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The Death of 59

By Mark Lee Golden    Copyright 2016    markleegoldenwriter.com


Tomorrow I enter into a new realm, a category to which I must yield. Before I take that last step out of my past…there is regret. Today I sensed and sniffed what tomorrow holds and I did not like it.

*         *         *

No one on board, a boat drifts away once the ropes loosen from the cleats on the dock. The snug feeling of mooring at a packed marina fades as distance increases. On the open water the wind and currents move the craft along. If there is fate, the destination is unknown.

I arrived at the dock, the watery vacancy apparent. Other boats remained tied secure. Little laps of water and slight shifts of hulls surrounded me. In a solitude I hadn’t recognized for ten years, defeat entered. The rising sun played on the nearby chrome fittings, spars, cleats, wood and fiberglass. No boat owners but myself had slapped shoes on the gangways to the marina’s empty crafts. No routines of preparation, no orders, no husbands and wives exchanging duties. No barking, excited dog wagged and waited. The silence I alone owned chilled me. I should’ve doubled-checked my sailors’ knots, tugged each tighter. No. That’s impossible, I know I tied those right.

I looked across the water and saw only one craft–my sailboat. “That’s it. Damn it!”

This fairly sturdy vessel of mine for nearly 60 years now floated almost out of sight. Though sail down and motor not running, my small ship continued unmanned. The 40-foot metal spar pivoted like an unused flagpole. Unseen, the heavy keel mindlessly kept its commitment.

Depressed, I sat down on the dock, untied my deck shoes, set them on the wood planking and dangled my feet in the cool lake. My uncaring wristwatch ticked―not knowing that each movement indicted me. I slid my sunglasses from my hairline to the bridge of my nose. Amongst the uninhabited marina of various sizes of watercraft―good, impressive, wonderful or not―I was like a dull colored, plastic, unused dinghy―hull side up and no oars. The noisy motorcycles on liquid which make foamy white wakes―jet skies―sat silent like drowsy horses in stables waiting for riders.

I turned away from my vessel on the loose. I needed help. I needed a boat with a fast motor to take me to it. Then I’d steer back here. Though the tree-lined rocky shore still appeared a safe distance away, I feared a shipwreck. The tiny white hull stood out against the shadowed trees while the day’s sunlight remained elsewhere.

While waiting for my inevitable ride I thought of my boat’s mast, rudder, toe-rails and boom. Memories mingled with history of my hobby of buoyancy and sailing. Swimming, water skiing, snorkeling and those sudden summer storms filled my mind―I swear I could even smell suntan lotion. Lake voyages through the years, children growing, learning to swim, life vests coming off, diving, tubing, sunburning. Learning to steer, learning to raise flags and most of all―learning to enjoy nature’s invention of water. One didn’t need a ship of any size to appreciate the presence of a lake. But a floating or motorized craft could take you places. Navigating inlets, bays and jutting shorelines, the children matured in such responsibilities.

My mix of thoughts were interrupted when I heard flip-flops approach. A curly, blond-haired young man, colored by an enviable tan, interrupted me.

Confident, with fine white teeth showing, he pronounced, “Another fine day at the lake, huh dude?” This man didn’t look at me when he spoke. No, he surveyed the lake and shore. In his hands he held common gear for the water―minus an ice chest. Staring at my posture and feet in the empty slip, he asked. “Goin’ out on the water?” He tilted his head. “Got one of those paddle boards or you got sumthin’ with speed?”

I hesitated. “Yes. Yes! That was my plan. To go out on the water―I mean. But, my 30 foot sailboat got away from me. Apparently I didn’t lash it down correctly last night and it drifted off early this morning.” I pointed, but the vessel had passed from sight.

The young man’s face scrunched, he squinted his eyes to see where I aimed, and he then moved his head forward an inch or two as if that would solve the problem. He eyed the empty slip. “Ahh…it’s really gone man! Wow. Not good. Got a plan before she drifts who-knows-where or wrecks?”

I stood and introduced myself, “I’m Mark. My name is Mark…and you?”

“Hmm…oh, nice to meet you, Mark. I’m Jared.”

“To answer your question, I’ve been waiting for a fellow boater to volunteer and help chase her down.” I shrugged toward where I’d last seen my boat. Frustrated I added, “Must’ve gone into one of those inlets.”

The stranger cocked his head. “If you can wait a few, I can take you on my jet ski over there. Wha’d yah say?” He fidgeted, arranging the items in his arms.

“Sure! I’m not going anywhere. Can’t!”

Soon I saddled myself on the back of his jet ski. I looked for proper handles to grip, but what the manufacturer provided barely defined a handle. We were off. This driver’s speed frightened me. I’d never been on one of these excuses for a motorcycle. My body was slipping little by little toward the rear. If I lost my grip I knew the water was harmless. I just wasn’t sure how quickly the driver would realize his passenger had left. I also believed that this youngster drove as fast as he could in order to dump me and get a good first big laugh of the day. He made ‘S’ curves and semi-circles swooping and swaying, accented with laughing and hollering. I strained my fists as tight as possible. In misery and hope we finally neared where I had last spotted my sailboat over 20 minutes ago. He slowed and the wake overran the running boards and flushed cool water over our feet.

Turning us to the south he shouted, “Not here dude.” Stretching out his arm he added, “I’ll pedal us into this wide inlet coming up.”

I nodded. “Sure.” Then I saw the white hull. A young woman in a bikini held a coffee mug as she walked on deck. Someone let the anchor out. A small child in an orange life-vest jumped overboard, a cry of glee following into the water. A man yelled something.

“Yours?” He asked while revving the engine in neutral.

I didn’t know what to say. Of course it wasn’t mine. On the stern I read in bright orange and blue letters a boisterous Hullabaloo. No. This wasn’t right. I put a hand above my eyes and scanned the lake and other visible shores. The lake’s 45 mile length and width of 15 miles in parts was no comfort.

“Yours? Yo’ bro’ want off, Mark?”

Strained, I answered “No. No. I don’t know these people or the boat.”

“Not the Hullabaloo? What then?”

“I, I ahh I’m, was, am, a sign painter―years ago, I mean. My boat is called ‘1956.’ Sort of turquoise blue script and jade greenish shadow with off-white highlights.” I recalled the memory of my new boat and its naked white stern. “Did it myself years ago.”

“Sounds rad.” After a long silence he asked, “So where to? I got gas.”

I couldn’t believe my thoughts or lines of reasoning. I had nothing to say―yet.

“What’s with the numbers ‘1956’ mean. Sumthin’ important?”

That perked me up. “My age. My birthday. Tomorrow is my 60th.” Dumbfounded, head down, I mumbled, “Jared, thanks. Take me back to the marina will yah.”

“Sure thing.” He slowly drove us out into the open water before gunning it in a straight line.

*         *         *

I’m 59 years old today, March 7th, and tomorrow all of my 50s will be over. 60 and all those other 60s will keep coming. I wanted, wished that is, to race back over the past 10 years and inspect the good, the wonderful, the unexpected. I wanted to calculate decisions’ fruit and folly. Each 365 days had created a linear year taking 10 of them to make up those 50s. Could I weed out the stupid, poison the seeds of wrongs, take back and reverse the foolish? Could I―did I maintain the fun, the happy, the best of me? 3,650 days now presented themselves ready to hand me off to 60―and I didn’t like it.

*         *         *

And now I remembered how I did tie 1956 to the dock…correct, just as I taught my kids to do. The ropes hadn’t let loose. No. Someone had stolen the boat in the night and had headed far south. No doubt never to be recovered; thieves haul them to another state, remove the name and sell them. I can use the insurance money to help buy a new one.

*         *         *

The years? Never to return. Redeem? Some perhaps. What’s ahead is what matters and there will be wakes, summer storms and beautiful lingering sunsets.




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Not Quite Right News from Mark Golden

By Mark Lee Golden   Copyright 2016   www.markleegoldenwriter.com

BREAKING NEWS!

Plot to Blow Up Daylight Savings Uncovered


Langley, Virginia

In a startling news conference today the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) revealed that a plot had been foiled in which criminals wanted to destroy America’s traditional spring forward and fall back observance of Daylight Savings Time (DST).


First a CIA spokesperson gave a brief, informative historical backdrop of the 200 year old, biannual routine. After that, the agent continued, “The main purpose of Daylight Saving Time or “Summer Time” as some nation’s call it, is to extend daylight into the evening. This creates significantly less energy usage; longer days for farming or outdoor occupations, plus many other daylight related advantages. Simply put, it is good for America’s economy.”


After that, reporters heard the good news about the bad news. In short, the plot to blow up Daylight Savings Time had been planned by Middle Eastern extremists living in the U.S. These terrorist groups are the same ones who have already let us know that they will, “stop at nothing to destroy the devilish American way of life!” In truth, they were stopped in a plot to destroy nothing!


The C.I.A., reluctant to provide classified information volunteered this. “While browsing through the Internet one of the terrorists read an article about the upcoming seasonal change of Daylight Savings Time. He arrived at a basic misunderstanding due to his blundering rough translating of English. Once it became clear that the Great Satan benefited economically, plus had more time for fishing, jet skiing, gardening, BBQ’s  and all around spring and summer fun, this DST became a fiercely sought after target to be destroyed!


“It must be pointed out that not every Middle Eastern country utilizes DST. So not all Arabs are in-the-know about what DST really means. But these determined characters wanted to make sure the time of such ‘savings’ by the American devils would soon end by their very hands!


“A suicide team was recruited from their cell network for the task. The illusive location of America’s Daylight Savings headquarters continued to elude the terrorists. Yet they unceasingly made plans and smuggled armaments into the U.S. for the upcoming attack. They scoured the Internet for chat rooms, advertisements and search engines for any clues as to where Daylight Savings Time might be found on the appointed day.


“What led to the arrests? The CIA’s massive computer tracking system of international email traffic–red flags the use of certain key words. The suspicions of one of the analysts reviewing noticed the two words, ‘time’ and ‘bomb’ were used in several key correspondences sent from one email address in the U.S. to an addressee in the Middle East.


“As it turned out the word ‘time’ referenced Daylight Saving Time. And the coincidental fluke which activated the tracking system alarm? The word ‘bomb.’ Used only in references to the American Idol TV shows’ losing contestants–who really did bomb! (Train wreck was also used.) These two words were enough for the crack analyst to alert his higher-ups.


“Once the CIA pinpointed the physical location of the U.S. e-mailer, government surveillance began. Tapping phone lines, monitoring email, placing stake-outs and face to face snooping by making repeated, “Sorry, must be the wrong address!” deliveries to their door of everything from pizza to roses.


“In the weeks leading up to DST fall backward, the first Sunday in November approached, enough evidence had been collected. Law enforcement officials issued a search warrant with a S.W.A.T. team. Four Arabic men were found inside the apartment with a variety of weapons, explosives, computers and bags of Chips Ahoy Cookies (coincidentally the signature cookie of choice, by the 2001, 911 hijackers).”


No court date has been set at this time, but court appointed defense attorneys are already trying to get the case dismissed. The reason? The conspirators couldn’t have ever carried out their destructive suicide mission—though in ignorance they naively swore their lives to do so! The U.S. government sees it otherwise.


During this pre-trial phase a spokesperson from the U.S. Attorney General’s office stated today, “These evil men tried to take the spring, if-you-will, out of our national ‘spring forward.’ Thus leaving us nothing to ‘fall backwards’ on! For attempting to destroy this timely American economic and recreational boost, they deserve to spend their time in prison for the rest of their lives. Where we hope there will never be any kind of savings to be found!”

In a poll taken in recent years, most Americans would rather not be forced to live by the outdated DST changes. If the terrorist plot had somehow succeeded an applause could’ve been heard from sea to shining sea.











Another story from REAL LIFE (that I made up!) This parody news story is for amusement. Any similarity to real people, places or things is fictitious and not to be taken as fact.



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       Blog #6  By Mark Lee Golden   Copyright 2016   www.markleegoldenwriter.com

  My Ex-President

  

March 22, 2016

Yesterday, William Jefferson Clinton, 42nd President of the USA, visited where I live in eastern Washington, the city of Spokane. I have this picture in my mind of a well-dressed man tracking mud on a clean floor.

I found out too late that the ex-president was to speak at 12:30 pm at a local college. In my mind was a picture that has roots in some antics of years ago. Since my career is a making signs, my vision included a protest sign and me holding it up for Clinton eyes.

My imaginary message might seem pointless, outdated and a petty gripe. “YOU Lied To ME!” and below that in small letters, “Mark Golden.” And below that, “Not With That Woman!” And below that, “MONICA Baby!” That last line deserves hot pink—don’t you think?

Some reader will point a finger at my blog and complain, “All these years later Mark. Oh c’mon!” Well, I seem to remember another president who did the same thing in 1973, in my teen years: “I am not a crook!” Neither elected official needed to get on television and lie to the entire nation. The world was watching too.

Our best were not our brightest.

It takes a lot to get pumped up and try to fake out millions of people and believe you’ll be successful—don’t you think—even if you are president? “Ahh...tomorrow this will all be behind me...ohh yeah.” Or, “Oh NO! They didn’t believe me!”

Either way either president, wanted to fool me and you. That’s aggravating. I was an adult when Clinton did it. Not long after, I realized, in my opinion, that he was simply a BS’er in a suit. He’d been a BS’er all through school and work, then he BS’ed his way to the top—it defined him and still does. Hillary helping? Sure.

BS definition: to tell lies, exaggerate, mislead or deceive with a dash of charisma.

We all know BS’ers; sometimes as playground bullies, smart asses in the classroom or by what and how they drive their cars. Whether slick talking, style of clothing, or smiles with that light twist of indifference, BS’ers are convincing. Clinton was one of the best in history. Then he and Hillary raised a daughter—some of Bill and some of Hill mixed together.

One gripe, which I doubt I will ever make as a protest sign would be meant for Chelsea Clinton. I recall a news clip from a few years ago. She was behind a lectern (no doubt trying to do some good). During Q&A time the question came, “What about your father and his involvement with 22-year-old employee, Monica Lewinsky in 1998?” Chelsea was then 19-years-old. The daughter of two pros dismissedly answered, “That’s a private, personal, family matter which I don’t discuss in public.” Score one for Clinton DNA and zero for American justice.

Here’s the obvious. President Clinton, the boss, (unembarrassed) while on the clock at his job, repeatedly used our time for his own illegal, immoral and adulterous activities with an employee with teenage fervency. The leader of the free world secretly side-stepped huge responsibilities to us and other countries. In doing so, he dishonored and minimized the office of the president and its inherent depended upon duties. His daughter side-stepped the lawsuit worthy, on-the-job crimes—in our nation’s Holy of Holies—the Oval Office. ‘Personal? Private? Family?’ Oh please! How about desecration, self-centeredness and lying to an entire nation about workplace violations?

Chelsea (now age 36) was taught by the best of the worst and now scheming in her blood. Caught in the middle of shameful parents, she twisted the questioner’s fair curiosity into an invasion of family privacy. But the adultery was national and public knowledge worthy of impeachment—not merely politically driven. Which Americans voted for an unfaithful spouse to use highly-paid work hours in such a way? Bill Clinton’s sins placed his daughter into the victim category too. Her already complicated First Daughter life took embarrassment on board. She could’ve provided an honest answer, such as her own embarrassment and fatigue of the matter she was born into. Can Daddy do wrong, such wrong...hmm?

If Clinton had seen my imaginary sign, what would’ve gone through his head? I’d bet Yeah, that Monica, she was really something!


The Crime: Lying, misuse of public office. The Criminals: W. J. Clinton.



Another story from REAL LIFE (that I made up!) This parody news story is for amusement. Any similarity to real people, places or things is fictitious and not to be taken as fact.



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Two Scoundrels For The Price of One

By Mark Lee Golden  Copyright 2016   markleegoldenwriter.com


Politics. Read on, or point and click elsewhere now.

America is most embarrassing at present. But, from what I’ve read, candidates within the first 100 years of our country acted in raw fashion to their opponents. Those battles knew nothing of PC=political correctness. Ridicule prevailed as the norm when contending for public positions.

Dirty campaigns are well over 200 years old. In 1800, President John Adams’ men called Vice President Jefferson “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.” As the slurs piled on, Adams was labeled a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal, and a tyrant, while Jefferson was branded a weakling, an atheist, a libertine, and a coward.

Research at will—you’ll not be disappointed.

In our times, with the global and not-so-global village, looking and listening in, Americans fight against the urge to cringe. We are committed to our candidate of choice no matter what truths or slanderous assertions they make. On either side of the neighboring political fence, the taking sides and supporting must go on. Sound bytes, dusty video footage, email leaks and interviews arise, and we go on deeper and deeper.

Americans desire what they cannot have—a third party candidate. We want at least one savior with no messianic delusions. In times of the push and pull of Republican vs Democrat front runners, Americans not wishing for either, find themselves caught once again with only one vote to cast.

Independents wish to make their little votes amount to a resounding statement of strength in numbers that must be reckoned with. But, those of that minority camp feel the numb realization of throwing away their vote, too. For the sake in part, of principal, this is done. Also, as that rough grain of sand indirectly produces a single beautiful pearl in a clam shell, independents believe they hold their single, yet valuable vote, safely protected or captive from the two big political parties.

When and how a three party system will emerge and stabilize is only to be found in a gypsy’s magic crystal ball—one who is not registered to vote—otherwise, no doubt such discernment would get tainted by opinion and bias.

I feel the tug, as many do, to leave the two scoundrels alone. My grain of sand, which makes me me, wishes to join the others who wait in sheltered darkness at the bottom of the sea. Clocks tick, tides ebb and flow like endless election cycles. I yearn to taste the salt water when my shell is finally cracked open.

DEDICATED TO  GRUMPY VOTER ANDREW H.


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WHAT I AM UP TO THESE DAYS

Mark Lee Golden  Copyright 2017  markleegoldenwriter.com

I don’t have any public readings or book signings lined up in the near future.

Happily, both of my books are on Amazon and Kindle: The Ring of Torrents: A Jewish Mary. The Drop, is a contemporary sci-fi mystery that takes place at the United Nations in NYC.

I occasionally write a serious or amusing blog.

I had a good idea of merging my multitude of word graphics www.illustratedwords.com with some of my blogs, news parodies and short stories, into short books. I’d make these as ebooks due to the amount of colorful graphics. The cost of such as a print book vs ebook is considerable. However, once I got my word graphics prepared, my heart went full force into writing a new novel. Now that project sits—where do the hours and days go?

**********

What have I been doing? I’ve been working on my third book, as yet untitled. I focus on ancient Jerusalem’s Upper Room, so I’ll call it The Upper Room for now. It’s another speculative, First-Century, character-rich, historical fiction novel. Currently it’s 42,000 words and gaining. This tale is written for general audiences of average churchgoers and Messianic Jews. I’m trying to make it easy reading. The Ring of Torrents: A Jewish Mary, was culturally rich in Judaism and a liberal sprinkling of the Hebrew language.

The Upper Room was where Jesus (yes, I use his Greek name in this book) enjoyed his last Passover Seder. Pet peeve #1 of mine and other Jews is that English readers erroneously know this annual, ceremonial, religious meal as the Last Supper, that is just a dinner.

In the New Testament book Acts of the Apostles, written by Luke, the close companion of the Apostle Paul (Rabbi Sha’ul), we read further that the Upper Room was a temporary place where disciples met in Jerusalem after the crucifixion and Resurrection. Read chapters 1 and 2 of Acts.

I portray this spacious house’ second story as a safe hangout. For several weeks after Jesus disappeared from earth at the Mount of Olives, the Apostles spent time in the Upper Room waiting ten days for the Jewish holiday of Pentecost (Greek), or Shavuot (Hebrew). Not only were there ten days until Pentecost, but Jesus had firmly instructed the Apostles to wait for a special spiritual event to occur. He called it the Promise of the Father, the immersion (baptism) in the Holy Spirit.

The speculative platform of The Upper Room is where I bring up theological curiosities and controversies. There are interesting visitors from the pages of the Gospels who return, such as Nicodemus and the woman who had the “issue of blood for twelve years.” Mary the mother of the Messiah plays a large part and finally feels confident and safe to tell the gathering her previously hidden miracle of her son’s conception.

Why am I writing this book? Many have published Biblical fiction books since the 1960s. I’ve read plenty to see what the purposes were. Of course most portray these ancient people of whom we have skimpy facts and make them like real persons. I do that too. But I try to avoid main episodes which have been, and continue to be overdone, i.e. Jesus Birth, Baptism, Sermon on the Mount, Trial, Death and Resurrection. Biblical fiction is educational religious entertainment. Readers need such literature. I try to stay as close to Scripture as possible. While researching, I come across various conflicting commentaries by degreed authors. After I wade through these theological acrobatics, I make my choices.

However, myself, being a Jewish follower of some 40 years, I lean into areas that most Gentile authors have paid little attention to. Also, since I am associated with Messianic rabbis and scholars and attend Orthodox, regular and Messianic synagogues, churches and charismatic fellowships, I see and experience what others don’t. There is a library’s worth of insightful books written by ancient and modern educated Jewish writers on the Old Testament and Judaism which Christians and Christian theologians never pursue. Therefore, I supply a different spin than the common, traditional portrayals.

I’m thankful for all those who have offered me valuable advice and criticism, and have scrutinized my writings at different stages. I do welcome corrections and suggestions. On subjects so wide, so controversial, and in some areas so uncertain, error is perhaps inevitable and omission due to length of work.

Traveling alone, I visited Israel several years ago and stayed for a month. I made friends there whom I occasionally question via email or see when they visit the States.

Pet peeve #2. It’s a rare movie that doesn’t stray far from Holy Scripture into poorly invented, boring, replacement side stories. Writing a script sticking to the Bible or any worthwhile literature is traditionally avoided by Hollywood at any cost. Solid adaptation is blowin’ in the wind. Don’t get me started on the Lord of the Rings trilogy nightmare....

Why am I writing this book? In The Upper Room I slow down the dynamic events of the arrival of the Holy Spirit and the effects on people. The Book of Acts is quite brief on these facts. I chose to write in such a way, by research in books, Internet, interviews and prayer, that readers will remark (as with the Mary book), “I never thought of that! I never knew the Jews did that! Now I understand the Bible better!”

Why am I writing this book? I enjoy writing. I’m gifted in creativity and teaching. Writing is one outlet of artistic expression. By writing, I make available what I would teach in person. The process is indeed lonely and difficult work, as any serious author knows. Success doesn’t remove the isolated hours of crafting stories.

Why am I writing this book? There’s something in me, and perhaps in you, that wants a story, incident or joke to be told correctly. Whether among friends or in a formal setting, I get bent out of shape when this doesn’t happen—I’m guilty of poor retelling too. I believe (as do many crazy persons) that God wants me to honor Him in my personal works by portraying Him accurately.

As one pastor told me, “The Bible raises more questions than it answers.” We grumble at such a truth and wish God had done a better, fuller job with His book. Perhaps if the approximately 1,300 pages of Scripture were instead 13,000 pages, we’d have less divisive places of worship and a remarkable religious harmony. I did quick research on the number of words in the Bible. I didn’t foresee a variety of sums due to translations. To round off the count, there are 790,000 words total; the Old Testament (TeNaCh) has 590,000 and the New Testament (Apostolic Writings) 180,000. That is, give or take 200,000 words or so.


Finally, I hope to publish my Upper Room book by summer 2017.


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