2018 BOOK AWARDS

A Chicken in The Wind is doing very well this summer in the book awards, winning five times, and with great reviews from the judges.

We sure could use more reader reviews at our primary retailer, amazon, though. If you’ve read “A Chicken in the Wind and How He Grew,” thank you. We hope you enjoyed it, and that maybe after you finished you found it maybe made a small difference in how you look at ADHD, parenting, or being a member of a funny, emotional, unruly family. So if any of that holds for you, we’d sincerely appreciate it if you would rate the book at Amazon or Goodreads and write just a few words about what you thought of it.

If you haven’t read it, go check it out on our Rattlesnake Books page, where you can read a bunch of pages and browse the other two books we’ve published and if you like it, hit the link and you can buy it.

Thanks from Rattlesnake Publishing, and rattle on,

 


Night Blows Up

This is a chapter from my book, “A Chicken in the Wind and How He Grew – Stories from an ADHD Dad” about fireworks, which are going off all over the place here in our neighborhood in Georgia tonight, 4th of July Eve. Though this was 15 years ago in Hawaii, nothing’s changed as far as I’m concerned.

It’s New Year’s Eve, 2003 and I’m curled up in our bed in a fetal position, eyes closed, hands over my ears. I’m working on calm, deep breathing – trying hard to not hyperventilate. I’ve been in this position before when I had some panic attacks, and completely cracked up and had to put in some serious time with the doctors.

Cracking up feels exactly like this – the world around me is pounding and exploding, getting louder and more insistent, like a rising climax of insane fireworks. Our dog, zonked out on veterinary Valium, has joined me on the bed, both of us trembling.

In Hawaii, especially in the local kind of neighborhood we lived in at the time, New Year’s Eve is all about fireworks. Big fireworks at home, in the driveway, lanai, backyard, front yard, and roof – all going off at once and building to a smoke-clogged midnight crescendo. The explosions shake the walls of our little house. It’s LOUD – howitzer, carpet-bombing, end of civilization as we know it LOUD.

Then again, maybe I’m a little over-sensitive to the gunpowder blasting away all around us. I’ve never liked fireworks. It’s not lost on me that cowering in the bedroom spooned with my petrified dog, while the rest of my family oohs and aahs at star bursts and pinwheels on the lanai isn’t a very manly way to act.

Pa doesn’t hide from danger in “The Little House on the Prairie.” He protected his family. But, how do you protect your family from something that only freaks you out? How to you convince them that the prudent move during any noisy community celebration is to huddle under the covers with your drugged-up dog, who now has begun a panting, drooling action that’s making things messy? Not a good example to set when you go around preaching to your kids to face their fears.

I stand up on wobbly knees, and step out to the lanai. I casually lean against the porch rail, a picture of easy confident calm. “So, howzit goin’ guys?” All that manly effort and nobody even notices me. They’re all watching the neighbors’ rocket-spouting Freedom Fountain explode terrifying burning embers all over dry leaves and roofs, while it lets out an ear-piercing whistle that sounds like a screaming Kamikaze plummeting out of the sky to kill us all.

Smoke from all the exploding gunpowder hangs thick in the air as our other neighbor sets off the longest string of firecrackers in all of Polynesia. In the beach picnic grounds across the way, cheers fill the air as dozens of M-80s boom, blowing apart Parks and Recreation trash cans. People call this fun? This is horrible. The family notices me now. I must have said that last bit out loud.

“What are you doing out here? You hate this stuff.” “Whoa Dad, really, you should go back inside. You don’t look so good.”

I guess my macho act needs a little work. I stumble back to join the dog in the bedroom. Later, as the noise finally begins to die down, Margaret curls up next to me and the dog. “I never knew that junk got to you so much.”

I shrug. “I never let on I guess. Maybe I didn’t know.” And that’s the truth of it, in a way. I’d been working with a new therapist and new meds. I was in my second year of sobriety and feeling out who the hell I was. I was discovering that the more I stopped covering up who I really was to myself, the more that real-self was exposed to others. Apparently my real-self doesn’t like things exploding around him. Sounds reasonable to me.

Besides, if I remember correctly, Pa in “Little House on the Prairie” didn’t protect his family by shooting and blowing up the prairie. He just worked hard for them, stayed honest and picked up and moved the whole family whenever he thought he should. So, call me Pa.



Still Learning, Still a Nervous Wreck

The whole day, I’ve been working on getting a few posts up with attached link to thank Gena Pera for including my book, “A Chicken in The Wind and How He Grew” in her post on Hyperfocus and ADHD. Took me three tries with Twitter, which is nuts I do it all the time but today I’m copying the wrong thing or pasting something I thought I’d deleted. Confusion escalating, on my WordPress blog, every thing I clicked either posted it with a dead link or the link worked, but sent it out with my big fat face all over it instead of her article illustration. Kept at it cursing my ineptness and general all around lack of comprehension that sometimes glues to my head like a dunce cap – then finally after deletions everywhere I think the wrong thing went, I finally figured it out. Okay, next to Linked In where I’d done two deletions. but it wouldn’t let me embed her link unless I wrote something in another box that kept disappearing until I figured out that I was in Article instead of Post. So I did it in Post, but then couldn’t delete the article, and I swear to god I knew completely how to do this last week – but not now, not today. So instead of leaving a blank article page with a link that doesn’t work, I’m writing this.
And really I should instead be putting the last night’s soup on, freshened up with some chopped celery, garlic and extra chicken broth, feed the dog (Casey in the above pic – who knows how to relax but can’t teach me, because I won’t listen) and take him out, and do my nightly call with my mother in Delaware before Margaret, my wife, gets home from visiting her mother at the assisted living facility here in Georgia, but I’m so on edge over the lack of control in my brain pan, I’m petrified of leaving my office chair to go into the kitchen. And I’m more comfortable in the kitchen than anywhere else in the house except in our bedroom with my head in a book or on Margaret’s shoulder.

But Casey naps, now in my office, waiting for dinner. Relaxed – trusting that I’ll get to his dinner and the rest of it in time. I hope he’s right. I guess we’ll see.




ADHD Hypomanic Alcoholic SOB – The Song

Aaron_&_Frank_Nashville_12-12[1]

CLICK BELOW to hear this song, “ADHD HypoManic Alcoholic SOB, written by me, Aaron Raitiere, and Colin Raitiere and recorded by Aaron in Nashville December 12th 2012.

I’m posting this again as a kind of celebration of my 14 year sobriety anniversary this month.

 

ADHD_HypoManic_Alcoholic_S.O.B_-_South,_Raitiere,_Raitiere

 

Aaron Raitiere is one talented SOB – that’s him on the right with the guitar, listening to me blather on.

Aaron’s on Facebook with a bunch of info on performance dates, and links to his music: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=38421175&fref=ts


ADHD Memorial Day

Dad & Me, Memorial Day 5-28-12

Dad & Me, Memorial Day 5-28-12

I wrote this for Memorial Day last year. I don’t think I can do any better, so here it is again. We miss you, Dad.

It’s last summer and I’m at the bottom of our back yard forested hill in Georgia raking up piles of dead leaves, pulled weeds, tree-killer vines, and trimmed branches and piling them into the wheel barrow.  Full load, so now back up the hill to add to the mountain of dead vegetation at the front curb. Hope to god I pulled the gate closed after the last load or Danny Boy, our standard poodle will have escaped and the rest of the day will be spent running him down through our neighbors’ yards. According to Danny boy, obedience training doesn’t apply if you break out into the front yard – it’s all Easy Rider and wind flying through your floppy ears.

Halfway up the hill, I pause beside the only large tree that I have to cut down this week. It lost a major branch in a storm a couple of years ago and is down doing the slow old tree lean – looking for support from its younger brothers, who want nothing to do with him and his old greedy sun-grabbing leaves. I’ll grab the chain saw on the way back down and get it over with. When I grab the handles of the wheel barrow and start back up the hill, my heart starts racing and I’m short of breath. I set the wheelbarrow down again. There’s no cardiac issue here – it’s just another panic attack. This isn’t scary – it’s just damn irritating.

And I had these handled. Hardly had any during the terrifying months leading up to and after my sister-in law’s death last fall. Maybe it was because people needed me and I was distracted from my favorite subject – me. But now this spring, they come in unpredictable flurries. There’s no rhyme or reason to the onset; you could be peacefully reading a fulfilling book, or watching a classic movie on TV with growing irritation as it’s chopped into non-sensical scenes by erectile dysfunction and reverse-mortgage commercials. The solution is the same – deep breathing, conscious calm. Or last resort – Xanax; not a good choice if you’ve got pressing lumberjacking plans. Which are plans I know I could just not do. I could reschedule, take a break – but I really can’t – I have to accomplish this today. I have to push through my own bullshit and accomplish something worthwhile and visible. And Danny Boy might be out the front gate I left open, he could be hit by a car all because I’m wasting time with my self-obsession.

So I dash up the hill pushing the wheelbarrow, ready to face whatever disaster I’ve caused. But the gate is safely closed and latched. Danny Boy raises his head from the warm sunlit bricks on the other side of the patio – checking if it’s anything important. It’s just crazy Frank panting and wild-eyed, so he sighs and lays his head back down. I unlatch, go out with the wheelbarrow, push the gate closed with my foot, and roll toward the curb with the branches, leaves, and weeds.

My wife, Margaret and my therapist, Dr. Ellis say the panic attack flurry is part of the grief I’m feeling since the death of my father a couple of months ago.  I guess that makes sense, but though I love him still and spent my life with his overpowering intellect, courage, and strength as a frame to model and build what I could out of my life, I’d recently seen a whole other side of him. And I felt myself pulling away even as I helped care for him. His constant drinking clashed with my sobriety. His increasing dementia scared me witless. My ADHD leaves me scattered and memory-challenged continually and trying to help my mother and my dad navigate his own mental and emotional wilderness made me feel like I was stumbling into a dark passage of confusion, blame, and regret that was destined be mine as well, dragging my own wife and children down with me.

Doesn’t sound like grief to me. At both of his funerals – the one at the local church and the military service at Arlington National Cemetery, I felt my grief was for my mother and brother’s loss, not mine.

I realize I’m standing, staring vacantly at the street, like Boo Radley. I shake my head clear. All this obsessing about my dad isn’t helping me get the wheel barrow unloaded. Focus on getting the load on top of the pile, so you have room for the next. Pull up, and good. “Nice job son,” my dad says. I can feel that big hand pat my shoulder when I was twelve after stacking two cords of firewood behind the garage.

As I roll the empty wheelbarrow back toward the gate I think that ADHD isn’t like dementia. It’s not like my dad where your focus arbitrarily shifts and you completely lose track of time and place. He’d have to constantly regroup popping from the present to an ocean liner docked in France after World War II to a train taking an eight-year-old him home to Nebraska to see his grandmother.

Pushing the wheelbarrow onto the driveway I stop to look back across the front lawn at the mountain of yard debris at the curb to check it hasn’t fallen over into the street, and I think that the problem with ADHD isn’t necessarily being distracted away from your focus.

The ADHD problem is keeping everything that’s happening with whatever your focused on, in the moment in front of you – while all the insights sparked by this whatever about what has happened before, and then might happen in the future and what all that might mean to others or you (usually my primary concern.) Keeping that focus while all of these possibilities and emotional traps are going on in multiple intersecting layers – focus on top of focus concentrating on connecting threads so intently that you forget everything that in this process became trivial like rent or flight times or that last year, Memorial Day, I was with my Dad in Delaware, and we took a picture for his few surviving WWII Ranger war buddies.

Oh, great. Now I’m Boo Radley in the front yard staring at the street crying.

Wait, what’s that five-foot long thick branch doing in the middle of the lawn? I didn’t drop anything. I’m crazy as a bed bug but I keep my landscaping neat, damn it. Besides, well, branches don’t move. That’s when I notice the birds screeching and swooping down, and the black head of the big snake rears up, flicking its tongue in my direction.

I stand still, not sure what to do. My first thought is to ask Dad.

 

Originally published in Frank’s ADHD Dad blog at www.additudemag.com


My Dad, Dr. Frank E. South Jr.

Dad and Arlington HeadstoneA year ago today, in the early hours of March 4, 2013, my dad died at home, at peace, with his life-long sweetheart, my mom Bernadeane at his side. He was a strong, funny, intimidatingly intelligent, self-deprecating, demanding, critical, and profoundly loving man. For my brother, Robert and me, Dad was more than an influence; he was a primal force. We studied, imitated, and rebelled against him, knowing that as certain as sunrise he would always be there to keep us grounded, honest, and safe. That he was in fact mortal, has come as a shock we have had trouble accepting.

He was also a prominent physiologist, and a WWII Army Ranger medic who climbed the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc on D-Day.  His service in that war he looked back on with horror, humility, and pride. He spoke to that and more in the last address he gave as President of the World War II Rangers Battalions Association, which I’ve reprinted here.

RANGER MEMORIAL ADDRESS

by Frank E. South, President WWII RBA

Fort Benning, Georgia   October, 2009

           We are Army Rangers.  Our war was World War II.

          Like it does in all warriors, war stays alive within us. 

          You would think it would be the sharp crack of rifle fire and the cutting clatter of machine guns echoing down through time.  Or the ground-shuddering thud of shells marching patiently forward, finding their range.  Or the fast-closing whine of aircraft dropping from the sky.

          All of that was there.

          But it is the voices of our fellow Rangers, alive or dead, that live on in us through the years.  For in truth, like all warriors, we fought for each other.  We fought to keep each other alive.

          And now, standing at this memorial, I realize that we have fulfilled that duty.  And we will continue to do so.  We can do no less.

          We are Army Rangers.

          Rangers Lead The Way.  

Dad was buried last spring at at Arlington National Cemetery, with, family, friends, past and present-day Rangers and honor guard in attendance. 


Sung’s Ride – a short story

Sung was going to die. He was sure of it. September can be murderously hot in Waikiki, especially if you’re locked inside a parked black Explorer baking in the afternoon sun. Each fading breath burned his throat. But worse, his vintage silk aloha shirt and the crotch of his new cream linen slacks were soaked with sweat.

Sung accepted death, but when he went, he intended to go when he wanted and in style. Maybe seventy-five or eighty, on a first-class cruise, high on oxy, with some big tan white guy’s muscles wrapped around him. Not approaching the peak of his career, suffocating in the back of a detective’s car in ruined sweat-stained resort wear like some stupid drunk tourist.

His hands were cuffed behind him and anchored to a steel ring in the crack of the back seat. How long had he been in here?  Sung didn’t know. But he knew that this is how babies die in Florida.

Lady in Orlando locks Junior in the car, runs in to get her dry cleaning, starts in with some other fat white woman – yapping, smoking, and crunching potato chips. By the time she gets back to her car – stick a fork in Junior, he’s done. Sung considers his size. He’s small, even for a southern Chinese. Junior-size. He blinks away sweat dripping from his forehead. Forget the cruise. Forget the haole boyfriend. Forget all of it. Death has him now.

The Orlando lady runs out and sees him. She screams and tries to open the car door, but she burns her hand. She gets a baseball bat. She smashes the window and reaches in. Now she’s got her burned fingers on his shirt. She pulls. No no no. He has style. He is gay. He is Chinese. He will not live with mayonnaise and stretch pants. Bodies slam into the side of the car.

“I am not Junior, lady!” Sung screamed. “I am not dead!  I am Chinese!” He jerked his head back and forth, gasping, his eyes slamming into focus on an irritated Japanese man’s face telling him to shut up for Christ’s sake.

The Japanese man was Paul Tanaka, a Honolulu Police detective pulling him forward by the front of his wet shirt to un-cuff him.

“What’s the matter Sung?  Victims come back to haunt you?”

“I am the victim! I almost died in here. I could sue. Take your badge.”

Tanaka pulled him out of the back seat. “Fine by me,” said Tanaka, “I’ve been looking for a way out for years.” Next to Tanaka was a woman Sung recognized as Crystal, the hottie hard-ass owner of a local strip club. She laughed.

“Bullshit, Paul. No one could get you off the job.”

Tanaka slammed the car doors shut. “Doesn’t keep your sister from trying,” he said.

“She’s your wife. She worries about you…”

“Now who’s bullshitting?”

Crystal pulled Tanaka away from the car. Sung couldn’t hear what they were saying, so he took stock. The detective had relocated him to the front seat, and re-cuffed him. But not anchored to a cuff ring, an upgrade Sung appreciated. Tanaka had also deposited two bloodied greasy tourist lumps in the back, cuffed and anchored. The lumps slumped against each other, groaning and breathing in and out like the big wet seal lions Sung had seen on a PBS environmental special. Sung thought these two probably never watched PBS. Some criminals worked to better themselves culturally, some didn’t.

Tanaka got behind the wheel and looked across Sung to Crystal on the street. “I’ll call you later,” he said.

Crystal smiled at Tanaka. “Thanks,” she said. Tanaka looked at her a beat, returned her smile, nodded and then pulled away. Sung filed those smiles away with the bits of their conversation. You never know. Tanaka shot a look at Sung. “You’re up here just ‘til I take out the garbage. Don’t get cute or I’ll knock those shiny new capped teeth down your throat. Got it?”

“Got it, boss.” Sung looked down at his Ferragamo loafers, pulled one foot out admiring the pedicure he got this morning. Those Koreans sure know their feet. “I won’t sue,” he said.

“Good. Sit there and mind your business.”

That was cool by Sung; he sure didn’t want anything to happen to his new teeth. They were key to his smooth-money look. No one suspects their wallet’s been lifted by a man who looks richer than they are. He was already the top dip in the islands. Now he was on the brink of taking his class-act skills worldwide.

Then Tanaka showed up out of nowhere and caught him with his hand in that German frau’s purse. What was a cop doing at the Waikiki Surf seafood buffet anyway? Sung had two previous convictions. This arrest could seriously screw up his career. But he would wait, see how Tanaka played it. Chinese were infinitely more patient than the Japanese, a fact that every Chinese knew, but the Japanese like this detective, were too busy being busy to notice.

Tanaka turned by the zoo and then took another left on Kuhio. Frankie, the smaller of the two busted-up tourists in the back seat, leaned forward. Frankie had a split lip and his face was bruised and starting to swell. But he managed to approximate the dignified, friendly tone he used when he got in trouble back in Philly.

“Detective, my Cousin Anthony’s really sorry he grabbed that girl. I was hoping maybe there was a way, you know, we could work things out.”

Tanaka swerved around a tour bus and kept going down Kuhio. Frankie pressed.

“No question, Anthony and I got a little out of hand in the strip club. But then again, the bartender and that bouncer chick lost their shit too. But forget them. You got pulled into the middle, and the way I see it, that’s not fair. So Anthony and I want to put things right. And fortunately we have the means to do that, to reimburse you for all your trouble. So, think about it, it’s just a thought, but understand, I’m talking about substantial means here, Detective.”

Anthony leaned his head back against the seat, trying to stop it spinning right off his neck. Anthony didn’t care if the Jap cop bit on Frankie’s dip-shit routine or not. He didn’t care if they got thrown in the can. He didn’t care about his cracked jaw, broken molars, bruised gut, cracked ribs or his eyes swollen into slits. The only thing that mattered to Anthony was that back at the club he went out like a man. It hadn’t looked good right up to the last play in the last half-second, but that’s the moment when champions are born.

Only because Anthony was distracted by the stripper, that bouncer-bitch Crystal had slipped Anthony into some pressure-point shit ju-jitsu hold that put his whole right side into a paralyzing fire, and two seconds later she was frog-marching him toward the exit, with Frankie skeezing along beside her doing his kiss-ass apologizing for Anthony, basically calling him a retard. When they cleared the bar and were just that half-second to the door, an epiphany hit Anthony on the head like a twenty pound sack of flour dropping from a stack in the back the of his Uncle’s bakery where he was wasting his life waiting for a chance to do collections.

Suddenly he could see it now in Super Bowl slo-mo: It was Frankie’s idea to come to this strip joint. It was Frankie feeding him drinks and goading him up on to that stripper’s runway. It was Frankie who was going to tell Uncle Vito and the boys in Philly all about how Anthony got handled by this cooze. If Anthony let himself be bitch-slapped and led out the front door like this, his life was over.

Anthony now knew he had absolutely zero to lose. That cold brand of insight can free one’s mind up to a whole range of options. Anthony went with the psycho option, and nearly getting his arm ripped out of its socket in the process, threw himself to the floor aping a violent epileptic fit. Then, before anybody could spot the fake, jumped up raving and slammed into that six-foot dyke bouncer, running her backward fully intending to snap her back in half against the bar.

Mark Homea had bartended in the club since forever and had seen Crystal handle any situation that came her way with a seamless smooth professionalism that he envied. There had been a rare time or two when due to sheer numbers, she might need a hand. But he had never seen any situation anywhere get so bad so quick as the one that Crystal was in the middle of with these two goombas. He knew the drill though, so as he vaulted over the bar with the taped up aluminum softball bat, he hit the speed dial on his cell.

Anthony didn’t manage to hurt the jujitsu chick much, but shit, he went down fighting. They had to bring the fucking bat. He laughed, thinking about it. Laughing wasn’t good for his busted up gut.

Tanaka turned into the parking garage of The Beachcomber. Frankie was pumped. This was their hotel. He had gotten to the cop.  Frankie was figuring how far to lowball the Jap when Anthony started making wheezing sounds, then gurgling sounds, and then heaved beer and spicy Buffalo wings with blue cheese dressing into the foot well. This was going to cost Frankie a fucking fortune.

Sung watched Tanaka turn the a/c up high, lower the windows, take a parking ticket from the machine and cruise up the ramp like nobody else was in the car at all. Sung was impressed. It’s hard to stay focused when people are puking in your car and trying to bribe you at the same time. Tanaka kept going up past empty parking spots, the car’s tires squealing on the tight turns, until they broke through to the sunlight banging off the concrete of the deserted roof lot. He parked the car at the edge, seven stories up.

Tanaka was tired of people like this. Why fly six thousand miles to get into a bar fight?  Why didn’t they stay home and terrorize their own strippers?  He shook his head. He’d been on edge since he rolled out of bed this morning, probably because it wasn’t his bed. His wife was flying home tomorrow. How could he tell her he was in love with her sister?  He would have to end it with Crystal. Things were not in balance. Balance was important to him. When Tanaka was ten, his father sat him down and unwound a roll of old white cloth. Inside was a polished hardwood stick about four feet long. There were old nicks and scratches under the polish.

“This once belonged to your grandfather, a policeman in Tokyo. It was his jo. It was his weapon, and it was him.” The jo looked alive. Tanaka stared.

“Go ahead,” his father said, “Pick it up.”

He did. It felt warm. Familiar. His father stood in front of him, his arms crossed. “Your grandfather was proud of being a policeman – of defending the law; more proud of that than of anything else in his life. Justice was his passion. No matter who opposed him, he would not bend. Power, connections, wealth meant nothing to him. So, they killed him.”

Tanaka moved the jo in a small arc. It filled his eyes. “Grandfather was a hero?”

“He was rigid, like that stick. The family had to leave Japan in fear for their lives. He was no hero. He was hard and selfish. He knew no balance.” Tanaka’s father spoke more of the folly of passion and the virtues of compromise, conciliation, concession. And always, balance. Tanaka would hear this hundreds of times through the years, would come to accept it, and then pursue it.

But at ten he didn’t hear much of what his father said. Tanaka was captured by the polished scars of the jo, by the spirit of his grandfather. The passion for justice pounded in his blood, obliterating reason.

Frankie leaned forward. “Detective?  You alright?”

Tanaka glanced at Sung. Sung looked back. “Your play, Boss. I wasn’t even here,” he said.

Tanaka sighed. Everybody thinks they’re in a cop show. “Stay put,” he said to Sung. Then Tanaka got out of the car, opened the back doors and took the cuffs off the two tourists from Philadelphia. “Get out of the car,” he said.

The skinny one scrambled out first, and started talking money. Big cash for this. Huge. Uncle Vito can wire it straight to any account he wants. No one the wiser. The heavy guy stumbled out trailing vomit on his shoes.

“Clean the puke out of my car,” Tanaka said. They didn’t want to do that, but Tanaka convinced them to try. They ended up using Frankie’s Hugo Boss sport coat for the job. Then Tanaka closed the car door and handed them back their wallets and hotel key cards. “This is simple, fellas. I’m not reporting the assault, or the attempted bribery. You’re getting a pass on this. One time. My friend doesn’t need reports of trouble with her club’s address on it. It’s bad for the liquor license. Bad for business. You’re businessmen; you can understand this, right?”

They nodded. They were businessmen covered with vomit and beaten to a pulp, but they understood.

“This is one time only. You show your face near that club, or cause any kind of trouble anywhere in Waikiki, I’ll come down on you island style. You hear me?”

Before they could start nodding, Sung leaned out the car window. “That means chopping your ass up with a machete and burying you in a cane field in the middle of the night. I’ve seen him do it, too. Him and his cop buddies. They like it.” The Philly boys ran for the parking elevator and didn’t look back.

Tanaka turned to Sung. “What was that?”

Sung shrugged. “I was assisting you, spicing up your presentation. People respond to specifics.”

Tanaka opened the front passenger door, pulled him out, and Sung took his shot. Sung said he had a reporter friend at Channel 9, a Chinese girl. If he told her a story about a HPD Detective having an affair with a strip club owner, and then letting straight white guys go while locking up the poor gay Chinese man – she would jump on it.

Tanaka closed his eyes and turned his face up to the afternoon sun. It struck him that his father’s reverence of balance was based in fear. Fear of being definite. Fear of revealing what you are, even to yourself.

Tanaka was silent looking up at the sky. It made Sung nervous, so he laid it out quick. If Tanaka let him walk like the white boys – no story. They’re even. Otherwise, Channel 9 blasts it all over. Tanaka stepped toward him. Sung flinched. Tanaka didn’t notice. He stowed Sung in the back seat and locked the cuffs through the ring. Then Tanaka got behind the wheel and looked at Sung in the rear view mirror. “Do what you want, Sung,” he said. “That’s what I’m going to do.”

Tanaka started the car and headed for the station. He’d do the paperwork on this thief and sign out. Then he’d take Crystal to dinner.

 

**********

© Frank South 2006, 2014