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

Flight 101 (Burning Man 9)

Eddie Sargavy stood in the terminal at the Montreal Trudeau international airport staring at the departure screen. He sipped his coffee and shook his head. He hadn’t missed his flight this time. His flight had been cancelled. He looked at his watch then wondered why since the time seemed to be posted everywhere like an inescapable fate. It was 1:01 pm. Ironically that was his flight number. There was a bad storm moving up the easy coast and all the flights to JFK had been cancelled.

He walked outside the terminal and lit a cigarette. Just as well he thought to himself. Something in his mind remembered that flight 101 was not a flight to be on. He remembered other flight 101’s crashing somewhere. He finished his coffee and spit into his cup. “101st Airborne” he said aloud. The woman standing next to him heard and moved away. He thought about history. The 101st, the Screaming Eagles, that was the “Band of Brothers”. Among their many heroic exploits one was being an integral piece of Operation Overlord in World War II. In Vietnam they were famous for outstanding bravery in the battle of Hamburger Hill. He choked up a bit and wiped his eyes. Eddie was not a man who stood still. He went back into the terminal. He would rent a car and drive to New York.

Eddie flew down the highway in his full size, brand new Dodge Charger. He had passed through customs quickly as he had nothing to declare. Heck he’d been through the border so many times he felt like he should know all the customs agents on a first name basis. It felt good to be on the move again. Never mind that he was tired, he was on his way home.

He thought about his presentation that morning. He had ended up winging the whole thing. The more he had talked the better he felt. Eddie was a pro. It didn’t matter that his heart wasn’t in it. He was glad it was over with and the client, Truefoam, seemed satisfied. He had the radio blasting loudly. The satellite radio was perfect for these extended drives. No station flipping necessary. The October scenery in the Adirondack mountains was beautiful. He only wished it was summertime and the daylight would last longer. A glance at the gas gauge and the rumbling of his stomach told him it was time to refuel and grab a bite. Just outside of Albany he took an exit that offered gas and a bag of cheeseburgers within spitting distance of each other.

Eddie turned down his radio as he pulled off the ramp. He had been blasting a song by Tito Puente. He loved the Latin salsa and was thankful the satellite radio had a station dedicated to that sound. It was dark out now but the air was still friendly. He pulled up to the pump, ready for a stretch. Yawning as he locked the doors he went inside to relieve himself. It felt good to be out of the car if only for a minute.

Returning to the car with six cheeseburgers and a large coffee he noticed a car of teenagers had pulled up a short distance away. The music blasted out of the vehicle. He could hear the vibrations as he stooped inside the Charger to put the burgers and the coffee inside. What was the recent story in Florida? Oh yes, he thought, some lunatic had sprayed bullets into a car when he thought the music was too loud. It reminded him of a time years ago when he was with his precious wife Gloria, a beautiful girl from Cuba. They were taking a road trip in his Pontiac Bonneville which had come with a brand new 8 track player. They had pulled into a full service station outside of Baton Rouge. Birdland blasted from their car. He leaned over and kissed Gloria. Just then a rather nondescript man walked by. “Turn that Spic shit down!” he said loudly. Eddie complied, he felt sheepish. He was nineteen years old and had been married for a month. He wondered where that burst of hatred had come from.

He finished pumping his gas and pulled away. The music from the teenagers’ car still resonated in his ears. He liked a different kind of music but he’d be damned if he’d ever shoot somebody over such a ridiculous thing. “The world is a fucked up place” he said aloud. He hit the gas so hard his tires screeched. The advantages of a rental he thought. He thought about Gloria who had died of cancer years earlier. He knew she could never be replaced so he had never given it a second thought. He was married to his job ever since.

As he hit the entrance ramp to 87 south, Tito came on the radio. It was “Jam En El Bario”. Eddie hit the gas hard and wondered aloud, “aren’t we all our brother’s keeper?”. A light rain had begun to fall.

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