Geo Dell’s Guitar Works series of books

Geo Dell’s Guitar Works series of books

GUITAR WORKS 1 – 7 GEO DELL

Guitar Works Volume One: Finish Work Kindle Edition Learn custom guitar work from Geo Twitter: @GeorgeDell01   https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VF0RYJE

Guitar Works Volume 1 Finish Work paperback Edition Learn custom guitar work   https://www.amazon.com/dp/1521886539


Guitar Works Volume Two: Custom Builds One Kindle Edition Custom builds 1. Short scale Gibson SG build  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VITFXZE

Guitar Works two paperback. Custom builds 1. Follow a custom guitar build and learn as you read.  https://www.amazon.com/Guitar-Works-Two-Custom-Builds/dp/1503164187


Guitar Works Volume Three: Custom Builds Two Kindle Edition Custom builds 2. Learn to do your own guitar work #Kindle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XNPXHQI

Guitar Works 3. Custom Builds 2. Check out a custom Ovation guitar build start to finish  https://www.amazon.com/Guitar-Works-Three-Custom-Builds/dp/1503198553


Guitar Works Volume Four: The CD60 Build Kindle Edition This volume contains the complete Fender CD60 build https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01390FUSY

Guitar Works Volume 4: The CD60 Build. This volume contains the complete Fender CD60 build  https://www.amazon.com/dp/152186800X


Guitar Works Volume Five: Repair work. Learn to do custom repair work.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XPCGGLZ

Guitar Works Volume 5: Repair work. Learn to do custom repair work. Fretting, more https://www.amazon.com/dp/1520858094


Guitar Works Volume Six: Seven String Jazz Guitar. Follow this acoustic build from start to finish https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073ZKM7PH

Guitar Works Volume 6: Seven String Jazz Guitar. Follow this acoustic build from start to finish https://www.amazon.com/dp/1521867852


Guitar Works Volume Seven: The Scrap Wood Build. An SG bodied build from recycled wood and parts #Luthiery #Guitar https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073ZNHF7D

Guitar Works Volume 7: The Scrap Wood Build. An SG build from recycled wood and parts https://www.amazon.com/dp/1521869006


The Guitar Works Big Book: 535 pages of guitar know how. Custom builds, repair work and much more https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075J48C66

The Guitar Works Big Book. 331 pages. Hundreds of images. Learn custom guitar work https://www.amazon.com/Guitar-Works-Big-Book/dp/1549716905



Fixing my own car

Fixing my own car

A few weeks back we were on the way home and the muffler fell off the car. It decided to hang on by the barest of thread and so it dragged all the way home and made a hell of a racket.

I consider myself a do-it-yourself guy. Sort of like a modern day cave man: Even if I can’t do it well, shouldn’t do it; been warned not to do it, I’m doing it. So I got on-line found the parts locally: Muffler and tail-pipe turn down piece and after nearly having to take a nitro over the price I looked on Amazon, where I buy everything, and found the same parts for less than a third of the local discount auto bargain fix-it-yourself guys price. I determined that since I have Prime and free shipping I could get the parts in two days and so I ordered them.

The parts came after much finger clicking and tapping and cat petting (I didn’t have to pet the cat the cat just wanted to be petted). I spent two hours on a piece of cardboard from a shipping box wrestling the parts into submission. Ye-Haw, I thought. I know, not very caveman like, but I am not sure exactly what a caveman would say since they didn’t have Chevy’s to work on. I believe back then all they had was Fords.

Mom drove the car into town… Well toward town… She made it a mile and then I heard one hell of a racket out front. I was in the back in my office. It sounded like someone started a lawn mower: One of those old ones that the muffler had rotted off of. Well, I was half right, it did have something to do with mufflers. Curiosity lead me to the front of the house where mom informed me the muffler had fallen off.

If you are a caveman you do not believe in this. Things you fix stay fixed. Bears sleep through winter. Naked bodies should have hair on them… So, I refused to believe this. I went outside and looked under the car and sure enough the muffler had fallen off. Impossible I said, yet there was the evidence in front of me. A new muffler all scraped up from being dragged home by the tailpipe hanger.

This is the part where I said some cuss words we have all never used and then I got out my trusty cardboard and crawled back under the car. Hmmm, I said. And hmmm again, and then I looked forward to see why the muffler had fallen off as it was obvious the muffler had been torn loose as the clamp was still attached. That was when I noticed that the entire exhaust was on the ground. All of it… All the way to the front of the car at the catalytic convertor.

They pay almost $550.00 scrap for a junk car now and I thought, well, ol’ Chevy you are dead meat. I had visions of Breaking Bad and Walter and Jessie crushing up the Bounder. Sigh. But then I went back on-line, skipped the local’s this time and priced that front section of pipe to the header pipe. I assumed it was two pieces, maybe three. In the old days it would be, but it was all one piece. I found the same pipe, called the Resonator pipe because it has a built in resonator and a long pipe that joins to the catalytic converter and then extends to the wheel well and then all the way to the back of the car, for wide variances in the prices: From a few hundred to fifty bucks. I used a few more carefully chosen expletives having to do with things I use expletives for and then bought the pipe, a pair of ramps to drive the car up onto so my fat butt could crawl under the car, some clamps and some cat treats because the cat was right there and had seen the treats on my frequently ordered list and meowed. No stupid cat is my Houdini.

Yesterday I am editing a story and the last parts arrived and so I went out at noon and dragged out my now crumpled and smelly cardboard (It was rained on, and I think a neighborhood dog wizzed on it too) and went to work. Two things here: One; I am out of shape barely getting back on my feet, so I told myself I would go slowly, ha ha ha. Two, rotted, rusty pieces of metal are not having any happy thoughts at all, and this pipe system was no exception. I ended up having to cut the bolts off of the Catalytic convertor where the resonator pipe joins to get it loose, that was after an hour of prep work, um, crawling around looking at this and that and wishing it would fall off. After I cut the pipe loose I realized there is a reason they do these things in a garage on a lift. How to get the pipe out? So I jacked one side of the car up and gained enough room to get the old pipe out and the new pipe in. I called that car so many names it turned from silver to red.

Anyway, in with the new pipe, back on with the muffler, all new hangers, bolts, clamps and voila a new system was in place. I went back into my cave with the other cave men and grunted with satisfaction. Tomorrow we are going hunting… er editing…

Feel, thoughts about life

Feel, thoughts about life…

Posted by Geo 08-11-2017

Good morning to all. It doesn’t seem possible to me that this summer is nearly over with. Pretty soon fall will be moving in and then the holidays and then I’ll realize another year is shot.

Work:

I spent this past week working on non-writing projects. It feels strange to say that, but it is true. I did spend part of the week doing some Earth’s Survivors writing, even though the series is over. I realized that for me the Earth’s survivors books are not over. I am not saying they will ever be published, but I am saying the story is continuing. I spent a small part of the week writing the back story for a few characters that had no real back story. And the deeper I dig the better it gets for me. I want to know more about them. So I wrote a beginning for those characters too. I think when I can allow myself to get into their world I find that I know it so well that I get lost in it and want to know more, tell more, write more. It makes little difference if I ever publish any of it the story still has to be written out. I think that is what makes someone a writer as opposed to someone who writes for a living. And I no longer write for a living. That part is over with.

 

Questions I often get:

Family: I have been asked more than once about family as it relates to my writing. Where are they, what do they think, etc…

You may notice that I don’t have family members that read my writing, proof read it, make comments about it. I don’t know if that is normal or not. I think I have the same sort of quasi dysfunctional family as everyone else in this country has. I like a few of them, a few of them like me, some of us struggle to get along, a few I could do without and I am sure a few feel that way about me. Makes me wonder what it’s like in other countries, or maybe used to be like in this country. I can remember grandparents that were very strong people. They held things together; the fabric of the family. Now grandparents are shipped off to old folks homes, care centers that really do no more than house geriatric patients, and even places that abuse those patients and are rarely held accountable for that. And why are they there? Because family is a word that now means ‘this tiny, little, immediate group right here around or near me. Not grandparents, not parents, not siblings, just these few. My goals are more important than seeing after the well being of the man/woman people that raised me. And if divorce happens? Well then that little group changes too and the kids grow up without parents. Sometime I look at the world and think it’s pretty much junk. The more we evolve the clearer it becomes what sort of race we are aiming to be: Selfish, self centered tiny universes of our own. Spinning alone through the darkness.

I hope God kills me if I ever start thinking that way again. I take care of my mother here at home and this is a place for her until she passes or doesn’t want to be here. I think that because we are so far apart on our views of this subject there is too much between some of my family and I to work out. And I understand it all because I have been self centered, and thankfully I’m not now.

I had a friend once who made a remark to me about why I am single. I thought, that is a stupid question to ask me. Can’t you see what I am doing? I have traded all of that for responsibility, isn’t that they way we were supposed to be raised? Do you mean I should put my mother in a home so I can have a wife? I think sometimes people mean well, but they don’t think things out past their own small universe.

I guess I said all of that because I wanted to explain why there is no family involved in the process with my books. I don’t really think it is a surprise to anyone who actually lives in this world. And I wanted to say this clearly in a public blog. Everything I write belongs to me. Yes I had thought to leave it when I left, but no. I will decide what to do with it before that time happens. There is a legality in play here and the reason I wrote this worded they way it is.

Writing:

I also wrote the family part of this because truly my life is an open book, but I am also always asked who helped me get started, why I write, who is my support in my family and so on.

Many people want to write, but can never seem to make the grade. They have no support, no encouragement, no one to help them. I had/have none of that and I write. No one calls me up after a long day of writing and tells me how good that was, that they like it. There is no monthly encouragement letter in the box. I don’t have weekly support classes where everyone encourages me to keep writing. People ask those things of me when they write because they assume I must have had all of that. Nope. Didn’t.

Here’s the thing though, I still write nearly every day.

In school my English teacher thought I was an idiot. Music teacher the same. Family the same. That isn’t made up, it’s true. The same may be true for you and if it is then you have to do the work yourself. Love yourself. Praise yourself. Don’t give up. Keep going forward. I can’t say it better than that, if you want it you will have it. I know that sounds like bullshit, I used to think it was, but it isn’t at all. One foot in front of the other every day and keep the end goal in mind and you will get there.

I gave a cousin of mine a set of three books from the original Earth’s Survivors series last year. These were proof books, full of typos, rare, hey if I ever become famous they might actually be worth something too. I didn’t offer them, he asked, so I said “Here you go,” and handed him the set. The Covers were test covers and had Donita the zombie queen on them. He saw the covers and his mouth turned down fast. He took them, but a few seconds later he handed them back and said, “Yeah… I can’t read this stuff I’m a Christian.” “No problem,” I said. After all, I’m a christian too.

If you are a fan you know the books are about people and those people surviving, not evil. Yet I have close family that believes the same way. They can’t read them because it would be against their religion. These are the same people that watch movies and read books that have nothing to do with God at all.

I also got some disapproval because there are gays and lesbians in my books. That they have relationships, love, feel, are depicted like real people. Of course Christianity does not allow for gays and lesbians, so for some Christians it’s okay in their hearts to hate them, keep distance from them. In my real world there are only people. Some are this, some are that. I took what I know and I wrote it and so I couldn’t apologize to my Christianity for that. And my God didn’t ask me to, it was only people who felt that. I wrote about a real world rebuilding itself after a disaster and that world included everyone.

I guess things like that should have hurt my feelings, but they didn’t. It means that your family may only see you one way. Don’t pin your hopes there, go past that. Believe in you. Look at Jesus the Christ. Nobody in his hometown took him seriously at all. He had to go elsewhere before anyone took him seriously. You could be in worse company on your quest to be a writer that’s for sure.

Still, this is one of those places where you should have family or loved ones to count on, but quite often they are not there for you. That’s because sometimes, like you, like me, they are also damaged. Probably have self image problems too and so they can’t see others that might be doing a better job that they are. In effect they can’t see past their own problems, failures, successes. You tend to get stuck in that self pity mode and everything sucks, no matter if it is things you do or others do. So unfortunately for you and I we have to depend on ourselves, but one thing that solves is being let down by those same people.

If you get to know yourself, not the public or daily persona, but you, you will know what your capabilities are. You can start to believe in yourself. Don’t believe in bullshit, don’t believe in things people sell you, believe in you. Do you have a good heart? Good, believe in that. It’s a thing that you know about yourself. Do you care about people? Social issues? Are you artistic? Does music live in your soul? Get to know these things and you will have a real base you can believe in. You, not someone else, you. That way you can not let yourself down either. So that is my advice to people who want to write or accomplish anything else in their lives. I have lived that advice. It works. In the end you should write what you feel, what you know, what you want to write, encourage yourself and you will be fine.

Suicide:

That is a funny topic to ask me about. I can see the reasoning, but my answer has to involve so much of my life that the last few times I have been asked I ignored it. I assume you have read some other things I wrote that discuss that and that is where the questions come from.

Okay. Suicide. I really want to be careful in my portrayal of suicide. Modern Christians believe that suicide is forbidden. They will point to this verse or that verse of scripture as a backup. God says this or that about it, but my problem with that is the same problem I have with many laws touted by modern Christianity and said to have clear pronouncements in scriptures. They don’t. It’s that simple. Show me a clear scripture where God says that Suicide is unforgivable, or a sin greater than another, or even that suicide itself is a sin and I will eat my proverbial hat. It isn’t there.

The problems with modern Christianity is that almost all of it is interpretive. That is why there are dozens of Christian churches that do not get along with one another, even hate each other (In actions I have seen, although they will deny it is hate). If that’s the case I can also misquote or put a spin on some scripture and have my own church inside of five minutes.

There was a time in my life when I was younger and I swallowed all of this hook, line and sinker, but I don’t any longer. Show it to me in writing. Don’t show me scripture that is vague and could cover anything from picking on your sister to skipping school to getting a felonious arrest for dealing drugs or murder. Show it to me in writing, not the Old Testament, which is not about us, but written for the Jews as a book of faith and law, not for Christians. No one can do that, and they can’t show it to me because it doesn’t exist. I have argued it before and the end argument for the other side always comes down to, “Well, it takes faith.” Right. That is so close to “There is a sucker born every minute,” that I just can’t abide it.

So back to suicide and the practical persons understanding of it and God’s feeling about it we may infer from our understanding of God.

I am a Christian. Not a modern Christian but a Christian who believes Bible. What was really said, not all the icing the Catholic Church and a few others put on the cake. After all, the Catholic Church said Mary the Magdalene was a whore for a few thousand years. They finally admitted she wasn’t, but that is the church supposedly founded on the rock, Peter, Jesus’s own disciple, so how could it have gotten it wrong? Because, the church is not run by God. It is run by men and we are fallible.

I could distort scripture and come to the conclusion that maybe Jesus himself committed suicide. After all he knew he would die. He knew the Jews would kill him. Does that make it suicide when he knew these things yet went willingly to be killed? Is that obeying God? Is it suicide? I realize I may make a few enemies here, but my point is that this is not their decision, it is your decision, you and God and what you understand about your relationship. I absolutely do believe that there are some circumstances where it should be an option for you alone. Terminal disease being one of them and yes personal choice being another.

So suicide. I made my own position clear in other writings which I assume the reader is referring to, but for those of you who haven’t read that I’ll repeat it:

I get up every day and I find a reason not to do it. I deal with despair, let downs, tragedy, hate, petty bullshit, plain old uncaring attitudes, loneliness, depression and whatever else comes along. I look for some sort of good in the world. Yes I find bad stuff too, we all do, but every day I continue. I don’t call it quits. Sometimes that is because I feel I would be guilty of a sin if I hurt someone by those actions. I believe our actions are things we are held accountable for by God. So whether I hurt someone through deed or action it is on me and some day God will hold me accountable for that. Other days it is a kind word that keeps me going. And if I wake up some day and the reason to go forward is gone? I’ll make a different decision. It’s my choice.

I got some static for the scene in Earth’s Survivors book three where Molly killed herself after Nellie, her girlfriend was murdered. I think that is the first time I addressed the suicide option. I think that writing was about a real person feeling a real thing in the heat of the moment. Would Molly have killed herself if she had had the time to think it through? I don’t know. She chose not to take that time to think it out.

Is it an unforgivable sin? No. I don’t believe so. I think that although God is the giver of life he also gave us free choice for a reason. It’s our decision. As a human being I would consider murder a sin of a higher magnitude. That is taking someones life when you don’t have that right under any of God’s laws. You are not God and you are not the person. Yet this is a sin that nearly all Christian churches will tell you that God forgives. People who argue this with me will usually end up with, “Well, you’re dead, you can’t ask for forgiveness when you are dead.” I guess that is their Ace in the hole to win the argument. It doesn’t prevail with me though, because two times in my life I have been clinically dead. I have both continued to live and to talk with God during those times. I was not left alone, I had the ability to ask anything of God. There were no restrictions of any kind. If I had needed forgiveness, absolution, I could have asked for it and received it I am sure. In fact all that stuff we sweat daily turned out to be no big deal. And yes, one of those times was a suicide attempt of my own.

Does that mean we should all pull the plug? Stop fighting this crap every day that we fight? No. I think there is so much of the world we can discover, love, be part of it. It means that you should look for those reasons, your reasons the same way I do every day. Find them. Work, because although I did not continue onward into death itself and whatever is there for us, I did get the feeling that this might be a one go around deal. One shot. And you do take these memories with you. There is no hatred, no blaming any longer, just you once you are there. There are a few people here that I love deeply. A few there I want to see again. Why not take those good memories?

I appreciate the questions. I think over the last few years this blog has taken its own direction. I’m never too concerned with the things that are discussed here and sometime discussed further and at length after with some of you. It’s growth. I hope you share in it as well as I do.

Last:

Okay, that’s it for me. This is a little longer than my usual blog. The sponsors on this page are the same people who pay the bills, so give them a look. Want to be a sponsor on this page? Let me know. Feel free to send me feedback, yell at me, hate me, like me, I’m okay with all of it.

Be back soon, hope you grow a little every day, Geo…

My life as a social outcast was short lived

Posted by Geo on 07-26-2017

I decided to entitle this What the hell is wrong with me, but maybe it’s a little too dramatic. Even so, there is something wrong with me. I just don’t seem to see things the same way as other people do. For instance, just before I sat down to write this I turned the channel to a movie channel to listen to movies while I work. Pathetic, I know, but I do it every night. The T.V. Is behind me so I have to turn to see it. So, I don’t. I just listen. But sometimes it’s so good that I do turn to watch for a second and I’m usually disappointed. Well, tonight I turned the channel and there was a sports show just ending, and one of the commentators turned to the screen and Said “We want to thank you for tuning in.”

“Really,” I asked?

He didn’t say anything. I guess we would all be surprised if he did. But, I continued… “I didn’t tune in. I hate your show! I wouldn’t watch it if you paid me.” He did seem to flinch a little at that, but the T.V. Went to commercial with no further incident… Not that there could have been one. I’m just saying…

Anyway, my point is that I do not like sports the way other men do. Several times in my life other men have stopped and looked at me like…. “Whoaaa, what’s up with this dude.” or “Did you play with dolls when you were a kid?” I learned early in my life that it is unmanly to say you do not like sports, or hint it, or not know the answer to a sports question. It’s just not allowed. Since I was young I had to go along with it, even so I couldn’t always keep up the facade. Occasionally someone would trip me up…

“So, what did you think of Babe Ruth?”

“Oh… Babe Ruth… It’s a damn good candy bar,” I answered.

He looked at me funny and I knew I screwed something up, but, eventually he laughed, I went home and asked my little Brother who Babe Ruth was, a hockey player? (My brother is a Hockey fanatic) “Sure… Sure… A hockey player,” my little brother tells me. That was payback for all the mean things I had done to him.

As I got older I’d pick a little and ask guys why they didn’t just give both teams a ball and send them home, I mean, wasn’t the point to get the ball? And didn’t they seem to take an awful long time to get it? And wouldn’t it be easier to just give them a frigging ball of their own? Wouldn’t it. That didn’t win me any points, and then, in ninth grade, I decided to not major in smoking behind the school that year and I took Home Economics instead.

My life as a social outcast was short lived though. I got kicked out of Home economics and went back to majoring in smoking behind the school. Then, voila, it hit me. Maybe not liking sports was… was… I couldn’t make the connection though. I had probably burned out too many brain cells smoking joints behind the school instead of cigarettes. Too bad, if I could have only made the connection I may have been able to see that real men need sports in their lives as much as they need to fart and burp… (Some men, not all men.). And sports lends a well rounded social adaptation you just can’t get any other way. I remember so many times at work some guy would say… “So, what do you think about those Dodgers?” And I would say, “Oh… Well they ought to go to jail…(Then, because it’s manly to swear and cuss), Frigging A! They ought to, those bastards!” Another potential social connection missed. Another opportunity to be a success in society missed.

At an early age I did decide to make a concession. I decided that I would watch Stock Car Racing. That was a sport. That would be my sport! It would solve everything. But no. Footballers, Baseballers, All those other ballers (It’s all games where you play with balls, right? … I’m just saying…) they don’t all believe that stock car racing is a real sport… What? So I had managed to like the one sport that wasn’t really a sport. What was wrong with me? I just didn’t know.

As I grew up and went to prison I realized that I had to be honest with myself about my shortcomings when it came to sports if I ever hoped to break the cycle and stop going back to prison. My whole life was in ruin. Virtual ruin. So I sat down and examined it and realized that I was uncomfortable with the games. I paid attention, I took notes, and I realized that I had some prejudices and hangups concerning the way the game was played. And, I plain didn’t understand the rules. So I took a closer look at them. And wrote down the ones that really confused me:

#1. Did you pat the other guy on the ass after he made a basket/home run/touchdown or before?

#2. Did you grab your junk whenever you wanted to or only when people were watching?

#3. Did you cry only in a strong emotional circumstance like your coach retiring, or could you cry if you just had a bad day, or the dog crapped on your new carpet?

#4. If you patted a guy on the ass more than once did it mean you had to buy him dinner?

I learned these are not questions you ask other men in prison.

After I got out of the infirmary, I tried to figure these questions out on my own after watching my sport for a while, but I only became more confused.

In NASCAR, nobody pats anyone on the Ass. At least not in public (Tony Stewart excepted, but he’s nuts anyway). I’ve seen dozens of finishes and never once have I seen the other drivers run up and pat the winner on the Ass. Not Once. There are no balls to play with. None. The drivers never grab their junk in front of the cameras, and if anyone cries, why one of the other drivers will just beat him up! Even the women drivers don’t cry, and, I’m pretty sure they don’t play with dolls either.

After much thought I decided these things:

#1. I’m not patting any guy on the ass whether it’s a game or not, and if one pats me on the ass there’s going to be trouble.

#2. I will only grab my junk when no one’s watching.

#3. If I feel an urge to cry I will remind myself that it could be worse. I could be a footballer and some sweaty, three hundred pound guy could be patting me on the ass all the time…


Okay. That’s it for this week. Check out my book series. I’ll be back later in the week…

 

The Zombie Plagues: Smashwords | Nook | iTunes


Geo Dell’s the Nation Chronicles: Zero | Death


Guitar Works: One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven

 

TRUE: True stories from a small town 1

Posted by Dell 08-03-2015

This week: I have a true story from TRUE: True stories from a small town #1 These stories are from my past. I have three volumes published and I will probably add a few more this winter when I have the time.

Last week had been a long hot week here, but the humidity, despite the rain, fell over the weekend… Finally!

Things are going to continue to be absolutely crazy here as I adapt to the changes with my health, but so far I am doing that well.

I will leave you with this true story and my hope that you enjoy the holiday with family and friends…


Back in the eighties I drove taxi for a few years. That time of my life has provided tons of written material, but this is the only true story I wrote about that time period. I hope you enjoy it, and I will be back next week…

The Last ride By Dell Sweet

Single Edition Licensed for SOTOFO Blog

PUBLISHED BY: independAntwriters All Rights Reserved

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.

This short story is Copyright © 2013 – 2015 Wendell Sweet & independAntwriters. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission. Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print


The Last Ride is Copyright © 2013 – 2015 Dell Sweet. All rights reserved


THE LAST RIDE

It was early in my shift. I owned my own taxi so I could pretty much pick which 12 hour shift I wanted to drive. I drove nights so that I could be home with my son during the day while my wife worked. I had told myself for most of the last year that I should stop driving taxi, settle down to a real job and be more responsible, but then a Conrail contract came along, and then the opportunity to work with another driver who handled the Airport contract: Suddenly I was making more money than I could have reasonably expected from what I would have considered a straight job.

The hours were long, but there was something that attracted me to the night work. Always had been. Like my internal clock was Set to PM. It just seemed to work and after a few failed attempts to work day shift work, I gave it up and went to work fulltime nights.

I was never bored. The nights kept me awake and interested. They supplied their own entertainment. Conrail crews, regulars that called only for me, the assorted funny drunks late at night when the bars were closing. Soldiers on their way back to the nearby base, and a dancer at a small club just off downtown that had been calling for me personally for the last few weeks: Using my cab as a dressing room on the way back to her hotel. It was always something different.

Days, the few times I’d driven days, couldn’t compare. Sure, there was violence at night too, but it rarely came my way and never turned into a big deal when it did.

It was Friday night, one of my big money nights, about 7:00 P.M. and my favorite dispatcher, Smitty, had just come on. He sent me on a call out State street that would terminate downtown. Once I was downtown, I could easily pick up a GI heading back to the base for a nice fat fare and usually a pretty good tip. My mind was on that. My mind was also on that dancer who would be calling sometime after 2:00 AM, and who had made it clear that I was more than welcome to come up to her room. It was tempting, I’ll admit it, and each time she called, she tempted me more. I figured it was just a matter of time before I went with her.

I really didn’t see the lady when she got into my car, but when it took her three times to get out the name of the bar downtown that she wanted to go to, I paid attention. Drunk. It was early too. Sometimes drunks were okay, but most times they weren’t. This one kept slumping over, slurring her words, nearly dropping her cigarette: I owed the bank a pile of money on the car and didn’t need burn holes in my back seat.

I dropped the flag on the meter, pulled away from the curbing and eased into traffic. Traffic was heavy at that time and I pissed off more than a few other drivers as I forced my way into the traffic flow. I had just settled into the traffic flow when a glance into the rear view mirror told me my passenger had fallen over. I couldn’t see the cigarette, but I could still smell it. I made the same drivers even angrier as I swept out of the traffic flow and angled up onto the sidewalk at the edge of the street. I got as far out of the traffic flow as I could get so I could get out to see what was up with the woman in the back seat.

I was thinking drunk at the time, but the thought that it could be something more serious crept into my head as I made the curb, bumped over it, set my four way flashers and climbed out and went around to the back door.

She was slumped over into the wheel well, the cigarette smoldering next to her pooled, black hair. In her hair, I realized, as the smell of burning hair came to me. I snatched the cigarette and threw it out then shook her shoulder to try to bring her around, but it was obvious to me, just that fast, that the whole situation had changed. She wasn’t breathing.

I reached in, caught her under the arms, and then suddenly someone else was there with me.

He was a short, thin man, wearing a worried look upon his face. Dark eyes sat deeply in their sockets. His hair hung limply across his forehead. He squeezed past me and looked down at the woman. He pushed her eyelids up quickly, one by one, and then held his fingers to her lips. He frowned deeply and flipped the hair away from his forehead.

“Paramedic”, he told me as he took her other arm and helped me pull her from the back seat.

We laid her out on the sloping front lawn of the insurance company I had stopped in front of and he put his head to her chest.

He lifted his head, shaking it as he did. “Call an ambulance,” he said tersely.

I could feel the shift in his demeanor. He wasn’t letting me know he could handle the situation, like when he told me he was a paramedic, he was handling it. I got on the radio and made the call.

The ambulance got there pretty quickly. I stood back out of the way and let them work on her, raising my eyes to the backed up traffic on occasion. The paramedic had torn open her shirt. Her nudity seemed so out of place on the city sidewalk. Watching the traffic took the unreal quality of it away from me. I watched the ambulance pull away, eased my car down off the curb and back into the sluggish traffic and went back to work.

I got the story on her about midnight once things slowed down and I stopped into the cab stand to talk to the dispatcher for a short while. His daughter knew someone, who knew someone, who knew someone at the hospital. The woman had taken an overdose. Some kind of pills. It was going to be touch and go. He also had a friend in the police department too. She did it because of a boyfriend who had cheated on her. It seemed so out of proportion to me. I went back to work, but I asked him to let me know when he heard more.

2:30 AM

The night had passed me by. The business of the evening hours catching me up for a time and taking me away from the earlier events. I was sitting downtown in my cab watching the traffic roll by me. It was a beautifully warm early morning for Northern New York. I had my window down letting the smell of the city soak into me, when I got the call to pick up my dancer with the club gig.

“And,” Smitty told me over the static filled radio, “your lady friend didn’t make it.”

It was just a few blocks to the club. I left the window down enjoying the feeling of the air flowing past my face. The radio played Steely Dan’s Do It Again, and I kind of half heard it as I checked out the back seat to see if the ghost from the woman earlier might suddenly pop up there.

The dancer got in and smiled at me. I smiled back, but I was thinking about the other woman, the woman who was now dead, sitting in that same place a few hours before. The dancer began to change clothes as I drove to her hotel.

“You know,” she said, catching my eyes in the mirror. “I should charge you a cover. You’re seeing more than those GI’S in the club.” She shifted slightly, her breasts rising and falling in the rear view mirror. We both laughed. It was a game that was not a game. She said it to me every time. But my laugh was hollow: Despite her beauty, I was still hung up on someone being alive in my back seat just a few hours before and dead now. Probably being wheeled down to the morgue were my friend Pete worked. I made myself look away and concentrate on the driving. She finished dressing as I stopped at her hotel’s front entrance.

“You could come up… If you wanted to,” she said. She said it lightly, but her eyes held serious promise.

“I’d like to… But I better not,” I said.

She smiled, but I could tell I had hurt her feelings. It was a real offer, but I couldn’t really explain how I felt. Why I couldn’t. Not just because I was married, that was already troubled, but because of something that happened earlier.

I drove slowly away after she got out of the cab and wound up back downtown for the next few hours sitting in an abandoned buildings parking lot thinking… “I was only concerned about her cigarette burning the seats.”

I smoked while I sat, dropping my own cigarettes out the window and onto the pavement. A short while later Smitty called me with a Conrail trip. I started the cab and drove out to Massey yard to pick up my crew. The dancer never called me again…

____________________________

I hope you enjoyed the story. I will be back again next week. Enjoy your week, Dell.

 Smashwords: TRUE: True stories from a small town #1

A Good Plan

A Good Plan.
I have a plan. I think I spent a good portion of my life without a plan. Just sort of walking along, not really expecting much at all, at least nothing good. I had a larger view of the world that said, “What happens, happens. It’s pretty much ordained, and so there is little I can do about it.” Does that sound ridiculous? Well, it does to me too, now anyway. But for most of my life I had that thought in my head and so, true or not, I believed it to be true and it became true.
Then one day I woke up. I woke up and I looked at the world and I thought “What the hell have I been doing? Why am I in situations I do not want to be in? Where the hell is this car going? Who’s driving?”
After that I went through a period of cynicism. It is the world’s fault. I didn’t have a chance, someone should have told me: More in that vein. Then I stepped back, looked at it and I realized I had had good breaks. I had seen things clearly. I had looked at it. And I had decided that I didn’t want to drive. I had decided to be a passenger. Well, you got to go where the driver is going then. You have eliminated all of your other choices.
So I made a plan in four parts. My plan was pretty simple.

One: I will retain all the control over my own life that I can. As long as getting that control doesn’t cause me to hurt someone, doesn’t become all encompassing; doesn’t make me stop seeing that compromise is a part of life. I have thought out my actions rationally without simply reacting during the heat of the moment. Man, I thought. There is a lot to do to simply have control over your own life. And how come I have to give up some of that control to have control. Isn’t that the opposite of what I wanted? It is, but it is the way the real world works.

Two: I will set goals and work toward them. In that way the things that are truly important to me are attained. Great: That is great; a clear path to a clear future to… No. The problem is that we do not live in a vacuum. How do you set your goals and have them remain static? You don’t. At least you don’t if there are people in your life you care about. I remember someone asked me, what are your plans for the future, and I said well I plan to leave here, move to the middle of nowhere and live off the land as best I can. Maybe find someone who wants to do that and that would be great, a perfect life.
As soon as I said the words I knew I was not thinking rationally about it. If I love people that are in my life then they should count when I make plans for the future. Having lived most of my life in the vacuum that is alcoholism I had rarely ever considered others. Tough to admit, but true, so as I was saying the words they became untrue. I realized my family and friends were more important to me that anything else. And I realized I had to permanently alter my thinking. The people you love have to count. Compromise is a part of life. People who are living in the world know all about that. Those that are only in the world don’t really understand that. Which type did I want to be?
Three: Doors. I grew up on the streets. Yes, I grew up with a moral code, but chances are it was not the same moral code that most people that know me grew up with. On the street loyalty was a big deal. Men would say, “Hey, I’d die for you,” and they meant it. You could watch someone do the worst thing in the world and you would keep your mouth shut: Loyalty; it was a code. Somehow the cops became the bad guys and the bad guys became the good guys. Sounds like different subjects, but it isn’t. You are isolated from mainstream society. Disconnected: Mainstream society becomes incomprehensible. It makes no sense at all. Meanwhile the people you deal with come in and out of those doors you have. Those doors you can choose to open or close. Only you are so disconnected that you leave them open all the time and people come in and out. You become a doormat. You understand doormat. Doormat makes perfect sense. Use and be used. Except, when you come off the streets you still have the doors open: Wide open. You let everyone in, some you should, some you shouldn’t. Some who mean you grave harm, some who try to love you, but you don’t understand any of that. You only left the door open and the stuff is happening People are coming and going.

So one of things I did was shut the doors. Yes, at first, all the way. Then I realized those doors are there for a reason. A door is meant to be opened and closed. On a warm summer night you can crack it a little to let some air in: In the winter to close it to keep the heat in. And life is the same way. Sometimes you can decide to let that person in; others no. Still others; crack it just a little. Let that breeze in. Maybe leave the screen door shut to keep the insects out. Poor analogies I know, but I was a street kid: A street kid who was far from stupid, but I carried my ignorance like armor. I finally got it though, and I told myself that from then on I would choose how far I would open that door.
Four: The plan. I will sit down and look at what I really want out of life and begin to work toward it. I will realize that, long before I attain it, something might happen that will cause me to want to change my plans. I cannot be so rigid that I cannot look at it and realize that it needs to be changed. That my needs have changed. That someone in my life has needs that will affect my own needs and that I may have to sit down and do it all over again. Set a new goal. Come up with a new plan. That it’s okay to do that. That if what you are doing no longer makes sense you need to do something else.

That was how I came up with my plan. My plan was a multiyear plan. Save my money. Then go in one direction or the other: Land or sea.
Sea: Buy a boat; a big boat: Cast off and spend a few years, as long as I can, sailing. After all, the price of a house, it is about the same.
Land: Buy some land in the mountains. Build another house, I have done that before: And that’s it; retire: Walks in the mountains. Maybe do the Appalachian trails. Live as close to my characters lives in my books as I can.
Then I mentioned it to people in my life. By the time I got their reactions I realized that I may just have to scrap both plans and start over. Not because any of them said anything to dissuade me, but because I realized how much I loved them and would miss them if I did either of those things. How life really is about compromise. After all, I can rent a boat, can’t I? I can rent a cabin in the sticks, can’t I? I can walk the Appalachian Trail; I don’t have to live there to do that. So I made a new plan. My new plan is not to make any other plans until I sit down and think about the people I love and how it will impact them and me.
Hope you have a good upcoming week, Dell…

 


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THE GLENNVILLE KIDS Dell Sweet

THE GLENNVILLE KIDS

Two offerings that feature the kids in Glennville New York. Glennville is just a thinly disguised version of Watertown New York where I grew up. I have more of these stories I would like to publish someday, Dell…

The End Of Summer 

Series: 99 Cent Reads. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,140. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2013 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure,Fiction » Coming of age
The summer of 1969 was winding down. The warm air held a smell 13 year old Bobby Weston couldn’t quite identify but nevertheless acquainted with going back to school. An end of summer smell, he decided. Or maybe an end of summer feeling. He couldn’t make up his mind, and it really didn’t matter, as soon enough summer would be gone and he’d be back in school. He had permission to go camping today.

The Great Go Cart Race

Series: 99 Cent Reads. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,880. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2013 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
The summer of 1969 in Glennville New York had settled in full tilt. The July morning was cool and peaceful, but the afternoon promised nothing but sticky heat. Bobby Weston and Moon Calloway worked furiously on the go-cart they had been planning to race down Sinton Park hill, in the old garage behind Bobby’s house. Both boys had grown up in Glennville…
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