Archive for March, 2012

Today pretty much convinced me I should probably stop driving and start taking the bus.  I mean, I’m not going to, but I probably should.  No, it has nothing to do with the environment.  Car pollution is pretty minor these days (though no one tells you that) and it’s not to help cut down on oil usage (automobile consumption of oil is a fraction of what we use in industry-ah fuck it…LOOK IT UP!) or the rising price of gas (I can dip into my kid’s college fund for that).
Any guesses?
My temper?  Well, shit…you must read my blog.  Which is what you’re doing right now.  How meta.
But it’s more than that.  Shit just seems to happen to me when I’m behind a wheel.  I just attract bad karma or something.  I really can’t explain it fully, but I can relay my most recent exploits while cruising the asphalt to give you a taste.  As the first sentence of this blog announced, it happened today on my morning commute.
I was a healthy twenty minutes late to work.  Now I believe in always being a little late for EVERYTHING.  It keeps your blood pumping, your synapses firing faster, and lets people know you bow down to no one!  I don’t see it as disrespectful to the other party…I see it as commanding respect from them.  Alpha-dog stuff.  You wait for ME!  But I’m off track here.  I was cruising down 104 when I began to feel a steady, rhythmic thumping.  I turned down the stereo and focused.  Something was in my tire.  Now I could have just finished my commute and checked the tire in my company parking lot.  But that was like another ten minutes of listening to that fucking sound and what if it popped my tire?  Fuck that.  I made a quick veer to the right and pulled off on the next exit, using my one-finger hand signal instead of the standard electronic device on my truck, and proceeded to sit in a very long red-light line.  My initial idea was to just pull off into the Target parking lot and see what the fuck it was…but I decided to challenge myself.  I was pretty confident I  could hop out, check the tire, pry out whatever shit was stuck in the tread and be back in my seat before the light turned green.  Then I cruise right back onto 104 and wham!…so slick.  There’s a little Mission Impossible in all of us.  So I left the truck running and grabbed my little folding knife from my dash and hopped out the side.  Of course, I had only taken three steps when I realized I had forgotten to pull the parking brake.  My truck is a stick shift…I don’t have that pussy “Park” crap.  We pop it in neutral and pull the parking brake like real men.  Except I didn’t.  And my truck kept on keeping on.  I probably would have realized this after one step but I was momentarily distracted by the person in the car behind me.  See, he saw me suddenly jump out of my truck with a knife in my hand, walking toward him…and well…the look on his face was just fucking priceless, man.  And the look on a dude’s face when he shits his pants is just one-of-a-kind.  I quickly flashed him a “What?  Calm down, McFly” look but then noticed my truck rolling by me, swiveled on one foot and dove back into the open driver’s side door.  I clawed for the brake with my hand, hitting it just as I tapped the back bumper of the asshole in front of me.  He was an asshole because…well…he was in front of me.  I reach up with my other hand and pulled the parking brake back and hit the hazard lights for good measure.  I could see this was going to take slightly longer than anticipated and I wanted to follow the street laws and alert my fellow-man.  I’m a nice guy.  I let out a sigh then jumped back up and out into the street, still holding my knife.  That’s when the guy from the car I just tapped, who had gotten out to come yell at me or some shit, screamed and flew backward with his hands in the air, dropping his iced-mocha-latta-thingy (I know, right? Who gets out of their car to act tough holding an iced-mocha-latte?) and throws his wallet at me.  His wallet?  Oh, my knife.  He thought…ha…just like the guy behind me.  Funny shit.  Did I mention my folding knife was a six-inch Kabar Warthog model?  Small detail.

“Dude.  Relax.  I’m just…”

“I’m calling the cops, you crazy fuck!”

That was Shit-Pants yelling from the car behind me with his cell phone to his ear.  By this point, all the cars behind us were honking their asses off and pulling around us.  What a sight.  Me standing outside my truck holding a large knife and another man’s wallet while that guy cowers in the street whimpering.  Insane.  A picture is worth a thousand words…and this one would probably come with 1-2 years for armed robbery, so I ran back to my rear tire, getting another scream from Shit-Pants in the car behind me and probably forcing him to empty out whatever was left in his ass-sack.  I quickly searched the back tire and saw a good-sized rock jammed in the tread.  One quick flick of the knife and it was out.  I jogged back to the front of my car and nudged the other guy still cowering next to his car with my foot.  He just let out another screech and proclaimed that he “had two kids, please don’t kill him blah blah”.  Whatever.  I dropped his wallet on his head, jammed my boot underneath him, and rolled him closer to his car using calming phrases like “You are the biggest pussy I have ever met.”.  Then I scooped up his iced-mocha-latte-thingy (Fuck off, I like those things) before I jumped back into my truck, hit the hazards off and swung back into traffic and around the guy’s car.  I just hit the tail end of a yellow light and I was back on track.  Only forty minutes late now.  Take that, Tom Cruise.

It was only a few minutes later when I noticed the flashing lights in my rear view.  No, not a cop.  Ambulance.  Almost as annoying.  I really hate the whole “pull over and let them by” thing.  I mean, I get it…but they still come off as smug.   Anyway…they were waaaay back there.  Like over  a hundred yards.  I looked ahead and saw my exit coming up so why bother pulling over, I’ll be out of their precious way in minute.  I hit the exit and saw the ambulance pull right off behind me.  Shit. What are the odds?  Okay, well, the exit is one lane and I wasn’t pulling off into a ditch.  Who the fuck expects that?  And they were still a little ways behind me.  I was still, in NO FUCKING WAY, holding them up.  I made a quick right at the merge and had EVERY INTENTION of pulling off to the side…but then I realized the road I was on had three lanes.  And sure enough, as soon as the ambulance came out of the merge, they went into the far left lane.  Well shit, we got a whole empty lane between us now.  No reason to pull over.  There was like two other cars around us.  Room for everybody.  So I continued on my merry way.   A second later, the speeding ambulance comes past me in the far left lane and SLOWS DOWN. I look to my left and the driver and passenger are just staring at me.  The passenger mouths the words “asshole” and just keeps mean-mugging me.  Really?  Did I, in any way, impede your precious fucking progress?  I can’t stress that enough.

And dear readers, don’t even start in with the “Well, what if they were on their way to save your mother from a heart attack or a two-year-old gunshot victim..who has diabetes and AIDS..and blah blah thppppppt!”  Fuck off.  We all know they were probably on their way to Wegman’s ’cause some fat lady slipped on a Jujyfruit in the bulk foods aisle that made her gout flare up.

So I give those assholes the standard salute as they speed away and I come to another red light a minute later.  I’m mentally waiving the whole incident off in my head when I am suddenly under an audible barrage of horn-honking from the car behind me.  I look in the rear-view to see some little hippy bitch giving me the double bird and mouthing endless obscenities while pointing at me, then the ambulance on the far horizon.  Amazing.  This little sanctimonious yuppy must have witnessed the whole event and decided to take it upon herself to avenge the poor, helpless EMT drivers.  Oh, the plight of the poor, shit-upon, Ambulance people.  So, I attempt to ignore her and just wait for the light…but the EMT Avenger just isn’t having it and gets out of her fucking car and runs up to my side window.  Oh, bitch, you done open the gates to Rickville now.  Before she even gets a chance to knock on the glass, I have the window down and with a flick of my wrist she is wearing that iced-mocha-latte-thingy.  She screams and bats at her thick, plastic-rimmed glasses while I hear the Mission Impossible theme song start playing in my head.

“Did that get in your eyes, sweet heart?  You should call an ambulance.”

Light goes green.  I leave her standing.

Fuck a bus.

I do love me some drama.  As you may have guess from previous posts, I attract it in my life like a magnet…or maybe I’m attracted to it.  But I also love watching me some drama, particularly on the big screen.  I’m not talking of the “English Patient” variety (I guess that shit has its place)…I’m talking the true epitome of drama and high emotion: Horror. To me, a single mom battling against the odds to raise her children while she tries to keep her job at…*yawn*….yeah, never mind.  Shit doesn’t hold a  candle to a single mom fending off mutant serial killers attacking her home with nothing but a steak knife and a tight-fitting tank-top.  Get my adrenaline going, don’t try to make me cry by killing a child with cancer while the family looks on and grows together because of…*YAWN*..fuck me…ANYWAY…so if you are of like mind as myself (good choice, wise choice), how do you find the top shelf in movie-land horror?  The Oscars? No, you fucking idiot. You can’t look to the Academy for help on that one.  Not anymore, anyway.
In the early days, horror got plenty of Academy love all they way up to Psycho, Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, and even Jaws.  Then, horror was suddenly relegated to “Achievement in Special Effects” and shit like that.  Except for Silence of the Lambs and The Sixth Sense, the Academy mostly treats horror like fireworks: “OHH…isn’t that…visual.  How visual.” They generally ignore the horror genre almost as much as the comedy genre-which they routinely shit on and despise like the unwanted fifth child in a trailer-park family (YOU’LL SLEEP IN THE CLOSET AND LIKE IT!).  They’re far too busy circle-jerking to art house films or “powerful” biopics.  To them, that’s the sexy stuff.  In fact, that really is what the Academy Awards are: It’s an institution set up by Hollywood, staffed by Hollywood, to give awards to people in Hollywood…it’s a giant, televised orgy that we are only allowed to watch.   Like a couple who tape themselves having sex and wank-off to it…Hollywood just does it on the grandest of scales.  And we all know what gets them going the best:

“Ohh…it’s foreign!” (faster…harder..), “Oh…and it’s in black and white!” (I’m almost there…keep going..), “My God!  It’s a silent film…in 2012!” (MONEY SHOT!!), “THE ARTIST SWEEPS THE OSCARS!” (phew…will you get me a cigarette and a towel, baby?).

So, again, where do you go to get the goods in horror?  I mean, there’s no shortage of them in the theaters, and a few of those big productions are pretty decent.  But while the horror genre is a plentiful sea, the fucking system is set up so that only a handful ever get through the net to a theatre near you, and they are rarely hand-picked on quality…it’s more about marketability to the target demographic.   If you don’t have hot teen models running from something scary, you probably ain’t getting through that net..and it’s off to the DVD basement for you.  Others may make it through the net and hit a theatre, but get marketed like shit and disappear before you even knew they existed.
But that’s okay, because you have me. You’re welcome. Now let Uncle Rick take your hand.

Here’s a list, in chronological order, of ten horror flicks you probably have never heard of, and sure-as-fuck never saw, but damn well better see:

Last House on the Left (1972) : That’s right, 1972. NOT the fucking remake.  I did not see the remake but I can tell you it’s inferior by default because it’s lacking one of the key qualities of this original 16mm shocker….it doesn’t look like shit.  I mean, terrible film grade, grainy, seedy.  It feels like your watching a recently found snuff film.  And that’s why it’s so goddamn great.  The story is shocking and there is plenty of gore, but this movie shakes you to the core for what it doesn’t show you just as much as what it does.  Some scenes that it pans away from force you to imagine the rest in your mind…taking you to those nasty places you did NOT want to go.  Also, read up on the release history of this movie…total “fuck the man” bad-ass-ness.

The Brood (1979) : If you’re even a moderate horror fan, you’ve probably heard of this Cronenburg flick.  You might even have hazy memories of it.  Watch it.  Very dated but just beyond fucking creepy.  And the schlocky, gross-out ending is just epic.

The Funhouse (1981) : I’m sure you know The Texas Chainsaw Massacare…but very few know of this other Tobe Hooper entry into the teen-slasher genre.  Again, very dated, but very seedy and more disturbing than you would expect and a ridiculous amount of saliva for some reason.  And a fantastic, highly mean-spirited ending which always makes me smile.

Wolfcreek (2005) : This should ring a bell, it actually hit theaters for a few weeks and made a little money and got some controversy going.  But still too few have watched this Australian blood bath.  Don’t want to give too much away…but SOOO worth it for the infamous “Head on a Stick” scene. I tried to get my wife to go as that for Halloween.  No dice.

The Acolytes (2008) : Another Australian entry.  They are fucked up down under.  This is a truly brilliant look at the serial killer genre.  What do three teens do when they figure out a local loner is a serial killer?  The wrong thing. The VERY wrong thing.  Fucking idiots.  Some kick-ass, early acting work from Joel Edgerton too.  That guy is boss.

The Burrowers (2008) : A horror set in the 1800’s wild west.  Yeah.  Think “Screamers” with cowboys and indians.  Solid, brutal, and no happy endings.

Splinter (2008) : This was in theaters for like a microsecond and then off to the DVD racks it went.  Shit, now it’s on SyFy Channel.  You probably flipped past it on a saturday afternoon and thought “ehh…SyFy Channel?…fuck this.” Watch it.  Brilliant monster movie on a shoe string budget, but the special effects are still top-notch and gross.

Carriers (US version) (2009) : Another one that made a brief entry to theaters and had some marketing..but bombed terribly and was pulled.  Not sure why.  Oh, probably ’cause it was waaaaay darker than the target demo was expecting.  Extremely nihilistic and sad.  No cute, stupid romances or last second saves.  Slow but engrossing.  Vile and depressing.  Shit, isn’t that the recipe for an Oscar?

House of the Devil (2009) : A homage to very early 80’s teen splatter films..centering on that late 70’s/early 80’s satanic cult scare.  Beautifully shot and edited.  I’d fucking swear it WAS shot in the 80’s and I was on my dad’s couch sneaking in another saturday afternoon gore-fest before I went out to ride my Big-Wheel. I was waiting for a cameo from Kolchak.  A VERY slow burn…but the tension builds nicely and pays off pretty well.  Now this movie is NOT about the ending, it’s about the ride, so recognize.

REC 2 (2009) : From Spain.  They are weird people. The kick-ass first one made enough of a splash to get remade in the US under the title “Quarantine” (which was also pretty decent). Continuing immediately where the first one ended, the sequel takes the “viral zombie epidemic” model of the first movie and turns it on its fucking head.  Clever and bloody.

There, I’ve done all I can for now.  Go forth and disturb the shit out of yourself.

I think we’ve all been in many situations in our lives in which we have been seriously fucking scared to various degrees.  It’s a pretty standard life stuff.  Being home alone as a kid and hearing the back door rattle.  Getting cornered by the school bully.  Having a pit bull cross your path and stare you down.  A biker, high on meth, trying to rape a kid in your kitchen.  Scary shit.

Then you have those incidents that are just the one-of-a-kind, FUBAR, pants-shitting fests that you (hopefully) only go through once in your life.  That’s when you really find out a lot about yourself.    It just so happens mine happened in another country, during my honeymoon no less, and involved machetes. And about 300 beaded necklaces.

For our honeymoon, my wife and I went on a West Caribbean cruise back in 2008.  It cost a shitload but this is supposed to be a memory you build forever, so who can put a price tag on that?  Well, Princess Cruises sure as fuck can…and did.  Itemized. The cruise departed from Tampa, Florida and its first stop was Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

We were beyond thrilled when we woke up that morning on the ship and walked out on our balcony to see the tropical shore of Jamaica come into view.  Unfucking real.  Palms trees and exotic vegetation covered the entire mountainous landscape.  The water was more blue than the sky.  I felt like I was on some exotic movie location…and I was, basically.  We pulled up to port and could already smell the sugar cane and rum…and weed, a fuck-ton of weed.
Now we had some excursions planned later but wanted to go into the small town market and explore a little.  This is what travel-savy people refer to as “really fucking stupid”.  My wife also wanted to get her hair braided, as this is the necessary custom of all young females with long hair visiting a tropical country.  The exact reason for this behavioral phenomenon is still a mystery, though scientists and sociologist alike tend to theorize that it’s predominantly caused by “white guilt”.  As in “Sorry about that shit my ancestors probably did to your people. Rape, slavery…all that.  How about I let you braid my hair into corn-rows just like yours and then we’re like…you know…even?  Cause I look more like you?  That’s not patronizing, right?”  Apology through assimilation.  It’s also possible that women just want a convenient way to keep their long hair out of their face in a tropical environment.  Whichever. Regardless, the real crime here is that the locals charge an obscene amount of money to take tourist’s hair and tie to their scalp for them.  I’m ranting about this because this need to get her hair braided was the catalyst in what became known in our family as “The Jamaican Incident”.

As we were leaving the boat, we had been warned not get into any taxis that did not have explicit, red, government-issued plates in their back windows.  Apparently those taxis that did not have those tags were actually ruthless criminals that would kidnap, rob, rape, and hold you for ransom…probably.  And no one seemed particularly bothered by this.  The tone was “Hey, just don’t get in their taxis and they won’t rob and kill you.  No big deal”.  Okay.  No worries.  And I use that term “taxis” very loosely, as the twenty vehicles that crowed that port outside the boat were primarily rusted, late-80’s Nissans and Yugos and didn’t look like they would make it another ten feet.  You’d think if you were gonna kidnap people you would use vehicles that wouldn’t allow your kidnapee’s to just sneeze the door off and escape.  But I guess you gotta make due.

We avoided the taxis altogether though, not wanting the risk the chance of being kidnapped and raped on our honeymoon (I know, no sense of adventure) and began walking the main road to the little market town.  Now we were also told of some other standard tourist practice when going through Jamaica:  Don’t get in unmarked taxi, as I mentioned, don’t buy any weed, don’t walk off into the little side-road shops, and stay on the main road ONLY (where police patrol on foot).  We assume the downside to not following these rules probably included that whole kidnapping and rape thing (that’s really a booming industry in Jamaica).  Well, we refused all attempts to sell us weed, and we were seriously approached about five times within the first twenty feet of the main road.  I mean, these dudes didn’t even bother with the pretense of discretion.  I think one guy had a mega-phone.  But we politely declined all attempted sales. And we avoided the off-road trinket stands…for about another thirty feet.  Then some old woman came running up and practically begged us to come see her goods just off the road.  She looked pretty rough and I had a little money so…shit, I’ll buy a little statue or necklace and she can feed her kids for a month. I’m a great man.
We walked off the main road and down into to this sort of culvert…and were instantly surrounded by like five guys shoving handfuls of cheap, beaded necklaces in our face and yelling “$10!  You buy for $10!”.

“Dude, no. I just wanted to buy something from that lady.”

“That’s our motha’, mon.  You buy dese beads!  You buy four for $30!  Make you sexy, muthafucka! You want some weed?”

“What?”  I looked over at the woman who had sat down in a chair and was smirking at us with a wicked grin.  Oh, I get it.  Nice little con.  Bitch.

Luckily, an officer had followed us down the side road and started yelling something to all the guys and they backed off.

“You still buy, right mon?!  You come back?!”

“Umm…yeah,” I said, “I’ll buy some stuff on our way back to the boat in a little bit.  No problem.”  Whatever.  This one guy…big, shirtless dude in dreads that looked like he benched cattle, just glared at me.  Customer service was defiantly lacking on Jamaican roadsides.

So we quickly made it the nice, safe market village and walked around the shops.  It was right on the shore.  Really fucking beautiful.  My wife walked into a little hair studio and sat down while the woman starting braiding her hair.  She had a sign that said $10 a person.  Shit, good deal.  So I sat on the wooden porch and stared at the blue water while the lady commenced tying my wife’s lovely hair into tiny, gangster knots.  I was deep in…thought….okay, I didn’t turn down EVERY guy that wanted to sell us pot, okay?  I figured I could smoke the one joint before we got back to the boat.  Whatever.  But I was enjoying my buzz when it was soon harshly interrupted by my wife’s sudden pleads for attention.  Pshh.  Women.

“What?  We’re on a tropical island.  What’s wrong?” I whined.

“Umm….it’s $10…per inch.”  Her hair was halfway done.  She has long fucking hair. I had brought $60 with me.  It was gonna cost about $100.  The hair lady had another one of those smirks on her face.  I see.  Conned again.

“Fuck.  Where’s the ATM?” I asked her.

“No ATM in this village.”

“Uh…huh.  Okay.  Fuck.  I have to go back to the boat.”

My wife looked at me with saucer-cup eyes.  Did I mention she was two months pregnant?  Yeah, basically I had to leave my pregnant wife in a Jamaican village that seemed to survive by conning tourists and perhaps kidnapping and raping them at times, alone, while I ran to find an ATM on our boat.  I’m a great man.

My wife mouthed the words “fuck you” as I asked the hair lady if there was a quicker way back to our boat.  I could actually see it from the shore line here…not far at all.  But I would have to walk by that little con-artist culvert again and I didn’t want the harassment.  Beads clash with my style.

“You can walk through water..there,” she pointed at a portion of the coast.  “Wade through there, then climb up that hill and go through field.  You come up on main road right by port.”

Shit.  Okay.  I kept my shoes on and started wading through the ocean shore toward the far hill…and stumbled upon Dan.  That’s what this skinny little Jamaican man called himself anyway.  He had waded into the water after me.

“Where you goin, mon?”

“Um…back to the boat.  I don’t have any money.  I just gotta…ah…nothin.”  I tried wading away a little faster.

“You shouldn’t walk through dere, mon.”

*Sigh* “Why?”

“Bad people.”

*Double sigh* My pregnant wife was sitting alone in a Jamaican village-eh, you get the point.  It was desperation time.

“Dan, if I give you $20 now and promise to give you another $20 when I get off the boat, will you get me to the boat and then back to my wife without any of the other guys fucking with me?”  I pulled out a $20.

“No prob!  I sell you dese beads!” He pulled out a handful.

“I don’t want any beads, Dan.  Just get me to the boat and back.”

“No prob.  You follow me.”

Apparently, the ENTIRE Jamaican economy relies on these fucking things.

I know you experienced travelers are already shaking your snobby heads at me.  Fuck off.  But it worked.  At first.  We came up the hill and climbed it and jogged through a small field where he fended off a few approaching guys.  Dan was a small guy…but I guess he had some sway.  He just said a few words and they walked off, beads in hand.  Then we came up on the main road right next to the port and our boat.

“Dan.  I love you.”

“You want some weed?”

“No, Dan.  That would be a bad idea.  Now just hold tight right here for me, okay?”

He did, and I ran up the port, boarded the boat and ran to the dining hall where the nearest ATM was.  Okay.  I gave Dan $20. I have to give him another $20 and I only have….fuck it.  I pulled out $200-AND STOP SHAKING YOUR HEADS AT THE COMPUTER SCREEN!  WHAT DO YOU KNOW!?  I WAS PROBABLY STILL HIGH!

Once back on the main road, Dan was there waiting for me so I slipped him another $20 and we quickly skirted back into the field.
And then shit just got super fucking real.

We weren’t five steps in when that huge dude from earlier came out of fucking NOWHERE with an arm full of beads (again with the fucking beads) and a machete hanging from his belt and his oversized pectorals glaring at me.

“Hey!  You said you buy now?  You buy, mon.”  He walked right up to me…like RIGHT up to me.  “You buy these.”  He shoved a handful of necklaces at me.  He wasn’t asking, he was telling me.

“Um..Dan? Time to earn that money.”

Dan was frozen.  It seemed his earlier clout on other potential pests didn’t hold on this guy. That was great.

“How much?”

“How much you got?”

Fuck.  Fuck.  “I’ll give you $30 for those ones, okay?” I pulled out two $20’s. “You got change?”
Oh wait, I get stupider.

He smiles and says he doesn’t have any change.  I tried to just offer him the $40…but he saw that cash in my wallet.

“You come wit me and I get change. You come.”

I look at Dan.  Dan is looking at his feet.  That was $40 well spent. I look at the big guy…and at his machete.  We are in the middle of some nondescript field in a poor, crime-ridden, foreign country. I think I would have been better off getting into one of those unmarked taxis.

I follow the guy down a small path that opens to a clearing with little shack,  a row of black SUV’s and whole bunch of teens sitting around a fire, chopping logs with machetes (does everyone in fucking Jamaica have a machete?)…while live chickens run through their feet.  I can actually see the far shore from here, just past the shack…and can see the market village where my wife is still (hopefully) waiting for me.  It’s right there.  The big guy jogs over to some seriously sketchy dudes standing by the SUV’s and mumbles something to them.

“Hey, kid! (I’m a kid now) Come ova here, we get you change!”

“Don’t go ova dere, mon.”

Dan had waddled up behind me.  “No shit, Dan.”  It was pretty obvious they weren’t giving me any change.  I walk over there, I’m gonna be introduced to the before-mentioned #1 industry in Jamaica.  I wondered which one would actually rape me.  Okay, I’m not going that way…that left me with trying to cruise past the teens with the machetes, who were now cat-calling me and asking me for money.

Basically, in Jamaica, you’re born with one of these things in your hand. Must be hell in childbirth.

“Come ova here, kid.  We got change!”  the big guy called again and started walking back to me holding the beads up high. His other hand was pawing for his machete.

Shitshitshitshitshit…Okay, here we go.  “You know what?  No beads for me, man.  I’m cool!”  I start jogging past the teens who are now standing up.  Fuck, I’m gonna get hacked to pieces by a bunch of thirteen-year-olds.  That would not read well in my obituary.   I try to make a quick dodge and I walk directly into some other shirtless guy with dreads down to his waist.  The fuck did he come from?  I swear Jamaicans can teleport.  Dude smelled like death and rum.  In that order.

“You give me money.”  He didn’t even bother with the beads shit, which I actually found refreshing.

“What?”

“Give me money-”

I pull out a $20 and shove it in his hand and run by him.  The kids start yelling “Hey YO!  Give us money too, muthafucka!”  I’m not looking back, I break into a full sprint with my eyes on the water.  I can just picture the whole gang of those fuckers behind me, swinging their machetes and handful of beads, arguing over who gets to rape me first (okay, I was little stuck on that possible scenario.  But it’s terrifying, okay?)  I sprint into two feet of ocean water and nearly fall over but manage to keep upright and keep running as fast as I can.  I can see the market shore.  My legs are pumping like pistons.  I can just picture a machete sailing through the air and impaling me in the spine.   I see my wife sitting on the porch of the hair salon.  She sees me and glares.  I keep running as I make it to the shore and run up to the porch, waving my hands.  I’m out of breath.  Can’t talk.

“Where the fuck have you been?  And why were you running like that?” she asks.

I look behind me.  No one.  The shore is quiet and calm.

“I was…I….shit…” I pull my wallet back out.  Exactly $100 left.  I hand it to my wife and she goes to pay the hair lady.  I slump down on the porch.  My wife comes back out.

“She said there is a free shuttle coming here in a few minutes that will take us right to the dolphin show.”

“Cool.”

“Are you alright?”

“Yep.”

“Okay, let’s get going.  Do you have money for the show?”

I reached down and touched my wallet. “No.  I have to go back to the ATM.”

Jamaica.  Fuck yeah.