The Gulf (Burning Man 5)

Roy Gillespie stood on the oil rig platform listening to his iPod. Strains of the Santana song “Oye Como Va” played at full blast in his ear pods. He looked out over the serene Gulf waters as the incredible guitar of Carlos Santana danced alive in his head. He liked this job as an oil rig man. He felt needed, he felt necessary. The country needed the energy from the natural gas this well supplied. He had been with the company now for over seventeen years. Sure there had been mishaps but nothing that this experienced crew couldn’t handle. Nothing like the Deep Horizon disaster or anything even close had happened here. Now of course that was due to faulty cement or at least that’s what the Times Picayune had reported. He had little use for the newspaper or newspapers in general. It was hard to trust anyone these days. The people he trusted were the people he could see, his fellow roughnecks. He liked that name. He had gone from being a leatherneck in the Gulf war to being a roughneck in a different Gulf. This irony made him smile.

He wondered again if he might have been a musician if he had just a little more ambition. He still had several guitars he kept and played for fun from time to time. No matter now, he was a roughneck and damned proud of it. After his term of service in the marines, semper fi, he came back to work the rigs. He enjoyed being on his feet and the hands on physical labor. He took a deep breath. How much better this was than being in the Persian Gulf. He turned around.

The blast was like a sand bag of noise and force. He didn’t really hear it as much as he felt and saw it. Wham it hit him like a giant hand wielding a sock full of flour. He stumbled backward and hit the rail hard, over he went. His eyes were burning from the flash. Down he went. Probably a good thing. He hit the water but he couldn’t feel it yet. For a moment he lay limp in the sea. His mind stalled, it lay open like a question mark, the hesitation between the flash of lightning and the thunder when the storm was right overhead. He instinctively began to back paddle away from the huge rig supports. He felt the surreal sensation as the water flooded his jumpsuit. His iPod went out. He floated calmly. His military time had prepared him for this. It did not seem strange to him.

He started humming a tune, “Platform Fire” by Jack’s Mannequin. He kept swimming back and away from the pillars of flames and billowing black smoke. His senses were numb. The song continued in his mind, it gave him focus. He wondered how long he might be in the water as he floated and swam further from the structure. He was alone, no one else had fallen over! He did not take this as a good sign. When he looked back at the platform it blazed wildly. There was no sign of life.

Another world away steel blue eyes gazed out into the vast ocean. Billy thought he heard a boom off in the distance. He shielded his eyes and as he looked out on the horizon he thought for a moment he saw a flash, maybe a sign of other life. For a split second his hopes rose. When he looked again he guessed it was just sunlight gleaming on the water. He turned around and saw a stick of driftwood. He picked it up and in frustration hurled it as far as he could out into the surf. He sat down to think with his head in his hands.

Roy tread water. He had already removed his heavy boots. Now he undid his coverall and slipped it from his powerful frame. He was glad the waters were warm. With the loss of the added weight his job of staying afloat was much easier. He felt something against his back. Startled he took a quick breath. The song came back in his head. “Under pressure, but I’m feeling weightless, across the desert when you’re feeling faithless” he turned in the water. There was a log floating there that had come out of nowhere. He clutched at it thankfully. He knew he was going to make it.

“He doesn’t measure his wealth in private jets, but purchased souls.” — Frank Underwood in House of Cards

“Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.” — Former Vice President Dick Cheney

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Washington Oil (Burning Man 4)

Margaret brushed the hair from her eyes in front of a large vanity mirror. Silently she rehearsed her speech. She was a bit fidgety in spite of the fact that she had been the spokesperson for the oil and gas consortium for over six years now. This was the first time however, that the entire Washington D.C. crowd would be present. Senators and congressmen, industry leaders including several Arab princes even several representatives from the Russian oil conglomerate Lukoil. She was in the midst of the oil boys. The old oil boys club.

It’s okay she thought to herself as she applied a fresh coat of lip gloss. She was remarkably attractive and she knew it. She had relied on her looks before to smooth things out with the naysayers. Just tell them what they want to hear and everyone will applaud. It was all about the money anyway. Make it sound environmentally safe and emphasize the profit. Worked every time and if there was any doubt simply grease a few palms. When had the Environmental Protection Agency ever stepped in any way? It was the same old routine. The agency might balk, some phone calls would be made, then business as usual. Ah the beauty of capitalism in the good old U.S.A.

She straightened her drink on the antique foyer table. The wood was reddish and quite old. Probably mahogany she remarked to herself, this place spares no expense. She looked in the mirror again and marveled at the seascape hanging on the wall behind her in the wide hallway. It captured her gaze for a moment and took her imagination away. The picture showed a wide beach on the one side that stretched as far as the eye could see, the other side was the ocean, with a dappling of clouds on the distant horizon.

She took a large swallow of the bourbon. Quite unladylike but it was just her in the hallway. Turning she walked up to the painting. It was a Jasper Cropsey. Probably worth a beamer at least. Back to the mirror, it was almost presentation time. She was waiting to hear her cue with a final glance at her baby blues. Wait a second! What was that? She had caught a flash in the corner of her eye. There it was again. She looked closely into the mirror which perfectly reflected the painting behind her. Right there on the distant beach something sparkled like a diamond. Was it the bourbon? Yet she knew it was something more. She turned and looked directly at the picture again. Suddenly it seemed dim and bleak.

Billy stood on the beach. It was early in the morning. He felt like he had been walking forever. He stopped for a moment and faced the ocean. He felt for the gem resting on his chest and held it up to the sunlight. It glistened brightly. He saw clouds in the distance. Clouds and blue. Blue eyes? No it couldn’t be. Just sky and forever. He held the gem and wanted to ask it a question. How much further would he have to travel alone?

https://i2.wp.com/www.saleoilpaintings.com/paintings-image/jasper-francis-cropsey/jasper-francis-cropsey-seascape.jpg

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable” — John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

The Gulf (Burning Man 5)

Roy Gillespie stood on the oil rig platform listening to his iPod. Strains of the Santana song “Oye Como Va” played at full blast in his ear pods. He looked out over the serene Gulf waters as the incredible guitar of Carlos Santana danced alive in his head. He liked this job as an oil rig man. He felt needed, he felt necessary. The country needed the energy from the natural gas this well supplied. He had been with the company now for over seventeen years. Sure there had been mishaps but nothing that this experienced crew couldn’t handle. Nothing like the Deep Horizon disaster or anything even close had happened here. Now of course that was due to faulty cement or at least that’s what the Times Picayune had reported. He had little use for the newspaper or newspapers in general. It was hard to trust anyone these days. The people he trusted were the people he could see, his fellow roughnecks. He liked that name. He had gone from being a leatherneck in the Gulf war to being a roughneck in a different Gulf. This irony made him smile.

He wondered again if he might have been a musician if he had just a little more ambition. He still had several guitars he kept and played for fun from time to time. No matter now, he was a roughneck and damned proud of it. After his term of service in the marines, semper fi, he came back to work the rigs. He enjoyed being on his feet and the hands on physical labor. He took a deep breath. How much better this was than being in the Persian Gulf. He turned around.

The blast was like a sand bag of noise and force. He didn’t really hear it as much as he felt and saw it. Wham it hit him like a giant hand wielding a sock full of flour. He stumbled backward and hit the rail hard, over he went. His eyes were burning from the flash. Down he went. Probably a good thing. He hit the water but he couldn’t feel it yet. For a moment he lay limp in the sea. His mind stalled, it lay open like a question mark, the hesitation between the flash of lightning and the thunder when the storm was right overhead. He instinctively began to back paddle away from the huge rig supports. He felt the surreal sensation as the water flooded his jumpsuit. His iPod went out. He floated calmly. His military time had prepared him for this. It did not seem strange to him.

He started humming a tune, “Platform Fire” by Jack’s Mannequin. He kept swimming back and away from the pillars of flames and billowing black smoke. His senses were numb. The song continued in his mind, it gave him focus. He wondered how long he might be in the water as he floated and swam further from the structure. He was alone, no one else had fallen over! He did not take this as a good sign. When he looked back at the platform it blazed wildly. There was no sign of life.

Another world away steel blue eyes gazed out into the vast ocean. Billy thought he heard a boom off in the distance. He shielded his eyes and as he looked out on the horizon he thought for a moment he saw a flash, maybe a sign of other life. For a split second his hopes rose. When he looked again he guessed it was just sunlight gleaming on the water. He turned around and saw a stick of driftwood. He picked it up and in frustration hurled it as far as he could out into the surf. He sat down to think with his head in his hands.

Roy tread water. He had already removed his heavy boots. Now he undid his coverall and slipped it from his powerful frame. He was glad the waters were warm. With the loss of the added weight his job of staying afloat was much easier. He felt something against his back. Startled he took a quick breath. The song came back in his head. “Under pressure, but I’m feeling weightless, across the desert when you’re feeling faithless” he turned in the water. There was a log floating there that had come out of nowhere. He clutched at it thankfully. He knew he was going to make it.

“He doesn’t measure his wealth in private jets, but purchased souls.” — Frank Underwood in House of Cards

“Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.” — Former Vice President Dick Cheney

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Washington Oil (Burning Man 4)

Margaret brushed the hair from her eyes in front of a large vanity mirror. Silently she rehearsed her speech. She was a bit fidgety in spite of the fact that she had been the spokesperson for the oil and gas consortium for over six years now. This was the first time however, that the entire Washington D.C. crowd would be present. Senators and congressmen, industry leaders including several Arab princes even several representatives from the Russian oil conglomerate Lukoil. She was in the midst of the oil boys. The old oil boys club.

It’s okay she thought to herself as she applied a fresh coat of lip gloss. She was remarkably attractive and she knew it. She had relied on her looks before to smooth things out with the naysayers. Just tell them what they want to hear and everyone will applaud. It was all about the money anyway. Make it sound environmentally safe and emphasize the profit. Worked every time and if there was any doubt simply grease a few palms. When had the Environmental Protection Agency ever stepped in any way? It was the same old routine. The agency might balk, some phone calls would be made, then business as usual. Ah the beauty of capitalism in the good old U.S.A.

She straightened her drink on the antique foyer table. The wood was reddish and quite old. Probably mahogany she remarked to herself, this place spares no expense. She looked in the mirror again and marveled at the seascape hanging on the wall behind her in the wide hallway. It captured her gaze for a moment and took her imagination away. The picture showed a wide beach on the one side that stretched as far as the eye could see, the other side was the ocean, with a dappling of clouds on the distant horizon.

She took a large swallow of the bourbon. Quite unladylike but it was just her in the hallway. Turning she walked up to the painting. It was a Jasper Cropsey. Probably worth a beamer at least. Back to the mirror, it was almost presentation time. She was waiting to hear her cue with a final glance at her baby blues. Wait a second! What was that? She had caught a flash in the corner of her eye. There it was again. She looked closely into the mirror which perfectly reflected the painting behind her. Right there on the distant beach something sparkled like a diamond. Was it the bourbon? Yet she knew it was something more. She turned and looked directly at the picture again. Suddenly it seemed dim and bleak.

Billy stood on the beach. It was early in the morning. He felt like he had been walking forever. He stopped for a moment and faced the ocean. He felt for the gem resting on his chest and held it up to the sunlight. It glistened brightly. He saw clouds in the distance. Clouds and blue. Blue eyes? No it couldn’t be. Just sky and forever. He held the gem and wanted to ask it a question. How much further would he have to travel alone?

https://i2.wp.com/www.saleoilpaintings.com/paintings-image/jasper-francis-cropsey/jasper-francis-cropsey-seascape.jpg

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable” — John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween