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Source: Fighting at the Gates of Hell

February 2015 – A little strange, what am I missing?

Meeting Pat at O’hare airport was kind of like meeting up with an old friend. We talked continuously all the way out the door, all the way into Chicago, all the way down the street in zero degree weather and I don’t think we stopped talking until we checked into my room at the Congress Plaza Hotel. I remember looking out the window at the frozen landscape, sitting back on my bed to tell Pat another story and zzzzzzzzz that was it.

I don’t know if he was embarrassed or confused that I fell asleep in mid sentence because I’m always moving so fast all the time that  I tend to do that sort of thing. He poked me a little to wake me up and said, should I leave? I said, No of course not. There are two beds, stay. You are safe with me.

It’s funny how people always assume a woman is in danger when she is with a man she doesn’t know well. Now we hear about crazy women who hurt men, and I’m beginning to believe it’s more prevalent than we thought.

Either way, Pat is a sweet man. You know the type. Most young women never date guys like Pat because they were too nice for the women who enjoy pain, misery and all that crap. I’m not one of those women.

Early in the morning Pat’s phone rang. It was his ex-wife, concerned that Pat’s youngest son Ethan was playing a basketball game and there was no one to watch him because she said she and Pat’s older son Connor were away at another function. She told Pat he needed to be at Ethan’s ballgame.

Pat explained the situation to me and asked me if I would mind driving to Muskegon, Michigan to watch his son’s game. I thought this would be fun, I had never been to Michigan and it would be fun to see where Pat lived, and meet his kids and ex-wife.

Muskegon is several hours from Chicago and it took longer because it was so snowy but we got there before the game started. We sat outside in his car and talked until it was game time. Suddenly a text from Connor. “Are you at the game?” Pat texted back “Yes. When will you be here?” Connor’s next text was, “in a few hours.”

Just as Pat was reading the text out loud, he looked past me and got this weird look on his face. Almost like disgust. I followed his gaze and saw two people walking down the sidewalk toward the car. They did not see us but entered the door of the building.

I asked Pat what was wrong. He said, ” that is my son Connor and my ex-wife.”

“Connor the guy who just said he wouldn’t be here for a few hours?”

Yes.

“Are we at the right game? Is the basketball game at another facility?”

No.

This of course should have been a huge clue. Most women would have asked to be driven back to Chicago and headed back home as fast as they could fly.

I didn’t understand the rules of the game because I don’t play games.

After entering the auditorium we met a few people who were teachers at the school. As it turned out we were at the boy’s school. Muskegon Catholic which turns out to be a private Catholic school. At the time it had very few accredited teachers, a huge embezzlement problem, a money pit for the Catholic families who pay tuition, a free hand out to black families from the hood who pay no tuition just as long as their kids play ball, and the ‘head of schools” has been caught with his penis in the bookkeepers mouth more than once. But of course,  I’m not sick to my stomach yet because it took me a year to learn all this.

Pat loves watching his son play ball. I could see how proud of him he was. Oddly enough not only was Pat’s ex-wife Maureen at the game but so were both of her parents and Connor.

At the time I didn’t understand that the phone call was an attempt to control Pat. In fact it’s nothing I would have ever though someone would do. Maybe an ex-wife but certainly not a sixteen year old son. But then this was just the beginning of my lessons in abusive relationships and I didn’t recognise it.

URBAN DICTIONARY

A former wife. Did not take marriage vows seriously. Probably was emotionally detatched or cheating for months or years with women, all the while leaving her blissfully ignorant husband thinking that everything is fineWill usually do that for monetary or social benefit.
Will gain overwhelming sympathy from all mutual friends and her family, making the husband seem like the bad guy. Will get custody of the children 9 out 10 of the times, even if she can’t afford to support them…but that’s ok, because the “justice” system will make sure that you support her like you are still married.

Won’t let your kids stay with you for more than 12 hours if you live more than 2 blocks away from her. Will do her duty to lie about you to all her friends, family, and every girl she sleeps with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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January 2015

I used to have a firm set of rules for dating. No ex-wives, no children. I had already seen the mess people make of their lives with nasty ex’s who can’t let go even twenty years after the divorce and the kids rarely treated the new spouse like a human being so I was never, never, never going to invite that into my life.

Fast forward to January 2015. I received an email from a man in Michigan. He said he   had listened to an interview I’d done on  “It’s Rainmaking Time” and he admired the work I’d done in New Orleans in the aftermath of  Hurricane Katrina. He read what I had to say while working with the animals in the aftermath of the Moore Oklahoma Tornado,  and if I ever wanted to have a friend in Michigan he would like to be friends.

I told him that would be fine with me.  I have friends all over the world, in fact I am one of those people who has keys to houses all over the country where I am welcome to come, stay and carry on as I saw fit whether my friends are home or not. I by the way have worked very hard for that honor. I never come empty handed. I’m honest but never to the point where I’m not blind in someones home. Meaning if you are not tidy I don’t notice. If you don’t dress well I don’t notice. Drink too much? It’s none of my business. Ask me if I think you should lose a few pounds and I’ll tell you I don’t know. Are you healthy? Do you feel good? Is there anything I can do to fix what ails you? Ask me for anything and I’ll be happy to help and never bring it up to you again. I’m not here to judge the good. We all have a path and I happen to know that this is the place you get to try all kinds of crazy stuff before you return home.

Was it growing up in a military household during the Viet Nam war that gave me such empathy for other people? I don’t know. Is it the training I received when I joined the Guardian Angels so many years ago in Venice, Ca. that made me feel like I could protect people who need help? I don’t know. Was it that I was raised aware of the fact that I’m the direct descendent of Kenneth MacAlpin, king of the Picts and the first king of the Scots that made me know that more was expected from me? I don’t know. But what I do know about myself is my integrity is my foundation. Without it you have nothing. You are worth nothing. That doesn’t mean I can’t be wrong in my choices or my beliefs. But if I am, it is only because I lack the information or the knowledge from which I based my beliefs.

I’ve spent hours sitting in the sun beside highways waiting for a dog to get up the courage to come to me. I’ve spent nights watching homeless women lying on the street alone.  I cover them with blankets I’ve purchased at Goodwill and kept in my truck for just this occasion. I leave them with a loaf of bread, water and a package of meat or cheese from the 99 cent only store. I have sat in my truck and watched over them as they slept never taking my eyes off of them until morning. I believe it is my duty given to me by God to protect and watch over things as much as I can. I have that list and many of the people who know me are on it.

Does that mean I’m kind to everyone? No. I am at war. I have been at war since the first time I was beaten by a toe headed kid and left in the desert bleeding and scrambling to get home before he returned. And I was at war when I fought off the rapist in Omaha. I not only put my fighting skills to good use, but after he untangled a wild cat off his face I chased him down the street and made sure he was caught. This man had raped six women before he made the mistake of choosing me.

There are good guys in the world and there are bad guys and I can smell the difference a mile away.

So back to January 2015. I met a very good guy. We became fast friends over the phone and on Skype. At the end of February I sent him a script that was in the finals of the Beverly Hills Screenwriting competition. It had won it’s category in the Table Read your Screenplay at Sundance prior to this and I was happy to let him read it.

When I next spoke to him on Skype, he told me he had written a song for my lead character. I was like “sure sure, that’s nice.” He asked if I would like to hear it. Uhhhh sure! I said, a little bit shocked. He picked up a guitar and started to sing this beautiful, amazing song that was exactly what I would envision for my character.

I was blown away. I was weeping by the time he finished singing the song. Who does that? I had to meet this man in person. So at the end of February 2015 I flew to Chicago for the week-end to get a closer look at Pat O’Neill.

Sometimes I think if I didn’t have bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all.

Out of Hybernation

This year I’m taking a close look at my life and the world in general. I’ve always been on the “person to call shortlist” for people in trouble. In those times, I am clever, I understand the job and against all the rock throwing and hair pulling, I’ve pulled young producers out of large financial holes and helped people get shows finished when they were a moment from tipping into the abyss. And there are some producers who find the money, but get shafted along the way because someone who contributed got caught up in their own press, “OH MY GOD I’M A PRODUCER”, and almost capsized the project.

I was a line producer on a project where someone who contributed a small amount to the production talked the producers into letting him direct the project. The same guy showed up to the first production meeting with a girl he had just met on the beach and she informed us that she would be playing one of the characters. I kicked them both out of the production meeting. This guy hates me to this day, but he knew nothing about filmmaking. He was an actor in England and who really knows but…. certainly the exec. producers wouldn’t have let it fly so his days were numbered anyhow.

I was hired late to work a film,  I started the first day of principle photography. The schedule for the show was typed on graph paper using dialogue instead of scene numbers. I asked the 1st AD if he had any software and if not I would loan him my computer to break it down properly. He said this is what the director wanted and that he had just come off a 5 million dollar budgeted film so I didn’t know what I was talking about. This kid’s IMDB page was long but he knew nothing. Absolutely nothing. He behaved as though he knew something about 2nd AD work but…. The crew mutany was embarrassing, they were yelling at him, the executive producers arrived on set that day and asked me what was going on. I explained the problem of which there were many. They said they would have a talk with the producer and director. The next day I was fired. Four days later the exec producers called me and asked me what the hell was going on because they had five days in and no footage shot. I told them I was fired. They shit!

The thing is, I’m also the first one to get a knife in the back. From the Mike Tyson script to telling a good friend his wife was a lesbian…I have had to pull a knife out of my back every time. I ought to wear a shirt that says “Don’t shoot the messenger please!” And by the time the former friend pulls his head out of his ass and asks for help, I am less than interested in playing any games with them again.

This year I am reborn. This year, a year unlike any other year…if you tell me that Oliver Stone is interested in meeting me about the Tyson script, I expect to have that meeting in Oliver Stone’s office and not with his “pool boy” or office assistant or who ever that was, at a coffee shop! This year, if you want to produce your first film but you have chosen a director you are fucking, and he runs you over budget, don’t cry to me about it when the executive producer threatens to jail you for fraud. Or stupidity. And if you are directing a film, Jesus H Christ at least know how to set up a shot. Or at least know the verbiage of the industry! Because I am no longer willing to throw in my knowledge, time and talents because we are friends. This year I have very few trusted friends and I’m going to keep it that way. Because I finally see what friends are. I have been wrong about the meaning of friendship for so many years. I have been a total moron when it comes to helping people. And maybe because I was so certain about my own strengths, I thought by helping out where I could, it would bring some meaning to my life. It has done nothing of the sort. It has made me struggle to unwind the noose around my neck, put there time and time again by a “friend” in need.

I started gripping on film sets just out of my teens. I fetched coffee, ran errands and did what ever it took to learn this industry and I’ve done quite a few thankless jobs. I just never thought they were thankless because they gave me an opportunity to learn something. When I decided to go to film school, I had already worked in the industry for five years and I realized very quickly that those professors had almost no experience in real world filmmaking. I quit school and returned to work.

This is my year. I’ll be birthing my projects and building my teams this year. I will not be a hired gun to fire production crew you hired because they were your cousins or whatever. I will NOT be teaching you how to produce, direct or edit a project. I will NOT open my rolodex and introducing you to anyone, because I like my friends and I want to keep them. I will not be on a set where I have to play who’s peepee is bigger with every single crew member. Because for some reason, with the influx of preditors, (aka the farmer from Kansas who purchased a prosumer camera and business cards saying “writer, producer, dp, editor and whatever” ) the film industry is full of parasitic sycophantic bottom feeders,  more so than the good old days when we worked on studio lots and never expected to move up but at least we were given credit by our peers for our knowledge and ability to get it done together. Is it any wonder the old timers never hire away from their established crews? Does it make sense now why Clint Eastwood and so many old timers (sorry Clint) use the same crew members until they die from old age? Leave your ego at the stage door and just get the thing done.

 

When I was four, I drowned. I remember being out of my body, which I tend to call my vehicle. I remember watching them pull the vehicle out of the pool. And I left them to do their job while I returned to “real life” where love is not just a feeling as people here believe it to be. In real life “Love” is the fabric of everything. You breathe it in like a fish takes in water. And music moves through you.

I was met by someone called Esai (E-Sigh) and quickly regained my perfect knowledge. Esai and I spoke about the different plans I had made for this lifetime on this playing field because I wasn’t keen on returning, but the deciding factor in returning to this place was a small boy reminding me that we, all of my friends and he himself, had created a plan to come, to feel, and to experience all the pain and joy of this place. And if I did not return, I would not be there to intersect those lives when they would need a helping hand or perhaps just a nudge.

From our vantage point we could see them working on the vehicle. We saw the man arrive, “Not on my watch!” is what he said. I could have chosen to stay in real life, but the moment I chose to return, “pop” there I was back in this playing field.

When we choose to be here, we arrive to a vehicle which  has no knowledge of real life, as if a curtain is pulled across its view. But, if we accidentally kill the vehicle, and the vehicle is still viable, and we choose to return, the curtain is open. And it stays open. We arrive back with one foot in this game, and one foot in real life. I know the truth as do most “near death survivors” which are actually “real death returnees.”

My life has been a revolving door of people who are about to return to real life. They don’t know my story, but the Universe leads them to me. They are afraid, they want to know what is waiting for them. They believe the horror stories  of hell they’ve been told. They ask me for reassurance that they will not go to hell. They tell on themselves and hope that what they say, will be good enough to get them into heaven.

In 2004 I had a phone conversation with an older man who was about to go into hospice. The conversation started about his dog who had cancer, and he said, he himself was about to take that “long walk” as he described it.

I said, “Oh I know that long walk.” He said, “No you don’t understand, I have cancer and I’m going to die.”  I said, “I do understand, I  have returned home during this lifetime so I understand well.”

He asked me if I would come to his home and speak with him. I said, I would.  When I arrived his wife took me into a quiet den, brought me a cup of tea, and then disappeared. The man came in, sat beside me and began to tell me stories of his life as a gangster. He confessed the things he had done, from the most horrific things to the lies he told his wife. He was terrified of going to hell.

I told him, hell does not exist. I told him all that awaited him was love.

But the things he had done. The people he had hurt. The Bible told him he was going to burn for eternity. I reminded him, he was already in hell. A hell he made for himself. I reminded him, he is here to create obstacles for the people he came here with. We don’t have to come here and feel pain and anger and rage. We don’t have to fight to overcome all the obstacles we find here. But if we choose to do this, then someone must create the obstacle too.

Some vehicles may not know a lie when they hear it but your spirit knows a lie. Not with his ears but with his guts, I asked him to tell me a lie.  After the lie, I asked him what his gut response was.  He said, “I heard, No it’s not! from that little voice in my head.”

Then I asked him to tell me a truth. He agreed that his inner voice did indeed agree with his truth.

Then I said,”Tell me hell doesn’t exist.” And he did. And I asked him what the voice said to that. He said, “It said, I know.”

And finally I told him death does not exist. You will step out of this vehicle right back into real life.

His wife called to tell me he died the very next day, in hospice. And he wasn’t afraid.

 

 

 

 

When I was a kid, on the best mornings, I woke up to the smell of coffee and the sound of men talking softly around the kitchen table. And every time someone new entered there was the quiet but joyful rush of energy as everyone acknowledged them.

This morning I opened my eyes to Larry, the guy in the bunk above me laying a quilt over me at a biker club house, the sound of guys chiding each other and the smell of coffee. Actually I remember hearing someone asking if anyone was hungry. Someone else said , yeah but I’m too tired to open my eyes. The original voice said, that’s ok I’ll bring a few plates up. Then zzzzzzzzz.

Bikers! This particular club house is full of Highwaymen, Custom Riders, Wingmen, Confederates, Syndicates and a few others. And the thick air of brotherly love and joyful joke telling is intoxicating.

At 5 A.M. I remember hitching my fingers into my friend Hitt’s back pocket and following him up the stairs to a bunk bed where I was gently laid to bed in a room with three other sleeping bikers.

Prior to that I arrived at the club house around 7 P.M., following a long exhausting run across the country. It was a joy to see my friend Harold Hitt and even better DJ my favorite “Ranger” showed up a few hours later.

I met DJ on the Hoka Hey race and we’ve been fast friends ever since. He tells wonderful stories! His best stories are actually about his four children and it’s not so much that they do unusual things but the love that shines from this man’s face when he talks about them is like honey. It drips out of his eyes and I could almost bottle it. His new child on the way has no idea how rich her/his life is going to be with a father like this.

Besides DJ and Hitt this club is full of rich colorful characters…

“Easy” is a sparkly entertaining story teller. Just my interpretation. Actually he’s a very tall, muscular man, he was US Navy and probably has a serious kick your ass side but he seems to find the fun in every subject. He draws a crowd and people enjoy being around him because he lightens the air.

“Larrio” from Kentucky is a super hero who has not yet discovered that he is a super hero. At 40 he’s still a bud, certainly a bud who has weathered a series of storms that would have crushed most people. But I can see the day is coming where he has gained the kind of insightful wisdom  that only hard learned lessons can teach you then he will recognize the powerful spirit of THOR in himself and be a force to be recogned with.

There are probably sixty bikers here and more coming in all the time. The women are just as welcoming as their men. Actually last night after I was welcomed by Hitt, I walked inside and Sara, apple faced with a big grin hugged me and said Hi and Welcome.

I’ve spent too much time in Los Angeles this year because I forgot how wonderful that is!

I used to tell people that when I drowned and returned home I remember that we breathed love sort of like fish breathe in water. In this club, bikers breathe in love. It’s heaven.

 

Most of the friends I have will tell you that I have friends all over the country who do not know each other or see me often, but when they need something, I can be counted on to take the call.

So, I have a friend who was completely blindsided by a guy she had known in high school. She moved home to Plano, Texas from L.A., they became reacquainted and in short order were married. In the 33 days they were married, he backed a truck up to her business and stole every thing she owned including her financial records and customer business information, dumped his four hungry kids on her, emptied her bank accounts and broke her hip and arm.

Her new husbands brother was the police officer that showed up when she was beaten and he told her she was lucky she wasn’t arrested.

 The wolves were gathering for the kill, before she escaped back to Los Angeles.

 After I got the story, I asked a private investigator to look into this husband. He has a record as long as I am tall, 18 judgments, many, many aliases plus a judge in the pocket that his police officer older brother does not occupy. I’ve seen so many men and women get trounced and become one of the LA street people or the dead that I can’t even count them any more. This isn’t the America I grew up with.

Instead of Land of the Free, Home of the Brave,  America has become the home of the brave men who decide to become cops and judges just so they are then free to rape, pillage and support family members who rape and pillage other Americans. Very much like the people some of our forefathers left back in Europe.

I was born a sheepdog and I’m frustrated by the fact that wolves are running the chicken coop. Corruption is running unfettered in America. And it needs to be stopped. The use of public office, police uniforms and God as a convenient shroud to hide their putrid deeds needs to be stopped.

I know there are more sheepdogs than this in our society. America was built by sheepdogs. I can’t believe that the breeding of these sheepdogs has created sheep. In fact, I have a feeling there are more sheepdogs hiding in sheep’s clothing than there are wolves.

So my question is; Why are the sheepdogs hiding? Someone will stand with you if you just stand! Because the town of Plano, Texas and no doubt the rest of our country needs a good dog fight and a house cleaning.