...where the music is like water rushing through you ... your function is really like that of a hose



Lena stood with her back to the fire, her hands perched in the comfort of her hooded jackets front pocket. Gazing out over the vastness of the mountain skyline, she hummed the tune that bellowed from the speakers of the pickup truck. The tin cup at her feet had been the vessel that kept the wine cold, but had also been the originator which stirred feelings from the summer before. She nodded her head to the music and gave a deep sigh, turning her torso back and forth, she eventually dropped her head back and stared directly up into the night. Her peripheral vision displayed a circle of jagged mountain tops, tipped with a silver glow from the shine of the slivered moon. The conifers in the valley in which she stood casted a thousand tiny points of darkness that were too numerous to count; nor could she number the shimmering half- truths that fluttered in the sky beyond her reach. The banjo plucked a somber tune she was all too familiar with.

The lonesome sound of the train goin' by

Jack stood up and stretched. He walked up next to Lena and placed his arm around her shoulder and kissed her forehead. Lena uttered a small moan and her heart sank even deeper. The memories, they lived in her, and would never allow her to forget. Music can encompass just about every emotion we have. Combining place and time, it weaves together our past. Like your childhood school house, once you walk back through those doors everything is viewed through your child’s eye. Oh, the smell of the floors. The soul is a recorder of moments, a conscious memoir that, when revisited, will surface to some as they lay waiting to die and to others who review such as a matter of habit. Decisions shape us and inevitably steer the route in which we sail, but we move forward. We write our story. Lena felt the warm manifestation of guilt rise from her stomach and warm her face. In the morning she would be gone.

She was two days from the campfire now. A ranchers daughter, returning to the scene which had once been her life.

Memories of the city lights penetrated her thoughts in second by second flashes. She couldn’t focus on the road. The hills of Pennsylvania stretched for what seemed like forever to Lena. She rolled her truck into a quiet county stop where she would fill the tank and nothing more. There was no impetus to eat and a map wouldn’t be needed. She knew where she was going. A trout headed up stream; she remembered exactly how to get to Boston. A red door awaited her and a young mans face which she hadn’t seen since a rainstorm last summer. Lena slumped her shoulders and raised her chin. She shuttered at the thought of the words she screamed which played over and over in her head. Another hill.

Lena last left the high plains of the Rocky Mountains when she was nineteen. There wasn't much she hadn’t done in her home state. She wanted to move somewhere new, a place to start her own, just like her father had done a generation before. His land was beautiful and provided natural simplicities only found forty miles from Denver. She loved the ranch and all it had taught her; a simple life. A life of pickup trucks and barbecues, hands and the soil. Nonetheless, she chose to begin a new, and in doing so, removed herself from everything she had known. Even at her young age she knew that the blessings and tragedies of life have little to do with location, but she told her father and so it was. With her fathers blessing, Lena would move to the city and there, during her last semester of college on a cold winter night, she met Morton T. Smiley. It was love; the artist and the ranchers daughter.

There were no wide open spaces in Boston, no chores in the early morning, and the church's were made of stone. Lena would stay after finishing college. Morton was seemingly convinced that if he kept working the circles and concentrating on his work that he would get his break. He tirelessly tried to reinvent himself. Lena always imagined she would move back to the mountains after school, but she stayed. Hopelessly tied to a man that she secretly wished would give up on his dream. She never could tell him. Lena was restless, always hearing about how things were picking up and about all the possibilities. The showings and the networking. Never any calls back or positive reviews. She hated to admit it, but love wasn't enough. Her inner biology wanted to have children. She wanted to get married. She wanted a house. She wanted a different life. It crippled her. Not in this city, no more one bedroom apartments, no more possibilities, no more stupid paintings. Lena wanted security. She wanted to move back to the high plains by the mountains she grew up next to as a child.

It shouldn’t have happened like it did. It wasn’t what she envisioned, but when emotions are hidden for as long as Lena’s, she couldn’t help it. Seemingly possessed, she exploded in anger at Morton for all his foolish dreams and about the family she wanted to have. She left it all in the kitchen of the one bedroom apartment on the south side of town. Everything that bothered her about their life together. Morton didn't really say much at all. He stood motionless and listened to the person who he loved tell him that he was a failure. No more promises Morton. You cant just sit in this apartment and daydream. You have to wake up. She cried and pounded on that kitchen table. The same kitchen table that presided over their first home cooked dinner date after all the boxes had been unpacked. I work two jobs and what do you do? I’ll tell you what you do, you drink coffee and talk your talk about how deep and riveting your work is. That’s not work Morton, you’ve never worked a day in your whole life! The son of a doctor, Morton never wanted to be one himself. I can't live this life, walking these sidewalks everyday. Face it Morton, it’s not going to happen. You’re not going to have a gallery… the Fort Point Morton? What a laugh! What are we doing? How are we going to get ahead and raise a family? Morton moved to Boston to study art with no particular zen mantra as to why.It just never ends with this, we can't do anything fun, we’re too broke to do anything with our friends and my father…this isn't what he imagined for his daughter. You’re just pretending...

The mountains winded down. The lights of the pickup truck illuminated the road ahead.

Memories of the city lights penetrated her thoughts in second by second flashes.


MORTON T. SMILEY numeral one

Morton’s eyes combed over the classified ads. Every other minute or so he was forced to push his circle rimmed glasses back into their proper place. Nothing. They must keep forgetting to run the artist wanted section. He threw the paper on the floor with the others.

The apartment was lifeless. Part of the charm Morton brought with him without much effort these days. He thought about tackling Mt. Dishuvious, but decided to procrastinate once more. Morton had precious few moments of ambition and now wasn’t the time to act with haste. There was a career search to continue, a man to rebuild, a space shuttle of hope to launch! Morton laid back down on the couch. Ah, you never let me down popcorn. Your cheap, no hassle, no mess. The perfect pop. Morton launched a kernel of yesterdays dinner into his mouth. Leftovers, a salty victory.

Morton glanced at the clock. He still had time before his shift started. New to the valet business, he preferred it to waiting tables. In Morton’s mind it was much easier to wait on cars. Fewer words and you get to test drive the customer. He’d be a jumbled mess trying to organize plates of food at a chain restaurant; the lifestyle of an artist is not always conducive to remembering to refill a child’s apple juice. There was much that could go wrong retrieving cars as well. Morton rationalized it as a yellow-flagged Grand Prix event. He liked cars, but didn’t love them. He needed the money. Fortunately, this was only temporary for our friend. He'd find that dream gig soon enough.

From time to time Morton imagined himself taking off in a flashy car and testing the thresholds of mayhem. Where would he go? Ha, try and find me in Montreal! Just look at the landscape! There’s eight rivers, forty highways and the Canadians are always clueless! Grand theft was not on Morton's agenda any time soon, till this point, Morton returned the cars and accepted a cash bribe to do so.



The Temple of Dindoor - an architects layer. Spawn of a hipsters wand; castle amongst Green Mountain barns; a transcendental monument to a distant cave.
The Temple of Dindoor was forever illuminated by the souls who watched over it. Worked on throughout the years by a rotating community of students who harnessed its shelter in the winter and replenished its spirit come summer. Mostly comprised of Dr. Sellers understudy’s, occupants from all creeds of northeastern heritage caressed the structure and added value where they saw fit – usually in the most visual ways. Students of physical design need something to play with. There it stood, a happy ton of wood. An ivy-league yankee liberal, David Sellers could have called it whatever he damn pleased. However, it had a name before it was built. A past event, from his younger years, when topographic maps lead him astray. There was no question what he would name his barn.
Located just a stones throw from the overgrown railroad tracks on the edge of Warren, Sellers would find the holiest of hidden caverns. A tiny nameless river twisted beneath a crack in the side of a hill. Sellers ventured deep into the underground of the earth. He soon waded knee deep in the lifeblood of a hidden society. Three miles sideways, he traversed through the reminiscence of once hot mineral goo. Dormancy - a dark infinity. Caves are the places we aren’t supposed to see. He had found a hollowed amphitheater deep in the earth, after the river had toiled him at every turn, he had found it.
Young Sellers stood in a wading pool and shined his beam of light up into the ceiling as if searching for hieroglyphics. Unlike the other elevated vaults along his journey, this room with its sheer size and volume, was baffling. There was no exit, only an entrance. Sellers had reached the end of the river and its summit was most impressive.

He would spend the better half of a week inside the dome. A dungeon of darkness, and oxygen, he sat on a ledge without moving, eyes open, the crushing vacuum of nothing; the same sight we all have before we exist. He would move and repeat without using his light. Concentrating, only to unwind and become lost in the opaque - he did not know where he was and did not speak. P
ower came over him; he was no longer confined by walls but engulfed in a never ending axiom. His mind had no color. He embraced the forgotten and discarded vibrations that seismically withered down from the living above. The rushing water of the aquifer moved in a circular motion all around him. The orchestral flow of dripping liquid deafened him, but he was the conductor. He became the ruler of the cave. This was his temple.

David Sellers Journal: March, 1968

If you wonder down pass,
the correct crevasse.
The traveler will find,
blind creatures inside.
The cave will sing!
A magical ring,
when you stir her sea,
with the light that you bring.
And when you retrace,
from the cooled wombs core,
you will forever carry with you,
the power of Dindoor.

Tyler Kobich sat on a stump outside the Temple. He enjoyed a break from the sun and a cheese & cracker combination tiboot. His flannel shirt pocket unbottoned, it held a half-tucked-in sweaty bandanna. He had been chopping wood. It was still very cool for early summer.

There are three things a Vermonter can do during stick season: one, go for a walk; two, chop wood; and three, count your sticks.

he sat on a ledge without moving, eyes open, the crushing vacuum of nothing; the same sight we all have before we exist



A beautiful drowsy sunset fell upon the city that evening. Horizontal streaks of light and shade cropped the streets in orange and shadow as passerby’s leisured along the pier. Extending into suburbia, the youthful enjoyed the waning moments of the last few home run attempts before dusk. Even the feverishly laboring beavers stopped building their dams and let water pass unscathed by their mighty sticks.

Buried in the depths of a concrete parking garage, Morton had missed the sunset. He opened the red door to his apartment and placed his key on the counter. A single key is not uncommon for those who own nothing to their name. The key provided Morton access to the world, yet everyday he walked a lonely walk back to the door from which he came. There are situations we all face in life that acquire adjustment. Morton had offhandedly hung in life’s hammock, unaware that it was a rug which could be swepted from under him.

There was no emotional attachment to the city for Morton. He could stay or move any time he wished, but without a destination in mind he squandered that notion. He had heard they were giving away houses in Detroit for the creative to rebuild and gentrify. Putting talent to work, that a boy! He would dismiss the idea as life threatening. The Peace Corps young man! Not his thing. He confided in doubt.

The next morning Morton awoke and stretched his chubby frame, drank a glass of water and wondered onto the street wearing the clothes he slept in. His usual workout routine of walking aimlessly around the city in his pajamas. A true Olympian, rarely would he awake early enough to catch the commuters who jammed the streets. However, this morning was an exception. They aligned themselves in moving boxes armed with steaming bean juice to sip, all headed towards the epicenter of commerce. He watched their faces with casual intent and would look away if a stranger noticed his gaze. They were busy doing busy people things. A lifestyle Morton didn’t understand and would not want, but he liked to watch them in the morning when he could.

Dawn is an interesting time for those who freelance in life. Signaling more the end of the day than the beginning of the next. Morton would stay up late dabbling in frivolities, a lackadaisical bodyguard armed with knowledge taught to him by the kung fu movie Gods. A lot of people are scared of clowns, Morton T. Smiley was scared of would-be-attackers. At even the faintest unwanted jiggle of a lock, he would not hesitate to hide in a kitchen cabinet with fingers crossed masked intruders wouldn't be scavenging for cookware.

Even the feverishly laboring beavers stopped building their dams and let water pass unscathed by their mighty sticks



Morton picked up his salt-water- ruined sea cocktail painting and walked beside Tyler down the busy street, his stomach, having been thrown a curve ball, swished papusa gruel. Honestly, our friend Morton couldn’t have looked or felt more foolish. A shambled artist with a hole in his heart, dreadful painting/raft board in hand, half-cooked by the acute gleam of the relentless tropical sun, caked in salt , coated in dust, without a hay-penny to his name and fresh off his first double murder. All that was left on Morton’s agenda for the day was a parking ticket, molar extraction and death of beloved childhood pet. Morton was a couple more luckless weeks away from spending the remainder of his days as an El Salvadorian sharecropper. The tandem bantered back and forth.

“Don’t tell anyone about this.”

“Relax, we’re pals,” Tyler tried not to laugh, “I’ll just say you were swallowed by a whale…exiled from the belly of a sea beast… Ok, our little secret. I promise,” and so he promised – a whore’s oath. “I’ve arranged somebody for you to meet, we got to sell some paintings before-”

Morton stopped in his tracks and cut Tyler off, “I can’t meet anybody looking like this!”

“Don’t worry, you’re fine.”

“Who is it? Wait, I don’t even have any paintings,” An image of a shoe horn and throwing 'Sunny the peach smuggler' into the ocean flashed through Morton’s brain, “What kind of art collector did you find in this God-forsaken place anyway?”

“This cat, I’m not sure what he does exactly, but he’s got class and cash.”

“Where’d you meet him?”

“At the village, he’s funding the entire clinic project, I just drive into town every once and a while and he gives me all the money to buy the materials and pay mi trabajadors. No questions asked. No checks, no nothing. All cash! I even get to keep the car for a little bit too! Got a heart of gold!” Tyler threw his hands in the air and rubbed his fingers together, “Philanthropic sugar daddy!”

“Why, did you suggest my work?”

“I know you’re broke, it’s Ok Mort, happens to the best of them. I know Lena was supporting that rats nest up there in Boston.”

“Thanks, for the brisk reminder.”

“Don’t worry this guy is good for it. Likes making deals. Squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

“I don’t even have anything to show.”

“Make something for him custom, you know, a portrait of his daughter or something. Trust me , I talked you up good and I got something planned. We’re in.”

“How much cash are we talking here?”

“I told him they go for fifty-a-pop,” Tyler cut his hand through the air like a trowel.


Tyler peered at Morton out of the corner of his eye. “Ha, fifty-thousand brother. I sort of told him you’re famous.”

Morton exploded, “What! Famous? Famous where? Where am I famous!”

Tyler’s voice inflected in a high pitch, as if Morton should have assumed, “Famous in the states,” he continued, “Mort, relax pal. It’s just a little white lie. I got this taken care of,” patting Morton on the back.

“You fool, what if he finds out I’m not! A simple internet search blows a hole in your grand plan Kimosabe!”

“Internet” Tyler was astounded, “Do you know where you are? Get with the times - impossible. Your stuff can totally pass. Besides, this is my guy, we got a thing. Just draw some triangles or whatever it is you do. How about a giant cigar?” he walked with arms stretched wide, a human clothes-line, “ All suit -types love cigars. Work the room a bit and catch a drift on this guy. All right! That’s the place, we’ll talk it over inside.” Morton mumbled under his breath they have internet, probably got a whole bunch of internets.

The punching rhythm of drum and bass could be heard upon the opening of the door to the El Ranchito. Dark and drowned out, this was the perfect location for Morton. An attractive hostess approached. Tyler pointed at her, “Hector,” she turned and proceeded to walk. Morton and Tyler followed her past a long row of booths until they reached a table in the corner of the Ranchito by the end of the bar. There was nobody in the entire place, yet the music thumped like a prozacked Jamaican sprinter in tap shoes. “This place reeks Manhattan,” Morton breathed like a seal, “Is this where you and Hector plot to save the world or plot to to save the high class escorts?”

The Hector was tall for an El Salvadorian. He and his benevolent, black three-piece suit pursued a slow tango out from behind the bar. He grinned, his gold tooth glimmering with merriment. A leisurely stroll, acting casual, the Hector removed his sunglasses and ran his hands through his heapish hairdo. Morton fixated his gaze upon the Hector’s stunning hairocaust. You could build a nest in there. “Gentleman,” almost perfect English, “Mr. Kobich, always a pleasure. Are we making progress for the children?”

“Absolutely, sir. You know me!” Watching Tyler accept a mister in front of his name and his chummy whit puzzled Morton. The Hector crossed his legs and leaned back, “And you’re my El Greco,” Morton was able to flash through his mind to his introduction to art history class and decipher the El Greco reference. “ I try,” he replied. “Mr. Kobich has told me a lot about you, how was your show in London?”

Morton froze. A fully compressed whole note of awkwardness. My show in London. What did that clown tell him? The rubber has met the road. Thrown to the lions, Morton made the biggest leap into the unknown in his ten thousand days of existence. “ I’d say it was well received,” There was something in that moment that gave him the confidence to lie. The confidence to be somebody else. If you’ve convinced yourself, you’ve convinced the most important person in the room. Lena’s words echoed in his head. There was no better place to pretend. It felt good. He smiled and pretend he did. “The way I handle these, whatever you want to call them , I never sell a painting at a show. I like to give the collector time to absorb my work. Only then, do we dance.” Tyler was the devil on Morton’s shoulder - he was proud.

The hostess placed drinks in front of them, a gift to any man trying to embellish a story. Modelo, it was especial. He immediately tore in. The Hector proceeded while starring directly at the hostess, “Aha, yes, reflection is the key to evaluation. There are many things in life we don’t fully appreciate until they have gotten away.”

“Precisely,” Tyler interjected. The music in the Ranchito fell into the background for the participants. “There are so many exponential crayons in the box, so many insights and inputs into this heterogeneous society…” Oh, here we go. Exponential Crayon Theory. “Think about how many get away? And then you see something, produced by someone with a vision of a specific insight, expressed, in front of your eye. Perhaps, the expression of the creator, can enlighten a past vision once cognitive within yourself and that former flickering glimpse you envisioned, is sitting right in front of you. The work is completely genuine… it’s been there the whole time, waiting for you to discover … and you have to have it.” Morton was lost and had no idea what Tyler was talking about.

The Hector nodded and whispered something to the hostess, then redirected his vision to the table and spoke very deliberately, “I’ve never looked at it quite like that before. So you imply, that there is a timeless connection between the creator and the collector. Interesting, it is not so one sided as it appears. Every piece of art begins with a blank canvas ,piece of paper, or whatever and then out of that is created one man’s trash, which is really linked to someone else’s thoughts, this visionary as you describe. The collector is not a judge, but more or less on a mission to find his suppressed cognitive visions.” Morton was still trying to decode what Dr. Tyler was trying to convey, but the Hector was apparently repeating the theory verbatim. The Hector keep right on going, “When brought together, however it may be, the other individual or other half, finds it, and as you conclude, must have it.” The three sat pondering for a moment. The Hector continued his thought, “So, Mr. Smiley, this creates something of an intriguing question. Have you produced something that has captured one of my previous visions, that I, must have? I see you brought something with you, would you mind showing it to me?”

Next to Morton’s leg rested his most meaningless painting. Battered by the ocean and dour to begin with. He should have just thrown it in the garbage upon reaching land, but he didn’t, and now he was being asked to explain his hapless painting. It would have been easier for Morton to explain the second law of thermodynamics at this juncture, but Morton collected himself and began to talk. “Well, you see, I don’t exactly have anything with me worth presenting. Unfortunately, I shipped my works back to the US. As a result, I just have this experimental piece, which I soaked in salt water, or, rather, I should probably provide some background to it’s origination. See, I soaked myself in salt water with the painting - to flesh that out, ha, it was an exercise in absurdity that I drafted from an ancient baptism ritual performed by your El Salvadorian ancestors. It’s quite an irrational practice today of course, for it’s a quack I’m certain, probably derived by an all-knowing Witchdoctor to protect the child from dooming calamities later on in life. You know, the usual. I am, of course, referencing to native El Salvadorians, not the guys on the boat who were of course, Catholic?” Morton had no idea how El Salvador was settled, and thus, his speech began to figuratively tip toe, “From this ritual, which I won’t go into for the sake of brevity, I took a slight variation of that practice and used it for my artistic purposes. I was hopped up on a lot of orange juice, but in general, that ancient practice has gone the way of the dodo bird and so I tried a resurrection of sorts this morning. Spiritual, yes. Artistic achievement, probably not. The piece is obviously a disaster, but Tyler wanted to see it and so I obliged. It’s just an experimental piece of gibberish.”

The Hector rose from his seated position and took the battered painting in hand. He carried it over and placed it on top of the bar. As he examined, Morton’s heart raced. Heads turned, the two Americans watched as he evaluated the painting. Morton scratched the back of his neck like a rabid dog. The Hector returned to the table, leaving the sea cocktail painting laying on top of the bar. “Well, that explains why you look like you went swimming in your clothes, and yes, to be honest I agree, that is a most unsuccessful work. However, I tell you something, I will give you a chance. You are daring, let us test Mr. Kobich’s thesis, shall we?” The Hector tapped his finger on the table, “ It’s a little game were going to play, ha. Take our friend Mr. Smiley back to the village and provide for him. It was a pleasure meeting you, I have some business to attend to, but please stay and enjoy. You can take a car back to the village Mr. Kobich, it is yours as long as your friend is with us.” With that the Hector handed Tyler an envelope and walked back behind the bar and disappeared.

“You heard the man, we’re in!” Tyler shouted under his breath. Speaking aloud and starring at the ceiling, “So, I have to create an image… of a mans suppressed cognitive vision…that I know nothing about….such is the prompt?” Morton followed with his best boat skipper impression, “Sorry doc, birds took down the plane – all me hard work in the ocean now! Better come up with something cause I sure ain’t got nothing ‘in the states’,” he mocked Tyler, placed his elbows on the table and used his hands to cover his ears. He awakened from his depressed posture and pounced at Tyler, “And where’d you pull that bullshit from?”

“What bullshit?” Tyler elevated his tone to match Morton’s.

“All that happy-nonsense about ‘envisioning’ and the ‘cognitive crayon box’. What was that all about?! Fill me in, I’m perplexed!”

“That’s a legit theory, totally legit!” Tyler rebutted and scoffed at the notion that his theoretical insight was merely verbal direarra, “Hope I didn’t get too deep, I tried to condense it. On a side note, I’ve learned that using words like verisimilitude make me sound condescending. I had to abridge some parts,” Tyler continued, “We had to sell that guy and sell we did!” Morton didn’t look impressed, although he unconsciously crossed sharecropping off the list of things to look into. Tyler layered it on, “ Maybe I should have come up with something along the lines of your ancient sea baptism experience! Of course, that was probably the best you could have come up with considering both you and your painting look deranged! It’s a good thing you didn’t escape a rogue, burning-at-the-stake encounter, or you would’ve had to explain to Hector how you sizzled yourself while sacrificing your painting to the volcano Gods! Yeah, I’m full of it!”

The humorous thing was, the truth was just as strange. The Modelo was down to a measly fraction of the bottle, the hostess brought two more. The Americans moved from the table to the bar. They were still the only people inside the Ranchito. “What kind of car do we have?” zipped Morton. “There’s a bunch out back, we’ll take whichever, although, I’m partial to the Buick Roadmaster. It commands respect and can seat six comfortably; a grandpa’s car with the engine of a corvette.”

“What about the boy with the donkey, Jesus,” Morton pronounced Jesus like hey Zeus, Mocking Tyler’s long hair and apostolistic appearance, “Don’t you and the little peasant boy have to go turn water into wine and feed the five-thousand this afternoon?” Morton couldn’t help it. Tyler really did look like the big white guy trying to save the world. He respected him for it, but couldn’t possibly not pull his chain every now and again.

“The Roadmaster has the power of a thousand donkey’s. Plus, it’s big enough for you to sleep in. You didn’t think you were staying with me and my ladies did you?”

Morton washed down another swig of Modelo with a brave reply, "The Roadmaster it is."

The Hector


A new leaf had fallen, an inflated whim danced in Morton’s head of a possible excursion to a small and volatile speck on a map suggested by Mr. Kobich. There were options to weigh concerning a descent back across the pond with Portuguese smugglers, but nothing drew more anxiety than the thought of how stupid it was to follow a trek sponsored by his most erroneous friend Mr. Kobich. There were a thousand questions. His poised and pudgy body, which at the moment stood ferociously impotent at the demise of the pier, a sigh, he boarded the ship.

One step, two step, up one more time and his feet embraced the barren wooden planks of the AH-ME-GO. Not only were they smugglers, but they had a sense of humor. What the hell am I doing? He stood there as sheepish as a blushing panda bear. Everything was covered in grey, the mist rolled in off the Atlantic. With nothing more than the clothes on his back, his sea cocktail painting, a bit of British currency and an agenda to meet a friend in the land of Salvador. If he’s not were he says he is, I’m screwed.

A Portuguese man with creases of sin stretched across his face whispered to Morton, "Sit-down in de bhack, tortuga (turtle)," his voice faded out from what appeared to be years of abusing tobacco, liquor and a possible huffing rubber cement addiction. I've seen scarecrows with nicer wardrobes. Morton wondered how the man knew he was slow, but he obliged and walked like a tortuga to the back of the boat.

As Morton approached the rear of the ship an old skinny man appeared before him on a bench with a shirt so bright it made the sun look goth. Let me guess your name is Sunny and you smuggle peaches. With the precision of a blind matador Morton bent down to touch the deck of the ship as he tried to delay the greeting exchange that the old man silently, inertly demanded. Morton felt the damp grains of the prickly wood and returned to his standing position and examined his hand, wet with the moisture of grainy silt.

"This must be your first time on a boat young man," the old Portuguese man interrupted Morton's dumbfoundedness. He continued, "I remember my first time on de boat, I was five years. I too found the floor confusing!" He laughed at Morton and stomped his cane on the deck, "Ha, I only joke, I see you meet my son," Morton nodded his head, "He ain't worth a damn to a woman, the lying sack, but he be de good man that take dis ship where we go."

Morton stepped closer to the old man and took off his hat and asked the man if he could sit next to him. "Si senior, it's either you or de seagulls, so you might as well sit."


"It's kind of a far drive, nothing a fifth of Tanqueray can't accommodate," the sullen shadow of the flask hid itself within the center console. "Abrasive," Tyler grabbed the swigger within a second of landing his lanky neck inside the van and continued to ramble, "No time to catch up mate, I'm afraid a matter has come to rise."

"Oh well hey, spill the beans."

"Seems to me there's a chance to eradicate ourselves from the states."

“Yeah, well I am actually-"

"Sip this," Tyler demanded while poking Morton in the ribs.

"We're driving!"

"It's Vermont mate, not much you can’t do in the hills. Plus, it’s stick season, ain’t much going on. Check this out though, my partner, my boy David from the internship team, needs to kill a Rhino!"


"Get this, had a dream one night and apparently got killed by a rhino. Mother slaughtered him and now he thinks his life agenda is to kill the son of a bitch," Tyler gave Morton the big grin with the eye wrinkle squint included at no extra charge, "Says he needs to go to Africa, walk around the scorched earth and get this pal, shoot a rhinoceros with a gun!"

"Wow, that's really weird, why would-"

"This isn't shooting squirrels with a bb-gun, kid wants to shoot a rhino!"

Morton reluctantly took a sip from Tyler's green glass flask. Morton held up the slim container. Is this hand blow glass? Who drinks straight gin in the afternoon? An old man. Morton replied, "It seems quite irrational to have a vendetta against a fictitious rhino."

It is important to note that as the Kobich Mobile meandered down the side of Sugarbush Mountain, it occasionally scrapped the ground sending sparks flying like the 4th of July. Tyler, oblivious to this fact, kept rambling as he hand rolled his window down.

"F-ing nuts, kill a rhino? That’s the closest thing we got to a dinosaur isn’t it?" He pressed his hand in the shape of a gun and shot wildly at the medallions that swung from the rear view mirror.

"That's crazy, but have you noticed that we keep bottoming out? Maybe you should slow down."

"I know mate, these are the original struts. They wanted eight-hundred dollars, can you believe that? I wouldn't put eight-hundred monopoly dollars in this baby, yet alone, real money."

"Why don't you take some of this stuff out of the van?"

"I need that stuff for work," Tyler defended his pile of garbage in the back of the van. Morton turned his head and re-evaluated the clutter. He decided it was best to not start an argument.

He gulped another brisk naked cocktail and tried to speak again, "So, my news is I am-"

"Ahhhh, F-ing rhino!!" Tyler blurted in again with an exaggerated squint, "Guy wants to go to A-F-R-I-C-A," pronounced brightly and elongated like a rainbow, "And shoot a rhino with a gun!"

"Yeah, I get it! But I'm going to Europe in a few days."

"Really, fuck all!"


"That's what they say up there on those north coasts."

"Fuck, all?" Morton asked.

"Yeah, it means, well I'm not sure what it means, but trust me (gulp gulp), my Irish hostile buddy from Peru taught me that one. Damn, could that filthy leprechaun drink whiskey. Everything was 'fuck all' this and 'fuck all' that. After a while I just picked it up. Killer colloquial - I'm not sure what it means, but its a hoot to say! What did you say about Europe?" Morton rolled his eyes, grabbed the flask, took a deep breath and counted to three.

Meanwhile, Tyler, driving erratically as usual, was about to miss his turn onto Port Street. He slammed on the breaks of the box van. When they arrived at the house of Mary and Bud, the first thing offered to Morton were paper towels to soak the blood that gushed from his nose where it had slammed into the glove box of the Kobich Mobile.

"It seems quite irrational to have a vendetta against a fictitious rhino"



Morton clutched to the only possession he had left to his name, the salt -water- ruined sea cocktails painting which he had just spent the early morning floating on into the La Libertad Bay, a distinct voice could be heard shouting his name. I swear to God…

Tyler Kobich approached the phone booth Morton was sitting next to. He was riding on a donkey with a small local El Salvadorian boy at the reigns. Tyler jumped off the donkey like Mary Lou Retton at an all female bike rally and proceeded to smack the donkey’s rear. “Hey man, how come you’re all wet?”

The blood in Morton’s veins came to a riotous boil. “Hey…You Ok?” Tyler asked as he suddenly became aware that Morton was in disarray. “You…good?” Morton jumped up to his feet. The dust swirling in the air around him clung to his clothes. “Yeah, I’m stellar!" Morton continued on his rant, “What’s with the little El Salvadorian boy on the donkey? Can’t you ever just have a normal mode of transportation or does everything have to be an esoteric disaster? I’m shocked you didn’t have Juan Valdez from the coffee can pick me up on his way back from the mountains, don’t you know him too! Aren’t you guys, you know, hookah buddies or something!” Tyler motioned to the El Salvadorian boy to tie up the ass.

“C’mon Mort, lets just calm down and get some food in you. So what happened?” Tyler insisted on getting some pupusa’s from a sit down restaurant located just around the corner. As they walked away, the El Salvadorian boy tied up the ass and said a prayer by the loin cloth phone booth.

[El Atlacatl RESTAURANT]

“So let me get this straight,” the waitress poured tea into the cups in front of them. “They thought you were an art thief?” Morton shook his head and answered the inquiry, “Apparently, they assumed that since I was traveling alone with paintings and was looking for an underground route to a small country that I had to have been a thief,” Morton clasped the tea cup to warm his hands even though it was 87 degrees in the restaurant. “I guess they thought my paintings were priceless works of art, go figure.” “How’d you get away?” Tyler, growing impatient, signaled to the waitress in an unholy way that this American was hungry and she damn better well take there order.

“I heard them shouting after a long night of drinking and cards. They began to whisper and then I heard the captain’s machete shrill out of its holster. I’d spent enough days with these brutes to reach the epiphany right then-and-there what was happening. As the footsteps got closer I grabbed the only thing I could find, a shoe horn that I had noticed earlier in the day. Funny, it crossed my mind as I picked it up ‘what were these smugglers doing with a shoe horn’, but anyway, I hid behind the door and got real silent. They drunkenly came down the steps yelling and swung the door open. I waited till they took a few steps and then I smashed the captain in the back of the head with the shoe horn and kicked the old man in the stomach. The old man was unarmed so I let him lie. Then I finished the captain.” Morton stopped his story and looked away from Tyler.

The waitress approached, “Wait, you killed a man - I’ll have four pupusa’s and a diet coke, my buddy here will have the same,” Tyler finished his sentence, “So you killed him? With the shoe horn or with your hands? I can't imagine a shoe horn could do the trick” A meek look came over Morton’s face, “Yup, I killed him. I killed him with a couple stomps to the head,” He looked down and humbly took a sip of his tea.

Tyler’s face lit up like a Christmas tree. “You killed a Pirate!! Ah-ha!! Of all the things man, of all the things in the whole world (laughing), that's what this is all about! You executed a Pirate! ARRRRR!!!! What about the old man?”

“What’s so funny, they almost killed me! I could have been dead, don’t you get it you dummy!”

Tyler shot back, “How’d you kill the old man? How’d you do it? I have to know! Did you crack his neck? Karate Chop!!" Tyler slammed the table, rattling the silverware, "Or did you shove the shoe horn down his throat?!! What’d you do?!” Morton was not amused by Tyler’s enthusiasm. “If you must know, I just threw him off the ship into the ocean. I threw the captain overboard as well.”

The two different attitudes of the men at the table were a glacier apart. If you happened to have been fortunate enough to overhear this conversation you’d be just as tempted to laugh as you would have been to call the police. It was like listening to Tony Soprano explain how he killed the rabbit to Elmer Fudd.

Yes, A loin Cloth Phone Booth