Archive for April, 2017

Once in a Blue Agave Moon: “…Go Ahead, I’m Listening…”

Posted in Liason, Much Too Good For Children, Novel, Once in a Blue Agave Moon on April 22, 2017 by dreamlanddancing

Chapter Sixteen, Part II

“Blue Agave Moon…I already have an idea for a label for it.” (Jed)

“But why?” (Elliott)

“Because you want people to identify with your product on sight.” (Jed)

“No…that’s not what I meant; I meant why make a market for it in the first place? I have almost everything I have ever wanted in my life right here, right now. I don’t want to be famous…I would prefer people did not even know I existed. I know this may surprise you, but I am really happier than I have ever been in my entire life. My life is simple and uncomplicated.” (Elliott)

”We haven’t even had to shoot any intruders for several months.” (Chiana)

“Remember what I said…the world is changing again…just like it always has been, except for the fact that people like you and I are in a position to maintain, er even increase our control over the parts of it that give you pleasure, satisfaction or security.”

“People are starting to get hypnotized by gold and silver again. Don’t ask me why…I could never figure out why emeralds were supposed to be worth less than a quarter of what diamonds the same size would bring, despite the fact that emeralds are nine times more scarce than diamonds, and I think, much prettier.”

“There are even some individuals who have managed to acquire enough material possessions and influence to be able to function as freestanding banks; they print their own money, and anybody who does business with them uses their money out of convenience.”

“Some are even providing support and logistics to people they know and trust in order to build, re-build or even supply payrolls for any kind of industry that can make something they consider valuable, including repair parts for other industries. It’s primitive and very limited, but there are people out there who intend to restore the parts of our infrastructure that will enable them to prosper and acquire wealth. (Jed)

“Most of these people have been financially involved with these new banks in the past, which makes it convenient to use their money as long as all the people involved agree to use it as a standard, because they trust the printer…they believe in his “wealth” so he doesn’t have to barter for what he wants.”

“In early post-colonial America, ‘Bank Notes’ printed by the institution that issued them were common, but counterfeiting was relatively easy back then, and they were almost useless in long-distance exchanges.”

“Before the internet collapsed along with the world banking system, remember that whole thing with bit-coins? As long as all parties concerned mutually recognize the value of anything, it can be used as money.”

 “Bartering is, as you already know, a time-consuming enterprise that is not without certain risks, of which we are all aware.”

“I have found a way of tapping into that stream of wealth in a way that affords me EVERYTHING I EVER WANTED as well as a very real connection with others who benefit from having me act as an intermediary between parties of like interest and values.” (Jed)

“Perhaps you neglected to notice that Elliott already said we have almost everything now, and we rarely ever need to leave our home…at least not without exposing ourselves to an outside world that is treacherous and fraught with many dangers.”  (Chiana)

“And what about those times when you did need to venture forth to find something you needed or wanted in a world of chaos and murder? (Jed)

“Well, it inevitably became a quest, an expedition of unknown length or magnitude that did not always yield the desired product, although sometimes we found something of value that we could convert into something that we could trade for what we really wanted, once we found the right source.” (Chiana)

“Exactly; and that is where I come in. Why leave home at all if you can use someone else to run your errands, assume the risk, and get you exactly what you need in less time with no danger to you while you stay at home and make more?” (Jed)

“Well, to tell the truth, sometimes I do get a bit restless…they used to call it ‘cabin fever’…I know it’s dangerous, but I actually looked forward to traveling and bartering, at least until we ended up someplace we didn’t want to be, or if things got ugly…and after two attempted ambushes and one unsuccessful robbery that turned into a real bloodbath…well, I do see your point.” (Chiana)

“I’m surprised she hasn’t shown you her scar already…I think she’s actually proud of it, considering the fact that the guy that shot her ended up taking a round through the left eye, which blew the back of his head off…single shot, fast draw. I was really impressed; I also tried to convince her that it wasn’t necessary to empty the rest of the magazine into his groin, but she was understandably angry and after all, it was her first kill…” (Elliott)

“It was all reflex. Elliott made me practice ’til I almost got to hating it. Now I understand why. It was all over before I had realized what happened…” (Chiana)

“Yeah, as I recall, that’s part of the gauntlet that Elliott has put us all through…it’s like a rite of passage…even back before Armageddon…I remember many an afternoon at Hialeah Gun Range or Tamiami…” (Amy looks wistfully and winks at Elliott as Chiana finds herself slightly surprised when she is forced to stifle a sudden jealous twinge.)

“It was like he has been warming up for the Apocalypse his whole life…back then it seemed more than a little edgy and slightly weird, even to me, but I guess he got the last laugh after all.” (Rebel/Jeanette)

“So you’ve got scars?” (Leigh-Ann)

“No…sorry, I don’t smoke…”  (Chiana)

(Everybody groans)

“It was just a grazing wound, thankfully…but it burned like hell almost instantly…before I had realized I already shot the guy…it passed right between my thighs, but grazed me here.” (Chiana pulls up the left leg of her cargo shorts right up to her crotch, revealing a three inch long keloid scar very high on the inside of her thigh)

“Hey, don’t stop on account of me…” (Jed)

“Don’t you think it’s a little early for the grand tour?” (Chiana)

“I think we’re getting a little bit off subject, even though this is a fascinating story …(Leigh-Ann) 

“I have to reluctantly agree, but the point is that you have created Paradise right here. To the best of my knowledge, no one else knows exactly who you are or where you live. That is good for many reasons, but one of the additional advantages of your anonymity is it lends an air of mystery and curiosity to your product.”

“If you tripled your output of Blue Agave Moon, there would still be enough demand to continue to raise the perceived value of the product.”

“In the process, after a mutually agreed percentage is set, I would propose to trade part of it back to you in return for lodging, hopefully with an option to become a citizen of your colony.” (Jed)

“Excuse me, but just to be clear, He means all four of us.” (Rebel)

“I stand corrected…yes, and we recognize the fact that you will want to discuss this with the fellow residents, and I am also sure that we can provide them with access to our services in a way that will be mutually beneficial to them as well.” (Jed)

“What percentage of what?” (Chiana)

“It depends on with whom I am trading. I’ll give you an example; say I trade a gallon of Blue Agave Moon to a weapons and munitions dealer that I know for a thousand rounds of 7.62 x 39mm…you still have your AK, right?” (Jed)

“Of course.” (Elliott)

“In fact, we have two now…Elliott gave me his Chinese Norinko semi-auto after he got a Bulgarian full-auto about a year ago.” (Chiana)

“Great! Now if we agreed to, say twenty percent commission, I would get two hundred rounds, which I could either keep or trade for something else I needed. Now, regardless of what I do with my share, in exchange for being allowed to live here, if I reduced my rate to ten percent commission, you would either get nine hundred rounds, or half of what I got if I traded my two hundred rounds for something else you also wanted.” 

“I also know several other people who trade in gold or silver, or their own printed money which is sort of a promissory note that is really only good in their own locale by people who deal with them. I know you have no interest in any of that, but I can use it to get you other things you want.” (Jed)

“Gold? I thought that got the kiss of death after the nuclear meltdowns under the Federal Reserve banks…why would anybody trust any gold…or silver?”

“Because I managed to acquire a sixties-era Geiger counter that had been made for Civil Defense issue during the cold war back when people were building bomb shelters in their basements and back yards. You’d be surprised at how much “hot” metal got into circulation before the public learned about it.” (Jed)

“That’s the problem with wealth and power…the more you get, the more you want. I am not sure I want to risk my autonomy and privacy for material things I don’t really need.” (Elliott)

“And I don’t want you to either; that’s why we want to live here too, but you need to remember that the world does not stand still. No matter how it evolves, those who have acquired the means of power will end up controlling those who have not…you need to prepare…even if it’s just to keep what they already have.”

“This is your chance to secure your position in the future.” (Jed)

 

Chazz Vincent

04/22/2017

 

Once in a Blue Agave Moon: “…Go Ahead, I’m Listening…”

Posted in Uncategorized on April 22, 2017 by dreamlanddancing

Chapter Sixteen, Part I

After everyone laughed and shook their heads in amusement at Chiana’s bold and direct remarks Jed began:

“You know, it’s not going to stay like this forever…this new economy/no economy…the find, make, barter or steal paradigm has turned out to be the most ruthless form of economic redistribution that has occurred in over a hundred years.”

“And lately it appears that there is a new natural ascendancy has occurred in small pockets all around the country.”

“Elliott, you and your fellow members of the Fourteenth Colony are one of those examples, but you in particular are a member of an even more elite group…”

Jed suddenly realized that he was speaking directly to Chiana, staring  deeply into her eyes…just about the same time that everyone else, including Chiana and Elliott did.

“And what group would that be, Jed?”  Chiana chuckled slightly and blushed as she shook her head.

“Well, that would be…(Jed dramatically exaggerated each word as he spoke directly to Chiana until he suddenly whirled to face Elliott to say…) “…one of those extremely rare individuals who possess something that either many people want, or a select few want who have the means to make it worth your while to give them what they want.”

“Like what?”

“Well, one of your distilled spirits in particular.”

“Which one?”

“Your tequila.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, really…and by the way…what do you call it?”

“Tequila.”

“No, really; what do you call it?”

“You mean like a brand-name?”

“Yeah…I mean, it sounds like you have nick-names for all your other hootch…like ‘Old Brown Stuff’, ‘Tropic Thunder,’ ‘Tangerine Dream,’  ‘John Barleycorn’…”

“Well, I never sold any of it before…back when I was just craft distilling, and now all I do is barter it if anybody asks for it or I can’t find anything else to trade for something I want.”

“Well you traded some it to someone who gave it a name.”

“Are you serious? What name?”

“Blue Agave Moon…great fuckin’ name!”

“No shit…”

“You know…even though I never liked to speak about it directly to anyone, that is what I have called it, but only maybe once or twice in passing to a guy who got me enough sheet copper to make two fifty-gallon alembic still pots. I just made the name up out of nowhere, based on the word-play  between Once in a Blue Moon, Blue Agave, and ‘Moon’ for Moonshine.”

“I had to give him thirty gallons of barrel-proof, which is one hundred and sixty proof…the equivalent of sixty gallons of eighty-proof tequila. Biggest trade I ever did…took months to make that much from three seven-gallon carboys of fermented wash at a time, but I really needed the copper, and everyone said he was my ‘go-to’ guy.  (Elliott)

“Well guess what?…that guy used to be my mentor. I helped him out of a couple of nasty…uh…situations, and when I saw what he was doing and how he was doing it, I decided to convince him that he needed me around all the time, and in the process we became friends and he not only decided to take me under his wing and teach me the business, but he also still believes to this day that it was his idea in the first place.”

“You were pretty cagey about covering up your tracks after he got you the copper. He had hoped to put you on his payroll to make lots of Blue Agave Moon for him.”

“It wasn’t until about a week ago that I realized who it was he had sent me out to find…not all at once, like some kind of mission, but any time I went  anywhere to get anything, he would remind me to keep an eye out for ‘that guy who made that Blue Agave Moon’.”  (Jed)

 “Hey, you know that it’s a blue moon tomorrow night?” (Elliott)

“Really?”

“And it’s also a blood moon…and Samhain…”

“So what does that mean?”

“…Don’t have a clue, but Chiana does…she says it’s big Mojo.”

 

Chazz Vincent

04/22/2017

 

Once in a Blue Agave Moon: A Modest Proposal, Part 2

Posted in Collaboration, Liason, Much Too Good For Children, Novel, Once in a Blue Agave Moon on April 7, 2017 by dreamlanddancing

 

Chapter Fifteen

The kitchen, pantry, and dining facility was both unique and ingenious. Initially, it was simply the trailer in which Elliott and Chiana had lived. Before that, Elliott had brought it to the Colony as a hunting lodge.

Now most of it was a very spacious dining room, and the bedrooms were used as a pantry and contained the refrigerators and freezers.

The stoves were in a separate room built of concrete block that adjoined the trailer. Much like homes built in the nineteenth century, the kitchen was built to insulate the heat of the kitchen from the dining room, as well as to protect the rest of the house, should a fire occur.

The back wall was adjacent to the trailer. One side was solid, with the exception of a window. The other three sides were enclosed by garage doors which could be open for ventilation or closed according to the weather. The long side had two very wide double doors that would each have been used in a two-car garage, and each end had one double door. The roof was pitched and covered with corrugated steel.

Inside, a commercial Vulcan stove with eight burners, a griddle, and two ovens had been converted to use locally-produced methane gas instead of propane or natural gas. Next to it was an old-fashioned iron wood-burning stove, which was the original method of cooking used before electricity had been made available to the colony. Finally, a brick and mortar barbecue  complete with a chimney had been built so that it was sheltered from the sun or rain and could also function as a smoker.

The back wall was lined with stainless steel and the floor was poured cement which was slightly sloped towards a drain in the center which ran into a pea rock drain field that also carried water from the gutters away from the house.

A long counter ran along the open side and the pots and pans hung above it. Below the counter, the cabinets were open with no doors. Commercial kitchens also do not use cabinet doors because they obscure the view of what is inside and take up too much room when open. They are also a hazard. Anyone who has ever bent over and stood up into one, walked into one while carrying something or worked in a restaurant can appreciate why.

Sliding glass doors allowed for more than adequate ventilation of the dining room, and ceiling fans hung above the kitchen and dining room, run by solar power and/or batteries.

Whenever possible, every effort was made to minimize the use of alternating current without subjecting anyone to discomfort or hardship.

The dining room table was long enough to accommodate ten people, four on each side, and one on each end. Elliott had made it soon after they moved to the Colony. It was made from local cypress, very sturdy, and beautifully finished.

He was such a good cook that other members frequently would supply venison, wild hog, alligator, fish, or even beef that they had raised or brought in to have Elliott butcher and prepare it for them with the understanding that he also got a share of what they provided for himself. They also frequently ate in Elliott’s home, which they referred to as “Chez Monroe”.

He and Chiana liked the company and enjoyed entertaining. Most of the citizens of the Fourteenth Colony were gracious and sociable in a way not frequently encountered in most conventional neighborhoods, but which is common in campgrounds and trailer parks.

Paradoxically, as much as they valued their privacy and isolation, they also were outgoing and generous. Their community was essentially all they had; united by self-determinism, and rugged individualism; their interdependence encouraged a symbiosis of talents and skills.

Bereft of mass media, passive entertainment and social media, these residents not only became much more personally involved in the essential activities of daily living, but they also generally went to bed and got up earlier, which tended to encourage creativity, arts, crafts and hobbies.

It seemed clear that they wanted for little and enjoyed a far superior quality of life through mutualism than had ever been realized via capitalist consumerism, conspicuous consumption, communism, socialism, or utopian societies that had preceded them.

The longer that they resided there, the less Spartan or primitive their lives became once they were no longer hypnotized by money or the illusion of wealth.

It was not even immediately apparent that this building had once been a trailer. Substantial wooden siding now covered the aluminum skin. A durable hip roof coved the original, and the interior was similarly enhanced with hardwood paneling and floors.

Jed, Amy, Rebecca, and Leigh-Anne were visibly impressed by what they saw as they sat down to a table more sumptuous than any of them had seen since the last Thanksgiving before Armageddon.

They ate, drank and smoked the locally produced Cannabis as they caught up on old news and brought Chiana up to speed as to how this strange band of gypsies were now recruiting them to share in the adventure they aspired to experience.

Chiana was the first to finally address the giant elephant in the room.

“As much as I am glad to meet you all and want you to know you are always welcome here, I think we all know there is an agenda that has prompted your arrival; so what’s on your collective minds and how do Elliott and I fit into your plan?”

Jed was the first to speak.

Chazz Vincent

04/06/2017

Once in a Blue Agave Moon: A Modest Proposal

Posted in Dangerous and Unsavory ideas that are possibly harmful to the weak-mided and overly simplistic and religious, Economic Redistribution, Liason Between Parties, Much Too Good For Children, Once in a Blue Agave Moon on April 3, 2017 by dreamlanddancing

 

Chapter Fourteen

Don’t forget that Elliott was there to witness Jed introduce himself to Chiana. He was also there to watch Jed, just by virtue of being his natural self, not only become completely distracted, but to also find himself speechless in the presence of his wife, who appeared to be equally spellbound by Jed.

There was nothing contrived within it, no way to rehearse for the performance. It was  true, and real, and honest. It would be safe to say that the four people who were there were equally unprepared and surprised.

There was nothing Jed did to provoke what happened, at least consciously, and nothing that could be said in derision of Chiana’s reactions, which were equally honest and without fault.

Most people would be angry, or feel threatened, but Elliott and Chiana were most definitely not most people, and that connection between Jed and Chiana was something that could neither be denied nor ignored.

It just was.

It would take some time to adjust to this most recent development, but in the meantime, jealousy and insecurity would only confuse and confound their abilities to reconcile it.

In the awkward silence that followed, suddenly Leigh-Anne snapped them all out of it In a way that only she seemed to be able to do.

“Soooooo…Jed, was there a question in there, somewhere, or were you about to make a point of some kind about something?”

“…uh…I’m sure there was, but for the life of me, I can’t remember….” Jed grinned sheepishly, but gave no evidence of any feelings of guilt. Neither he nor Chiana had any reason to feel guilty, and they knew Elliott well enough to know that full disclosure was the only acceptable mode of operation.

“Pleased to meet you, Jed.” Chiana said as she held out her hand to Jed.

“Likewise, Chiana” He said as he politely took her hand as one might do at a formal dinner, and then very ceremoniously bowed at the waist, and lightly kissed her hand. Chiana hoped no one could see the shiver that ran up her spine and down to her most tender parts.

There was no way that any of them could un-remember what they had just  watched take place.

“Well!, What a relief! And to think that I was worried that you two wouldn’t get along…”  Elliott managed to find a way to give them all an opportunity to laugh, albeit somewhat uncomfortably, which effectively de-fused the bomb.

It was also his way of letting everyone know that, in addition to not being blind or stupid, that he possessed the wherewithal to remember that Jed was his best friend, as was his wife Chiana.

When we try to fight or resist the reality of our present circumstances, we not only create, but we also guarantee our own misery.

When we embrace anything less than the plain, unvarnished truth, we invite falsehood, delusion, and self-deception.

The actions we choose, as well as the emotions that give birth to those actions will compel the  outcome of what will follow more than any other single factor.

Sometimes we succeed in the face of what had looked like inevitable failure by way of extraordinary effort, or of sheer dumb luck, and no effort, but whatever happens, the only way we can ever hope to find any peace, as well as the love we deserve is to accept the Here and Now, and then govern our actions accordingly in the present moment.

We have no control over the Past, but even if you believe you can prepare for your future, you have to accept what is, as it is now.

The Heart seeks what the heart wants, despite the rules or conventions our minds try to create so as to deny what is out of Fear of what might be.

“Elliott, where ever are our manners? I’m sure our friends must be hungry and thirsty after their ride here…” Chiana was quick to follow Elliott’s lead.

“I don’t want to sound pushy, but I also think we could use a nice hot bath, but if you can tolerate eight hours worth of accumulated sweat and road grime long enough to let us eat and drink first, we would love a meal.” Rebel said as she and Amy walked up together. “As I remember, Doc is one hell of a good cook.”

“Absolutely! There’s plenty to drink, and I barbecued last night, so you can have your pick of ribs, brisket, chicken, roast pork or gator tail.” Elliott said.

“And we also have sweet tea, ice water, and plenty of fresh fruit  juices, or I can make coffee for anyone who wants it” Chiana added. “but no more soft drinks…unfortunately, sometimes I get a craving for a Coke, or a ginger ale, but…I guess they was just more corollary damage from the Armageddon Virus…..”

“Plus we have home-brewed beer, a few varieties of wine, and what can pass for any kind of whiskey you like.” Elliott said as he waved his hand toward the buildings that occupied their compound.

“So I hear. Did you know that you have a very elite cult following of admirers of your distilled spirits?” Jed asked.

“Really? I have bartered and traded a few gallons here and there for materials and supplies or parts when we needed something we couldn’t make or do without, but I always do our business off-premises and I don’t even want anybody to know where we are, or what we do here.”

“Trust me, Elliott; it was not easy find you. I have spent the last six months trying to track you down, before I even realized it was you, but let’s talk about all that later after we get out of this hot sun…oh and by the way Chiana, If you want any kind of soft drink…even Yoo Hoo or Squirt, I can probably get it for you  ” 

“Really? Weren’t all those bottling plants shut down?” she queried.

“They were, but they’re still some large caches of all sorts of things in warehouses that can be bartered; I have developed a network of suppliers and buyers for almost anything you can think of, or desire. It is at least part of the reason we came here, but not the most important one, by any means.”

“Perhaps we can discuss it at length when we get inside while we eat.” Chiana gently placed her left hand behind Jed’s right bicep to gently grasp the inside of his arm as she began to walk with him.

“Well then, just follow us and we’ll get y’all fed before we give you the grand tour.” Elliott was smiling faintly at Chiana and Jed as he turned to Amy, Rebel, and Leigh-Anne. As he walked a few steps backward, he gave them the sign to follow him, palm up hand extended making an arc up toward his face. 

“What about my dog?” Rebel asked. “He’s well-trained, and gets along with  people and other animals as long as they behave themselves.”

“No problem” said Elliot. “He’ll fit in fine with our critters, and we have plenty for him to eat too. Did I hear you call him Mordecai?”

“Yeah, that’s right, it’s supposed to mean ‘Warrior’  but once I introduce you to him we’ll all be fine.”

Rebel called Mordecai over and they all did “touch” to introduce themselves before they went into the kitchen/dining area.

 

Chazz Vincent

03/02/2017

 

If All is One…

Posted in Crazy Zen Wisdom, Observations of a Recovering Buddhist, Zen on April 2, 2017 by dreamlanddancing

When you make differences

Between Good and Evil,

Pure and impure,

Sacred and Profane,

You fill the world

with self-righteousness

and give energy

to the enemies you create

in your dirty world.

Namaste

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

04/03/2017

 

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