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August 26, 2004

The Seven Second Lull

I stood in the kitchen like a mannequin, white knuckle grip on the beer bottle, staring at the CO2 cartridge inside the bottle and muttering to myself like a lunatic. But, some of the people knew me, and seemed to want to have a conversation despite vigorous attempts to ward them off. I regretted chaninging out of my gas soaked army jacket, as I stood there shivering, peering distantly into my beer bottle, and bantering in a disinterested sort of way with the neighbors, mumbling the requisite “mmmm hmmm? only when absolutely required to avert the dreaded seven second lull.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 26, 2004 at 12:27 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 20, 2004

Eurotrash 2003

The infamous coffee shops sell everything but coffee. They peddle hash, marijuana, and alcohol to any deviant, misfit that staggers into their realm. The head shops proffer peyote, Psilocybin, and herbal speed to all comers. In the red light districts, the more serious drugs are left in the hands of the more serious criminals. Well entrenched drug dealers hustle the masses “Charley…Hey Charley…Cocoa? and “Deek? You want Deek?? Anything and everything for a price including the women and children, the real losers in the ideological battles. They are the pawns of the socialists, the Marxists, and the communists. When the wall came down, a virulently poor human zoo migrated west. They fled seeking opportunity, but were steered into the brothels and strip clubs and coerced into having sex with strangers for Dutch Guilders and Eurodollars.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2004 at 10:39 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Leaving Portland

He offered her the second glass to taste. As she tasted the wine, the room around her disappeared. While I watched her, she disrobed and dove into the wine. Swimming down beneath the surface. Pale white breasts stroked by rushing red wine from a vineyard on the other side of the planet. Crushed and trampled by bared feet just for this moment. The waiter and I exchanged glances. His eye’s betrayed that he’d not witnessed this before. I was just bored.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2004 at 10:27 PM | Permalink

Austintatious - The Unsolicited Sequel to “Keep Austin Weird?

We were standing nearly naked beneath the wet slate skies. Hung-over. Cotton mouthed. Somewhere in the distance, a flat church bell tolled. A shiver of guilt ran through me. I’m a generation removed from them. Tethered to an obsolete paradigm of relationships, religion, and work. I see boyfriends and girlfriends. Workdays and weekends. Right and wrong. Feel guilty for not going to church. They live without a calendar or moral compass. They have “fuck-buddies? and wonder why they can’t buy weed at the coffee shops on Congress Avenue.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2004 at 10:04 PM | Permalink

A Sudden Change In Cabin Pressure

If you’ve ever wondered what it is like to be on a plane when it loses cabin pressure six miles above the Earth, I can tell you it’s no picnic. One night in the late summer of 2003, I was flying Frontier Airlines Flight 214 non-stop from Denver to Austin. Just as we got up to cruising altitude, the plane unexpectedly began to descend in an ear-popping dive. The blood left my feet and rose into my face. No one made a sound. The intercom was silent. The plane began to plummet.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2004 at 9:50 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

The Brown Toilet Paper Experiment

I was sitting in the waiting room of the local Jiffy Lube like an expectant father. A small, blonde haired girl approached me holding some small piece of greasy metal. She held it out for me to inspect.

“Have you replaced this lately?? she asked.

I looked at the part. I had no clue what it was. I was reasonably sure she had found it in a junkyard somewhere, smeared it in grease, and brought it into work with her to intimidate women, computer nerds, and the infirm.

She held the part in one of those ubiquitous red shop rags that you buy by the crate in Wally World or Checkers. The part and the rag were both covered in grease, and, as she talked to me, she rubbed her hands on the rag, sharing the grease and oil from hands to rag and back again, until one couldn’t be sure if she was cleaning her hands or the rag.

For the rest of the story buy my book "Killing Strangers.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2004 at 9:46 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Go Sell Crazy Someplace Else

“OK…just so I’m clear on this…a construction worker sketched out a map on a cocktail napkin and you drove across the Baja Peninsula in Mexico alone in a rental car using only the cocktail napkin as a guide??

“Yeah. And, the truth is, I should have known it wasn’t a good idea because I had to return my rental car at the border, and get another rental car that I was allowed to take into Mexico. I had to purchase all this additional insurance. I even mailed all of my nice bras and panties back into the U.S.?

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2004 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

Poaching Christmas

“Daddy…Is Santa Claus real?? she asks. I look at her. She’s embarrassed to ask the question. Can only feign a brief flash of eye contact. My internal mind-machine gears are turning smoothly, with the inertia of nearly four decades of experience. A well-oiled brain that’s singular focus has produced smart-assed, knee-jerk, responses for so long that it doesn’t know how to be serious, deliberate, or tactful about anything. And here is a five year old offering up her childhood for serious consideration. Her delicate world is precariously balanced on a fulcrum and the fulcrum is a lie. A deliberate, well-documented, widely promulgated forgivable, white lie that is handed down from generation to generation to like herpes.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2004 at 9:23 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

White Trash Living

Why is it that when you mention that you are getting a motorcycle, everyone feels obligated to tell you the most tragic motorcycle story they’ve ever heard? 3,000 people die in car crashes every day on this planet, but if you tell someone you bought a new Ford F150 pickup, they don’t say “I know a guy that was burned alive beneath a gasoline truck in an F150?.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2004 at 9:11 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

The Morrison Inn

“Oh sure. Yeah. That’s right. Optional. Right. Mmmm. Hmmmh.? The tequila was starting to works its magic. All of the sudden, I could see myself standing in a river, fly fishing naked when she rode by on her fractional ownership horse. My mind skipped a track in a brilliant flash of mental white noise and I’m standing on the beach in Cancun staring at her pale, succulent breasts. ‘Hi. I’m Vinny and this is my boy. What’s your name? Where are you girls headed tonight?’

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2004 at 9:04 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Fish And Relatives

In theory, February is the shortest month of the year. But this assumes that time is non-relativistic. That the 30 minutes you spend waiting for your blind date to show up at the restaurant equals the 30 minutes you spend scuba diving in Kona. They’re the same on some scale, but the time is not perceived to flow evenly during these two disparate events. And so it is with February. February is all ice-scrapers, Sorels, rock salt, snow plows, and cars spinning like figure-skaters, tits-up in the median.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2004 at 8:51 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Don't Look Down

If you climb a slope steep enough, the ATV will flip over backwards, even if you’re standing up on the foot-pegs and leaning over the handlebars with your stomach on the speedometer. I know because it happened to me at 11,271 feet.

It’s a bad feeling when the front end starts bouncing up in the air as you’re climbing straight up the face of a mountain above tree line. First gear, low range, throttle wide open, valves floating. Standing on the foot-pegs, leaning forward, feeling the Bridgestone Dirt Hook tires clawing at the earth.

Each time the front end rises up, you snatch a shallow breath from the thin mountain air, ease off the gas slightly, and try to lean a little further forward. Most people would stop at this point. Lock the front brakes and let it slide back down the mountain backwards. But I was operating under the mistaken assumption that I had climbed the hill before. So, the normal thought processes weren’t brought into play.

Eventually, the ATV stood up like a Mustang and came down crossways to the slope of the hill. I tried to stop it from rolling, but it had other plans. The ATV weighs 550 pounds, sitting on flat ground at sea level. Tumbling down the face of the continental divide, it feels significantly heavier as it rolls across you.

For the rest of the story buy my book "Killing Strangers.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2004 at 8:00 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Hang Loose


Honolulu is littered with 1980’s vintage smoked glass skyscrapers. Each one virtually indistinguishable from the others around it, like clones on a playground. The office towers sport no logos. No neon. Bland, generic, modular office spaces. The surreal extrapolation of the office cubicle, stretched to the limits of absurdity. Thousands of honey-combed office cubicles arranged vertically in three-dimensional arrays. Thirty story tall anonymous giants, standing shoulder to shoulder.

Squeezing between the office towers, doves and pigeons brave the fitful rains of summer to argue over scraps of bread on the sidewalks.

At Tamarind Park on Bishop Square, blooming tropical trees surrender their flowers to the trade winds. This is the nerve center of downtown Honolulu. The place where the cube dwellers escape for lunch. The city is riddled with tunnels and passageways where Asians hawk bentos, sushi, and stir fry from the cramped confines of three-table restaurants.

For the rest of the story buy my book "Killing Strangers.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2004 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

Her Majesty’s Prison

A Festering Crisis of Vanity

When you think of the Bahamas, maybe you think of Palm trees, groomed white sand beaches. Shallow aqua water. Casinos and hotels. I’ve seen the $500 a night resorts like Old Bahama Bay (formerly Jack Tar Village) where they charge $126 U.S. dollars for a knit cotton shirt and run a Zamboni across the beaches in the mornings to erase the footprints from the sand. But that isn’t the Bahamas that I know.

The islands that I’ve seen in the Bahamian archipelago are hopeless, low, limestone clumps overrun with palmettos and red mangroves, populated by a festering, crisis of vanity bent on raping the islands to eek out a desperate living. Boiling in a crucible of sun scorched third world poverty, they unleash a preternatural genocide on the marine world around them, fishing for lobsters, conch, mutton snapper, sea turtles - anything they can harvest from beneath the waves they kill and grill. The natives do not practice catch and release. Nothing is thrown back.

I’ve seen turtles as large as dining room tables upside down on the beach, flippers flailing helplessly in the air, waiting to be carved into steaks. Piles of raped conch shells as tall as houses. Boston whalers filled from stem to stern with rock lobster tails.

For the rest of the story buy my book "Killing Strangers.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2004 at 6:41 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

It’s Going To Be a PeenieWallie Night

I came to this morning in an un-remodeled 70's vintage chalet so far up Brook Forrest that I'm reasonably sure I was in Clear Creek County. Instinctively, I groped my lower back and checked for sutures. I'm reasonably sure that the spleen peddlers are just an urban legend, but it never hurts to check. My hands were dried, cracked, and cut. My nose was sunburned. To take stock, I began to rummage through my pockets. Although I don't smoke, for some reason I had a half a pack of Marlboro Lights and two packs of matches in my breast pocket from Cactus Jacks and the Little Bear, each missing about half the matches. I couldn't find my Palm Pilot, my cell phone, or my credit card, but I located my elk bloodstained army field jacket in the dining room.

I glanced around the house and tried to take it all in. The large metal cross over the fireplace, the dark wood timbers, the 14" color television. The couch was covered by a tattered white blanket thrown over it to make the dog hair more obvious. The brown shag carpet was stained as if someone had field-dressed a deer on it.

Resting on the kitchen counter, a dozen underexposed 3" x 5" color glossy photographs documented two mongrel dogs playing on the stained rug. One was a large mutt with long, black hair that looked like a cross between a Black Lab and a Husky. I had a vague recollection of him from when I had arrived in the wee hours of the morning. I rummaged through the refrigerator and pilfered a plastic bottle of Coke. I made a mental note to point out to the woman that she would be well served to switch to Diet Coke.

For the rest of the story buy my book "Killing Strangers.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2004 at 1:25 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

The Art of Living Foolishly

Something there is in a woman that craves outside, tangible, indisputable verification of their learned status. They flock to the ivory towers in the perpetual quest of higher learning…a more prestigious degree. An MBA…a doctorate. Some absolutely worthless piece of paper with some ink smeared on the front from this or that university or college. Women flock to schools like sinners to church on Easter Sunday.

A woman may be dry-humping a job making $30,000 a year. But, she’s inevitably attending night school at some tumbled-down university on the wrong side of town that’s perpetually on the brink of losing its accreditation and collapsing into financial insolvency. You can see it in their faces….hollow, sunken, and fallow…large, circular raccoon eyes.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2004 at 1:02 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

A Year in the Colorado Rockies

And when summer was stowed neatly away in the barn, we went onto the land and built bonfires. Bonfires to signal to our neighbors that we were in town, and home, and felt like drinking a single malt scotch or a shot of tequila. And maybe the neighbors would come and join the fire, and maybe they wouldn’t. But the fire was there…inviting; a signal that the seasons had changed, and that fall had arrived, and winter was fast approaching.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2004 at 11:46 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

A Garden In The Sky

Barbed wire comes to life when it is cut, flailing menacingly through the air like a Cobra spilled from a snake-charmer’s basket. It leaps and bobs in undulating, unpredictable busts. A razor wire puppet, controlled by some deity in a lower dimension. Barbed wire can turn a beauty queen into a poster child for birth control in a seconds.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2004 at 11:17 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink