Any Way The Wind Blows

by Miles Rost

The sun beat down on the green earth of west central Oregon. The smell of grass in the air, the sounds of tractors and traffic in the background punctuated the desperate feeling of the folks in transit.

“So, where are we going?”

“Haven’t decided that yet. It’s summer, the weather is warm, and we have a couple months before we have to be back at college. Where do you want to go?”

Sherry Michaels and Harlan Bossier were perched on the railings of a white house just a short jump away from the interstate. Two unlikely people talking about where to go.

“I think we should just ride until we feel like we have gone where we need to go.”

“I agree, but I do feel we need to have some sort of a destination.”

Doesn’t matter if we lead or follow, honey. There’s no telling where we’ll be tomorrow.”

Sherry swung her legs up and landed them behind her, while straightening the blue t-shirt she wore.

“Are you sure you just want to go? I mean, do you think we have enough money to get things fixed if we break down somewhere?”

“There’s a reason I have a separate savings account from my parents. They don’t know about it, and it was made for stuff like this in mind.”

Harlan stood up and walked down the stairs.

“Then I guess we should go. Let’s do this!”

The seemingly mismatched couple walked down the path from the house to the garage. They entered the garage, and after a moment, a couple of loud rumblings were heard. Both of them slowly pulled out of the garage, and into the sunlight as they rode their Harley Davidsons up to the main road. They headed towards the interstate, and paused at the stoplight. The choice was now theirs.

“So, which way to we go?”

We just go any way the wind blows, sweetie.”

Harlan put his hand in the air and felt around for a half a minute. After feeling what the wind had said, he revved the bike and turned. Sherry followed him, her leather jacket reflecting a bit of the sun.

As they peeled down the interstate, they passed a sign on the road.

Click the link for the music, please!

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Live It Up

by Miles Rost

High school could be a cruel mistress sometimes. For many students, it was the epitome of social alienation and subjection to the whims of those who had the influence.

Kristy Parsons was one of these with influence, and even she fell victim to the whims of others.

It was a cool February afternoon, just after sixth period creative writing class. Kristy met her boyfriend in the hallway close to her classroom. 10 minutes between classes was enough time for her to get some “chest time” with her honey, where she would sidle up to him, lay her head against his chest, and release her stress. She saw him in his usual spot, and she quickly walked over.

He didn’t respond when she approached him. She knew that something was up.

“Well, hello there, Greg,” she purred, “Are you ready for some energy?”

“Not today, Kristy,” he said, flatly, “I’m breaking things off. You’re nice, but I just don’t want to be with you anymore.”

She was about to say something, but her throat could only give a small shocking “eep”.

Her day proceeded to get worse, and as she was walking down the stairs towards the exit, she heard the whispers of the others.

I hear her boyfriend dumped her for Gina Langston.
No way, it wasn’t Gina Langston. She’s still going out with Mark Blank. It’s clearly Shannon, the head cheerleader.
Poor Kristy, she’ll have no one to take her to the dance tonight.

She quickly ran to her locker, grabbed her stuff, and proceeded to skip seventh period. She arrived home shortly after leaving school, and proceeded to her room to cry. She was not happy with things, and the night was not going to go well either. She was required to be at the dance that night, as she was the head of the design committee and the person for which all music selections went through.

Until an hour before the dance was to start, she cried. Her mom came to comfort her, to give her what she needed to get through the night.

“He wasn’t worth your time, Kristy. I have a feeling that you’ll find someone sooner than you think.”

Great, Mom, Kristi groaned to herself, Old Spinster me is going to emerge soon. I doubt it’ll happen.

She proceeded to get ready for the dance, wearing a beautiful peach-colored satin dress and dazzling up herself as best as she could. She was not looking forward to what was going to happen there at the dance, but she decided to do her best anyways. She could always be sad tomorrow.

She went to the dance, and entered the back entrance of the school. It was customary for those checking the designs and others to be in the back, so she was able to go in without much trouble. After informing the deejay about what he was supposed to play and what he wasn’t, she walked over to the main gym doors. She rapped on the doors twice, and proceeded over to a reserved table, where she sat. And continued sitting even after the first 30 minutes of the dance.

She looked at the people out on the floor, having fun and dancing. Tears slowly fell from her eyes, seeing the fun that she was supposed to be having with her now ex-boyfriend, and she started feeling a bit cold.

How can you see looking through those tears, Kristy?”

She looked behind her, and saw a young man that she never would have thought would even give her the time of day. She figured Brian Treadwell, the captain of the ice hockey team and the assistant editor-in-chief of the newspaper, would be pursuing one of the hockey girls.

“What’s it to you, Brian?”

“Well, I heard about what’s happened in the last 12 hours. A close encounter with a hardhearted man who never gave half of what he got. He’s hurt you, Has made you wish that you’d never been born.”

Kristy hung her head in acknowledgement.

“You pretty much hit it, though you’re a bit blunt about it.”

Brian smiled, and put his hand on her shoulder.

“He’s kind of an ass anyways. He’s not worth all the crying and worrying. He threw you to the side, and that’s a shame cause you got the lot.

Kristy looked at him, and blinked a few times, wondering what he was saying.

I know he’s Australian, but he really needs to start speaking a language I can understand,” she thought.

Brian put his hand on the table next to hers, then moved his fingers on top of her hand.

“Your hands are frigid. Let me warm your hands against the cold.”

Kristi seemed to do nothing as Brian’s warm hands transferred heat into her fingers, giving her new life.

“You, beside the dance floor, what are you crying for? Let’s live it up! What do you say?”

Kristi looked up at Brian. She looked deep into his blue-gray eyes and saw his heart. She knew he wasn’t joking.

“Which song should we dance to?”

“How about the one that’s about to come up?”

Kristi looked at him funny.

“How do you know what song is coming up”

Brian smiled, and snapped his open fingers.

“I know the deejay. He’s a friend of mine. And I told him to put it on when we go to the floor. Which should be now, as this song is ending.”

Brian squeezed her hand lightly and gave her a lift up onto her feet. She looked at him, and put her arm around his back. They walked out to the dance floor, and the deejay started to speak.

“Hey there, kids! Glad to have all of you on the floor. This one is a special request from a guy who thinks that there’s a wonderful girl that deserves better than what she had. Brian, buddy, this one is for you! Let’s live it up!”

With the last word, the song started up.

That night, Brian gave Kristy the night of her life. After having a good time at the dance and the after party, he dropped her off at home. By this time, she was grinning and forgetting all about her ex-boyfriend. This continues to the following Monday morning, when he drove to her house and picked her up for school. As they drove to school, Kristi opened her heart to ask a question.

“Brian, why did you come to me? You are the ice hockey captain, you could have anyone.”

Brian looked at her, and looked back at the road with a smile.

“I’ve been interested in getting to know you for a good while. You were on my screen since we both met up at freshman orientation. You just were busy with that other guy, and when you were down, I wanted to be the one to help pick you back up.”

She blushed.

“Besides, Ive seen your work. You’re worth your weight in gold. You’re pretty, you’re outgoing, and there should never be a reason for you to cry unless it’s a darn good one.”

She blushed even more furiously at that.

“I’ve had my eye on you for a good while, and I just felt like I needed to take charge and help you move on from this heartbreak. And quickly.”

She turned and looked at him, as they slowed down at a stoplight.

She leaned over and kissed him on the lips.

“Handle me with care, Brian.”

Straight Tequila Night

by Miles Rost

It was another one of those nights for Denise. The aggravations of the daytime bled into her nighttime, ruining the mood she was trying to pick up at the local canteen.

Starting with a note on her computer at work from her boss, telling her that she was responsible for the company losing a major contract, her day went downhill from there. Computer problems, cars that refused to start, at least four customers who tried to use bad credit cards. Working as a car rental agent was stressful, but it wasn’t supposed to be THAT stressful.

And that was all before lunchtime.

Just after lunch came part II of her bad day gone worse. That’s when her ex-boyfriend, someone who she never should have hooked up with in the first place, walked in and started going on about his life with the airhead of the counter clerks. Denise warned her many times about him, but she just didn’t seem to get it, and started flirting in a major way with him.

The day finally ended, and she was able to go home and switch her clothes. Putting on a nice pair of blue jeans, a red t-shirt, and putting her long reddish-brown hair up in a ponytail, she took herself to the canteen to unwind and let her troubles go. She was already into her second tequila shot, and had a whiskey shot ready to go within a half an hour of arriving. She was just about at the point where the vent would be able to be shut off and she’d be able to savor the day.

The door opened up, and Denise looked back. The smile that was building on her face suddenly shattered into a billion pieces. Her face went from the nearest thing anyone would call joy to shock and disgust at the culprit who opened the door.

Patrick walked in.

She dreaded what was about to happen. She knew that he was interested in her, and he knew that she wasn’t interested in him. He walked over to the bartender and smiled that same greasy smile that he always had when he was on the prowl. She quickly turned around and prayed that nothing would happen.

“Scotch on the rocks for myself,” Patrick ordered, “And what is she drinking down there?”

The bartender looked up at him and gave him a warning eye.

“You don’t want to approach her tonight.”

“Why not? I figure she’s probably game for anything.”

Don’t ask her on a straight tequila night. She’ll start thinking about him, and she’ll kick your ass.”

Patrick laughed at the bartender, in a haughty laugh that all but advertised his arrogance.

“A young woman like her? She’s small. She couldn’t hurt anyone. Get her another tequila shot and tell her it’s on me.”

The bartender merely raised his hands, signaling that he had given the advice and he was now ready to serve. And he did so. He gave her the notice that Patrick was sending her a tequila shot.

She slumped her head against the bar, knowing that she would be unable to resist it, and the consequences that would come as a result. With a sigh, she downed the shot in one gulp. She held herself steady at the bar for about 26 seconds. She quickly whipped her eyes towards Patrick.

He looked at her, keeping that sleazy grin on his face, hoping that his charm would win her over.

He closed his eyes and took a sip of his scotch, then opened his eyes again. And he was looking into the black eyes of the woman that he was trying to pick up.

“You ignored the bartender.”

He looked into her eyes, and realized that he made an incredibly bad mistake.

“You remind me of my ex. That makes me mad,” she said calmly, as she launched him into the back room with a swift punch to his sternum.

For the next 20 minutes, Denise did to Patrick things that no one would ever have mentioned or would ever have believed. For folks at the canteen, this was merely another straight tequila night with Denise. And as the pain-filled screams of Patrick filled the bar, the people just kept talking and enjoying their time there.

She left the back room and walked to the bartender. She still had a serious look, but her eyes were no longer the deep black that Patrick had gazed into. She paid the bartender and told him to call a bus for the man, with the bartender giving a knowing nod.

So a little warning to all of you out there. When dealing with Denise, just remember her heart is on the mend. If you ever decide to see her, even again, don’t ask her on a straight tequila night.

Man of Colours

by Miles Rost

(Author’s note: For Clinton, my brother, a true man of colours)

I sat downstairs, and watched him as he spent the bright afternoon in the beautifully lighted parlor of his home. The natural sunlight was able to put a unique glow on the work of art he was doing.

As a young boy, I was not as interested in what my uncle did. I didn’t really care much as to why he did what he did. I knew he was a painter, and that he did his work diligently, even if he didn’t actually make that much money from what he did. After my parents separated for a time, it was felt that my uncle would take better care of me for a couple of summers. So at the age of 13, they sent me to his manor in the heart of the West Country.

The first few weeks I was there, I didn’t do much with my uncle. I was still a bit frazzled from what was going on with my parents. But, after those few weeks when I ran the grounds and did so much, I finally was able to take a moment and watch what he was doing.

My uncle Charles was a calm man. He barely ever raised his voice, and sometimes didn’t even have to speak to get his point across. He had a silent air about him, but one that allowed for great things to come forward.

“The creative spirit does not allow for anger to fester inside, but is allowed to be spread throughout whatever you work on. In my case, my anger and frustration is carried across the canvas,” he told me, the first day I became interested in what he did, “If you have passion for something, put everything into it. Anger, fear, love, trust, everything. It will come forth in beauty and love.”

That is what got me interested in his painting, and why I got interested in playing music later on.

I lounged on the chaise in the parlor, looking at him as he took a wider brush to a beautiful work-in-progress. It looked like the start of an outdoor scene, with pastel skies and deep green trees. I looked in wonder as he did his painting, marveling at the brushstrokes and how he was able to make a painting come to life before our eyes.

“Uncle Charles, why do you paint?” I asked him, as he worked.

“I paint because it is what I wanted to do in life. I keep my life in this paintbox. When I speak to this canvas, it tells me what it wants. And I follow what it says, because that’s how I work.”

I sat for another half hour while he changed his brushes around and continued to paint. After that half hour, he had me go into the kitchen ahead of him to get prepared for tea time. Margaret, the maid of the house, kept things organized as much as she could, and made the time for tea quite pleasant.

“Uncle Charles, why didn’t you marry?” I asked him.

“I did. Once. A very long time ago, before you were born. Alice would have loved to have seen you. It was very hard for us to separate like we did.”

“You….separated too?”

“She didn’t want to burden me with her problems. She left at the time of her choosing, and went to get treatment for her disease.”

“She’s dead?”

The old man rubbed his failing eyes, and took a moment to think of things. A small tear glistened on the side of his eye, even though he knew that he should be showing it.

“I am not sure how it happened, or whether it was something like shame or the burden of leaving, but she did pass on half a year after leaving. Her heart just couldn’t stand things, I think.”

I just looked up at him, and saw the sadness in his eyes. It finally hit me that the pain of my parents’ separation was hitting him hard too, because it reminded him of his loss of Aunt Alice.

After tea, we went back into the parlor. The sun was in that special place in the sky where it seems to always be the most beautiful. That’s where his hands and inspiration took it’s flight. By the time the sun went down and the lights came on in the house, he had created what looked to be a beautiful meadow with a lone tree. Three people underneath it, one a small boy, or so as I could see.

“I…I am a man, A simple man, A man of colours. And I can see through the years, see through these tears. These are the tears and the years of a man, a man of colours.”

I never knew what he meant when he said it…but he said it in such a way that it seemed that I would finally figure it out down the road.

The artwork he made was given to my parents. When it was done, he gave it to them and told them to take a day and just look at the painting. He told them to contemplate it, and really get into it.

That fall, my parents came to pick me up. They told me that they were going to see a priest about getting things worked out. They wanted to be together, and not to experience pain like they had.

It has been many years since my uncle Charles passed away. He never remarried, but he made an impact on people that he knew. When we went through his things after he died, we found out that he had almost 200 paintings from when he was alive. 150 of them were donated to various universities and charities. The University of Buckingham even decided to keep 15 of his paintings up as a permanent exhibit. The other 50, according to his will, were to be auctioned and sold. I was to be the beneficiary of the wealth, his will stated.

I don’t think about the money, though. And when I go to Buckingham with my friends from college, we always stop by my uncle Charles’s exhibition. The world appreciated what he did. And I did too.

 

Jukebox Hero

by Miles Rost

A rainy and cold night was typical in this part of the world. This neighborhood, in particular, kept being hit with rain.

When it was rainy and cold, many people would flock to their neighborhood diners and have comfort food. It was one of the few things that was normal in this part of the city. People were able to be people for a while at these places, without having to hide or deal with the mish-mash of politicians and authoritarians attempting to brainwash people with the musical excrement called “nue pop”. They heard of a revolutionary legend, a “jukebox hero“, but they knew it was only a legend.

At the Central Diner, there was a packed crowd of people eating in silence. Folks that ate their chili and soups looked out at the dreary rain-soaked streets, wondering if there was any possible way to make their world better. They sighed, and continued to eat.

The bells on the door chimed, as another patron walked through the door and took his seat next to an old jukebox in the corner. He looked up at the bored, blonde bombshell of a waitress came over and asked him what he wanted.

“I’ll take a Pepsi.”

“We haven’t had that for years.”

“What type of sugar do you have?”

The waitress looked at him blankly, and walked over to the short-order chef. After a minute of animated conversation, she walked back over to the young man. She leaned down and whispered into his ear.

“We have one Jolt left. It’s in the back. You’ll have to go back yourself to get it.”

The young man did as she mentioned, and walked back. With help from the short-order chef, he found the Jolt Cola that he was looking for, and proceeded to walk back out, hiding it in his trenchcoat sleeve. He proceeded to sit back down at the end, and gave the waitress an order for a double bacon cheeseburger with a tower of pickles. She looked at the order, looked up at him, and just sighed.

The young man looked amused, and turned around to look at the jukebox. It was currently sitting idle. It was plugged in but not turned on. It was a Wurlitzer Zodiac, and it looked like it was of the newer variety before they stopped being made a few years ago. He looked at the songs and the names on it, and noticed one of the listings written in.

“Revolution Song” was the name written on it. Where the artist was, was written the name of “Preston Black”.

The young man flipped the switch on the machine, knowing it would take a few seconds for it to start up. No one actually noticed as the jukebox powered up, or as the young man took a swig of the concealed Jolt Cola. After about 15 minutes, and just as his double bacon cheeseburger arrived, he stood up and whipped his trenchcoat and hat off. He was dressed in a leather biker jacket, with his hair combed in a greaser-like style. For those who may have been a bit older, he looked a lot like The Fonz from the old TV show “Happy Days”.

One of the patrons just happened to look up, and notice him. He gasped, and proceeded to point the man to anyone he could. Within a minute, all of the eyes of the diner were on the young man.

He smiled, and proceeded to kick the jukebox in a “sweet spot”. Within about 15 seconds, and after he took a big bite of his double cheeseburger, a cacophony of sound came blaring from the jukebox. Many of the people in the diner winced, but then returned to normal. They realized very quickly, that this was not any of the “nue pop” that was being propped up by the current media-government. This was classic stuff, and the people knew about what was happening.

As the guitars and mandolins in the song played, the young man kept devouring his cheeseburger and the fries that came with it. As he finished, he pulled out the bottle of Jolt from his jacket and proceeded to gulp it down.

The people were astonished, first that a guy like this could actually drink a bottle of high-caffeine, high-sugar, high energy Jolt Cola, but moreso that they were in the presence of a legend. They were in the presence of the last great American singer: Preston Black.

“My song is called The Revolution Song for a reason,” he called out to everyone, “It was a call to arms. To reject what was being offered by the media and those who want to control you. Today, it’s your day to stand up, and send them a message. Reclaim the Central Neighborhood for your own, and help others reclaim their neighborhoods!”

He raised his hands, and the people in the diner cheered.

The song ended, and as he left the diner, he kicked the jukebox one more time. It was now in the people’s court what they were going to do, now that they knew the legend of Preston Black, the Jukebox Hero, was true. He was, in fact, back. And now, the people had to act.

 

On The Beach

by Miles Rost

Highway 101 was always one of our favorite roads. The meandering curves from Tillamook on down to Lincoln City, the high cliffs of Cape Perpetua, and the sudden rise and fall at Del Norte Redwoods were always memorable, especially if we were traveling in the harsh winter weather.

Traveling down that 101, you’d find a little small area off to the side of the road. It’s a small rest area of sorts, but for folks like us, we could have stayed there forever. The memories of those times when we stopped off at that rest area, they come flooding back everytime I look at a travel book.

The first memory was a solo trip down the coast, but it was the second memory that made the rest area south of Port Orford one that will be seared in my mind for eternity. It was upon the summer winds that I heard a certain melody. It was a mix of a sing-song call of a beautiful lady, the roar of the ocean, and the squawking of a seagull. One wouldn’t think that those in combination would do anything, but to say the very least, it was as close to a possible mating call that I could have ever dreamed. As newlyweds, we had to take every moment when we had a chance. And while it could have turned into a scene from the movie “From Here To Eternity”, it didn’t.

Each time we returned to that place, we would make more memories to build on. Days of strange desires and nights that burned like fire, they take me back to that place we both know. Even when we were caught in-flagrante by the county sheriff, we still made memories.

It’s been a few years since the last time we went to visit that little ol’ rest area. Being busy with work, and my beautiful wife doing her charity work, we always say that we want to go back and keep making more memories. Maybe this summer, we’ll go back and try it again. Though, I think we’ll be more careful not to traumatize the poor young couples that will come down to visit as well. If you want to find us, we’ll be on the beach.

Sara(h)

by Miles Rost

Brian Mulgrew looked at his fiancee, and smiled broadly. As he sat in the chair, holding her hand, he looked into her eyes and showed her a look of longing that he had for her.

Sarah Borain looked up at him. She was short, almost tiny, but she was a spitfire. She was in a beautiful wedding dress, and smiled as she looked into his eyes and showed him the look of desire that she had, the storms that were brewing in her eyes. Her long blonde hair was put up in two beautiful braids that stretched around her head. She looked like a princess with a crown of laurels.

There was only a few family members there, and they were just as happy and smiling broadly as the couple they came to see.

The minister came out from a side room. The door clicked, and echoed through the room.

“Dearly beloved…” he started, as he went through the predictable rigamarole that one would see during a wedding. The ceremony didn’t take very long, all of 15 minutes. But those in attendance would say that it was one of the most heartfelt ceremonies that they saw, because of it’s simplicity.

“Do you take this woman, Sarah Borain, to be your lawfully wedded wife? To have and to hold, for richer or for poorer, for as long as you both shall live?”

“I do.”

“Then by the power vested in me, the state of California, and the California Department of Corrections, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”

They both kissed for a good long time, knowing that it would also be a long time before they would be able to kiss again. As they finished the ceremony, the warden of the prison came in and nodded to the couple. It was that time.

“Honey, it’s my time to go back,” she told her new husband.

“I know. It’s a shame that you’re still in here for five more years. But, once you get out, we’ll do things well. My business is taking off, and once it gets to a good point, you’ll be in as my secretary.”

She smiled, as she turned to go. She didn’t want to leave him, but she had to change her clothes and get back to her cell. Before she finally left, Brian was able to give her one last kiss through the metal fencing.

That day would be a tough one for both Sarah and Brian. As he left the grounds of the California Institution for Women and headed home, he knew that he would not be able to hold her like he wanted to for five more years. But, through it all, he knew that he would survive. As for Sarah, it was at this time that she felt all the regret for what she did and how her actions were going to keep her away from her husband.

They needed to be married, and now they were. Only time would tell how good the marriage would last, especially with someone in prison.