Picture this; a double-wide with a satellite dish out front and a Plymouth hatchback parked beside it. Low maintenance Astroturf front yard. An ice-chest with no lid rests on its side, partially hiding a spilled-over three drawer tool-box that looks injured, as though left there to die, red and rusting. A picnic table, slumped over grey in the middle of the fuzzy green front yard with a broken leg. Three cinder blocks prop it up. A bicycle leans against the faded white aluminum siding of the house-trailer. A greasy useless chain hangs from the sprocket onto the too-green plastic turf. The front side-door is open, the light from within showing three metal steps. I popped open a can of beer and walked up and in.

She was watching re-runs of “Tales From the Darkside” on an old plastic Montgomery Wards black-and-white TV. According to the information I had gotten over the phone from the Dial-a-Date Agency, she was a Honey-moon widow, whatever that was and she had an older brother in the Army…a D.I. whatever that was. My telephone date had a messy little daughter, four or five years old, Shit-Assed Suzi, who ran around naked. Right off I didn’t like her, I wouldn’t go near her because she was too loud and dirty and because she really did have shit all over her back-side. If her brains were made out of dynamite she still couldn’t blow her own nose. My telephone date, that is.

She was curled up in a big chair over in the dark corner , facing the TV with a gaudy knit comforter on her knees. She kept lighting cigarettes and stirring whatever was in her coffee cup. She didn’t offer me anything to drink. Barely saying hello, she hardly looked at me. I sat across the room from her, in the only other chair I could find, on top of several days newspapers, near the side door I had come in. A blue-grey lazy river of cigarette smoke moved past me out into the Trailer Park evening. I sipped at my can of beer and grinned.

We sat there in silence in her Mothers’ double-wide and waited for “Love Connection” to come on. I fidgeted around, getting bored so I tried to imagine what she might be like in the sack. It was difficult to tell from where I sat but in the TVs’ glare she appeared to be a little pudgy but not all that bad looking, really.

It was very dark now except for the shifting light from the TV. Her dishwater blond hair in bangs half covered her eyes. She had on a print dress from probably K-Mart. I made a lame joke about the fish tank being like Sushi-on-the-hoof. She gurgled her disapproval saying that those fish were her Mothers’. I belched a beer-taco urp in return, to see if we could find some common ground. She began to speak but choked on her words. After she was done coughing, she sat still, then looked at me. “I always wanted to be on that “Love Connection” show, ya know? I know I could, ya know like… do real good on it.” Pleased that she would confide in me, I revealed to her that I had always wanted to own a liquor store in Jersey. “Where’s ‘at?” she managed to ask me. I sighed and jerked my thumb over my shoulder, pointing no place in particular.

Mongrel dogs from the Trailer Park neighborhood wandered in and out of her Moms’ trailer all the while. The side door was open on this moist, warm night and we needed the air. A long-haired mangy dog coughed and choked and then spit up outside on the aluminum steps. As a distraction, I wondered out loud if she had ever gone to see the Greyhounds run at the nearby dog-track. She said “It would be nice if, ya know, it might be fun if you’d take me, sometime, ya know like maybe sometime…” I nodded my head and smiled out loud. Now we are getting somewhere, thought I. Then she floored me. “It’s hard to be a women when you’ve never before had to be a woman.” She straitened up…sat up. Looked almost pretty for a moment. I could see by the light of a television commercial that she did have breasts under that blouse. She spoke again, dramatically, “Take me. Make me a woman.”

I couldn’t believe that she had spoken such an idea to me. It must have been a line from some movie or a TV show. I took a long swig of my beer. She doesn’t actually expect me to…? As I contemplated this, Shit assed Suzi came barreling through the long, hollow mobile-home on a plastic green and yellow Big-Wheels. If it would have fit through the narrow side-door by my side, she would have gone flying out, down the aluminum steps, over the dog puke, out into the cluttered dark yard. As it was, she hit the doorway loud… bounced backward into the Kitchen/Living room area, knocked over a green aluminum glass with ice-cubes and some liquid all over the floor. What a fucking racket. Smelled like Kool-Aid. Then Suzi commenced to laugh and cry, real loud, facing me by maybe two feet, nose to nose. I sat still and nursed my now empty beer in my left hand with a frown. The entire double-wide was rocking and quivering. She howled at me for quite a long while, then abruptly gave up when I wouldn’t react, and she walked off down the hall, tugging her Big-Wheels with her side ways.

As Suzi wandered away to the other end of the trailer, the brown-warm smell of baby-shit subsided and I took a couple deep breaths. Tried to get comfortable. Couldn’t. I looked over at my telephone date and grinned, tried to catch her eye. But she had gone back into the TV fantasy world of bogus romance and safe intrigue. I sat with my legs wide and my left hand on my crotch, hoping she’d look over at me and see that my dick was trying to get hard. When I couldn’t get her attention, I lost interest. I thought of blue-sky days, of looking down on a pillow of sunlit clouds from an airplane. Soft white Bunny Rabbits at Easter, the smell of fresh-mown lawns. I tried to remember how late Taco Shack would be open.

Showing on the old black-and-white TV , she was watching an old movie now. It had the heroin being saved from certain discomfort by an Errol Flynn-type guy. Here comes the Railroad Steam Engine barreling into a tunnel. I figured I knew what was coming next and so I quietly stood up and slipped out the door there. As I stepped in the dog vomit on the narrow aluminum step, I heard the girl on the TV say melodramatically, “Take me, make me a woman.” I chuckled and tossed the empty beer can onto the vague-green plastic grass and I walked toward my trusty old pick-up truck.

As I breathed in the fresh night air I smiled wide. The beer and the night-air had made me dizzy and it felt good. Walking easy, without a hop or a skip, I neatly sidestepped the ice-chest in the moonlight and swung my right leg hard and kicked the shit out of the red metal tool-box. Thwack! The Trailer Park neighborhood dogs woke up defensive, barking loud, surprised. The dogs scattered as did the wrenches and screwdrivers, sockets, loose nuts and bolts that went clattering all over the place. That kinda woke me up, too.
I was thinking about which Liquor store would still be open and that I would have to call up Dial-a-Date again sometime, because this one had gone pretty well, all in all. Before I stepped into my trusty old truck, I took one more deep breath of that delicious, dark, warm narcotic American night air. It felt good to be alive. I burped up a long belch that left a bad taste in my mouth. Spitting out an ugly present onto the parking lot, I smiled knowingly and got in and started her up and left.

The End


This happened a long time ago. It’s all different now, of course, except for the Hot-Dog cart on 15th and Larimer. Back then the state of Colorado had recently initiated the Lottery game and the concept was new to all of us. “Did you ever think about all those unclaimed state lottery tickets?” Some mustard fell onto my chin and I wiped at it with a dinky little napkin. “The ones that ‘hit’ but don’t get cashed in? There could be a hundred people walking around who don’t know what happened to the ticket they bought. Or even knew that they were carrying a winner, heh? Boggles the mind don’t it?” I was finishing my second ‘Dog with mustard only’ and was wiping my face with a tiny napkin from a pile of napkins 3 inches high on the curb next to me where I was sitting.

I was talking to an old guy who happened to be sitting next to me there on that curb outside the Terminal Bar & Grill. Yeh, you know the place. Great cold beer, lousy bad food. Terminal was the correct name for that place. “Could be somebody right here in Denver, don’t even know he’s a fucking millionaire, eh?” The old gent sitting next to me didn’t answer at first…didn’t seem even to hear me. Then with a grin that showed a punched-in mouth, he sputtered and hissed his appreciation of that outlandish idea. “Hah hah ha… a fuckin’ million”, he takes a deep breath, “inaire. Yah, ‘at’s me, hah!” He began laughing and hacking and coughing so bad I turned away. We were in one of those ‘used-to-be’ parts of town. Used to be in a vital part of Denver. Now its all drunks and empty warehouses and dive bars. Old brick buildings hardly worth the cost of insurance.

The old guy next to me was wearing a worn-smooth brown corduroy suit-coat, four days beard with long white bristles; he had dignity in his weathered face. Those eyes had seen it all. He probably knew more than anyone would expect. I do too. He was wearing an old scuffed-up pair of Wing-Tips (brown maybe) that had long ago seen better days. Shoe laces of different lengths and colors, thin nylon socks. No tie.

“Hah ha, a fucking millionaire, hah ha.” He liked the idea. After a while and after a lot of hacking and gasping, he finished it all off with a string of spittle he couldn’t quite control. It fell down onto the front of his old corduroy coat in one long, glistening stringer. I had adjusted myself so as to talk with this old gent, and so I saw all this up close almost in slow-motion. The string of spit broke from his upper lip and fell into his chin-beard and clung there, disgustingly stubborn.

Tried to make a joke about a spider in a web, I couldn’t figure out how to be nice about it, he being an old gent and all. So instead I handed him a stack of napkins. At first he didn’t understand why I’se handing him those little pieces of paper. Those little white foldy things you get from Drive-up windows. They ought to be called Barely-Wipes. Anyway, as soon as he brought out his hand to wave me off no-thanks, he got that stringer caught all about his arm and chin and shirt-front and such. He was so surprised that he snorted and a greasy dark green shanker shot out, lost speed, fell down onto his worn brown corduroy coat front. He needed all the napkins I could find


from my pockets. That’s okay by me. We’ll all be there someday. I hope I remember to bring my own handiwipes.

Well, this conversation is off to a fine start, I thought to myself. I fidgeted around and looked around, but there was no one else to talk to out here on the concrete curb this early evening. A fine evening, with the sun a fire-ball going down over the tall horizon of the Mountains. There was still snow up there and enough dust and crap in the air down here in the city to make a beautiful yellow-orange sunset. A scarlet mustard color. Maybe only a young drunkard like me, with nothing else to do would notice a wondrous painting like this. I can see the different ridges and folds in those Mountains to the west. Like silhouettes of ghosts. As the sun slipped lower, the view changed, the colors modified into other hazy colors with no names. The snow on the distant slopes glowed iridescent velvet-scarlet-yellow.

As I sat there gazing at those peaks more than 20 miles away, I felt warm and happy and privileged. I almost never see the sun come up, but I do love to watch it in the evening as it goes down. Sitting right here on this hard old curb with my knees pulled up under my chin, I couldn’t have felt any better about life even if I had just won the state lottery. “I’ld like to have this on film,” I said half out loud. Looking over next to me I saw the old gent was looking westward too. “This is my place of worship so to speak, Mister” he told me firmly. “When I”, he takes another long breath, “…I sit here on a warm evening, well damned if I don’t feel like,” takes another gravely breath, “like a fucking millionaire. Yes sir.” We sat quietly in the fading light taking it all in. I chuckled a bit just as the sun slid over the edge, a lot of light up in the sky in horizontal colorful wedges. It fades to black so slowly.

“It’s easy on my eyes but awful hard on my ass, sittin’ here on this old sidewalk. Let’s say you and me stand up and walk in the front door of this fine old establishment.” I wave my hand towards the Terminal Bar&Grill,” here. Find us a comfortable place to sit and I’ll buy you a beer? Huh? What’ve you gotta say ?” “Hell”, the corduroy gent said as we each stood up, “I’ll buy. After a show like that one we just saw,” he leaned against the side of the brick building to steady himself while hacking and gasping, “I feel just like a fucking millionaire.” He breathed deeply a couple times and then looked directly at me, smiling and says, “Yes sir, that’s me. A fucking millionaire, hah.”

A slight breeze moved all those nasty little napkins further down the cement walk as we each got our feet under us and walked in the front door.


I used to live this way. I don’t mind talking about it because now I am a different man, older. I now laugh at the memories.

When I came to, my guts hurt so bad I thought I was gonna die. My empty stomach constricting: my heart beating too fast, then too slow. I needed a beer because my tongue was all swollen up, dried out. I stumbled to my feet and found the doorway. Sleeping on a strangers’ couch means I never know where the bathroom is or the front door is either.

The bright morning sunlight hit me like a hammer. Could barely open my eyes to see but I headed over to Zuider Zee’s for a couple of B’s(beers). It was dark inside at first so I cut my way through the smoky darkness and headed over to the table with the most laughter and loud talk. My friend Jake was there and we said hello over a couple Buds. I was feeling very queasy trying to recall yesterday, last night, today or tomorrow.

As usual, we sat in the ‘outcast corner’ over by the Waitress station and the bathrooms. As usual, I ordered up beers all around and started telling jokes. Slowly, I almost felt better but then halfway through my first beer when I lit up a cigarette I immediately got sick with mainly the dry-heaves. I bent over sideways gagging and spit up what looked like Toxic Waste under the round table we were sitting at. Felt much better then but I had some grit in my mouth when I straitened up. I looked around, saw that the Waitress wasn’t watching us. Took a big slug of beer and swishing it around in my mouth, leaned over, bent way over and spit it out onto the dirty carpet in front of los
banos. Jake saw all this and kept drinking and grinning, nodding his head, eyes half closed.

After my second beer, we decided that Zuider Zee’s was too damed dark, so presently Jake and I left there and we drifted over across the street to The Terminal Bar & Grill for a bowl of Green Chili. “Ain’t nothin’ like stale pork to chase the Blues away”, was all that Jake had to say. We slinked in and sat at the bar. I ordered a beer and a bowl of chili for each of us as we eyed the squeeze sitting at the end of the bar. I thought I had made eye contact with her. The beer arrived; we picked up our Buds in unison and each took a long slug.

I marveled at the Indian gal in a mini-skirt who had her legs jack-knifed over the barstool, showing a lot of thigh. Her sunburned face probably used to be pretty. Real cool like Paul Newman would walk, I moved over to her and tried to start up a friendly conversation. Tried not to notice the knife-fight scars on her cheek. Tried to buy her a drink, tried to be suave, but somehow or another she could tell I had shit in my pants.
“What you say, Baby?” “Get away from me”. “Hey honey, I show you a Real Big Time.” “No dance. That’s all,” she mumbled, drunkenly waving me away. I walked back to my seat beside Jake as the bowls of Green Chili arrived.

After we each finished our bowls, we ate the French-Fries off the plate of the guy next to us and drank some more beers. The two of us cackled like a gang of old women as we told lewd jokes loudly. By and by, we began to annoy the other drunks at the bar,
so we kinda left there and drifted over to the bus station. It’s a couple blocks to the
GreyWays (Greyhound-Trailways) and I kinda recall falling down once or twice on the way there. I do not remember exactly how or why, but we ended up climbing onto a shiny-clean chromium bus headed north out of Denver, going to Cheyenne, Wyoming (I think) and then on to Rock Springs. I asked Jake why we were going up to Cheyenne and he said it would be an adventure.

What a bunch of sorry-assed stiffs that were on that Vista Cruiser!. The exasperated bus driver stopped just past Broomfield (or Greeley?), by the side of the road and kicked my sorry ass off his bus after I inadvertently threw-up on the sorry-assed, candy-assed folks in the seat in front of me. Jake laughed and giggled and drooled down his chin onto his shirt so bad that he almost got the heave-ho too. But since he could keep his food down, the bus driver let him stay and he went on to Cheyenne, just for the adventure of it.

So, anyway, I was left standing there on the side of the road, hi-way 85, feeling like I was in a Hitchcock movie. My head was spinning as the pick-up trucks and beat-up family sedans wheezed and sputtered past while I was standing there in my shirt-sleeves, sick, tired, laughed -out, still drunk and some-what stunned. I heard myself say to myself,”This is the stuff dreams are made of.”



The End


Let me tell you about this character I bumped into again last night while I was looking for a safe place to sleep.

…it was another terminally dead night in this part of the city, where I try to survive out here in the streets of Denver. It had been snowing and raining, back and forth all afternoon. There seemed to be no one around, only a few dim lights shined from any of the windows on this street. Three- and four-story brick warehouse buildings line each side of the long, wet empty avenue. I’m not surprised that the street-lights no longer work in this sector of the old part of the city. The heart of the city’s commercial district had moved East and South of here, maybe three decades ago by six or seven blocks into newer, faceless buildings.

Pollution holds the coldness near to the ground and a thin rain turns to snow. A lone covered truck rattles its way home, probably late for supper. It grumbles its way toward the next intersection farther down down the misty avenue as it seems to make more noise than head-way. No other signs of life. As the trucks’ gears whined their disapproval, the truck rattles away far down the avenue into the fog untill I couldn’t hear it any more.

It is snowing quietly again. I think I’m alone. It’s early evening and getting dark rapidly although the temperature seems to be holding steady. A skinny dog shivers past me, slinking down the boulevard, sniffing from doorway to doorway scared and hungry. I didn’t need to see that dog to know that I was scared and hungry, too. I can hear this crisp, cold silence. Although I’m cold from standing still, I like the peaceful, gentle quiet. I pull my jacket around me tightly and adjust my Denver Bears baseball cap. I wished I had a smoke.

From out of nowhere he was next to me, spitting in my ear, “ahh but lookit them empty streets”, putting his arm around my shoulder. “Isn’t that proof enough?” he added, whispering in a hoarse, pirate-like voice close to my ear. “Not a soul out here…” He was leaning on me and weaving and laughing his bad breath onto my shoulder. I tried to speak up, “Well maybe they’re all asleep and”, he cut me off with a wave of his free arm. His fingers on his left hand were stained a brownish- yellow from his smoking non-filtered cigarettes all the way down. I could smell the tobacco. “hmm…this early in the morning, hmm…and I’m Mad Again, har hah ha.” I’m sure that I had a quizzical look on my face as I tried to back away from this character. I wanted to tell him that it was 7:00 at night, not morning. I wanted him to let go of me. I could smell his heavy breath, his rotting gums, his sweaty face and couldn’t get any words out. More than just annoying he said loudly, “They say I’m Mad still hah ha ha. But it’s MY LIFE Baby! Hah”. He held my arms tightly and looked at me hard, up close, face to face. I could smell his whiskers. I felt his bad breath on my chin like it was bar-b-que sauce. I swallowed hard and starred right back at him. His bloodshot eyes cut like a knife through the sounds of his own pained, uneven deep breathing. I said nothing. I tried to but couldn’t. I wished I had a smoke. As he crowded in against me I did what I had to do. As he leaned against me we were a chorus-line of two, “but I’m Not MAD, hungh ahh. I’m not wanted and I’m not sad. Hmm…I’m glad not to be sad about being mad, hmm…” The street poet wouldn’t let go of me. This character was as loud as he was pungent.

We recognized each other from the soup-line the other way down the street. We had starred at each other over lentil soup and biscuits at the Denver Rescue Mission. Now, outside in the cold he was like a figure from a Dickens story. Just a dim face in the dark. 
Just this man’s thin eyes glistening like the rain-hardened streets. Just the malingering smell of tobacco, olives and garlic, rum and gunpowder. It had gotten colder with the setting of the sun and now it is snowing pretty good. I was soaked and tired and running outta strength; I knew it would be easy to catch a serious chill on this March night.

In the loudest part of his chorus, “I’m MAD…” this character lets loose of me in a twirl, then breaks away further in a sudden stumble and wanders off mumbling to himself in a pirate-like mystic fit, laughing and talking about himself. This character did his slow ballet into the dizzy, foggy night looking for some one else to annoy… gone away to look for more Sterno, I supposed. Quietly I sang a song with no melody to myself, in praise of what’s left of this earth. If I had stayed outside much longer, I certainly would have frozen my wet ass off.

I made for the traffic light at Park Avenue and Broadway. There at a red light I checked to see how many cigarettes were in the little package I had lifted from that character. Three Chesterfields. Good enough. Even small victories mean a lot to me. You can hear the crisp sound of the snow-flakes hitting the cotton-like blanket already on the ground. As I lit up a Chesterfield I thought to myself, sometimes life is good.


© Mr. Mark Charles
January, 2018

vote, Vote, VOTE

September 25th, 2017

I can teach you how to grow a nice pot-crop…outdoors in the sunlight in your own backyard.  But you and I have to learn to protect our currant ‘grey area’ freedoms  from being  taken away.   We need to VOTE in every election for people who will further the cause.   There are plenty politicians  on the Federal level  and  (unfortunately)  many  state of Colorado  pols  who DO NOT want us to be free to smoke our own pot.  There are several  local City Council  members  who are  annoyed  that we enjoy smoking pot.   New pot regulations  come at us every other month.  These strangling, unnecessary regulations  hurt the pot-grow industry as well as us consumers.   We have to VOTE to keep our Colorado  rights.  We have to VOTE to gain back the necessary rights to grow our own Home Stash outdoors.   Vote the bums out and  vote in the ‘good people’ in  who wont impede pot progress.   And how ’bout Hemp???

As more states vote for LEGAL  POT,  the notion that all of the pot that us home gardeners  grow  will go out of state will certainly  become null and void.  The good people of Iowa can grow their own (really good)  pot.   We need to  regulate oil and gas drilling operations more and regulate the Marijuana Industry less.   Certainly, the Colorado pols ought to obey the will-of-the-people  and allow us all to grow our own Home Stash safely out doors in the free and natural sunlight.

Here is the Yin and Yang of this.  We cannot sell our Colorado grown pot out of state.   We cannot  be driving  while drunk or stoned.   We cannot allow our children  to go into the neighbors’  back yards  to pillage their crops.

Oh yes…let your girls get fully mature before you think of harvesting them.   A lot of plumping and swelling will occur during the sunny days yet to come.

I’m just saying…

Feb. 1st, 2017

Well. What a fix we are in now.  Three things have gone wrong.  1) Trump got himself selected as the next U.S. President.   He has chosen a “brain trust”  or a cabinet full of uber-wealthy jerks.  These folks really do not care about you and me.   2) The republikans have taken control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate at the Federal level.   This is a very sad situation for all of us “little people”.   3) The people of Colorado unfortunately passed the “Raise the Bar” amendment.  So now we will not be able to get another Constitutional Amendment  on to the voters’  ballots.   From here on out we have no more to be gained (on the Marijuana Freedom issue)  but we do have much that can be lost.

I still believe that we citizens of Colorado ought to be able to legally grow our own Home Stash of  pot in our own backyards… outdoors in the Natural Sunlight.The Constitutional Amendment path seems now to be unavailable to us.   I/we will have to wait four or six or eight  more years  until this can be achieved  thru the Colorado Senate.

Trump is a Flip-Flopper… so we have no clear idea what he will do to us from the Federal level.   He could go after the “Recreational Pot” scene… and he will likely go after the Doctors that we have to go to to get our “purple cards”.   He can pull fund$ from our state, too.   And, certainly, all of his buddies hate pot and think that Marijuana is a scourge  equal  to Heroin.  Also, some of trumps’ buddies own business that will be in direct competition with Hemp products and medical marijuana products.

As far as marijuana in Colorado goes; as far as Women’s Rights goes; as far as our public Health and Education goes… these next four years will, no doubt, be very trying. Trump is like a Que Ball (in a pool hall).   He will break open the pack… things will change.   I worry about our “Marijuana Freedoms”  being rolled back.   Even more so, I worry about the degradation  of this Earth because of the impending  EPA  and OSHA  agencies being dismantled.

I must disagree with Mr. Tommy Chong who has expressed the notion that we need to wait to see what the trump-ites will do.   “Give him a chance”, says Tommy.   Whereas I already know that these next four years will be a  disgusting mess.   So, be like a turtle and tuck in your heads, my friends.  Keep your powder dry and your marijuana stash hidden away.  It is going to be a tough four years.

P.S.  It is too bad  that trump is just Putin’s  Lackey  Bitch.