‘Over an Over’ by Ray Cates

so I became a child again

and soon forgot

all that was before

lusts and musts

and the world was

of mothers

theirs and mine

how far

one is allowed
to go

what there is

to know


and how to pray

the right grammar

in what to say

master the A,B,C’s

then multiplication tables

and somehow I remember somewhere

in the mix

before prom night

all of before

slips by

first love

and in your honeymoon

by the sea

you can’t help

but think

‘I’ve seen this before’

as the waves

crash the shore

but you always lived

far inland

and your wife says

“What a vivid imagination


after that

you dream

of stories

tales of ten thousand


and in time


with grandchildren

and when the

hospital doctor

is shaking his head over you

giving that grim look

you look away

and dream


the new story

and excited mothers


and her new




‘Lad Brick’ by Ray Cates

Segments for a COMING STORY, notes to myself I might use. That is when and if I write a story.

The little doctor looked nervous like a cat that was about to jump a house.  As a teacher I’ve been around people all my life and this old guy was restless.  His right hand thumb did a little twitch, up an down. When the thumb was down it squirmed on the table like trying to dig a hole to China.

I would start to say something and he would jump ahead with a new question before I had said about anything.  I got the impression that I was entering something shady, maybe criminal, but this was Daytona Beach Florida, the Con Capitol of Florida.  If you couldn’t get swindled in Daytona then your not doing any deals, or up to anything.  I have learned swindling since I’ve been here.  A bank teller put the wrong amount on my deposit slip, not in my favor.  A used car salesman sold me a car that wasn’t his to sell.  I even thought I was buying a house trailer in Port Orange, and the guy took my earnest money, but I didn’t see him ever again  The real owner didn’t even know anyone else had a key to his place.  It was not for sale.  If I ever see that guy who took my $500. I’m going to follow him somewhere an whack him.  I mean I have  a concealed carry license and I shoot safely, away from me.

Dear Editor (A letter no lawyer would let one send)

I’m writing this letter in protest.

I take pride in my yard, grass, seeds, water as allowed by ordinance, mowed always to the correct height.

But God-Damn Nelson Sloan at 423 Elm Street, he lets his dogs out daily and they come out an piss and shit on my yard.

He’s my neighbor, but not much of my neighbor!

I’ve told him, first in a very civil tone, “Keep your fucking dogs on your own lawn!” He replies with an upraised middle finger.

I finally said –after ten full years of poop, enough is enough and I let loose. I did point a shotgun at him from my doorway, stood up from my wheelchair, and let fly with both barrels over his house.

Now I sit in this little hoosecow, room while his bunch is shitting all over my property!

If I’m not home to shoot him and his dogs, well who the hell will!

Restore Pedabody The Third

A Scratch of the POP Story

I’m sorry I didn’t come an see you Jerry. Really I’ve always felt I was your close friend. As if we were family, brothers. I see your mother and father often around town.


“You forgot about my $3,000. I didn’t even ask you to pay interest, or anything, but you knew I needed it back!”

“I know, and you should have gotten it 3 years ago, but my parents were sick.”

“Your parents are alcholics, their no sicker than they always were, and I know you didn’t fund their treatment. The most you would do is maybe drive them to AA Meetings, while they kicked and screamed. I loaned you money I needed back badly. Because of you I had to sleep on NYC park benches for a month. I came back all this way to shoot you!”

“You can have my new Ford Truck, 4 on the floor and mud bogging tires. I’ll sign the title over to you!”

“It’s financed, you have nothing, but I counted on you. I never even got a bogus excuse from you, until today, now your lying your front teeth out.”

“I thought you were coming home!”

“I told you I was never coming home.”

“My wife’s parents have some money, my wife Marjory will go over to their house an get your money for you. You can meet my 3 children.”

“You don’t have any children, an not only are hers by 3 former husbands in 3 previous marriages, not only that, but you defrauded the poor woman, because you didn’t really marry her. She just thinks you married her. What wife would be stupid enough to be married in Jacks Bar by Jack the wino owner. And the certificate he showed her was his Membership in the Elks Club. One of her children named Tim tried to kill you, I read the local paper on line. I wanted to make sure you were alive down here, so nothing would spoil my killing of you.

I’ll shoot you in the legs first, an scream as much as you want, this is a basement of a burned up house. I own the land and I put up those handy ‘No Trespassing – Those Entering Will be Shot’ signs. I thought that set the right tone for today. After the legs I’ll pick out other parts of your body where you won’t die fast. Mostly hands and arms. Hold still and maybe I won’t hit an artery. Getting on your knees will not make me miss your legs. Don’t worry I’m not aiming for your crotch, that would be a big bleed zone. After I empty my gun into you, about 2 clips. I’m going to close this door and bar it from the outside, if it were not for the concrete floor you could dig your way out, but there is nothing to dig or cut with, and your arms, when shot up will not be fit for hard labor. I hope you struggle till you drop. Maybe it will get really cold. There is not heat, like on my park benches, I will be feeling for you BROTHER like you felt for me.

I hope to god you don’t bleed out but live to starve down here:


“Oh, please leave me here now! For God’s sake, I’m sorry I didn’t send the money, god this hurts. You really hurt my arms. I will go to the hospital and won’t tell them who did it! I’ll never tell! I made $22,000 last year and this year you can have it all! Let me live and you’ll get your money. I swear.

“Now your arms get the rest of my clips –then you can get along well with the rats. Your about as stupid as Marjory, coming down here to, ‘Get a job’ You probably thought you were going to help rob something. Fred Querry is a fake name, but a real bankrobber. Never go to a basement of a house that is burned down, and with signs like I put all over this 5 acres, well coming here is suicide.

POP (an 18 more)

After ten minutes, “I’ll bet you hurt now, you sure know how to howl. I wish I had a tape of your screams to put me asleep nights. I Jerry Kohn don’t forgive anyone $3,000. Oh just so you’ll know, this basement if full of money under the concrete. Necessity made me rob banks, Like old time pirates I like to leave bones over my stash. You qualified for just $3,000. If you had stolen more from me I would have been much harder on you. I think in your case the rats will eat you before you die. They are very hungry, so hungry they are not hiding well.

You wouldn’t have been any good at robbing banks, but I am.”

a smattering of Jackism

Jack went to college with me, we had endured the draft together, we went around the world without saving the world. For him life was baseball, it was the glove of life, the game of all games, bases of achievement, batting for America, guns for the flag, George Washington curving around 3rd base for the homer.

He talked me into Stetson University in DeLand Florida, but I was from New York, and could have gone cheaper there. We knew we could count on each other. Of course Jack made the Hatter Team, he fit right in with everything baseball, but academics were lost on him. He told me in confidence, “I have never read a whole book. DON’T DARE TELL ANYBODY.” Well I couldn’t read his books, and also mine. So Jack first got Sally, then Mary by his junior year he had the best Lettice. What the girls did was read and explain to Jack. They had to take all his classes, sometimes not everything because no one knew more about baseball than Jack. He was absolutely a one sport guy. Lettice had to endure, Jack’s ball glove in his hand about all the time. Not very romantic, but Jack was good looking, rich and let girls talk more than most boys. Jack was a good listener, the girls read him Cliffs Notes, and told him the deeper meanings of the history lessons. As Jack dreamed of the major leagues he had one great girl at a time. I mean beauty queens, he never dumped them, they made the mistake of dumping him. Well he said, ‘1 down, next inning please.’

Those I called JACKISMS: Jack was full of little sayings. He talked so little everyone tended to listen when he spoke. Some of his other sayings were:

There were plenty of others, but Jack graduated from Stetson. Married his book reader, hired me into his daddy’s mattress business. I saved my money and bought a bunch of New York real estate.

Jack never made it to the Big Leagues, but he had 6 children, and to me, Lettice ad the children he is the Home Run King!

Persona a Goata – a trial pail of goats milk

Somehow  I was inside the goat,


Once I had been a man 6 feet tall three inches,

If this a goat joke?  I told cracks on monkeys, an deer on beer,

but goats might be funnyer

tee-he, tee he.


Imagine a hoofed animal, maybe I’ll get horns like a demon?

This place is big, god, it’s a barn!



pigs – none of them seem to talk!


Hard to believe,

but I can walk around

If there is a god,   he’s in the same profession as me.


I was in Doctor Boliviers office last Tuesday at 4 PM,

his last mal-practice suit, I guess for the day,


somehow didn’t make it, well now I know,

sure as a knockout punch, that lifes joke,


I would yell out, but with this mouth

I’m at a loss for words

Then I pondered as around the barn I wandered, will this horror somehow pass?


All of a sudden terror splashed and glued itself to me, blocked my racing mind,

As a human, often speeding in my Ford Pickup,

I met Marge at the Organic Chef,

Where our most gleeful delights were: GOAT, PIG AN GOAT

I never ever want to think again!

Please let me lose my mind!

I do not want to think again, until after I’m dined!



Practice tale, before I get to the entire story, a sort of 3.12. out of 10 possible

Screaming every day in pain is a poor way to spend your time and Kyle was hurt everyway he could be hurt, anyway that the teachers really didn’t see.  The asshole who punched, jabbed, grabbed, tripped an shoved Kyle was Ronnie Lester.  Ronnie was this huge, mean boy who his mother probably didn’t, I imagine, love.  Girls didn’t like him because of his face, it was a face with eyes, nose, mouth but his mouth was too big, like a wolf that you shouldn’t  turn your back on or ‘it’ will eat you up.

Ronnie when he showed his teeth seemed to have too many.  He was a freak, but my mother said, “Your not supposed to laugh at freekie people Andrew.”  Ronnie didn’t pick on everybody for the whole half of the 7th grade, just Kyle.

Then I think Kyle came home with too many bruises, cuts and scrapes.  I’m sure he must have been a walking example of ‘black an blue’, under all his clothes. Maybe the doctor would diagnosis him as a ‘Walking blood clot’.  The only reason Kyle stayed alive half that year was that most of the time we were sitting in class and the teacher was trying to teach us while seeing, an Kyle sat on the 1st row.  A few times when Kyle asked, “Mrs. Vandermier can I stand in the back of the class an take notes.”  Well Ronnie would snicker.  The guy couldn’t sit down because his butt had been kicked too much in PE.  Kyle got all the football injuries without football.

Kyle was not in school for several days and I became Kyle. I mean I was still Andrew Grain, loveable, nice to everybody, friendly an nice looking, but Ronnie Lester decided that his punching bag was out of service, and I became his whore. I know at church they say to not call people bad names, like ‘whore’ but that’s what I became.  In one day Ronnie the barbarian moved from Kyle to Andrew.  Not that I had anyone on my side.  The class, people who had liked me before, laughed when Ronnie tripped me, or when the teacher couldn’t see smacked me on the back of my head, or stuck a pencil in my arm. I think my classmates laughed because out of fear, they knew, that someone, anyone, could be the next Kyle. It might me, small, frail Andy Grain, or maybe them.

I already had the example of Kyle that I remembered and when Kyle screamed in class,  then Lester would say,  “I’m sorry Kyle my big feet were just too far out in the aisle.  Please forgive me.”

Vandermier would say, “OK Kyle, go on to your seat and back to our lesson on Bunker Hill.”

Ronnie beat up Kyle every day, but Kyle didn’t tell the teachers. Tattle tales were looked down upon, an Kyle was an honorable piece of beaten shit. Teachers saw Kyle’s bloody shirt, soiled clothes, heard his yelps. Everyone was afraid of the big strutting dog Lester. I was afraid of Lester, Lester was a neighborhood bully that was forced to go to school every day by his parents, who probably kept him in the yard most of the time, and if they were smart would encourage him to run away. He was a rabid pit bull, who would be on a leash if his parents had a brain. Lester was the best argument I might think of for abortion.

I told my father why my clothes were torn, clothes were money to my father and my father took money seriously. We were a family bent to the breaking point with conserving dollars, dimes –eating more bread and less donuts. I told him the story of Lester and Kyle, thinking being a big guy he might be my buddy and go to 7th grade and get things safe for me.

“I should be able to study and learn in school without animals attacking me!” Dad’s reply was, “So STUPID be a man smack him back harder than he is whacking you!”

“But dad,” I told him, “Ronnie is a brute barbarian, I weigh 87 pounds, he is a beasty demon of maybe 175 pounds and he lives to fight. He probably beats his mother. He probably smacked her around to get out of her at birth, he’s primitive, smells bad, and everyone is afraid of him.”

“This happens to every boy, there were bigger kids when I went to school son, I had to get them before they got me. It’s the law of the jungle, and the 7th grade is your jungle. Swing from the trees and do him in! You are not a Mary Jane or Linda Sue, and if I had one of those I might go to school and complain to the teachers, but you might grow up to be in the Army, to face an enemy you have to bring down, maybe your enemy is bigger and stronger than you? What will you do? The answer is use your brain. Big brutes are typically not smart. If he is smarter than you, then it’s your last farewell, but if you have guts and smarts, well then you’ll beat the shit out of him. Figure it out and if a few clothes get torn, well we’ll have to manage more. If you have bones broken then I’ll get the doctor. If the 7th grade is your battlefield, then fight a good fight.”

It sounded to me like I was to kill him, an that would have been fun, but I didn’t care to get the electric chair in Nashville, or where ever they fried boys.

The next morning in history class the beast tripped me, then when I got up he blocked the teachers view with his monster body, an hit me hard in the back of the head.. The whole class laughed.

The whole school got an hour for lunch. You could either eat the school lunch for 25 cents, or walk downtown and eat. For the same 25 cents I could buy two chili hotdogs, ten cents each and have a large Royal Crown Cola or a Nehi Orange Soda for 5 Cents. I usually walked down town, and ate at the hot dog stand, because if you carried off the bottle you had to pay an extra 2 cent deposit. Two cants in 1952 was really money.

My plan worked like this, I knew Ronnie would be waiting for me at the school entrance. He was into terror, and he wanted me to know at the door that he was close around and was going to do terrible things to me. I didn’t sleep that night for planning. Also in the school entrance all the teachers stood around after lunch and gabbed. I wanted an audience of teachers for safety and survival. My plan was to whack him before he butchered me.

On my trip back from the hot dog stand I must have looked funny because I swung my arms back and forth, I clinched my fists hard, and tried to imagine how hard I could make one punch. When you know you’ll just get one punch at the greatest evil you have ever known, and then you will probably and in all likelihood you will be killed, or worse. Worse would be paralyzed, or stuck in a machine like children were stuck in with polio, called Iron Lungs. Or losing your eyesight, maybe becoming a Helen Keller. There were lots of worse, terrible and tragic. I couldn’t dwell on that, I had to get into the fight. It was the only way.

First I had to surprise Ronnie, like the Japs whacked us a Pearl Harbor. Get the big boy off guard, like on a nice Sunday morning after church an a big chicken meal, fly down from the clouds and dive bomb the bastard so that he smack Andrew Grain around any more. I would zero him out with my machine gun fists. I might only get one or two licks, but the first one would go to his face, leave scars, break a nose, put out an eye, take out all the front teeth. The second blow would be stomach, knock the wind out of his fleet of ships, his terror of the 7th grade sailing fleet. If he went down I would stomp him like the bug he is!

Mother tells me, “It’s not good to hate people Andrew.” But when the monster weighs about twice as much as you, and tortures and sadistically wants to kill you soon, well what’s a boy going to do? Kill first! If you don’t act he will wait for the teacher to leave the room and then splatter you all over the classroom. His audience is the fearful crowd of other students, and when the teacher returns and sees your dead body and blood scattered along the chalk board, and on the walls next to Abraham Lincoln’s picture, Lester will tell the teacher an police, “I was just sitting at my desk teacher and poor Andrew got up, very sick and throwing up, and he just went into a fit and splashed his innards all over my books, the walls and just everywhere. I feel awful that it happened, but he was so very sick. Everyone in the class saw it, and they will tell you exactly what I told you. I didn’t like him much, but then he’s dead.”

Kyle knew and I knew that Ronnie would get you as you walked home, he wanted to get you in school where kids could all see and talk about how scary he was, but if he really took offense, then there was always a bush he would jump out from, and beat you silly. It was not like I was Ronnie’s enemy, I was just the guy he was using to get laughs.

I walked up the steps to the school entrance after lunch. I had practiced fist bangs all the way to school. Everything was in place, all the teachers were gabbing. There were many more women teachers than men. Five men and thirty women, but some of those women could swing a mean paddle.
Ronnie was there to frighten me, near the door, but he had welcomed Kyle and now I was his prey. “Howdy Andy” he said with a big smile, like maybe he was my friend, it was Ronnie’s show for the faculty. The punches would happen down the hall. I had walked that hall before.

“Hi Ronnie,” I said in a cheery manner, like we were such close chums. Isn’t it nice for my friend to wait here for me to arrive? When you get only one smack, well you have to let fly and hope for total damage. Dad was right no one can save me but myself.

The whole group of teachers saw me do it. I was aiming at an eye, but his nose was the place my blow struck, blood gushed as from a open water main,
I think his head collided with the wall and that knocked him down. My blow alone could not have done that. I got sticky with his blood, then when he fell his arm was hurt. It was better than I ever imagined. He was even slow to get up, but the teachers were also slow except in words to rescue me and he did get up before they did anything but yell. “YOU TWO GET APART!” and “Andy you an Ronnie go directly to the Principal Hyders office! Of course I was not going anywhere in the hall without teacher protection.

Ronnie got up and got me in the head and stomach with his left hand, he was right handed, and thus no real damage to me, and I was feeling good about the whole thing when I walked to the office with Mr. Carter the gym teacher. Ronnie went to the school nurse/Liberian first and I waited in the principals office. Mrs. Clackler the school secretary said, “I heard all about it Andrew, and that boy has always been a bully.”

When I want in the Principal’s office he said, “I’ve already talked to Ronnie and I think his nose is broken, his parents won’t take him to a doctor until school is out, if at all. But everybody knows he bullies smaller boys, he got what was coming to him.”

Ronnie’s dad I guess did take him to a doctor, he had his nose bandaged and his arm in a sling. After that Ronnie didn’t hit anyone, and he wanted to be friends with me. I was not interested in the least.

Ronnie dropped out of school in the 9th grade. I guess he had trouble finding friends.