The Lake (4)

May 6, 2020

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My Michelle

Nearly 40 years have passed since that druggy July afternoon and you can still remember the details vividly. Not just her body but everything on it: her pink velour running shorts, the canary yellow tube top, a stretchy headband, reflective aviators.

You do not rise. Michelle sits down on the grass beside you. Tiny beads of perspiration dot her upper lip. When she smiles a rivulet forms on her flushed cheek. You watch the droplet encroach places you would kiss.

“I know you from the neighborhood,” she says. “I knew I would find you here.”

That didn’t make sense. You’d never seen this girl before in your life, save for in your dreams. How did she know you? You don’t ask. A gift like this you receive without questions.

While you remember particulars from that day at the lake, the vision of Michelle, the strange miracle of her coming to you, it would be disingenuous to reiterate the dialog you shared. As if under the rapture of Psilocybin, you only know the conversation flowed like a clear stream over smooth rocks – the actual words as elusive as silvery trout slipping in and out of the sunshine.

To be continued…

The Lake (3)

May 4, 2020


My Michelle

A little drunk and high, you welcomed in the fantasy, letting it take over. Chicks like her were beyond anything slinking around the parking lot. You eyed her like a sniper. Ogling. Yet there was something else. A connection. Like she knew you were watching her. You imagined her coming toward you and somehow you knew that she would.

And sure enough.

As in the curious turn of a dream she herself turned and began loping across the grass in your very direction. It was almost as if you were reeling her in. Or was it the other way around? You felt simultaneously powerless and fearless, a strange alchemy, like during an acid trip. But she was no hallucination. When she approached you, you remained fixed to the ground, fixating on her.

“Hi,” she said. “I noticed you from the bike path. I’m Michelle.”

She noticed me? This revelation should have made you swoon. Yes your heart was palpitating. Your eyes wide open taking in the breadth of her. But absent was the panic. You were infatuated. Desiring her. Yet, you were inexplicably… cool.

“I saw you, too.” You reply. How could anyone not have?

To be continued…

“The Lake” (2)

April 30, 2020


My Michelle…

No one dared admit how scared and insecure they were about the opposite sex. Per usual, drugs and alcohol helped and hindered at the same time, blunting certain fears while exaggerating others. Weird sexual tension, tinged by frustration, laced with anger, permeated the trumped up stories and bogus laughter, as dense as the smoke pouring out of Red’s van.

You found the scene both repellent and attractive, unsure of what you were doing there yet unable to refrain from being there. You were not fully invested in the burnout culture of the lake and this made you a peripheral character. You got high. You told lies. You tried to be cool. When it wasn’t working you simply retreated to a spot on the grass, kicked back, and watched leaves rustling in the trees or cars whipping by in the distance on Lake Shore Drive.

It was at just such a moment you noticed her jogging along the bike path. Even from the vast distance the woman’s curvy silhouette stood out. There was no other way to put it she had enormous breasts, just like the centerfolds in Playboy and Hustler. Up and down they caromed. You literally saw one rise as the other fell. Completing her teen dream looks, she had long tresses of blond hair and somehow you could see every strand of it, tickling and slapping her exposed back as she ran.

She seemed like a wet dream. But she was real.

To be continued…

“The Lake”

April 28, 2020


From Lake Shore Drive, there was only one entrance to Montrose Harbor, a meandering one-lane road skirting the soccer fields and mostly empty grass leading to the parking lot, where you and the other “burn-outs” liked to party. From here was an excellent vantage point for spotting police should they make their sweep earlier than usual. This was the only way in. Everyone called it “the lake” even though few ever jumped into the lake from off the huge boulders rimming the shore. Unless the temperature was unusually hot or folks were tripping or both; the lake was mostly for smoking joints and drinking beer, cranking tunes and hanging out. Juice sometimes had Purple Microdot or Black Beauties. Then Pink Floyd rose from the car stereo like church music. Rex and his crew went the other way, preferring Quaaludes and Tuinal with their beer. They were more about the pussy. For them it was Van Halen and the backseat of Rex’s Trans Am or Red’s custom van. If the guy was lucky and the girl was the right combination of dazed and confused, she might grab his cock and pull on it until he came. This happened less than anyone imagined, as there were only so many girls, and too many guys. Lanky and muscled, leaning up against his gold Trans Am, Rex got his share. The wife beater, ripped jeans and dangling Marlboro cigarette created a character young females adored and he was able to bounce from one to another. He paid the price, too. Rex spent a lot of time dealing with drunk and crying girls. “You lied to me!” they’d scream after a stint in his car, punching his chest, making a scene. They were foolish as they were stoned.

To be Continued…


Bruce Lee. Nobody did it better…

Growing up in the Lake View neighborhood of Chicago, there was a grindhouse on Clark street called the Parkway Cinema. It showed nothing but Z-grade movies, usually three at a time, for a couple bucks. Go in at noon and stumble out at 7PM. Ingest gobs of bad popcorn, horror and Kung Fu. And, God willing, a smattering of naked ladies. Heaven for a 15-year old boy.

My fascination with horror began here but martial arts flicks also have a place in my heart. Obviously Bruce Lee was the penultimate star of this genre. Yet, he made only a few movies before his untimely and controversial death. Jackie Chan appeared in a great many more. Seeing him, super young, lithe and kicking ass, was sweet. Mostly, however, you got knock-offs like Bruce Le and Bruce Li. Nobody was fooled but for two dollars who cared? A flying kick is a flying kick.

Kung Fu movies were a catharsis. Same as “Death Wish” or “Dirty Harry.” But in almost every martial arts movie you never, ever saw a gun.  Every slight, every indignity and humiliation, is met with fists, feet and the occasional “silver spear of death.”


A broom, a kitchen knife and a big bamboo!

Stranger walks into a bar and forgets to bow to the local don. Massive brawl. Drifter asks for directions. Massive brawl. The best was when the star pupil or “dragon” saves (or more likely avenges) the village idiot, blind child or helpless waitress unfairly brutalized by local thugs. One after another, in a predictable pecking order, the bad guys are dispatched until only the most skilled and evil perpetrator is left standing. Cue the dramatic 70’s era horns. Snap zoom to the eyes. Begin the bloody, fantastic finale. Like Rocky, the hero nearly dies from punishment before inflicting the Iron Fist or some other unique technique that Master had taught him for just such an occasion.


Now that’s a headline…

Despite (or because of) terrible acting, ridiculously dubbed voices and myriad directorial issues, these pictures are freaking awesome. They hit a primordial nerve. They got the right part right. Evil is obvious. It does bad things. Good is noble and righteous. It also does bad things. Very bad things. Can you say “Iron Fist?”

As a kid, the ceaseless torments I had endured in the schoolyards the previous week would suddenly evaporate in the red mist of a dragon defending my honor.

I’m a father now. A husband. I’m a worker among workers. But I still get off on that fantasy. To protect, avenge and fight like a dragon.