no answer

all those leprechaun dreams,
strung together
to appear to be
more than they really were,
all now hanging sadly
from dirty rope clotheslines,
flapping in the breeze:
they bring me to my knees,
and I abort my carefree self,
and ponder upon the elf
that no longer aspires --
who is left with nothing,
no quests,
nothing left,
no desires --
not a thing that makes
the heart race, or
give bright color
to a sullen face:
merely a
down to the still waters
of life's shore;
nothing more,
nothing more,
as existence becomes
something of a bore:
a chore,
a rote to be merely
carried out,
something to do,
something to do;
all that one could create,
in favor of nothing,
enamored of no one,
left to starve,
with not a morsel
to invigorate;
life's time travels
much too fast, and
not even the strong
can outlast
its speeding course,
delivering shadows
and ultimately,
for all that is passed,
context blithely
it is only
in the full moon,
that all we should see,
is rendered:
on hind legs,
as we howl,
we catch a glimpse
of what went by us:
the mysteries
of this life,
which laugh,
and still defy us;
we stand still,
and perhaps,
for just a moment
there courses
through us
a silent thrill,
as we see that
fully revealed
to those kneeling,
and also to those
this answer,
this vignette,
that today we still seek,
and its absence,
and our presence,
makes us evermore
buoyed by myth
and fable,
we stumble on,
each day able only
to see the next one,
and the next one,
and the next one,
until we are at last
and the story is left
to be told
to those now young,
soon to be old:
there is no answer.

March 29, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


this lifelong lust

any inbetween,
I'll take it,
if it will help me
make it
til sunrise,
til I see Your eyes,
the way:
sending all those
voracious coyotes,
and cougars,
blending the good
with the bad
and the happy with
the sad,
and making every
moment that we have had
seem sacred,
and naked;
oh lover of mine
You bend back my spine
and render me sublime,
and I take it,
I could not fake it,
could not break it,
even if I was to fall
out of rhythm
and rhyme,
out of continuity
or time,
I could not shake it,
I would not make it,
if it wasn't for You;
porcelain dreams,
and plasticine porters
always diverge,
and leave us a bit shorter,
on the verge,
as we struggle to divine
what is yours, ours, and
in time, everyone's,
the whole of all of us,
the swallowed-up of us,
the giant must-have-of-us,
the present day version
of Galápagos;
and so our self-torment ends,
when we toss our heads back,
and make amends,
for the foole in us,
for the things we do not discuss,
for the ways that we distrust
all that is inside of us,
all that we must,
and decide,
which is part of us,
merely a bit
of a much larger thing,
or every ounce of
this lifelong lust.

March 28, 2010, for the Wifey.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


Joe Cocker at Woodstock 1969

he was as spastic
as he was fantastic,
and his rendition of
"With a Little Help from My Friends,"
went about as magically
as John's murder went tragically,
only eleven years later;
makes me wish,
that all of us
had been surrounding him
that night:
I would have gladly taken that
and I am guessing
that Joe would have as well.

March 27, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


The Most

yet consistently
I love Her;
with a golden heart,
She disarms me;
She is passion's
set down
to secure me;
She waves off
my exultations,
naming me
under the influence
of too many
but I know
of this certain
glow, that comes
from Her, and so,
I raise my glass,
I make a toast,
to the one woman,
in all my life,
who is The Most.

March 21, 2010, for the Wifey.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


Dixie Chicks

we surfed to the edge of the stratosphere
on pixie stix, and we realized where we were,
and held our breath, listening to Dixie Chicks;
we walked the straight and narrow,
unsure where it would lead, and we saw
the late and the fallow, as they wasted all their seed;
we tripped the light fantastik,
and it kicked us in the ass, and we made ourselves
elastic, making love in meadow grass;
we rocked the house all-nightly, and we made ourselves
look sprightly, but it was ever just a game,
by a different name, pretty much all the same,
and we had ourselves to blame;
we bit off more than we could chew,
hey, don't laugh, it could happen to you,
just always remember to carry a knife and fork
in your pocket, no, don't be a dork, not the shirt one,
the one that folks don't see, the one that let's freaks
be freaks, like you and me, that hidden one;
oh, and remember always that when you "assume",
you make an ass out of "u" and "me";
and folk think that I am not progressive:
I can't wait for Aetna to get obsessive:
so punch the buttons, baby, and
unscrew them, and put on "Fly."

March 22, 2010. Health care for all humans.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.



they buoy me,
with good intentions;
other times,
they lay me low,
with lamentations;
like rhyming conventions:
they stand stark,
wanting to be viewed,
and truth told,
it is not the picture,
but rather the viewer,
who is skewed;
the master of disaster
is the one who is found
nude --
relieved of his incongruity,
he is cast in stone,
for his elasticity,
for eternity,
as he struggles to move,
to find his groove,
but he gets the best of me,
maybe it's destiny --
and I struggle to prove
that what's left of me
will forever be
that moves
one person to be
a testimony
to all that can be done,
if just one of us
can raise up,
can rise up,
and demand a drink
from that sacred cup,
that's what
I wanna be.

March 21, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


good luck

all you mouthbreathing,
dimwitted nimrods,
sitting drooling over your keyboards,
with your tics and your twitches
in your worn out britches
(if that),
slobbering over your latest
stolen morsel,
someone's dignity,
someone's humanity;
as you swagger
and sway and push people
out of your way:
know this --
karma has very long arms,
and those oppressed
have long memories;
what goes around,
comes around, we know this
from all of life's stories;
you sit happy and fat,
but you fail to notice
that there is a crowd
surrounding you,
and soon, a fate,
confounding you,
as you receive your due --
I have only pity for you,
sorrowful I am not,
since you tossed the dice,
you cast your lot,
and mercy is not in my
repertoire, as it tends to
remind me
of where all the bodies are.

March 19, 2010, from the forthcoming collection, Spoken Rage.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

the best that I could

all the rights
and wrongs
of my life,
in a greeting line,
some perky
(the rights),
and some somber
(the wrongs),
and they all stare at me,
to see how I will
greet them:
with gladness
(the rights)
or with sadness
(the wrongs),
and to see which one
will cause me to take
and seeking only
the light of
the denial of
the entrenchment
of mendacity:
and I am dumbstruck,
out of luck,
as I am left to my own
pitiful devices,
trying to make
out of meager slices
of intentions gone awry,
measures of nothing:
images written in the sky
but seen only by me;
not intention,
nor serendipity,
only blameful,
in the end,
I bow to them all,
and decline,
very respectfully
to make any judgment at all,
and I retreat
to my corner complete,
to see my end
play out, undiscussed,
to have my ups and downs,
judged by
eternal clowns,
since I always did
the best
that I could.

March 17, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All right reserved.


as one

I love You,
You are the alpha,
and the omega,
as the Greeks would say;
trite, cliché,
so sue me in cliché court
it is of no moment,
as I recede from
life's torment,
to languish in some
small stolen hours,
to be Yours,
and to be devoured,
and to devour,
every morsel of You,
once an hour;
passion's moans,
and lust's screams,
combined with
love's ardor,
tell me all that means
any little thing:
and fever's pitch,
does not fully
scratch the itch,
that my heart knows;
centuries come,
and centuries go,
and still my soul
knows which trail
to follow:
the one that leads me
to You,
the only one that is
and kingdoms come,
and then they go,
but You and I,
we flow eternal,
not vernal,
but constant,
like the seas,
stuck fast in stark memories
of together
past all miseries;
adorned in sheets
of stained glass,
we walk,
into the future,
the unknown land,
and we remain
happy, united
as one.

March 16, 2010, for the Wifey.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


A Few Minutes with Betty, Chapter 18: "Leather and Chains in the Basement" (or, "You Have No Idea What I Can Do with His Nose")


"Hello you blonde bundle of utter and complete joy and femininity."

"Wow. Are you high?"

"No, Betty, and I don't owe you any money, either."

"So what did I do to get that kind of hello?"

"Nothing; you are just terrific, and I wanted you to know that. Plus you are uber-limber. And no, I am way up here and you are way down there, so I am not angling for action either. Just had a nice lunch, and a busy but good day and am gearing up for a long night covering the Town of Marion's annual town meeting tonight."

"Oh good."

"Whaddya mean oh good? I thought you would jump at the chance for some action."

"Meh, I'm pooped."

"Just another Monday, eh?"

"Long Sunday, lots of physical stuff today. Just tired."

"Well it is grey and semi-rainy here, and not very inspirational. Be right back."


"Okay, I'm back."


"I love the way I excite you. I am also talking to Candida right now."

"Oh, how's she doing?"

"She is doing better, by degrees. Still rocky, but she is functioning at a semi-normal level. Her grandmother and uncle left this morning, so she is back to her routine with her kids."

"Well that's good."

"A long way left to go, but I am with her every step."

"Of course you are, because you don't suck."

"Well, I do, but only when it is called for, and then only in the best of ways."

"Okay, eew. Speaking of suck. George went on an appointment the other day at a gay couple's home. He said they were very sweet. Until he had to go measure their basement windows."

"Oh no."

"They didn't want him down there, but he had to go."

"Oh no."

"Only to find their basement full of chains, leather, tables with restraints, etc. I wanted pics, dammit."

"Yep, I saw that one, er, coming."

"He he he. He said they were so cool and laid back that he didn't expect it. Like when people go into our basement, they DO expect it."

"Well it isn't just straight people like you who are into BDSM, ya know."

"I didn't say it was. I still wanted pics. I need some fresh ideas."

"I know, so you could sell them to me and Michael. He and I spend years trying to get video from you, and then you just want to sell us pics of gay apparatus."


"And I'm thinkin: 'Where did Michael and I get off-message with Blondie?'"

"Call me Blondie again, Dirt, and see what happens."

"You are hilarious."

"Yeah, that was the reaction I was going for, Shakespeare."

"Ha ha ha ha! You are even sexier when your blood starts to boil."

"Too bad it's not."

"And your eyes get that glare in them."

"I'm avoiding work right now by looking up stupid things on the Internet and talking to you."

"I figured; I am used to you using me as an excuse not to harass and intimidate people."

"I should be writing. I haven't done that in months. Who do you need to harrass?"

"I'm kind of like those warm-up girls they hire in the porn biz. A fluffer."

"Oh, I misread. Nevermind. A fluffer?"

"Yes, a fluffer."

"You don't look fluffy to me."

"Me either."

"Maybe it's just your hair. Have you tried gel?"

"But I'm in the on-deck circle."

"Don't use baseball analogies or I will kill you."

"You are on fire today."

"I'll have to 'deck' you. My wit has been restrained."

"Now there is a pin that I would be happy to have stuck in me."

"I was talking to Michael this morning. That was like cracking jokes on a door knob."

"Yeah, as soon as I decided the other day to stop ignoring him, he stopped messaging me. So screw him."


"Meredith is apparently going to keep him, at least for now."

"She's a glutton for punishment."

"Well she has a lot of patience, that's for sure."

"True dat."

"But she and I have hit if off nicely. I really enjoy talking to her."

"Is that why you spend so little time with me?"

"No, I have three books going; this one, Conversations with Candida, and Stolen Moments with Meredith, plus the novel collaboration is in full gear."

"You are just a ladies man."

"We hit 50,000 words last week with the novel."

"Busy, busy, busy. Wow, that's pretty awesome."

"So we are on target for 100,000, in about a month, maybe less, to go."

"I'm 18 kinds of jealous."

"Well look, there are seven of us, only one of you, Betty."

"Okay, let's put it like this: my word count in the past month -- zero."

"Its much easier when you have all those minds and fingers. And you have had a lot going on too: three little kids, one big one, the work, the finances."

"Not really. Meh, I still have time to support my movie habit."

"Well yes, but that helps you creatively."

"Not really, but I do like hot boys. And hot boys who can act, nicccce!"

"You like hot boys if they just stand there, half naked."

"Well yeah, but this one also has a degree in English. And he uses words that have more than four letters."

"'Let me devour you, Ms. Betty.' Yep, lots more than four letters throughout that sentence. I see your point."

"Shut up, Shakespeare."

"'Watch, as my rippling six-pack moves to grasp you.' Uh huh."

"You need to get out more."

"Sure, that's what they all say."

"We took the cover off our pool yesterday. Today, we have a family of ducks."

"So all the dead bodies are exposed to full sunlight?"

"George thinks I'm odd because I was outside talking to them."

"Oh, ducks; nevermind. And I think you are odd for many more reasons than you talk to families of ducks."

"Gee, you really know how to sweet talk a girl."

"Aw, Betty, you know I love you."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah."

"I'll be right back, I've got to wake mom up from her nap. Okay, I'm back. You're front."

"My turn to be right back, George is headed out to work and I need to say goodbye."

"Take your time and kiss him twice."

"I'm back."

"Okay, and before you say a word, that was too long for just a couple o' smooches, just so ya know."

"Nah, he left and then I went potty and got something to eat."

"So towel off."

"Then he called, and we chatted."


"And poof, here I am."


"Nothing exciting happened."


"His allergies are killing him today. Trust me, I tried three times to get some booty."

"Well I didn't think you were after his nose."

"You have no idea what I can do with his nose."



"Dammit. You say no too much. We need to find you a new word."


"You are irrepressible."

"You have NO idea, Shakespeare."

"I don't come across many Bettys anymore. It was popular when you born, but not in recent years."

"Actually, I was named after an uncle: Donald. My family is LAME."

"Oh no. Oh that is incredible. There must be humor possibilities there."


"Like, if you had an Uncle Fester, you would have been Fest."

"My grandmother wanted to them to name me Penelope Candace. Ask me why."


"So they could nickname me Penny Candy."

"Oh God, I should have seen that one bearing down on me.

"So anyway, yesterday we took the kids to the volunteer fire department for their open house. My younger daughter asks if she can set the houses on fire."

"Oh my."

"And I said, that's my girl!"

"I'll bet she is already on some watch-list."

"I think I told you that we took them to the air and space museum and she decided that she wants to fly planes so she can make things so BOOM!"

"Yes, you did; this is not surprising considering her lineage."

"George is tame. So she should only be half-psycho."
"No, she is a female, she has all of your estrogen."

"And she's the youngest."

"With that one little DNA stripe, the psycho one."

"The youngest child of two youngest children."

"Yes, lucky for all of us that she is a girl."

"Lucky she's a girl?"

"Sure. If she were a boy, you would have named her Kenneth Wayne."

"Unlikely. She's cute and small."

"Just like her mommy."

"Cool down, Shakespeare."

"Well I do need to go get ready for work. See you soon, Betty."

"It's probably inevitable. Bye."

March 16, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.



eyes focus,
narrowed slits
that look mean
whether or not
limbs tense,
elbows extended,
legs stiffen,
and feet are
wind drift,
and innocent
as the soul
of the warrior
to get
the latest
guilty target;
and then,
like the sudden
of a bone,
there is a volley,
that sets
the ground
and through
an amethyst haze,
there springs
certain death,
from a craze
that knows no
alpha, or omega,
just glories in
the kill,
and what will
slay ya.

March 15, 2010, from the forthcoming collection, Spoken Rage.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


sometimes I don't know how I got there

those eyes
could open a man's soul,
like poking holes
in a wet sheet
of tissue paper,
and yet,
like Icarus,
there was no where
else to stare,
no corner to which
I could repair,
and collect myself:
I was a trophy,
planted on a shelf,
and so softly,
she kept me
all to herself;
I lingered on,
if only to just once
hear again
her song --
the soft, sweet wail
of a stray cottontail,
bounding through meadows,
watching shadows,
needing love,
but searching for safety --
the tune that captured me,
engulfed my reason,
and left my logic
rumpled in a pile
in the corner,
the dusty corner where
forgotten things go;
she finally released me,
in a garden of stones
that offered no answers,
sent out no polite smiles,
but only asked why
I was among them,
naked, consumed,
and crying.

March 14, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


the human resources department

it has come
to my attention
that you really don't like me,
and this has caused me some concern;
it makes me wonder, once again,
why humans are so slow to learn:
rabbits know instinctively,
that coyotes do not like them,
and they plan accordingly;

truth told,
I do not like you much either,
and all else being equal,
I would gladly bet you a fiver,
that the coyotes would like you no better;
and please, please, please:
try not to take any of this

March 13, 2010, from the forthcoming collection, Spoken Rage.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


emotional disasters

will today's emotional disasters
really last past noon,
or will they become
mere leftovers,
to be consumed soon,
or thrown in the trash?

if I were to stop loving you
(no chance),
who would there be
to clean up after
the lost romance?
who will be left to do
all that need be done,
if we are no longer two?

ah, the muffin man,
from the baking pan,
he is the one
with the half-smile
not done,
to complete the plan,
with his floury élan;
thank goodness for
that baker's dream,
as he seems now
so much more
than he then seemed;

endless nights
complete boundless days,
and two souls unite
in uncountable ways;
distance overcome
with fiery intensity,
unquenchable urges,
slay all sensibility;
if I do not love you now,
what will remain
if ever I see you
ever again;
not a dot, not a smidge
can I see on that horizon,
so I seize every single thing
that I lay my eyes on;

I confess that all my efforts
nonetheless conspire
to rob me of success,
seeking only your
continued happiness;
I sometimes am tired
of rolling that rock up
that hill, scorched by a fire
that I cannot stop,
pushed on by a will
that I get to the top;

these emotional disasters
will always be with us,
and we will never be
the masters of all that
surrounds us,
but I will never stop trying
to buoy this union,
since when you see a true love,
you must work steadily
to be one.

March 12, 2010, for the Wifey, whom I adore.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

a little bit more number 2

skating on the edge of the moon:
if you look closely,
when it is full,
you will see me,
its circumference,
gliding along --
boppin' --
to some mystery song,
looking to the horizon
for my purpose,
my means test,
my earnestness,
that I have been
striving for:
a little bit less
than a little bit more.

March 8, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


for free

so facing having to write
a nice, descriptive, tight
story about the marion
planning board meeting
tonight, he does what any
hard-working, serious
journalist would do --
he decides to write a poem
and let his mind wander,
as it is often wont to do --
and what of this poem
of disaffection, distraction?
well, you are reading it,
so you tell me your reaction;
are you dismayed, that a
reporter who is supposed to
be working, is instead sitting
there, jerking your cerebral
cord? or are you more
concerned that what he has
learned is displayed in his
use of every single word?
do you moan with dismay,
at his attempts to waylay
the subject that he ought to be
reporting, or do you believe
that his attempt to retrieve
some humor out of life is
just resorting to some silly
contrivance, a way to make
nonsense seem like
relevance; tell me, dear reader,
do you agree,
that the best of this poet
is your reading,
not my writing,
and that you have it for free.

March 8, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


no matter

the vacuum
sucks from the room
all the beating hearts
and all the false starts
that easily consume
all the costumed tarts
with colored plumes
adorning their gaily
festooned hats
and colorful cravats,
as the music swells,
and the ne'er-do-wells
crawl the carpet,
seeking new recruits;

and I look at You,
and You look at me,
and we both know
that this is a place
that we do not want
to be, so we scamper,
and scurry, and we
leave in a hurry,
and arrive in a place
that is tranquil and
easy, so slow,
so mellow, that it is
easy to be easy;
and I take you,
and you take me,
and the lovin' is
amazing, and we are
lazing in the soft glow,
as we both know,
that we have found
some certain ground,
to have all that is
around us,
but to still be an
island to surround us;

it is in that precise measure,
that all we hold dear
lies as sunken treasure,
and all that we have known,
between us,
will be all that remains
to define us,
as we realize that there is no
cadence known
as 'merry measure';

well yes,
and a mite of maybe;
for what foretells
is maybe what might possibly
wanna be:
but no matter,
we can ignore all that
chatter, and we can just be:
we gonna be,
we gonna be,
You and I,
and then
You and me,
no matter.

March 7 & 8, 2010, for the Wifey. What a weekend!

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


let loose in dreams

de verdad
en su sueno:
the room
at 74 degrees
me, clad in
checkered shirt,
blue jeans
from you,
and my new
athletic shoes;
smoked oysters,
papas y cebollas,
and bottles
of vinho verde,
and you, with
your ensalada
de bacalao,
and your bbq
and martinis
for after,
amid kisses
this is all,
todo el mundo,
that I am after:
not just a love,
cast aside,
as a moment
gone hasty,
but a bond,
a tie, that will
last very nicely
with You
and I, exchanging
knowing glances,
while knowing
that enduring
is just one of life's
chances, made
and still,
spiriting the night
we give sway
to the final way,
the way that all loves
end in this day,
completely abject,
and in total disarray,
limbs akimbo,
hearts aflutter,
in a twisted sea
of tangled covers;

and in these moments,
everything that we know,
or pretend to know,
is let loose in dreams.

March 4, 2010, for the Wifey. See you on the 6th, mi amor.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


the sighing mujer

the clerks, all of them,
at the bodega down there,
they all know him,
that one,
eso hombre,
with that blue-eyed stare;
what they don't know,
but postulate,
is that somewhere,
back there,
in those woods,
is a woman,
with all the goods
on him,
about him,
his every whim,
the sighing mujer.

March 2, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

thanks Part Two

thanks, to all you misbegotten bastards
and woebegone bitches
who ever cut me off in traffic,
for all of the horrific accidents
that you kept me from;
thanks to all you unbelievably stupid
store clerks,
who studied my receipt
like it was the Rosetta Stone,
you kept me from many extra minutes
of an extremely useless life;
thanks especially to all the little old ladies,
who peppered me with questions
about why I was buying KY jelly
in the checkout line --
like I owed them some explanation
of her temporary dryness --
and for being so gracious,
when I told them of her illness;
thanks to all you SUV drivers,
particularly of the Hummer variety,
how is that workin' out for you,
you ostentatious motherfuckers?
soon, I will be able to back out
of a parking space at the grocery store
without feeling like General Custer:
just waiting for the right arrow;
thanks, to all you rich assholes out there,
the ones with the Mercedes-Benz
station wagons;
we already knew that you were assholes,
but the car confirms it, so we can steer
clear of you, and affirm it;
thanks too, to all you right-wing nuts
who would put form over substance,
dogma over conscience,
life over countenance,
a face, a place, a stage, a play,
over lives that will give much away
to the beginning of the start of the
end of time, those fragile souls who
would claim to be in line with all
that is good and true, and yet
you would banish them all,
for some music that rings in your
ears, but is not true; so many, so many
that you have tossed on that pyre,
yet all that you have wished for
will die as mere desire;
and thank you, as well,
for the fetid swell,
of all those who would be my
professional kin, you reporters,
you discoursers, you "journalists" all,
there are those of you, known,
who deserve the greatest fall,
for you speak not of truth,
or anything provable,
you speak of the missing tooth,
and of what is then permissible;
you cast all reason aside,
and then you beam and you glower
and you stand beside
the tower of babble that you have
erected, and you think that all
that you have expected
will come true;
well the joke is really on you:
no ceded conjunction,
no jam at the junction,
will ever conspire to suit you;
you are as you were,
a blemish to endure,
and time nor trouble
will not be wasted on you;
know only at least,
that seeing you cease,
is only part of what
will make our resolve increase.

March 2, 2010. From the forthcoming collection, Spoken Rage.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


You Have a Vivid Imagination


"Look, dammit, all I am sayin' is that you should reconsider this. That's all. Just think twice, okay?"

"Ya know, we have known each other for like, forever. And yet, I am havin' trouble remembering exactly when it was that you turned into a freakin' nancyboy. When was that, do you remember? Or does your wussiness erase your memory, too?"

"Very funny. What I have been tryin' to get through to you, nitwit, is that he is not someone that you mess with, okay? He is what is known as 'a one-call guy.' With one phone call, he can ice you. Period."

"Ya know, you watch too many of those direct-to-video movies on cable. You actually believe some of that shit."

"Imma tellin' you, man, fuckin' with him will only lead to trouble. I've seen it before."

"Look, I have the story. I have the corroboration. I have the facts. I am not putting this in some desk drawer. This could really make my career, dude. And you are not goin' to scare me into keepin' it in some file folder."

"Whatever, man. Just don't say that I did not try to warn you if you wake up with two broken kneecaps. Just sayin'."

"Lookit, I gotta go and file this with my editor, okay. I'll see you later at Shorty's for a few drinks."

"Okay, man, but please, be careful."

"Yeah, I'll be real careful. See ya later."


The exposé, which connected the city councilman to a prostitution ring that the district attorney had been trying to crack for over a year, ran in the next day's paper. From the minute that the paper hit the streets, and its website, the phones chirped and the email inboxes lit up. The district attorney held a press conference at 9:00 a.m., vowing to pursue the case in light of the new information. At 10:00 a.m., the councilman held his own news conference, denying all of the allegations contained in the story, and vowing to fight to clear his name of any wrongdoing. The district attorney also put a team of four detectives out to tail the reporter, and note his every movement.

The councilman left the city on a previously scheduled trip to Washington, DC to lobby for additional federal aid for the city's homeless initiative. He was filmed by a local television station boarding his flight to the nation's capital. Later, an affiliate television station in Washington interviewed him on the scandal as well as the purpose of his trip.


At Shorty's later that day, Marty glances nervously at his watch as he waits to see Rick walk in the front door. Rick was rarely late, and given his big story, it makes Marty nervous that he has not yet arrived. Marty stares at the television footage of the councilman, and wishes that Rick had taken his advice, and backed off on the story. No fuckin' way that he is gonna take this layin' down, Marty thinks as he watches.

Just as he is about to call Rick to find out where he is, Rick walks in the front door.

"Man, I was just about to call you. Where have you been?"

"Enjoying the celebrity status down at the newsroom. I got a raise, and an office."

"Yeah, well let's hope that you live to enjoy both."

"Ya know, you have a vivid imagination."

"Yeah, and it has saved my sorry ass more times than I can count. And here is what my imagination is currently tellin' me: see those two dudes at the table near the front door? They really perked up when you walked in."

"Eh, my editor told me not to be surprised if the DA doesn't have me followed. He wants my sources, he wants to know who I meet, and who I talk to."

"Okay, fine, wiseguy. Then what about the two behind us, who shuffled their feet every time I got up to go take a leak?"

"Maybe the DA has lots of spare hands, and he sent four. Relax."

Right after Rick's drink arrives, there are several flashes of light from behind his and Marty's table, and thunderous noises, followed immediately by several flashes of light from the front of the bar, with more thunderous noises.

"Holy hell," Marty says as he picks himself up from the floor, "can you believe that they missed us completely?"

"No, I can't," says Rick as he struggles to his feet, "but they sure didn't miss each other."

"Well, I warned you about that story, man."

"Ya, so much for your imagination."

March 1, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.