Diet Coke, music, iTunes and some humor


Posted 04-17-2017

On Tuesday I decided to pour Coke on my keyboard. I had opened the Coke, sat down to check emails, and my hand rebelled and poured half the can into the keyboard. #@$*, I said. I actually watched my hand rebel and do the deed, mouth open, other hand, fingers extended to type frozen above the now soaked keys. The mouse cursor started jumping all over the screen, multiple versions of Google Chrome opened up and then everything crashed. A few minutes later I tipped the keyboard, smacked it against the desktop a few times to get the majority of the Coke out of it (it was diet Coke. I think that made the damage lighter somehow), cleaned up the puddle and rebooted. It worked fine.

So on to 32″ sliding doors on a 48″ shower. My brilliant idea, shower doors instead of a curtain, only make sense right? The sliding doors looked great. But was pretty sure my elderly mother was not gong to squeeze herself through the remaining 16″ of space to get in and out of the shower. I called her in anyway…

“Do you think you can fit in there, Mom,” I asked?

“I wish I hadn’t dropped you on your head when you were two,” Mom said.

“What,” I asked?

“Never mind… ” She shook her head. “No,” she said. “And I won’t try it.”

The next day I went and bought the materials to fit the opening. I wondered about the dropping on the head thing, but not to much.

After I got the new doors on, I sat down to check my email. Worked great, but when I went to type a reply I found that several keys were sticking, or hard to push. It wasn’t too bad. I told myself that maybe I just needed to pick up some computer keyboard cleaner and blow it all out really good.

I did some outside work, after all spring is nearly here. I came back in and sat down to check my email… With a coke… But this time the Coke was in my water bottle so I could simply keep it closed near the keyboard. I opened it, took a sip and started to set it down.

“So,” Mom said, “Tomorrow we can set up the living room.” (Translate that as Recliner, sectional with built in recliners, 40 inch wall mounted TV)

I watched as my hand sat the bottle down on the edge of the keyboard and it tipped onto the keys. “%$#*,” I said. The mouse cursor took off, the cat that had been on my lap startled as the cursor took off (He likes to watch the cursor, thinks it’s alive, he’s a house cat, doesn’t understand the difference between furry and digital mice.)

An hour later I had the keyboard dried out again and everything working, however today almost every key was sticking as I sat down to write this. The keyboard was a little too close to the edge of the desk so I decided to push it back with my coffee cup.

After I cleaned the coffee out of the keyboard and rebooted I realized I will have to find my old keyboard I loved so well, and only replaced with this one as it came with the new system. This one smells bad, like the Coke is eating into electrical circuits under the keys, sort of a plastic-silicon-electrical smell, and it’s taking me five times as long to write this as it should, because I have to go back and correct the missing T’s, I’s, O’s and other important letters. Somewhere in a box is the old keyboard, which I liked better than this one, (and wrote four books on) and later today I will have to find it.

Please check out Earth’s Survivors First book,  or The Zombie Killers both free eBooks.

That’s it for me. I’ll leave you with a set of lyrics I wrote that I like a great deal. Here are links to two other songs I wrote that I also like, A MinorSolution Six. These are rough cuts. I know, I won’t quit my day job, but writing lyrics and then the music for them is just another thing I do. I have over a 1000 sets, and about 100 of them that I like. I hope you had a great week, I’ll be back Wednesday.


Verse One:

War has taken my country… Brother fighting his brother… It will be what it will be… See how we kill each other…

War it ain’t no way to live… It ain’t no way to die… Takes all that you can give… Takes every tear you cry…

Instrumental————-Steel drum rhythm with short lead transition———–

Verse Two:

War along the borders… Kills the father and the mother… Soldiers acting on their orders… Little Sister… Who will take care of your Brother…?

Their blood is crying from the ground… Who will reap the seed they’ve sown…? as you turn to run… pray that God will take them home…


let me have my country… Leave me to my home… Go back to your land of plenty… Leave this man alone…

You have come to kill the people… Watch them weep and moan… Come to kill our spirit… Why don’t you take yourself home…

Instrumental———————————————-Long Lead———————————–

Verse Three:

See the hills light up with fire… Young men running to their graves… Bad news coming down the wire… But you tell me Jesus saves…

Children sleeping in the gutters… Bodies lying in the street… Machine gun stutters… Pray… Your soul to keep…


Generals send their orders down… From their bunkers underground…

Freedom fighters honor bound… March to death without a sound…

Death is falling from the sky… Did you march today to die…?

Why is no one asking why…? too sad to cry…

Verse Four:

See it on your television… It all seems so far away… Think it’s real think it isn’t… Anyway… Don’t affect you today…

Take off your silver glasses… Take a good look around… As your time passes… may be you… that is lying on the ground…


let me have my country… Leave me to my home… Go back to your land of plenty… Leave this man alone…

You have come to kill the people… Watch them weep and moan… Come to kill our spirit… Why don’t you take yourself home…

Instrumental———————————————-Long Lead———-Steel Drum—————

Verse Five:

Justify your means… It is not you who has to die… Tell me it isn’t as it seems… Still… You can not answer why…

When judgment comes upon our heads… We will stand as we must… His words can raise us from the dead… or… return us to the dust…

Instrumental——————————-Short Steel Drum Rhythm——————————–

Verse Six:

I got to get away from here… This life is taking a toll… Always living in fear… I am… Less than whole…

Blood is welling up in fountains… Shooting up into the sky… I’m going home to my mountains… There is where I’ll die…

Hook / W Xtro

let me have my country… Leave me to my home… Go back to your land of plenty… Leave this man alone…

You have come to kill the people… Watch them weep and moan… Come to kill our spirit… Why don’t you take yourself home…

Why don’t you take yourself home… Leave us to our war at home… Take yourself home… Leave this man alone… Leave me too… My war at home… … … …

Why I Wrote It:

When I was a kid, Vietnam was all consuming. The hippies hated it (I wasn’t quite old enough to be a Hippy but I liked the drug, rock and Roll, sex culture), society was torn. Young men kept dying. The T.V. Was full of news stories. They followed the soldiers into firefights. It was very graphic and there were kids all over the place that sat in front of televisions and watched that violence.

I saw dead men, children. Children crying, burned, separated from loved ones. The song came from that, although, really, war is war. It could be just as applicable to what’s going on now in the middle east.

Take a look on YouTube: War At Home

That is Monday. I hope your Monday is great. Check out Dell’s iTune books: Dell Sweet

3D Game Making with Geo Dell 3D RAD, Open FX

Today I am finally back to working on a game. I spent a few days doing all of the sections of track, building a new terrain and today I will start actually building it out in  my modeler. I’ll post updates in  a few weeks. Meanwhile, watch the video and get an idea of what I am looking for.

3D Game Making:

When I have time to spend I like messing around with 3D creations, game making stuff. I think I have tried most of the contenders and it comes down to what you like in most cases. I say that because many of us just want to have some fun and never intend to publish a video game. This page is not meant to be definitive in any way except as it pertains to my own experience.

Game Makers: 3D RAD

There are dozens of Game Makers out there, but I have seen nothing at all that allows you to build, distribute, play, and comes with pre-made game modules you can both learn from and customize to suit your needs like 3D RAD. I know, Unity, Unreal and the list goes on and on. Yes, they do have game creation systems, but they do not allow you to publish unless or until you purchase an expensive license. So you can go ahead and create something, but unless you intend to pony up some cash you can not publish or share it.

3D RAD allows you to use it to create games and you can do whatever you wish with those games. Publish, sell, share, it’s your choice. It also comes with dozens of game examples that work. It is easy, with a little work, to customize those games, add your own 3D models, skins, pieces and make something fun and maybe even profitable. It is also completely free.

Game Examples and Abilities include:

  • Auto Racing
  • First Person Shooter
  • Flight
  • Menus
  • Network Play
  • Multi Player
  • Sound FX
  • More

For me the choice was clear over 10 years ago when I actually purchased 3D Rad. It is now completely free.

While this is great, there are some things that cause people to stumble. First, learning a system, any system, even if it has projects and pre-sets to show you how to do it is difficult. It is time consuming. I have found myself investing mass amounts of time in other game creators to learn them only to find that, in the end, I need a license, or I have to pay for content to use, something along those lines. 3D RAD has been free for quite some time. I know of no plans to take it back to a retail product. So, you shouldn’t get surprised down the line somewhere and find it suddenly has to be purchased, or you need to pay for a license to continue using it. So the time you invest is worthwhile in that respect.



3D RAD uses the direct X file format for the 3D models it uses. There is no modeler that was purpose built to model in the Direct X format. Yes, I have seen a few that claim to be able to do it, but I have tried them and they don’t get the job done, they are buggy, or they are works in progress. If I ever see one that actually works and has the features you need in a modeling program I’ll list here. And that doesn’t mean it has to be free. Some things I will list here are not free.

So, there are no Direct X specific modelers. However, there are Modelers that can do the job. You can go right to the top and spend the money for a top of the line modeler, or you can search the internet and risk contaminated files to try to find something that will do the job. Or you can do what I do, search for open source projects that work.

Why Open Source? I use Open Source modelers because I don’t have to worry about virus infection if I download them directly from Source Forge, GitHub or the projects own website. That might seem excessively cautious but after getting infected files several times I just don’t try anything else. And some of those infections were serious enough to make me completely shut down, wipe the drive and reformat completely. Even the low infection stuff copies files to your browser or hard drive and then you have to spend time deleting them, if you can. Oh, and they offer, of course, to sell you some virus software that helpfully can take care of this adware infection. Why put yourself through it? Well, because, like me, you’re cheap and you still want to play. So, go the open source route. Find something that works, download it and you’re set.


Mentioned: Source Forge: GitHub:


3D RAD does not include a module to skin or UV models.

It used to be easier, in the old days, before 3D RAD went to Direct X models, to skin or UV wrap or UV Unwrap models. It used 3DS models and it had a module built in, small, but effective, that allowed you to do that. Simple, but it worked great. Not any longer. Now you have to find a program that will do that. It also has to be a program that can work with various model formats you might be using, and one that has the ability to save to the Direct X format.

A modeler was the first thing I needed.


Open FX is an open source modeler that was abandoned several years ago and then bought back. It has its quirks, but over all it is a solid modeler and very easy to learn and use.

It imports Direct X, 3DS, OBJ, LWO, DFX, and DAE. It does not export Direct X. You might ask, well, how does that help me to get Direct X into 3D RAD?

It exports DXF and 3DS both of which can then be faithfully converted to the Direct X format and used in 3D RAD. I know, I have used it exactly that way.

After a modeler I needed a way to get my model format of choice, 3DS, into the Direct X format.



Ultimate Unwrap is written by the same man who authored Lithunwrap, so he knows what he is up to. It is not free, but there is a free demo you can download and test to see that it does what it says it will. Ultimate Unwrap is a beautiful piece of software and worth the cost of purchase. It can be used for many game systems and the website has dozens of plugin filters for various formats to import and or export.

It does faithful translations of 3D Models. Open your 3DS formatted or DXF formatted model and save it to Direct X or whatever format you need. It’s that simple. It is lightweight, small footprint and it does every single thing it claims it can do and it does them very well. It has some modeling features as well that can save you hours of time when you are setting up a model to use in a game. Sometimes it is worth paying for software when it is this good.


You can find hundreds thousands of models on the web that you can use. Some are royalty free, some are not. Many need a lot of work if you intend to use them in a video game where the poly count can be your enemy. You need something that looks good, but has a low impact size wise. Most model downloads are not going to fit that bill. You will find yourself spending hours upon hours on the simplest model trying to reduce the size, or change it to what you need.

The best thing to do is look at the models that are in 3D RAD already. Go ahead and open them in Ultimate Unwrap, save them to 3DS files and then open them in Open FX. Or open them directly with Open FX. Take a look at how they were constructed. In most cases you will see that most of the perceived detail comes from rendering, not the model itself. Once you realize that, and see how simplistic the models that are used in video games actually are you will realize it is worth your time to make your own simplistic models. But, go ahead, download that truck or car and have some fun with it. I did, and it taught me that I would rather build my own most of the time. Take a look at the tutorials for 3D RAD and for Open FX and Ultimate Unwrap. Learn those tools and you’ll be making what you want to make pretty quickly.

I like TurboSquid because it requires membership. Not a big deal, costs nothing, but it allows them to know you and you them. I don’t have to worry about contaminated files. They have free downloads, and they also have content you can purchase pretty cheaply and download and use in your creations.

Okay, none of these places paid me to link them. No kickbacks or click-throughs either. Just stuff that works for me and should work for you. If you find anything on this page that is not as I said, or that has changed, please let me know about it. In the meantime enjoy 3D Game Building!

This is a view of the same model above in Ultimate Unwrap. It was easy to assign values, colors, material, groups, you name it. I use this piece of software on every project. I only wish he would author a 3D Modeling program because he has such an intuitive approach to menus and implementation.

An Ultimate Unwrap view. I have taken the basic model and transferred it to a UV I can then use to build my own wrap from.

A Mustang model I customized and used in 3D RAD. Base for a video game I would like to build based on my Earth’s Survivors novels. This is a stock 3D RAD terrain, and a nearly stock 3D RAD Game example. I easily put my own model in it.

A video of a game I am working on right now…

My YouTube channel:



Posted by Dell 12-06-16

Is it Tuesday? Really? This week is flying past me. Our snow that left us alone here in New York for about three days came right back this week and dropped a few more feet on us. It is crazy and winter is just getting rolling, so I don’t want to make any encouraging remarks to the Gods of Snow lest they dump a few more feet on us.

This week I activated the old Earth’s Survivors books on Nook. There are no plans to change that. Since we have combined everything else with Smashwords and Amazon and I-Tunes we are working on NOOK:

Nook Books: OneTwoThree FourFiveSixSevenBox Set

Nook Books: The Zombie Killers Origins The Zombie Killers Mission Zero The Zombie Killers The Final Mission

I have not yet added the three Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth books. The thing is all of the publishers require different formatting for each submission, so it isn’t as simple as doing it once and then uploading it to all three. It is doing it for each one, changing the formats and even image requirements for each one. But I hope to have those three books available on Nook soon.

Other Stuff:

I am not a drama guy. I think most of my early life had so much drama in it that I just don’t want it in my life anymore. I am very serious about that. I actually work to avoid drama now. Keep it at arms length. In fact I rarely ever speak about what is going on in my life at all with the few family members and friends I have. Less knowledge, less drama, that is my motto that I live by. I have one person in my life I can actually talk to and that is that. I wondered if that was odd, but I did a little independent survey and found it is not odd. It is the way most people live. Pretty funny. Billions of us and we all play it close to the vest. Sometimes I wonder if we are just a bunch of loners going through this life.

I said that to say that I don’t purposely plan it out to live that way, it’s just they way it is. Writing eats a lot of your time, so there is just so much left, and if the people close to you choose not to be a part of the writing life that you have that narrows things down even more.

Someone said to me, well, your family members read your novels, books, short stories, blog, but that is not true. They don’t. I don’t tell them about them and they don’t read them and some of them might be surprised to know about them. I kind of like it that way. It means I don’t have to have discussions about what I write, I don’t have to get their approval, or feel guilty if a family member doesn’t like what I write. When one of the other people I deal with daily gives me feedback about them it’s good because I know they actually read it and have formed opinions that are useful to me.

So no, my family does not read my work and most do not even know about it. The same person said, Why do you write it then? If you don’t write it for the people you know, and you don’t write it for recognition why do you write it? Because I sat down one day and decided to. It appealed to me. It didn’t matter if anyone ever read it at all. It made me happy to develop and write about those characters, in that particular book and so I did. And I am as surprised where the story goes sometimes as the readers are. How could you ask for more? You couldn’t. I have someone to talk to about the important stuff in life, maybe that is as good as life ever gets. It certainly is more than I have ever had before. It is enough for me.

So why bring it up. I brought it up because I had a little drama in my life today. It gave me an opportunity to sit back and see how some people just live for it. Can not stand to live a day without it, and I think that is a shame. I get more out of the one real relationship I have than I get out all the superficial ones that come and go. Probably all the superficial ones for the last several years. It’s important to me because life does end. There is no extended warranty on it, it ends and all that dumb shit you said and did to hurt other people is still right there. Unresolved. Unfixed. Never apologized for. Hell, singers write songs about it. A lot of them, so that must be important to many people, at least in retrospect. Poets write poems, and writers write stories that delve into it. I do that in some of my writing too. I like to have that ability to have my characters look back, see the mistakes, and have the ability to change their reaction or inaction. And sometimes they still screw it up. They do that because that is how it is in real life sometimes.

You have a lot to choose from in life. Take your time. If someone tries to force you to change into something or someone you don’t want to change into, say no. Yes, it hurts to say no sometimes, but better that than being miserable. And you will be changing anyway. Everyday, everything that comes your way affects how you look at the world. How you react, what your beliefs will become. How you choose to live your life. The drama that came my way today had to do with someone making a decision and as soon as they did everyone jumped on them.

It’s kind of funny. I pointed that out to the person, because those same people could care less about much of anything, they just like to talk, to comment, to stir shit up even, because they themselves are insecure about who they are. It doesn’t mean they know you or what is or isn’t good for you. It means they are reckless and immature, and they will hurt you and probably not give it a thought, at least not for many years if they do at all. They only want to be heard because in whatever messed up world they live in no one is listening. Believe me, that is all that it means. It certainly does not mean they are right when they say something that targets or hurts you. Not at all.

I live differently, I guess. Like I said at the start I don’t entertain drama anymore. Don’t like me? Want to hurt me or someone I love with words? Okay. Go right ahead. If it will make you feel better do it. It won’t bother me at all. And I doesn’t mean I stuff it and explode somewhere down the road, I mean it doesn’t bother me. You can learn to do that too. You can choose what things are important to you and choose which things, events, and people you want to allow to affect changes in you. If they don’t fit, don’t allow them in. There are plenty that will fit and will not hurt you, and besides, if the world is right, or at least the majority of the people in it, you only need that one person you can talk to, confide in, let it out with and you will be good. If you don’t have that person yet, continue to look. They are there, and when you meet them they will probably say, “Where in Hell were you all of this time?”

Okay, no more serious stuff. I know it makes people uncomfortable.

I will leave you with a few things. First, some lyrics I wrote. This is one of my favorite songs. When I wrote it I hated it, but it grew on me. I’ll follow that with a short story for you…

Frequent Walker: Copyright Dell Sweet 2016 Rights administered by BMI Music

Verse One:

In this world… time moves by… doesn’t stop for you or me… The ones who stop and wait are the ones who never see…

So my feet… move me on… though they’re weary of this flight… They will lead me to tomorrow, wipe the fallen from my sight…

Instrumental—————Short lead transition—————————————————–


Pick me up… Fill my cup… Fix the damage in my head…

Fill my soul… Make me whole… Raise me from the dead…

Show my eyes what can be… shine your light so I can see…

Verse Two:

In my life… I have seen… distant dreams of futures past… And the one who filled my cup left it empty at the last…

And my eyes… tired from sight… rimmed in red and slow to see… Can’t conceive eternity from the edge of what can be…

Instrumental—————Short lead transition—————————————————–


Pick me up… Fill my cup… Fix the damage in my head…

Fill my soul… Make me whole… Raise me from the dead…

Show my eyes what can be… shine your light so I can see…

Verse Three:

Walk alone… Through this world… Through this cold I’ve always known… Taking only what I need from the seed that has been sown…

And this world… sells itself… pretty dreams that can not be… And though we stop to look we can never truly see…

Instrumental————— Long Lead —————————————————————-

Verse Four:

Take my time… tap the glass… raise the bubbles from my cure… Pull the curtains on my pasts… and all I thought they ever were…

As my soul… Finds its way… push the darkness from my mind… Lay your words upon my heart as my rest I go to find…

Instrumental—————Short lead transition—————————————————–


Pick me up… Fill my cup… Fix the damage in my head…

Fill my soul… Make me whole… Raise me from the dead…

Show my eyes what can be… shine your light so I can see…

Verse Five:

Let my heart… lead me on… from your memories in my mind… lay your coins upon my eyes… speak your magic line by line…

As my sun… slowly sets… I will try not to forget… all the lessons from this world and the souls that I have met…

Instrumental—————Short lead transition—————————————————–

Hook / Xtro:

Pick me up… Fill my cup… Fix the damage in my head…

Fill my soul… Make me whole… Raise me from the dead…

Show my eyes what can be… shine your light so I can see… which way to walk…

Why I Wrote It:

I wrote this song in one shot, most of it came as fast as I could write it. I understood what it was as I wrote it, although the lyrics are slightly obscure, or seemed to me to be (I’ve since been told by readers that it’s not so obscure but pretty straight forward.). It’s about my life ending of course. Flirtation with suicide. Drug use. Disillusionment with the world, religion, society on every level. I spent a lot of my life that way. When I was on the streets for two years this is the way I looked at the world. Cynical, glass half full. I tried suicide, nearly succeeded. I thought how nice it would be to lay down and pull the plug. That is what this song is about.

I’m not there anymore. I don’t want to encourage anyone to be there either, but some of us spent years there and never talked about it… YouTube Video of the song:


I added that because I am working on a book about those years on the streets. A little work here, a little work there. It’s a tough book to write. And it covers a good portion of my life too, not just the street time.

A Free Short Story: This true short story is from a part of my life. It is available in a short story collection here. It will also be part of that project I am writing that deals with that time on the streets.

This material is copyright 2010 – 2014 Wendell Sweet and independAntwriters. All rights are reserved. You may not copy or electronically reproduce this material for any means except those stated here. For reading by the members who view this blog. It is intended for personal use on this blog. If you wish to share this material with someone else please point them to this blog.


It was early in my shift. I owned my own taxi so I could pretty much pick which 12 hour shift I wanted to drive. I drove nights so that I could be home with my son during the day while my wife worked. I’d told myself for most of the last year that I should stop driving taxi, settle down to a real job and be more responsible. But then a Conrail contract came along and then the opportunity to work with another driver who handled the Airport contract, and suddenly I was making more money than I could have reasonably expected from what I would have considered a straight job.

The hours were long, but there was something that attracted me to the night work. I always had been attracted to night work. Like my internal clock was Set to PM. It just seemed to work and after a few failed attempts to work day shift work, I gave it up and went to work full time nights.

I was never bored. The nights kept me awake and interested. They supplied their own entertainment.

Conrail crews, regulars that called only for me, the assorted funny drunks late at night when the bars were closing. Soldiers on their way back to the nearby base, and a dancer at a small club just off down town that had been calling for me personally for the last few weeks. Using my cab as a dressing room on the way back to her hotel. It was always something different.

Days, the few times I’d driven days, couldn’t compare. Sure, there was violence too but it rarely came my way and never turned into a big deal when it did. At six foot two, two hundred and twenty pounds most trouble looked elsewhere when it came to me.

It was Friday night, one of my big money nights, about 7:00 P.M. and my favorite dispatcher Smitty had just come on. He sent me on a call out State street that would terminate down town. Once I was down town I could easily pick up a GI heading back to the base for a nice fat fare and usually a pretty good tip. My mind was on that.

My mind was also on that dancer who would be calling sometime after two AM and who had made it clear that I was more than welcome to come up to her room. It was tempting, I’ll admit it, and each time she called she tempted me more. I figured it was just a matter of time before I went with her.

I really didn’t see the lady when she got into my car, but when it took her three times to get out the name of the bar down town that she wanted to go to I paid attention. Drunk. It was early too. Sometimes drunks were OK, but most times they weren’t. This one kept slumping over, slurring her words, nearly dropping her cigarette. I owed the bank a pile of money on the car and didn’t need burn holes in my back seat.

I dropped the flag on the meter, pulled away from the curbing and eased into traffic. Traffic was heavy at that time and I pissed off more than a few other drivers as I forced my way into the traffic flow.

I had just settled into the traffic flow when a glance into the rear view mirror told me my passenger had fallen over. I couldn’t see the cigarette but I could still smell it. I made the same drivers even angrier as I swept out of the traffic flow and angled up onto the side walk at the edge of the street. I got as far out of the traffic flow as I could get so I could get out to see what was up with the woman in the back seat.

I was thinking drunk at the time, but the thought that it could be something more serious crept into my head as I made the curb, bumped over it, set my four way flashers and climbed out and went around to the back door.

She was slumped over into the wheel well, the cigarette smoldering next to her pooled, black hair. In her hair, I realized as the smell of burning hair came to me. I snatched the cigarette and threw it out the open door, then shook her shoulder to try and bring her around. But it was obvious to me, just that fast, that the whole situation had changed. She wasn’t breathing.

I reached in, caught her under the arms, and then suddenly someone else was there with me.

He was a short, thin man wearing a worried look up on his face. Dark eyes set deeply in their sockets. His hair hung limply across his forehead. He squeezed past me and looked down at the woman. He pushed her eyelids up quickly, one by one, and then held his fingers to her lips. He frowned deeply and flipped the hair away from his forehead.

“Paramedic”, he told me as he took her other arm and helped me pull her from the back seat.

We laid her out on the sloping front lawn of the insurance company I had stopped in front of and he put his head to her chest.

He lifted his head, shaking it as he did. “Call an ambulance,” he said tersely.

I could feel the shift in his demeanor He wasn’t letting me know he could handle the situation, like when he had told me he was a paramedic, he was handling it. I got on the radio and made the call.

The ambulance got there pretty fast. I stood back out of the way and let them work on her, raising my eyes to the backed up traffic on occasion. The paramedic had torn open her shirt. Her nudity seemed so out of place on the city side walk. Watching the traffic took the unreal quality of it away from me. I watched the ambulance pull away, eased my car down off the curb and back into the sluggish traffic and went back to work.

I got the story on her about midnight once things slowed down and I stopped into the cab stand to talk to the dispatcher for a short while. His daughter knew someone, who knew someone, who knew someone at the hospital. The woman had taken an overdose. Some kind of pills. It was going to be touch and go. He also had a friend in the police department too. She did it because of a boyfriend who had cheated on her. It seemed so out of proportion to me. I went back to work but I asked him to let me know when he heard more.

2:30 AM:

The night had passed me by. The business of the evening hours catching me up for a time and taking me away from the earlier events. I was sitting down town in my cab watching the traffic roll by me. It was a beautifully warm early morning for Northern New York. I had my window down letting the smell of the city soak into me, when I got the call to pick up my dancer with the club gig.

“And, Joe,” Smitty told me over the static filled radio, ” your lady friend didn’t make it.”

It was just a few blocks to the club. I left the window down enjoying the feeling of the air flowing past my face.

The radio played Steely Dan’s Do It Again and I kind of half heard it as I checked out the back seat to see if the ghost from the woman earlier might suddenly pop up there.

The dancer got in and smiled at me. I smiled back but I was thinking about the other woman, the woman who was now dead, sitting in that same place a few hours before. The dancer began to change clothes as I drove to her hotel.

“You know,” she said, catching my eyes in the mirror. “I should charge you a cover. You’re seeing more than those GI’S in the club.” She shifted slightly, her breasts rising and falling in the rear view mirror. We both laughed. It was a game that was not a game. She said it to me every time. But, my laugh was hollow. Despite her beauty I was still hung up on someone being alive in my back seat just a few hours before and dead now. Probably being wheeled down to the morgue were my friend Pete worked. I made myself look away and concentrate on the driving. She finished dressing as I stopped at her hotel’s front entrance.

“You could come up… If you wanted to,” she said. She said it lightly, but her eyes held serious promise.

“I’d like to… But I better not,” I said.

She smiled but I could tell I had hurt her feelings. It was a real offer, but I couldn’t really explain how I felt. Why I couldn’t. Not just because I was married, that was already troubled, but because of something that happened earlier.

I drove slowly away after she got out of the cab and wound up back down town for the next few hours sitting in the parking lot of an abandoned building thinking… ‘I was only concerned about her cigarette burning the seats.’

I smoked while I sat, dropping my own cigarettes out the window and onto the pavement. A short while later Smitty called me with a Conrail trip.

I started the cab and drove out to Massey yard to pick up my crew. The dancer never called me again…


Okay. That is me for this week. I hope you are all doing well. I will be back soon…

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