‘HOLLYWOOD MIRACLES’ Chapter 25: GHOSTS TRYING TO RECOVERY THEIR LOST SANITY

After their devastating crash, in which their beloved little Hyundai Accent, Goldie Hawn,

was destroyed by a huge, 18-wheel tractor-trailer rig driven by a sleeping trucker, Baby Bequita and Ryan Chase slept in horrible pain

for what seemed like more than a day in their Motel-6 room bed at Roscoe Boulevard and

the 405 in Porn Valley.

When at last they awakened in terrible agony from their near-lethal injuries, they did not feel like they were alive anymore.

They felt dizzy, discomboomerated and detached from their physical bodies – like spirits

drifting aimlessly through space.

They were so depressed and wracked with pain that they nearly had lost the will to live on.

They struggled desperately – in vain – to become humans again.

They were injured strangers in a strange, forbidding land.

With their final few shekels left over from earlier panhandling, they booked one final extra

night at the Motel 6.

Their cats – the sweet Smoky and the evil Spunker Steege – were not feeling very well either.

The red Steege was whining and yowling, while the tabby Smoky bore his pain in stoic,

dignified silence.

As the next morning dawned, it became pitifully, brutally hot outside in Porn Valley, when at

last the two prepared to leave the motel.

They decided to hitchhike to Winchell’s for one last breakfast of Bismarck rolls, loaded with

Bavarian creme or lemon filling.

Then they went to pick up their cats and their stuff at the motel. Their time had run out there.

Bequita had acquired some metal crutches before fleeing the hospital.

She began to painfully maneuver her aching, shattered bones across the street

in front of the motel. There was a payphone there, along with a place to hitchhike.

She put her arm around Ryan’s broad shoulders to assist her as she limped agonizingly

across the baking-hot Roscoe Boulevard.

In the shimmering waves of heat, Ryan and Bequita were close to losing consciousness.

They felt like ghosts – except for the searing pain reeling like daggers through their

crumpled bodies.

Their caged cats were absolutely miserable.

Steege was screaming in pain as usual, while Smoky twisted silently in agony inside

the

cage. There was nothing to protect them from the cruel, brutal sunlight, except for

one of

Ryan’s shirts that he had wound across the top of the cage.

Ryan and Bequita were hatless and suffering terribly from heatstroke in the horrid,

furnace-like hell of L.A. – which often gets like that in late April, as it also does in October.

Ryan plopped the wounded Bequita down onto the curb on the side of the shimmering

boulevard, which was jammed with snarled traffic, as always.

Then he limped back across the street to the motel room and began dragging and hefting

their luggage across Roscoe. It took him three trips. Then he came back to the lobby front

desk one last time, to return the room key.

When he returned to the suffering Bequita and the agonized cats, he was appalled at the

state of their exquisite suffering.

In panic, he realized that his lady love and their pets could not last more than an hour

longer in the stifling malaise.

45)

His hands quivering with pain and impending heatstroke, he reached desperately into his

pockets for the few remaining quarters inside.

He had Bequita call her mother and then her sister, but both refused to help.

Then he called his own insane sister, who screamed indignantly over the phone at him:

“Whaddya callin’ me for, you bastard! You just want me to send you more money for

some of your damned crack.” She slammed the phone down hard in his ear.

At last, Bequita and Ryan were down to their final hope for survival.

They realized that they had to call Brad, their boss at Pizza Hut, and lie that they had

decided to swing over to California after seeing Bequita’s ailing mother in Minnesota.

During the phone call, Ryan told Brad: “We drove over to the West Coast so I could take

Bequita to Disneyland, since she never had been there before, and we got hit by an 18-wheeler and our car was totaled. We’re hurt bad.”

Ryan and Bequita crossed their fingers, blessed themselves and hoped against hope that

Brad might actually help them.

On the phone, Brad thought about it all for a few agonizing seconds.

He decided that he was short-handed at Pizza Hut because of the absence of the pair, so he replied,

“I will send you money for a Greyhound and food, but I can’t do it till tomorrow,

so you will have to find someplace to stay for the night.

Sorry, but I can’t do anything more right now. I’m at work and my hands are tied.”

Brad told Ryan: “Tomorrow morning, you will have to get to a Ralph’s grocery store and

call me from the Western Union office that they have inside. Then I will send you $300

by wire.”

Ryan thanked Brad profusely and set the payphone receiver down softly back into its cradle.

The seemingly doomed couple had received their first faint ray of hope to live onward.

Bequita, with her shattered ankle, sat on the curb and stuck out her thumb.

Ryan limped around and panhandled furiously, with little hope.

Most of the motorists seemed to not even see the couple.

The passing pedestrians ignored the pair, and acted like they could not even glimpse the

hurting Bequita and Ryan.

Bequita suddenly blurted out to Ryan: “We must be ghosts now!

No one can even see us here! We’re invisible! Our bodies are liked empty shells!”

Ryan agreed with her, but he persistently and gloomily went on trying to panhandle

and hitchhike.

At last he spotted a station wagon filled with young Okie redneck drifters, who had stopped

nearby on the side of the road for the injured couple. The old, battered station wagon

sported Oklahoma license plates.

The young, beautiful girl in the passenger seat yelled out: “Climb in the back, ya’ll, and

we’ll try to take ya close to whar yer goin’.” She motioned to her wagonload of companions

to help the impaired couple with their belongings and cats.

The Okies were appalled and compassionate when they saw the hideous extent of

Bequita’s massive crash injuries.

Their hearts melted and they decided to take Ryan and Bequita wherever they wanted to

go, and to help them in any way they could.

The driver reached into his overalls pocket and pulled out a $20 bill.

He handed it to his girlfriend in the passenger seat and she passed it back to Ryan.

The driver said, “I know it ain’t much, but at least it’s somethin’ to help you get through.

We ain’t got much – it’s pretty much all we have.”

46)

Ryan and Bequita thanked the Okies profusely and gave them hugs.

Bequita cried when she witnessed their tender mercy flowing from their kind,

generous hearts.

Ryan then inquired: “Do you know anywhere where we could stay for the night?

We are lost and helpless out here.” Becky began to sob pitifully again.

“Don’chall worry none,” the driver responded.

“We will take you straight to the Hollywood mission and drop you off, and tomorrow

morning, we will come back and pick you up and take you to get your money or do

whatever else you have to do.”

The battered old Ford wagon – jammed elbow to elbow with people – pulled to a halt

outside of a plain white building behind a storefront in North Hollywood.

The Okies assisted the ailing couple by carrying their stuff and their cats into the

homeless shelter.

Then they warmly and tightly hugged the grateful, appreciative Ryan and Bequita.

Inside the nondescript old building, the cats were an immediate hit with the shelter’s

inhabitants and workers. They loved those cats so much.

They took the cats out of their cage, petted, fed and watered them, and let them roam

around the big storage room, so their kids could play with them.

Tears of joy, relief and thanks poured down the faces of Bequita and Ryan.

They felt it was a succession of miracles from Jesus that was saving them from utter

destruction.

Bequita said, “I want to give thanks to Our Lord Jesus Christ for saving us from death.”

She clasped her hands in prayer as her tears rolled down her cheeks.

(Continued in Chapter 26)

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‘CRACK HOUSE’ Chapter 25: AXL ROSE OF GUNS AND ROSES, THE GREATEST LEAD SINGER IN THE WORLD, IS A TOTAL ASSHOLE

Chapter 25: Axl Rose of Guns ‘N Roses, the Greatest Lead Singer in the World, Is a Total Asshole

Axl Rose of Guns ‘N Roses was riding high on top of the world in the late 1980s.

He was regarded by many rock “experts” (whom Ryan derisively referred to as “expert texperts”) as “the greatest lead singer in the world.” Rolling Stone magazine called Axl “the world’s greatest frontman.”

However, the world’s real greatest frontman, Rolling Stones lead vocalist Mick Jagger, called Axl Rose “the biggest asshole I have ever met.”

Axl Rose, born William Bruce Rose Jr., on February 6, 1962, in Lafayette, Indiana, was the son of a renegade who reportedly raped Axl at age 2, before fleeing town soon afterward, and disappearing in Marion, Illinois, in 1984. William Bruce Rose Sr. reportedly was murdered by a criminal pal, who was convicted despite Rose Sr.’s body never having been found.

Rose Jr. also reported being raped at age 4 by his stepdad, Stephen Bailey. Therefore, most of the hereditary and environmental factors were not in young Rose’s favor.

Rose, raised by the name of Bill Bailey, was a bullying victim in high school in Lafayette. At age 17, while shuffling through some insurance papers at home, he learned his true name and the identity of his biological father. Young Bill Bailey then changed his name to W. Rose, because he did not want to use William, the name of his biological father, whom he detested, although the two had never met during Rose’s late childhood and adolescence.

Rose moved to Los Angeles, where his new band, AXL, gave him a new name — W. Axl Rose, or just Axl Rose. Maybe it should be more like Asshole Rose.

Rose went on to co-found his smash rock band, Guns ‘N Roses, whose records topped the charts and sold tens of millions of copies worldwide. The band sold out huge arenas for years.

However, in August 1988, Axl touched off a concert riot in Britain that killed two fans in a mosh crush. Again, in July 1991, Axl got mad at a fan taping a concert in St. Louis. A pissed-off Axl dived into the crowd. retrieved the offending tape recorder and announced he was going home, triggering a concert riot by thousands of fans, who did hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

This idiotic onstage behavior came as Guns ‘N Roses were opening for the Rolling Stones, prompting Mick Jagger to say: “Axl Rose is the biggest asshole I’ve ever met.” That was saying a lot, since Jagger must have met thousands of assholes during his long, productive life as a world-class rock star and legendary frontman.

In August 1992, while GNR was touring with Metallica, Axl walked off the stage during a concert in Olympic Stadium, triggering a riot in downtown Montreal that caused $400,000 in damage.

Axl also was no great shakes at personal relationships. His longtime sweetheart, Gina Siler, and Axl’s wife (in 1990 only), Erin Everly, each accused him of being a madman, raining physical abuse on them.

Axl then came very close to marrying supermodel Stephanie Seymour, who appears in a wedding dress in the GNR video for “November Rain.” However, the supermodel broke up with Axl after he beat her up severely in a jealous rage. She said Axl slapped and punched her and kicked her down a flight of stairs. He ended up paying Seymour $400,000 to settle her lawsuit against him.

Then, Guns ‘N Roses began to fall apart. Axl fired drummer Steven Adler for becoming addicted to heroin in 1990. Axl’s childhood friend, Izzy Spradlin, was the first to quit the band, in 1991. Axl fired guitarist Gilby Clarke in 1994. Then a peeved Axl at last decided that he would take his ball and go home. Having purchased the rights to the Guns ‘N Roses name from lead guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan, Axl decided to fire the entire band in 1996, including Slash and drummer Matt Sorum.

Axl then went into five years of seclusion, until January 2001, when he appeared at a concert in Rio de Janeiro with a new Guns lineup. But in November 2001, Rose set off another riot by not showing up for a concert in Vancouver.

Axl then became a recluse for another seven years, until December 2008, when the “new” Guns ‘N Roses album, Chinese Democracy, which had been delayed since 1993, was released to scathing reviews.

In recent years, Axl Rose, diagnosed as psychotic and bipolar, is an overweight, has-been recluse, a washed-up old man in his early 50s.

It seems that Mick Jagger was right.

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MARK AND BECKY OCHS — SPORTSWRITERS IN TEXAS

Eagle Pass Lady Eagles come from behind and beat Southwest San Antonio 10-9

By MARK and BECKY OCHS

News Gram Sportswriters

Melanie Mendoza smashed a 250-foot grand-slam homer, knotting the score at 5 in the fourth inning and paving the way for the triumphant Lady Eagles to come from behind at the end of the game, pleasing their cheering crowd of adoring fans by winning 10-9 over the San Antonio Southwest High School Lady Dragons on Tuesday.night, February 18, at the Student Activity Center softball stadium.

Sitting in the stands and cheering from behind home plate, Melanie’s Nana, Sandra Moreno, said proudly: ”That’s my granddaughter! She is so great, and her sister Sandra is too. They are such awesome girls. Melanie is a sophomore and Sandra is a senior. They always come through when the going gets tough and the chips are down. That’s when they shine — when you really need them.”

This Eagles softball team never gives up. Trailing by a score of 9-7 to the Dragons in the bottom of the seventh and final inning, the Eagles staged a furious three-run rally and won the game 10-9 on a bases-loaded walk issued to Crystal Perez that clinched the glorious, scintillating, come-from-behind, season-opening, walk-off win.

The mastermind of all this — the beaming Eagles Head Coach Oscar Ruiz — was thrilled by the amazing, against-all-odds victory. “This team just doesn’t quit,” he said proudly, smiling contentedly while savoring the magic of the moment. “We play a complete seven innings, and we win, no matter what. All of us hate to lose. No matter what happens, we just keep on fighting until we win.”

Superstar winning pitcher Krystal “Kat” De La Cruz (1-0) just kept on firing rising heaters throughout the night, mixed in with her magical, sinking sliders. The stylish, fire-balling, left-handed Kat was absolutely fabulous, She showed yet again why the big-time college scouts from Texas and Oklahoma are drooling over the prospect of recruiting her to pitch for them.

Kat is a gem of a softball player — a tall, silky-smooth, reliable ace who also is a quiet, calm, determined team leader. Kat simply refuses to fold, hanging in there until she finally notches the win.

It was a great team victory for the quietly celebrating Eagles. Catcher Claudia “C.C.” Cruz, and every outfielder and infielder all played crucial roles in the amazingly miraculous outcome of this Game For The Ages.

The willowy, confident Kat De La Cruz appeared every bit the spitting image of her look-alike role model — Cat Osterman, the University of Texas Longhorns’ World Series ace and 2004 U.S. Olympic gold medalist.

“They played great,” the cool Kat said of her hard-charging Eagles teammates after the intensely fought, neck-and-neck contest was over at last. “They always had my back. They played as a team, right down to the happy ending.”

Crystal Perez, the steady left fielder who drove in the winning run by drawing a free pass, was exhilarated by the Eagles walk-off heroics. “We were patient and we took the game, one hit at a time,” she said, smiling with relief at the favorable outcome. “This is the perfect way to start the season,” she added. “We want to do great things and go really far.”

Another pair of sisters also played crucial parts in sparking the Eagles’ win. Rangy centerfielder Monica Flores expertly patrolled the outfield, displaying her senior leadership while also swatting an RBI double in the first inning. Monica’s sister, Nina Flores, a budding sophomore star, anchored the hot corner at third base.

Right fielder Vivian Ramirez ripped an RBI double in the fourth.

Things looked grim for the home team at the opening of the seventh and final inning. The Eagles were down 9-7, but Daniela Velasquez led off the inning with a walk. Kat followed with another walk.

Melanie Mendoza slammed an RBI double off the right-centerfield fence, trimming the Dragons’ lead to 9-8. She went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a fielder’s choice, tying the score at 9 and eliciting roars from the frenzied throng of Eagles fanatics. Sandra Mendoza also walked, loading the bases with two out.

The tense, awestruck, boisterous Eagles fans held their breath, crossed their fingers, made the Sign of the Cross and sat on the edge of their seats as the dangerous Crystal Perez came to the plate with the game on the line.

Perez’s patience ultimately paid off as she walked on five pitches, setting off thunderous applause and shouts of triumph from the enraptured, victorious onlookers, reveling in the rarefied air of their bodacious success.

Those Eagles fans will never forget THIS victory, which just very well might portend the promising potential of very big things to come in this spring softball season of 2014.

Last modified on Thursday, 20 February 2014 14:42

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VIEW YOUR FAVORITE V.I. CHAPTERS BY SCROLLING DOWN THRU HERE

  1. To read some of my chapters concerning Hurricane Hugo and the Giants of the Virgin Islands, go to markstone.blog.com and scroll down to the V.I. chapters that interest you. — Sincerely yours, MARK STONE (Mark Ochs), Virgin Islands Daily News sports and wire editor from 1989-95, and author of the Secrets of St. Thomas.
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2 NEW MARK STONE BOOKS STILL UNDER WAY

Mark Stone, having recently relocated to Texas, continues to work on his fifth and sixth Ryan Chase Adventure Series novels — titled ‘Crack House’ and ‘Hollywood Miracles.’ Look for new chapters soon, here at markstone.blog.com

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MARK STONE WORKING AGAIN ON 2 NEW ADVENTURE NOVELS

Mark Stone, author of four books — Wheels of Fire, Doctor’s Cave Beach, The Rise and Fall of Tammi Jayne Knight, and Island of Evil – in his Ryan Chase adventure series, is continuing to write chapters of his two new books — Crack House and Hollywood Miracles. He has written 24 chapters of each new book, but has more than 100 chapters still to write. Watch for new chapters on markstone.blog.com

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‘HOLLYWOOD MIRACLES’ Chapter 22: A FOOL’S ERRAND TO ALTADENA; ‘WILD AT HEART’ AND ‘MULHOLLAND DRIVE’

Baby Bequita and Ryan Chase left their room in the Motel 6 at Roscoe Boulevard and

Interstate 405, and began driving Goldie Hawn east to Altadena, to meet a man who said he

had some porn-movie work for Bequita.

But the so-called “porn-movie work” would turn out to be a trap.

The traffic-plagued, hectic trip involved heading east from Porn Valley, across North Hollywood and

through Pasadena into Altadena.

The Pasadena Freeway, the first freeway ever built in the world, was completed in 1946.

It has become the oldest, narrowest freeway in L.A.

It is antiquated, clunky, clogged and dangerous. Ryan negotiated it with a lot of difficulty.

Bequita didn’t want to go. She smelled a rat, but Ryan emphasized how badly the couple

needed money. Still, Bequita had her reservations.

Communicating by cellphone, the couple met the man in a parking lot at an apartment

complex, from which Ryan could glimpse the outline of Max Hardcore’s mansion on the

skyline of Mulholland Drive above Altadena.

Bequita became suspicious when the mysterious man kept interrupting their conversation by

talking in private on his cell phone with an undetermined person.

Meanwhile, the strange man kept glancing at the couple’s license plate on Goldie Hawn,

Bequita’s gold 2002 Hyundai Accent.

Ryan tried to nail down the man regarding what he wanted Bequita for, and how much he

wanted to pay her.

But the man kept on hemming and hawing and stalling for time, without anything else

happening. He refused to cut to the chase.

He just kept on bullshitting the couple for nearly an hour.

Finally, the couple got fed up and left.

They wanted to attend the free Audioslave rock concert set for late that afternoon on a

specially blocked-off section of Hollywood Boulevard, near Vine Avenue – miles west of Altadena.

While reminiscing later about that fateful, horrid day, Ryan and Bequita determined that

they had been the victims of a trap, instigated by a jealous Jim South, who did not want any

porn business flowing to his chief competitor in filth – Mr. Max Hardcore.

Ryan had become irritated at South’s lack of action in getting porn work for Bequita.

Ryan had received a phone inquiry from Hardcore, and had asked South why he didn’t

contact

Max about porn work for Bequita.

This enraged Jim South, who secretly may then have made a deal to rub out Bequita and

Ryan on the freeway.

After all, Jim South was the Mafia, and he was ruling as the Porn King of Hollywood at the

time.

While reminiscing sometime later about their lives, Bequita and Ryan noticed many

similarities between their own existence and that of the characters in two popular

David Lynch-directed movies, Wild at Heart and Mulholland Drive.

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Horrific car crashes are integral parts of both of the cult-classic films.

In Wild at Heart, Nicolas Cage portrays Sailor Ripley, an antihero who loves his girlfriend

Lula, played by a young, sexy Laura Dern.

Sailor and Lula are fleeing from Lula’s evil mother in South Carolina and they decide to head

for sunny southern California – the same as Bequita and Ryan were trying to do.

While driving late at night all alone on a very lonely road in west Texas, Sailor and Lula drive

up on the scene of a terrifying rollover in which there at first appears to be no survivors.

They get out their car, and a frightened Lula tells Sailor that a girl is wandering around the

crash scene.

The girl’s head has been split open by a broken windshield in the crash, and she is blundering

around the crash scene, looking frantically for her missing purse.

Meanwhile, blood is pouring out of her head and down her shoulders and chest.

She is unaware of her injuries and surroundings.

She absentmindedly scratches her head and mistaken stuffs her fingers into her gaping,

bleeding head wound. The girl obviously is in shock, is operating only on adrenaline, and is

dying before Sailor’s and Lula’s astonished, fearful eyes.

She screams: “Please help me find my purse! My mom will kill me if I lost my purse.

It has all my credit cards, my ID and my keys. Please help me!”

She is walking around like a chicken with her head cut off.

Her body is subsisting only on shock and reflexes. She is the epitome of the walking dead.

She collapses and dies in Sailor’s arms.

The couple drive on reluctantly, after realizing they could get in trouble by lingering near

the crash, because Sailor has broken his probation on a manslaughter charge by leaving

South Carolina.

Sailor and Lula are shocked, dazed and depressed by this horrific crash sequence.

They feel as if they are ghosts, having witnessed a haunting disaster.

All of the resemblances, coincidences and similarities between this movie scene and the actual crash involving Bequita and Ryan will be explored in the next chapter.

However, Bequita and Ryan also later became involved in a retrospective reverie in which

they compared their own disastrous crash in Hollywood with the mind-numbing, mountainside collision at the beginning of the movie Mulholland Drive.

In that David Lynch-directed cult-classic film, a beautiful character later identified as Rebecca (also known as Rita when she

is suffering from crash-related amnesia) is riding in the back seat of a luxury sedan driven by two suspected Mafiosi.

They reach a particularly lonely spot on Mulholland Drive, pull out their guns, and order the

beautiful lady to get out of the car.

She doesn’t know what to do with a gun pointed in her face, but at that very moment, two

carloads full of drunken teenagers roar around the bend, racing each other, with one car

speeding down the wrong side of the road. That car smashes head-on into the Mafiosi’s luxury sedan.

The girl lurches forward in the back seat. She suffers a head wound while everyone else dies

in the crash, except for the teens in the other car, who speed away around the bend and

escape down Mulholland Drive.

The injured girl stumbles out of the sedan, drops her purse, turns her ankle, and falls into

the dirt.

38)

The place where the legendary David Lynch filmed this crash scene was the identical spot

(near Mel Gibson’s mansion) where Bequita’s red cat freaked out in Bequita’s parked car

upon sensing the presence of evil ghosts in the area, and then compensated for it by attacking

Bequita, Ryan, and Bequita’s other cat, Smoky – scratching, biting and clawing them.

After the crash scene in the movie Mulholland Drive, the unfortunate female victim –

portrayed exquisitely by Maria Elena Harring – stumbles and collapses in the dirt.

But then she picks herself up, retrieves her purse, and trundles laboriously in her high heels

down the north-facing hillside toward Porn Valley.

But it seems as if she is now a ghost, because she magically and unaccountably ends up on

the south side of the steep, rocky ridge of the Hollywood Hills, in a posh, 1940s-era section of Brentwood along Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills, near Madonna’s house

and Marilyn Monroe’s former apartment.

The crash victim is suffering from amnesia.

She doesn’t know who she is or where she is supposed to go.

She stumbles into an Art Deco apartment formerly occupied in the late 1940s by Marilyn

Monroe, where she takes a shower and is interrupted by Betty, a glamorous would-be starlet from the Midwest, played expertly by the inimitable, legendary, Australian-born actress adored worldwide as Naomi Watts.

All of the resemblances, coincidences and similarities between this two-car collision scene in the movie Mulholland Drive and the actual crash involving Bequita

and Ryan will also be explored in the next chapter of Hollywood Miracles.

 (Continued in Chapter 23)

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‘CRACK HOUSE’ Chapter 22: CAROLINE AND SNAIL LOVE COMIC BOOKS, GROWING GANJA AND DANCING TO REGGAE

Ryan Chase’s friends in far northwest Tucson – Caroline and Gail “Snail” Sutter – had

traveled with the globetrotting journalist to Jamaica in 1987.

Upon returning to Tucson, Caroline and Gail used their newfound Jamaican knowledge

to bolster their outrageous ganja-growing ways.

They grew plenty of weed for 20 years on their ranch in Cortaro, Arizona, a rural village

northwest of Tucson.

Caroline had lots of friends who would come to her to buy weed.

She also made friends with the Mexican pot dealers who supplied her.

Gail planted the seeds that he got from Carolyn’s Mexican weed.

The seeds were good quality, crossed with Afghan seeds, which made for a powerful indica 

(Old World or Eastern Hemisphere) strain of weed, mixed with sativa (New World or Western

Hemisphere) attributes, such as hardiness and ability to thrive in dry, sandy soil.

Years earlier, Snail had left his good job at the Arizona Daily Star, where he was a

cameraman, taking pictures of entire newspaper pages and making them into metal plates

to attach to the Goss Metroset press, so thousands of copies of the daily morning paper could

be run off. He also made negatives and half-tones (photos with tiny dots) of ads that could be run in the paper.

The job paid well, but inexplicably, Gail became tired of it, resigned, and began gathering up

abandoned shopping carts near supermarkets for a meager, hard-earned living, which a derisive Caroline branded as a “penny-ante, chicken-feed, waste of time.”

Gail also had cultivated many good friends, such as a KVOA-TV reporter and anchorwoman named Kristen, who worked for the local NBC affiliate.

Her husband liked to travel to Afghanistan, which then was a peaceful place, run by old

King Zog, before the intrusions of the Russians and the Taliban ruined that country.

Kristen’s husband always managed to bring back large bags of potent Afghan marijuana

seeds, along with pillow-sized, big Ziploc bags full of clear, golden hashish oil.

Kristen’s husband, Jack, was known to Tucson’s hippest pot smokers as the legendary

“Man from Afghanistan.” Jack gave his weed, seeds and hash oil to his wife Kristen, who in

turn supplied Gail Sutter, Ryan Chase, and Chase’s pals, Mario Salvatierra, Leon Lorenzo and

Simon Sandoval, with large amounts of incredibly sweet, potent, pure hash oil.

They smoked the oil by using little coke spoons to smear it onto the insides of the rolling

papers in which they rolled their joints of weed.

Mario once sold his Chevy Nova for $3,000, just so he could buy a pillow-sized bag of pure hash oil from Kristen.

Ryan used to watch Kristen doing her expert news reporting on TV.

He often wondered whether she was high or not when she did her news reports.

He couldn’t tell: That’s how good she was at her job.

Gail got his weed seeds from Kristen, and he crossed his wife Caroline’s Mexican weed

with the potent Afghan indica strain.

The result was hardy, kick-ass Mexican weed, packing an unusual, spicy, potent punch to the lucky minds of those who

smoked it.

57)

Caroline gave some of Kristen’s powerful weed seeds to her Mexican dealer friends, who took

the seeds south of the border and planted them, forever improving the quality and power of

Mexican pot, which thereby went from run-of-the-mill smoke to incredibly potent and exotic, connoisseur-style cannabis.

Kristen tested her husband’s hash oil for potency, and she was amazed to learn that it was

99.94 percent pure tetrahydrocannabinol, the ingredient that makes marijuana psychoactive.

THC is what gives pot its “buzz,” and Kristen’s hash oil was pure THC.

Ryan Chase helped Snail to cultivate his great weed on Snail’s ranch.

The first chore that Ryan had to do was to help fence off the ranch, to keep out little kids

who might intrude on their bikes.

Then Ryan helped Snail to eradicate the nasty, noxious “desert broom” bushes that were

invading southern Arizona from their native homeland in Siberia and Central Asia.

The desert broom made Ryan and others very allergic to Snail’s pot, so the nasty bushes

had to be eliminated.

It was a tedious task, but Ryan perfected a method in which he chopped the bushes down,

burned them, and then hammered copper nails into the stumps, after dousing the stumps

with Roundup pesticide.

The desert-broom stumps, paralyzed by the copper nails hammered into them by Ryan and Snail,

would become desiccated by the pesticide and then could literally be kicked out of the ground

by Ryan’s and Snail’s hiking boots.

This eradication method conceivably would eliminate the plant pest forever – or at least until

new desert-broom seeds sailed in on their little, white, snowflake-like, gossamer wings, transporting them across the unwilling, foreign Arizona-Sonora landscape. Desert broom was an insidious invader that had to be battled constantly.

Ryan and wife Tammi Jayne Knight accompanied Snail and Caroline on a disastrous trip to

Jamaica in 1987 that forever damaged Caroline, who abused hard liquor, speed and crack on

that ill-fated journey.

Mario, Leon and Ryan liked to crush up some crack cocaine into magnificent crystalline

powder and use it to pepper the inside of their hash-oil-and-weed joints, to add even more massive power to their already-legendary smoke.

Snail loved collecting comic books, and he made one of the bedrooms in his ranch house into

a combination comic-book library and “smoking” room, where he and Caroline could smoke weed with their

friends, in an attempt to keep knowledge of their pot habit away from their young son, Jason.

Snail and Caroline’s feeble attempts to keep Jason in the dark about their weed smoking

were hilarious. Jason used to joke about it.

While watching TV one day in the Sutters’ living room, Jason off-handedly told Ryan Chase: “Well, isn’t time to go back into the library with my parents?”

He winked.

Ryan and Jason both laughed uproariously at Jason’s perceptive joke.

The smoking room’s other function was as a comic library, where Gail could store his

burgeoning comic-book collection, which already topped 5,000 comic books, on stout oak shelves held up by

sturdy concrete blocks.

The library included Snail’s most prized comic books, such as the original Batman, 

Superman, Green Lantern and Flash editions.

58)

These rare comic books cost only about a dollar apiece when Snail bought them new at

Tucson’s comic-book stores, but when Snail kept them encased in clear plastic in near-mint condition for decades, their value increased, until they were worth thousands of dollars

to savvy comic-book collectors.

The problem was that the comic books were great at gathering dust.

Snail read them just once, and then he kept them stored forever in clear plastic sleeves on his

shelves in the smoking room, where the comic-book covers became smeared with marijuana-ash dust. But the comic books themselves remained relatively pristine.

Caroline hated comic books, and she never read them.

She was constantly on Snail’s case about selling off or otherwise getting rid of his beloved

comic-book collection, which he adamantly refused to do.

Like Caroline, Ryan Chase had absolutely no use for comic books, and he thought that the

nerds and yuppies who read comic books were total morons, incapable of enjoying real

literature.

To the angry, resentful Caroline, her husband Snail’s dusty, nasty comic books were an

unwanted, disgusting intrusion into what otherwise was her neat, tidy, three-bedroom ranch home.

The comic books became a sore point, further ruining and dooming the eccentric Snail’s

already-shaky marriage to the crazy, bipolar Caroline, who labeled her husband “Snail,” because of

his slow laziness.

But Snail and Caroline had other interests that helped keep them together for decades.

Chief among them were smoking pot and dancing to Jamaican reggae music, which they had

picked up from their pal Ryan Chase, the leading reggae expert in the American Southwest.

Ryan journeyed to Jamaica six times from 1978 to 1987, to cover the annual Reggae

Sunsplash music festivals in Montego Bay.

In 1978, on Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay, Chase and his first wife Charlene met

Bob Marley, who gave Chase a lengthy interview as he led Chase and Charlene on a guided

tour of his island.

Chase subsequently met and interviewed several other reggae stars, including Jimmy Cliff,

Michael Rose, Gregory Isaacs, and Peter Tosh. Chase also befriended other big-time reggae masters, such as Yellowman, Mikey Dread, Eek-A-Mouse, Alpha Blondy, Ini Kamoze, Buju Banton, Pato Banton and Burning Spear.

He introduced all of these reggae-master friends to his Tucson pals Snail and Caroline, who supplied the visiting Caribbean

and African musicians with weed during their concert-tour stops in Tucson, which was rapidly becoming a U.S. hotbed of Jamaican reggae.

Caroline loved meeting the cute, famous reggae stars and the adorable members of their

deft backup bands.

She became accustomed to hosting the reggae stars at her ranch house, where she routinely

supplied them with potent, Afghan-hybrid ganja and hash oil, which they consumed avidly.

Caroline became very popular with the Jamaican reggae masters, and it became

de rigueur for all reggae stars to visit Caroline’s ranch during their American tours.

Caroline fantasized about making love to the handsome reggae stars, but she never turned

her fantasies into reality. However, it still tickled her fancy to host these big-time, world-famous musicians on her 100-acre desert ranch in suburban Cortaro.

(Continued in Chapter 23)

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‘HOLLYWOOD MIRACLES’ Chapter 21: PANHANDLING ON VENTURA, SEPULVEDA AND RODEO DRIVE

When the couple got back to their room in the Motel 6 at Roscoe Boulevard and Interstate

405, they often were forced to go panhandling to get money for food and gasoline.

They were running out of money. Their $675 grubstake from Arizona was virtually gone.

Their need for food and gas was urgent.

They decided to go to Winchell’s and get some donuts and coffee, building up energy for a

panhandling effort on the major streets of Porn Valley, in the suburban cities of Sherman Oaks

and Van Nuys.

They started off panhandling near the Ralph’s grocery store on Ventura Boulevard, just east of

Van Nuys Boulevard, and a little farther east of Rodeo Drive.

They were seeking money from the mostly white, upper middle-class populace that was going to Ralph’s supermarket to pick up some groceries.

A rich, old lady asked Bequita: “Why are you asking for other people’s money?

Don’t you have money of your own?”

Bequita replied: “I wouldn’t be humiliating myself by asking people for money if I did have

money.”

Then Bequita started to cry, because the lady had made her feel bad.

The lady opened her purse and handed Bequita two $20 bills.

She told Bequita: “Now go and get the food you need, and stop bothering other people.”

Then Ryan rejoined Bequita in the supermarket parking lot.

“I have good news,” he said. “I have scraped up $30 in dribs and drabs over here on the south

side of the street, and I think it’s time to move on to the next stop, so we won’t get in trouble

here.”

Bequita told him: “I have even better news: This lady felt sorry for me and gave me $40.”

“Fine,” Ryan said. “Let’s walk over to the In-N-Out Burger and get some double-meat cheeseburgers and some milkshakes. It’s getting late – time to have lunch.

Aren’t you hungry?”

“Starving,” Bequita said. So they trundled over to their favorite burger joint, which was not yet

located in their home state of Arizona, but which was very popular in its franchised home area

of southern California.

While they were in the burger joint, they got a phone call from a black dude who had seen

Bequita’s ad in the X-rated rag distributed in boxes throughout Porn Valley and L.A.

The black dude actually was only interested in “running” Baby Bequita on the streets and

being her pimp. Bequita had her reservations about the situation.

Ryan told the caller to meet them at the In-N-Out, but the guy realized that Bequita already had a man, so he never showed up.

35)

Now the couple moved on to the even richer area of Rodeo Drive.

But they began having trouble, because the rich, famous people there were cold-hearted – unlike the more generous upper middle-class shoppers on Ventura Boulevard.

Ryan made $16 in front of the Cadillac dealership.

Bequita struggled to earn $8 in front of the Sherman Oaks Galleria.

Then the couple met up again, and decided they better call it a night.

It was starting to get dark. They walked to Sepulveda, where Goldie Hawn was parked.

Ryan somehow made another $42 – enough for their bill for the next night at Motel 6.

They were on their last night of the week that they had paid for in advance, making them

nervous and scared.

Upon returning to the Motel 6, Ryan received a call on their cellphone.

It was from a guy – a potential “john” – who said he had some porn-film work for Bequita to do the next day.

The couple were somewhat encouraged by this bit of news from out of the blue, but they had

no idea whether it would pan out.

They celebrated by gassing up Goldie Hawn and driving to the Del Taco to have dinner.

At the time, they so far had no Del Tacos in their home state of Arizona, and they loved the

unique, spicy flavor of those California tacos and burritos.

Ryan had two beef-and-cheese burritos, and Bequita enjoyed her two hard-shell tacos and french fries.

They split a large Sierra Mist, because they were so thirsty, and they refilled it three times,

including once for the road and the motel room.

Ryan said they had to get some sleep so they could drive east to Altadena the next day and

meet the guy who had just called them and given them a park to meet at.

Then they were supposed to go to a free concert in the afternoon by the band Audioslave.

That fabulous band, led by the talented, sexy singer/frontman Chris Cornell, and featuring

guitarist Tom Morello and the other instrumental musicians from Rage Against the Machine,

was going to be playing on Hollywood Boulevard, which was to be blocked off temporarily for

the free concert.

Ryan and Bequita were excited to be going to the concert the next day.

But they had no idea they were about to experience one of the worst days of their lives.

It would be so horrible that it would affect them for the rest of their born days.

(Continued in Chapter 22)

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‘CRACK HOUSE’ Chapter 21: IDIOCY, INEPTITUDE AND ILLITERACY ARE RAMPANT In ‘HIGHER’ EDUCATION

Ryan Chase had retained his two part-time jobs at the University of Arizona, as an adjunct instructor in advanced editing

and as a lecturer on ancient history.

But he was rapidly growing disenchanted with those two jobs as well.

The stupidity and ignorance of his “upper-class” students was astounding and confounding.

These students did not even know how to spell properly.

They had no knowledge of grammar, syntax, style or sentence construction.

They had gone through life relying on Spell-Check to catch their errors.

They never looked up anything in a dictionary, not even online.

They could not even diagram a sentence – they were ignorant of subject/predicate/object.

They failed to discern subjective case from objective case.

They did not know active voice from passive voice.

Their knowledge of the subjunctive and conditional cases was non-existent.

They were completely oblivious to the world. They could not locate Libya or Peru on a map.

They did not know their world capitals or state capitals.

They did not even know which nations fought on the two opposing sides in World War II.

Chase asked one young lady in his editing class – who happened to be a graduate student

in journalism, because she already had earned her bachelor’s degree at age 22 – to name the

Allies and the Axis powers in World War II.

“Uhh . . .” she hemmed and hawed. “I don’t know.

Didn’t we fight against England in World War II?”

“No,” an appalled Ryan Chase replied calmly, without giving away his consternation and

amazement at her ignorance.

He knew that the two opposing sides in WWII were usually explained by the teachers to their

students in the third or fourth grade – at least they were in his day.

But Chase realized that these idiots whom he was attempting to teach had never been taught

before.

He tested them and found that they were reading at an average third-grade level.

All of their former teachers had been similarly ignorant fools, incapable of proper instruction

to their students.

Stupidity breeds ignorance, Chase thought.

He went to the chalkboard and wrote these words:

“WORLD WAR II: ALLIES – China, England, France, Soviet Union, United States.

AXIS POWERS – Germany, Italy, Japan.”

He had his nine students – four men and five women, including seven seniors and two grad

students, memorize all of the state capitals and world capitals with special maps that he had

devised.

These maps listed the six continents on six pages: Africa, Asia, Australia/Oceania, Europe,

North America, South America.

Each one-page continental map had the borders of all of its countries, with stars where the capital cities

would go, and with circles where all the other cities of over 3 million people could be listed

on the map.

Chase charged his students with being able to fill in all of the blanks on each of the six one-page maps.

55)

He had the students go home and study all of the maps and fill in the blanks by looking up

the information at home, either online or in books.

He warned the students that there would be a pop quiz the next morning, in which they would

have to fill in the blanks on new copies of the six one-page maps.

The next morning, Chase handed out the blank maps and told the students to fill in the blanks

on each of their six maps. The students attempted to do this.

After an hour, Chase collected the students’ maps and tallied their scores.

He underlined each wrong answer with a red pen.

A male grad student who worked for CBS had the best score in the class – a whopping

49 percent right, which would be an F.

The other eight students ranged from 21 percent to 47 percent right.

Chase told the students to come back the next day and take the same test again. They did.

This time, their scores all ranged from 80 percent to 97 percent right.

Chase counted these second-test grades in their permanent semester record. The students were pleased.

They actually had learned something. Their appetites for success were whetted.

Now Chase spent week after week that semester teaching these college seniors and grad

students remedial reading, a background in history, proper editing techniques, and

memorization of the Associated Press Stylebook and of Strunk & White’s Elements of Style.

Finally, after Chase’s students had mastered the fundamentals of editing,

he set them up around a horseshoe-shaped copy desk and had them assemble some news pages with headlines and copy in

columns on the computer page.

After the stories were properly edited and headlined, the students would lay  the copy and heds out electronically on the pages.

In this way, the students could learn the process of pagination – preparing and printing

entire newspaper pages of type.

In the end, all of the students got A’s or B’s.

Several of them went on to become successful editors for newspapers, magazines and

TV shows.

Ryan Chase had a better time in his history lectures.

His students enjoyed the way he made history seem sexy and interesting, with many personal

profiles of the great people that shaped what had happened in the world before the life of

Jesus Christ.

When the students finally approached A.D. 1, they begged Chase to continue to teach them,

which he did – all the way up through the Renaissance.

The history students did so well on their tests, they began to get most of the multiple-choice answers correct, and they wrote brilliant essays.

They were on fire with the desire to learn about what had happened on Earth in the past

5,000 years.

All of them earned A’s and B’s, too.

But Ryan Chase had experienced enough of the ivy-covered, ivory-tower world of hyped-up academia.

The illiteracy of the students had floored him.

He wasn’t willing to go back to the drawing board forever.

He taught one more semester, and then he resigned, after having experienced a feeling

of relief at going back to journalism.

(Continued in Chapter 22)

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