqua blue. Spoil softly touched his forehead with his palm. It was icy cold and stale. No sweat. No temperature. Nothing. He was nothing. No more. Hairison wasn't in some type of deep sleep, or even a coma. No. Hairison was dead. Ice cold dead. What am I going to tell Ann. Spoil thought. Then, suddenly he felt responsible. I wonder how he died. Too much sugar in the coffee. Maybe I misplaced the rat poison, or stirred in too much salt, or. . .or. . .or. No, it can't be my fault. People die every day. Some one most likely died just now as I worry over this death, just as someone has been born. People die and people are born it is the way of life. No one can stop it. Death happens. I can't tell Ann. She would be too hurt. She loved her father so much. Spoil hurried back into the kitchen to pick up the phone. Maybe She'll call. Maybe Ann will call. Hairison thought. But the phone never rang. Ann hardly ever called. She was too busy with work and study. Work and study. Ann is always busy. How can I get a hold of her. What about the hospital. Maybe they could resuscitate him. CPR. I remember that from junior high. We took a class on it. The dummy model came to him, the alcohol swabs and the pumping near the heart. Take two fingers from the sternum for measurement. I will try to breath life back into him. Hairison rushed back into the cold still room. He hovered over Spoil and touched placed his first finger and middle finger over on the side of his neck, under the chin. No thumbing. Nothing knocked inside. Then, the placed his cheek to his chest to feel if it raised, just a little bit. Nothing. No movement. Complete and utter stillness. He forgot if he should blow air in his mouth first, or pump his chest. First, I'll blow air in his mouth. Get him breathing. He tilted the back of his head back by placing his palm under the back of his neck. Hairison's head fell backward and small cracking pop announced. He was stiff. Dead stiff. The airway was open because a slight breeze escaped from his lungs. Spoil took a deep breath and placed his mouth over Hairison lips. He exhaled and filled Hairison's lungs to full. His chest rose like balloon filling with water. He let Hairison's limb chest fall again and release his own air. A small cracking sigh sounded from Hairision. "Hairison. Are you wake buddy." Spoil said with stern eyes. "Can you hear me." He placed his mouth over the gaping hole again and blew a full breath. His chest rose again and the same sigh escaped as Hairison's cold chest fell closed. Spoil searched with his first and index finger for his sternum with his right hand. Found it. It was a hard little knob of a thing, short and stubby, but sharp. He placed the two first fingers for measurement and then placed his hand left palm above the mark he made with his fingers. Then, he linked his fingers of his right hand, adjoined with his left, and placed the palm flat against his chest, above his still heart. He began to pump five times in succession. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four Mississippi and five. Then, he pinched his nostrils shut this time. Yes, the nostril must be sealed for the breath to fully arrive. He blew in his mouth, covering his lips with his, and closing off his nose airway, so the air could arrive to his lungs and then, to his blood, if the heart beat. He did this over and over again, finding the sternum, covering his nose, tilting his head back, listening to his breath fill his friends lungs expand and contract. After a five minutes or more of CPR he finally rested. Spoil was sweating a mess. He wiped his brow off with the edge of the bed spread and stood over his dead friend. "I'm Sorry old buddy. Your in heaven now." Suddenly, Hairison's eyes snapped open. "GILDA." He screamed. Air escaped his mouth and his lips blubbered. "Gilda is that you." Hairison was alive. "Hairison. Can you hear me?" Spoil rushed to the phone. "Come to me Gilda. Hold my hand." Spoil picked up the receiver and started to call 911. "COME TO ME NOW. GILDA. NOW. IT'S GOING DARK." Hairison hit the buttons on the phone 9-1. . .and then, a force came over him, a cold feeling, freezing like the icy rain. He flew back into Hairison's icy room in a flash. "Hold my hand Gilda." He knew Hairison was in trouble. He was shaken and his face was as baby blue as the wall's of his baby room Spoil remembered as a child. "I'm here." Spoil said in a high rusty falsetto. "I'm here for you now." Hairison's eyes filled with water and turned a light red. "Gilda. I'm coming home baby." Hairison's said in shaky voice. "I'm coming back to you." Spoil squeezed his hand and placed his palm over his forehead. He was as cold as snow. "Your going to pull through this Hairision." Spoil said in a low voice. "Who are you?" "It's me. Spoil." "Spoil. Who is Spoil. Who in the hell are you?" It was as if Spoil had become a stranger under this confusion. "I'm going to call the ambulance." Spoil said. "No. Don't leave me. Don't stop holding my hand. Hang on to me." Hairison tugged on his hand. He had a grip on him. A grip that could pull in a great whale from the bottom of the ocean. Hairison could not escape. "The phone. I need to make the call." "NO. Gilda. Coming. Home. Stay with me." Hairison was crying now. Whining like a small school boy, pouting and hissing a small fit. "NOOOOOO. Gilda. I'm coming." He began to cough and the inside of him was vibrating now. He was on the edge of all this. The edge of passing through to the other side. "I'm gonna leave now." "No hang one. Hang on to my hand. I'll call 911. Get ya help" Spoil was afraid to leave him now. Afraid he may slip back into that icy winter he had found him in. Then, everything fell silent. The room grew still. A sun beam landed on Hairison's face spilling through the sheets that were nailed over his bedroom window. "Tell Ann I love her." Then, Hairison stopped breathing. "No." Spoil shouted. He was tired, tired beyond death. "No. Don't go now. Not now. Wait for Ann." "Tehwl Awwhn I luv er." He said as another breath arose and he fell into that stillness again. "What?" Spoil said. Tewhwl awwhn I luv her. Oh, yes. Tell Ann I love her. Then, Hairison's chest stopped raising. His breath left him. Spoil checked for a pulse on his neck and wrist. It was as still as a rock. He was gone again. I'll make the call. The call. 911. 911. Spoil repeated in his hand. Then, Hairison's grip fell lose and dead. He dropped his hand and it swung to the side of the bed, dangling their like a worn out rag doll. Spoil slipped into the kitchen it took a tumbling fall on the icy floor. A stream of frozen milk stretched from the bottom of the stairs and out the front door. It was frozen like a long white bridge skimming on top of the kitchen floor. Gilda. Spoil thought. Gilda took him. He stood up, still staring amazingly at the frozen stream of white. He picked up the phone and began to dial 911. "Don't." A voice said from the stairs. He looked up. Gilda was standing there, almost hovering over the last stair holding a bottle of white milk. Don't make the call. Let him come with me. Spoil stared at her with wide eyes. He began to tremble and shake. He grew cold and the sweat under his armpits and forehead seemed to ice over. But it's Hairison. He is my keeper. "LET HIM GO WITH ME." Gilda said and a beam of light passed through her and she flew across the room and into Hairison's bedroom. Spoil followed her. She hovered over the still lump in the bed and then the ghost's hand caressed Hairison's pale face. She fell vanished into him. The room was freezing cold and still again. Gilda was gone. It was as if she had entered him. Then, the beam of sunlight lifted from Hairison's milky face and drifted to the ceiling and slowly dimmed to a familiar shadow on the ceiling, which remained. Spoil ran back into the kitchen. The icy trail of milk was gone. He picked up the receiver and then, hesitated to call this time. Let him go with me. Let him go with me. The voice rang in his head. Let him go. We are done here. Spoil dropped the phone and ran the narrow stairs to the attic room he spent so many hours writing in. I must leave here now. He thought. I must get out. Leave Hairison and his wife and Ann. I must go now. Go to the Big City. He thought.

Spoil peeked out of the attic's makeshift guest bedroom upstairs window. There was a priest walking with a small black cane. Limping, alone. What was Hairison. Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Mormon, Jehovah's Witness. What? Well, he couldn't of been Mormon or Jehovah's witness because he would of tried to convert him. He must have practiced Catholicism or Baptism. What was he? He knew who he was, where he lived, what work he had done. But he never remembered him reading the bible, or going off to church on Sunday. One time Ann mention a quote from the bible. The sickness will not end in death. She said that one time talking about her hospital and her type of work, where the dead come and go on a daily basis. The sickness will not end in death. He knew this.

Perhaps, he should stop the priest. Ask him for (last rites) last rights for Hairison. I could stop him now. It looks as if he is headed to someone's house, maybe to help pass a soul to heaven. He wore a thick beaded necklace of black with a crucifix hanging on the end. It swung slowly, in little movements, side-to-side, almost hypnotizing Spoil to come out in the cold and talk with him. The priest was humming something. A religious hymn. Yes, he remembered. Come walk with me. That is what was in the Priest's mind as he thrashed through the snowy street in his black holy rain boots, leaving his foot prints behind him. He had a slow walk, almost in a fixed rhythm, as if nothing could stop him from his next step, but his steady, concentrated gait was not hurried or rushed.

Hairson left the frosty window that he had cleared with his palm to make a hole to see the holy man make his way passed the house. Then, he noticed something pecuriliar. It was a snow man, with two big coal eyes, broom stick arms, with leather snow gloves for hands and two hard cold ashy black rock eyes. What was a snow man doing in Hairison's front yard. How did it get there? He had no explanation. Maybe the priest made it. Perhaps some kids in the neighborhood to play a joke on Hairison, who was now as cold as the snowman.

The priest suddenly came still, almost infinitesimal before the Hairison's oak red mail box that read 407 Farmer Road. The priest turned and looked up at the frosty attic window, glinting and squeezing his eye lids as if he was trying to make out Spoil. Then, he nodded and looked up toward the now graying morning sky. Spoil decided to retrieve him and ask him to pray over his passed friend. Spoil walked down the stairs, in the same rhythm that the priest had gaited to. He arrived at Hairison's front door and swung the door open, the hinges squealed like a door mouse. Spoil walked out in the snowy front yard in his thin morning slippers, soaking them to a soggy slush. "Excuse me, Father." Spoil said. "I need your assistant." The Father turned to him and made his way to the front yard and off the Farmer road, which was as dead with immobility and non-movement. There wasn't a bird in the sky, nor did the squirrels rattle in the trees, or the field mice run under the embedded snow. Everything was infinitesimal like his dead friend that lay awaiting degeneration. "Sir, the owner of this house has passed and I would like for you to. . ." And then, nothing was there. No priest. No father. Nobody. Just the snowman staring back at him with the set of ashy black eyes. Hairison scratched his head and rubbed his eyes. I must be dreaming. He thought. Then, he heard a set of foot steps clogging far down Farmers road, but he saw no one. It was just the sound of someone slowly walking toward North. He had a feeling it was the priest's spirit, or maybe his own foot steps, heading out toward the city. The sun slowly crawled out behind the gray storm clouds and shinned speckles of lights down upon the house and began to losing the firmness of the snowman. Spoil saw the it slowly melt as the winter fell close in his mind and summer transformed the ice into slush, then water and then vapor and back up toward the clouds to wait in moisture.

A small second passed, and Hairison was back in the attic, as if he had never stepped out to find the Father walking in his unseen way. He reached under the mattress and removed his new black leather bound journal of poetry entitled Cold Town. Then, he made his way to the kitchen to cook his last meal until his next stop. He opened Hairison's refrigerator and removed two pieces of lumped foil about the size of footballs. He opened them and removed the reddened frozen meat and placed them on the countertops. As he let the meat thaw he opened his journal and began to write.

Hairison has left me. He was passed to the heavens to a better place. I will remember him always. 407 Farmer road, a place I learned about people and the country.

He continued writing about the small house, the attic, Hairison's stories of the hair saloon, and Ann's dream of becoming a nurse, and how pretty her green eyes where, and then, he began pondering over the little things. The coffee maker, the gas oven and the grease that had formed on the facing and under the handles, on the grill, and how the field mice would borough under the house, and the rabbits. . .Then, his pen stopped. The rabbits. Spoil looked over at the thawed meat that lay limp on top of the foil. THE RABBITS. He flipped to the beginnings of his thick journal and found the Rabbit song to Jackson, Chuck and Robert.

Then, the song came to him:

Run rabbit run

Take to your fun

Life ain't a game

No one wins anyway

Run turtle run

Take to the sun

Look out for rain today

Rabbits only a sleep away

Rest, rest the pain away

Hide in your shell today

Get lost in my way.

Race on and on today, today, and today.

I'm sorry Chuck, Roberto and Jackson. I gotta eat ya today. He preheated the oven to 360 and walked back to the bedroom to cover Hairison up with a few comforters. Then, he tore a sheet from his journal and set it on the table. He walked into Hairison's room and opened his nightstand. That is where he kept his phone books, and his address book,. He had told him about it long ago, if he ever needed to call the shop, or the local feed store, the numbers for Ann and the Hospital were listed in the Rolladex. He found Anne's address in the Big City. 1002 Twenty third street, Big City, 00017.

Spoil set down and spiced the rabbit meat with pepper and salt. He began to write Ann a letter as he finished off Jackson.

Dear Ann,

Your father has passed away on the day of 17th of cold early morning of January. I do not know the cause of death. Most likely natural causes. I found him laying unconscious and he wasn't breathing. I called the ambulance but they did not make it on time. I had to leave town so I wrote this letter to you because I could not reach you by phone. I'm sorry I could not reach you. I tried calling your home several times but no one answered. I hope school is working out for you. You are a beautiful lady and will make a wonderful and caring nurse. I must leave now. I am headed to the Big City to make my new home. I will not be here, in Cold Town, when you return for the funeral. I have called the mortician at the Cold Town Morgue to pick up your father as soon as possibal, possible. I love you and will miss you dearly. I am sorry to inform you that I will not be able to make his funeral, but I will send you another letter once I arrive to the Big City. I have your address and I know you are very busy. I may not come across you in time before you receive this letter. Till now I guess this will do. I am sorry about the death of your father. He was a good, honest, hard working man, and the best barber ever. Hairison was the best friend I have had in years and I miss his long stories about Cold Town and the memories he shared about his wife Gilda and you growing up.

P.S. Jackson, Robert and Chuck are no longer with us either. They have passed away and I buried them in the back yard. A wild dog got a hold of them when I on the front porch when I gave them some free time from the cages. It was a tragedy. The rabbit's graves are unmarked, but they are resting with God now. This was a hard winter. Anyways, I will honor and have him and you in my heart always. God Bless you Ann Hairison.

P.S.

I will look you up when I arrive in the city.

Love Forever,

Mr. Spoil, your friend.

Roberto small black alarm clock began to beep. It was low in battery and now the beeping had a more baritone beep, and it sounded like it was getting horse. He hit the snooze, took the battery out of the back. Boy, if he left that old alarm beeping for hours why he was away at the parole meeting, the prisoners would have his hide before sun up. The Warden showed up. Cigar and all. His face looked much older, more wrinkly, more crow feet under the brow and under the eyes. He led Roberto down passed the mess hall, under the weight room and nose close to an elevator. The prison guards that shadowed Roberto uncuffed him. He might be free. A voice rose in his head. He might really be free. It was the inmates talking to him, from above. The inmates he shared the a hard decade of his life. The voices of Chuck, Jackson, and the Guitar man's tunes rattle in his head, far in his head, the many cells he had dug and concreted and barred up behind his fondest memories. Voices he'd never forget, nor want to. . .voices of time.

"You did it man." "You're the man." "Good ol' free Roberto. The pace maker." No one ever called him the pace maker before, but it fit his last name. Roberto Pace Maker. It did it and at a reasonable cost. My life, time, hard time, sitting before the typewriting clacking away through riot and through the thick silence of criminal mischief. Now, Roberto was going to be free and soon a real writer.

The committee was as usual. There were five members plus two guards. The member that caught his eye was a sharp, smart and pretty lady dressed in a white business suite and white tie. She reminded him of Annie Hall. He tear'd up for a minute and began to take big breaths. Crying at your parole meeting revealed a sign of weakness. "One must be strong. One must hold your head high." It was the guys from the cell talking in his head again.

"State your full name and number." "Roberto Pace. Number 17667 block C." "Roberto do you know why you are here today?" The man that asked this question must have been the one with the PHD. He wore a brown suite with a thick blazer and even kept his light weight scarf around his neck. "I hope you do." He got up and walked out of the room. For some reason, he didn't want to attend this meeting. That left five, I think, five or six more members. I was seeing double at this point. Then, something caught Robertos eye. The scarf. Why was that man wearing a scarf and jacket. It was only spring. I think it was spring. Is it spring out there. What month was this. A scarf. It must be chilly out.

The month. What month. They'd ask the month. They ask that. To see if I was sane. "What is the date today?" A voice blurred. Roberto stiffened up and went into a cold sweat. Beads of water formed on every part of his existence. Then, a group of men, that all sounded like Chuck rattled off, far under his consciousness, "May 15th, 1999." "Good answer" The man in the brown suit returned politely with a jug of water and then exited again and returned seconds later with two glasses. Then, the brow suited man exited and returned with two more glasses. He kept doing this, coming and going, clicking his expensive dress shoes across the room, carrying in glass after glass until everyone had two or more. He seemed nervous. For some reason, Roberto took him as the press. He must have been a press man, a reporter for some magazine or news channel. The other parole members seemed very educated and too sophisticated to be real prison parole officers and guidance councilors. They had these councilors there to help you figure out how to make it once you get on the outside. It seemed everyone had already had plans for Roberto. Their were two men that looked like they could have been twins. They both weigh in at about a buck fifty and wore thick bifocals: each in matching blue suites and blue checkered ties. "Do you know why we are here?" The warden, now Roberto could tell, was wearing a yellow rain cover, poncho, with a gray cowboy hat with a silver star at the brim and a feather, perhaps turkey season. . ."Do you know why we are here today?" "No." Roberto answered with an honest look. "Why?" "We are here to ask you about the story." "What about my freedom?" Roberto's tears were acting up again. He didn't know he'd get teary eyed and he never felt this important before. He felt like a member of society. Like he mattered. One of these members had a Doctorate degree in Psychology and two others in criminal law. The first few questions where not about freedom, or the story. He was just imagined it, or perhaps he could not stop thinking of his newfound gift; his only freedom on the inside. "What aroused your criminal behavior?" "What made you a criminal?" "You don't have a long criminal history. Why would you threaten another human beings life, put another in harms way and even attempt to end their life, if you were not a criminal?" "Stupidity" Roberto answered. "What brought upon your stupidity?" "I had no identity." Roberto answered. "I did not know who I was?" "Go on" The smart one insisted. "Complete this thought. This is more of what we are looking for?" The twins sat up. Roberto had got the entire room's attention. "I never had a father. Not a consistant father, with consistent behavior. My father was a speed freak. He only cared about money and I had to be perfect, or I got in the way of his money. And this was his only freedom." "What do you mean exactly. Was he abusive." The lady asked. "Yes. He has a rap sheet on child abuse. The state knew he was abusing me as a child. That is why I ran away. I became an obsessed fan. And all fans are fanatics, druggies and addicts. To either their obsessions are their own wishes." "So, you didn't know you were a criminal, or you didn't know you were committing criminal behavior?" The questions continued like this for fifty minutes or more. Or until I gave them all the answers they needed to hear. Finally, the book was brought up by the warden. This revealed a new side to me. It showed that I had grown on the inside. That I had earned the hard time and the hard time had earned me. I had changed. The questions began to favor a light. A light in my eyes and a light at the end of the tunnel of this hard time. I began to feel that I was going to be set free. The questions began to become interrogation. I became eager and tired of answering questions about crime and the criminal frame of mind and the criminals motive and what part of history made me a criminal. "The past is the past, is it not." I asked them. I thought it was charming to answer in the form of a question.

"What about your freedom?" I asked them. "Do you all feel free." "What do you mean, do we feel free?" One of the twins asked. Then, I cut in, "I want to know. Am I a free man or another year?" "First tell us about the story and then we will tell you if you are a free man or prisoner." "First, I want to know, before I talk about the book I was allowed to write in here. Before I talk about The Criminal." The twins looked at one another. They must of each had on a ton of cologne on. They must of doused themselves with it before the meeting. And the aftershave was even worse. I don't know why I was focusing on what they were wearing. Perhaps because I could not wear it. The whole situation made me sweat, and the lady's looks where not to die for. . .Man, that damn cologne. That damn aftershave. Easy Breeze, or some Wal-mart home job brand. Bad news on the after shave. After awile I began to accept the cologne and even like it. So, good news on the cologne. These people might be important. It was a cheap after shave, but the cologne was expensive. It had to be Hugo Boss. Yes, Hugo Boss. Yes. Yes, Boss. Seventy dollars or more a bottle at your local Folies. "You want me to tell you the story?" "Yes." The twin on the right said. The entire parole board was seated behind a long, cheap picnic table that looked like the last supper table, but with businessmen awaiting an answer, and, well, Christ was left out of the picture, but I am sure he was there in spirit. "Yes." The twin on the left said. "No." Roberto clattered back and lowered his head. The other member was dressed in a tan business suite, with what looked like a pair of FBI ordered sunglasses sitting next to his two hundred dollar silver pen made by some unknown jewelry store. "First, the story, then we tell you were you stand. It depends on the story." Roberto went erect and became hot headed. "No. I will not utter a word to you about my novel until I find out if I am here for another year or I walk tomorrow or now or whenever." "Okay." The twins nodded to the Warden. The Warden placed a Cuban cigar in his mouth, lit up, puffed a cloud of smoke and nodded to the lady in the white business suit. She nodded to the black man in the tan suit. The warden lifted his barrel chest toward the ceiling and tucked in his gut. It was as if he was getting ready for prom or a big date. He smiled and showed all his pearly teeth, which Roberto did not know how he could of possessed with out Dental enhancement, and a four bottles of Colgate White and a electric powered spin brush. Perhaps he used a waxing device. See, the Warden was a vain man, but he had style and never let anyone know he was peacock at heart. "Should I tell him or yall." The Warden said a small white puffball of smoke escaped his rounded lips. The Warden remained behind the godly table and hovered like a lost shadow looking for a resting place under a thick old elm. He was the tallest and most intimidating man of the bunch. And what a bunch it was, the tan suite man, who was African decent, spoke up. "I'll tell him." He stood his spine right in the chair and talked in a low commanding voice. "As of today, May 15th, you are now a free man. Your crime has been redeemed. You are free to go." "We would like to here the story." The lady in white quietly said. The twins stood up. The left one dented in his glasses to the upper region of his nose and belted out, and with a ton of emotion "We are from Garden City Books. We heard you had written a story about your life as a criminal and as a prisoner. WE are very interested and want to read your manuscript." "For how much?" "Well, we would like to review it and then give you a price." The Warden cracked a shit eating grin and tipped his hat at Roberto. According to the forecast there was no precipitation in Roberto's eyes. He was a serious business man now. "Okay." Roberto stood up stretched and bent over. He hung upside down for minute, touching his toes and stretching out the long stiff back muscles he had accumulated laying on his un-springy hard as stone mattress in Block C.

"You want to here my story." "Yes." The twin on the right said. "Shall I recite it to you." Roberto grinned and tipped an imaginary hat to the Warden. "You have it memorized." "Most of the first chapter. I figured it was better to get it in my head, you know, in case of another riot. Out of control fires and reams of papers don't mix." Roberto straightened up and sat back in the steel silver chair. "First, I would like the Warden to give me one of those fine illegal Cubans and a match." The Warden guffawed, leaned his head back, reached in his jacket and pulled out his small golden cigar case. He walked over to Roberto, placed it in his mouth, as if he was a proud father, and struck the match for him. Roberto puffed away and took a half inhale. His eyes fogged over with red and tiresome time. "First, I would like to thank the Warden and the committee for freeing me. And I would like to admit to you that I wrote this think on everything from napkins, placemats and toilet paper and of course the fine Underwood and paper that the Warden provided, I would have had a hell of a time chipping this thing out on the concrete wall, if it weren't for the Warden here." "Shucks." The Warden said and returned to his shadow behind the table. "Where would you like to begin." The educated twin said removing his jacket while pouring a tall glass of water. "We are interested in publishing your story." The twin on the left said and cleared his throat and poured another glass for his brother. "Thirsty." "Yes." Roberto said while puffing the room full of more cigar smoke and ash. The twin poured Roberto a glass of water and walked over to him. His fancy dress shoes, most likely form Italy, tapped a odd beat as he made his way to Roberto. "Thanks." Roberto said and took a large sip. The man returned next to his other half and sat swiftly in the exact same intellectual position behind the holy table. "Were should I begin?" Roberto asked. "From the beginning. That seems to always work." Roberto's face went red and then slowly ivory. "From the beginning Roberto Pace." The Warden said smiling ear to ear. Roberto had become a model prisoner and The Warden was going to take credit for every educated modeled moment. The room became a thick as leather and as cold as Alaska. A breeze fell through Roberto Pace like no other wind had produced on his body and mind. A breeze that could end all breaths. He took in a deep breath and began to quiet his body and breath at a steady rate. He took in one last big breath and quietly open the story up for the searching eyes before him. . .It seemed a sun ray had found its way through a barred window and onto his pale and tired face. "Okay. Here it goes. . . .Uh. It starts off fairly simple. I give a definition. Are you ready." The entire room nodded. Roberto continued,

"A man rotten away in a prison cell in the land of free. Atrophy. The idea of prison. Atrophy, the idea of hell. Atrophy, my beginning and my end. Atrophy, never will I walk but in circles along wired fences and bullet proof glass and hallways arm stretched lengths. Never will I remember the beauty of a pastoral field. Never will I remember the opposite of atrophy. Atrophy; true hell, true crime and punishment, true death. I am dead because of atrophy. I am dead because my desires are dull and I can never think to possess anything more than my body. My body, my true cell, the bars, my true thoughts. My punishment, my savior, my life and my end.

Now for Roberto's Pace's fictional story, inspired by wasting away in his Cell #1776 A Block. Down the hall from the blue collar crimes." Roberto took in one last huge breath and lost himself, once again, in his telling of the story, " Tom Burnet was lost in a familiar, unerring thought. It was not a breath away that he could feel her, almost touch her soft lips. Shelly Thorns, the women he never mentioned, never, not even softly uttered her name. Like thorns that grew in the garden and that had stung too deep, far too deep to remove from the sole. A scar was left inside him that he could never repair. The thought that he pondered on was intrinsically planted carefully in the corner of the dark rooms in his head. It was not a breath away that an unforgettable sound, in one of those rooms, painted baby blue, a carriage, and white wool baby blanket that kept him heavenly warm, had fully enveloped his every movement he despairingly needed now. The feeling, even the sound of this warm web, was always with him, constantly spinning and beating, like a series of master drummers far off in the jungle, in the wilderness inside him, thumping at the soles of his feet to dance it all away. This feeling, cool, dark, azure, deathly deep blue was out there, above him, beyond reach, beyond comprehension. Then, the sound that awoke him as a infant at night came again. That strange little noise we all are so familiar and surprisingly in awe of during dinner time when the talk of the commercials and TV shows intrude upon our reality. The sound of a mimicked life. Then, the rawness of truth arrived in a simple beat. Lub dup, lub, dup, lub dup. The sound in his chest pumped away and it scared him. That familiar big city sprouted up inside him, burning his urge to write it all down, to commit it to the world, to existence, filling him like some strange evergreen plant that would never die, not in the coldest town. A hidden secret like the forbidden fruit once was and had appeared before him in the form of a tall city.. He had never tasted this strange sensation until now, this very precious rushing time, enraging energy and force, giving him an bestial energy he had never used and now aided and burned the story of his life in him like an iron imprint. Tom was constantly putting down in some journal, or shadowy corner in his back pocket, or doodled and tucked between restaurant napkins. Perhaps an answer. Perhaps the answer was temporary but it warmed him, soothed him for the moment he waited on the subway bench for the R train to arrive.

Breaths buried into his structured and planned out mind. Ashy thoughts, once pure, but now growing polluted and far from taintless were coming and going in long puffs off his Camel cigarettes. Then, in a flash he had landed in the future. Years passed him in a blink and he began to write.

Buy one get two free Camels at the local junction in the town of Crow where he marked the story from now. He went back to this city again for an answer. It was sad such a man could lose his innocence, some of the greatest of his blood had never suffered from the glitch, the tiny dot, by which the mechanics of the machine's black blood and grinding, oily and drippy desire of fame and fortune, operated. In such an evil way his voice changed and became rusted with knowledge never meant for man to see and take in. Of course it was the big city. He could blame it on that. But the blame, you see, never ends. The blame never ends. It is more dangerous than cyanide or any toxic chemical growing in the refineries that charged the light and energy for mankind. This collection of the richest of men, in the spot of a financial moment, a dent in time had opened for him, a fortune offered for his words and thoughts, his paper turning to gold. It was this, the temptation he fought. The temptation of fame and fortune and to enter the Great Wall.

It was not some mere philosophy, or art, or performance, or trickery that he so treasured and tried to organize and plan his life around that was saving him. This type of feed, this entertainment was eating away at him like the blue and yellow pills he ingested morning and night to calm his mind and heart. No it was more than that. It was touchable, in sight, before him, breathing like a lover. Shelly Thorns was lost. She left for the south. Left him behind for another lover, another heart to heal and grow.

There he was in this big city that everyone flocked to time to time for financial award and fame. There he was again. This lost man. Alone. In some deep thought about the essence of what a city really is, a living force with form, a unknown necessity, like technology has become, a new fruit. . . and now with an almost a godly perfection it hovered and shadowed over him like a great God asking him questions and leading him to empty dead ends.

Like an organism larger than most gigantic killer whales, or Moby Dick. When the Captain of Captains, of the mighty ship able to take under killer sea creatures, Ahab, without fear, or self consciousness, may have tossed his ragged self upon it's flapping fins and slimy skin, sticking his mighty spear into it's fishy ribs and his flesh joining the whales flesh, holding on to this stubbornness in unison, this hate and this sailor's revenge that lead him far beneath the drowning sea, like a giant iron ship anchor, of no desire and salty downward, gravitated truth; Now, and again, and again, he watched the bars in his cell, the brick hall ways and passing inmates, like Ahab, once had bravely been, fighting in the rushing waves, salty water for their next fishy meal, and greater than the any peril of the sea itself, that now tugged on his puerile and silly, childish direction of man versus the sea (rather than Man versus God). He typed, like Ahab harpooned the watery mammals hearts: A direction once, in youth, lead by God, and now guided by what seemed to be his own choosing, words, words, words making up giant stories of his own precious chosen scene. He was a chosen one, gifted to speak, to own the past, to control the future, to change the past and revise the present. Those who changed history, changed the future and those who changed the past, powered the present. He was far from 1984's concept dreamed by Orwell and far from the dream of Big Brother. That was already implanted in everyman, free or not. These thoughts, this stories, which was his downfall, in his youth once mitigated toward Christ's solitary popular words, barred by his fructification of fiction, "Worship must have crucifixion, and understanding, but now what tempted him from that saving grace he was lost. He needed Him like a plant needs the power of water for fermentation. And God was always there in fermentation of his mind and body. Carrying him, mind and body, in the shadows and pain that slowly sucked from his lungs, which derived by Rene Duamal's plants and Sogol's climb to Mount Analogue. Stories now lost, in libraries across the countries, like the fictional talking plants and the invisible mountain made visible by Rene's imagination..

This city needs grace like a plant needs water. He thought. Without grace the trash will just pile up and take over and corrupt what could have been nature.

Even though long ago he was born now he felt he had just arrived.

"You did it pal." Jackson said. "And one day I'll write one that will kick that one right in the ass." Jackson's voice echoed away.

"Taxi." The cab past him in a flash. Seconds passed in his heart that seemed like centuries of war and love. He was now standing before the yellow line awaiting the underground trains, rushing, clicking by like flashes of pure solar rays, lights man made of faces in rocking pasts He hated him, his cell mates, almost blinding him into confusion, with his chattering hatred of authority, cash register locks, passwords and unbreakable bank mausoleum. The prison was not just steel and alarms. It was an organism in a way, this Big City of bars, foul talk and unforgiving rules. The prison was not just steel and alarms. It was an organism in a way, this Big City of bars, foul talk and unforgiving, hard chilling back breaking, bed sore and hellish smells of the essence of rules. It was no different that Manhattan (Big City). It was not much different than death or the blackest part of sleep a man can sleep without knowing he is alive.

"Oh man you got it this time." Chuck echoed as he told his tale on paper and tongue. "Your in the big top now boy. You are in the Movies."

It was an organism in a way, this Big City "gah, gah" of bars, foul talk and unforgiving rules. The prison was not just steel and alarms. It was an organism in a way, this Big City of bars, foul talk and unforgiving, hard chilling back breaking, bed sore ridden, never forgetting and hellish smells of the essence of rules and proper conduct. It was no different than the scum and riches of Manhattan (Big Cities across the U.S.) the greedy and selfish faces and bodies briskly walking on Wallstreet or the artsy and creativity of San Francisco, or the crowded religions of Tokyo. It was not much different than death or the blackest part of sleep a man can sleep without knowing he is alive, and it was no different than living on the highest penthouse suite. It was no different than what was out there, unless you accepted it's immovable existence, it's crime and it's punishment. Prison was the GA, GA and the Ga, Ga was the prison. The only prisoner that was in the prison system, and suffering from it, was the prisoner that rapped his or her hands around the bars, placed the forehead against the bars and accepted its cold feeling. It's blinding stillness. If the mind wasn't still, then the prisoner was free.