Tag Archives: Excerpt

McArthur Street: Episode Eight

Continued from:

McArthur Street: Episode Seven

     My father got a job managing a small, man-made lake south of Tucson on the two lane highway to Mexico.  It was in a tiny town called Kinsley.  The name of the lake was Kinsley Lake.  My father took me and my brother, Daniel, to the lake very early one morning.  When we got there, there was still a little chill in the air in the shady places but already the Arizona sunshine was getting hot.  He taught us how to “police the area” which meant picking up trash.  There was a building that had a long hall inside with pinball machines along the walls.  Near the front entrance was a counter with a cash register where tickets were sold for picnicking, swimming, fishing or to rent a rowboat or kayak.  Behind the counter were shelves and racks with fishing rods, fishing tackle and fishing lures for sale.  My father sat on a stool behind the counter, selling tickets and let us explore the lake.  He gave us each fifty cents for helping him to police the area.

     My father kept taking me and either my little brother or older brother with him to police the area in the morning and enjoy exploring the lake and the surrounding area.  We found a concrete irrigation ditch to jump in and play in the water.  We wore blue jean cut offs in those days because that was the cool thing to do and just let the short pants dry on us.  My father brought all three of us to the lake one day with our fishing poles so we could go fishing.  Sometimes my brothers didn’t want to go to the lake because they wanted to play with their friends in the neighborhood so I would go with my father.  My father taught me how to run the cash register and sell tickets.  He showed me how to count back the change to the customers.  He left me to run the cash register while he went out managing the lake.  He had to make sure that people had paid.  My father would give me a five dollar bill for helping him.  Later he would pay me more.

     I became very proficient at operating the cash register.  When people came and asked about the cost I was able to add the totals very quickly and accurately in my head the way my father had taught me.  I became very good at selling rods, reels and tackle.  When the owner of the lake came in he was so impressed that he would order more rods and reels.  He even brought in live earthworms in round, cardboard containers that I started to sell very quickly.  Eventually he even bought more fishing lures to stock the shelves with because I was starting to sell those.  I always seemed a year younger than my actual age so when adults walked into the office and saw me behind the cash register they started looking around to see if there was an adult around.  When they realized I was the only one there they would start asking questions.  Sometimes they seemed really amazed at how competent I was at what I did.

    When my older brother came to the lake he spent his time playing pinball.  He got so good at playing pinball that he became a pinball wizard.  He could knock the machine on the side without tilting it to keep the ball in play.  Once he walked away from a machine that had 150 games on it just because he was bored with playing.  When he wasn’t playing pinball he would go out and explore the little town of Kinsley with its western style buildings.  There was a restaurant and saloon there.  On the winding road that went up a hill behind the buildings there were the homes of people who lived in this desert area with its surrounding farm fields.

     When my little brother came to the lake he wanted to fish all the time.  He was very good at catching blue gill and bass.  He was so good at fishing that if he forgot to bring bait he could catch fish with the cotton from cigarette butts that he found.

     More often my brothers would not come and it would be me and my father.  When he gave me a break and worked the cash register himself I would go out exploring the lake in one of the kayaks.  Sometimes I would walk out on the wooden wharf and untie one of the rowboats.  I would row out on the lake.  I liked to row out to the middle of the lake and look down at the bottom of the lake.  The water was so clear.  Twice I swam to the middle of the lake and looked down.  I felt like I was floating high up in the air and after a little while it became scary so I swam back.  I felt aware that sometimes when I walked out on the wharf to untie a boat or came back and tied up a boat that the cute, young girls who were swimming and sunbathing in the swimming area must have thought I looked pretty cool.  One of the popular shows on television was Flipper which had two boys who were always walking out on a wharf and untying a boat. 

     My parents had become acquainted with Jimmy’s mother.  My father decided that he wanted to invite Jimmy and his brothers to come with me and my brothers to Kinsley Lake on a Saturday to enjoy the lake and camp out overnight.  When we got to the lake we had races where we raced in the kayaks, then grounded them on shore and ran around the hall to come back to the kayaks to race them around the lake once more.  When I took them out on the wharf I felt that Jimmy noticed the cute girls in the swimming area watching us.  When I looked at Jimmy while we were in the middle of all these fun activities it seemed that he noticed I was looking at him.  It seemed he felt proud of being at the lake and enjoying what it had to offer all for free but he never smiled.  I realized that Jimmy was too overly competitive with others. 

     We camped out that night on the narrow strip of land between the two sections of the lake.  The office with the pinball arcade was on that strip of land.  We roasted hot dogs and had them with pork and beans that we heated in a campfire in one of the fire pits in the picnic area.  The boys talked and laughed.  We all slept well and woke up to the sound of the ducks quacking.

     I was in Jimmy’s house with his mother in the living room one day.  Janet Holly was sitting on the couch and Keith’s sister was there.  Keith’s sister said I should sit next to Janet on the couch.  I looked at Janet.  She looked so beautiful.  She didn’t say anything.  I wanted to sit next to her but I felt embarrassed.  Keith’s sister was insistent.  Jimmy’s mother came and grabbed a hold of me.  She led me over to where Janet was and I sat next to her.  I couldn’t believe I was sitting next to Janet on the couch touching her.  I didn’t want to move.  I didn’t say anything.  I looked at her.  She didn’t do anything but just stayed there looking very calm and serene.  Jimmy’s mother from the dining room area watched us with a smile on her face.  Keith’s sister said, “Mark is sitting next to Janet!” just as my little brother with Ronnie and Donnie emerged from the hallway that led to the bedrooms.  “Mark is sitting with Janet!” they all exclaimed with big smiles on their little faces.  I stayed for as long as I could but I had to get up in embarrassment.  I looked back at Janet before going for the front door to escape.  She still sat there motionless, looking serene.

     I was sitting with Mike in front of his house on another day.  He said we had to keep our voices low because his mother worked at night and slept during the day.  He said she was a very light sleeper.  He wanted me to know that the place where his mother worked was a restaurant, not just a bar, and his mother worked as a cook there.  This made me feel better to know that she was a cook and not a topless waitress.  Mike said the reason she worked there is because it paid so well and that most cook’s jobs didn’t pay very well.  Mike told me that his mother said there were Catholic priests who came into the bar to drink.  I found this hard to believe but I had no reason to think Mike or his mother would lie about something like this.  I didn’t think that the priests from my church would ever do such a thing.

     Keith came walking up to us from across the street asking, “What’s happening!” with his usual grin.  The conversation turned to Jimmy.  Mike said that when Jimmy’s father came home from work all he did was have dinner and then go into his bedroom with a six pack of beer and a Playboy magazine.  Keith said this was true.  They told me that Jimmy would go into his father’s bedroom to look at his Playboy magazines.  I said, “Jimmy said that he wants to be a priest”.  They said that he still does but he still looks at his father’s Playboy magazines.  I was having a hard time dealing with the idea of someone who wanted to be a priest but who looked at Playboy magazines.  My feelings were that he would probably never become a priest.

     One day I was in the living room of Jimmy’s house.  I saw one of the album covers of a Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass albums resting against a shelf on the floor.  Jimmy’s mother loved to listen to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass and they had several albums by this popular instrumental band in the living room.  I noticed that all the album covers had a picture of a beautiful, young woman looking very sexy on them.  My little brother, Ronnie and Donnie wanted me to come into a bedroom to play board games.  They liked to play Sorry and a card game called, Old Maid.  I played games with them for awhile and then left.  As I walked through the hallway I saw Jimmy lying on the end of his father’s bed looking down at a magazine.  Jimmy got up from the bed when he saw me and came over to me with the magazine.  Jimmy tried to get me to look at the Playboy magazine.  I took a glance from where I was standing and said I had to go.  I let myself out of their front door and went home.

     One day I came to McArthur Street and there was an ambulance in the driveway of Keith’s house.  I stood in front of Jimmy’s house in the gravel and dirt next to the street.  McArthur Street did not have sidewalks like our street did.  The neighborhood kids were out including Robert, Richard and Diana, Jimmy and Mike.  Janet was watching from a lawn chair in front of Jimmy’s house.  Keith’s father had a heart attack I was told.

Life went on for Keith and his family.  His father did not die. They acted as if everything was normal.  I never noticed that Keith or his sister seemed upset. 

To be continued.

McArthur Street: Episode Five

Photograph by Mark Alberto Yoder Nunez
From McArthur Street
From The Spider Lady and Other Short Stories and Poetry

Continued from:

https://markalbertoyodernunez.blog/2019/09/25/mcarthur-street-episode-four/

One fine day a family moved into the house next door to Jimmy’s that had been vacated by the family of the younger John.  It wasn’t exactly a normal family.  There was a mother, son and daughter but no father.  I found out this was the result of a divorce.  The new boy of the neighborhood was outgoing and popular.  His name was Mike Holly.

    He had an air of confidence in everything he did.  Although he was popular with Jimmy, myself and my brothers he was a public school boy who soon became friends with Keith, the boy who lived across the street from Jimmy.  Keith was the boy who Jimmy said was ba-a-a-ad.

At first there was the sheer pleasure of meeting Mike Holly.  Besides the fact that he was very likeable it was exciting that he went to one of the public junior high schools that was legendary among the Catholic school boys for being a very dangerous school.  The boys at my school would have debates as to whether Wakefield or Utterback was the toughest of the schools.  Mike went to Wakefield.

Mike once said something to me of great interest.  He said that the previous year he had lived with his father.  He said his father was Mexican.  His father bought him two pairs of jeans and a package of white, cotton undershirts for clothes to wear that year.  He said he was the most unpopular boy in school that year.  The next year he lived with his mother and everything changed.  This was something new to me.  In Catholic school we wore uniforms.  Clothes was not an issue.

Mike often went to dances for junior high school kids at the YMCA.  In Catholic school boys and girls were often separated and there was no such thing as dances.  I started to get glimpses of Mike’s younger sister.  She had short, blonde hair and was very cute.  I wondered why if Mike’s father was Mexican that he had an Anglo last name.  I assumed this had something to do with his mother and father being divorced.

It wasn’t long before I met Keith, the bad boy from across the street.  Jimmy told me that he cussed a lot and so did his father.  Jimmy said his father got drunk a lot.  Keith’s family, also, kept a German shepherd who barked viciously from behind the low, chain link fence in their front yard. All this contributed to the general notoriety of Keith’s family.

Keith was a freckle faced kid who was just a little pudgy.  He grinned and laughed a lot.  He had a younger sister with long, thick, red hair.  Even though I didn’t approve of Keith’s cussing we got along well.  I think I liked his sense of adventure.

Mike Holly continued to gain in popularity.  I remember one day visiting with him in his front yard.  Although his yard was dirt and a few tufts of dry grass it was all underneath the shade of lines of trees, each of which was thick with dark leaves.  We knew there was no man in his house and realized that his mother was a divorcee struggling to support her family.  It was cool and a little dark under the shade of these trees as we sat in lawn chairs in front of his house.  Mike confided with me that his mother had told him that he should hang out with me and my older brother, Daniel, rather than the other boys in the neighborhood because we were good boys from a good family and that the other boys were sort of rough.

This sort of made me feel happy because Mike was very popular and popularity seemed to be the name of the game at the time.  Becoming close friends with him would have enhanced our image on McArthur Street.  I felt however that Mike was really saying that goody two shoes guys like us were less interesting and exciting than bad boys like Keith and that he was prepared to spend his time more with Keith.

During the course of the conversation while I was relating a past experience I felt it necessary to spell out a swear word because I wasn’t actually allowed to say the swear word.  Mike admonished me because we were in front of the windows of his home.  He felt that his mother might overhear.  I said that I was only spelling it out, not saying it.  He said it didn’t matter.  His mother thought it was just as bad to spell it as say it.  This I found a little odd because once Mike had shown me a message pad with a caricature of a topless waitress holding one of her breasts and underneath was a caption that read, “We also serve these”.  He said it came from the place where his mother worked.  I wondered why if his mother worked at a topless bar she would be so strict about swearing but I figured she was doing what she had to as a result of the divorce to support her family.  That didn’t mean that she didn’t want to raise her children decently.

I had been becoming nearsighted and I finally got a pair of glasses.  I chose a style of horn rimmed glasses with frames that were dark gray on top and clear on the bottom because Jimmy had a pair that were similar but brown on top.  He rarely wore them.   He was very vain and not so nearsighted as I was.  I needed my glasses.  I had a hard time playing baseball without them.  I never knew where the ball was because I couldn’t see where it went.  Once at school we had been playing baseball in the dirt field at lunchtime and I hit the ball straight and far into left field.  I ran around the bases all the way to third but when I looked around to see where the ball was I couldn’t see where it was.  Some boys were shouting at me to stay and some were shouting at me to run for home.  I couldn’t see which boys were telling me to stay or run and which ones were on my team.  I decided to be safe and stay.  In school the boys made a big deal that I had hit a triple off of Brown who was considered to be a good pitcher.  They said I could have had a grand slam if I had ran for home.  I explained that I couldn’t see where the ball was and wasn’t sure who was telling me to stay and who was telling me to run.  For awhile I wasn’t one of the last or almost last to be picked for one of the teams.  Later when they saw I couldn’t always hit that well I went back to being one of the last picked.

What a shock it was when I wore those new glasses!  Suddenly I could see clearly.  No more squinting to read the chalkboard at school.  The world now was so sharply defined and fully of clarity as I had never known.  What a change from the dim view I had before!

One day I visited in Jimmy’s house with my new glasses.  There was the dingy living room with the brown yellow, cigarette smoke stains on the ceiling, the carpet that needed vacuuming and picking up.  I then was alone with Jimmy’s mother in the kitchen.  She was asking me how I liked my new glasses.  I was trying to communicate to her the amazing difference in perception when I said, “I can see every grain of dirt on the floor!”  She said, “Well, gee, thanks a lot!”  I tried to apologize.  I didn’t mean it the way she thought it sounded.  It was something I had noticed when looking at her kitchen floor that had seemed amazing to me.  I felt bad but she didn’t really seem to be upset.

Later I thought how different Jimmy’s house was from ours.  I could picture his mother in her shorts with laundry baskets on the couch, folding clothes in the middle of the room filled with debris that needed picking up.  It was a feeling of disorder.

Continued on:

The Talisman: Part Two by Mark Alberto Yoder Nunez

Photograph by Mark Alberto Yoder Nunez
From The Spider Lady and Other Short Stories and Poetry

Continued from: https://markalbertoyodernunez.blog/2019/08/14/the-talisman-part-one-by-mark-alberto-yoder-nunez/

Perhaps it was the talisman but I took my savings and signed up to join the merchant marines.  Soon I would be leaving everything that was familiar behind.  People said I was still a young man so it was a good thing to see the world.  I wrote a letter to my mother who was in the land bound town I grew up in, the place I left because I couldn’t stand the thought of always wondering what was over the next hill.  This thought had vanished when I found the open sea stretching out before my eyes.

Before I was to leave I went back to find the curio shop where I had found the talisman.  It wasn’t there.  I traced my exact steps from the pier that day when I had encountered the little shop with the beautiful, oriental lady.  I knew these little lanes along the waterfront by heart.  I tried to find the corner I turned but only found the same familiar lanes and shops.  There was no oriental curio shop.  There was no vacant shop in its place.  It was as if I had imagined it or dreamed it but the talisman was in my possession.  I had it in my inner coat pocket.  I felt delirious.  Had I been lost?  I wandered farther in surrounding areas but these places, also familiar to me, did not make sense with the memory I had of that day when I found the shop, the lady and the talisman.

     With the merchant marines I traveled the world over and over.  I realized the dream of mine to visit the South Seas and the Orient.  This was only after many a cold journey in Northern waters to places like Finland and Sweden.  I enjoyed England, France and the Mediterranean.  My first storm at sea was the most incredible display of the power of Nature, beyond my imagination.

     When I finally was bound to the South Seas of the Pacific and the Orient beyond I was overjoyed at the leaping dolphins in the sparkling blue waters.  I was amazed by the flying fish skimming over the waves amid bright reflections.  There were the hot, summer nights so balmy with the iridescent glowing spots of mysterious night fish.   I felt in a wonderland.

And then there was the Orient.  I found myself wandering down streets and narrow lanes in Hong Kong and Shanghai.  These were places I had heard of and read about and I was there.  It was like hundreds of Oriental curio shops.  I was surrounded by them.  Mysterious Oriental men, mysterious Oriental women and children.  The children looked intently at me as I went walking by with mysterious little smiles on their upturned faces.  When I went to sleep at night I thought of the dream I had when I first acquired the talisman in which I felt I was lost in a foreign land and could not find my way back.  I did not however feel anxious about it as I had when I dreamed it.  I was living my dream and everything was as it should be.  I knew I would be able to find my way home or at least I thought I was sure of that.

     I tried to stay in the Orient for as long as I could but my contract with the shipping company that had brought me there required for me to continue on to India and Africa.  In fact I was to circumvent the globe returning to the cold Atlantic and ending my journey on the east coast of America.

From there I spent time traveling and living in parts of America I had not known before.  I had many adventures and fulfilled a dream of visiting the East coast and learning of it.  However since the only way I could make my living was as a sailor I had to find a ship that needed a hired hand.  Soon I was on my way to parts unknown.  From Norwegian fjords to tropical atolls, from cosmopolitan cities to farming communities I satisfied my curiosities about the world and the people in it.

      Everywhere I traveled I met the most beautiful and interesting women.  Sadness came at last when I thought how none of my love interests stayed in my life.  I wrote many romantic letters.  I gave significant gifts.  I had happy memories but in the end they all turned bittersweet.  The more I loved a woman, the more fleeting she became.  When I thought of all the possessions I had lost along the way in my travels curiously the talisman had always remained.

Continued on: https://markalbertoyodernunez.blog/2020/02/16/the-talisman-part-three-by-mark-alberto-yoder-nunez/

McArthur Street: Episode Four

Photograph by Mark Alberto Yoder Nunez
from McArthur Street
by Mark Alberto Yoder Nunez

Continued from:

https://markalbertoyodernunez.blog/2019/09/11/mcarthur-street-episode-three/

Not long after becoming acquainted with Jimmy’s family John’s family next door to them moved away.  The house was vacant for a time.  One day Jimmy asked me to come along with him, his mother and younger brothers to visit with John.  Apparently John’s family had bought a brand new house.  Our neighborhood was that of very simple tract homes that appeared to have been built in the early fifties.  John’s new home was sixties style, fancier and brand new.  The tract of homes was even built on a hill and not on flat land.  He lived at the end of a curving cul-de-sac.  The home was so new that the land around it was dirt.  There was no landscaping yet.  We were taken on a tour of the new, fancy house.

      This was only the second time in my life I ever saw the younger John.  I remembered how cruelly Jimmy had treated him at the last meeting.  Much to my surprise Jimmy now treated John with the utmost respect and friendliness.  Something had suddenly changed.  He seemed to treat me with disdain as if since we had been seeing each other regularly the familiarity had turned to disrespect and contempt.  Very quickly he and John disappeared around a corner leaving me alone, alone outside a brand new house that seemed barren with no landscaping.  All I could do was wait patiently until Jimmy’s family decided to leave.  I wasn’t in a good humor on the drive back.  I was quiet.  I couldn’t wait until we arrived so I could walk back home.

Our yard was not perfect.  It wasn’t like the Miller’s who were a retired couple across the street whose lawn was perfectly green and always cut and trimmed perfectly with its perfect flower beds.  It was weedless all the time.  Our lawn was not dry but was never completely green.  There were always some weeds that needed to be pulled.  At some point my father taught all of his three sons to care for the yard but left it up to us to do so.  There was no pressure.  I think I took up most of the responsibility myself but try as I might I could never make the yard look perfect.  I watered in the evening, pulled weeds, mowed and edged the lawn and swept the walks.  My father collected a lot of nice rocks and cemented them at intervals on top of the low wall that bordered our yard.  Ours was a corner house and even though the corner of our front yard was rounded and not a sharp corner the neighborhood boys would cut across our yard for a shortcut.  Sometimes some of them would push and pull on the rocks until they pulled them out.  They seemed to want to do these things as a sign of disrespect and rebellion against authority.  I had no idea why.  I finally had to confront some of these boys and tell them they couldn’t do that.  They would want to argue and say, “Why not?” but I got them to stop.  I even got them to stop taking short cuts across our yard.

Try as I might our yard was never perfect.  However we had a very tall mulberry tree in our front yard that gave an abundance of fruit every summer.  Lots of neighborhood kids would be in our yard uninvited picking fruit including children we didn’t even know.  Eventually there was even a grown Mexican woman who we didn’t know picking fruit with the children.  My mother who was raised on a farm in Ohio knew how to bake pies from scratch and she would bake us delicious mulberry pies every summer.  There was always a smaller, immature mulberry tree on the other side of the front driveway that as yet did not bear fruit.  It was not planted by design but it looked very beautiful and perfect where it was at.  It was obviously a child of the mother tree.  Between the front sidewalk and the curb grew a Palo Verde tree.  This type of tree was native to the Arizona-Sonora desert.  It had a slender trunk and limbs with smooth, green bark.  The branches hung down with leaves that were thin strands with tiny green, pointed ovals along each strand.  This gave the leaves a feathery look.  At times the tree, also, had tiny, yellow flowers.  People who were driving by would stop their cars in front and tell me that the tree was beautiful.  Another of these trees had begun to grow several feet away.

We had some bushes along the front wall of the house that had small, dark green, waxy leaves.  They grew up to the roof of the house and had a low arch between them.  We called them bird berry bushes because they grew berries that looked exactly like tiny apples that the birds loved to eat.  They were bright red on the outside, white inside and had tiny black seeds just like tiny apples.  We ate them ourselves sometimes.  Sometimes we’d watch the birds go crazy eating them.  My father later told me that the bird berries made the birds drunk.  That’s why they loved them so much.

We, also, had two plum trees on the other side of the yard past the car port.  They grew right up next to the backyard fence.  These small, dark, purple and green trees gave fruit every summer.  In the same area was a small palm tree that was only a few feet high and the pond, a small concrete pond that my father had made.  It was bordered by large rocks that were good for sitting on.  The pond was only filled when one of my brothers or I filled it with a garden hose.  After the two rainy seasons in Tucson we would bring tadpoles from the desert in jars to put tadpoles in the pond.  The cats would come and lick some of them up from the pond to eat them.  We watched the ones that were left grow hind legs and front legs.  Then they would lose their tails.  Eventually they became little frogs hopping around the pond until they got bigger and hopped away.

And these were the treasures of the front yard!  In back there was a patio where on summer days we would eat breakfast outdoors since it was already seventy degrees even early in the morning.  We would eat cereal and cantaloupe.  There was another fruitless mulberry tree that was a good climbing tree.  Here is where we built a tree house in it of scrap wood.  The mulberry tree, instead of growing fruit, grew yellow flowers.  My mother just called it a fruitless tree.  Later in life when I thought back on this it became obvious to me it was the male tree that pollinated the fruit bearing mulberry tree in the front yard.  There was a lawn there and next to the redwood slat, back yard fence was the clothes line where my mother hung clothes to dry and sometimes lots of diapers.  I often helped my mother with the laundry.  We had an old fashioned, washing machine in the back yard with a wringer to wring the excess water out of the clothes.   I loved to run through the lines of cotton diapers on the clothes lines when they got dry because of the fresh smell.

Next to the wall of the house in the flower beds was a peach tree.  The mother of this peach tree was in a small patch of dry lawn on the other side of the patio.  Every summer the peach trees were heavily laden with fruit.  The younger peach tree was once so heavily laden with fruit that one of its branches broke from the weight.  My mother would make us peach pie, peach cobbler and peaches with whipped cream for dessert.  She made the whipped cream from scratch.  We often had peach slices with our cereal in the morning.

Then there was the weeping willow tree on the other side of the back yard driveway.  The entrance to the driveway had tall, wooden gates that my father built into the redwood slat fence that encircled the back yard.  The tree grew from a square made of low, red brick walls.  Its gnarled roots filled the earth inside the brick enclosure.  Its long, thin branches hung down low over the roots with its long, green leaves.  In the spring it was not good to be under the tree’s branches because the caterpillars would be spitting out green junk that would fall on us.  Later came the beautiful butterflies as they emerged from the cocoons that the caterpillars had retreated to after having their fill of eating weeping willow leaves.  For a short time butterflies covered the hanging branches before flying away.   Then there was the summer when the tree would achieve its full, lush greenery and glory.  It was nice and cool in the shade behind the green curtains of the weeping willow tree branches.  I felt a sense of peace hiding in there on hot summer days.

In the back yard behind the weeping willow tree was a fallow area of dirt.  At times we grew watermelon there, potatoes and carrots.  My mother gave me packages of seeds and my father taught me how to grow things.  We were able to grow some corn but the stocks of corn did not get really high like on my grandfather’s farm in Ohio.  We tried to grow sunflowers and were successful but the birds ate all the sunflower seeds.  The birds went crazy eating the seeds from the big, yellow flowers.  At times it was hard for us to even get close to the plants because of the crazed birds.

We had a kid goat for awhile as a pet and then a desert tortoise.  My sisters were afraid of the goat so my father sold it back to the feed store he had bought it from.   The tortoise kept digging under the fence to escape out to the desert.  He finally got too much of a head start on us so we couldn’t find him.  Then we got a little dog and this patch of dirt became his potty area.

The weeping willow tree was not a great tree for climbing.   It was not like the huge mulberry tree in the front yard.  The mulberry tree had thick branches that separated at a low level on the trunk.  It was easy to climb and there was a place high above from which I could look down on the world below.  I could even look down on the roof of the house.  It was a natural place where branches cradled me.  I could recline there.  It was a place I would go to when the noise of my brothers and sisters became too much for me.  When I got upset I would climb up to my high spot in the tree to think and have peace of mind.  It was a place where my imagination was set free from the troubles of life.

Continued on:

https://markalbertoyodernunez.blog/2020/01/14/mcarthur-street-episode-five/

The Talisman: Part one by Mark Alberto Yoder Nuñez

The Talisman
Photograph by Mark Alberto Yoder Nunez

It was a sunny day but with a chill from the ocean when I was on a pier looking at the ships and gazing out to sea.  Lost as I was in thought I turned and started walking with no purpose back along the wharf to the narrow ways along the waterfront.  Between the same, old buildings, wandering, eventually my feet led me, as I was between memories and fantasies, to the realization that I wasn’t sure exactly where I was.  I turned a corner down a narrow lane and a few shops down to my left I saw the curio shop.  I was drawn to the front window and looked inside at all the curious items from exotic places, the teak wood boxes and jade figurines. 

     I looked at the door and started towards it.  I opened the door and walked in.  I looked to the left and right consciously aware that an elegant, oriental woman beautifully dressed in dark, oriental clothing with dark hair stood behind the counter.  She was gazing at me with slightly lowered eyelids and with a small but curious smile on her face.  As I took a few steps within and continued to look about I was drawn more toward her than to all the ivory, beads and exotic décor I was seeing.  I started to walk toward her.  She seemed so serene, calm and wise.  There was a light in her dark eyes and she had a knowing smile.  She was very beautiful. 

     We spoke for quite a long time about many things but I cannot remember what was spoken.  My eyes fell upon the talisman beneath the glass counter top.  I asked her about it.  She reached under the glass counter top and gently grasped it.  She paused a moment and then gracefully pulled it out from its resting place.  Soon she was displaying it in her two hands in front of me. 

When I took the talisman in my own hands with her soft hands brushing against mine I felt the smoothness of it.  There was something about the craftsmanship of it and character and the feeling of it in my hands made me feel an attachment to it, a connection to the worlds within and without myself.  There was something about the perfect balance of it. 

I purchased the talisman, said goodbye to the oriental lady and smiled as I turned to leave.  She smiled back mysteriously.  I wasn’t sure why I had purchased the talisman that felt so smooth and good in my hands.  I admired its craftsmanship.  It had fallen into evening and began to grow dark as I wandered aimlessly.  Somehow my weary body made its way to the tenement building I stayed in.  I made my way up the outside stairs to my room. 

     That night I fell into a deep sleep and had many vivid and curious dreams.  I was in exotic places with strange and unusual birds and plants.  I was with foreign people who spoke very little but said strange and mysterious things. 

     I felt I was lost in a foreign country I had never heard of and would not be able to find my way back when I suddenly awoke.  I could tell by the light in the room that it was already late in the morning.  The talisman was still there on the table next to my bed.  I took it in my hands and walked to the window.  I opened the curtains and opened the window to smell the fresh, sea air.  I looked out beyond the harbor at the open sea. 

Continued on: https://markalbertoyodernunez.blog/2019/11/27/the-talisman-part-two-by-mark-alberto-yoder-nunez/

  スパイダーレディは、非常に奇妙な年上の女性に出会う若いタクシー運転手に関するものです。それは暗い回顧録です。マッカーサーストリートは、60年代にツーソンで育った少年と、善と悪との闘いに関するものです。

The Spider Lady se refiere a un joven taxista que conoce a una mujer muy extraña y mayor. Es una memoria oscura. $475.63 Nuevo y Envío GRATIS a Ciudad de México premium-libros-mexico

the spider lady: episode three

The Spider Lady
Excerpt

Continued from: https://markalbertoyodernunez.blog/2016/05/12/the-spider-lady-episode-two/

     I didn’t receive this taxi call again.  One night when after I got off work and got home about three in the morning I sat down in my canvas, director’s chair and started sipping on a beer.  I did this when I came home from work just to unwind and think about all the things that happened that day.  I often called taxi driving condensed cream of life.  One night of it was that intense.

     As I thought about all the amazing things I had experienced that day on the job I thought of “the spider lady” as I had come to think of her.  A poem came into my mind.  A very short poem but I felt compelled to write it down.  Perhaps I was on my second beer but my mind in the subdued lighting of my apartment where I was contemplating seemed to be in the darkness of the universe and I wrote down the poem:

                                 She turns herself into a spider

                              And spins a web

I don’t know why I felt compelled to write it in my notebook or why so few words seemed so important to write down.  I sat and my thoughts wandered to other things.

     One night at the end of the taxi swing shift some of the taxi drivers were congregated in the dispatch office to pay their lease money to the company after the bar rush was over.  A young woman cab driver who was known to be a lesbian said something because the conversation had come around to talking about the spider lady.  Other drivers had done deliveries to her, also.  The young woman cab driver’s friend, Janice, was there.  Janice was a friend of hers from college.  They had been on the women’s volleyball team together.  The taxi dispatcher on duty was a lady named Norma, a petite blonde woman who worked the graveyard shift.  She was one of the most skillful and crooked of dispatchers.  The young lesbian woman started talking about the spider lady.

     She said that the woman was a poetess and she was well off because of the sales of her poetry.  She said that her poetry was really weird and that it sold well in the San Francisco area.  She said that she knew about this because some of her friends knew about the woman and her poetry and recognized her name.

     They asked me why I called her the spider lady and I told them the story.  They loved the story and when some of the men cab drivers coming off of their shift walked into the office they told them that I had a great story about the woman that I called the spider lady so I repeated the entire story.  The men cab drivers who had many cab driver stories of their own were impressed.

Continued on:

https://markalbertoyodernunez.blog/2019/08/31/the-spider-lady-final-episode/