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Author: Sheryl Osmeña
Age: 24
Posted: April 17, 2000

The Phantom of the Night

Hi!, My name is Sheryl, Im from the Philippines. And what I`d like to share you is a chilling non-fictaciuos tale that had happened to me two years ago. And here I begin my tale; Not long time ago, we rushed my mom to a hospital for her ever-increasing high-blood pressure. Since there are four of us, siblings, we decided to take turns upon spending the night in the hospital to take care of mom. And it so happens that I was the one to sleep over her last stay in the hospital. It was approaching twelve midnight , and the room was only illuminated by the television that reflected my mom`s bed. So as you can see that our surrounding was dark, except for the t.v.
We were watching HBO when, My mom announced to me that she was hungry, and that she wants an apple. I stood up, stretching and at the same time yawning a bit. Then, I headed forth towards the table beside the closet between the bathroom door and the room`s door. Hastily, I dragged my feet, a bit sleepy and all. Then, at my left eye, I saw a bit of a fog, I shrugged saying to myself that maybe its because of the cold. So I continue going towards that table where the apple was. Then, the fog seemed to grow thicker. A bit alarmed, I gazed to my mom, but appeared to look straight at me. But when I returned my gaze to my front, I froze!
Standing in front of me was a smoke-like form of a very thin,very tall man!
To my horror, I just stood there, my feet seemed glued to the floor, my heart seem to stop its beating, my breath seemed be stuck in my throat. I felt like I was trapped in a nightmare that I can`t escape! Screaming and running towards my mom didn`t even register in my mind. I just stood still, but, that wasn`t enough for I looked up to see his face. To my terror, I saw that he didn`t have a face! Just a skull-like form and two eye sockets with dark depths, staring right through me! The figure stood there for what seemed like the longest seconds in my life! Then it faded slowly, until it vanished. Right then, I came to my senses, I scrambled to my feet and ran towards my mom. Breathing uneasily due to horror and disbelief. "Mom!" I gasped
But before I could tell her what had just happened, she looked at me and asked:
" You saw him too?"

Author: Rick
Age: 52
Posted: April 05, 2000

Feelings from the soul

It is to the inner self that one must look to see what it is that they have accomplished within their life. But, to look into your inner self, you must be completely and totally prepared to see yourself. Many people are afraid to look at themselves with an open and honest view. It is the realism that truth does sometimes hurt. But it is only you who know the true truth of the life you have led. You are the only one to be able to look and see exactly what it has been and know that you are the only one to ever know for sure what your life has been. Can you do that? Can you look into your self and see what is waiting there for you to see? Again, you are the only one to be able to answer that question. And, you will be the only one to know if you were really honest with yourself about wanting to see what your life has really been.

I would like to think that I am one of the people who can look inside and see what is waiting for me to find. I know what my life has been. But is it real? Or have some of the parts of my life been changed for my own inner reasons that even I do not understand. When I turned 50 years old, I looked back and talked about what my life had been. I tried to be very candid and honest. But, I know that I did not talk about many things that have happened in my life.

My childhood was one moment of time that caused great confusion, pain, enjoyment, embarrassment, sadness and ultra happy times. Why was it the way it was. Was my childhood because of my making? Did I do something wrong? Did I do anything right? Was that the way it was supposed to be? How come no one else ever seemed to have the same interests I had? How come I never really enjoyed playing with other children my age? How come other children never wanted me to play with them? I remember when I was going to PS 159 first grade to sixth grade. During the warm months, sometime during the day the classes would go out into the play ground and have recess. All the boys would get together to choose up sides for a punch ball game. The two team captains would pick the kids for their teams and I was always left standing by the fence. I was small and totally uncoordinated. Could not catch a ball and for sure could not punch it. It got to a point that I would not even stand with all the boys to wait to be not picked! I would slink off to the back of the play yard and find a world that I would fit into. Insects! I would sit and watch the ants for the time we were allowed to be outside playing. But after a while, the teachers would notice that I was not playing with the other boys. I often wondered what the teachers would say to my mother when she went to open school night to find out what I was doing and how I was doing it.

I remember that after a while, I was forced by the teachers not to got to the back of the play ground. I was forced onto one of the teams who you could see were not happy about having to have this looser on their team. So, I was always told that I had to play far out left field. Almost never was there a ball hit to this point. If it were, everyone including myself knew that it was not going to be caught. I also recall a incident that took place when I was up to punch the ball. I could never hit the ball. If I did it would just dribble out into the field. I would be thrown out before I got even half way to first base. Then it happened. Everything was right for this one split moment. My little fist slammed into the ball and it took off like a rocket. Of course the other team had moved in to the inner field because that was where the ball was going to go. So, as a result it sailed over their heads and for the first time in my life I was going to get on base. I was running to first base when I heard the words that took all the wind out of my sails. The words that took my tiny moment of glory and dashed it into the ground so as to make sure that I could not enjoy my minuscule fraction of time. It was the voice of Anthony Polidory, “I called time!” I know that I certainly did not hear it called and no one else seemed to have heard it. But never the less everyone said that I had to do it over. Before I ever got to put my foot on first base, I found myself back at home plate wishing that I could do what I had just done again. “Flub!!” and the ball dribbled out into the inner field as it always did and the elusive first base was lost to me forever. I found myself once again walking over to the fence during the time of the picking of the teams, I could sneak back to the old handball courts where I could hide behind the wall, out of sight and watch the ants come and go from the ant colony with it entrance in the cracked concert. I was lost to the world and it did not seem to make a never mind whether I was part of what was going on or not.

I used to loose myself in my own world so as to not have to deal with the rejection I felt from all the other boys my own age. I found solitude in the friends that I made in the insect world. Many times I felt that I was supposed to be as insect. I thought that I would be a lot happier if I were. But now that I am a lot older then I was when this was eating at my soul, I can look back and see all that has come after this time and see that this was required for the life that I was going to have to lead. Being alone was one of the most important things I had going for myself. I found that I did not need to have others around to make me feel comfortable. I could entertain myself and from what I can now see, this ability has been the saving grace for my sanity.

As I grew, it seemed that all the other boys my age got bigger and bigger. Me? Well I seemed to stay the same size I was. I was a short, skinny very weak pip squeak that had what seemed to be absolutely nothing going. High school brought yet another misery. Gym included one day a week for swimming. Sounded great till I found that it was in the nude. I found myself standing on the side of the pool with nothing to cover my skinny pip squeak body. While all the others seemed to me to be very mature. Hair in the right places while I had one! I felt so bad I found that I could not even swim with any confidence. And of course the swim coach was in charge of the day you had in the pool. So, part of the curriculum was to race. I once again found that I was sent to sit on the side of the pool and watch the others who again seemed to have it all together. Doomed to nothingness. I saw my future coming and I could not fathom what I would do or where I would fit in. A job? Well that was out of the question. What could I possible do. A wife? (Think about that now and I must laugh!) I was afraid to ever say hello to a girl. Who would want to be seen with this skinny nobody. But I had a plan. I would go into the Navy and there they would give me a job and a place to sleep and food to eat and I would not have to worry about anything. Besides, cousin Jimmy was in the Navy. He got to go all over the world on a great ship. But first I must endure the agony of high school. If I could have, I would have quit. But my father, always seeming to be four times my size and an ex-Marine from WW II, repeated to me again and again, “I don’t care if you are forty! You are not going to leave this house till you graduate high school.” Thanks Dad!

Fourteen brought into my life the beginning of the metamorphosis that would change my life and make me into the demon that I was going to be. This beginning was brought on by my Dad buying my Dan Laurie 110 pound weight set. I poured my soul into working with these weights. I started light and grew into some rather substantial weights. My little skinny body started to take on a form that I found I was proud to show. Hair was now in the right place and it seemed that the others who used to pick on me, now seeing this change taking place, left me alone. By the time I got to the point that I was going to graduate high school, I was very strong and full of piss and vinegar. When it was determined that I was going to finally graduate, my father took me down to the Flushing Naval Recruiters Station on Main Street and Northern Blvd. I was signed into the Navy by my own hand 120 days before I graduated from High School. My life was now on track. Just was not aware of which track it was going to be traveling on.

August 2nd 1966 a date to always remember. For this is the date that I took on the total responsibility of my own life. This was the day that I left home to travel to Great Lakes Illinois to begin my boot training in the U.S. Navy. Needless to say, I was filled with mixed emotions. It was what I always wanted to do. It was what I have been dreaming about for the last ten years. But, here it was! Reality! I was going to go into the Navy and I was going to travel around the world like cousin Jimmy had. However, first I had to get through boot camp. So many stories are heard about the seemingly horrible things that are done to young men during boot camp. Words created by the experienced to raise the fear and mystic of the military world. It was also the first time that I was really going to be away from my family. I mean really away. I was going off on my own and now my actions were going to have to be mine to answer to. There was no longer a protective shell called Mom and Dad to protect me from me. I was going to have to stand for my own actions. So I was filled with fear of the unknown as was everyone else.

Came to find that boot camp was not the horror as presented by the stories of the elders. It was hard, but if you fell in line and did as you were told, when you were told to do it, there was no problem. hmm, sounds like being back home. But here, it was not being sent to your room if you did something that was not right. No, this was something else and at the least could cause you and the people around you to have to spend a couple of hours doing calisthenics to work off your error. But, you could also find yourself going to the brig if your offense was major. I kept my nose clean.
Boot camp came to an end and I was now a real sailor ready to be assigned to a ship and begin my sailing around the world. But no! Seems that when I took the tests to join the Navy when I was still living home and going to school, I scored very high and was promised schools. I was not really happy about that, but I remember Dad was with me and he was really excited about it. I was hoping that the Navy would forget that it had said that. I hated school and I did not want in any way, shape or form to back to school. But, here I was, finished with boot camp and now going to go to NTC Great Lakes to attend Electricity/Electronics school. The only saving grace was the fact that I enjoyed Electricity and this school that I was attending did nothing but talk about Electricity for the 10 hours a day, six days a week. So, I did good. Graduated from BE & E Class A school as it was refereed to and found myself heading for Bainbridge Maryland to go to Communications school. I too applied myself to this subject and found myself graduating.

Now, towards the end of Communications school, they took us to an auditorium and told us all about the different kinds of duty stations we could request. We were given a “Dream Sheet” on which you could list the three choices of your desires. I chose 1. Seal training. 2. Swift boat duty in Vietnam. And, 3. Sea going tug duty. Two weeks before graduation from Communications school, the duty lists were posted. I looked to see where I would be going to only to find that not one of my wish assignments had been given. I was going to Comseventhflt Det “A” Formosa. No one seemed to know anything about what this duty station was. It seemed that know one I spoke to in the officer ranks of the school had ever even heard of such a place. Never the less, this is where I was going and I had orders to report to McCord airforce base in Seattle, Washington to catch a MATs flight to Formosa. But first I had a thirty day leave.

The time I had home on leave seemed to me to be taking forever to pass. Imagine wishing for vacation time to pass quickly. Well I was very excited about going to Formosa which I now knew was Taiwan. I was going to Taipei, Taiwan, the Orient, Nationalist China. Little did I know that this was going to be the beginning of a portion of my life that was going to go on and on for years and years, haunting me. It would seem that the torment of my young life was to be the hardener to this resin that was going to create the epoxy my life was about to become.

Comseventhflt Det “A” was nothing at all what I thought it was going to be. It was actually a separation from the U.S. Navy! This was a very secret group that had reaction teams that would react to situations that directly effected the goings on of the USA. Seems that somehow I had been selected to become one of the field agents part of a reaction team. I found myself back in training much like bootcamp, but incredibly more intense. We ( a group of 25 who had been selected ) were marched to an auditorium where we were told that this was not something for everyone. The actions of the teams could, and very often did, become quite violent. If you felt that this was not the type of thing you would like to become involved with, now is the time to say so and arrangements would be made for you to be reassigned. Well at the time I was just about as crazy as they come. This sounded like it was just the thing that I wanted to be involved with. I stayed.

What would transpire over the next 18 months that I was involved with this assignment was the foundation blocks to what was yet to come later in my life. I found myself traveling all over the orient. To many exotic places doing things that stimulated the adventurer within my very soul. I felt like a real life James Bond. I was not a 007 as in the movies, but I was a 357. I also had a field name that I operated under. I was Jim Tangent. What it was that I was doing is not something that I would like to talk about at this time. But it was definitely off the wall stuff. The peak was a sterile operation into Cambodia to retrieve a rather sensitive individual who was take from the US embassy during the Tet offensive in Saigon, Vietnam 1967. It was this operation that lit the fuse to my subconscious demons and brought them to the surface. When I left Comseventhflt Det “A”, I took these demons back to Vietnam and got really stupid. I found myself working for a rather nasty group of people referred to as SOG. Special Operations Group. I was an assassin. 1968 to 1969 are black years that did nothing but to fuel the demon I had become. I left the Navy in 1970 and thought that the demons were left behind. Boy was I ever wrong.

1970 to 1994. A period of 25 years, a life time, found me trying to mentally build a wall that would contain the demons that always tried to come to the surface. What I thought I had left in Vietnam, was not left at all. It was all still within me and my innerself tormented myself with flashbacks, nightmares and an attitude that just did not seem to have a place in New York. I was like a bomb looking for a place to go off. Again and again I tried to make what seemed to be maladjustment fit into my life. But again and again, each time I tried to start over, it was only a continuation of what was before. A lot of people got hurt and I regret this very much. But I was desperately trying to put some sort of normality back into me life. Just was not to be.

My professional life was quite good. Though I never made big money, I always had jobs that I enjoyed doing. I found that when I was at work, I could detach myself from the inner me that continually tormented my very being. For nine years I worked for a company called Bayside Timers. Creating electrical circuitry that controlled animation of lights. This was wonderful. I could loose myself in the creating of rather complex electrical circuits and got to travel around the country. This went on from 1970 to 1979. Circumstances beyond my control caused me to have to move on. The next year and a half I worked at several jobs. Though I enjoyed the positions, they did not offer the challenge that Bayside Timers did. Then in 1981, it would seem that my calling was to be realized. I got a position to teach Electricity at Berk Trade School. My professional life soared. I always liked working with electricity and now I found myself teaching it to others. The hours were long, fifty hours a week. The pay was not great when I started, but over the next fourteen years it grew in proportion to my time with the school. However, this was to be lost because of governmental cut backs in student aid and funding. Hours were cut and pay dropped. I knew that it was just a matter of time before I would have to find another job. As much as I loved teaching, there was no other positions to be found. I had to do something to help myself. I went to a professional resume writer to have my resume rewritten. The cost was $150 dollars. She told me that for an additional $75 dollars she would put my resume onto the job net. I inquired what that was and she explained that it was a computer net that companies would enter their requirements for positions they needed to fill and the computer would match resumes to entered requirements. I paid the $75 dollars. During the year to follow, as much as it broke my heart, I had to give up teaching because of money problems. I found my self working for electrical contractors as project managers. A good job, but unstable because of the lack of work to be found. It was a constant fear that at any time I could be laid off for lack of work. Then in late March of 1995, the beginning of a new life, though I did not know it at the time, began to unfold. I came home from work one day to find a message on my answering machine asking me if I would be interested in teaching Electricity in Saudi Arabia. Where in the world did this come from? I called the number that was left and a man by the name of Donald Branner from Sases corporation told me that my resume had been picked up from the job net. He told me all about the position that was being offered and wanted to know if I were interested. Saudi Arabia? Talk about a totally new direction. The position offered all kinds of benefits, really good money and a clincher, it was tax free. I told him that I was interested and a interview was set up in Houston Texas. I received a round trip ticket and flew to Houston to do an interview at the Hilton Hobby Hotel. When I arrived I was given a clip board with 45 questions with yes or no answers. Have you ever worked with. . .As I went down the list I realized that my thoughts of teaching again were in vain. I was answering no to all but two questions. They were all about equipment you would find on an oil field. I knew nothing of such things. It was now time for me to go into the interview. I entered the room and before I sat, told the interviewer that I did not think that I was the caliber electrician he was looking for. I had no idea what the equipment on the questionnaire was. But, he had my resume in from of him. I saw that it was highlighting my teaching background. “I am not looking for an electrician to work in an oil field. I am looking for someone who can teach Electricity. I see here that you have been teaching Electricity for fourteen years. Is this true?” I said that it was and I was invited to sit and for the next hour and a half talked about everything except the position being offered. I left the interview without a clue. I did not know if I had the position of not. But, three days later, I once again came home and found a message on the machine telling me that I had been given the position and that I now had to begin processing the paper work required for me to go to Saudi Arabia. Passport, visa, medical report that left no hole untouched, a police report, credential certification by the US State Department. A month and a half to get it all together. I received a one-way ticket to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia and on June 15th 1995 I left New York. Twenty two hours later I was in Dhahran.
Everything was exactly as it was put to me by Donald Branner. But more important to me, I was back in a classroom teaching Electricity. I was in heaven. The only thing that was still as a boil on my side was the relationship I had left in New York. Phone calls in the middle of the night crying about not enough money, bitching and moaning about everything and everyone. I was besides myself. I could do nothing. It got worse till I realized that it was of not use to try and continue. But she beat me to the punch. She told me that she wanted a divorce. Number four coming up. I was a bit depressed knowing that I had failed again, but I was half way around the world and decided that this was the best place to be to try and start all over again. And then it happened! Not the light at the end of the tunnel, it was the end of the tunnel!

August 15th, 1995. In front of the Alghamdi camera shop at the Jeddah International Market, at 7:00 PM, I saw her. A very beautiful oriental girl standing with an arm full of packages. I do not know what came over me, but I walked over to her and asked if I could help her carry her packages. When I asked her where she was going, she told me that she was going to get a taxi to go home. I explained that I had a car and offered her a ride home. She accepted. When we got to the car, she got into the back seat. I followed the directions she gave me and stopped in front of the building in which she lived. As she got out of the car she turned and asked me if I had a phone. I said yes and gave her the number. I left and drove back to where I lived. Shara, she had told me her name was Shara. I could not get her out of my mind. But I had no way of finding her again. Three days later, the phone rang. “Do you remember me?” my heart jumped and I felt that something was in the making. We arranged for her to come to my home and I would cook dinner for her. Over the next four months we both realized that our relationship was a lot bigger then both of us. It was becoming very serious. But there was something that made me know that I had not come to Saudi Arabia just to teach. I was sent here by forces way beyond anyone. It had to be God. This was where he was going to allow me to restart my life. We were sleeping and my inner demons began to raise and bring to me yet another nightmare that had haunted me for the past twenty five years. I began to moan and toss around in the bed. Shara, not knowing anything at all about what was going on within my mind, only saw it as the man she was falling in love with was having a bad dream. She took me into her arms and whispered into my ear, “It is all right.” I was still asleep when she did this. But her soft oriental voice with the broken English boomed into my brain and entered my nightmare. I heard her from behind the mental wall I had built within my mind. It was the first time in twenty five years anyone had talked to me behind that wall. Just like that, the wall was gone and with it, all the demons that had been contained behind it. I was alive again.

Our relationship grew and our love for each other showed itself not to be plastic. It was the real thing. We got married at the Philippine embassy in Jeddah and then in 1997 went to the Philippines together so I could meet her family and get married with all the documents required. My divorce papers were signed and our marriage was sealed. During the process of collecting all the information for us to get married, we had to dig up her birth certificate. We found that her given birth name was Priny. So now, Priny Mosquito is now Mrs. Priny M. Boutcher.

My life has been stopped and allowed to start over as if it were new. We have built a beautiful house in Asingan, Pangasinan and when we finish here in Saudi Arabia, we will go home and live happily ever after.

Author: Roger Dean Kiser, Sr.
Age: 54
Roger Dean Kiser, Sr.'s Homepage
Posted: December 19, 1999

The Zoo

I could hardly sleep all night long knowing that the people at the Jacksonville Zoo had invited all of us orphans, from the Children's Home Society Orphanage, to visit their zoo for free on Saturday, which was the very next day. "That's tomorrow", I yelled out, when I heard the good news.
I was seven years old and I had never been to the zoo before but I knew what it was and I knew that they had all kinds of animals from all over the world. I sat up real late in the bathroom, hiding and tracing pictures of all the animals out of a book, that I was going to see the next day.
The next morning we ate our breakfast and then stood in line on the screen in porch waiting to be loaded into the cars that had come to take us to the zoo. It was a long long ride but that was ok with us because we did not get to go outside of the large orphanage fences, except to go to school and church, and you did not get to go to church if you had been bad.
Of course, the matrons kept telling us to sit down and to be quiet, that there was nothing to get excited about, "It is just a bunch of damn animals in a cage", they kept telling us. I don't think most of the boys cared anything about the animals. They were just glad to be outside of the fences and to get to see some of the other kids who lived outside the fences.
I was so excited when we finally pulled up and parked in the great big zoo parking lot. You could smell all kinds of good stuff being cooked, like pop corn. One of the littler boys reached down and picked up half a candy apple and started eating it. "That's dirty", I told him as I took it away from him. "I want it, I want it", he kept saying. I took it over to the water fountain and washed it off. We had never had candy apples before and we probably never would so I took one bit and gave the rest to him.
As we entered the zoo we were told to stay in one large group and to follow along closely as the matron took us down the long paths, from cage to cage, to see all the animals. I was amazed at all the different kinds of animals that they had, and wondered how they could live here without dying if they were really from somewhere else on the earth.
Several of the other boys had run ahead and were all laughing at some of the bigger monkeys in this one cage. When I got up to the cage I could see that this one male monkey was doing something that was not very nice in front of ladies. This one man told his wife "I guess we came at the wrong time of the month", and then he laughed and they walked away from the monkey cage. I didn't know what he was talking about and just forget about it.
The matron gathered us all together then herded us over to this one concession stand where they made us a hamburger and a drink, which I thought tasted real good. But some of the boys said it tasted like they made it from dead zoo animals, so I didn't eat no more, at least when they were looking at me.
When we got up to the elephant cage the big elephant was using the bathroom and it splattered everywhere getting on this one man's shoes. All the boys were laughing and running around like crazy. The matron started hitting Bill Smith on top of his head with her cotton candy and it was stuck all in his hair. Now everyone was really laughing, even the people who were not from the orphanage.
This one matron was standing back from the rest of the group and kept scratching herself on her back-side. She kept doing that over and over for a long time. Finally several of the boys starting talking about why she was doing that. She over heard them talking and told all of us to come over to her. She told us to mind our own business and keep our eyes straight ahead or that she would take us back to the home.
As we continued around the zoo we finally made it back to the big monkey cage. When we got there the matron started scratching herself, again. When she did the monkey started playing with his "bad thing" again, and all the boys started laughing uncontrollably. Then matron started yelling at all of us to be quite. I felt sorry for her so I started acting like I was itching so she would feel better. The boy next to me asked me what the big monkey was doing. I didn't know what to say except what the man had said earlier. Before I could answer the boy she grabbed me by the hair of the head and jerked me over to her. "What the hell is wrong with you, are you mocking me"?, she said. I was so scared that I did not know what to say, so I said "I guess you came to the zoo at the wrong time of the month."
Well, if you don't think that that candy apple, that matron had in her hand, cannot splinter into fifty million pieces and knock a big eared orphan kid real stupid, you are badly mistaken.

Roger Dean Kiser, Sr

Author: Roger Dean Kiser, Sr.
Age: 54
Roger Dean Kiser, Sr.'s Homepage
Posted: December 19, 1999

Elvis Died at the Florida Barber College

At ten years old I could not figure out what it was that this Elvis Presley guy had that the rest of us boys did not have. I mean he had a head, two arms and two legs, just like the rest of us. Whatever it was he had hidden away must have been pretty darn good because he had every young girl at the orphanage wrapped around his little finger.

About nine o'clock on Saturday morning I decided to ask Eugene Correthers, one of the older boys, what it was that made this Elvis guy so special. He told me that it was Elvis's wavey hair and the way he moved his body.

About a half an hour later all the boys in the orphanage were called to the main dining-room and told that we were all going to downtown Jacksonville, Florida to get a new pair of Buster Brown shoes and a hair cut. That is when I got this big idea, which hit me like a ton of bricks. If the Elvis hair cut was the big secret, then that's what I was going to get.

All the way to town that was all I talked about. The Elvis hair cut that I was going to get. I told everybody, including the matron from the orphanage who was taking us to town, that I was going to look just like Elvis Presley and that I would learn to move around just like he did and that I would be rich and famous one day, just like him.

We got our new Buster Brown shoes and I was very proud as I walked around the store. They shined really, really good and I liked looking at the bones in my feet through that special x-ray machine that they had in the shoe store that made your bones look green.

I could hardly wait for my new hair cut and now that I had my new Buster Brown shoes I would be very happy to go back to the orphanage and practice being like Elvis.

We finally arrived at the big barber shop, where they cut our hair for free cause we were orphans. I ran up to one of the barber chairs and climbed up onto the board that he put across the arms to make me sit up higher. I looked at the man and said "I want a Elvis hair cut. Can you make my hair like Elvis?" I asked him, with a great big smile on my face. "Let's just see what we can do for you, little man," he said.

I was so happy when he started to cut my hair. Just as he started to cut my hair the matron motioned for him to come over to where she was standing. She whispered something into his ear and then he shook his head, like he was telling her,"No". She walked over to another man sitting in the office chair and spoke to him. Then the little man walked over and said something to the man who was cutting my hair. The next thing I knew the man, who was cutting my hair, told me that they were not allowed to give us Elvis hair cuts. I saw him put this comb thing onto the end of the clippers and then I saw all my hair falling onto the floor.

When he finished shaving off all my hair and made me smell real good with this powder, he handed me a nickel and told me to go outside to the cracker machine and buy myself a candy bar, I handed him the nickel back and told him that I was not hungry. " I'm so sorry, baby" he said, as I climbed out of his barber chair. "I am not a baby", I said, as I wiped the tears from my eyes. I sat down on the floor and brushed the hair off my new Buster Brown shoes so they would stay shinny and new.

I got up off the floor and brushed off my short pants and walked towards the door. The matron was smiling at me sort of funny like. The man who had cut my hair walked over to her and said to her "You are a damn bitch, lady." She yelled at him and walked toward the office. The man hit the wall with his hand and then walked outside where he stood against the brick wall, smoking a cigarette. I walked outside and stood beside of him. He smiled at me then patted me on the top of my bald head. I looked up at him and said "Do you know if Elvis has green bones?"

Roger Dean Kiser, Sr.

Author: Roger Dean Kiser, Sr.
Age: 54
Roger Dean Kiser, Sr.'s Homepage
Posted: December 19, 1999

Hungry for Diamonds

I had run away from the orphanage, once again, at the age of twelve. This time because the matron had told one of the smaller boys that she was going to "cut his wee wee off", with the scissors, if he wet the bed one more time.
Well, the next morning I got up went in to use the bathroom and found Ronnie sitting in the corner of the shower, sobbing his eyes out, and I could not get him to stop. I walked to his bed room and found that his sheets had been pulled off his bed and that they were burnt. I ran back to the bath room and asked him how his sheet got burnt like that. He told me that he had wet the bed and that he had went into one of the older boy's locker and had taken some matches that they used for smoking cigarette butts that they stole out of the ladies cars, who worked over at the office. That he had tried to dry the sheets with the matches but the one sheet caught on fire and he had to stick it into the toilet to get the fire to go out.
I knew that this four year old kid was as good as dead when they found out what he had done. I told him to go to his room and get his clothes and shoes on and that we were going to go away and that I would make sure that he would never be beaten or have his wee wee cut off for wetting the bed. Within fifteen minutes we had scaled down the oak tree, outside my bedroom window, and were headed down the road to who knows where. We got several rides from differnt people and we finally made it to St. Augustine, Florida, where I managed to steal some apples from a store so we could eat. I made sure that he did not see me steal the apples because I did not want him to grow up and become "a no good thief" like me, which is what the orphanage always called me after I was caught fishing in a man's gold fish pond and for eating his pears off his fruit trees.
We walked around for several hours wondering where to go. This man came walking up to us and asked us if we wanted a job selling magazines. I told him I would sell his magazines if my friend could stay with me, and he said that was ok. He took us to this real big street with lots of nice homes and told us to go from door to door and let them fill out the papers. That they would give us some money and that we were to bring the money back to him at his car.
Most of the people got real mad at me for coming up to their house and for knocking on their door. I did not like them yelling at me like that. So I told the man that I did not want to sell his magazines any more. He put us in his car and took us for a hamburger and said that he would take us to a new place where the people would not be so mean to us.
After he dropped us off in the new place, I decided to try something new. So I took a piece of paper and wrote a note telling the people that I was deaf and dumb. Then I would walk up to their house and I would knock. When they came to the door I would hand them the note that I had written, and talk while biting my tongue, sounding like I was nuts or something. That made me sound like I was real stupid and then I would hand them the paper for the magazines. I never did get yelled at, doing it that way.
Within several hours I had collected almost eighty dollars and the man started hugging me when we got back to his car. He asked me if we wanted to go to Miami with him. That we could make lots of money in Miami and that we could stay in a big hotel. So off we went. Just the three of us. We arrived in Miami late that night and he got the three of us a room at the Hawaiian Isles Motel. I will never forget the name of that fancy place. It even had a swimming pool and it was where all the rich people stayed, he told us. But I did not see any fancy people staying there. Just plain people like us.
We made Mike lots of money everyday but he would never give us any of it. All we ever got to eat was one hamburger at night time, when we turned in our money. I did take some of the money to buy us a coke and I did buy us a ice cream one time, from a man on a bicycle with a freezer on the front.
Everyday we would really get hungry and could hardly wait to get back to the motel to get our hamburger. This one day we had made lots of money so I took my friend Ronnie into a drug store and we bought a sandwich and a bunch of candy bars. Boy was the man mad when he found out what we had done. He pushed me down on the ground and then he slapped little Ronnie across the face, as hard as he could. Late that night
I woke Ronnie up and we snuck out of the room and ran away again. We lived on the beach for two days without anything to eat. Finally I went to a restaurant and asked a man for some money so I could call the orphanage and tell them where we were. He gave me a dollar and I walked into the back room to use the phone. I called the operator and asked her for the number of the orphanage in Jacksonville, but she did not know what I was talking about and told me to hold on. While I was waiting on her I saw a big freezer right next to me. I reached over and opened one of the big white doors. Inside were hundreds of hamburger patties, with paper between each one. I hung up the phone and grabbed about ten of the hamburgers and put them down the front of my pants, which did not feel real good after about a minute. I walked out of the restaurant real real fast and stiff legged and we headed back down to the beach.
When we arrived back down on the beach we started gathering fire wood so we could make a fire and cook the hamburgers. We were really hungry and our stomachs were hurting real bad. After we got a light for the fire we tried to hold the hamburgers over the heat but it was just to hot and we could not hold onto them. I decided to walk up to the back of the motel to see if I could find anything to cook on, like a piece of metal, but there was nothing there to use. I looked around and found a piece of glass and decided to cut the window screen out of the motel window and use it as a cook thing to lay over the fire and put the hamburgers on it.
Well, the screen melted and the hamburgers fell into the fire. We grabbed as much of the uncooked meat as we could and we ate what we could save, even though it had sand all over it. But most of it was not cooked so we just covered it up and decided to make that phone call to the orphanage. Ronnie and I walked down the beach and we discussed going way out into the water and maybe we would drown or be pulled way out into the ocean where a big ship might pick us up and take us way across to the other side of the world. But I was to afraid to do that so we just kept walking.
We made or way up to this great big hotel with lots of lights. We walked around to the front of the building where all these people were yelling and screaming at one another. Then everything got real still and quiet. We just stood there with lots of other people who were watching as this really pretty lady with diamonds all over her, and a big fur like coat, came walking out of the hotel and got into this great big fancy car. Then everyone started talking and yelling again. I saw these men with cameras taking pictures of the car. I told Ronnie that this was a movie about that big fancy car and that it would probably be on television one day.
I had never seen real diamonds before. That pretty lady had real big diamonds on her ears, neck and on her arm. I just stood there for a long long time just staring at all those diamonds and thinking how much food and nice clothes all those diamonds could buy me and the other kids at the orphanage.
I turned around to grab Ronnie by the hand but he was not there. I walked around for a long time just looking for Ronnie, but I never did find him and I never saw him, ever again. Even after they took me back to the orphanage.
I think he walked out into the ocean to find that great big ship and they took him across the ocean where he could be happy.
Roger Dean Kiser, Sr.

Author: Ray Collins
Posted: July 22, 1998

Las Voices

Bernie was awakened from a sound sleep by a voice. "Sell your house, take the money from your bank account and fly to Las Vegas", the Voice said. He heard the same message the next four nights. This must one of them omens, Bernie thought, so he did as the Voice said. As the plane was landing in Las Vegas he heard the Voice say, "Take a taxi to the MGM Grand, go straight to the roulette table and put all the money on number 17."

Bernie followed instructions and watched in horror as the little ball went around and around and settled in number 21. The Voice said, "Damn..."

A lot of folks hear voices in Las Vegas.

Vegas TV is full of corny casino commercials, depicting customers as happy-go-lucky idiots having a great time. Actually, the Casino-zombies are a glum bunch who know they are losers. Casinos aren't built for, or by, winners.

When we first arrived in Boulder City (approx. 25 mi. SE of Vegas) in '89 I read a book written by Nick the Greek, a very successful professional gambler. "Unless they had a signed paycheck, nobody ever earned a living in a casino", Nick wrote. "IF YOU KNOW HOW TO PLAY, you can win at poker, single-deck blackjack and at the craps table". Nick made his millions by betting on the ponies and sports.

You haven't got a chance at Keeno and the slots. The most boring machines are the video-poker slots that have an addictive quality. An alcoholic-gambleholic at a poker machine may as well spend his, or her, last days in an opium den. At least they would have Technicolor dreams. I know a alchogambic in town who is addicted to the slots. He told me he was having fun the other night giving his money to the Chicago Mob in the Lucky Lump Casino when a lady playing the next machine hit for $1,200. I wisht I had yer luck, he said. Luck, hell, said the lady... I've been here since 10 this morning... I must have 5 grand in this damn thing!

Oops! I have to hang this up... I just heard a Voice tell me to clean out the bank account, sell the house, go into Vegas (Boulder City is the only town in Nevada that doesn't allow gambling) and put the money on number 21 -

Author: Lisa Cousins
Age: 20
Lisa's Bio
Posted: August 3, 1998

Awestruck by a Stranger

Author's Notes: a very brief story about an encounter i had with a fifteen year old stranger. a young girl that summoned the power to speak to me. she was mystifying, and i don't know why. she laid no claim to knowledge, yet she fancied a bit of mine. i was finding it difficult to arouse inspiration within the confines of my solitude, until she became a partner to my time. it is amazing how total strangers can invoke creativity in you.

the story of post - adolescent beauty unfolded before me. she followed the trail of my stale smoke, and with angelic hands, she pushed her smiling red hair under her sunglasses. her greeting questioned my relations to the man that i play house with, as her eyes cautiously observed my purpose and my reason for an earthenware office. i said my hellos and watched in awe as she curtsied down to the ground. she told me that she was drawn to the intrigue of my physical design. i told her that i was searching for inspiration. as she made stick - figures with her fingers, she dabbled in storis of misbegotten morals. she showed shame for releasing fugitive responses to her own statements. she apologized for being dull. she did not know that i thought she was amazing. i started to exude vacant platitudes towards her, but stopped silent when i noticed that her eyes mirrored the color of the night canvass. we conversed comfortably, and she seemed to eagerly swallow the words that i spoke. she told me of her lacerated family background, and i then realized why her irises became sister to the dark, when the night surmounted day. as the stars began to spell pictures in dream language, she told me she must go on. her voice reflected gratitude for my time. i felt a black breeze kiss my elbows and noticed the grass performinga nocturnal eulogy to the day. it was as if it did not know the light had not died. i saw moonbeams smear rainbows against the porous flesh of the leaves. i saw it all in the ten seconds between our farewells. i thanked her for inspiration.

Author: Ray Collins
Age: 20
Ray's Bio
Posted: August 19, 1998

By The Barn

My family moved west from Illinois during the Great Depression when my mother's sister, Ruby, suggested there was work in the Kennewick valley in eastern Washington. There was work in the area, but all the jobs were taken-- only seasonal work in the fields and orchards. Aunt Ruby tried to help the family by taking care of me. She had a 5-acre ranch near Kennewick and lived in the basement of an unfinished house. Her husband was killed in a car accident and she never had enough money to build the house.

I spent weeks every summer at her ranch and loved it. Aunt Ruby was round, laughed a lot and worked hard. The ranch had fruit trees, a vegetable garden and 2 1/2 acres of asparagus, that was called "grass". Grass grows in the spring and needs constant attention, two cuttings a day, watering and weeding. We would be up at dawn and after resting during the afternoon heat, work until the late evening.

Besides the basement, with a grape arbor, there was a large shed and, down the lane, a small barn just big enough for the cow and her feed. My two older brothers and I liked to play by the barn because a HUGE gray an' brown milksnake lived there and it would scare the wee out of us. "Let's go look for the snake", would start a brothers' adventure. I spent the entire summer of 1940 with Aunt Ruby. She said mom was feeling poorly. One afternoon my father pulled up in his Star truck, this was a surprise because my family would always visit on Sunday if they had gas money for the 10-mile trip. I was given a whole nickel to buy an ice cream cone downtown. When I got back dad was gone and Aunt Ruby said I wasn't to play by the barn anymore. "What about the milksnake?" "Hush".

We moved to the coast in '41 and I didn't see my aunt often. I remembered the barn incident and was always puzzled by it. This June my sister visited us and cleared the mystery up. The summer of 1940 my mother had a stillbirth at home and there wasn't money for burial fees so my dad buried our brother out by Aunt Ruby's barn. He didn't get to see the milksnake...

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