Follow by Email

Friday, June 20, 2014

Black Sheep

[Singing Stand By Me by Ben E. King}
JONATHAN GARCIA: If the sky, that we look upon. Should tumble and fall. All the mountains should crumble to the sea.
(Begin looking at the ground.  Give two measures of the beat you're rapping to, and then look up and proceed.)
I live in South Central, the gangster’s metropolis. It’s a poet’s apocalypse. Just a sixteen year old boy, with a glock in my sock. But I'm not one for Capone. I be chillin, with Whitman. More kindred to the words of Buddha. Cuz when I look in the mirror all I see is Neruda. While the rest of the homies, roll up blunts to blaze. I'm watching the Tonys, cuz I want to write plays. Me and my blokes, we slingin coke, that’s no joke. I just do what I do, cuz you survive with a crew. I'm not hard thru and thru, but I keep a gun in my shoe. Don't think me Gestapo, I'm one for Picasso. Langston Hughes is my muse. It's Plato, I'll choose. Though I'll go for some Homer, and soft rock blues. I think Rob Frost is my boss, in Poe I get lost. When you lower the curtain, the page is my purpose. The pen makes me Zen. And I'll keep rapping and rhyming, again and again. To shove off the pain, and break from these chains! I'm not some crook.  I'm just a kid in need of a new outlook. I don't know what you heard, but it's not all sun and smiles in the San Fernando Valley.  Gangs and drugs, it’s just the culture of Cali.
(Light a blunt while you narrate this; gesture to it when you say 'couldn't live without 'em.)
I don't go through it alone, though. Me and my friends have sort of formed our pact—to survive, you know strength in numbers and all. And sure, we tag and we sag, but we don't mean to hurt nobody, we just like to party with our shaddys. I mean, man, we own these streets. And when someone tries to come up on our territory….which they rarely do….we take care of it.
(A chilling stone cold tone when you say, ‘we take care of it’; it comes off  almost a bit frightening. As the scene transitions to you in bed, your mother is calling to you from the kitchen. Jonathan’s blunt becomes the mother’s cigarette.)
MOM: Jonathan! Get your ass down here! The cops are here again.
(Jonathan enters the kitchen; notices Detective Webber, a familiar face.)
JONATHAN: Detective Webber, didn’t think I’d be seeing you again so soon.
DETECTIVE WEBBER: Stop getting yourself into trouble, maybe I wouldn’t have to.
MOM: What’s this all about officer?  
DETECTIVE WEBBER: Well Ma’am. There was a shooting in this neighborhood just last night, and we know it was the Alley Locos, Jonathan.
JONATHAN: Nah man, you got it all wrong. Those Radford Street Boys are all over this one. I know it.
DETECTIVE WEBBER: Is that what Emilio told you to say?
JONATHAN: Man, Emilio may run the crew. But he don’t put words in my mouth. I ain’t his lap dog. I’m just telling it to you like it is.  
DETECTIVE WEBBER: Look son…
(Tries to put a hand on Jonathan’s shoulder. Jonathan shakes him off.)
JONATHAN: Don’t touch me! And I ain’t yo son, man! So why don’t you stop calling me that!
DETECTIVE WEBBER: (Sighs; Turns to the Mother) Ma’am. Do you mind if I have a moment alone with Jonathan?
MOM: Of course, Officer…Just wait till you father hears about all this nonsense.  
(Webber calms himself; he speaks with a warm demeanor)
DETECTIVE WEBBER: You got some new art there on your neck. What is that a Hamlet quote?
JONATHAN: You know your Shakespeare, Webber. Didn’t know you blue bloods had any class.
DETECTIVE WEBBER: You know you could do a lot with that head of yours, I hope you know you deserve better friends then the ones you keep now.
JONATHAN: Man, you don’t know the first thing about me! So stop trying to pretend like you got me all figured out!
DETECTIVE WEBBER: You’re wrong Jonathan, I do know you and I know when someone’s pretending to be something they’re not.
(Pop into the Father; stern, tall and aggressive. Holding a beer bottle as he reprimands his son) 
DAD: You did what!?! You think I want to hear about my son…Mister Jessie fuckin James going around, like he’s some tough guy! I’mma tell you right now Jonathan, when your ass is sitting in some murder trial, I’m not hiring some fancy Jew lawyer to bail you out of all this!
JONATHAN: Dad, it wasn’t like that…
DAD: (slaps Jonathan) Don’t lie to me boy!
JONATHAN GARCIA: Dad, how much have you had to drink?
DAD: None of your god-damn business! That's how much!
(Mom lights a cigarette and takes a drag as she speaks.)
MOM: The kid's right, you know.  You shouldn't drink.  Alcohol can kill you.
(She goes into a coughing fit)
JONATHAN GARCIA: Mom? Are you seriously smoking again?  
MOM: After what you put me through with that cop, I need a cigarette.
DAD: See, this is what you do to us! You and your little boyfriends in that gang are tearing this family apart!  It's time to grow up and be a man. You can't live here no more!
JONATHAN GARCIA: Dad, please! Let’s talk about this later! When you've sobered up!
MOM: No, your father's right. You want to go be a big strong man, killing people? I don’t need that in my life.
JONATHAN GARCIA: Ma, it wasn't like that!
DAD: No, she's right Jonathan! You wanna go be a gangster?!? Go be a gangster somewhere else!
(Follow Jonathan with your eyes as dad, and move to intercept him.)
Hey! Hey! Where do you think you're going, boy?
JONATHAN GARCIA: I'm just gunna grab some shit!
DAD: Ah, stuff I bought yah, right? No, a man buys his own clothes! Pays his own rent! And doesn't go begging nobody for nothing!
JONATHAN GARCIA: Dad, please! I have nowhere to go!
DAD: Not my problem!
JONATHAN GARCIA: Not your problem?!? I’m your fucking son!
DAD: You are sure as hell no son of mine!
(Pop to Jonathan for his silent, teary reaction.  He turns around, and halfway through the turn, begins rapping)
JONATHAN GARCIA: I'm a sinner, I'mma a saint. Whatever picture you wanna paint. But anyway you figure, I'm not the boy who pulled that trigger. But oh well…Cause the father has already condemned me to hell. While I'm reading the words of Aristotle, you’re off dancing with the bottle. And this friend of mine named fate, has shut the doors of the Pearly gates. Though I’m not the one who took the kill. These forgotten nightmares haunt me still. And Dad….I'm scared. And completely unprepared. For the world out there. So please … Dad …tell me you care. And I’m sorry for my sins, I promise I’ll atone. But I’m still you’re kin, don’t leave me alone. Can I sway you from this volition? To give me abolition, remission, nutrition, condition, emission. And your ammunition of acquisitions, is a mortician of demolition. You’re slated with hatred that’s sedated my ambition. But maybe….You still see me as your baby. I don't know….is that non-sense? Am I wasting my breath with every protest? Maybe my wrongs have cut too deep. And a father's song has been put to sleep. 
(He turns around in the other direction. Pop into the teacher's posture—
flamboyant, enthusiastic, a little dorky.)
TEACHER: Jonathan, you’re quite a talented poet. Is that true, are you having problems with your father?
JONATHAN: Nah, course not Ms.B I was just fooling around.
TEACHER: Okay, well you know you can always come to me for help.
(Teacher extends her hand; giving Jonathan a journal)
TEACHER: Here, I want you to have this.
JONATHAN: Thanks but I got my own notebooks Ms.B.
TEACHER: This isn’t a notebook Jonathan. It’s a book of poems.
JONATHAN: Who’s the author?
TEACHER: You’re looking at her.
JONATHAN: You write poetry?
TEACHER: When I was your age I did.
JONATHAN: Why are you giving this to me?
TEACHER: I’d be honored if you would read my work and tell me what you think. Would you do that for me?
JONATHAN: Sure thing, Ms.B.
(As you pop into Jonathan Garcia, pushing yourself up, reaching to grab your bag, and starting to walk out of the classroom. Emilio stops Jonathan as he exits the classroom. Emilio has a slightly raspy Latino accent; this'll set him apart from Jonathan.)
JONATHAN GARCIA: Hey what’s up Emilio?
EMILIO: I heard the popo was at your house, man.  You didn't tell 'em nothing did you?
JONATHAN GARCIA: No, no of course not man. We’re in this together. Brothers for life, homie.
EMILIO: Yah, that’s all well and good till someone starts thinking they could make a little deal with the PD.
JONATHAN GARCIA: Look all I did was drive the car, man.
EMILIO: And you think that makes you any more innocent? Just cause you didn't pull the trigger cuz, doesn't mean you gunna walk away from this.
JONATHAN GARCIA No, I know that. Trust me, I know. But listen I'm going through my own thing right now with my parents.
EMILIO: Hey we all got our problems man.
JONATHAN GARCIA: You wanna talk about problems? I’m just tryin to keep my head held high. Not cryin about this pain stained lie. Just got thrown out of the only home I know. And truth is I got nowhere to go. Who made the clouds rain red and left a young boy dead? This scenario’s come over me like a catastrophic wave. I’m lost, and don't know to stay brave. When all that I see is this hollow shamed cave. And Emilio, can you hear my Harlem Blues? Cause the road that you choose. Leaves me battered and bruised? Painted as…one of the accused?
EMILIO: Hey man, did you hear me?
JONATHAN GARCIA: What? What was that Emilio?
EMILIO: I just said, I need my gun back homie.
JONATHAN GARCIA: You gave me that piece, Emilio. You said it was mine.
EMILIO: Yah, and now the pigs are gunna be lookin for my gat. So I need yours, its only temporary bro.
(As you transition and Turn, beatbox; when you turn back around, you're the Dad. Same voice, with the drunken slurring. Jonathan is fumbling through his drawers. His Dad stumbles out in a bathrobe with a beer bottle in hand)
DAD: Looking for this?
(Pulls out Jonathan’s gun)
JONATHAN: Dad, what the hell were doing going through my stuff?
DAD: What the hell were you thinking, bringing a fucking gun into my house?
JONATHAN: It’s not even my gun. I was going to give it back to Emilio.
Dad: Ooooh it’s Emilio’s gun, huh? Well why don’t you show me what Emilio would do if he were here right now.
(Points it at Jonathan’s forehead)
JONATHAN: Put down the fucking gun! You’re drunk!
DAD: Tell me son, when your out their on the streets is this how you hold it?
(Turns the gun sideways)
JONATHAN: Dad, please…you’re scaring m…
DAD: What do they say Jonathan? You know…before you pop’em.
(Dad presses the gun harder into Jonathan’s skull)
DAD: Do they cry? Do they beg? Do they get on their knees and pray?  
(Dad gestures him; using the gun as a strong motivator)
DAD: Come on son, why don’t you get on your knees and pray?
(Jonathan is on his knees; in the praying position. He closes his eyes and begins to rap. Get louder and more forceful as you rap—this should be the climax.)
JONATHAN GARCIA: Damn these cards that I’ve been dealt. Damn this hell that I have felt. Damn all these intoxicated intolerants that bother us. I'm riding the roads of my youthful revolution and the doctrines for my own constitution. I'm fatherin' my own resolution because here in these slums I won’t find my evolution. Why am I subjected to despair in a world of no opportunity? No fruition fossil’d in the 21st century. (Jumps back to his feet) 
This society’s systematical, irrational, impractical, radical and tactical.
(Teary eyed; Take a few deep breaths as you regain your calm demeanor. Melt to a more relaxed, composed you.)
So, there I was. Out on my own at 16 years old. Who knew a father could be so cold? I struggled…No job, no money, no education, no diploma. And just like Romeo in fair Verona. I was exiled…my happiness defiled. And I was a child, who no longer smiled. And I became my own father, when my real one no longer bothered. I found work, and I made do. And I found an apartment on 6th Avenue. Eventually, I got my GED.
(Time has past; You are now adult Jonathan.)
JONATHAN: You know Ms.B once told me I’d make a great teacher. Turns out now, she was right. And now, a decade down the road. I run an outreach program for inner-city youth. And I see myself in so many of their adolescent faces.
(Beat-box those two measures before melting into the rap)
JONATHAN: Do you hear that? I’ve built an empire, out of the ruins of blood and fire. All these boys of battered homes, we walk the same roads. But I can change the pain, and my struggle won’t be in vain. And maybe my tribulations and tragedies will be their gain. The passion of this piece of paper is more powerful then the guns of yesterday. But years of tears have brought me nothing but friends in the tombs that lay.
(As you melt out of the rap; Transition to Victor, a soft adolescent voice with a Latin accent. He’s holding a piece of paper where’s he’s written his poem)
VICTOR: Mr.G, can you read something I wrote yesterday?
JONATHAN: Of course, Victor.
(Takes the piece of paper from Victor’s hand)
JONATHAN: This is really good. Can I give you some of my poetry to read?
VICTOR: You write poetry?
JONATHAN: Back when I was your age, that’s all I did. Here, take it home with you. I wrote a poem for you, it’s in the very back.
(Jonathan hands Victor his journal; melts out of the conversation as he transitions to a Narrator position, speaking directly to the audience)
JONATHAN: I was really genuinely excited to hear what Victor thought of my poetry, but unfortunately (Sound of a gun shot; in the background) Victor never made it home that night. This is what I wrote.
(Jonathan emotional and teary eyed: reads his poem from a piece of paper. We hear police sirens and helicopters as the song Stand By Me by Ben E. King begins to play.)
Just like bombs burst, turning the world to vapor, this pen will forever fix
words to paper. 'Cause I'm spreading the gospel of peace, sire. Heading towards the gang war's ceasefire. Because one day we may finally see. The end to this infinite fallacy. The long awaited day when the bullets are a relic. The tethered and torn cry for a day so angelic! A day when we can speak of great history. And look back on our glorious legacy. And with honest sincerity. I ask for everlasting prosperity. As far as me? I’m not some crook, I’m just a kid…who found his new outlook.
(Rap fades out; Along with the sirens. Though the song continues)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Footsteps on the Denver Sun

       I don’t often dream. But when I do, I dream of lilac sheep. And when there are no more lilac sheep I dream of cows lunging over mozzarella moons. But when I awake I find myself in an imperfect body in an imperfect world. I gaze at the mirror pointing out a thousand things I don’t like. Isn’t that the cliche, that we’re our own worst critics?

      This past summer I went to a Foster Care Facility in Denver Colorado with my church youth group that house abused and neglected children. Ranging from extreme chases of physical abuse in the home and all the way to the obscure situations in which you find an older sister raising a younger brother on the streets and the parents are nowhere to be found.

      As soon as we got to the facility our group was assigned a staff member who gave us mattresses, a room and prepped us on what to expect behavior wise from the kids.

      They’ll scream, hollering obscenities more vile being forced to watch the once innocent and beloved Hannah Montana grind up on a 36 year old man at the VMAs. But on the flip side they can come at you with a personable disposition, asking you if your going to be taking them home with you. I'd never worked with little children before. How was I supposed to act a mother to these children. 

      And just like a mother we'd be witness to uncontrollable tantrums created from the hostility they must have been privy to in their own households at some time in their relatively short adolescent lives. I didn’t think I’d really come across any case that intense, so I brushed off the red light warnings. Not that my preconceived notion was to completely disregard the insistent warnings of the staff.

      I was under the impression that these were precautions. You know; Worst case scenarios just to prepare you for what was to come. Assigned to a classroom of 8 year old's my day consisted of dodge ball,  Magic School Bus and watching National Geographic documentaries on the fascinating capabilities of the armadillo.

      Funny enough, as I sat there watching Magical School Bus, it brought me back to my own Elementary School days and as I stared at the television screen I said to myself, “Hey,” I remember this episode. So there I was, with a warm wool blanket and a Capri-sun by my side, I thoroughly enjoyed episodes of Magical School Bus at the age of 17. And gosh darn it, I felt 10 years younger. 

      What could I say? I was in heaven. And my week in Colorado was going to be a breeze. And for the first couple days it was. Little did I know that a socially undeveloped 10-year-old boy named Nick would show me how wrong I truly was.

      Nick had his own desk in the corner of the room. What I could only assume was the result of many obnoxious and aggravated outbursts. Nick’s desk had tall wooden walls built into it, like he was some blue-collar worker in his own personal cubicle. But truthfully, he was like a criminal. Locked into his little 4-sided prison cell. Closing him in his own miniscule world. Hiding him from his fellow students.

      I didn’t think it was the right thing to do on the part of the counselors but I kept my mouth shut. I mean really, you take a socially unstable kid and you make an effort to make him even more unsocial. It seemed more like a punishment then a life lesson for a per-pubescent child who never got a proper upbringing. 

      I watched Nick. I watched him eat his peanut butter jelly sandwiches. I watched him as he followed along as the teacher read, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, out loud to the class. I even watched him on the play ground as he interacted with his peers on the jungle gym. Nick didn’t seem to have many friends. And when I asked him to play basketball he told me, “I have better things to do.”

      Every time I tried to talk to Nick he would just shrug me off. I tried playing handball with him at Recess. I tried to help him with his addition and subtraction. It wasn’t hard to tell why he didn’t have many friends. Sometimes I’d be sitting there at my desk in the back when Nick would walk by. We would make eye contact and he’d say something like, “What are you looking at?”

      I wanted to give Nick a little taste of his own medicine and respond with something outrageously clever like, “Your face.” Because in my mind, I thought, If it came to fists I think I could take Nick in a fight. I have a pretty mean right hook that not even the most ferocious 4th graders could come back from. 

      It wasn’t until my last couple days in Denver that I experienced a different side of Nick. It was the same face on the same child. Only this time what he had to say to me wasn’t cruel or unusual. He saw me writing a poem in my notebook.

      He asked me what I was doing. I responded with a short answer to avoid another possible confrontation. “Just writing” I said, nothing devious in that. Maybe Nick would decide that he didn’t have a bone to pick with me after all. But instead Nick said something peculiar, “What kind of writing?” 

      I was willing to give Nick the benefit of the doubt. He seemed to raising his white flag. Maybe his not so metaphorical walls were finally coming down. I come in peace, was the message I picked up on. But I was still hesitant. I’d seen how easily Nick’s switch flipped. During the short time that I’d already been there I’d seen Nick throw chairs, hit other kids and use words that most people can only find on HBO.

      I wasn’t ready for all that. “Just a poem,” I said. A bright firework appeared in Nick’s eyes, one of intrigue and overwhelming merriment. “A poem,” he said, “I want to hear a poem.”

      
      I didn’t know what type of poetry suited Nick’s fancy. Was he a Nursery Rhyme kind of fellow or was he more of a, pants hang low kind of dude. You know, with his modern day gangster rapping.

      But I digressed because truthfully I had neither in stock. I was an entrepreneur of Shakespearean sonnets and Nick, in all his glory, might not appeal to a retelling of The Notebook or Titanic or Twilight, if you roll that way, which I hope you don’t.

      So I told Nick a story. A story told in intricate rhymes, riddles and raps. A story, of boy meets girl. Most people assume the boy is me when they listen to my love poetry. I guess a writer puts a little bit of himself in all of his work. And I did. I do.

      And as I looked into Nick’s eyes I knew that Nick would someday experience all those things too and though I wasn’t his father I knew that the man that he actually called father was no father at all. I’d always had parents that loved me. I take that for granted, but not Nick. Not any of these kids.

      My heart wanted to reach out to Nick. I wished that I could be there with him; to talk to him about his first kiss, his first time falling in love, his first time making love. I wanted to have the birds and the bee’s talk with Nick someday when he comes home from school after hearing the word vagina for the first time.

      And there was a series of questions that Nick asked me during the time I was at Tennyson that I didn’t think I was capable to answer. Though I knew they were the types of questions that a son asks his father.

      Nick asked me, “Where do we go when we die?” And I told him if your good you go to heaven and if your bad you go to hell. But then he told me then he’d done a lot of terrible things in his life and he told me he didn’t want to go to hell.

      I told Nick that, “You just need to balance the scale. Go out and do a good thing every time you think you’ve done a bad thing.” He held his hands up, like scales. And he asked me, “So if my sins are this heavy,” he let his hand fall to the table, “And my good deeds are only this heavy,” he lifted up his other hand high above his head. Obviously from this analogy Nick was planning to go out and become a bank robber.

      But still, even if Nick was planning on going out and becoming the next Al Capone, he had to know that God would still love him. And I told Nick that God forgives us for all the bad things we do, and if we ask for his forgiveness, we can still go to heaven.

      Then he asked me, “What if I forget to ask for forgiveness?” I told him that I’m sorry isn’t a phrase that God needs to hear from your lips. He’s not waiting for a big apology speech. If your sorry for what you’ve done, he’ll know.

      On a different day, on a different afternoon Nick came up to me again, asking me to read him another poem. I told him, “We can play basketball, Nick.” I really didn’t want to make the time we spent together all about me. “I want to hear another poem,” he insisted. “We can go on the monkey bars. I know how much you love the monkey bars,” I reminded him.

      “Why won’t you read your poems to me?” And I said to Nick, “Why don’t I help you write your own poem. Wouldn’t that be fun?” I could turn this kid into the next Vanilla Ice before I go. He could be spitting rhymes so fast the counselors wouldn’t even know what to with him.

      But Nick told me wasn’t as creative as me. And whenever he tried to sit down and write, he couldn’t think of anything any good ideas. I told him that I remembered those days. But then I started reading, and all these amazing ideas started coming to me.

      And yes, I truly believed that. But I was also kind of keeping my fingers crossed that maybe I could turn Nick into an adamant reader.

      I wasn’t necessarily under the impression that Nick’s praise for my work meant I was some kind of Emily Dickinson or something. I took it in a different light. I took it as Nick trying to find his escapism, as the world of art and entertainment is happy to oblige such requests.

      Nick’s desires to vicariously live through someone else were most validated. Maybe I was psycho analyzing Nick to much but once you’ve come to your conclusions it’s difficult to stick them back into Pandora’s Box. 

      I never discovered what Nick’s story was. All I ever knew was that he had come from an abusive home. But even though I didn’t know Nick’s past I could see Nick’s future. He was inquisitive and intuitive. And through all of his struggle and childhood transgressions life hadn’t broken him down. I don’t know if I could say the same for myself.

      I don’t know if I could put myself in his shoes. That’s Nick’s burden to bear and yet somehow he invites the smiling sunshine upon his face and he smiles back.

     You know, they always say, be grateful for what you have. And truthfully most of the time I'm really not all that grateful. I take my Target-bought T-Shirts for granted. I take my trendy West Hollywood Fro-Yo for granted. But most of all, I take my parents for granted. 

     After Denver I realized that the family unit, the most fundamental factor in a child's upbringing, it doesn't always arrive in the mail like we planned it. Sometimes it arrived. And walked out the door a long time ago. Leaving shattered glass all over the kitchen floor. And the people at the Tennyson Center, their just there to pick up the pieces. 

     And believe it or not, my Church has decided to go back to the Tennyson Center next year because so many of us formed so many unforgettable bonds while we were in Denver. And even though I didn’t think my heart was going to get bottled up with all these crazy emotions over a bunch of juvenile brats that I happened to be spending a week with, in the end, I left my footsteps on the Denver sun. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Flight 370

      Little did Jimmy know that Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the man piloting his trip to Beijing, had other plans for Malaysia Flight 370. The man believed to be Ahmad Shah was actually a Martian foot soldier sent to send a violent message to the people of Earth. Loosely translated from Ancient Martian dialect the message goes as follows, “Get the fuck off my property.”
       In the past century the Martians had noticed that the Earthlings were quickly advancing technologically from their first discovery of electricity in the 1800s all the way to the Iphone5S in the early 21st Century. The Martians found it cute how the Earthlings rejoiced and celebrated and patted themselves on the back after the events of the first moon landings in 1968.
      To the Martians it was like discovering you had opposable thumbs. It was something the Martians had discovered early in their existence. It was a means for survival, due to the fact that no natural resources grew on the world of Mars, so interplanetary space travel was vital the Martians. But yet Martians were insulted that the Earthlings had turned space travel into some competitive game they called the Space Race. From what the Martians had read from the human archives it all had to with some pissing contest between these two villages that were trying to show the other that their form of government was better. And yet even though the Martians considered themselves very smart they were could not understand how competing to see who could build the better spaceship meant proved that their form of government was better.
         The Martian people had seen the travesties that the Earthlings had committed throughout their short history and it made the Martians truly fearful of what might soon happen to them.

       The death of the 239 people abroad Flight 370 was seen as a tragedy, even in the eyes of the Martians who had caused it. But they saw it as a necessary means to an end. Yes, they had the technological capabilities to transport the 239 to a different planet and make it look like they had been wiped off the face of the Earth, and still have the same effect but the Martians were unable to find another planet with breathable oxygen that suited the human lungs.
         The Martian people looked exactly like humans. Except for the for the fact that they were 4 inches tall, they had green scaly skin, they’re breath smelt of McDonalds French Fries and they’re brain capacity far exceeded that of our own.  
          Jimmy was a simple man. He was not himself a soldier. But he was a member of the human race. So therefore he had would become a causality of a war between two interplanetary species. The Martians were unappreciative of the Mars Rovers that had been more and more frequently invading their home world. Many Martians saw this as the beginning of the end. First they would send their miniature ships to scope out the landmass and then the invasion would begin.
         They had watched the horrors that had been exacted during The Rape of Nanking. They had seen The Trail of Tears, in all its glory. They would not bare the same fate.
         Instead the Martians adopted a famous Earthling phrase that they used during times of war. “Let us fight fire with fire,” said Martian Emperor Ija Shima’Solf.
         In an Ancient piece of Earthling scripture written about the tactics of warfare by a human warlord named Sun Tzu, it specifically states that a preemptive strike is a sure fire road to victory. Since Martians were unfamiliar with war and saw it as more of a human practice, they thought they might as well take lesson from the experts.
        When Flight 370 did go down the Martian foot soldier Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah readied his Hallos Chip, a Martian teleportation device that would safely return him to his home world. But the device malfunctioned and the soldier went down with the rest of his victims. So it goes.
        
         But through all of this chaos Jimmy survived. All those years of paddle boarding at the YMCA had finally paid off. After 30 miles of swimming in the middle of the Pacific Ocean aimlessly wondering around, Jimmy came across a small island. He ate the natural Farmer’s Market approved peaches that grew from the island’s many colorful bright emerald green trees. It was here he waited for nearly two weeks, worrying about nothing but survival until, with some miraculous stroke of luck, a cruise liner happened to be passing through the neighborhood. Jimmy gave his wood a good rubbing, then he took some bark from the tree to make a fire, attracting the ship’s attention. The cruise liner stopped in Australia for a quick oil change. This is where Jimmy parted from his saviors. From Australia Jimmy jumped on the first flight back to the States, back to his cozy little cave in Northern Nebraska.
         Jimmy was couldn’t wait to get home; the very idea of home was making him want to jump from his seat. But Jimmy resisted the urge do to the fact that he had already been violently ejected from one plane seat and in this past month and he come to the realization that it wasn’t all that enjoyable of an experience.
        All that Jimmy could think about was the look of surprise and rejoice that was going to be shining across his wife Joann’s face to see that her husband was alive and well. But as Jimmy entered the unlocked front door he was met with a bullet through his belly. Jimmy quickly collapsed to the floor. Almost immediately afterwards his wife came to his side, realizing that the man in her living room was in fact not a robber but her not-so-long lost husband.
       As Jimmy lay there on the ground dying, he held his wife’s face. He stared deep into her ocean blue eyes, filled with tears of regret. As his hand lay rested on Joann’s cheek he breathed his very last words in a painful whisper, “Should I have called first?” So it goes.