Tag Archives: stories

Papa

I’m not sure when I switched over to calling him Papa.

It was always Ken, my wife’s father. Before that, he was Ken, my girlfriend’s father.

When we got married, he had tears streaming down his heavily lined face. He was signing our marriage certificate, and he stopped, looked up and said, “I’m not losing a daughter, I’m gaining a son.”

And to this day, I have never felt anything less than a solid member of the Carpenter clan.

Continue reading Papa

Sliver: Intro (History as a parasite)

Intro

NGC 5907 galaxy
NGC 5907 galaxy

2120 – Somewhere in the Pacific Northwest region of what was once the United States of America.

Only shards of history survived the cullings.

And by shards, I’m being generous.

We passed history down from one person to the next in small groups around burning wood with the flames casting shadows on our surroundings for ten thousand years.

We marked the rocks with the images in our mind drawn by flames. And pounded reeds flat and bleached them in the sun and made up words to describe the images and the actions around them in complex relationships that became written language.

And then we maximized efficiency and built printing presses to make short work of storing our history in volumes in libraries.

But war, as it does, burns away the words with fire and rhetoric.

We digitized history and made the whole thing accessible to every human being in small, hand-held computers. And we shrank it, until millions of volumes could fit onto the tip of a needle.

History compounded is a radioactive element biding its time until transmutation releases energy and blows itself into shards and larger chunks.

And so we’re left to tell our story one generation to the next, to pass along the DNA of our existence, sometimes in rich detail and sometimes in shards too small to understand why we keep repeating our mistakes.

I pieced this all together from the slivers of information I have gathered over my lifetime, which evenly spans the turn of the 22nd Century.

I inherited some of it and found most of it, extracting it willingly or unwillingly from its hosts. Oh, yes, history is a parasite. Or didn’t you know that?

History periodically blows itself up, so we must pick it up in shards or larger chunks and piece it together and determine that we will never kill each other in large numbers again for resources. But we can’t fight history’s innate need to repeat itself, and so we become willing hosts, corrupted and finally destroyed as the shards and larger chunks to be pieced together by a future generation.

In this way we have eked out our existence on this rock for this brief moment in time.

 

Sliver by Timothy Alex Akimoff copyright 2016

To unfinished stories;

UnfinishedSleep, or something like it.

More is needed.
I think.
Moving about is a product of the engine inside me. Well-fueled, and I have the energy to go from here to there.
But the opposite is sometimes true.
On days when the fog rolls in like it used to cover San Francisco when I still lived on those hills and valleys. I suppose it still does, even though I’m no longer there.
I like to breathe it in like pea soup and let it clog my pores and gouge out my eyes and fill the crevices with gray nothingness,

Continue reading To unfinished stories;

The Quarter

The Quarter

You would not go to Disneyland and not ride Space Mountain or Pirates of the Caribbean.

And so you would not come to New Orleans and not take a leisurely stroll through the Vieux Carré, the not so aptly named French Quarter.

When the morning shadows are long, the people clean the sidewalks of to-go cups and broken beads. I found this an optimal time for strolling quickly through the t-shirt and alligator head stalls in the old French Market.

Continue reading The Quarter

Season 2 of “The Truth as I See it” podcast

I finished season 1 of “The Truth as I See it” podcast a few weeks ago with an epic road trip home. The stories were all lighthearted life lessons. Good, as stories go, but not quite where I’m at today. I had fun telling these stories, but they seem so distant at times. Here’s a look back at Season 1 –

For season 2, I’m going with stories that are far more part of me today. They contain truths that I learned along the way. They are the scars by which I remember my decisions. They are darker than the first season. Here’s a peek at the podcast’s 2nd season –

1. The Royal – Story about how I blew my finger off with a paint sprayer

2. Kidnapped missionary survival training – Niko, the centipede and me

3. The Witch Doctor – Sometimes medical help requires a hands-on approach

4. Mexicali – A group of kids goes to Mexico with a gay youth pastor

5. “I always wondered what it would be like to date a fat guy”

6. The high cost of bachelor parties

7. The last bad trip – A 45-minute ambulance ride from Detroit Lake

8. How death is done – Explaining death to your 2-year-old

Do you see the stories around you? –

Do you ever wonder about those you walk past every day? I’m fascinated by people. I’m intrigued by the possibilities in their individual stories.

When I get on the train in Blue Island, Illinois, I’m inundated with story, and I listen hard for the details. It helps me understand people I might otherwise judge based on irrelevant things.

There is a guy on my train, one of the only other white guys who rides in from Blue Island. He’s clean cut with bulging biceps, and by looking at his tattoos and the patches on his gym bag, I would say he’s Navy. He always sits with a group of black ladies in a four seat near the back of the train.

He doesn’t say much, usually just reads his phone or the newspaper.

Once in a while he’ll joke around with them.

But they are all always happy to see each other. Almost co dependent in a way that sets their day in motion or drives it off the tracks if one of them is not there.

There are lots of stories here, and I can feel them starting to take shape. I’m always anxious to know more, but the best stories always reveal things slowly over time.

There is a homeless man who sits on the corner of Wabash and Michigan Ave. He has a nice spot in a small doorway in the concrete pillar of the bridge that crosses the Chicago River there.

Every morning I watch him put his things in order. There is a box, and he organizes the details of it carefully in the quiet moments before the tourists start walking the Magnificent Mile.

He doesn’t pay much attention to the business suits that hurry past him. He just carefully arranges his cardboard sign.

And I think he must have some clout among people who make their living on the street, because sometimes he just leaves his sign there along with his belongings, and no one seems to bother it.

I wonder about his stories. I wonder where he learned to be so detailed and precise. I can’t hear him, I can only watch him bless people as they walk by.

Along Illinois Ave, there is a new building going up across from the AMC movie theater. There is a big sliding gate where the trucks go in and out.

And every morning, I hear tiny bits and pieces of dozens of stories as I walk past it.

A dozen men and a few women stand around the gate and in boots and jeans with neon vests and hard hats adorned with union stickers.

They are waiting to see who doesn’t show up for work today to see if they can get day hired. If they get day hired, they might catch the eye of a foreman if they work hard enough. If they catch the foreman’s eye, they might get picked out of the lineup the next day and the day after, because the permanent guys are always missing work.

They stand around talking and smoking and making fun of the suits as they walk by, and it makes me glad I don’t wear a suite.

But they stare at me as I go by, and I wonder if they wonder what my story is.

There is a high-rise condominium at the end of Illinois where it runs into Lakeshore Drive. And I see a dozen people pour out of it every day as I walk by..

A man whose wife can barely walk helps her into the backseat of a car, and then he holds her for a few minutes, whispering assuring words to her. And I love their story.

A young woman walks out with an angry frown on her face. And I notice a car following her slowly down the road. There is a man inside, and he’s yelling at her through the rolled down window.

He tells her to get in the car, that this is ridiculous. I’ve seen this twice now. And if Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, then I think this fellow has a story too.

Tim