Posts Tagged ‘ice hockey’

Trying to Remember…

May 12, 2017
I brought a photo album that my grandmother put together over to where
she now lives which is a waiting room for death.  Assisted living is
what they call it.  It was nursing and convalescent when I was a boy.
You walk in and a room full of old people look up to see if you are
the person that they have been waiting and hoping to see.  I’m not the
guy they been waiting to see.
So my grandmother has essentially been my mother my whole life and my
mom was kind of like a mom and not like a mom at the same time.
Anyone 16 years old, should never have a child and so I don’t totally
blame her for lapses.  I go to see my grandmother when I can.  Within
the last three years, her husband died, her dogs were put to sleep and
her house was sold.  Dementia has been taking hold of her and it get’s
stronger all the time.
“Did you see my mother wandering the hallway?  She’s got two guys
that she runs around with and if they ever catch her with the other,
there’s gonna be a fight.”
“No, grandma…  I didn’t see her…  I brought this nice photo album of
your garden and your dogs.”
She looked at it as if she had never seen it before.  She thought the
dogs looked cute.  A Bassett Hound and a Dachshund, both became
adopted pets which I initially purchased for my adult daughter when
she was a girl.  It got me to thinking, how will I chronicle my life?
Nobody takes pictures anymore and presents a slideshow on Christmas or
Easter.  You take pictures on your phone and upload it to social media
and when your phone falls in the shitter, those pics are gone forever.
The only thing I hate more than taking pictures, is being in pictures.
So putting together photo albums like my grandmother did going back to
her youth, World War II, the birth of my dad and uncle, my life and
then my children’s youth, won’t be possible.  I guess I’ll need to
write shit down and let one of my kids read this stuff back to me and
ask if this stuff really happened.  I’ve had an interesting life but
then again, a lot of people have also.  They can write their own
fucking blog.  This one is mine.
To look at me, you might not guess right off that I play ice hockey .
After a few minutes, you might notice scars on my face and a cracked
front tooth and wonder how I got so beat up around the face.  Some
people ask.  Most never do.  You might never guess that I have an
upright bass and play Ska/Reggae music, sing and write the music I
play.  I am fluent in French and have surprised a few people when the
French language is spoken and I join in.  I really don’t like French
culture, French people and I’ve never really wanted to go to France.
I’ve used it on visits to Martinique and Quebec.  I have three
children.  Two by a woman of African descent by way of Cuba and one by
the other by way of Jamaica.  I know you’re thinking… Ah yes.  Black
women, Reggae…  Of course.  The woman I’m with now is white and blonde
and I’m not liberal in my political views.  With that said, let’s talk
about hockey.
B texted me and told me that for sure there were going to be two
goalies at the rink near downtown.  He’s a cop on the night shift and
I own a restaurant/bar so we play pick-up hockey during the day time.
We usually play at a rink near the airport but I decided to meet him
out at the rink just west of downtown.  The Zamboni guy whose name I
never learned, recognized me and asked me where I’ve been.  I used to
play at the rink two to three times a week.  I found skates that were
more to my liking and so I stopped going to the downtown rink.
“Everyone is at J’s skate…  You know that.  Nobody comes here on
Wednesdays.  Just then M walked in.  M, is a bus driver and is black
and a goalie.  He is a virtual Rain Man with statistics of all hockey,
NHL and minor league.  He has a voice like the Chef from South Park.
He could sing, Old Man River, with his deep baritone voice.  Next
walked in B and his friend K.  K just finished playing midgets about a
year ago.  K has good hands and a quick shot.  I talked to him about
playing juniors in the past while sitting on the bench, waiting for
our shift.  K says that he just wants to get on with life and that he
doesn’t think that juniors will lead him anywhere.  One more guy
showed up and so I decided to stay.  Two on two half ice with a
goalie.  A good work out with a lot of passing and turning.  My game
is one of passing.  I believe that there can never be enough passing.
Good things come from passing.  There is a time when one should pass
and when one has to pass.  Those that know the difference are good and
smart hockey players.  K and I played against B and young guy wearing
a practice jersey from a USHL team.  He was young, average height, had
a good shot, good speed and good hands.  He was probably no better
than K.  I covered B and K covered the USHL kid.  I passed and dropped
down to create a cycle in the corner.  If you’re not familiar with a
cycle, picture that you have the puck and you’re skating towards the
goalie.  Rather than shoot the puck at the goalie, you make a right or
left turn and skate up the boards towards the blue line.  You then
look over your shoulder and drop the puck behind you along the boards
to your team mate that is coming up the boards behind you.  You make
that pass and then circle back so that you’re now following the guy
who was just following you.  He can drop it again or cut to the net
and get a pass on his way to the net.  I did this over and over and
scored a bunch of times.  I wondered how a kid from the USHL and B who
has played over twenty years since he was a kindergartener, could not
pick up on what I was doing.  We wore ourselves out doing this for
about an hour.  I looked up in the stands and little four and five
year olds were watching us.  I looked up to a small boy sitting next
to his mother and asked him if he was faster than me.  The mother
smiled and the boy nodded.
The weather was just warm enough to lay my equipment out in the
backyard.  Nothing is better to kill the stink and sweat of wet hockey
equipment better than the sun.  It’s not a fact, just my opinion.  I
walked over to a little Mexican restaurant with the newspaper and had
huevos rancheros…  The newspaper opinion section was down on Trump for
firing the head of the FBI.  The whole Democratic Party is calling for
a special prosecutor to look into Trump’s involvement with the
Russians and the Russian’s involvement with our election.  Interesting
to note that the same politicians who were astounded by James Comey’s
firing, were all calling for his head back when he was investigating
Hillary Clinton’s missing emails, use of a private server with
government business.  Today, Trump is painted to be just like Nixon.
Nixon wanted the special prosecutor fired and had to fire someone who
refused to do the firing on his behalf.  Nixon found a man named Bork
who fired the special prosecutor.  Bork was shot down as a supreme
court justice nominee due mostly to being the hatchet man for Nixon.
So Trump fired a man the Democrats felt  had done too much and that
the Republicans felt had not done enough.  Sometimes when you’re a
nice guy, it backfires and everyone hates your and finds you inept.
Better to be respected than loved.
I finished lunch, went back to the restaurant and got ready for the
night.  Washed left over dishes from the night before, bar and dinner
dishes.  Washed the floor, set tables and then went upstairs to my
apartment and practiced the bass in preparation for a gig Friday night
at my own place.  I had a rather quiet Groupon night.  Two young Asian
girls as cute as could be.  They’ll need to be carded for the next
thirty years since they look like junior high girls now.  They had a
charcuterie plate and a few empanadas and giggled a lot through their
chatter.  Another couple sat at the bar and agonized over which wine
to buy.
“What can you tell me about this wine?”
I make up plausible bullshit.  Truth is that 95% of the people who
come in cannot tell the difference in any of the wines.  They sniff,
they swirl and it’s all something they learned in Napa.  The husband
was chubby and kind of pushy.
“What do you have that’s a special?”
I’m always ready for that question.
“Everything on the menu is really special to me…”
I know what he meant.  Looking for something for next to nothing with
his Groupon.  His hips were wider than his shoulders and he was sort
of a whiny bitch.  His wife talked to him about the fact that he stole
her pillow a few times during the night.  I’m behind the bar and feel
compelled to ask at least one question.  His wife answers while he
studied his phone.  She seemed nice and genuine and out of his league.
That happens a lot.
The last table was a chubby woman across from a MILF.  The MILF
looked like she just got done with a yoga class.  The chubby woman
looked frumpy and looked at her friend while ordering instead of
making eye contact with me.  They ate a little, drank a little, paid
their bill and then sat for an extra hour.  I often wonder what  women
can talk about one on one for over two hours.  I was just happy as
hell that it wasn’t a Thursday because Thursday night I go to play
hockey after closing up and two women loitering for an extra hour is a
definite hockey cock block.
They left and I turned off all the lights to the bar and put on the
Anaheim/Edmonton game and ate and had some wine.  When one of the
Anaheim skaters skated in front of his net, in front of his goalie and
the Edmonton forechecker shuffleboarded the shot past the Anaheim
goalie who was just standing their like a scare crow, I thought
Edmonton was on it’s way.  On paper, they have almost what Edmonton
had beck in the eighties with Gretsky, Messier, Coffey and Grant Fuhr.
The Ducks woke up and crushed Edmonton in the second period and
stymied them in the third…  Dommage.  I’m hoping for Ottawa but feel
like Pittsburg is going to repeat.
Slapshot line of the day- Maurice, you make sick when you talk like that..

You’ll Get So Tired of Winning…

November 30, 2016

The Whackers or Little Whackers as they were known, had a Thanksgiving
Day tournament game that had to be played outside at a refrigerated
rink on a perfect late Fall day if you have to play ice hockey
outside- no sun, no rain, no wind and about 41 degrees Fahrenheit or 5
degrees Celsius if you live anywhere else in the world other than the
United States.

Coach Grimm walked in the locker room belonging to the Pee Wee
Whacker team.  Some of the boys were getting dressed, a few were
practicing stickhandling with a ball designed to practice stick work
with a puck when you can’t be on the ice.  A few just sat there cold
in their hoodies, not motivated to move yet because they were tired
and cold.  The regular coach quit after a dozen games after having to
take a job out of town or some bullshit.  Truth be told- the first
coach grew tired of guys not trying, not listening, not passing, not
pushing themselves and complaints by parents.  The Whackers went out
and got a veteran out of mothballs to help save the season.  Things
were looking up.  Coach Grimm showed up with his verbal pregame cattle
prod.  One of the players made the mistake of asking the coach if the
game they were about to play counted in the stats.
“When I wake up early on Thanksgiving morning, put my underwear on,
my pants on, my shoes on and drive to wherever the fuck this place is
to coach a game…  Yes it matters.  It matters to me and it should
always matter to you…  Turn off that ghetto fucking music.”
The one player with yellow tints in his brown hair, glared at the
coach as he turned off his Bluetooth connected to a Bose speaker.
“Sagging pants and bad poetry with a voice modulator will not be
tolerated any longer in the locker room.  It’s not music…  Now you
know…”
Coach paced back and forth looking at the ground and ceiling while
speaking to the players.
“When I joined you merry bunch, you were two wins and eight loses and
you’re now four wins and no losses since I’ve joined you.  Wanna no
the secret?  I don’t take bullshit. I’m not your babysitter or
substitute teacher… Why do you play hockey?  Cause your mom wants to
sleep with Jonathan Toews or your dad never quite made it to juniors,
The A or the show and thinks you got something just a bit more special
than the average beater playing this game?  All parents think too
highly of their kids. Who knows.  What I know after coaching this game
four times longer than you been alive, since your daddy was living in
his daddy’s balls and dinosaurs walked the earth…  You have to want to
fucking win.   Not just hope to win.  You have to decide that you’re
willing to go through a wall if necessary to get the win.  Puck is
loose…  The guy on the other team should be ready to shit himself at
the idea that you might put him through the boards as soon as he
touches that puck.  The opposition should marvel at the fact that you
move the puck like the Harlem Globetrotters passed a basketball and
that every shift, you play like it’s the last shift of game seven of
the Stanley Cup finals.  People who don’t know this sport will tell
you that wins and losses don’t matter.  Ask those people if it matters
to them that the person they voted for in the presidential elections,
lost…  Went down in flames.  Which brings me to this analogy-
elections and hockey are like a tug of war.  It’s momentum and
psychological.  You want to be sure that you’re all pulling together
to get your opposition face down in the muck, the slime, and the shit.
You want them to accept losing before they lose by being tougher.
You’re going to leave here in 90 minutes.  The Turkey will taste
better tonight if you win.  It always does when you win.  If you lose,
lose with your goalie pulled and you bombarding the other team with
seconds to go on the clock.  You should never get your ass kicked if
you’re ready for work on time. “
The kids looked at their coach who was old enough to be a
grandfather, who could still out skate them.  Bald, facial scars and a
chipped tooth from a high stick, which was fixed and then knocked out
again by a high puck to the face.  There was something inspiring in
his off the wall comments.
“Way back in 1973…  Maybe 74, the years all blend together…  There
was a kid from an Indian reservation who was fast and mean.  He would
slash the shit out of players and body them like he wanted to kill
them.  I was intimidated by The Chief.  He was quiet, mean and
determined to win.  The Chief come up the boards and I clipped him
with my hip.  I didn’t see it but others told me he cartwheeled and
had a ribbon of snot that wrapped around his helmet.  Was I bigger
than Chief?  Stronger?  Faster?  Probably not.  I got into his head by
knocking the shit out of him like a truck hit him.  If you gain the
centerline and dump that puck in the corner and then bury the Defense
as soon as they touch that puck in the corner, they’ll be whipping
that puck anywhere not to get clobbered.  You take away time and space
by bearing down on their asses by fore-checking at full speed…  Hands
in the middle.  Take a look at one another.  You need each other to
win.  This isn’t fucking golf; you need each other to do this right.
Why were the Beatles so good?  Because they played together…  The best
way to win a fistfight is to throw the first punch and keep swinging
until they stop moving…  This is a new era about to happen.  You have
a new coach.  You have a new president.  Things are going to be a
little different, a little raw…  If your new president was here
cheering you on today, what he say?
“Big?”
“Huge?”
“Make the Whackers great again?”
“Grab them by the pussy?”
“That’s it boys!  Your president would tell you that you’re going to
win so much that you’ll get tired of winning and he would tell you to
grab them by the pussy.  Let’s win this shit and give thanks that we
live in a country where we can take a day off to play the greatest
game ever invented…  Ice hockey.  Let’s go fucking get them!”

Hockey On Monday’s Only

April 21, 2016

“This is a new era…  There are many things you can’t say no more.  I grew up with 30 different names just for black people.  Then you had the Jews, Asians, Hispanics and then the gays.  Gay could have meant actually gay or it could have meant stupid, wimpy or retarded back then.  We can’t use retarded today either.  The day is coming when we won’t be able to call another man a pussy and maybe it’s good and maybe it’s not…  I dunno.  All I do know for sure is that people, some people, want your head on a stick today…  The gays are season ticket holders in this small town.  We could have been stuck in minor league hockey half way up the arctic circle in towns where they only want to see guys get their brains bashed in out in the fucking tundra.  It’s a nice town here.  We’re in Florida for fuck’s sake.  The league wants us to come down hard on you.  Like they want us to get rid of you.  This is the fourth time.  Fines, suspensions and sensitivity training and you’re still calling people names like homos, faggots, queers, gayrods…   What the fuck is wrong with you?”

Byron pulled his long hair back and took a sip of his coffee.  The nerve was still alive in one of his teeth that was cracked in half from a puck to the face from the night before.  He had stitches in his chin and his left eye watered for years involuntarily from a stick to the eye.  Byron was a low-level warrior born in a town near Sudbury, Ontario.  He played two levels below the NHL, earned $32,000.00 a year and lived in a trailer park outside of Fort Myers, Florida.  When Lord Byron as he was known wasn’t playing ice hockey, we was sitting outside his double wide trailer, drinking beer with the neighbors, having lot’s of sex and riding his motorcycle.  Byron didn’t care about being a fourth liner on an NHL team.  In Florida, he was a star in the community.  He did local commercials for Mexican restaurants, car dealerships and bail bonds.  He started a summer camp strictly for obese children that didn’t have the money to go to fat camps.  Byron loved his life.  Slowly, the town to the west, nearest the ocean, became a hot spot for older gay couples from the northern part of the United States as well as Quebec.  There were a lot of French-speaking gay couples too.  Byron grew up thinking that all French speaking Canadians were gay.

So here’s what happened- A team from Macon, Georgia had a player from Byron’s childhood area that was a native Canadian.  Indian, indigenous whatever you prefer.  The player had crossed checked Byron years ago when they were in youth hockey.  The player got Byron in front of the net and crossed checked his kidneys so hard that he wound up pissing blood for a few days.  It was hard for Byron to move but he finished the game and vowed to seek retribution someday.  The day came for Byron.  The player wound up getting picked up in the southern states by an opposing team.  Byron waited until the player made a pass from the boards in front of his own team’s bench.  He hit the guy who had once made his kidneys bleed from the inside and dumped him head first over the boards.  Then he dropped his gloves and waited for the player to get up, get back on the ice and face him.  The guy wouldn’t fight Byron.  It could have been that Byron had blindsided him and he was winded, dazed from landing on his head or knew Byron was a fighter and that he had thirty pounds on him.

“You fucking faggot…  You’d rather have a cock in your mouth or ass than play hockey, wouldn’t you?  Remember giving me a stick to the back in midgets, you fucking asshole.  I almost had to go on dialysis because of you.  Let’s go, you fucking faggot ass pussy motherfucker.  I’m gonna make you piss blood tonight.”

Byron forgot that he was wired for sound.  To try to build interest in ice hockey in a part of the country that only had ice in little glasses pool side,  the team made all players take turns wearing a camera.  It was Byron’s turn to wear the camera.  Families at home on the internet got to hear Byron in real-time.  Byron killed a lot of interest that day.  Local families watched and heard, everything that went on in a local game that day from Byron’s perspective.  Byron had two fights and a hat trick.  One of his goals was the game winner.  Byron forgot about the camera until the press conference when he was asked how he felt about homosexuals.

“How do I feel about what?  Did you say homosexuals?”

“Yes, that is correct.”

“What kind of question is that?”

“As you know, you were outfitted with a camera that recorded everything that went on in the game from the top of your helmet.  Fans got to really be a part of your goals and fights.  You used a homophobic slur while challenging an opposing player to a fight for an incident that occurred at a previous game when you were a youth.  The fans of south Florida will want to know your thoughts.  We want to be the first to carry it.”

“Well …  You got to understand that certain things are said sometimes but that they don’t mean anything bad towards anyone other than the person it is directed at, eh?  It’s part of the job to occasionally fight and before the fight…  Occasionally there are negotiations and discussions.”

The response made some laugh because they loved the gladiator nature of the sport and others it did not.  Some season ticket holders threatened to cancel their season tickets if Byron was not released from the team.  On local talk radio, it was a mixed bag.  Some liked the way Byron talked and others thought it was not good for children to hear graphic profanity and slams towards the gay community.  After it looked like Byron might be released over the fourth offense, Byron took to the airwaves again and offered an olive branch.

“I’m very sorry about the language I used that was broadcast locally.  I forgot that I had the camera on and well…  There is no excuse for what I said.  When I was a boy, my mother would have stuffed soap in my mouth for using profanity.  I wasn’t raised to swear.  I was raised in a town where I don’t think we had any gays.  We just got used to using that term but we didn’t mean nothing by it.  I understand that I could use other words and terms and so if I hurt anyone’s feelings by my language, I am truly sorry.  I don’t want anyone to feel badly about being gay.  It’s like being left-handed…  I’m left handed.  I often wondered why god made me a lefty when the whole world is righty.  Being gay has to be a little like that.  I dunno exactly but I’m sorry if I made anyone feel bad.  I don’t ever wish to make people feel bad…  If the community will accept my apology, I would like to start a youth and adult hockey program here in south Florida just for the gays.  If you’re gay and a man or a woman, or your a man but you feel like you might be a woman actually or whatever.  I don’t know how it all works…  What I’m offering is a chance for all of you who are gay, to come and learn the game.  Learn to skate, learn to play and have fun.  No charge…  It’s on me.”

Byron thought to call his clinics/camp, Lord Byron’s Hockey School for the Gays or South Florida’s Gay Hockey instead it was given the name a simple name- Lord Byron Hockey.  Games and clinics were on Monday nights.  A web site for it was set up.  The first four words after the name was- Hockey on Monday’s only.  Byron was not to blame for this one.  People laughed it off.  Byron’s camp was a success.  Everyone in the area wanted to learn to play hockey.  Men, women, children, blacks, Hispanics, Asians and homosexuals.  Hockey is actually for everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eagle River

February 9, 2016

I was asked by a friend if I wanted to participate in an outdoor tournament in the northern town of Eagle River, Wisconsin.  The trip took over eight hours for us to arrive at the rental home which was being occupied by two teams of 14 players.

If you don’t mind the cold and really poor ice conditions, it is ice hockey unlike what you’re used to indoors.  You dress like a mite at home, park several blocks away and are picked up by locals with open bed trucks.  You jump on the back of the open air transport and marvel at the dense spruce forest around you.  In the clearing is a lake where dozens of snow banked rinks are sectioned off for matches.  You look for a bench to slip your skates on out in the open.  You slip on a jersey with the name of your weekend team.   Female teams tended to name their teams after their female parts and many male teams had various plays on words related to male genitalia.  Others had sponsors or just cute names.  I played for a team called the Elsinore Hosers which was taken from the 1980’s movie called Strange Brew.  The housemates from the other team, took on nicknames from the movie, The Big Lebowski- The Jesus, Donny, Walter, The Dude and so on.

You get on the ice and have a net that is three feet wide and about a foot high.  No slapshots, no high passes, no checking or other infractions.  Four players where one sort of has to play goalie and then you have variations of a triangle formation.  Firing the puck often is key.  Our team adapted to the conditions of the ice and weather and won our first two games.  We then went on to lose our next two which were good, close scoring games.  What do you do when you’re not playing?  Walk around in half your gear making conversation with people from all over the country while drinking donated beer from Labatt’s.  If you haven’t had enough hockey, there is a local team with an antique barn of a rink that holds about 2,000.  We watched Eagle River play Fond du Lac.  Some sloppy play, some solid play, some fights and some idiocy in the crowd.  Some tool from Ohio who played in drag the entire weekend put on a show at the minor league game.  This over served player, hung from the scorer’s booth which was some twenty feet in the air.  After swinging back and forth for a minute, his fingers gave way and landed back first onto a patron.  There was an over abundance of men who needed chaperones- moms or wives.  Maybe they were once frat boys and maybe they never experienced that sort of fraternal bonding upon gaining adulthood.  Cheap beer and fraternizing with fellow lovers of the sport of ice hockey on the eve of the Super Bowl is what you would have found in Eagle River last weekend.  If you love the sport, respect the sport and enjoy the sport more than most things in life, a pond hockey tournament should be Mecca for those who hold ice hockey in high regard.

The photo was taken at sunset Saturday night after two games in the tournament.  We went to our own backyard behind our rental home and played amongst ourselves.  Hosers against The Puck Abides until the sun set over the forest.  It was worth the time and effort for me.

eagle river

Half Families, Ice Hockey and Wonderpets

March 3, 2015

Every couple, every family has that thing that puts them over the edge. For Coach Monahan and his wife Lynn, the team manager of the squirt house league ice Devils hockey team was a bacon cheeseburger on a pretzel bun.

It would be too simplistic to blame the burger. Of course it was the overbearing, unrealistic parents with stopwatches and whining about “balanced ice time” and the problem of living life in America. Lynn would approach her husband about parental concerns while Coach Monahan would watch NHL highlights late night after their kids went to bed, long after practices and games.

“J wants to know why his son J jr. never gets to play on the power play or penalty kill and why it is that when there are faceoffs in our zone, you pull his line off the ice.”

Monahan looked over at his wife who was monitoring the mundane lives of Facebook friends and catching up on email beside him on the couch. She would rather be watching Kardashians but would let Monahan watch hockey highlights. Monahan got a free pass for going to watch 50 Shades of Gray instead of staying home to watch the Detroit Red Wings play the San Jose Sharks in real-time. Monahan taped it instead. 50 Shades seemed improbable and too Harlequin to be real for Monahan but he was a trooper and for that reason, Lynn was a trooper right back. She did have to ask her husband the coach how she the team manager should answer a group question copied to the whole team. Monahan answered Lynn.

“Junior is twenty to thirty pounds too heavy. J who knows nothing about the fucking sport of ice hockey and should be happy that his little butterball gets as much equitable ice time as I can afford without giving the game away because his little liability is huffing and puffing like a middle-aged man making love… Ask J why it was that he didn’t have the nutsack to ask me these questions tonight when he was standing over me while I tied my skates to get on the fucking ice. He talked about how cold it was outside and how much his kid is learning from me and then goes home and poses questions he could have asked me in person. Ask why it is that he needs an open forum to ask a question that he knows the answer to- his kid is fat, slow and ineffective and uninspired to move his fat ass to the best of his ability. Video games and high fructose drinks have caused him to develop tits and love handles at a young age. When the boy smiles, his eyes disappear… Am I going to fast, dear?”

Lynn did not answer Monahan. Instead she wrote the email verbatim paused for a moment before hitting the send button much the way pilot paused before hitting the drop button on the Enola Gay before releasing the first atomic bomb on Japan in 1945.

The answer did not sit well with some parents and with others it was exactly how they felt only they would never have constructed such a frank response. J, the father of Junior, did not attend the next game but he did make sure that several officials from the league were in attendance to monitor the game. The game went poorly. The goalie was sick and so a stand in had to face a firing squad of competent skaters and shooters and stood there like a deer in the headlights, like a scarecrow in a field a corn field- you get the picture.

After the game, before the pilgrimage home, the family unit stopped for food. Monahan’s step-daughter ordered a bacon pretzel deluxe but failed to mention that she did not want onion, mustard, mayonnaise, catsup and lettuce. The prepubescent curled her lip at the food as if she had a pile of shit on her tray.

“This is not what you wanted?”

“I didn’t want all this stuff on it.”

“Did you tell them you wanted nothing but a burger, bacon and a bun?”

“Well… She didn’t ask me.”

Monahan took a deep breath, took the sandwich to the woman behind the counter and asked her to scrape off everything and give it back to him. Monahan’s step-daughter opened the burger and was astute enough to see that it was not a new burger but the same burger which had been scraped of condiments. This caused momma to come to her daughter’s rescue.

“You could yell and scream at kids and refs for an hour and a half but you don’t have the fortitude to go ask a small woman behind the counter to just give us a plain burger. It’s not coming out of her pocket. She won’t be offended… And I’ll tell you this- your daughter will not wear her coat in an ice box ice rink when I tell her too, will not urinate when I remind her to, will not drink lemonade because it’s pink and none of that matters to you. You want to give MY daughter a hard time over a burger. I will buy the fucking burger myself. I will go face that tough looking woman behind the counter and ask for another burger. Sit here with your daughter and ask her why she cannot drink lemonade that is pink.”

It was at that moment that Monahan pictured himself walking out of the restaurant, getting into the car and driving to the most southern point in the United States- Key West. No ice except in glasses, no hockey, no parents, no wife, no kids, no problems. Just a Mai-Tai and warm water.

On the ride home, Monahan’s daughter was quietly listening to a Taylor Swift song next to Lynn’s daughter. Lynn looked out of the passenger window with tightly folded arms. Monahan knew there was nothing he could say to make Lynn speak to him at that moment. He knew that being a coach was a thankless job that he did for the kids and that being the team manager was a thankless job his wife did to share in something he loves and to be with him. Monahan turned down the radio and began to sing a song that he learned watching the Wonderpets with his daughter when she was a toddler. Monahan always thought that the idea of a talking duck, guinea pig and turtle was pretty lame but the song popped into his head and he knew his wife would soften up and laugh if he could get the girls to just sing along with him.

“This is sew-ious, there’s a baby bewd in twouble somewhere… What’s gonna work? Teamwork! What’s gonna work? Teamwork!”

Yes, it was teamwork that melted the ice in Lynn’s heart, made the pre-teen forget about her hamburger debacle, the grade schooler forget about lemonade being pink, made Monahan not look like a too serious lce hockey coach who was afraid to rectify a burger gone wrong.

 

Unwanted Guests

February 18, 2014

“So have you been watching the Olympics?”  Asked Tristan.

Tristan studied the couple while his wife Isolde or Izzy was putting an assortment of cheeses and Spanish ham on a plate to go along with some wine from Argentina.  The man with the thick glasses and pronounced under bite, had a permanent smile.  He was a horse of a man, which will be interesting to note, but as soft as a marshmallow.  Izzy thought it would be nice to invite a new friend from work over to their house.  Izzy’s thought was to get Tristan’s mind off the fact that their daughter, a one time Olympic prospect for women’s ice hockey who had quit playing division I hockey at Princeton, met and married an orthodox Jewish kid who writes his own Reggae on acoustic guitar.  After getting married, they opened a vegan café where people can come and do nothing on computers all day, read their poetry or play music on a small stage.  Tristan often wondered where he failed.  What did he do to drive his daughter, a young woman who was recruited by every major university in the United States with a women’s ice hockey program, to Judaism, vegetarianism and away from sports.  Tom, the man with the folksy southern accent and marvelous under bite, pushed back his glasses, swirled his wine like a massive… mass and this mass’s center was surrounded by electrons which orbit the nucleus like planets revolving around the sun. You get the picture, right?  Tristan watched the swirling red wine and was waiting for the moment when it might leave the glass and fling itself against the wall, the white carpeting, his wife’s blouse or his chubby son’s ugly sweater.  It never happened.

“The Olympics is a farce and the winter Olympics are even more farcical than the summer.  My son Audie here shows champion Arabian horses and has been a world champion three times.  Lemme show you this.”

The southern gent showed pictures of his pugs, perfect lawn without a weed, his cats and then dozens of pictures of his son dressed in various costumes on top of horses.

“This horse here…  You see this horse here?”

“Yes, I’m seeing it,” answered Tristan.

“This horse here is worth more than your house.  This horse had to be put down for a broken foot; I mortgaged my home to buy this horse for my son who was diagnosed with Asperberger’s .  This horse saved my son and won more awards than any other show horse that has ever walked this planet.  My son is a three-time world champion.  Someone advised me once to get my son on a horse to help him build empathy as he matured.  It was as if a light switch went on.”

“Oh my god!  I loved Homo Americanus.  There was no greater horse I’m convinced than Homo Americanus,” said Audie as he stuffed his face with Cheese, ham and crackers.

“Quite a name.  Did you name him?”  Asked Tristan.

“Oh my god no!  The breeders give them their names and it’s customary to not rename the horses,” said Audie.

“Do the horses respond to names?”  Asked Tristan.

Nobody answered that question.  More wine flowed and Tristan listened to how horses were inseminated by men with long arms and rubber gloves up to their armpits.  More pictures were shown and movie clips on a phone.  Tristan kept drinking and listening and looking at his wife who forced this gathering upon him on a night when he just wanted to relax.  The southerner with the under bite named Tom, his wife Mary Sue and their son Audie never asked any of them one question.  They went on and on about horses, breeding horses, horse shows, where you keep horses, finding the right places to house horses.  Finally Tristan left the room and re-emerged in his pajamas.  Izzy, Tristan’s wife was incensed by the rude act of sending a non-verbal message to houseguests that it is time to go home.  Tristan filled his wine glass with some more wine and a hunk of cheese, took a seat and began to speak.

“I raised my daughter Catholic, taught her to play ice hockey, she became an Olympic prospect, received a Division I scholarship, walked away from that and married a Jew, became a Jew herself, makes lesbian safe muffins without gluten and any other substance that could have derived from an animal.  It broke my heart…  My heart beats at 52 beats a minute while resting. I can bench press more than my weight six times.  I can run a mile under nine minutes still for a man of my age.  I can still fuck on command.  I like historical fiction, Jazz music sometimes and rock sometimes.  I didn’t vote for the president and this does not make me a racist.  With that said, I think the guy is doing okay considering the idiots he works with and against who refuse to help one another out for the good of the people.  My wife posts shit like I’m saying on Facebook constantly so that anonymous friends of friends give her a thumbs up.  I hope you all give me a thumbs up tonight for what I’ve told you.  You didn’t ask me any of the things that I just told you but then again, I didn’t think you were going to ask us any questions at all.  Horses are great and it is most interesting to know that a man impregnates show horses rather than other horses.  I tried to be a sport tonight and I’ve had just enough wine to express my thoughts.  My wife won’t talk to me now for a week and that might be just the time I need to get through the Olympics and accept that my daughter might move to Israel and collaborate with her husband on a folk album of children songs written in Hebrew, played with a Reggae beat…  We all have our crosses to burn or bear, my friends.”

Tristan wolfed down the rest of his wine, held up his glass and smiled.

“L’chaim…  Hebrew for to your health.  I’m sure somewhere my daughter would appreciate me saying this.  Goodnight and may your god keep you.”

Never Tear Us Apart

July 23, 2013

“My old man dies and doesn’t leave me his antique cars, his house, his summer house, his condo in Florida, his restaurants but he leaves me a fucking horse?”

“Yes…  A horse.  The horse is housed at the Hazel Park track and is a harness racer.  Your father saw to it that all the expenses for the horse are taken care of.  There is a note that goes along with this if you would like me to go ahead and read it.” Said the Attorney.

“Sure…  Read the fucking note.”

Nicholas,

I had always hoped that you would have had my ambition to succeed and persevere.  You had extraordinary talent for ice hockey and were content living in my basement to play beer pong and X-Box.  The fact that I owned several Coney Island restaurants and you were content being counter help for minimum wage instead of helping me run things, sent up a red flag years ago.  I have left the chain of restaurants to your sister as well as my homes and cars.   You can have that beat up old home in Detroit that you now live in with your friend and I too leave you my horse.  I was given this horse as a gift and I am giving it to you as a gift.  I envision you and your bust-out buddy, sitting in the stands at Hazel Park betting your pittance against your own horse.  It is yours to do with as you wish.  Your mother always came to your rescue whenever I tried to push you along and you never amounted to much.  I love you, Nicholas but could not in good conscience give all that I created to you just to have it melt away.  Have fun with the horse.

Dad

“My dad was always a tight waded motherfucker…  So when can I see my horse?”

Nick finished playing morning pick up hockey with Anthony at the Hazel Park rink in suburban Detroit and showed up at the stable where their horse was housed.  In the stable was a small black man in a Speedo bathing suit and a pair of Timberland boots that was singing and doing Tai Chi moves.  He had long hair and was ripped, as he was petite.  Josiah sang the INXS song, Two Worlds Colliding.  Josiah was unaware of the two large white men watching him as he closed his eyes and sang until tears came to his eyes.

Don’t ask me
What you know is true

Don’t have to tell you
I love your precious heart

I
I was standing,
you were there

Two worlds collided
And they could never tear us apart

We could live
For a thousand years
But if I hurt you
I’d make wine from your tears

I told you
That we could fly
’cause we all have wings
But some of us don’t know why

I
I was standing
You were there,
Two worlds collided
And they could never ever tear us apart.

“Fucking great…  I inherited a broken down horse with a gay Sammy Davis Jr. horse jockey.”

The smallish black man stepped up to the two white men without fear.  He spoke like the Geico gecko which surprised the men even more.”

“Take me for a fucking poofter will ya?  I’ve shagged more female white and dark meat in me loife than Colonel fucking Sanders could shake a stick at, mate.  Fuck with me and you’ll be feeding the fucking trees.  Now then…  Who the fuck are you?”

Josiah’s great-great-great grandfather had been taken on ship from England and dumped in Australia.  Josiah’s ancestor was a former slave that was imprisoned and had found aboriginal people and mated with them.  Josiah wanted to be a singer and actor and was working his way to Hollywood from Sydney, Australia and was stuck in a quagmire, which was Detroit.  Josiah was talking with two career recreational, non-paid ice hockey players who never quite made it and they never made it because they lacked drive and dedication.  They coasted throughout their twenties and at the cusp of thirty years of age, they were about to become inspired by a Prince look-a-like who was determined to win harness races, earn enough money and move to California to be discovered.

Josiah took the hands of Anthony and Nick and looked them intently in their eyes and began to sing again.

“You were standing…  I was there…  Two worlds colliding and they could never tear us apart…  We were fucking brought together by a hoi-er being for the purpose of making it, mates.  Let’s not fuck this up, eh?”

Nick and Anthony laughed hardy laughs and took their jockey to a Detroit Tigers game and then to the casino.  They got trashed and then formed a triumvirate.  Within a year, their horse won enough money for Nick and Anthony to buy a low-level minor league hockey franchise for $30,000 in the Michigan League.  On Friday and Saturday nights, you can find them playing for their own team at a rink in Suburban Detroit.  Patrons pay $5.00 to see fights and a little hockey.   Working at a coffee shop in West Hollywood, California is a singing, small black man with a strong Australian accent, passionately desperate to realize his dreams so much so that he inspires all those that he touches to try harder and keep hope truly alive.  Two worlds colliding.

Never Tear Us Apart

July 23, 2013

“My old man dies and doesn’t leave me his antique cars, his house, his summer house, his condo in Florida, his restaurants but he leaves me a fucking horse?”

“Yes…  A horse.  The horse is housed at the Hazel Park track and is a harness racer.  Your father saw to it that all the expenses for the horse are taken care of.  There is a note that goes along with this if you would like me to go ahead and read it.” Said the Attorney.

“Sure…  Read the fucking note.”

Nicholas,

I had always hoped that you would have had my ambition to succeed and persevere.  You had extraordinary talent for ice hockey and were content living in my basement to play beer pong and X-Box.  The fact that I owned several Coney Island restaurants and you were content being counter help for minimum wage instead of helping me run things, sent up a red flag years ago.  I have left the chain of restaurants to your sister as well as my homes and cars.   You can have that beat up old home in Detroit that you now live in with your friend and I too leave you my horse.  I was given this horse as a gift and I am giving it to you as a gift.  I envision you and your bust-out buddy, sitting in the stands at Hazel Park betting your pittance against your own horse.  It is yours to do with as you wish.  Your mother always came to your rescue whenever I tried to push you along and you never amounted to much.  I love you, Nicholas but could not in good conscience give all that I created to you just to have it melt away.  Have fun with the horse.

 

Dad

 

“My dad was always a tight waded motherfucker…  So when can I see my horse?”

Nick finished playing morning pick up hockey with Anthony at the Hazel Park rink in suburban Detroit and showed up at the stable where their horse was housed.  In the stable was a small black man in a Speedo bathing suit and a pair of Timberland boots that was singing and doing Tai Chi moves.  He had long hair and was ripped, as he was petite.  Josiah sang the INXS song, Two Worlds Colliding.  Josiah was unaware of the two large white men watching him as he closed his eyes and sang until tears came to his eyes.

 

Don’t ask me
What you know is true

Don’t have to tell you
I love your precious heart

I
I was standing,
you were there

Two worlds collided
And they could never tear us apart

We could live
For a thousand years
But if I hurt you
I’d make wine from your tears

I told you
That we could fly
’cause we all have wings
But some of us don’t know why

I
I was standing
You were there,
Two worlds collided
And they could never ever tear us apart.

“Fucking great…  I inherited a broken down horse with a gay Sammy Davis Jr. horse jockey.”

The smallish black man stepped up to the two white men without fear.  He spoke like the Geico gecko which surprised the men even more.”

“Take me for a fucking poofter will ya?  I’ve shagged more female white and dark meat in me loife than Colonel fucking Sanders could shake a stick at, mate.  Fuck with me and you’ll be feeding the fucking trees.  Now then…  Who the fuck are you?”

Josiah’s great-great-great grandfather had been taken on ship from England and dumped in Australia.  Josiah’s ancestor was a former slave that was imprisoned and had found aboriginal people and mated with them.  Josiah wanted to be a singer and actor and was working his way to Hollywood from Sydney, Australia and was stuck in a quagmire, which was Detroit.  Josiah was talking with two career recreational, non-paid ice hockey players who never quite made it and they never made it because they lacked drive and dedication.  They coasted throughout their twenties and at the cusp of thirty years of age, they were about to become inspired by a Prince look-a-like who was determined to win harness races, earn enough money and move to California to be discovered.

Josiah took the hands of Anthony and Nick and looked them intently in their eyes and began to sing again.

“You were standing…  I was there…  Two worlds colliding and they could never tear us apart…  We were fucking brought together by a hoi-er being for the purpose of making it, mates.  Let’s not fuck this up, eh?”

Nick and Anthony laughed hardy laughs and took their jockey to a Detroit Tigers game and then to the casino.  They got trashed and then formed a triumvirate.  Within a year, their horse won enough money for Nick and Anthony to buy a low-level minor league hockey franchise for $30,000 in the Michigan League.  On Friday and Saturday nights, you can find them playing for their own team at a rink in Suburban Detroit.  Patrons pay $5.00 to see fights and a little hockey.   Working at a coffee shop in West Hollywood, California is a singing, small black man with a strong Australian accent, passionately desperate to realize his dreams so much so that he inspires all those that he touches to try harder and keep hope truly alive.  Two worlds colliding.

 

Going to see The-rapist or X-Box Will Kill Your Marriage

June 14, 2011

Lacey came out of her condominium with her toddler daughter in tow when she noticed her common law husband was asleep on the hood of her car.  Lacey swung the Hefty bag full of shit diapers from their daughter’s special poop container that they received at a baby shower which Lacey loved so that the dirty diapers would not stink up the kitchen garbage.  Instead it stunk up the child’s bedroom.  Lacey swung the garbage bag like a battle axe upon Jeff’s relaxed abdomen.  Jeff immediately sat up and looked bleary eyed at Lacey who looked pretty and smelled even better albeit furious.

            “You and I are going to go to a marriage counselor or you can get your things and move out.  It’s become hockey every night and drinking until dawn while I’m a single mother…  This is fricking poppycock, Jeff.”

            Jeff went into the apartment and slept for an hour before getting on with his day.  By noon time, Jeff had sent a simple text to Lacey.  He had decided to send the white flag up the flag poll.

            ALTHOUGH I DO NOT BELIEVE WE NEED TO SEE A THERAPIST, I WILL GO IF YOU WANT ME TO.

            Ten seconds later, Jeff received an angry text from Lacey.

            YOU WILL GO IF I WANT YOU TO!!!  YOU’RE DOING ME A FUCKING FAVOR?

            Ten seconds later, Jeff sent another text.

            I BELIEVE THAT THERE IS SOME MERIT IN HAVING AMODERATOR, THIRD PERSON, DETATCHED, GUN FOR HIRE TO LOOK AT OUR RELATIONSHIP FROM THE STANDS AND TELL US WHAT WE MIGHT BE DOING WRONG.  IN OTHERWORDS, I WILL GO.

 

            Jeff and Lacey showed up at the office of a thin woman named Marcy who had two cats that walked around the cushions of the couch and rubbed up against Jeff and Lacey.  Jeff hated cats and was suspicious of any man who would choose a cat over a dog.  Jeff looked around the room that had copies of French Impressionist paintings and some Asian art next to a smiling Buddha with a Bonsai plant and a tiny waterfall.  Marcy had pictures of her bald husband with a beard and moustache that was chubby and shorter than her with their two fat children that had their father’s toothy smile and mother’s close set eyes.  The space between Marcy’s eyes were so close, it actually looked like she was cross eyed sort of like Shaquille O’Neal.  Jeff thought the whole idea of therapy was a scam but did not want to fight Lacey who had been coached by her friends and Dr. Laura Berman that drawing out hidden, latent, simmering resentment, was the only hope to keep from an eventual break up.

            “Jeff, I think what I am hearing from Lacey is that you have trouble connecting and are caught up with things that do not include your fiancé.  Playing ice hockey, playing X-Box, playing softball, playing golf, putting together model airplanes in the basement are all things that are fine as an individual but what can you do as a couple that can help you connect?  What things do you think that you and Lacey can do together that would help you to be a strong couple again?”

            Jeff took a sabbatical from his hobbies and took up Salsa dancing, wine tasting, a pottery class and started seeing plays once a month.  On weekends, they would watch a movie together and bang around tennis balls.  They went for walks with the dogs and their daughter went to zoos and museums.  Jeff was father and partner of the year.  He was a role model of compliancy.  Lacey’s female friends thought that Jeff had become a renaissance man.  Their husbands thought he had been an emasculated wimp who let his testicles dangle from Lacey’s ears like chandelier earrings.

            Jeff got the call one evening that his old hockey team needed him to come out and fill in for their new goalie who had taken over for Jeff while he went through his reformation.  Jeff asked Lacey if it would be permissible to play a men’s league hockey game at 10:30pm on a Tuesday night.  Lacey was looking through an Ikea catalog and watching two gay Australian men on Oprah’s OWN network, redecorate a house in South Carolina.  Lacey had her back against the headboard and was nearly ready for bed.  Jeff had hoped Lacey would have just gone to sleep so that he could just sneak out, but Lacey had stayed up later than usual.  Jeff felt like a little boy again.  It felt as though he was asking his mother if he could spend the night at a friend’s house.  Jeff hoped to hell that Lacey would not oppose the idea since he had committed to playing the game in advance.

            “Jeffery, I am not against you playing ice hockey.  I think you need an outlet.  I just worry where I fit in when you’re playing five nights a week and then you are shot the next day and need to come home from work and sleep because you have another late night game the next night.  I need you and so does your daughter…  That’s all I’m saying, baby.  You need to keep balance.  Go ahead.  Have a good time.  If you win or lose, remember that goalies don’t win or lose games for a team.  They just try to help their teams.”

            Jeff kissed his wife carefully who had just slathered vitamin E all over her face and had her hair up in a scarf.  Jeff gathered up his gear and headed to the rink.  Jeff had a rough first period.  He allowed in the first three of four shots and then he became impossible to get past.  The team won and decided to go for the proverbial one drink.  Jeff had four.  Jeff had four drinks and fish tacos with sour cream.  At about two in the morning, Jeff took off for home.  Jeff began to sweat and it felt as though gerbils were running through his intestines.  It became urgent that Jeff find a bathroom before it became impossible to hold it in the diarrhea that was trying to get out the way the French once stormed the Bastille; with vigor and anger.

            Jeff got the key to the gas station bathroom that stunk of urine.  Jeff hovered slightly above the seat so as to not allow any strange microbes from entering through his asshole.  The angle at which he hovered allowed for projectile shit to hit the handle and wall behind him instead of the water below him.  Worried that Lacey was in bed, sleeplessly waiting for him, Jeff decided to text Lacey on the status of the situation.

            I’M AT A GAS STATION BATHROOM SHITTING MY BRAINS OUT.  THE SOUR CREAM MUST HAVE BEEN BAD.  I DIDN’T WANT YOU TO WORRY.  JUST A TOUCH OF FOOD POISONING, WILL BE HOME SOON.

            Before Jeff could hit the send button, the phone slipped out of his hands and into the abyss of brown water in the commode below him.  Jeff had to fish through his own excrement to retrieve his phone.  It was Jeff’s hope that the water did not reach the inner components.  The phone died a tragic death. Jeff swore and was tempted to throw the phone at the wall.  Instead he wiped it down and washed his own shit off of his hands before he headed out to his car.  Before getting to the car, the sinking feeling came over Jeff that he may have left the keys in the ignition and then locked the door.  Jeff could see the keys dangling from the ignition and the doors were locked tight.  The night became early morning and the light of day did not make things any easier.  Jeff came to on the hood of Lacey’s car.  Lacey did not have any dirty diapers to hit him with.  Instead Jeff got a face full of organic whole milk from the sippy cup belonging to his daughter.  Jeff was startled awake.  He leaned on his elbows on the hood of the car and whipped the milk from his eyes.  Jeff tried to plead his case but Lacey wasn’t interested in hearing what he had to say.  Jeff became angry after everything he had been through and began to yell at Lacey.

            “You know what?  I played hockey and then had a few drinks and while I was on my way home, I was abducted by tall beautiful red haired aliens who love to play X-Box, give oral sex and play fantasy sports.  They took turns on me and then dumped me on the hood of your car.  I don’t have a good explanation for why my cell phone smells like shit and that I have crap under my fingernails…  So if you want to tell Marcy that I have fallen off the wagon, so fucking be it.  I don’t give a shit right now.”

            Jeff received no text messages during the day and after work, he was a bit apprehensive to come home.  Upon coming home, Jeff was greeted with a beer and a deep dish pizza.  The baby was put to bed early and Lacey stayed up watching the Detroit Red Wings play the San Jose Sharks.  Jeff thought that he was being lured into something by Lacey the way male preying mantises lose their heads.  Jeff finally asked Lacey why everything seemed upside down.  Lacey kissed Jeff’s neck and looked into his eyes while twisting his hair around her index finger.

            “I was so turned on by the way you spoke to me this morning. It was so forceful and full of emotion.  All I could think about was getting you home tonight…  Finish your pizza.  Momma’s got some dessert for you.  In the other room.”

            And they lived happily ever after…  The end.

Uncle Filthy

March 29, 2011

I’ve heard it said that everyone is worthy of a story. I certainly don’t believe that everyone is interesting or quirky enough to capture the attention of a reader from beginning to end. My hope is that you feel that Uncle Filthy was captivating enough for you to read about him for a quick ten minutes. Uncle Filthy grew up as a stick boy for an NHL team back when there were only six teams. This was back in the days when goalies wore Brill Cream on their jet black hair and nothing else. No helmet, no cage, felt chest protector and leg pads that weighed as much as horse. Uncle Filthy’s mentor was a man with a big heart and a large penis. This man’s nickname is in the hall of fame and is the name of a pro shop which is an icon in the city in which it exists. This man with the large penis was a back up goalie that never saw a minute of playing time due to the fact that the number one goalie set a record for number of consecutive games played in the NHL. After waiting for years for a chance to play, this man was set up by the team he almost played for and was their official supplier until he passed away in the late 1980’s. It was around the year 2000 that I heard that Uncle Filthy was going to buy the pro shop that was created by his mentor and pull it out of debt and make it a respectable name once again to those that purchased ice hockey equipment. Uncle Filthy asked me to come and work for him at that time. Picture Willy Nelson with a deep baritone voice and one of the foulest mouths you could put on a human being. Picture Willy Nelson being high strung, outspoken, opinionated, misogynistic, over caffeinated, sleep deprived and driven. Uncle Filthy had a gold finger when it came to entrepreneurship. In a small pond, Uncle Filthy is a big fish who is quite successful. After spending a short period of time with Uncle Filthy, I realized that his unique and repetitious quotes were part of what made him worthy of discussion or a story. Like David Letterman’s top ten, here are Uncle Filthy’s top ten questions and declarations. 1. How are the faggots? 2. How’s the slapping, beating and whacking? 3. Filthy fucking sluts… All of them. 4. They are what they are… Ya follow me? 5. Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha… Right, right, right 6. You tell those cocksuckers no fucking discount 7. They caught him! Oh yeah, they caught him this time! 8. They are what they are. 9. Fuck the French 10. The Weasel Uncle Filthy as you may have surmised, was given the name unbeknownst to him for using the phrase, “filthy, slovenly, fucking, whore, sluts… All of them.” It was never clear who exactly “they” were. It was never clear who it was “they” were who caught em. What I do know is that “they” caught him at the train station with his pants around his ankles. I’m not sure who he was or who they were that caught em. I came to learn that “they” were what “they” were. Right? Gotcha. The faggots were everywhere and they were constantly and violently slapping, beating and whacking at all times. Maybe at the train station with their pants around their ankles. As I stated earlier, they are what they are. Nobody was allowed discounts no matter how friendly they were and if they were French, they were verbally bitchslapped. Behind their backs. “Fuck the fucking French cocksucking faggots. You know why those surrendering motherfuckers planted so many trees along the Champs Elysee? Because they didn’t want the German’s to get sunburned from marching in the sun… Goddamn frog speaking cocksucking filthy motherfuckers… I hate em all except Maurice Richard. Maurice was the man.” There were homosexuals who visited the store, loose women and Frenchmen and none were treated poorly, even the truly smelly and filthy people who stumbled in off of the street. Uncle Filthy was a tireless aficionado of a sport that I and many like me loved. From early in the morning until late at night, Uncle Filthy worked. At his age, he could probably retire comfortably and ride his Harley Davidson somewhere warm until it would be his turn to check out but I suspect Uncle Filthy needs purpose and something to constantly drive him. A couch potato he will never be. I left, “The Weasel” as the last thing and possibly the most important thing that made this quirky human being a person worth mentioning and reading about. The Weasel was a pretty blond girl with a voice that crackled like a thirteen year old boy whose nut was about to drop. She figure skated and bounced on a trampoline, used glitter and sang songs she heard on the radio. The Weasel was the daughter of Uncle Filthy and was the most important person in his life. Uncle Filthy had a common law wife who had one child. That young girl became the daughter of Uncle Filthy and although she had a first name, she was always called The Weasel. My daughter was a pre-teen who spent nights at Uncle Filthy’s and became friends with The Weasel. I eventually moved on and quit my employment for Uncle Filthy and my daughter and his daughter’s friendship slipped apart. I didn’t see The Weasel for years and assumed like my daughter, she was going to college, driving automobiles while texting, partying and agonizing over worthless young men who pass quickly like cars on an interstate highway. I was shocked to learn that life was not going that way for The Weasel. The Weasel fought a losing battle with cancer that took her at the young age of nineteen. Uncle Filthy spared no money doing whatever might have been possible to save her life. As twisted as Uncle Filthy could appear, he wanted his daughter to graduate, find a worthwhile man, start a family so that he could be a fantastically dote of a grandfather. None of that happened. I thought about losing my daughter who was once The Weasel’s friend and tried to imagine how I would feel seeing my daughter suffer and fade into eternity with a terminal illness and I can truly say that to lose one of my children, would be the worst thing that could happen to me. Given the choice, Uncle Filthy would have forfeited his own life so that his daughter could live a full and fruitful life. I know that much about the man and how strongly he loved his daughter. I had a falling out with Uncle Filthy some years back and boycotted his stores and ended our friendship. I tried to envision what the suffering must have been like for The Weasel and the fear of the unknown and the unexplainable anger, sadness and helplessness Uncle Filthy must have felt. I visited his store in the middle of the day and made a point of seeing him and saying hello. I offered my condolences. He stoically explained how everything came about and how it all ended. A young mother was buying some hockey equipment for her son or daughter and had a young toddler in tow. Uncle Filthy who had always been so crass and over the top with shocking expressions and questions smiled a sad smile as he looked at the young girl and told the young mother who was unaware of what he had been through, “Love her with all your might. Children are a gift.” I had tears in my eyes. I nervously grabbed a stick and flexed it. I flexed hard enough to get the lump out of my throat. Life like hockey is a fast sport. It is a lot of hard work and luck to make it from birth to old age. We all want to play the game successfully until the final buzzer. Not all of us do.