The Making of a Millionaire

Back in the mid 1960’s, a naive young man walked into a strange home. Strange because it had a large multicolored star* hanging in the porch. He knocked on the door and soon the door opened. A tall rubenesque lady opened the door and instructed him to sit anywhere in the dark living room filled with religious kitsch. There were two dogs playing with a rubber bone but the house smelled fresh. Soon after, the lady appeared from behind a wall. “Enter,” she said. The young man stood up and walked after her into a small room with a fold-up, square table, a plain tablecloth and two wooden chairs. She instructed him to sit opposite of her. The lady sat quietly for a couple of minutes with her eyes closed. Then, she pulled out what is referred to as “los caracoles**.” She asked the young man what he wanted to know and rolled “los caracoles” after he mentioned what was troubling him. The lady began asking him vague questions and he would respond. He was delighted with what “los caracoles” had to say. Subsequently, the lady said that he needed “un trabajo***.” She explained to him what he needed to buy at the “botanica****” and to return within a week. That concluded the session and she asked him for a donation. The “trabajo,” though, would be a specific price.

The next time the young man visited the lady, he expressed interest in doing the same type of spiritual consultations. The lady had psychologically figured him out and decided to teach him the “trade.” Eventually, he learned everything he needed to know from the lady and even worked with her for a while. Years later, they had an altercation and the young man left to pursue his own career but it wouldn’t happen for years. He would get him big break when he had to fill in for a fifteen minute spot for a TV station so he tried doing horoscope. The rest is history.


(* multicolored star is the “estrella de las siete potencias Africana” or “la estrella de Jose” meaning the 7 African powers or Joseph’s Star)

(** small shells used for fortune telling)

(*** spiritual cleansing usually with tree branches, colognes, farm animals (sometimes dead), candles, and African incantations. At times, this cleansing is done in the nude.)

(**** store where religious items are bought for trabajos. Some of these botanicas will also sell you farm animals (obviously illegally)


This is the end

Inside my C-Boat,

Just like a U-boat except I’m not at sea.

It is my car boat; where I can see . . .


Numerous specimens walking,

Not worrying; unprotected.

I see how they round off their days.

They’ve given up.

Que sera, sera. Whatever will be.\

They’re done. Isolation is too much.

Too boring regardless.

“Let’s walk. Maybe we can salvage us.”

Maybe not. A sad story.

A love letter straight from . . .

Well, you know where.

I watch in my smokecloud.

Eyes are red. I run back through the door.

The door of my confinement.

My prison; my swansong.

At least the insects won’t consume me.

I will be in A/C until 911.

D-O-A but I didn’t ask for it.

It came looking for me.

The specimens, they will watch

As I am carried away.

Never to come back. Maybe I should’ve walked.

Just the flu but it still did me in.

Now they see. Not from their C-boat.

The New Age of Valoom (excerpt)

Humanity had dwindled to a mere few curious survivors with their leashed pets in the last few days of the epoch which exploited the conveniences of excessive freedoms. It was then that the resilient had re-encountered a trait which had vanished as quickly as animal instinct: righteousness. Economics and politics were no longer prioritized and those who remained craved human interaction exclusively even though it had become illegal, punishable by death.  Hundreds of thousands perished with households saturated with food and water, cash and handguns. The media had created documentaries of possible threats which included the wars between countries, a deluge of space junk, the environmental hazards created by chemical wastes, and natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, and tsunamis. No one believed that history would repeat itself in the form of a virus that would exterminate most human life in a short time frame. In hindsight, an educated observer may conclude that its defeat was brought about by an abundance of bad situations. The world had become overwhelmed with tragedies especially the first of the World Wars. Those who survived would endure more hardships in the coming years. They would have to avoid tuberculosis, floods, malaria, earthquakes, and several other intangibles. Many concluded that the hardships were brought about by the fast moving industrial revolution of the late nineteenth century.

I woke up that Sunday morning not the sound of vehicular traffic or church bells ringing, but to the deafening sounds of nothingness. By nothingness I mean the sounds of beetles crashing into my window panes, the flutter of butterfly wings, and wayward crickets serenading and celebrating the sunrise. As I walked outside, I looked up to the many satellite dishes above and upright narrow metallic tombstones representing the entryway of misinformation which accelerated the world’s collapse. I had concluded that humans are peculiarly stupid because they chose “the road less traveled” usually ending in a catastrophe. The statistics on the current virus had called for social distancing and quarantines but instead most everyone was hosting “end of the world” parties with friends, families, and neighbors which triplicated the death count within weeks. This was typical because society had become needy. People had to interact with each other because loneliness had become the second deadliest “virus” which had triggered an astonishing number of suicide worldwide. I had no problem with the parties because I was equipped to withstand any adversity I may encounter upon entry into their respective forts. Consecutive days of festivities eventually would become silent which represented free food, water, liquor, disinfectants, and jewelry which I would take just in case the world would make a comeback in my lifetime. You can say I was the patient buzzard flying high overseeing and exploiting the human flaws which brought upon their demise.

It was I who had protested so openly about these fraudulent alliances known as friendships, acquaintances, and cliques. I was the bullied, the ostracized, the criticized, and the only person within the town who had never experienced a physical interpersonal relationship with anyone. I learned how to survive alone and depend on no one but myself. This would include shopping in the wee hours of the night, something I would refer to as the “antisocial shoppers club.” I would avoid television and its indoctrinating philosophies and capitalist commodities except for my “guests”.

But WHAT “guests” am I speaking about, you may ask.

I had always believed in conspiracies since there is no country, religion, or philosophy which could be trusted. Those who enforced the law and politics bent the rules to their personal advantage and, because of this, have all but perished rapidly. Call it karma if you wish but this was the first brotherhood or sisterhood which had vanished from the world. The chaos had not been present because those who remained had become humble by avoiding confrontations. The powerful had become powerless and had surrendered any possibility of surviving the pandemic.

I had not only scoped the ignorant but also the cautious families who had remained hidden in concealed basements. Eventually, the head of household would leave their sanctuary to search for food and water for their families. It was at this time that I would gain entry to their sanctum. Through tantalizing and persuasion with my abundance of survival needs, I would lure them out of their lair and into mine, forty feet underground. They soon become accustomed to my wisdom and philosophy.

They are the new Eves which would bring upon the new Adams. I am their prophet; they represent the new world.






Elton Has Entered the Building

Elton is staring at me. I don’t know if he’s grateful for my water offering or if he’s analyzing me. Maybe Elton is from a different world light years away and has chosen me as his personal specimen. He is, after all, supremely intelligent by being able to put disturbing thoughts into my head:

Will I be in the receiving end of horrific news or will I be the target? It’s hard to believe how the years have evaporated into thin strands of memory flashes and how little time is left. Our country expedites your demise through food poisoning, inaudible sound waves, city-life stress, and, of course, the constant reminders about your frail life through television commercials:

Suffering from arthritis? Diverticulitis won’t let you eat your favorite foods? Infected with HIV? Bones becoming dust because of osteoporosis? Flaccid phallus? Bad vision? Dandruff? Bad Breath? Insomnia? Nausea?


You take a walk outside and the conspiracies begin. You think about the car driven by the 94-year-old-widow spins out of control and slams into you. The rogue space trash that will land precisely on your head . . . and let’s not forget about the twin-engine Cessna who finds parking on your roof. You stop in your tracks and turn back home because you know there’s something wrong because “Stupid” and “Shut the Fuck Up” won’t stop barking. You look around but nothing looks out of order except that you hear two neighbors talking about a chihuahua which was devoured by flesh-eating bacteria in seconds by the lake. Enough. You pick up your pace and find comfort in front of . . . what? Your TV?

Enhancing the surrealism is the antidote so you pour a quadruple fine scotch, no ice. While you’re at it, dust off the hookah you bought on your last trip to Tunisia. Mix some old watermelon shisha with powerhouse herbage.

Now, everyone and everything’s fictional. Humorous caricatures, once a living species who ruled the planet, reduced to Alice’s white rabbit constantly checking the time and wrapped up in social media and reality shows. Soon, time will run out and they become dust waiting for an afterlife NOT verified by Fact Checker. You’re okay with this because Jesus is a friend of yours. Toast with the Grand Puba.

Elton has seen enough. Its curly tail whipping through the cannibus clouds, he gently jumps from the ledge onto the small potted bougainvillea. Tomorrow, he’ll investigate the new Muslim family down the block before coming back to have another telepathic conversation with me as the red western skies dissolve into the dark.



On Getting Fried

Sue me…I just liked the image.

This edition of the Strange World is about the trials and tribulations on becoming someone. In my case, it refers to either finishing my M.A. on Creative Writing and becoming a college/university adjunct professor (because I can’t deal with non-adults at the moment) and/or becoming an established fiction writer (one who sells at least 14 copies of any publication). Which one is easier? Neither! The good thing about this is that you’re progressing with every second that goes by.

My freelance writing has stalled completely because I have to be constantly writing and reading for school. I am happy to announce, though, that my writing has become exceptionally diverse. It’s no longer the formulaic dark humor, psychological horror, and satire. My latest work is bordering on what I call “societal fiction” with traces of science fiction. It is not an easy read and it is quite technical. However, I have kept my trademark controversy since, it seems, I cannot write anything too conventional. This is, perhaps, because I’ve gone through so much weird shit in this life that barely anything shocks me anymore. My influences have converged and have materialized in my writing as a hodge-podge of non-conventional ideologies. I guess some people would consider this as an extension of the psychological horror I’ve been writing up to now? (Yes, that is a question mark at the end of the preceding sentence). I’m thinking Camus.

Anyhow, I just wanted everyone to know that I have not expired . . . yet. I’m just keeping myself busy trying to write quality material.

Rant #001 – e.g., on P.C., Pt. 1

RANT #001

Let me start off by possibly offending you: “Political correctness is a mental sickness.” It is censorship of free speech. Is it offensive to some? Yes. But there are MANY things that are offensive to me that no one gives a fuck about. So who gets to determine what should be banned and what should be accepted? Personally, I don’t give a rat’s ass about the criteria used. I am not or will ever be politically correct. I am who I’ve always been and will remain that way. Obviously, this cannot be an exclusive philosophy. Everyone has to deal with some sort of criteria for certain situations. For example, a junior high school teacher must watch his or her P’s and Q’s around those very sensitive children. You can’t have a class discussion about Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles or All in the Family’s Archie Bunker (Let’s not forget to mention George Jefferson since this is the yin and yang of pre-PC comedy).

When did the bullshit begin? Let me take a quick guess: cigarette smoking. You can’t smoke in theaters, hotels, restaurants, buildings, sports arenas, even bars because it’s “offensive”.

But before you begin an argument with me, let’s analyze the definition for political incorrectness. Most interpretations for this term agree that it is an attitude or policy where someone does not care if it offends or upsets people(s) with a disadvantage (pls., define) or have been treated differently because of sex, race, or disability. So . . . they’re talking about discrimination. However, terms like this carry a hefty, fluffy GRAY AREA which can be recalled at any given moment. The aforementioned examples are proof. While some will consider Bunker and Jefferson politically incorrect individuals, others with similar ideologies will be quick to label them rude, stupid, mindless, or any of hundreds of adjectives. These are the “superiors” of society; those whose shit don’t smell. These are the individuals who really started this expurgation. They are the serial killers of comedy. Let me explain with another example: Blazing Saddles, a 1974 Mel Brooks film, is considered racist (another word which has ceased to have any logical and/or specific meaning because of its overuse). Sure, the “N” word is mentioned but the person being referred to quickly destroys any assumption that the white race is superior. Actually, actor Cleavon Little explicitly debunks any idea about white supremacy by exposing the era’s white man’s (and woman’s) intense ignorance. So, tit for tat, right? Not for all. They will argue that it is not okay to mention the “N” word while it’s okay to use any other offensive name for any other race. So . . . what if you’re a black, Caribbean Latino? A black Jew? A white Rastafarian?

Oh, am I politically incorrect because I said Black? What’s the term you’re supposed to use this week, then? It seems to change every time someone decides the previous term is offensive. What about Orientals? God forbid! You mean Asians, right? Yeah, nice argument but Asia is huge and Japanese don’t like being confused for Chinese and Koreans don’t like being confused for Filipino. And so on and so on because India is located in Southeast Asia. My take on this: You’re all full of shit and if you are offended, live with it. Nothing in life is fair and people make mistakes all the time. You are human. . .period!

I mention in the first paragraph that there are many things I find offensive that have not been “approved by the superiors”. OK, I find people with bad body odor offensive whether the smell comes from bad hygiene or a physiological disorder. So why should I accept this? NO, dude! Shower once in a while, you bastard and if it’s not bad hygiene, wear cologne, perfume, splash yourself with Scope or spray yourself with Lysol. Should I continue? What about individuals who “flatulates” in public loudly? Oh, yeah . . . “farts” not “flatulates.” What about burping loudly in public or spitting up phlegm on sidewalks?

Many of these will not be considered political incorrectness while others will . . . if it fits the current agenda. Yes, the biases are unending. Stereotyping and profiling will always exist because utilizing these currently unaccepted traits will help catch your neighborhood thief or drug trafficker. It will help you detect bullies and sex offenders. Again, here we use the gray zone to benefit those who seek positive results. The fact is that a stereotype becomes a stereotype by documenting a repeated issue whether it is behavioral or physical. “Am I implying something?” “they” will ask. Don’t care. Everything nowadays is either racist, sexist, misogynistic, islamophobic, homophobic, and all the other labels used these days whenever someone is “frustrated” over something. Yes, people, it’s all superficial. It’s the manipulation of freedoms. This is why I am not offended whenever I am called any of the terms just noted. If anything, being called any of these names will make me feel good because the verbal abuser has proven to me how much more intellectually advanced I am. See? Two can play the same game.



Let’s go backwards this time.
I am sitting next to the A/C because I haven’t figured out how it can be blowing cold air yet the room feels like a sauna. There are blood stains behind the bathroom door and the decor is mid 1960s. The outside looks like a free clinic with adjoining rooms for the terminally ill. The good news is that this is the last hotel I’d have to experiment with. One stop was eliminated to add to this final one. “Why,” you may ask. Well, I’m going to get a tour of my new school tomorrow. Graduate school, that is. In the middle of nowhere. I am not exaggerating. The closest eatery to campus is twenty miles away. I have to attend a workshop next month for more than a week and I refuse to share a campus room so I will be checking out cheap, wham-bam, roadside roach motels to save some money. I may be spared, however, and be able to rent at a cheap chain hotel. I’ve barely slept since I started this vacation so I will present myself to my new school adviser with bags under my eyes reminiscent to a seventy year old woman’s breasts. Yes, I will look like John Hurt in “1984.”
So enough of the future. Let’s talk about the previous stay at northern Georgia. I ate in one night and ordered Chinese which very nearly killed me. I swear to you: this was the worst food I have ever eaten. It kept me in the bathroom half the night. Never again. What else? Oh, yeah, I almost needed a step stool to get on the bed. It was THAT HIGH off the floor. The love seat had armrests for people with arms with an 164 inch wingspan. In other words, my elbows would rest parallel to my face. Good thing I don’t suffer from sweaty armpits.
There are more adventures that await me, I’m sure. I still have the drive back. For the first time ever, I will be happy to get back home. However, I can guarantee you that at this time next year, I will be enjoying cool temps somewhere in the North Pole.

Thank you, tornados. Thank you, floods.

It seems to me that catastrophe follows me whenever I go on a road trip. This phenomenon occurs whether it’s a simple trip to Cocoa Beach or a pilgrimage to seek out the infamous wood chipper used in the movie “Fargo” in North Dakota. This is especially disturbing because I am a fiction writer whose influences include David Lynch, Thomas Ligotti, Albert Camus, H.P. Lovecraft, and Franz Kafka. In other words, I go on road trips to be inspired by the strangeness of empty highways, abandoned buildings, and bizarre characters NOT to fall into the comical ridiculousness that overtakes anything remotely creepy. And guess what? Here I am again in the same situation en route to North Carolina! So how did this begin? Well, I can only write about the first day which is more that I have experienced in month-long trips. I guess I am bound to write many sequels to this first day entry.

It all begins a week ago when I noticed the “Hell on Earth” tornado and flood anomaly of the Midwest. Of course, I had made reservations to visit Missouri and Arkansas. I figured it would go away by the time I was scheduled to pick up the rental car. Guess again. Quickly, I had to put “Plan B” into effect. First, I thought about Cocoa Beach (again) but there’s a lovebug invasion in central Florida. Next, I thought about Texas but this is exactly where the tornadoes are originating from. Scratch that. Okay, what about Maine. After all, I love the place and I had driven there at least ten times in the last decade and a half. The joke was on me again since the storms were curving to the northeast mainly affecting New York which is one of the worst places to drive through. Ok, fine, what about the Carolinas? That seems to be the winning combination even though record high temperatures were expected. Whatever. A day before the departure, a fire broke out in Jacksonville closing Interstate 95. Hmm. I think someone’s trying to tell me something. Luckily, most of the fire was controlled the following day resulting in the opening of the Florida-Georgia state line. Not that it mattered because the first stop was in a town about fifty miles south and the stay was for two nights.

Come Saturday morning and I hit the Florida Turnpike north, a private highway that will nickel and dime you to death with frequent tolls. The plan, as always, was to get off on Fort Pierce, travel a mile east to the entrance to Interstate 95 for a more direct route to coastal Carolina and without the annoying tolls. Here is where I had an “X-Files” moment. For some unknown reason, I missed every single sign for the exit. Needless to say, the GPS was off because I’ve travelled this road many times. But the signs were never there, I lost track of where I was, and missed the exit completely. This is where the downward spiral began. First, there was an accident which held up traffic for many miles without having an opportunity to exit. It was then that I noticed that I was almost out of gas. The next exit was many miles away at a remote area called Yeehaw Junction (population negative forty-three). I was envisioning myself calling Triple-A for gas but fortunately, I came across a service plaza (a glorified rest area with overpriced chain restaurant food and extremely long gas lines at the pump. I, first, decided to fill up the tank which became entertainment to the other patrons as I fought constantly trying to swat away the horny insects (the dreaded aforementioned lovebugs). Where else but in Florida will you find two bugs attached ass to ass attacking your face as they perform the flying fornication waltz? After filling the gas tank and brushing off the bugs glued to my sweaty face, I proceed to the parking lot. Starvation had set in because it was past two in the afternoon. I walk inside to have lunch and the lines are immense. I waited over thirty minutes for some fish and chips because all the employees except for the cashier apparently were having an orgy in the back room until she blew up.

So, back on the road again. Now I need to find I-95 by travelling eastbound on State Road 60. Ten minutes into the drive, a piece of metal flew off a truck and destroyed the windshield of the rental car. It cracked by glass but fortunately did not shatter. After several phone calls, I ended up going to Melbourne International Airport to attempt a car change. As I waited to get a new SUV, I was offered doughnuts by the employees.  Will something else happen? All I know is the rest of the drive felt surreal.

I reached the hotel without additional incident. That is, until I walk into my assigned room. First thing I noticed was that I was going to forcibly engage into the “War of Human Against Flying Insects.” This is what happens when you reach the hotel many hours after check-in and you’re reduced to seedy joints because of the cancellation of the original trip. Needless to say, I lost the battle and was held captive by the aerial creatures. As if this wasn’t enough, the A/C was not working correctly. After waking up several times with bugs pasted to my my sweaty forehead, I went downstairs to complain. They couldn’t do anything for me because they were totally booked. However, the brought up an industrial fan they use to dry floors. It worked brilliantly but the room sounded like an airplane hangar between the noise of the defective A/C and the high speed air blower. It did accomplish one other thing: it kept the bugs away from where I was sleeping for the two days I was there.

So off I go to the next mysterious destination right off North Carolina’s Outer Banks. I wonder what awaits me there. So far, no more catastrophe on the room but the GPS has taken me by the most f**ked up route ever. I even saw a dilapidated home in the middle of grasslands with a huge Union 76 sign on the front yard.

I have arrived!! Let’s see what adventures await me. Stay tuned for more on this trip.



Something exciting would occur every twenty more or less years in the world of music. The 1920’s introduced blues and jazz to the mainstream. The 1940’s had the Big Bands. The 1960’s, probably the most versatile decade in music, had the teen idols, girl groups, popular folk, the British Invasion, and psychedelic music. The last of these eras occurred in 1980 when New Wave became the standard.

New wave originated between 1978 and 1979 when a change in direction was much needed in music. The early seventies were filled with burnt-out hippies who were finally mellow because the Vietnam War had ended. Sugary pop filled the airwaves with the likes of the Carpenters, America, Captain and Tennille and numerous other forgotten acts. Then came disco and much of the world began yelling “the end is near!” Luckily, punk music was emerging in Europe to contrast the lush disco orchestrations that filled many clubs around the world. Though punk was not at all a commercial music genre, it did spark up the idea to “homogenize” it in both America and the U.K. The result was New Wave.

40 YEARS AGO . . . unbelievable!  1979 was the year that New Wave began showing its face not only in clubs but also in popularity around the world. Of course, England was the frontrunner for this genre with Elvis Costello (since 1977), the Tubeway Army (Gary Numan), and the Clash, to name a few, but the U.S. was also brewing its own version with Blondie, the Talking Heads, and Devo who broke big in 1979 along with the B-52’s. Meanwhile, across the pond, the big names were XTC, the Flying Lizards, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, the Boomtown Rats, the Cure, the Buggles, the Records, Gang of Four, the Stranglers, Orchestral Manouvres in the Dark, and the Damned.

However, the term “New Wave” is difficult to define. Many agree that it meant a complete change in musical direction which makes perfect sense. This is especially true when you consider bands that were categorized under New Wave but could have equally been placed in the rock, reggae, or pop bins at the records stores. Bands that fall under this category include the Police, the Records, Sniff ‘n’ the Tears, Nick Lowe, and Joe Jackson. Even acts such as the Cars, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and the Pretenders were considered “New Wave” by the record companies to cash in on the latest craze. New Wave’s popularity increased immensely in 1981 when MTV invaded every household in America.

Another New Wave sub-genre was the “Two Tone” sound or the revival of 60’s ska music. The Specials (AKA) released their very successful debut album in 1979 which opened the door to other ska groups in 1980 such as the Selecter, the Bodysnatchers, the (English) Beat, and Bad Manners.

Alas, New Wave went through a transformation soon after 1982 when terms like “Progressive, New Romantics, and Alternative music” became the “in” thing. Synthesizers, samplers, and sequencers became the most elements in recordings. These bands included Ultravox, Duran Duran, Alphaville, and a whole array of bands that didn’t fit in with the original New Wave blueprint.

New Wave is now 40 years old. Gone are the days when music was fun because, for the most part, New Wave was an early sixties revival without the innocence. Fans would run to the record stores on Tuesdays to see what was new on vinyl. Clubbing was a way of life and threads were as wild as zoot suits. Sadly, as with everything, New Wave became out of style and music, overall, became, once again, mediocre at best. Music’s last hurrah would come just a few years later with the short-lived, Grunge music.

Controversy is good publicity

It’s been a while since I’ve written on my blog. There are many reasons for this. First, I’ve been busy writing stories. It is not easy writing in an unconventional way when you are surrounded by . . . well, conventionalism. This is not me. I am not one among the billions. Life is not supposed to be a routine which begins when you are “supposed” to be part of the rat race. This has affected my philosophy on religion, politics, and thought process.

The second reason is because I’ve been trying to get into graduate school. This is also not an easy task. Last year, I was victim to the disorder in the school system. I will not mention who I am referring to but it was very disappointing. Additionally, I have also applied to be a junior high teacher with the Department of Education. Imagine that!

There are other reasons but I will not get into them at this moment.

My writing has become very controversial and disturbing because of the philosophical changes last year. I have realized that I do not have to emphasize the genre “comedy or dark humor” because it comes naturally. My latest project (writing) deals with a man who defies all the institutions practiced in America. The story deconstructs the norms of society and questions everything from established religions to the corruption in government. It is an exploration on individualism, existentialism, and rebellion. It is also a reminder that progress and evolution has been detrimental to society. However, it also touches upon the mind’s capacity and its potential.

It is, once again, a surreal manuscript reminiscent to Franz Kafka and David Lynch but with a twist: it is also an unconventional love story. Only time will tell if it’ll have a happy ending or not. (It is rare for me to write “snuggly cuddly” stories.)

I am referring to this story as the “4 A.M. project” because my insomnia has worsen and I seem to always wake up at this time. I get out of bed, make a cup of coffee, and begin tapping away at the keys. Seems like this has become my preferred time to write but it will eventually kill me.

I would like my readers to add any comments or ask any questions concerning the content of this post. It would be greatly appreciated.