poetry

Trump or Drumpf, Whoever He Thought He Was

America a country of immigrants with the exception of the Indians,
An indigenous race of color that a Trump with a red cock of hair
Would hate anyway; he would give them blankets filled with
Smallpox and deny it; if women complained Trump would accuse
The women of bleeding; Trump is an abortion of a man who would
Place women behind bars if they were seeking to get rid of a baby
Seeded by a rapist; Trump was also an immigrant
But he would never admit it; how long has his family been here
Financially raping the workers of America? Trump loves the words
‘you’re fired’ if he’s the one saying them; we the people of the American
north are firing Trump from the presidency which he will never attain,
which rhymes with stain because he would stain that office with his red
cock hair and red cock face and eyes glinting of hatred at all of those
people who hate him; and also the people that love him; Trump has no
respect for anyone; he only respects money, his business, which he started
with a small loan of one million dollars. I say that with sarcasm because
Trump never fooled me; I have always thought he was a red headed jerk
Whose lips only lied when they were moving; Trump was a man who
Made a mistake when he thought he could become the president;
Any woman would be able to tell you he will never succeed because
We the people of the United States of America have Fired Trump in the name
of every man woman and child who has ever immigrated to this Indian land.

A Book Addiction

Instead of writing a novel today I have decided to write to you. Sorry it took me so long to respond but I am basically out of sorts. The emotional windmill has taken me for quite a spin and I don’t know if it is wind-driven or driven by the demons in my mind.

Yes, I have finally gone insane. When I take off my sunglasses I give the impression of a vast emptiness, as if one was peering into a black hole in space, a dark star. Was that a reference to David Bowie? It might well be.

I feel like I fled town safely with everything intact but my mind. I am no longer looking over my shoulder; the ghosts of the past remain in the past but the ghosts of the stories in my head are closing in.

I guess that is what happens when one reaches the age of 70 and develops a full-blown book addiction. Have you ever known something but refused to acknowledge it at the same time? I guess some people call that denial. The heart is a many-tiered bastion of twist. Common sense is eliminated almost immediately upon the first beat and then it’s just blood and fire. Do you have any inkling of what I mean?

When I feel like using, dope that is, I buy a book instead to dispel the impulse. I have quite a collection, and they just keep getting better. I just finished reading Driven by Kelley Armstrong, about a pack of American werewolves. It’s a fantastic read.

Elena Michaels is the Alpha of the pack; her husband Clayton Danvers is the Beta, the enforcer of the pack rules. Katie and Logan are their children, about ten years old but already able to change at will into werewolves.

It’s a love story with bloodshed. But what romance doesn’t have a bit of bloodshed, even if it is emotional spilling? The pack rules the North American area. If a werewolf doesn’t belong to a pack, they call him a mutt. Most werewolves are males; there are very few female werewolves.

In Driven, Curtis Cain, who is from a clan of mutts, calls on the pack for help. Supernatural hunters, one of whom is a werewolf, are hunting the mutts, killing them and taking their pelts. Elena Michaels, as the Alpha of the pack, has to decide what is the right thing to do in the situation.

Even though the mutts are not too nice, and not too bright either, the pack can’t have people killing werewolves in their territory. Malcolm, a new pack member, was a big bad wolf for many years because he killed viscously indiscriminately, doesn’t think they should bother with them, after all, they are only mutts. But he has to learn, as a member of the pack, he has to follow orders or die. So the plot thickens and the hunt is on.

The author, Kelley Armstrong, is a prolific writer. Not on the level of Stephen King, but she has written many books about her world of werewolves and other supernatural beings.

Most of these books are put out by the Subterranean Press, which you can find on the Internet. I own five of the werewolf series and love every one of them. The books come in two different editions.

The classy edition is signed & numbered; signed by Kelley Armstrong and her artist Xaviere Daumarie, with beautiful pictures interspersed throughout. Then there is the regular trade edition, which is half the price but still beautiful.

Subterranean Press puts out many books by different authors. Some of my favorites are Robert McCammon, Joe Hill, the son of Stephen King, Gail Carriger, David J. Schow, another master of the macabre and Caitlin R Kiernan who is one of the darkest writers I read. It’s rumored that her book, The Drowning Girl, which was put out by Centipede Press, will be made into a movie soon.

Centipede Press is one of those special presses that create books that are wonders to behold. Their books are filled with gorgeous art and a ribbon to keep your place, and the majority of them are signed & numbered by the writers and the artists.

Then there are books published by regular presses. An interesting book I have just finished is called The Girl With All The Gifts, by M. R. Carey. This book is dystopian in nature; the world, as we know it, has ended.
A fungus has been let loose in the world. Over 95% of humanity has been infected. This is the story of those who have not been infected and how they treat those who have been infected, especially the children.

One special child is a girl named Melanie who, even though infected, acts as if she is not. How do the infected act? You’ll have to read it to find out. Let’s just say you wouldn’t want to get bitten by one.

This book is also in the process of being made into a movie. M. R. Carey, the writer, has just finished another novel called Fellside, which is the name of a prison where strange things take place. I won’t talk about that right now because, even though I have read it, Fellside won’t be released for a few months.

These books have saved me from a fate worse than death. Instead of scars from needle tracks I have a beautiful set of valuable books and a head full of stories. Books I can always sell if I choose to, but needle tracks—no resale value.

A book addiction is much healthier than being addicted to drugs, but an addiction just the same. Wouldn’t you agree?

Great Writers But You Never Know Their Names

I just finished a great book called The Night People by Michael Reaves. Then I moved on to Voodoo Child by the same author. How many of you out there know this name?

Michael Reaves was born on September 14, 1950, which makes him about 5 years younger than me. At this time he is dealing with Parkinson’s disease. But Michael Reaves is not complaining at this time, according to my knowledge.

He actually co-wrote many Star Wars books. That should make him famous but when I picked up The Night People I had never heard of him. The Night People is a great book of short stories that are best read on dark gloomy nights with a candle burning in the room to shrivel the spirits that might attack.

His writing is so tight, but easy to read, that you can cruise from story to story but you might have to stop and drink a cup of chamomile tea with honey in between stories just to calm your nerves.

Centipede Press, a small elite publishing company that puts out Limited Editions, Signed & Numbered, beautifully done with art interspersed in the books has just released a 300 book run by Michael Reaves called Code 666 and Other Stories. They have a few left and another elite press called Subterranean Press was allotted 20 of those copies.

At this writing there were still some left but if they sell out, you can crawl around Ebay and pick up a copy for a little more than the original price of $50 that they were selling for. Centipede Press puts out those neat books with ribbons to keep your place and they have many beautiful books to choose from. The same is true with Subterranean Press.

But I’m talking about great authors you never hear of, am I not? One of the way you will find these authors are by dealing with these elite publishing houses that put out Limited Signed & Numbered editions. Michael Reaves book named Code 666 and Other Stories is one of those books filled with short stories that will make you shudder when a branch taps your window in the middle of the night.

Another writer you may not have heard of is William Sloane. He only published two books in his lifetime, that is, two books he wrote. William Sloane is responsible for publishing many authors as he was the Vice-President of Henry Holt and Company and also acted as the manager and editor of their trade department.

I just picked up the only two of his novels. The Edge of Running Water was released in 1945, the same year I was born, and I was lucky enough to get a 1st print of the 1st edition with the number line running from 1 to 10. You might not know this bit of trivia if you are not a book collector but if the line begins at 3 that means it is still the first edition but it is in its third printing. The true collector wants the 1st print of the 1st edition.

I bought this book for about $20, but that was because it was rated only as good but it had no markings and was not a previous library book. I had it covered with Mylar to protect the dust jacket. That’s what some collectors do, especially with such an old book. The pages are well tanned.

His other book was called To Walk The Night and I have a Dell Edition that cost 25 cents new when it was put out. I’m not sure of the year because it is in Roman Numerals but my guess is that it came out in 1947 and is not a first edition because it doesn’t say it is. Both books are relatively hard to find.

The good news is both novels have been re-released by The New York Review of Books, which is a publishing house of modern day. Stephen King wrote the introduction of the book and this fact lets you know what kind of stories William Sloane wrote.

I’m halfway through To Walk The Night in the edition called The Rim Of Morning: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror and I can tell you that William Sloane is a great writer. I’m a writer also and my goal is just to write one good novel. I think I may have done this but it is not mainstream. I’ve had more success with my dark short stories of drug addiction.

But this column isn’t about me. It’s about Michael Reaves, who is 65 years old and not complaining about his Parkinson’s disease. This column is also about William Sloane, the writer of two books, who passed away some years ago. He graduated from Princeton University in 1919.

As Stephen King says, “Both books contain elements of horror. Boy, do they.” In his introduction to William Sloane’s two books King says quite a bit more, but not too much and there are no spoilers.

A few of Michael Reaves books were co-written by Neil Gaiman and they sell. Even Subterranean Press got into the act and published the Interworld series, a couple of books that are signed by both authors and numbered in special Limited Editions.

So, if you are looking for Holiday gifts and your husband or wife is an avid reader who treasures books, Michael Reaves and William Sloane are two authors to consider, especially if the reading tastes of your loved ones tends to drift towards cosmic horror.

You can find or order The Rim of Morning at Harvard Book Store, one of the few remaining independent bookstores because it is a re-issue of William Sloane’s two books. You can roam Ebay for Michael Reaves books or go to Centipede Press or Subterranean Press if your loved one treasures high end books, that is, Limited Signed Editions. I lean that way myself. I have to watch it though. Books are my new addiction. But books are way better than heroin and you can re-sell them if you choose. It’s tough to sell collapsed veins, don’t you know.

There are many great writers, relatively unknown. I’ll name two more, just because I want you to look for them. Dark horror, gothic too. There is C.E. Ward, published by Sarob Press, very difficult to find his books. There’s one on Amazon, Vengeful Ghosts for over $400. I have Seven Ghosts and One Other by C.E. Ward.

Then there is David J. Schow, author of The Shaft, put out by Centipede Press. You can find his books more easily. There are other books out there worth looking for. Schow has a new one coming out early next year through Subterranean Press but it is also up on Amazon. It’s called DJSturbia. Really. These are books and authors that will be enjoyed for all time.

As We Age

When I was young I traveled far and wide and never worried about finding a bathroom during the trip. Well, at least not to take care of my normal bodily functions, that is.

But now a new horror has arisen on the horizon. Last year my wife, Mary Esther, and I were traveling to Vermont on Thanksgiving Day to spend some time at the AppleKnoll Inn in Weston, which is only 4 miles from the Weston Priory.

I’ve talked about the Priory before. It’s a wonderful Benedictine Monastery high on a hill where a number of Monks live. Right now there is about eleven Monks, if my count is correct, and they have beautiful services, including a Eucharist on 5 days a week. It’s glorious!

But that is not what this column is about. Over the past few years I’ve been having trouble passing urine; it stops and starts. That strong flow of my youth has gone with the wind. Another drawback is that if I have to go and there is no bathroom, my entire system tightens up and difficulty verges on impossibility.

When I go to a restaurant with only one bathroom, I might occupy that bathroom for an hour, leaking slowly until I can get a normal, for me, flow. The longer I wait to go to a bathroom, the more painful, critical, and time consuming the situation becomes.

On the Thanksgiving Day in question, we stopped at the normal rest area on Route 2 just past Shirley in Massachusetts. I have to plan my stops ahead of time so I don’t get into trouble.

Much to my chagrin, the rest area was closed but there was a sign that said: “For our holiday travelers we have left the bathrooms open on the side of the building.” I went around to the side of the building and found, to my horror, not too strong a word given the situation, they had forgotten to unlock the rest rooms.

It was cold and windy and in that type of weather, I can’t just relax and go behind the building to relieve myself. To put it mildly, I was in deep trouble. My wife and I hit the road again and kept going praying for a place to be open. But it was Thanksgiving and nothing was open.

I was in pain; my bladder is a part of me. We drove and drove and all of a sudden, way up on Route 2, about 15 miles before Greenfield, we saw an Old Italian Restaurant with cars out front.

By this time I was in panic mode. All of my muscles were tense and I hurt like the dickens, to put it mildly. We went into the restaurant and my wife told them that we had an emergency situation and I had to use the men’s room desperately.

They said yes and I went in. I was so tense that I could not go. I was afraid that we were going to have to find a hospital and be catheterized. I had a tranquilizer and I took it and I took an extra dose of Doxasosin, which my doctor gives me so I can urinate more freely at night.

To make a long story short, it took about an hour, maybe more, and then I slowly started to leak urine. I was praying for the flow to continue but it would stop, start, stop, start again. I’m a foxhole prayer person, for the most part, and this was one of the most terrifying incidents of my life.

Finally I was good enough to go, and we hit the road again. By this time I was relaxed enough so that, if I had to, I could just pull off the road and go into the woods—I wouldn’t wait until I was in crisis mode again.

Finally we reached the Inn and I was so grateful to have a bathroom at my disposal that I thanked God, and despite the fact that I pray and meditate, I’m only a partial believer. There! The truth is out.

Since that day my wife and I plan our routes carefully and never travel on a major holiday unless it is a short distance. I had no idea that this physical condition was coming. I suffered for a long time before approaching my doctor about it. And once I overcame my embarrassment and started to talk about it, I discovered that many other men in my age bracket, which is close to 70 years old, also have this problem to a greater or lesser degree.

I am not alone. And I never was.

Now that there are so many older men, people living longer than ever before, why don’t places make it easier to find a bathroom? So many stores and restaurants have signs up—FOR CUSTOMERS ONLY—that it drives me insane.

For God’s sake, when you see a man of my age going into the bathroom, you don’t think he’s going to shoot up, do you? Not many practicing junkies live to be my age.

Also, when older men are homeless, it is totally difficult to find a bathroom in the city area. Not all of us are going in to shoot up! Men my age are cursed with prostate problems and need friendly access to a public bathroom. On the interstates there should be Port-A-Potties about every ten miles.

It’s a new era folks. Men live to be older, if they are lucky, but prostate problems are no walk in the park, I can tell you. I know that some of you reading this article know of men who suffer from this ailment. Please, advocate for more bathrooms for the gray generation of men. Hey, women too. As they age, they have their own issues with elimination.

It’s not a dirty secret. We shouldn’t have to suffer in silence because we were gifted with a long life. We need a more humane society, one that looks after those of us who have entered the gray years. If you agree, thank you. And thank you for reading Spare Change News, the paper that talks about things that other papers ignore.

Changes Over Time

Last night, that would be Monday, October 19, 2015, as my wife, Mary Esther and I, sat in the small chapel at the Weston Priory, I remembered how it was a bit over 10 years ago when the Benedictine Monks invited us up for a 5 day stay. How different it was for us then.

I was recovering from knee surgery and because my illness of addiction never forgets, even if I do forget, I relapsed with my pain pills. I was given a 30-day supply back then and my wife asked me if she could hold the pills and dispense them to me as prescribed.

Well, I was a bit cocky, and I said, “Remember, not only have I been abstinent for a lengthy period of time, but I’m a Substance Use Disorder Counselor. I think I can handle a few pain pills.”

It turned out that Mary Esther knew better and, within four days, my thirty day supply was empty and I was searching the streets for heroin, my drug of no choice, that I had been strung out on from 1964 through 1994. It was a continuous ride , the stumblebum push an opium pellet with my nose around the world ride, and because of the lengthy period of my active addiction my pleasure centers, from one synapse to another in my brain, were totally atrophied.

Many people ask why opiate addicts relapse after the drug is out of their system, knowing what they know about where the drug will take them? It’s quite simple really. The dis-ease continues onward, even though the person has kicked the physical aspect of the illness.

People who take the opiates for chronic pain are excused from this phenomenon because they get no pleasure from the drug; the opiates in their system travel to the pain centers to ease the suffering and not the pleasure centers of the brain.

I know people who take opiates for extreme chronic pain and it always amazes me that they never get high. That is because they are not “using”; they are taking medicine for a purpose. When our “esteemed” Governor Baker of Massachusetts came up with a plan to only give people a 72-hour supply of medication for the first time, it was quite clear to me that he did not understand the difference between people with chronic pain and people with the dis-ease of addiction.

With someone like me, a 72-hour supply of opiates would merely kick my addiction into overdrive and I would be on the street looking for heroin in no time. However, if I were not someone with the illness of addiction, it would be an inconvenience to bother my physician for the medicine I needed.

I also hear politicians, not health experts, talk about mandating people who overdose to 3 days of lock down with the possibility of commitment. This crazy idea could keep people from calling for help when someone overdoses. It’s a good thing that Needle Exchanges give trainings in Narcane administration to addicts so they can save their friends without the indignity of being locked up for overdosing—treating someone with the illness of addiction the same way one would treat a sex offender.

Let me retrace my steps back to our stay, ten years ago, at the Weston Priory. For 5 days my wife prayed and meditated and did research on what to do so I wouldn’t keep relapsing. We stumbled across a drug called Suboxone, a combination of Buprenorphine and Narcane, which re-activated the pleasure centers of the brain but did not get the addict high.

When we returned we searched on the Internet for a reliable pharmacologist who specialized in treating people like myself, who suffered from long-term addiction, with this psychiatric medication that mimicked the opiates in the brain but did not get the person intoxicated.

Suboxone worked. There are other aspects to Suboxone treatment, which must be followed to make it a success. This treatment must be combined with therapy and support groups to keep the person from relapsing. Also, the person with the illness of addiction must be motivated to stay abstinent.

If someone wants to get high, no matter what you do, they will. Remember, addiction is not a crime, although most countries treat it that way, with the exception of an enlightened few. When someone with the sickness is punished for it, the desire to get high increases. However, when a person with the illness is medically treated, with medication, therapy and support, they can recover.

The illness of addiction is a stubborn animal and one does not always get immediate desired results. But when persistent attempts are made to gently place the illness in remission, it takes place, no matter how hard core the person seems.

Do all people with the disease of addiction recover? Unfortunately, they don’t. Most of them, with the right treatment, not punishment, will recover. We have to realize that, like any fatal illness not placed in re-mission, death is one of the outcomes of the illness. The goal of Harm Reduction is to keep the person alive and treat them long enough so that they make a full recovery.

A full recovery is not a cure. Once an addict, always an addict. But addiction is one of the potentially fatal sicknesses that can be successfully treated.

With the disease of addiction, force almost never works. Force is punishment and most people who are prone to this illness have been punished enough, which is what makes them use opiates: to stop the self-punishment in their own psyche.

So my wonderful, patient, loving wife and I are back visiting the Weston Priory, refreshing our spiritual roots that keep me from falling back into a hell of my own creation. I take my medicine as prescribed, I go to therapy because it is good for me and I go to my support group so I can heal daily.

Spare Change News is one way of my giving back to the community, which is part of my healing. So, if you are reading this column, I want to thank you for taking part in my recovery. Also, if you or anyone you know is struggling with the illness of addiction, the good news is that there is hope. Love, treatment and never give up. Together we can do this.

Opiod’s For Pain—The Best Idea

There is so much controversy about prescribing opiates for pain that it astounds me. The fact is that opium-based prescriptions are, by far, the best painkillers made. When pharmaceutical companies make opiates, they are regulated doses. There are no surprise overdoses, unless the patient takes more than is prescribed.

Does this happen? Well, human nature being what it is, there are people who are addiction prone. For the most part though, most people who are prescribed opiate painkillers are responsible as to the amount they take for pain.

All we hear about in the news is how bad the heroin crisis is. This could be true, but the people who use heroin to get high would be doing that anyway. The great majority of people with extreme chronic pain take their opiates as prescribed. If their physician has done his/her job, the patient is made aware of the dangers of overdose and abuse.

People who really need strong painkillers for various illnesses respect the drugs they take and don’t abuse them because they have been made aware of the dangers of the drugs they take.

Opium and opiod-related painkillers are the best painkillers for severe pain on the market. Nature, or God, knew what it was doing when it developed the opium plant for pain. The minor pain killers, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, Advil, & Ibuprofen, are exactly as described: minor pain killers with extremely dangerous side affects—such as the eating away of the lining of the digestive system, among other side affects.

The only dangerous side effect of opiates are addiction, which is not a problem when taken as prescribed because people with severe chronic pain are not going to stop taking the opiates unless they are healed. Also, when taken as prescribed, to make the pain bearable, opium-based drugs won’t get a person intoxicated.

Only when people take more than they need of the opium based drug will a person get high. There are some exceptions—in the case of cancer and severe post-operative pain—the patient may get woozy. Usually, in these two cases, the patient is under constant care and not operating dangerous machinery, such as driving a car.

By making prescription opiates harder to get for people who really need them, that is when people are driven to the streets to obtain what they need. Pharmaceuticals on the street are extremely expensive, which is why most people forced to the streets to obtain what they need, turn to heroin.

Unfortunately, in most cases, the people who put together the doses of heroin are not professionals and that is what causes the danger of overdose. One bag of heroin may look the same as another, but the potency of the chemical could be twice as strong.

The only heroin that is safe is the heroin that is made by pharmaceutical companies, and that is not the case in the United States. By making pharmaceutical opiates difficult to obtain for patients who need it and don’t abuse the drug, is like doing a business transaction in favor of the drug cartels that make heroin for the addict on the street.

Fewer pharmaceuticals on the street equals more drug cartel heroin on the street because heroin is cheaper than pharmaceuticals. The drug cartels still make a whopper of a profit because opium is the perfect product. It never goes bad over time, for one thing.

In the Pyramids in Egypt, the archeologists found opium in the tombs with the Pharaohs and it was still of extremely high quality. Did the archeologists test it or try it? You’ll have to ask them; I’m just quoting the facts.

So what is the answer to the problem of heroin on the streets? Certainly not eliminating pharmaceuticals on the streets, the few that there are. The drug cartels love it when pharmaceuticals are difficult to obtain.

Most people who take opiate based drugs take it because they need it and they don’t divert a drop of it to the streets. I’m not quite sure what is causing the problem but I am sure that there are answers for people who are suffering from the illness of addiction. Certain drugs, Suboxone for example, have been created that eliminate the craving for heroin and don’t get people high. I’m not here to argue which treatment is more effective for addiction; I’m only saying that we can treat this problem in a much more humane manner than we currently do.

We certainly don’t need to deprive the people who truly need opiate painkillers of their medicine. That idea is just bizarre. I know people who need strong painkillers that use them and don’t abuse them. I’m not going to support a system that punishes people in pain because there are other people with the illness of addiction.

You may find yourself in the position of needing opiates to make the pain bearable before you shuffle off this mortal coil. I hope not but, if you do, you will understand what I am talking about.

Fear The Walking Dead

I’m a big fan of the show The Walking Dead on AMC. Of course, I’m not the only one; this show has more watchers than any other show in history. So it’s big news that a new spin-off story has started on AMC called Fear The Walking Dead. It is the back-story for The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead portrays the destruction of civilization with small bands of wandering people, some good, some with character defects, and some who thrive on the destruction of society. It’s not a show for the faint of heart, yet there is something about it that pulls me to it like a magnet.

The new show—Fear The Walking Dead premiered last week. When the story begins, society hasn’t broken down yet; all appears normal. One of the major characters, a guy named Nick, is a heroin addict (see, reality TV) in a shooting gallery in a deserted church. That’s pretty ironic too—a deserted church. As Nick says, dope is communion for junkies.

Nick’s dad died when he was 13 years old and his mom is a teacher who has started a new relationship with another teacher, a guy who is a real Mr. Fix-it. That’s not showing disrespect to the man because he appears to be a good man.

His name is Travis. Kim Dickens plays Madison, Nick’s mother and Travis’ new wife. Except for having a drug addict son, all seems well and society rolls on like it should.

In the very beginning, Nick wakes up in the shooting gallery church and starts to look for his girlfriend who was misplaced when he nodded out on heroin. That’s pretty normal for addicts. Nick walks into the main church and he sees his girl friend leaning over another guy and he calls to her.

She lifts up her head and blood is dripping from her mouth because she had been feeding on the guy, not making it with him. Nick breaks into mad flight and runs down the stairway into the street. He is totally freaked out because he’s still high and can’t bring himself to believe what he just saw. He can’t tell the difference between what is a dream and what is real.

He runs down the street and then—WHAM—a car hits him. He rolls up onto the hood of the car and then falls unconscious into the street.

Nick wakes up in the hospital and the police are questioning him and his hands are tied to the bed. He was raving when they brought him in. He remembers what happened but he’s not quite sure he believes it.

Nick is played by Frank Dillane, a fantastic actor. Everything I have described to you takes place within the first five minutes of the show. Nick wears his troubled emotions on his face; Frank Dillane is great in this role.

It’s ironic that if you are Walking Dead fans, you know more about what is going on with the zombies than the characters in the story. It makes for a delicious tension. Except for the fact that folks think that if something were really going wrong in the world “they”, meaning the powers that be, would warn the public- but there is not a word being said about the strange occurrences popping up on the internet. Yet all appears normal on the surface. There is no societal breakdown—yet. One of Madison’s students, a guy named Tobias, is talking to Madison about how people are coming down with this disease and eating people but there is no official acknowledgement that it is happening.

Madison scoffs and says to Tobias, “Don’t you think the authorities would be warning us if this was really happening?”

The treatment of addiction in this story is well handled. There is a scene where Madison and her new husband Travis are riding home in the car after Nick has fled the hospital and Madison says, “I don’t know if I want Nick to come home.” How many mothers of heroin addicts have thought that or even said it?

There are no spoilers in this review. I can tell you that when Madison, Nick’s mom, gets to school a little late, the principal says to her, “I thought you were going to call in sick with that flu that I hear is going around.”

Madison looks at the principal, smiles and says, “I got my flu shot.” Those of us who know better appreciate the irony.

In the meantime, Nick goes to see his dealer named Calvin and tells the dealer what happened. Calvin asks about the police and Nick tells him they were trying to question him at the hospital but he didn’t say a word.

Calvin then says to Nick, “Hop in the car and I’ll take you to cop.” They go off for a ride and pull under an aqueduct and stop. Calvin gets out of the car, goes around and opens the trunk and then walks over to the side of the car where Nick is sitting. Nick starts to get out of the car and he sees Calvin has a gun.

They start to fight and the gun goes off. Nick gets up and Calvin doesn’t. Nick rolls Calvin over and sees a major bullet hole in Calvin’s chest. Calvin is down for the count and Nick freaks out after all this and runs away and calls his mom.

There are traffic jams all over the city. People are watching their I-phones and see the police shoot a man in the stomach five times. The man goes down—but then he gets up again like nothing happened.

Nick, his mom Madison and her husband Travis drive to the aqueduct to check on Calvin but only his car is there—and there is a pool of blood where his body was lying, but no Calvin.

The pilot of Fear The Walking Dead is 90 minutes long and the tension is exquisite. Robert Kirkman, one of the writers and the creator of The Walking Dead, has done a magnificent job. Fear The Walking Dead is one
of the best new shows on the air. You can find it on the AMC channel. But where can we find Calvin?

Tales of the Troll

Drawing my Mel Burns

Introduction to Tales of the Troll


Marc D. Goldfinger

 I came across a laptop computer in the ruins of an old farmhouse in Lake Ninevah, Vermont. When I booted it up, these stories opened up. It seemed as if some junkie was spinning tall tales but I thought you might like to have a look at one alternative reality, so I put them into print.

These stories were all told, during one time period or another, at a dope house which everyone thinks is in New York City. It is really in Cynosure. You can look up that word in the dictionary and it will give you an idea as to the nature of the area where the heroin house is located.

Being violently opposed to long introductions, especially when I am the one writing them, I shall bring this one to a close. Let me just say that I believe that these stories are true. Why do I accept, as truth, words that appear to be written by a dope fiend?

It is because I, with my mind’s own eye, have seen the face of Ar Lain Ta. I also believe in Demons and Angels.

By Marc D. Goldfinger, July 21, 2015.

TALES OF THE TROLL
Junkies, Angels & Demons
by Marc D. Goldfinger

PDF version:

A Story About Opium

To show how long the opiate wars have been going on, we’d have to go back to the mid 1800’s when the East India Company sponsored by the British was forcing ships full to the brim with opium cakes on China.

Every year ships would arrive at China’s shores and dispense the opium to the Chinese people at a hefty price. There was actually a stock market where all the deals took place in advance in India and it was run in sign language so no one knew what was being said—only those who were players in the market.

The Commissioner of China banned the import of opium but the British attacked, in the defense of “free trade” as they called it. The first Opium War took place between 1839 through 1842 and the players were Great Britain and Ireland, represented by the East India Company which shipped from India fighting the Quing Dynasty.

The Quing Dynasty lost the first war and opium continued to pour into China and millions of Chinese were addicted. After another Opium War, the substance was legalized around 1860.

Back in Europe, in the late 1800’s, the Bayer Company produced bottles of tablets that they Trade-marked Heroin as a cure for anything, even morphine addiction. Things went a little haywire from that point on and after making a hefty profit; Bayer took heroin off the market and replaced it with Aspirin.

How far back does opium go? The excavators who were exploring in Egypt actually found stores of opium in the Pyramids. The quality of the drug was still effective after all those years. Opium was the perfect product. It never went bad; it only affected those who used it.

In the United States, during Prohibition, Opium was used quite often and heroin became a drug of choice in the underworld. Opium, altered and sold as Laudanum was used by housewives, factory workers, physicians, lawyers, and almost anyone to ease their stress.

Oddly, when it was legal there was very little crime associated with it. When Prohibition ended, a man named Harry Anslinger was in charge of the agents that chased down the alcohol gangsters, and he found himself with a giant police organization with no target. He and his fellow workers were about to be on the unemployment rolls.

Anslinger turned his focus onto the opiates and marijuana and formed the Bureau of Dangerous Drugs. He pursued this endeavor with zeal and publicized the evils of the drugs on the radio, on television, in the newspapers and any other media that existed. The new Prohibition had begun here in the United States.

Today, because of policies brought about by over-zealous bureaucrats that carry badges and guns, people who had never been in trouble with the law before found them assaulted by the very system that was supposed to protect them.

In the beginning, the BNDD, led by Anslinger, chased jazz musicians and people of color, so as not to turn the public against them. Once they were firmly entrenched in power, they focused their eyes on physicians who were helping middle-class people and others obtain opiates through prescriptions.

A series of arrests of a few physicians scared the majority of the other medical professionals, and with the exception of a few doctors, most medical professionals stopped prescribing opiates unless the patient was in pain from another disease.

Just like the underground in Prohibition of alcohol, the underground began to grow to supply the people who used opiates and other drugs. Alcohol was commonly used, but opiates were not as mainstream, so the opiate underground grew slowly, coupled with cocaine, meth-amphetamine and other drugs.

Actually, in the 1950’s meth-amphetamine was widely prescribed by doctors for obesity and other ailments. During the Hippie era, the use of meth or “speed” as it was called, exploded with young people and the Bureau of Dangerous Drugs quickly moved to make it illegal and more people were employed by the “system” and the prison population in the United States began to grow. In the past 40 years the United States prison population rose 500 per cent. More people are in prison today for non-violent drug offenses than the entire prison system held in 1970.

The Unites States contains less than 5 per cent of the world’s population, yet it has more than 25 per cent of the entire world’s population of prisoners.

Another shocking fact is that one in every 87 white people are in prison, yet if you are a person of color, one in every 12 African-American men are in prison or have been in prison. More Black men born in the post-civil rights era have been in prison than have graduated from a four-year university.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of the cost of the War on Drugs. In the Boston Globe on Sunday, the 28th of June, the front-page article is about the epidemic of babies being born that have to be withdrawn from drugs.

Crime is rampant and the Drug Cartels fight for territory constantly and outgun and outspend the DEA in the Drug War. Something is definitely wrong with the way we treat people with the illness of addiction but, slowly, very slowly, the pendulum is swinging.

In Gloucester, Massachusetts, now people can go to the police station, turn in their dope, and the police will help them get into detox.

Also, in many places, Narcane is available, so junkies can carry it in case one of their friends overdoses. God, when I think about it, I know that the opiates should be legalized, controlled, but legal. Let’s put the Cartels out of business. This war could be over. Right now the Opiate Crisis appears to be a war on the American people.