The Ghost Of Halloween’s Past

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When I was a kid around 7 or 8 I had a really great friend. As we got into our early teens we were very close, and now looking back I realize just how close. She was the person I talked to about anything and everything, I even talked to her about girls and she talked to me about the boys. We had that real close cousin type of friendship even though there was no blood relationship, but we were more than friends, our connection went deeper than that, much deeper than one can simply imagine. So, in “honor” of my great friend in life I would like to share some memories, I hope she wouldn’t mind.

The first time I met Gabby I was probably 7 or 8 years old, I was spying on the new girl on the block as she helped her parents unpack the moving truck and I was truly fascinated with everything about her. I was up high in the tree in our front yard, as quiet as a hawk searching for movement in the tall grass, as I watched her blonde hair whip around in the breeze. I got distracted for real and was watching two squirrels fighting over something at the end of the very branch I was laying on. Out of the blue I heard a quiet voice, the whispering voice of a girl asking me if I wanted to climb down so I could play with her. After I climbed down we walked back to the bayou where we caught and played with the crawdads that were everywhere. We didn’t talk much about anything, we just got muddy, laughed, and played. Later on we hear her dad calling out in the distance for Gabby to come home. With big eyes she stole a kiss on the cheek, told me thanks for playing with her, and she was gone into the wind. We would play like this, for hours at a time after school and on the weekends.

We went trick-or-treating together that first year she moved in and that became our “little tradition” for many years to come. We would do crazy shit all year long, pranks, jokes, and so on, always doing it together as much as time would allow. In our early teens our friendship took a turn to the best I think, I never heard her complain either, she noticeably was going from little girl to a young lady. As this happened, we played allot of show and tell and allot of spin the bottle and a fair share of truth or dare, always just us two, nobody else was allowed to participate. It’s just the way it was. Before long we knew more about one another than each other knew about themselves, inside and out. But this was all about to end, I was moving away the summer between 8th and 9th grade to live with my dad in another state. It was a surprise and crushing blow for all of us, family included, as everyone guessed us to start dating because we were inseparable at all times. That was a hard summer for me, I crashed an ultralight aircraft attempting to get my amateur aviation license which should have killed me, but it didn’t luckily. Unfortunately, on my final trip back home at the end of summer, to pack and say goodbye, I was given the terrible news that my dad had a fatal accident while participating in a exposition air show. I buried him a week later. All my plans died with him that day, but the only person I felt I could talk with or just sit with was my best friend Gabby.

High school started right on cue, we had unofficially started dating, meaning we did everything together but weren’t actually together, but everyone but us called it dating, we are just good friends. By our sophomore year the boys were really noticing her and time in our friendship was being stretched beyond control, something had to go, and that something just happened to be me. She dated many boys, I didn’t really have a serious relationship until 11th grade which made our friendship even stranger. In the beginning of that relationship Gabby played dirty, in my spare time she was there, flirting harder than ever, always naked around me when we were alone, always tempting me with the very thing I always thought I wanted, but it never happened, but according to her rumors we were together, we were fucking, and I was taken. A nice story that ended badly. We didn’t speak again until the night of our graduation, where she told me she was leaving soon to go to Air Force basic training, a place I was also going to be but got accepted into college so my enlistment was delayed 24 months. That was it, my first crush was leaving and I didn’t have the nuts to even tell her goodbye or I’m sorry or good luck, I just let her walk away.

I did attend college, I did get married to my high school sweetheart a year later, and did join the Air Force another year later. When all the dust settled and I land at my first base, I find out my sponsor just so happens to be little miss Gabby herself. I had four years to do in Japan, luckily she was leaving in a few months. We partied quite a bit before she left, a habit greatly practiced by ammo troops I soon found out. Yes, if hadn’t guessed, we had the same job, both making the choice we decided way back when in yesteryear. Soon enough she left, leaving me once again. I saw her again, sooner than I thought, as we both were deployed for Desert Storm and were stationed at the same base. It made 8 months fly by, having a friend from home with me. But soon enough we rotated out to our home bases and once again we were separated again. I would see her off and on for the next few years until we ended up in New Mexico together. She had gotten married to a true asshole, I say that because he thought it was okay to beat on her regularly. A disturbing fact that was brought out to my attention one early morning when she showed up in my doorstep with a bloody nose and bleeding lip. That night a few of my friends and I payed him a visit, never before had I tried to kill someone before, but I tried that night. He got the message and slipped away quietly one day soon after, leaving a note announcing he wants a divorce.

Life went on, I divorced my wife, got out the Air Force, and so forth. Meanwhile, Gabby was determined to make a career out of the Air Force, and carried on, gaining rank, ribbons, and accommodations. After two back to back tours in Afghanistan she decided she was done, she retired as a Senior Master Sergeant (E-8) which I had an invitation to the ceremony but had other obligations, so no, I did not attend. I got a phone call from Gabby a few weeks later, announcing she had moved back to Houston and wanted to get together with my family and I for dinner one night soon. My current wife knew very little of Gabby and our lifelong friendship, since I never had a need to talk about my past much, something I’ve been working on lately, and my wife is now realizing that I treat my relationships, friends or family, and with her, very seriously, and I will guard those relationships until the end. She gets it, I think.

Our dinner out was great, everyone including my wife and kids, had a great time talking and visiting. I think my wife looks at me differently now, she never has had anyone explain how my life in the Air Force was except for me, and I tend to not talk much about the details, just keep it short and sweet, the end, story over. That dinner was two years ago, on Halloween night, a night not unlike many before it, we said our goodbyes, made future plans, and we went our separate ways. After getting settled at home, about an hour and a half after leaving the restaurant, I got a phone call from the Constable’s office to inform me that an officer was heading my way to discuss an important matter with me. Soon enough we got the knock on the door, the officer was there to inform me of a fatal automobile accident a few hours ago. Seems I was listed as Gabby’s only next of kin and also the last person she spoke with according to her phone. He explained that a truck traveling the opposite direction hit a deer which resulted in the truck losing control and colliding head on with Gabby’s truck at what was estimated at at least 80 mph, resulting in both being killed at impact. The following day I was asked to formally identify her body and yes it was her. She had a closed casket funeral due to the facial and upper body damage. A very small funeral at the Veteran’s Cemetery here in Houston, most of the people attending were my family. Her flag was presented to me, probably the hardest thing I accepted in life with exception to being 15 and presented my father’s flag at his funeral.

I have bad news for my wife, who recommended I tell this story here today in my spare time, who thought it might make me feel better if I take the time to write about my great friend and our enduring friendship, who is wrong because I don’t feel better, but I did enjoy the trip down memory lane, sort of, but I think I should come clean to y’all, the story y’all read today is only about 1% of everything that ever happened. For now y’all can assume and presume, for now y’all can filter through it all, because for now I’m very done writing about it. In case you are curious, the picture is of Gabby, I took that picture in an undisclosed location in a desert in New Mexico many years ago, alongside a deserted road, she wanted to flash somebody so bad, but after hours just the scorpions, the buzzards, and I were the only ones enjoying the show. It’s a great picture and memory of her, she truly was a graceful and free spirit.

Is Your Life Fate, Destiny, Or Choice?

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Your life is a maze, your life is full of choices, do you leave those decisions to fate, will the wrong choice be your destiny? There are as many answers to the many questions in life as there are individual people on this planet. I don’t think I have ever heard the same answer twice, maybe close, maybe a variation, but never the same answer twice. Have you ever wondered why? What is our fascination, as humans, to need answers to questions. We ask other humans but those other humans are no different than us and are seeking answers of their own. Is it just a vicious little circle? Is there a true meaning to life and why we are here? Here at The Sting Of The Scorpion, as well as in my actual daily life, I tend to stay away from conversations regarding spiritually, afterlife, and the purpose of us being on this planet. Why? Mostly because my opinions vary from Joe Public and they are things that can only be spoken of in theory. I had my bluff called by my children over the weekend, they had questions about two specific times I walked away from death, and they wanted to know some answers. I have spoke here about two times in my life which I, statistically, should have died, but instead cheated death, both times successfully. These two times, coincidentally, do not give me personal pleasure to talk about either, but since I have these thoughts fresh in my skull I figured I would try to put them into a post.

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Both instances, both incidents, both brushes with death are very, very long stories, so for the purpose of demonstrating the recent conversation I will condense them and just assume you can fill in the blanks. Both if these occurrences are very true and really happened to me. With that in mind let’s take this journey back in time now. When I was 15 it was time to get my Experimental Aircraft Pilots License because I had been leading, training, and preparing for a very long time. The date was set, the planning was complete, and everyone was in place. Amongst family and friends there were also people from the local newspaper and local television station because locally this was a big deal in the little farming community of Tea, South Dakota. When it was my turn I taxied out, did a final check of my Ultralight, pushed the throttle, and moments later I was airborne setting up for my demonstration of skills. After I had completed my designated moves it was time to bank around to line up for my final approach to begin my decent to land. At 426.3 ft in the air I hit a crosswind shear which stalled my engine which left me doing a nose down unpowered decent towards the ground, meaning I was falling from the sky like a rock falling back to the Earth. I remember the impact and the pain. 10 1/2 weeks later I woke up from the deep sleep I was in, confused, and surrounded by family.

I didn’t know why I was in a hospital room or why I was in so much pain. I was scared because I wasn’t aware what everyone else already knew. Later in the day the room was cleared of everyone except a doctor and my dad. Together they explained the journey I had been on for the previous 2 1/2 months. The impact of the accident caused 32 broken bones, one punctured lung, and my jaw being broken badly enough it had to be wired back together. When I arrived at the hospital in the backseat of my dad’s Volkswagen Thing I was pronounced dead due to heart failure and blood loss. After hours and hours of surgery I was stabilized but remained in a coma holding onto what was still my life. I was visited by a catholic priest later that day, since I had been baptized catholic as a very young boy, and the priest prayed with me while he explained it was not my time to die. To this day I don’t understand that conversation completely or what I was meant to do with the information.

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The other time I was 26, while serving in the United States Air Force stationed at Holloman AFB, New Mexico. When I was younger I was a serious adrenaline junkie, I had a passion for going fast, for living life by the seat of my shorts. So much so that I had to buy a Kawasaki Ninja ZZ-R1100 because, at the time, it was one of the only street legal bikes that boasts speeds of up to 175 mph as a stock bike. I got the bike used from a fellow airman who needed to sell it because he was getting stationed in Alaska and he didn’t think he would have the opportunities to ride it any longer. I had other bikes before and after her but this black beast actually was and always will be my favorite. This bike screamed speed and danger which allowed me to take both her and I to our physical limits. I had a part time job in Las Cruces, 68 miles away from my house, under normal driving conditions and speed one can make the trip in just under an hour. I could make it in under 30 minutes on this bike and used to do it regularly in 40 minutes. One summer night, the skies were clear, the moon was bright, and I was running very late getting to my part time job. It takes a moment to get dressed and leave no skin exposed in preparations for riding this bike. After zipping the last zipper I kissed my daughter and (now ex) wife goodnight before tearing ass into the night. There was little traffic on US-70 that night which is the excuse I used to see if my bike really could get to 170 mph and maintain that speed. But, as it stands, I will never know personally because while passing 3 18 wheelers at over 150 mph the bike lost traction, my bike and I were sucked under the trailer and spit out on the other side, resulting in me laying the bike down in a 100+ yard slide into and through the desert. When the dirt settled I stood up, checked my self out, and discovered I was in one piece, more than I can say about my bike.

This was a time before cell phones so I walked back to the highway and started walking back home. Lucky for me an older gentleman picked me up and drove me to the front gate of the base. It was a short walk to my house from there. I woke the wife up to explain and then called my best friend so he could go with me to scoop up the remains of my bike. To say it was trashed would be an injustice to the damage and reminded me what a lucky sonofabitch I really was since that crash should have killed me. Following the scrape from the highway through the desert we saw I went under a barbed wire fence and missed two giant rocks by mere inches. In fact, the lens on my helmet was smashed by the last rock which actually put the final stop for us. We loaded up the parts we found into the back of my truck and drove back to my house on base. It sat in my garage in a twisted heap for roughly six months when I had sold it as is to another speed enthusiast. I vowed then I would never own another invitation to death. A few years ago, much older, in my forties, I bought a Honda Goldwing, a touring bike, so I could get out and enjoy the open air once again. But nowadays, my only risk taking is driving into Houston.

After everything, I still ask if is fate, destiny, or the choices we make daily which allows us to cheat death just one more time. As I sit here I consider myself to be lucky because I have done some stupid shit in my life, hell I used to build explosives for a living, yet I am here today, a survivor of my own mistakes. The maze was found with a Google search, the picture of the tractor is of the remnants of the airstrip I crashed on taken this past March, and that is an actual picture of US-70 taken on a trip in late summer in 2009.

 

Finding A Lost Cell Phone

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Well, saying I found this cell phone is putting it mildly. Let’s say that when I noticed the cell phone it was after I pulled into the parking space at Home Depot. I heard a crunch and when I back up a bit and got out of my H1 I saw the carnage. Truly it was an unforseen accident. For a moment I even felt a little bad. But then that turned into laughing silently because some dumb bastard dropped his phone in the parking lot and doesn’t even know it, and now I killed it. Oooops. My first thought was to kick it so it would slide under someone else’s vehicle, but then I wanted to pick it up to see of it still turned on. My curiosity got the best of me because I bent over and pocked the damn thing up. I quickly realized that the phone was identical to mine, well except my phone isn’t smashed to shit, but it madefiguring out how to power it on super simple. I like simple. It took a very long time, meaning like 3 minutes, before it went to the home screen. Now, I am thinking the phone belongs to a female because the background is a picture of a dozen roses and a bottle of wine. No, I am not being stereotypical, I am being assuming, there’s a difference. So, the phone at least powers on, so I decided to see what else it had going on. Does it have service? Yes, good signal and 4G lit up nice and proud. I open the contacts, well, attempted to, and there was an error which made the phone restart. I’m thinking man this phone is fucked up. When it came back on I went to the recent calls and it spazzed out again restarting. Maybe a trash can would be okay, just wipe my prints off, toss it, and walk away. But nooooooooooooo, I’m too nosey for that and I am too curious to do that. Okay, maybe see if this person had some pictures to look at. Ummm, there are pictures I should have never seen. Let’s just say she took quite a few very intimate selfies everywhere she damn well pleased. Now, I will admit, I didn’t mind looking at her naked, I felt bad for doing so, but was also humored knowing that she mist be concerned that somebody would see the pictures.

Then, out of the blue the fucking things vibrating in my hand, someone was calling. What do I do? Answer it? I think not. Then she gets a voicemail. Moments later she gets a text. She has it set up where the text opens automatically on top of everything else. The text read: “If you find this phone please reply or return a call to the last number”. I wonder if she realized her lost phone was on vibrate. Probably not. Wanting to return her property I returned the text and said “you can retrieve your phone at the customer service desk at the Home Depot where she misplaced it, they are expecting you”. I left it in the care of a very nice woman and went on my way, I was here to get a toilet kit so I could stop the toilet in my show from running all the time. After checking out I asked the woman if anyone came to claim the phone and she said no. I was parked up front so I went out and waited for a bit to see if she was coming. After about ten minutes or so I saw her walking in. A few minutes layer she is walking out, looking around very suspicious like. I could see the look on her face, she looked very upset and disappointed. She walked out to her little Lexus sports car and drove away. See, I can be a nice guy when I want to be. As far as I know this story has had a happy ending. In the end I was left wondering what she was thinking at the moment she realized she had misplaced her phone. The reality is that all I can do is just imagine. I guess the moral of this story is be careful what you keep on your cell phone because this could one day be you.

Homeowner’s Association Form Letter

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So, yesterday I walked the close to 1/4 mile trek out to collect my mail from the mailbox located out at the end of my driveway. Normally I would take the golf cart but I was feeling froggy and just decided to walk. I don’t usually “sort” my mail out here in the street but there was allot of crap that I was going to put in the recycle bin since it had not been collected yet. As I am flipping through it all I see a letter addressed to “Resident” with my address printed below it. It is a letter from our beloved homeowner’s association. Might be important so I went ahead and opened it. After reading it through the first time I was left asking “what the fuck?” and need to read it again before I got pissed all the way. After A quick review I can see that they are talking of my location, it has the correct block, lot, plot, and section. The address on the envelope belongs to me, so it must be my property being spoke of. The jist of the form letter is to inform me (property owner) that a complaint has been filed suggesting I am burning “trash” items too close to the street which is too close to neighboring houses. The date sited was 22 days ago. Too close to my neighbors? My nearest neighbor’s house is over 650 yards away. The letter continues to outline the “offense” by stating that I was burning tires and other accelerant fuels. Wait just a damn minute here. First I don’t burn anywhere except the rear of my almost ten acres of property. Second, I don’t burn tires or use gas or diesel to set such fires. The letter has me at a loss.

As I am walking back to the house to go make a phone call because they have assessed a $350.00 fine for the incident, I notice, which makes me remember, I did have a fire in my front yard about three weeks ago. The scorch marks are still visible as I walk by. I wonder if this could be what they are referring to in the letter. I haven’t written about this yet here so y’all are probably scratching your heads wondering what has happened. I guess this is a good place to put in what happened and the I will figure out why there was a complaint. In a way I guess an outsider could say it was a trash fire in my front yard but if a person was paying attention they would of seen it was my riding lawn mower that had actually burst into flames. Man, I loved that old mower too, I was sad to see it go out in a blaze of glory like it did. What happened? I was mowing in the yard in front of my house pretty close to my driveway when a giant puff of black smoke blew out of the front of the engine cowel. I jumped off and flipped it open and when I did it burst into open flames. I was able to dowse the flames with the garden hose but it was too late. As I stood there watching it smolder a bit I secretly was hearing TAPS being played off in the distance. It was almost a tearful moment for me, but I held it back. It truly was a spectacular show but at the same time I didn’t like seeing my old friend roast its own marshmallows.

In review of the complaints in the letter I can see why they would say I was burning tires and using an accelerant because the tires did catch fire and the fuel line did melt and feed the fire. But hold on, this means that my incident was visible to someone somewhere. So I stood in the spot and looked around 360 degrees to see if I could figure out who the bastard was that assumed I was burning trash in my front yard. Well, there is only one house in my view and that is straight across the street. That old bastard has the eyes of a hawk then because its a good 200 yards from the street in front of his house. And it only burned for 10-12 minutes anyways. I’m so confused. Anyway, I will deal with him later, I have bigger fish to fry. I went in the house and called the secretary of the homeowner’s association to discuss the complaint and the fine I was not ever going to pay. I invited him out to check out the burned out carcas and I was declined a visit. I was told to go to their website and print out a form which I could use to defend myself. Once filled out I am to mail it to them with supporting information and/or pictures if available to justify my case. I was also reminded to enclose a check or money order with my form so I could pay the fine. Ummm, fuck you, there will be no check or money order enclosed you goofy bastards. I filled out the form and enclosed some nice glossy pictures with my explanation of what occurred. When I was done I sent my son down to throw it in the mail box for pick up today. This is why I detest having neighbors.

This whole thing has served as a good reminder. Since my other rider (the back up) isn’t in that great of shape and isn’t exactly dependable, I think I will get dressed and go mower shopping. I wonder what I will come home with. Have y’all seen the commercials for all the different riding mowers lately? Maybe they have been the “sign” I have been looking for and just haven’t realized it. I better make sure the trash fire I have going currently is out before I go because I would hate for some snooper to say I left it unattended. If I get a new toy I will be sure to show y’all so don’t worry.

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Stranger Things Have Happened!

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In the beginning I would have never thought that anyone would be interested in The Sting Of The Scorpion. That was in the beginning. Early this morning it was observed by my oldest daughter that the 100th person had begun following The Sting Of The Scorpion. Of course, she was very excited about this fact and decided to text me sometime in the wee hours today. Thinking there is an emergency at 03:19 because my phone is going off I jumped out of bed to check it out. I can’t say I was disappointed as good news is always better than bad, no matter what time of day or night it is. The fact that I now had 100 followers on a blog that so many try to tear down because they don’t like what I stand for is somewhat of a milestone to me. I will admit, I started up here at WordPress in September 2013 and didn’t think The Sting Of The Scorpion would survive. But, lookey here, I’m still standing. I know y’all are thinking “big deal it’s only 100 followers” when most of the blogs I follow exceed that number by at least 10 to 100 fold. I just had found it nice that in 4 1/2 months that this many people would want to follow The Sting Of The Scorpion. It makes me happy. It makes me smile.

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I knew from past experiences that nobody accidently just stumbles onto The Sting Of The Scorpion. I have had past failures that served as lessons to me and give me time to reflect about what I’m really doing here with this blog. What am I doing here? It’s easy, I’m here to reflect of things in my life that are happening around me and around the world. I tend to blog for myself, I use my blog as a platform for me to shout out to masses, eventhough I usually get crickets chirping in return. One day I realized that I needed to help myself by helping others find The Sting Of The Scorpion. I have done that through social media. We all believe that all we have to do is build it and they will come. We all find out that is complete and utter bullshit. I put a fair amount of work into writing and providing information on The Sting Of The Scorpion. In the end, let it known that this small personal milestone will not make me lazy, it actually is making me want to try harder, to be harder, and show people that they haven’t seen shit yet because I’m just getting warmed up.

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