The Train

As he stood on the train platform, he noticed he was the only one there, and in the distance down the track he could see the train coming toward him. Looking around he noticed this train station appeared to be very old, paint was peeling near the windows at the trackside. It reminded him of a station he once saw in anold 40’s movie. It was quiet, everything seemed weathered and there were no birds and no insects flying about. He looked down the tracks and saw the train was getting bigger as it neared the platform.

 

In a few moments, the train’s engine went past him and it was surprisingly quiet. Beyond the platform where he stood it stopped with a squeal of the brakes, and a whooshing sound as it slowed and then stopped. The doors on the car in front of him opened and made a clicking sound. He stepped forward and through the doors. As he looked left and then right he noticed there were quite a few people sitting in various seats along both sides of the car. The doors closed with a clicking sound and the train pulled away from the station platform. Nobody turned to look at him.

 

He saw a seat by a window and sat down. The material of the seats appeared to be leather and showed cracks here and there but felt comfortable. Dim lights attached to the ceiling ran down the middle and were spaced about six feet apart. They looked like antiques. Although the car throughout appeared to be free of debris, it looked to be very old. The car swayed slightly from one side to the other as it gathered speed and continued down the track making a clicking noise intermittently.

 

None of the people were talking to one another. They just sat there looking straight ahead, down towards their laps or out the windows. He looked out the window and could see nothing but blackness. There were no telephone poles going by, no landscape, nothing but blackness. It was strange, but as he thought about it, why would you see anything, after all, it was dark outside? As he thought about it, standing there on the platform waiting for the train he hadn’t realized it was nighttime? Perhaps it was the overhead lights, he hadn’t noticed. But here it was dark and it didn’t seem like a point to dwell on and it slipped out of his mind.

 

The train rolled on for what seemed like an hour and then began to slow, and then came to a stop. He looked out the window and there was another platform just like the one he had been standing on. Two people, a man and a woman who appeared to be in their late thirties were standing there patiently awaiting the doors on the car to open. The doors opened again with that unusual clicking sound and the couple came aboard. The man watched them walk down the aisle and took the seat directly in front of him. In a moment the doors clicked shut. The train lurched slightly as it began to gather speed and continued down the tracks.

 

The man who was with the woman sat in the aisle seat while the woman chose the window. For just a moment the man sitting behind them wondered why she would want a window seat when there was obviously nothing one could see as the train made its way down the track. He said to her,

”you won’t be able to see anything because it’s dark out.”

The man sitting in the aisle seat turned towards him and said, 
“it doesn’t matter, we’re just along for the ride, not to sightsee.”

The woman didn’t say anything.

 

As the train continued down the track it made numerous stops. It had been hours since he got on board and now the car was nearly full with people. Very few children, but there was one boy who seemed to be about ten or eleven. A boy who didn’t smile and looked very sad. A couple more children also were seen but the man found it difficult to determine their ages and he realized it didn’t matter how old they were anyway.

 

The train continued down the track and made several more stops, and the last two times it stopped at a platform, the doors on his car did not open but he heard the clicking sound of doors opening in the car behind his. He wondered how many cars were attached to this train? The thought occurred to him along the way nobody seemed to be getting off only getting on. He wasn’t really sure but he felt like he had been on the train a few hours by this time and it was so silent. All one could hear was the clicking of the train wheels on the tracks but the people weren’t talking. He looked at the man seated to his front and left next to the woman by the window and said,

“There sure doesn’t seem to be anybody getting off the train but lots of people getting on board.”

 

The man looked at him quietly for a moment, he appeared to be thinking about a response and his forehead wrinkled, he cocked his head slightly to the right towards the man who was speaking to him and said over his shoulder finally in a very sad and forlorn voice which emanated regret,

“Nobody gets off this train, and nobody ever will.”

“Why is that” replied the man?

“Because were all suicides, and this is where we will spend eternity. Riding this train that goes nowhere and never will, and nobody ever gets off . We can’t, it is our destiny forever and it is yours too. ”

L Michael Rusin

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The Ancient Ones of Siberia

About fifty years ago when National Geographic magazine was in its heyday, stories begin to drift out of Russia about an area near Siberia where it was alleged people lived well beyond hundred years, and in some instances, around a hundred thirty years. The editors decided to send a team to Siberia to verify the veracity of the stories or to simply discount them as folklore.

 

A team was assembled and consisted of a photographer and two journalists. They boarded a cargo ship and headed for Russia. Arriving on the Russian shores, it was determined they would have to take a very long train ride towards a Siberian frontier. It would take approximately three days to arrive at a small village called Munsk.

 

The train was very old and appeared to be manufactured in the late twenties or early thirties. There was a small silver plaque fastened on the outside of each car they traveled in showing the manufacturer, but through age and heavy weathering, it was no longer readable. The engine spewed black smoke and burned huge amounts of coal. At times the smoke penetrated the car they were riding in. The windows opened by pressing down tightly a latch on both sides at the bottom of the window. One had to hold them very tightly while moving the glass either up or down and then releasing the latches which had a mechanism on both sides releasing a small metal bar which locked into place on both sides of the window track, thus holding the window in place from the bottom where the glass was set. One had to be very careful doing this because the window was heavy and if you weren’t pressing the levers tight enough, the window had a tendency to drop suddenly and if you weren’t quick, your fingers got pinched.

 

If that wasn’t bad enough, there was a small compartment which had a toilet in it. This toilet was simply an area where one could sit and do their business, and below the seat was a holding tank which had liquid sloshing around from the movement of the train. There was a window mounted on the wall behind the seat, but it was stuck in the closed position. As soon as anyone opened the door to enter this compartment, the stench immediately drifted out of the little compartment into the car and would last for several minutes. This happened both times once when a person entered and then later when they exited. People were seeing busily opening the heavy Windows when this happened or putting a handkerchief over their faces.

 

Some of the backs of the bench seats were broken and leaned back at an awkward angle and no one seemed to care about fixing them. As the car traveled down the track, it swayed from side to side and if one was prone to seasickness, occasionally you could hear someone vomiting somewhere on the car which also filled the enclosed area with the terribly acidic stench.

 

Most of the passengers were peasants who worked somewhere up the line at one of the coal mines, in the forest chopping down trees or on the many farms that dotted the countryside as it rolled along at about forty miles an hour. Most were grizzled looking, their clothing old, frayed and heavily patched. The men by and large wore hats, boots and smoked little black cigars and sported grizzled beards. The women all had scarf’s on their head and wore dresses reminiscent of the depression era dresses women wore in the US made from flour sacks cloth.

 

The train made many stops on this journey toward Siberia. It had to take on coal for the locomotive and it had to be topped off with water it was a steam locomotive after all. The stops lasted around thirty to forty-five minutes which allowed the National Geographic team to walk around and observe the landscape. Each stop had a station and platform, which was old and weathered, and there was a scattering of several houses. The houses were also weathered, in need of painting, and had a layer in the cracks and corners of each with black soot from the locomotive. The houses all  had a chimney’s sticking out of the roof and one could see smoke coming out of all of the brick structures. They were nearing Siberia after all and although it was the summer time here, the nights were quite cool. Looking out and away from the houses in the station the landscape was flat as far as you could see. A few scraggly trees could be observed but not much else.

 

Finally, after two full days and too long uncomfortable nights, they were informed the next stop would be Munsk but this particular stop would entail a delay of at least four hours. However, there was a local man who had a truck and could drive them to Munsk for a small fee. They talked it over and decided getting off of that stinking uncomfortable train would be a godsend so they opted to solicit the man and his truck.

 

After finding the man a bargain was struck and they proceeded down a dirt road filled with potholes and ruts. As they bounced along in the truck speaking to one another was very difficult because the truck had no muffler on the exhaust pipe and was very loud and of course the fumes soon had everybody suffering from a headache. The driver of the truck chatted nonstop in broken English and if they were even able to hear him they couldn’t understand what he was saying because his accent was so thick.

 

As they traveled down this dirt road they passed many houses and buildings that appeared to be some sort of business establishment although no one knew what any of them were, and very few people were seen except for a pedestrian now and then walking on the side of the road. Then, they passed an old house to the side of the road and there was a fellow sitting on a bench on the porch whittling on a piece of wood. He had a black cigar sticking out of his mouth, his hair was snow white, he appeared to be slightly hunched over, and his face was covered in deep set wrinkles. The people got excited and signaled for the driver to pull over, which he did. They use sign language to get him to back up to the house on the side of the road. When they got in front of the house the driver stopped the truck and the National Geographic team got out and stood in front of the man.

 

He smiled at them and picked up the bottle next to his foot and offered them a drink which they declined. They asked the driver if he could interpret what the man was saying to him and he said he could. So the rows of questions began-

“Sir, we are from the National Geographic magazine in the United States of America, and we have been sent here to do a story on some of the older folks living in and near Munsk. We would like to ask you a few questions if you will allow us the courtesy.”

 

The old man agreed by nodding his head and the questions began-

“Sir to what do you attribute your long life?”

 

The old man eyed them for a few moments as he contemplated his answer and then said,

“do you see this jug of vodka?”

 

The team acknowledged that they did in the old man continued by saying,

“I drink one of these bottles every single day without fail.”

 

The team gasped at this statement, they noticed it was a large bottle.

“Do you see these little Black cigars?”

And he took it out of his mouth and held it between his fingers and held it up to them for a good look, and said,

“I smoke thirty of them every single day. I just love these smokes.”

 

Again the team gasped at this statement. Each wondered how this was possible?

The old man continued and said,

“When I run out of vodka and my smokes, I hitch my horse to my wagon and I drive myself to Munsk to get stocked back up.”

 

One of the team members said,

“What do you eat on a regular basis?”

“I love pork, I eat lots of it, and while I’m cooking the pork the meat makes a lot of grease, which I poor all over my potatoes, and the taste is out of this world.”

“But, do you eat anything else besides potato and pork?”

“Once in a while I’ll have some bread, but it’s usually pork, grease and potatoes.”

 

This was astonishing, how could anyone live to be so old and do the things this man does on a daily basis. The questioning continued,

“So, you’re riding to Munsk in your wagon, how often does that happen?”

“About every ten days. Along the way, I have eleven lady friends and I stop at each house and make love to each one of them both coming and going. ”

 

Again the team was dumbfounded that this old guy could make love to eleven women on a regular basis and do all these other unhealthy things, and this in their opinion was going to be an amazing story for their editors and their readers.

“Sir, can you tell us how old you are exactly?”

 

The old man looked at them, there was a twinkle in his eye and a smile spread across his lips and he said,

“This coming August I will reach a plateau in my life, I will have attained the age of thirty!”

L Michael Rusin

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The First Amendment

Our Constitution allowed for the news reporters to have a special protection in order to be a safeguard to we the people. It is apparent this protection for the news reporters has been turned against us as a people and as a nation. We cannot allow this distortion of the facts to go on unpunished or unaddressed without a backlash that puts these agencies on notice, “We will come after you with everything we have if you no longer represent us with true and accurate reporting. There is a consequence for treason.” These agencies are playing a dangerous game and once the anger of the American public reaches a point of “We the People” rebelling against the system, none of them will be safe from us. We know who they are and we can find them. Mob justice can be ugly. They should beware of what they are doing because we are very much in tune with what they are doing.
L Michael Rusin

Freedom of the press in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This clause is generally understood as a means to prevent the government from interfering with the distribution of information and opinions.

Nonetheless, freedom of the press is subject to certain restrictions, such as the defamation law.
Wikipedia

 

L Michael Rusin

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What is it going to take to wake Americans up?

It is going to take something big to get people stirred up to such a level as another Pearl Harbor event did seven decades plus in the past, but this time, a lot of people will have to suffer big time for the effect to sink in.

When we as a people are comfortable, we have a tank of gas, a big screen TV, pizza delivered to the house, water runs through the pipes when we turn on a valve, we are heated adequately in the cold of winter, our garbage is picked up for us, our phones work, the electricity in our homes and businesses work and we can call 911 when something is wrong, we will do nothing as a majority. Shut these services off and watch what the people do then. These essential services are going to get very lean because money is the only thing that keeps these things operational. We are broke and it will catch up to us soon.

If at some time in the near future we have to watch grandma freeze to death in the winter and we can’t do anything about it, the worms will turn. We as a people are going to have to suffer before we get what is happening to us clear in our minds as a nation. Right now Americans by and large are comfortable and they are not under any major threat except from their own governments. When more of the government’s jack-booted thugs begin to harass its own people and the comforts we enjoy on a personal level begins to slip to enough of us, then, and only then will the people come together as a united group and that’s when the real changes will happen to America. That is when we will fight back as a whole country. The traitors among us will remain traitors and one by one we will catch them, and each one of them will suffer what they justly deserve.

I’m an old guy. I have seen much in terms of negative changes to my country happen. I would never have believed thirty years ago my country would turn into the biggest terrorist nation on earth. We are worse than Russia and China. Today we try to shove what we call democracy down the throats of other nations. We try to force them to vote the way we want them to. When all else fails we, boycott them, if that doesn’t work we bomb them into hamburger. When are Americans going to get it, we have not been threatened by another country with the exception of Cuba since world war Two ended? And yet, we have been continuously at war since 1955.

Our politics have changed, we have accepted communism as an alternative to freedom, we have allowed people to embrace environmentalism as a new religion and they have traded our freedom to work where and when we please and have shut down our factories and industries to save fish, birds and other species which have nearly bankrupted our country. We have allowed our national treasury that we filled to the brim to be squandered supporting dictatorships and our enemies. As a result, our plentitudes have been exhausted and our infrastructure has suffered because we no longer have the money to fix our own country up. Yet we allow illegals to flood into our lands and to bring infectious diseases with them. They live better than some of our middle class and Americans are paying for it.

We are close to the breaking point and when we reach bottom in the land of milk and honey and there are no more beans and rice to feed us all, we will revolt and we will in all probability kill a lot of our enemies for doing to us what whole nations have never been able to do in the past. So, people such as those we who have been indoctrinating our children in the schools, and those who have allowed our freedoms to be taken away from us who we trusted to put in our offices to help us as a nation and as a people and to those who have been spouting the communist doctrines through the entertainment media and through the news outlets, they will suffer the full force of what the people will deliver to them. One only has to reflect on what happened to Mussolini and his mistress to see what anger can and will do to those who betray the rest of us.

L Michael Rusin

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There are no longer consequences attached to crimes perpetrated against Americans.

As all of us watch the conniving, the twisting of language, the outright lies and unethical deportment of those running for office it makes me wonder, why are the people of America allowing this to happen without some sort of major street filling protest? We aren’t happy; we see through the transparency that is happening before our eyes, and most importantly, we see the machinery working behind the scenes to steal our election from us.

I can remember a time when we as Americans would not tolerate these kinds of illegal activities wherever they were found. We are living in a time of absolute lawlessness and we are doing very little to stop it. We continually re-elect crooks to our public offices, and even when they get caught with their hand in the cookie jar, we seem to discount it as no big deal. It is a big deal! It’s more than just a big deal, it is TREASON on a scale I’ve never seen in my country before. I can remember a time when treason and spying were dealt with by a sit down in the electric chair.

We’ve known about the crooks in our offices for years, and now and then someone gets caught either lying or stealing, and occasionally, they are punished. Take Jesse Jackson Junior, for instance, he was caught stealing campaign funds and went to jail. Those occurrences are rare, however, and they shouldn’t be. These people who steal from us, lie to us, and enrich themselves and their friends at our expense should be punished severely, and at a level more severe than the average individual because we have placed them in a position of trust. When they violate our trust, the prison cell doors should be slamming shut on them for a very long time.

We live in a time where consequences are no longer feared. That’s because there are few consequences today. We have a system set up for the haves and the have not. Those who enrich themselves at the public’s expense seem to have unlimited immunity from prosecution, whereas, the ordinary person has the law coming down on them like a piano falling from 10 stories up.

Today, if they don’t convict the average person, they bankrupt them with legal fees, and during this time invariably they lose their jobs because they are busy fighting a legal battle that most of them cannot win. Those who win are the rich. Those who are immune from prosecution are those with the money to hire the best lawyers.

Consequences are the whips that flog us for doing the wrong thing and getting caught doing something you’re not supposed to be doing or is illegal. Our prisons are full of people who are suffering consequences at various degrees as applied by the law. A person would have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to realize our politicians are immune to consequences.

People who are rioting in the streets and destroying public property and loot various businesses are not feeling any consequences either. They should be and most of us know it. Our society has gone from fear of the law and the consequences of criminal deeds to one of non-consequential. That in effect is anarchy.

We need to act as a group to write the wrongs that are being inflicted on us in so many different directions and in so many different ways. No one should be immune to prosecution regardless of who they are, how much money they have and what their circle of influences is. We have allowed people to steal from us, you and I, at a level unprecedented. They’re stealing from us through welfare fraud, influence peddling, favoritism, through a myriad of unconstitutional acts perpetrated by people who obviously hate us for who we are. We need to put consequences back into these many illegal activities and in particular treason against America and the American public. If we don’t do something about what’s happening before our very eyes, then we will as a country suffer the consequences of our apathy.
L Michael Rusin

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My Brief P-51 Mustang Career

Many years ago I was flying the Bush in Alaska. I delivered mail and miscellaneous supplies to many of the outpost’s way out there in the middle of nowhere. Occasionally I took sick people out of their villages or camps to a hospital in Fairbanks or Anchorage. I once took a construction worker out from a work site that had gotten into a fight with another man and he had a hammer stuck in his skull. It was just vivid incidents like that I remember, but most of the time it was boring. One day the North Slope shut down and things stopped virtually overnight. I stuck around for awhile hoping things would get started again but it didn’t and it was another three years before it did. I heard there was a need for pilots in Africa so I was off.

I landed in Sao Tome’. It’s an island off the West Coast of the African continent. Many of the pilots I knew from the North Slope were there so I was right at home. There were pilots from all over the world and I got to know many of them. We were all there to work bringing in food, medicine, and other supplies to the Bi-Africans. The airlift was flying from Sao Tome’ to Uli airstrip on the West Coast of Africa located in Southern Nigeria. They were called back then Bi-Afrans. Sao Tome’ is an island nation in the Atlantic Ocean about 600 miles from the African coast. Uli Airstrip was in the nation of Nigeria on the Southern Atlantic coast,

There was a civil war raging between two large tribes. The Biafrans were one side and the other was the Nigerians. The World Church Organization was supplying the Bi-Afrans with food, medicine and other essentials that were being donated worldwide and then delivered to the World Church Organization and we were delivering it to Uli for distribution.

The first trip I took into Uli was incredible. We were bringing in food and other essentials to the Bi-Africans and as we were making our final approach to the strip the Bi-Africans were shooting at us. They had old fashioned 20 mm cannons and .50 cal. Machine guns. World war two armaments, fortunately for us, they were piss poor shots and we managed to land without any further incident. The airplanes were staggered about 30 minutes apart so the ones on the ground could get unloaded and be off again for the return trip to Sao Tome’.

The second trip I made into Uli I heard a man’s voice over the radio and he had a South African accent. He said to us, “Well mates, here we are again. I’ll be dropping my load and then I’ll be off to home again. I’m in the middle of a harvest you know. Cheerio.”

The bombs landed all around the airport but not on it and not at either end of the strip. I asked one of the older pilots, what in the world was that all about? He told me there was this South African farmer who got paid by the Nigerians to bomb the airstrip but he never did, just around the edges. Many of the pilots on the airlift were friends of his and he didn’t want anyone getting hurt. So he bombed the edges and that seemed to keep the Nigerians happy. I guess he was a British Bomber Pilot during world war two.

I flew the airlift every day for two months. Once in awhile, we got several days off because our plane was down for maintenance. But most of the time it was every a day.

Around the beginning of my second month, a new voice came on the air and he was a German. The accent was Germanic. He said to us, “Cheerio mates. I will be making my bomb run in a couple of minutes, you chaps be careful down there. Bombs away.”  The bombs fell down and struck the middle of the strip one after the other and they made huge holes in the ground. This guy was good. I found out later the Nigerians fired the other guy and hired this guy. He was an ex-Nazi Bomber Pilot from world war two and knew his business. He was flying a Russian Ilyushin Bomber. So it went for another week. Trying to dodge the bullets coming at us every time we started our final run straight in and once we were near the strip we had to dodge the holes in the ground left by the bombs from either that day or the previous one.

I was beginning to think maybe I should get back up to Alaska and fly a little mail. It was boring as hell but a whole lot safer. Just about then this guy comes along wearing Ray Ban sunglasses and wants to know if there were any P-51 Mustang pilots in the group. I told him I had about 500 hours in one and he hired me but after talking to the rest of the guys who all turned the job down first. I was fairly young in those days and I guess he had his doubts about my qualifications. Incidentally, I had zero hours in a P-51. I lied.

The deal was-

$10,000 a trip. I had to use up all the gas and just fly around looking for targets of opportunity. I had to use up all the ordinance every trip. My targets were trains, bridges, convoys and any large gathering of soldiers, etc. For those considerations, I was to be paid in Krugerrands  each trip. So I was off and I quit flying in food and medicine and concentrated on the P-51. The first time I flew it I went up without any ordinance. I just wanted to get the feel for it. I read the owner’s manual from cover to cover and memorized all the speeds one needs to know. Things like what the characteristics were of the aircraft in a stall, what to do in a dive and other instructions, landing speeds, and so forth. Bomb rack clearances and best rates of climb and descent. They are given as VSO speeds. I didn’t have any problems and I was ready to go.

Loaded down the first takeoff was a bit of a strain and the run out was a long one but I was airborne soon enough.  Over a thousand horsepower is significant. I was a hunter and I have to tell you I would have done it for free I was having so much fun. At $5,000 a trip, it was like a dream come true. I more or less equated it to having a license to steal. Once the first trip was finally behind me and I was back on the ground, I waited for the guy in the Ray Bans to pay me. Finally, a man came by and told me Ray-Ban was delayed but he’d be by tomorrow. The next day I waited for a couple of hours and he didn’t show so I was off again. I never did find any targets of opportunity and I wasn’t going to bomb or strafe any villages so I found this place that looked like a pile of rocks and that was where I unloaded all the ordinance. I did look for the German with the Ilyushin Bomber but never found him. That guy was going to be a freebie.

With six fifty caliber machine guns at the touch of my finger, I was going to make sure he didn’t bomb anyone anymore.

My third week into the job and Ray Ban never did show up however, a messenger came by at the hotel over on Sao Tome’ with $5,000 in Gold and a letter from Ray Ban telling me he was having some problems but he knew what the amount was that he owed and that I would be paid in full and in a couple more days. By this time I was rich once I was paid and I could go down to Rio and lie in the sun and play with the spinners on the beach for a long time.

I had decided this was going to be my last trip unless I was paid at least half of what I was owed. I was preoccupied on that day and after doing a pre-flight I forgot to check the gas and mounted my ride, strapped it on and away I went. That was a big mistake and one I have never made again. It’s just that I loved flying that airplane so much I couldn’t wait to be in the air. I was flying for about fifteen minutes and the engine stopped. Now I don’t know if you understand  anything about the “Pucker Factor” but I am quite familiar with it very clearly. It’s when all of a sudden you’re a**hole sort of disappears for a little while.

I started looking around for a place to set down. I dumped all the ordinance immediately and when the airplane was stable I began getting it ready to land, Gear, down, flaps up, cowl flaps open. In a little while, I was on final. I landed and when It stopped,  I saw a large body of soldiers coming toward me, I thought that was a bit of luck. Maybe I was going to get a ride back to the strip.

They were the guys I was looking for to strafe but never found and they immediately butt stroked me as soon as I crawled out of the cockpit and down I went into the dirt. I came to and found I was chained to a tree and they were digging a hole to put me in. That was a tense and grim realization. One of the soldiers kept laughing and he would run a finger across his throat and that gave him a new burst of enormous mirth and he would break out in a hyena-like a laugh and it bent him over at the waist. He was doing a little dance at his own joke. I failed to see the humor in it at the time.

Off in the distance, a convoy was going by and they were flying a Red Cross flag on the lead vehicle and on the rear one.  I was a little bleary-eyed because of the rifle butt to the chin but I understood this might be a way out of a situation where a little while ago there was no out for me. A Range Rover pulled up in a cloud of dust and stopped. A beautiful blonde got out and walked over to us. Her tits were bouncing inside her shirt and it occurred to me they were ample and I liked the look of what I could see. Here I was getting ready to be snuffed and I was thinking about getting laid.

She started talking to the head guy and an argument broke out between them. I didn’t think that was good. It went on for a few minutes and then she barked some orders to her driver and he drove off without her. In a few minutes, two trucks were coming our way accompanied by her Range Rover. The two larger trucks stopped near us and so did her vehicle.  Everyone was enveloped in a huge cloud of dust as they came to a stop. The people in the trucks jumped out and began unloading boxes. It looked like she paid a handsome ransom for me but quick enough I was escorted to the Range Rover and I got in the front seat with the blonde. She didn’t say anything so I said,

“I appreciate what you did back there. How can I ever thank you? I know, how about dinner tonight?”

She looked at me with the most beautiful blue eyes I ever saw and she said,

“For starters, you can keep your mouth shut. If you say one more word to me I’ll have my driver turn around and we’ll take you back to those soldiers and tell them we changed our mind the deals off.  That will leave you right back where you were just before I arrived. You know what that means?” I looked at her and wasn’t sure what to say and she started again, my head was throbbing from the blow to the chin.

“I don’t like what you do and so I don’t like you. You are one lucky man. In five more minutes you would have been hacked to death with machetes and then buried in an obscure grave where no one would have ever known about it or you. If you’re smart you’ll just keep your mouth shut and in three more hours you’ll be safe and out of my sight.” She spoke in a French accent but in beautiful English. I decided since she didn’t like me I would dummy up for awhile so I sat there until we arrived at a small village which was another fifty miles down the dirt road.

She barked an order and the driver stopped. For an instant, I thought she was getting ready to take me back. The soldiers didn’t find my small Smith and Wesson .357 magnum I had strapped to my ankle as I reached down for it. My head hit the window and she said,

“Get in the back!”

I did and we rode on in silence. I never saw her again.

That was the end of my P-51 career.

I never was paid by Ray Ban and I was declared “Persona Non Grata” in that part of Africa and was warned never to come back. They kicked me out of Nigeria with a warning, “never come back.” I never did return to that part of Africa anyway, there were other opportunities elsewhere later on.

L Michael Rusin

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Musings On Life

As we meander through this life, it is important to reflect on the events that shape us into what we have become and what we are consequently. We can pursue riches and fame or we can live our lives in quiet desperation dreaming of what we could have been instead of what we are.

We can watch the clouds rolling and unfolding in the heavens and express delight in the shapes we see that remind us of something we are familiar with, or we can dwell on the results of a test that may spell our doom. Happiness is always preferable than dark moments of despair.

Regardless of how we live our lives, we will all die someday and with that thought in mind remember, it does not matter, we are all terminal. A fleeting moment in time and then we are gone. What does matter after all is what it was we did while we were here and living that gift we were given to its utmost. Live your life as if it is the last day of it always.

Tell those who you love that you love them. Embrace your parents because they too are only temporary. Enjoy the antics of a pet because it will come to an end someday. Listen to your friends. Enjoy a sunrise and feel the rain drops on your face. Today may rain but we always know another day will be sunshine and warmth. It has been said it takes less muscle power to smile than it does to frown.

Lives end but they only end for any of us if we lose our souls. We come into this world with only one matter that is ours and we leave it with only one thing, our souls. Lose that and you will have lost it all. Do not live for riches, fame and power as your goals. Live for the happiness that comes with life and its events that embrace us with the happiness that surrounds each and every one of us. Those who lose their souls will be no more forever.

Copyright 2012, L. Michael Rusin   All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for non-commercial purposes in entirety, including this notice.

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Going To Sea As A Retreat

Some of you know I was in the retreat building business. Because of that I often get letters from people telling me they don’t believe a retreat will save them and their families if the world is suddenly turned inside out regardless of the cause. The effect will be the same in any case, we must be prepared to survive regardless of where we are when it happens. If you are a realist you will understand that not everyone will survive if the world goes through a period of large earthquakes, tidal waves, the reversing of the poles, solar waves from outer space impacting the earth or any other large, and potentially earth-changing storms. The writers go on to say the only real option is a well-stocked boat in their opinion. Let’s look at it if that is the case. I sailed my 41-foot sailboat for thousands of miles. Some of the problems I experienced were the following:

 

1. A constant need to restock the boat with food and water and sometimes gas or diesel.
2. Unfriendly governments where you decide to pull in for a little while.
3. Not understanding the rules where you pull into a port which can lead to disastrous problems.
4. Huge storms at sea.
5. Rogue waves at sea.
6. The chances of being run down by a freighter or container ship.
7. Piracy.
8. No immediate medical help in case it is needed. Anything can happen and at any time.
9. The on-going need to either fix or maintain the boat and equipment.
10. The problem of getting the mail or in general, staying in touch.
11. Having enough money to do any kind of continuous off-shore sailing.
12. Having the experience to deal with accidents, dismasting, losing a rudder, or a myriad of other mishaps at sea.
13. Knowing what to do during times of extreme stress, both physical and mental.
14. Dealing with crew members.
15. Having enough space to be by yourself.
16. Having adequate sea-going knowledge to deal with any contingency.
17. Having the funds to do your initial purchase, stores, equipment, books, and so forth and still, have enough to go to the next port.
18. Making the right choices the first time. Living with those choices.
19. Arming yourself or not.

 

Believe me, when I say, those items listed are only a small portion of what one has to deal with on a daily basis. Now, let’s say the world becomes locked in a cycle that is out of control regardless of the source. It is no longer friendly because everyone is on guard. You become a floating island. You are completely on your own. If anything happens you can not solicit or expect any help from anyone. At least on a land based retreat, there will be others to come to your assistance, on a boat, you and who you’re with is going to be your whole world.

 

 

When I was sailing, and that was forty odd years ago, every time I ventured into a port because I flew the American flag on my stern, I was singled out for special treatment. I was charged more for port fees than were other boaters, I was always overcharged for the goods I needed to purchase, and was always discriminated against simply because I was an America. Sometimes I didn’t fly a flag but they always found out because you have to show your passport when you go through Customs. Your boat’s documentation will also tell them what you are.

 

 

I was amazed at the rules that were in place everywhere I went. If you had been sailing for a couple of years, the societies changed while you were away. A good friend of mine sailed into a New Zealand port and was trapped there until he could raise the money to purchase an emergency locator beacon device. He wasn’t allowed to work while he was there because he was a foreigner, so little by little, he sold various things off the boat to buy food and to make the ELB purchase. Then he got out of there by sailing off in the dark. Another friend I ran into made landfall in Indonesia.

 

He was shocked to hear that his weapons he had onboard were going to be confiscated and there was no guarantee he would get them back once he left. The sign at the Harbormaster’s office read, If you have any weapons on your vessel you must declare them. If you don’t, and they are found later, the penalty for not declaring them is DEATH. That’s pretty heavy duty! You soon discover you’re no longer in Kansas. Those two stories and thousands more are typical of what one can expect once you leave American or Canadian waters in pursuit of freedom and safety.

 

 

Okay, so you decide to do it anyway and you fork out around a hundred thousand for a seaworthy boat, you spend several thousand more stocking it with food and diesel and all the spare parts you think you’ll need, and you weigh anchor. You are off to new adventure over the horizon.

 

 

If you depend on a GPS device to do your navigating, you’ll soon find out the salt water will corrode it.

 

 

Then it’s on the books for navigation. What, you didn’t buy an Airman’s Almanac, or the Latitudes and Longitudes books you need to navigate with?

 

 

How about a quality radio to get the time checks from Greenwich Mean England? You don’t have a sextant either? You thought you didn’t need one because the GPS was so accurate. You don’t have an accurate Chronometer either?

 

 

How about the ship’s compasses? You didn’t know they had to be swung and calibrated before you left. One degree off and you could be hundreds of miles off course.

 

 

One day you realize the propane for your cooking stove is running low so into a port you go and you find out they either don’t have propane or the nozzle fitting they use isn’t compatible with your tank’s fitting.

 

 

You discover to your amazement most people in the world don’t like you simply because you are an American and the harbor fees are triple what the Canadian is paying.

 

 

You see a small island. Your low on fresh water and make your way toward it. You’re lucky and find a way through the coral reef that surrounds the island by sending someone up to the spreaders, and you drop the hook. You can’t find any water on the island after spending several days walking through the jungles and are almost completely covered in insect bites. You go back to the boat and weigh anchor and head for a main port of entry. When you arrive, the Harbormaster tells you your boat was photographed by a military aircraft and you are subject to heavy fines for illegally making landfall at an unauthorized port of entry. That’s when you discover you forgot to get the VISA’s at the last port of call anyway.

 

 

On and on it goes. One day you realize if the world does come to an abrupt stop, there is no place you can go to for safety because you are a floating island.

 

 

Most boaters that are out there right now don’t have much in terms of spending money. They come into a port and they plead poverty and they are quickly relegated to a place of low esteem by everyone. Most of the time the local laws prohibit them from working, and they make do with whatever ingenuity they can come up with.

 

 

Some make clothes for other boaters, some cut or style hair, others mend shoes and others are handy man types and will do a variety of small jobs to make a few bucks. I saw people cleaning hulls, changing out zincs, painting, and doing small carpentry jobs. They are vagabonds with a little incentive. This is if all is going well. Sometimes tragedy strikes, and then those people who are escaping whatever perceived injustices or are in pursuit of a pure freedom lifestyle have to put it all into perspective.

 

 

A case in point; Two children are ashore in the south Pacific with mom and dad. The parents are sidetracked by another group of adults and the children, eleven and thirteen get bored. They decide to go back to the boat that is anchored offshore in the dinghy which is rowed with oars. Several hours later the parents catch a ride with another couple in their small dinghy and they arrive at their yacht to discover their two children are not there. They scan the horizon to no avail. A search and rescue are launched but the two children have never seen again. They were carried off by fast moving tides and are lost. Give me a retreat any day. I did my sailing and found out it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. I was only thirty when I did it and that made a huge difference. Today I wouldn’t do it for anything because it is way too much work.

 

 

Grouping together with people on a retreat may not be the best of all worlds but it is a more likely survival endeavor than going out to sea on a boat. Sometimes we get lucky but if you’re unlucky only one time, it could be the only time you will ever be unlucky.

 

 

Copyright 2012, L. Michael Rusin   All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for non-commercial purposes in entirety, including this notice.

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You Have to Know Where you are Going to get There

You have to know where you’re going to get anywhere.

That should be self-evident, but how many people do you know are like a dog chasing their tail? They keep going around in circles and cannot seem to get one thing done. I ‘ll give you an example of what I mean:

 
Let’s say that you suddenly come into a great deal of money and your expenses are no longer a problem. You decide to go on a long globe-hopping trip. You pack a small bag, you know, essentials such as a toothbrush and a few miscellaneous items?  You don’t have to take much remember, money is no object so you plan to buy everything as you go and you will obtain it as the need arises.

 
Therefore, you’re all packed and ready to go in a moment and you arrive at the airport. You ask the airline ticket agent to sell you a ticket. What do you think the ticket agent will ask you?

 

 

Where are you going? If you can’t tell that person where you’re going no matter how much money you have to spend they will not sell you a ticket. Does that make sense?

 
Life is like that. You can’t do anything to a satisfactory conclusion unless you know where you’re going with your “Life Journey.” Once you know and you understand this is your goal, (whatever it is you have decided to do) you can go as far as you want to with it.
Many years ago, I had to make a decision to do something that was physically and mentally challenging. Not many people were able to do what I was faced with. However, some did make it through this difficult challenge and that was enough to convince me I could too, it was all I really needed to know after all, if so and so could do it, so could I. I knew at that moment what it was I wanted to do and that was all it took except for one more crucial thing;  never quit! Never give up! If you quit or give up regardless of the goal, you will never finish anything. It is a truth it is impossible to finish anything by quitting.

 
As a boy, during my early years, before I turned five, I used to hang around an old Indian man who was probably close to a hundred years old at the time. I hung around him and I am sure I bothered him a great deal, but he allowed it because we liked each other. His name was White Feather. He lived with an old woman who I only remember as Mama Yokum and she was a slave in the old south when she was a young woman. The term “Slave” didn’t mean anything to me at the time. She pointed out the scar on her ankle from the chains she wore when she was a child. He was an Indian Warrior during the Plains Wars in the Southwest. She was a slim woman and her black skin was highlighted by her pure white hair. White Feather was very much like her. His skin was nearly black and his long waist length hair was as white as snow.

 
White Feather taught me a tremendous amount of small mental exercises I could use to help me out in any situation as those same small techniques had done for him all his years. He had the scars on his chest from when he was hung during the cleansing ceremony and it was on that day that he began to learn. He told me the Great Spirit filled him with everything he needed to know that would carry him through the rest of his life on that day if he remained a man with honor. He had two bullet scars in his chest from the wars he fought with the American Cavalry on the frontier. When he pointed them out he told me it was his deep beliefs that spared him from death when each happened.

 
In my fourth month of my fifth year, my mother told me my father died, and in less than a year, my mother was dead as well. I never saw White Feather again because I was interred in the Saint Anthony Home for Orphans just outside San Diego, California until I was nine years old.

 
The lessons I learned are being shared with you if you have an interest. I suppose I had an advantage over some because I had no one to turn to as I was growing up. I did meet some of my family later on in life and was able to mend some of the things in my mind I didn’t know about. Little things which mean little to anyone else except me, like what was my mother’s birth date, and when she laughed how it sounded? Was she pretty and did people like her? I have no photographs of her.

 
Growing up, it was a different story and one that has left scars on my brain that is joined by others that I live with every day. The hurt and the loneliness that I suffered as a child was put there for me to make me grow strong like an oak and to make me resolute in my mind for the other hurt and pain that would come later in life. The same Great Spirit that I was told about by White Feather as a boy put these things in place for me. At least that is what I believe. I am not a particularly religious person but I do believe we have a superior being that created all there is.

 
As an individual,  you must direct your sights at what it is that you want, and you must travel to that goal as an arrow flies toward a target in order to succeed at anything. Life is not fair, people are not fair, and usually those who will cause you the most of the harm that comes into your life will come from those closest to you. Your friends and your family will sometimes be your worst causes of pain and disappointment. There is an old saying that describes it best, “Your own fleas will cause the most painful bites.”

 
If you can stay focused, and you know where you are going, that’s what it will take to get there, do not be sidetracked in your quest, listen to your personal guide in your mind and believe in it. If you expect to survive for what lays ahead, you will have to stay guided from within and stay strong as the oak tree. It will not be easy but the best things in life are always laced with difficulty and sometimes much pain. It is a learning experience which will stay with us all of our lives when it hurts so bad we feel we might not be able to stand it one more minute, and then it subsides. We remember and we learn from the experience. One of the greatest teachers we will ever experience in our lives are the most brutal and painful ones.

 

Copyright 2012, L. Michael Rusin   All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for non-commercial purposes in entirety, including this notice.

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California’s Child-my third novel

https://www.amazon.com/Californias-Child-Inspired-True-Story-ebook/dp/B00MXOOX0E/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

**** TOP 100 on Amazon.com for BIOGRAPHY for ALL of 2015****

California's Child: Inspired by a True Story by [Rusin, L. Michael]

Just when Scott Reynolds thought things couldn’t get worse, the unspeakable happened…

At the age of nine, convinced he had accidentally killed a bully trying to molest him, he jumped the fence and headed out into the vast wilderness of the California desert, alone. Could he make it through the blistering cold or would his asthma finally do him in? Would they catch him and throw him in prison for what he did to that boy? Fear kept him going, driving him forward as fear nipped at his heels like a wild dog.

His mother had died four years earlier, and it didn’t take long for Scott’s abusive Aunt to send him to Saint Cecelia’s Orphanage, where, as a ward of the State, he became California’s Child.

And from where he had just escaped.

When he thought about the consequences if they caught him, Scott realized that he would rather die than go back. Would they stop looking for him, or would he be on the run forever?

*****

Although this book is inspired by true events, it is a work of fiction by the author. Though many of the places and events mentioned are real, the characters do not represent specific individuals. This story is written to simply reveal that many of the laws in America – although placed in an attempt to protect children – often times deprive them of a childhood that might have been more accommodating. When I was young, homeless children in California were essentially placed in the same category as criminals, and when those children were caught by the authorities, they were often locked up like common thieves for “safe keeping.”

As a result, the young boy in this story was compelled to keep moving or be incarcerated.
– L. Michael Rusin

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