Sunday, November 17, 2019

Mollie Renshaw - Chapter 1

Mollie Renshaw
Chapter 1

The iPad played “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” on repeat for hours, before Mollie woke up. James Renshaw, her father, had been in the kitchen all night alternating shots of whisky and hits of cocaine, alone. He was passed out now, a Bud Light bottle lay spilt on the floor under his chair.
No one knew why James did this, but it happened frequently. He’d just sit his chair, stare, and play a song on repeat. Mollie figured he was sad, so she left him alone. James loved her, she knew that, he always said, “You’re my baby girl, Daddy loves you.” But he hit her too, from time to time.

“God, dammit Mollie, why’d you turn the fukin music off,” James said as he slapped the right, backside of her head. Mollie began to tremble. She’d turned her back to him looking to switch off the iPlayer. The music was so loud in the kitchen when she turned it off, the silence woke him up. “Daddy, I’m sorry, it’s just that it was so loud in here, I turned the music off,” Mollie said. She never turned back to look at him, just cowered a bit as she walked to her room with wet eyes. This wasn’t her Daddy, her Daddy was somewhere else, Daddy never hit her. As long as she didn’t look at him, she could lie and believe it.

James took another bump. He’d been feeling sorry for himself for the last 10 years, since Mollie’s mom disappeared. She’d been raped by one the Bandito gang members. James didn’t stand up for her. James never wanted to join the Banditos, but he got forced into it. He didn’t do too much. He’d just make a run of heroin and coke out of Monterrey to Houston, twice a month.

Life started out promising for him. He joined the Army at 17, with a waiver from his dad. Just before the 1st Gulf War. He bragged about being in the Battle of Wadi Al-Batin with 1st Cav, but really just drove a truck around to stirr up clouds of dust in a deception movement. The real action was from the northwest. However, it didn’t stop him from getting what the VA called, “Gulf War Syndrome.” Alot of folks just thought he was lazy. And I guess you could say so. However, James suffered from fatigue, headaches, memory problems, and broke into hives quite often.

He left the Army soon after Marlon was born, his son from his first wife. Marlon had black hair, just like his mother. He met Marlon’s mom in Killeen, after he came back from Iraq. She was what they called a dependapotamus, one of those women that hung around base, mooching off soldiers. She was about 10 years older than James when they met. He never really liked her, but he slept with her a lot. So did some of the other guys in his unit. James was never sure Marlon was his, but he married her, when he found out she was pregnant. With his dishonorable discharge for cocaine, Marlon’s mom ran off to find another sucker.

Marlon lived in the house with James and Mollie. He had a part time job at Kutzer Body shop, but made good side money selling meth. Marlon was smart enough, but apathetic. They’d lived in the house for about two years. James’ grandmother left him the house when she died, because he had the two kids. The house was a welcome change from the little travel trailer they lived in before, out at his uncles place. After two years, however, the house was just as filthy. If James’ grandmother were still alive, she’d have a foot in his ass, about how they lived, White trash Appalachia style.

“Mollie, get your ass in here,” James yelled. Mollie complied. “Hey baby girl, why don’t you let daddy take you to school, its 7:30 you know.” Mollie always liked it when her dad took her to school. He never made her wear a helmet on the back of the Harley, which meant she could wear her hair in a ponytail and not have to waste a bunch of time fixing it. She had red hair. It wasn’t crazy red, but more like a red-blonde. She had green eyes too. She always loved her green eyes. Her daddy said those eyes were green like her mammas, and her mammas mamma. James pulled up in front of the school and revved the motor rapidly, over and over, making the exhaust scream. Mollie always like that motor revving thing too. “I love you Daddy, see you after school.” “I love you too, baby girl,” James said as he sped away, squealing the tire.

Mollie was born as Margret Jean Renshaw in Nov of 2002, in Austin. She was a Scorpio. Daddy always told her she was named after his grandmother, Margret Jean Mc Laine. MeMe McLaine was feisty, and drank whisky every day, but she worked hard as a house cleaning lady. She died of a heart attack at 78. Mollie took after her great-grandmother in some ways, but mostly she was like her mom. Mollie’s mom was smart enough to know how to manage her temper and easily acted cynically, manipulating others to get what she wanted. That’s why she pissed off the Bandito, who raped her out of spite.

Ding, clickity, cling, was the notification sound Mollie set for Facebook messenger, but in school she just set visual notifications on. She didn’t notice the message from Joel about the dime bag he scored. Joel was her guy friend. He hooked her up with weed sometimes. Joel’s older brother had a friend named Miguel. One time, Joel walked in on his brother and Miguel making out so Miguel always gave Joel some weed, so he wouldn’t say anything to Joel’s parents.

In first period Mollie was in Texas History class. All seventh graders in Texas have to take Texas history. Her teacher was Amy Whitecotton. Ms. Whitecotton was 5’3. A heavy set brunette. She didn’t like kids or teaching. She taught for five years at Bruce Elementary in Houston’s 5th Ward. Under Bush’s No Child Left Behind, she was able to apply to the inner city program and the federal government paid off her school loans. On the condition she worked in the inner city for five years. Her husband worked for KBR (Kellog Brown and Root) and made the real money. With the no-bid government contracts and the 2nd Iraq War, he cleaned house. But KBR close up its offices in the 5th ward in 2010 and he was laid off.

Hayden dropped a note off at Mollie’s desk, just as the bell rang. It was folded up in the normal fashion of a young boy who’d never gift wrapped any boxes for Christmas. Hayden had a big crush on Mollie, but felt stupid and inadequate. He finally got the courage to tell her, but since he didn’t know her Snapchat name, he went old school with the note. His mom suggested the note. She’d come in from her shift at “The Office”. The Office was the name of the bar where she worked. The local guys bought her drinks and shots, most nights. On the night she suggested to Hayden to write the note, she was extra drunk. Her “love”, unrequited love, stopped in earlier that day, on his way back from the sale barn. That’s what sent her in the downward spiral that night. Every night she had a different excuse for getting drunk.

“Hayden, if you like this girl Mollie, you need to tell her. You don’t know, she probably likes you too,” his mom told him as she took a long drag from her Marlboro light. “Just write her a note, boy.” “But Mom, that’s not how it works these days,” Hayden tried to explain. His mom quit listening. Her eyes light up when she’d received a text from Jake. Jake was at the bar earlier and wanted to stop by later to “hook up”. Hayden walked down the hall of the trailer to his room. He knew his mom met guys at night, while he was sleeping. Hayden’s dad hadn’t been around for about five years. Note since the night when the cops came. Hayden was scared that night with everyone screaming, so he just quit remembering exactly what happened.

Hayden didn’t know it, but Cooper saw him drop of the note to Mollie. Cooper was instantly furious, an almost uncontrollable rage. He wanted to jump right out of his chair and whip Hayden’s ass, but Ms. Whitecotton called the class to attention. Ms. Whitecotton took attendance, so the State could get paid. When she called out Cooper’s name he was so mad he couldn’t talk. “Cooper, Cooper,” she said. “Hey boy, you got wax in your ears,” she said, looking at him with those squinty eyes and fat face. Cooper threw his books on the floor and jumped up, flipping over his desk. One of the kids in the back of the room pulled out is iPhone and started filming. “Get your ass out of my class you little shit head,” Ms. Whitecotton yelled. She’d gotten in trouble for cussing at kids before, but didn’t care. Ms. Whitecotton was having an affair with the PE coach, whose brother was the Superintendent, so she never got into any real trouble.

She grabbed Cooper and drug him out of the classroom, as he tried to take a swing at her. “Fuck you, I hate you,” Cooper yelled while being drug down the hall. The principal was in awe. He was standing in the hallway, watching the action. He’d just texted Ms. Billings about a lunch date. “I’ll be having you for lunch,” he texted, smiling as he pushed send. “Hey, boy, what the hell is wrong with you?” the principal yelled. Ms. Whitecotton handed Cooper off to the principal and began walking back to her class. Cooper got drug all the way into the principal’s office.

The principal, Mr. McGrath had recently been promoted to principal of Clinton Junior High. He’d always lusted after power but lacked real ambition. He only took the job to increase his status in the community. He cared about kids, but was more interested in using his position to influence single moms to sleep with him. He had always lusted after women. Mr. McGrath didn’t really understand how to deal with kids like Cooper.

Cooper could have been a good kid. He was smart, but angry. He lived out at the youth home on the edge of town. Cooper didn’t know much about his real parents. He’d been in a few foster homes, the type of foster homes that just foster kids to get income from the State. Every time things seemed to be working out, he’d get put in a new foster home. For some reason, it was always around his birthday. Finally when he was eleven, he ended up at the youth home. The older kids he roomed with took the little things he really cared about. The signed rookie card from Matt Harrison, who pitched for the Texas Rangers in 2011 World Series, they took that. He got that card when he lived in the foster home up in Colleyville. Some business men sent local kids to the game and he got selected. They also took his Tony Romo bobble head. He always liked that thing. Probably because it was given to him by Aunt Julie’s brother Michael.

Cooper always called his foster moms, Aunt. Michael took him cruising around in his truck some times. He was always throwing beer bottles at signs, on the backroads around Weatherford, just west of Fort Worth, blaring Pat Green on the CD changer. Micheal picked up the bobble head at the Pilot truck stop on I-30, along with two, twelve packs of Bud Light bottles.

Mr. McGrath hung up the phone with the house parents from the youth home. He wanted to see what should to be done with Cooper. They really didn’t know either, but gave McGrath permission to give Cooper swats. “Cooper, I’m going to swat you three times bud, so get ready to take what you got coming,” McGrath said. Getting swats wasn’t nothing to Cooper. He was used to it. He reveled in the pain. It wasn’t real pain. Not like the time when Aunt Christi’s boyfriend beat him with a 2x4 in Midlothian, because he didn’t fill up the ice trays. He was nine then. Cooper still had a scar on his forehead from that whippin.

“Okay, Mr. McGrath, do what you got to do, I’m ready,” Cooper said as he bent over the desk. Mr. McGrath swatted him three times. Cooper laughed a little inside, but mad a sad face when he turned to face McGrath. “Copper, you can’t be acting like this! Now get on down to the cafeteria for lunch.” McGrath said.

Mollie and Joel were sitting at the lunch table. “Mollie, did you get my message?” Joel said. “Nah, what you talking bout?” Mollie replied. “I scored some weed from Miguel, wanta go smoke after school?” he said. “Sounds good to me, I’m pretty stressed. Something was wrong with Dad this morning,” she said as her voice drifted away. Joel gave her his extra peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Mollie never really ate lunch, or brought one. James never had money to give her, so someone always brought extra. Today it was Joel.

Mollie was looking across at the commotion on the other side of the cafeteria. She wasn’t sure what was going on, but a group of kids had gathered around Hayden and Cooper. The kids were yelling and cheering. She never read the note that Hayden had left at her desk. The note that told her how much he liked her and how beautiful he thought she was. She intended to, but with Cooper throwing his desk upside down, she got side tracked. And, she couldn’t read it now, because she couldn’t find it.

“Hayden, after school, I’m going to kick your ass!” Cooper said as he glared. Hayden was shocked. He couldn’t figure out why Cooper was so pissed off. “Hey man, what the hell are you talking about?” Hayden replied, somewhat taken aback. “Mollie is my girl bro, I saw you drop off that note, with the little heart on it.” Cooper said. Hayden was pissed. He didn’t think anyone saw him drop off the note. He was probably more embarrassed, but he didn’t have a way to distinguish the difference. “Alright, bro, where you wanta get your whippin?” Hayden asked. “Across the street from school, over on those hay bales, by the tractor, I’ll see you.” Cooper responded.

Cooper didn’t have any “claim” on Mollie. He’d never even told her he liked her. He just decided he did, and figured she knew it. Mollie didn’t really know who Cooper was, except that he was the weird kid, who was mad a lot. Mollie was at that age where, she knew boys were interested in her, but she wasn’t sure just why. She viewed all boys as just any other person, just like her friend Joel or her girlfriend Hannah. Hannah and Mollie were in the Girl Scouts about two years ago. But Mollie didn’t come back to the meetings last year, after Marlon’s girlfriend died.

Through the rest of the afternoon at school, there were whispers of the big fight that was supposed to happen between Hayden and Cooper. It spread through the seventh grade like wildfire, and even the eighth graders caught wind of it: a big fight across the street from school, on the property owned by the PE coach’s dad, Mr. Trevino. Mr. Trevino had baled hay on the 100 acres across the street from the new school since he was a young kid. He father and his father before him did the same. Actually the land the school was built on, and most of where the town was built had at one time been owned by the Trevino family. As far as Mr. Trevino could remember and the family lore said that “The Trevino Family” owned that land, since the time of the Spanish. The “lore” was probably made up, but the Trevino’s had a lot of land, so it could have been true.

The last bell rang at 15:45 on Wednesday November 25th, 2015, for Clinton Junior High. It was time for Thanksgiving break.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Euforia dels Cims - 2019 - Take Two

  I started writing a long ass blog, but I did not feel like completing it. So here is take two.

What is Euforia dels Cims:
Ultra Raid in the Principality of Andorra by inseparable team of two people in semi-autonomy under the full moon.
  • 233 k (145 mi.) 20,000 meters (12,427 mi.) of elevation gain and 20,000 meters (12,427 mi.) of elevation loss
  • Departure from Ordino town centre on Wednesday on the morning and finish in Ordino town centre
  • 5 peaks upon 2,900 meters
  • 32 peaks or passes between 2,500 and 2,900 meters
  • Average altitude: 2,200 meters
  • 4 refreshment points (in the 4 accommodation areas) + arrival
  • A single dropbag (offered by the organization) transported from accommodation area to accommodation area
  • Briefing attendance is compulsory
  • Without marking of the path
  • The runners have a track
  • GPS tracker put at the disposal of every runner to allow theonline following
  • Euphoric panoramic views, some technical zones
  • The most spectacular feature: peaks, passes and path in crests allowing views 360 on all the massif of Pyrenees (the North of Spain and the region Midi-Pyrénées in France)
  • The most technical section: descent in rocky blocks or masses of fallen rocks
Why Euforia: 
     I don't like contrived "hard stuff" such as Spartan races, Survial Runs, Death Races, gimmick events, etc... I don't like the trend in ultrarunning where everyone thinks they need 10 pacers and 50 crew members. Euforia is pure. It's you and your partner and the mountains. No babysitting, no hand holding. Hours on your feet with out support, etc.. But the biggest appeal is the mountains, pure and simple.

How Do You Know You're Ready:

      Basically, you don't.  I wasn't sure when I got on the plane, but I saddled up anyway.

How Do You Prepare:

      You can't prepare in one season. It takes may experiences to have the right frame of mind to be successful.  Events like Vol State, the Salsa Walk 100K or 200K, Nolan's 14 Scouting, our Camino Santiago in 16.5 days trek last year, Hardrock or similar, Infinitus 888K.  The multi-day events with continuous clock really bring you valuable experience to prepare.

What Does Success in Euforia Look Like:

     Finishing of course, but beyond that, is character.  Did you make friends? Did you help your neighbor? Did you allow your neighbor to help you? Did you give into your struggle and act out, or did you accept your fate and continue forward?

What Was the Biggest Lesson You Learned:

     The lesson is always patience and acceptance.  However in this sense, its not over in 30 or 36 hours, it's 4 days or more. If you let the mountains come to you and unfold, without expectation, accepting each climb as it's presented, then you can always have the strength necessary for what's coming next.

What's Next:

     I'd like to give Tor des Geants a shot, PTL (Petite Trotte à Léon), and go back and finish the Nolan's 14 line.