Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Monday, January 21, 2013
Tuesday Feb 27, 2007
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Sunday Feb 25, 2007
I told them that me and Leon had grown up together, and I told ‘em we just liked to come to the airport on Sunday and watch the planes take off and land, and some times Leon would whistle at stewardesses and stuff like that.
Don’t worry, I didn’t tell them about you and the terrorist convention in Cancun or the evil forest or the lost pyramid or any of that. I don’t think Leon told them either, because I’m not sure he remembers it all, but I can’t be positive because he was driving off with that baggage handler woman when I came out of the terminal.
I said, “Yep, that’s the one.”
A few minutes later, I said, “Can we go a little slower?”
Saturday, January 19, 2013
You may remember that I said if we didn’t hear from you, me and Leon was going to come down and see what was going on. Well, bigger than all hell we didn’t hear from you, but you already know that. And, if you’ve looked around, you know that me and Leon ain’t there. You see, a couple of things came up.
First, I asked Leon if he had a passport, and he said yes. Well, it turns out he thought I said do you have a Newport, and he has a whole carton of them. You know how bad his hearing is since he lit the cherry bomb in the pickup, then threw it forgetting the window was up.
It turns out the Department of Defense took Leon’s passport in the interest of national security. Well, I was going to come without him, but the airline said the miles I had amassed were mostly frequent bathroom miles not frequent flier miles.
The good news is, I can use the bathroom in any Delta Crown Room in any airport in the world as long as I can figure out how to get there. I have enough frequent flier miles to go from Jackson to Biloxi, and that’s what I’m go to do, because Garvin Tootle has a friend in Bay Minette, Alabama, who knows a Vietnamese shrimp boat captain who might take me to Cancun for the cost of fuel and $92. So in a couple of days or so, you can start looking for me.
Oh, I almost forgot, if you are lost, you are going to be found pretty soon. I called your hotel again this morning and talked to the same guy I talked to yesterday. He was in a better mood today, so I asked if he’d look for you. He asked why should he? You’re going to love this, Marissa – I told him you and Angelina Jolie grew up together and were best friends. And then I told him that she was with you, so when he found you he would find her too. Pretty smart, huh?
He said that he and all of his import-export friends would tear up the town to find Angelina. Well, got to go to the airport. You take care and I’ll see you soon.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Friday Feb 23, 2007
I called earlier this morning than I called yesterday, but with the same result. Well, that isn’t quite true. Beyond the fact that you weren’t there to take the call, nothing else about it was the same.
This time a man answered the phone and there was no gender doubt. His voice came up from somewhere down around his ankles, and it made my cell phone reverberate like it was time to upgrade my service. And, he spoke English. That’s a gross understatement, like saying Dick Cheney isn’t an expert marksman. This man spoke perfect Oxford English, and I’m not talking about Oxford Mississippi English.
He said, “Good morning. Thank you for calling the Inn Near the Sea. If the Calgary Stampede and Democratic convention hadn’t still been raging in the background, I would have thought that I had reached a wrong number. However, they were still going strong. By the way, what is that noise and does it ever stop? You don’t have to answer that if you don’t want to. Anyway, I asked for you and there was a long pause. Finally he asked, “What does she look like?”
I said, “Well, she’s brunette, very attractive, young, wears glasses…”
He interrupted me when I said, “She’s an American student from…”
He said, “Stop.” Then there was total silence on the phone. I thought we had been disconnected. Finally he said, I should point out, rather rudely, “No, there are no chicken-shit Americans here, only delegates to the import-export convention.” Then he hung up. That’s right, he hung up. Now how’s that for rude?
What’s going on down there, Marissa. Is it time for me and Leon to come down? We have a lot of frequent flyer miles from the time the Sky Marshall handcuffed us in the bathroom of the 747, got drunk with the stewardesses then went home with a couple them, forgetting he’d left us on the plane in the bathroom with an Out of Order sign on the door. We flew for two days before a clean up crew found us. We were in Tokyo.
Anyway, if you need us, all you have to do is say so.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Thursday Feb 22, 2007
Early this morning, I called that place that you jokingly call a hotel. I didn't understand the name of the person who answered the phone, and I’m not even sure whether it was a man or a woman, but I’m leaning toward woman, so I’ll go with that.
She said, “Miss M,” which I assume is you, my dear, “Left with Manuel before sunup.” Then I think she said, “On Manuel’s ox cart, but that couldn't be right---could it?
By the way, that hotel sounds like a cross between the Calgary Stampede and the Democratic National Convention. I’m not complaining you understand. I’m just glad that you found a place to stay, what with the international import-export convention in town.
I once heard that more criminal organizations and subversive government activities operate under the cover, import-export business, than any other single disguise.
That woman at the hotel must have heard that too, or else she just has a hell of a sense of humor. She called the delegates to the convention “fucking terrorists.”
She also said the only way to the evil forest was by ox cart.
I said, “Evil forest? I thought it was the enchanted forest.”
Marissa, you’ll love this, she said, “Evil, enchanted, it’s the same thing. I have to go now, Senor, a group of terrorists are checking in.”
Then she hung up before I could say another word. That woman has quite a sense of humor.
Marissa, she is kidding, isn't she?”
Monday, January 14, 2013
Wednesday Feb 21, 2007
It has been at least 15 years since I was last in Cancun. I haven’t thought about it in a long time. However, now that I know you are there on “early spring break,” I've found myself once again thinking of the place. The emerald and cobalt water lapping gently on the white beach, you reclining in a deck chair gazing across the Gulf of Mexico, not even trying to pretend that you’re interested in that stack of books you brought along to hide your true purpose – finding and exploring the lost- pyramid-of-the-forbidden-because-it’s -enchanted jungle. I knew when you first heard the rumor of the pyramid from the drunk at the Be There Now Tavern, just off campus, that your heart would give you no peace until you found it and walked its ancient passageways.
It never crossed your mind that the old drunk just might have made up the story of the pyramid and the forbidden-because-it’s-enchanted jungle, FEEBI as it’s known to the natives. See, I've been doing some research myself and not by talking to the old drunk, at least not exclusively by talking to him.
Anyway, I hope you’re doing well, and I hope you find the pyramid, and I hope you remember to write and tell me about it.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Yesterday, I visited the Sand Mountain Flea Market, about forty miles from Huntsville, just south of Guntersville, Alabama. I’m not a flea market person but on a whim I decided to check it out, hoping that I would find a small trunk to store manuscripts in. If you've priced a new trunk, you know why I thought it would be worth a little of my time to try to find one in a flea market.
To make a long story, and I do mean a long story, since I was in the flea market for almost two hours; I didn't find a trunk, but I did find an old Army footlocker. It was the first footlocker I've seen since I mustered out of the Army in 1968 and it brought back a lot of memories.
The footlocker was padlocked with a commercial grade combination lock. I asked the old woman who seemed to own it, along with a small, former, U-Haul Truck, full of other items (no two of which were the same) if she had the combination.
She looked at me like I had just asked for the key to her truck. “Hell, son, I don’t know the combination.”
I was flattered that she called me son, since I suspected that I was at least twenty years older than she was, though when the sun hit her full in the face, I began to reevaluate the possible age difference. She squinted her right eye half shut and focused her left eye, which seemed to be slightly out of control, somewhere between my right eye and the top of my head, and added, “That’s why I have it priced at $15.00.”
Noting that I was struggling to connect the two statements she explained, “There might be something real valuable in there.”
After wandering around the flea market for almost two hours, I think fatigue might have had something to do with what I did next. Staring as best I could, at her now totally out of control eye, I said, “I’ll take it.”
Two minutes later, with the footlocker on my shoulder, I found my Honda Element, now surrounded by a mass of pickup trucks that lined the highway for a mile in both directions. I unlocked it, dropped the tailgate and started to set the footlocker inside when, for some reason, I turned it on its side; something I hadn't done when I initially examined it.
A weathered piece of masking tape was stuck in the middle of the bottom panel. Something was written on it, but it was too faded to read. I leaned closer and closer, until finally my nose was almost touching it and I read – Combination 16-8-29.
I opened the lock on the first try.
The top tray was intact and empty. I lifted it out and sat it inside the vehicle. The box itself was full of clothes, lightweight, men’s clothes. There were pants, hiking shorts, short sleeve sport shirts and a few plain t-shirts. Everything was well used but clean and neatly folded. I took the garments out, one at time, looking for some clue to the identity of the owner. There was nothing, and I finally decided there wouldn't be anything.
Then I pulled out the last pair of hiking shorts. They were khaki with large cargo pockets on each leg. There was a large bundle of letters in the right pocket and some worn maps in the left pocket.
I started to open the bundle of letters but thought better of it. There were a lot of people close by, and I felt like I might draw some unwanted attention if I began exploring what I already thought of as my treasure.
I packed the letters, maps, and all the clothes back in the footlocker, closed the tailgate, and began working my way out of the minor traffic jam that I found myself part of.
An hour later I was back home. I put the footlocker in the middle of the living room floor and in short order I untied the string that held the bundle of letters together. Originally, I had thought there might be twenty or maybe thirty letters there. Being a Virgo, the first thing I did was count them. There were sixty-one of them. Some felt like they contained only a single sheet of paper, others two or three. The hand writing appeared to be the same, and they were all addressed to the same person, Marissa Winbush, c/o The Inn by the Sea, 420 Del Rio Way, Cancun, Mexico. The return address on each letter simply read, “Jake.” Though the writing instruments varied from a number 2 pencil to a wide tipped black marker, they were all neatly written and completely legible. I suppose Jake was on the move as he wrote the letters since they had been mailed from Mississippi, Alabama, and Mexico.
I was hesitant to read them, and it took a couple of hours before I actually read the first one. Now I've read the first ten of them, and in a way, I feel like I’m reading a private diary, but I can’t stop because the letters tell an amazing story – a story of love, adventure, and for lack of a better term, I’ll say a story of the supernatural.
In any case, I’m going to share them with you, and you can decide if they are as special as I’m beginning to think they are:
Tuesday Feb 20, 2007
I just knew that today there would be a letter from you and you’d say, “Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I've been laying on the beach at Cancun for the past two weeks, and I haven’t been able to check my mail.”
There was no mail from you, so you must still be on the beach at Cancun. Don't misunderstand. I’m not envious; in fact, I think one of us should be there. I will point out though, that if it was me in Cancun, instead of you, I’d at least send you a postcard and maybe even one of those junky tourist t-shirts.