Monthly Archives: September 2016

Ghost Customer

I was at my favorite CVS this morning. All new cashiers and it was busy, because it’s the autumn in Salem and October is around the corner. But one of the slightly more experienced of the cashiers called for backup, as she should.

So I’m in line behind about twelve people and the cashiers just get them all done quickly and professionally. I tip my hats to them. But the third cashier whose name I did not catch, finished her last customer and as I was standing there, waiting for her to acknowledge me, or even just look up to see if there was another customer, I suddenly became invisible! Or, you would think I had to be invisible since she logged off of her register, put up her little sign, and went back to whatever she was doing before the rush hit.

The two other cashiers still had customers.

All I can say is the CVS on Essex Street in Salem, Massachusetts may have had a regime change recently, but I’m still a regular. The new cashier and I aren’t going to be friends, especially when I get the survey letter in my e-mail.

The Scale of Importance

We have Xfinity now. I spent this morning watching free episodes of Archer and Adam Ruins Everything on demand. And the coolest part of today was when the phone rang, I saw the number in the upper right hand corner of the TV screen.

So now I no longer have to get up and check the phone to see if I want to bother answering the phone. But the best part is, when someone I know is calling me, they will have a clear idea of how I rate them in terms of importance, when I could easily pause my on-demand episode of Archer to answer the phone, but I choose not to.

You’re welcome.

Jim and Tim: You’re Just as Accountable as I

Tim Maguire, the owner of Remember Salem, is confused. He seems to remember a second incident when I was escorted from his store, but the police only have one record of such an incident. So clearly this was a case of mistaken identity, but he’s too far in now to back out. Maybe he things apologizing will make him seem weak?

I now know the name of the star of this post: James Jacobs.

James seems perfectly comfortable, threatening me with assault, in public, while tourists and potential customers are in earshot.

The police got involved once again, however this time, James must have been in the wrong because the responding officer gave me his name and encouraged me to file a complaint against the threats.

I won’t go into more detail here. But suffice it to say, the kid gloves are now off.

The shop owners in this town have come to think that they are royalty, above the law and free of judgment. You, or someone you love, may become a victim of one of their whims, and my intent here is to have a record of the incidents in question as protection to myself and to anyone who may plan their next visit to the “City of Peace”.

Businesses and industries have come and gone in Salem throughout the previous century. Remember Salem and all of the shop owners on Essex Street are no different and should take care to remember that.

A Dry Run to November

So the polls were surprisingly easy. Not rocket science by any means. But this was just a dinky State Primary and all our corner of the universe cared about was the Sheriff.

All of my single serving coworkers were great to spend eight hours with, and I hope I made a good impression on them. But my main concern is November. Should I take the training for that day? Should I risk wading through the most politically and emotionally charged presidential election of my lifetime?

People who sit behind their computers at a safe distance from all of the drama will quickly say, “yeah, man, take the paycheck.”

People who have actually paid attention to the media and live fairly close to me know what I’m talking about. Some people have had fairly civil discussions about what side of the coin they’re on, but there have been incidents.

The most recent one in Salem was the bombing of a newspaper box for an LGBTQ friendly newspaper called The Rainbow Times. The city rallied and replaced it to show solidarity but still, bombing. And they haven’t caught the people who did it because the city’s CCTV is not at the Jason Bourne quality required to actually be effective at night.

You can see why I’d be a little wary of spending eight hours behind the table, asking people what party they’re voting for.

What a Summer

These past three months have been eye opening. I supposed I should be grateful for now knowing where I stand, but in many ways it would be like suddenly finding out you’re allergic to peanuts after you’ve had peanut butter on toast for the past six years without incident; not a pleasant surprise but still one you can manage to live through. And who says you have to eat peanut butter to have fun with it?

But even after a punch to the gut such as I received, it’s nice to know I always have people that I can count on. All I ever want in life is for people to be consistent, and these people always have been.

For many of you, faithful readers, this is the start of a new academic year and some of you are facing uncertainty. Don’t be overwhelmed by the things you can’t control, because what’s on the other side of the storm is worth the weathering. And the people who dismiss and disrespect you will not be there. And even if it seems like they’re higher up than you, or have more power or more influence, or just have all of the cool toys, they wouldn’t last long without any of that and you can take strength from knowing you will earn all of that and more.

This month I will be finishing, polishing and editing the short stories I have been pounding out like a demon. A mix of fantasy, mystery, non-fiction, and some selections from my two blogs will be included along with a few pieces of flash fiction I wrote as writing prompts.

I want to give a big shout out to David and Lauren, who contributed to my book cover fund. There’s still plenty of time to go on over to Gofundme and throw in a couple of dollars. If you don’t feel comfortable going through Gofundme, you can also send money straight to my Paypal account at, which is even better because then I won’t have to pay a processing fee.

Every cent donated goes towards paying the artist for the best book cover I can afford, and I’ve been to Premade Covers 4U and I’ve seen some really nice ones for less than a hundred. A cover is crucial if I want Smashwords to distribute the e-book through online retailers. I’ve been sniffing at the possibility of working with Amazon, but there are too many uncertainties that I’ve also been hearing about and I can’t take the risk with my work.

See you at the other end of September. October is around the corner and we all know what that means in the City of Peace.