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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Interviewed By A Fish

Interview with author Art Rosch conducted by
General Stonewall Jackson Cichlid

            A note from Art Rosch:
           One day I was passing the fish tanks in a large pet store.  I hadn't intended to buy a fish.  The idea was absurd, as we were then planning to move into an RV. Nothing stays put during the driving portion of RV adventures.  An aquarium would be a disaster.  Now that we're hardened RV hipsters, we understand the uses of Gorilla tape, bungees and slip-loks.  We can, to a degree, securely fasten doors, closets, cabinets, drawers, small children and  demented adults.  In the early days any sudden turn would bring all the silverware out to bury itself in the faux wood paneling.  
            A fish swam up to the glass and fastened its eyes upon me.  It was a thumb-sized cichlid with iridescent stipples of blue and red.  It was stunningly gorgeous.
            "Hey," said the fish. "I'm for you.  Get me out of here."
            I tried to ignore the creature but it kept pace with me the length of the aquarium.  Other fish got out of its way as if it were a predatory monster. 
            "I'm serious," said the fish.  "They don't obey my orders in here.  They don't know who I am.  What am I supposed to do with an undisciplined rabble like this? " Its eyes almost crossed with contempt, " Angel fish?  Mollies, guppies, goldfish?  Star fish!  I have only one good thing to say about star fish.  They don 't drop their weapons and run when the fighting gets hot."
            I had to stop.  The fish and I squared off and looked deep into one another's eyes. 
            "General?"  I inquired.  "General Stonewall Jackson?"
            "I know," he replied. "This is embarrassing.  I was a Presbyterian."
            That was how I acquired The General.  He liked people.  He hated fish.  He ate the female cichlid we introduced into his tank. 
          We rigged a special travel bowl that hung from a hook on the motor coach's ceiling.  No matter how we bounced and yawed, the nylon sling that held the bowl kept the General's water nice and placid. 
            When we planned to stay somewhere for a while, we bought ten gallons of bottled water, heated it to the proper temperature and put The General in his aquarium.  It was a major pain in the ass.

End of  note.  Begin interview.

General Cichlid:
            Mr. Rosch, you've maintained a literary career of extraordinary purity.  You sold a story to Playboy Magazine in the late 70's.  It won a prestigious award.  The online magazine Exquisite Corpse published two of your satirical pieces  Aside from fleeting brushes with notoriety, you've barely sold or published anything at all.  In fact, I believe no one besides your partner and your household pets has ever read your most important work. 

Art Rosch:
            First of all, please call me Art.  This formality is silly.  You are one of the household pets who has read my work.  In fact, you've read more of my work than anyone besides my partner.
General:  Yes, thanks for setting up that music stand and turning the pages.  You're a patient man.
Rosch:  Fox did most of the page turning.  You know how she is.  Anything for a reader.
General: Let's get back to the uncompromising nature of your written work.
Rosch:  It's easy to have integrity when you're not getting paid.  The lack of pay is a great motivator.  There's always the looming possibility of posthumous fame.  I don't worry about it too much.  I'm fairly certain I'll be forgotten long before the quality of my writing is recognized..
General:  You don't find this obscurity frustrating?
Rosch:  Not at all.  If I became a successful writer, I would have to behave like one.
I would have to increase my medications.  I would have photos taken of me with my chin on my fist.  I would have to travel on airplanes.  Who wants to do that?

Further Author's Note:

            As you can discern, The General was a remarkable fish.  The preceding fantasy
is half true.  One story about The General that is completely true involves an amazing leap of faith, an awesome feat of piscatory prowess.
            One day I was cleaning my friend's aquarium.  I had prepared a large bowl
with about three gallons of his water, and set him to swimming in it while I poured out the rest of the water and cleaned the gunk off the glass and out of the filters.
          The General wasn't thrilled about this; he slapped the surface of the water with his
tail and darted in angry circles.  Before meeting The General I had never conceived that fish could have such elaborate personalities.  Now I know better.  Animals, all of the creatures on this planet, need to be taken seriously.  Fish, fowl, mammal, invertebrate, they are all conscious, each with unique complexity.  The General was a lesson.
            Having cleaned the rocks, the castle, the toy soldiers, (Yankee and Confederate) and the pumps and filters, I put the aquarium back on the table.  I went through the procedure of getting fresh water to the correct temperature and began filling the tank.  The General was in the big bowl, about four feet away on a dining table.  I was going to net him and transfer him back to the aquarium.  Then I would gently pour the water in the bowl back into the tank until it was topped off.
             I approached the table with the net in my hand.  I was about to chase The General around the bowl until I had him in the little rectangle of green mesh.  He saved me the trouble.  With an explosive leap, the fish flew through the air to make a perfect dive into the aquarium.  Sploosh!!
Let me make this completely clear.  A fish the size of my thumb flew a perfectly accurate arc that must have been at least twenty feet in total extent. If he had missed he probably would have died.
          I will assume that the General was taking no more risks regarding demise by friendly fire.

            This, I swear, is completely true.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Fourteen Reasons To Read "Confessions Of An Honest Man"


Read this book if you like dark edgy humor.
Read this book if you want to be touched by a character who bucks the odds and wins.
Read this book if you’ve had an addiction, compulsion or neurosis that really messed up your life.
Read this book if you love jazz or if music has played an important role in your life.
Read this book if you were an underdog in high school.
Read this book if you’ve done something you knew was wrong but couldn’t help yourself.  Then you did it again and again. 
Read this book if you want to be so riveted by battle scenes in Afghanistan that you can't stop turning the pages.
Read this book if you want to know what Jimi Hendrix was really like.
Read this book if you love lyrical, poetic language.
Read this book if you long to see villains get karmic justice.                
Read this book if you identify with characters who are healing deep wounds in their souls and you want to heal along with them.
Read this book if you’ve had  therapy or  psychiatric treatment.
Read this book if you want to meet a family so dysfunctional that you'll conceive a new appreciation for your own family.
Read this book if you want to know the difference between “chemical imbalances in the brain” and true evil. Read this book.  Satisfaction guaranteed. One Hundred year warranty.

Paperback At Amazon
click here

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

I won Honorable Mention! Here's Writer's Digest Review of my novel, CONFESSIONS OF AN HONEST MAN

I paid $99 to enter my e-book into the Writer's Digest Self Published Book Competition. I would say that I got my money's worth.  I received Honorable Mention.  It wasn't the DREAM PRIZE, $5,000 and an agency contract, plus a lot of major attention.  The review tells me that the reviewer understood the book's basic theme.  The only thing he missed is how often the book is very funny. So.. Here it is.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5

Production Quality and Cover Design: 5

Plot and Story Appeal: 5

Character Appeal and Development: 5

Voice and Writing Style: 5

Judge’s Commentary*: 

 Confessions Of An Honest Man by Arthur Rosch brings the reader a story of conflict, abuse of different sorts, family dysfunction and eventual triumph over obstacles. This novel is skillfully written to give insight into some dark places of life without overwhelming the reader. The protagonist, Aaron Kantro, carries an awesome burden on his shoulders from first page to last.  As we follow his story and his commitment to his musical calling we are given glimpses of others who are part of Aaron's life. The story spans several decades from Aaron's boyhood to becoming a parent.A highly dysfunctional family sets the tone for all of Aaron's woes.  An abusive mother who suffers mental illness takes a toll on the lives of her children and spouse. As Aaron discovers the call of his muse to music, his mother thwarts his every effort to success.  Despite her obstruction, Aaron climbs his way to success in the face of his own and others' abuse of drugs.  The author gives an excellent insight to the effects of parental abuse on the other members of Aaron's familly.  This book is  an excellent read if more than a bit dark at times.  The ultimate triumph is worth the agonizing stops along the way with Aaron, Zoot and the rest.  Rosch has carefully constructed good characterizations, good dialogue and good descriptive passages.  This is likely a book I would not have picked up on my own but I am better for having read it.  It is one that I will carry with me for a long time.  Confessions Of An Honest Man should achieve wide readership and success.

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Perils Of Getting Out Of Bed



In 2005 my spouse and I moved out of an absurdly expensive cabin in the woods and bought a 38 foot motor coach.  We had decided to make a major change of lifestyle.  It was an audacious and risky move, loaded with potential pitfalls.  But it worked.  We got out of our "stick house" and got into a slightly cramped but homey RV. 
            Our original plan included travel.  We crossed the country once, and went on assorted adventures, but the price of gasoline kept rising and our incomes kept falling.
            The RV became a home in a campground where the rent is cheap and all the normal conveniences of civilization are available.  Internet: check.  TV: check. Phone, water, power, sewage: check check check check.
            We love our 38 foot motor coach and we live amicably with two dogs and three cats, surrounded in a campground by a motley bunch of people from all walks of life.
            Our flat screen TV is in the bedroom.  There are cabinets and drawers, windows and fans.  The arrangement of space and the existence of five animal friends imposes one giant fact of life upon us: the only way on or off our bed is from the bottom.  Crawl in, crawl out, head first or butt first or any way you can.  It's a form of gymnastics.  Adding to the complexity of getting in and out of bed is the fact that there are two sets of doggie steps at the bottom of the bed.  Our actual exit/entrance is about two feet of space between these steps.  What's the story? you may ask.  The answer is twofold.  One, our bed sits higher than the normal bed because that's how RV beds are designed.  They are set on a swinging slab of plywood that can be opened to reveal a large storage space. 
            Our cats could get up and down without a problem, but when our teeny miniature poodles arrived we found ourselves being constantly disturbed by whines and whimpers.  I want down.  I want up.  I want down.  I want up.
            We ordered this cool set of pet steps: a five step staircase that fit perfectly into our domain.  Gabriel, the smaller dog, loves them.  Bear, the bigger dog (Gabriel's dad) is terrified by the steps and no amount of cajoling or training will get him to use them. Being the utter saps that we are, we left Bear's stool in place at the right end of the bed, put Gabe's steps on the left and there you have it!  No whines or whimpers.  Gabe up, Gabe down, Bear up, Bear down, end of story.  Each of our poodles is about the size of a shoebox.  They're half the size of our smallest cat.  They like sleeping and lazing underneath blankets or within piles of pillows.  There is a rigorous discipline involved in the act of moving to and from the bed.  We must ALWAYS know the location of the animals.  It has become second nature to make a mental map of the bed before moving in any direction.
We feel our way, hands, eyes, entire bodies recording the positions of our loved creatures.  And it's been good; no one's been hurt.  Perhaps, even, the exercise and stretching keeps us loose and more fit than might otherwise be the case.  There are times when I find myself in familiar yoga poses, contorted but otherwise successfully moving to my destination.
            Getting out of bed is a job.  Getting out of bed is a job that has to be done cheerfully in spite of wake-up wrath, grogginess, the pukes, piddles or poops.
            I might interject here that my spouse and I live this way with very little inhibition.  We show tender compassion toward one another's aging bodies.  Life is inherently humiliating as it is; we are careful to grant ourselves some dignity as a couple in a life-long process.
            So...if I say that we have a rare intimacy, I believe it's true.  It may be commonplace for all I know, but I suspect otherwise.  I'm not sure that a great majority of couples are as close as The Fox and I are to one another.  There isn't any choice.  An RV is an environment that is not conducive to privacy. 
            Getting in and out of bed is a procedure that induces uncommon positions and viewpoints.
            It is time now for me to give you another piece of information about myself:
I tend to fall asleep in unusual positions and at unusual times.
            Talk about full moons!  At this point, if you are a bit prudish or tightly wrapped about certain normal anatomical realities, I suggest you stop reading and find an issue of Vanity Fair or O(prah).
            The Fox and I are in our sixties.  I'm not sure how this happened.  The God Of Hippie Fantasies promised that we would never get older than thirty five.  Anything after that was like one of those thirteenth century maps of the world.  HERE LIVE DRAGONS, says the map and that's how we felt.  Old age didn't exist.  It would never exist. 
            We weren't going to be sixty or sixty five.  Hell no!  Something would intervene to ensure our youthfulness.  We would discover that the juice of wild onions mixed with the nectar of rare orchids would halt the aging process.  Or something like that.  Getting old just wasn't real.  It would never happen.
            Before we met, The Fox and I lived wild and crazy lives.  We were in dangerous places, courting viruses or murder and dismemberment, to say nothing of derangement of the senses, intellect and terminal brain damage.
            Somehow we ducked under those scythes.  We survived, and the onion juice/rare orchid miracle didn't happen.  What is it that people say?  That today's sixty is yesterday's fifty?  What bullshit.  Today's sixty is more like seventy.  Baby boomers have lived risky lives, imbibed quantities of exotic stuff, participated in the great Toxic Democracy, watched fifty billion bullets and ten billion bombs explode all over the world, fled from toxic clouds and radioactive dust storms.  We've lived in apocalyptic terrifying times!  It's stressful!  It beats down those lovely anti-oxidants that we're supposed to cultivate.
            What the hell do we do now?  Am I going to have to be seventy?  Just wake up one day, bam!  I'm seventy? No!  Nuh-uh.  Fuck this.
            Time moves awfully fast.  Time is sneakier than a weasel stalking a raven's egg.
            I can fall asleep with a book in my hand and a mouth full of raisins.  I can look perfectly awake but I am sound asleep.  I can raise myself up on my left elbow to look out the window and fall asleep, halfway between up and down.  I can, so I am told, walk to the fridge, make myself a waffle, then walk away and get back into bed.  Eyes open but sound asleep.
            The Fox and I have had a rough year.  I lost a job I'd had for nearly thirty years.  I had worked as manager of a large commercial property.  Great job.  Name my hours.  No supervision.  Decent pay. Then the property owner died suddenly.  One day last year I got a letter giving me thirty days' notice.
            It's been that kind of year.  The Fox suffers from auto-immune diseases. 
I have the feet of a hundred year old longshoreman. I don't walk, I hobble.
When an opportunity comes along that gives us a good belly laugh, we cherish the moment like precious treasure.
            Last week I woke up to take my two o'clock pee.  I'm lucky I only pee twice a night.  My prostate must be the size of a football.  What is a prostate, anyway?  It seems to be a gender-specific time bomb buried just behind men's nuts.  Thanks, god.  Thanks for the prostate.  Great invention.
            Anyway, as I was sitting there taking my usual ten minutes to pee, The Fox woke up and slithered from bed.  It was time for her two-fifteen pee and she stood before me in the dark, waiting patiently.
            "You know what you did last night?" she asked, unexpectedly.  We don't talk much in the middle of the night.  We mumble and stumble, grunt and nod until our missions are accomplished.
            I didn't say anything.  She was going to tell me.
            "You got to your knees, turned around and started getting out of bed, head first.  Like you did just now.  Except that as your head reached the bottom of the bed,  your elbows folded, you laid your head in your hands and you fell back to sleep."
            I already had the picture.  I am a big hairy Jewish man.  As I crawled forward, dodging three cats and two dogs, I ran out of steam and fell asleep with my ass in The Fox's face. 
            I started laughing.  It was late and our neighbors are pretty close so my laugh was a high pitched "heee heeee" but it was still satisfying.
            "Your snore was so rhythmic" Fox continued.  "The night lights gave me a full view of  your full moon and I thought maybe I could play bongos on your butt, maybe they would be tuned to nice pitches, maybe a minor third between them so it would sound like 'Sing Sing Sing'.  But I didn't want to wake you."
            I was tweeting like a canary I was laughing so hard and trying not to roar as I might in broad daylight.
            "I thought you'd wake up eventually and finish your chore.  As long as you didn't fart or something, what harm could  your ass do to me?  I was willing to take that chance.  You were so deeply asleep; and of course I think you're cute from any angle, so I figured 'what's the harm?'.
            We were both giggling like children.  Oh my god!  You just had to be there.
            I did of course wake up after about five minutes and complete my forward facing slink off the bed, snaking my way down with the help of the doggie steps, none the wiser regarding the comic episode I had gifted to my spouse until she told me this story the following night.
            Have I embarrassed anyone by telling this tale?  I couldn't care less.  We have been betrayed by the God Of Hippie Fantasies.  There is no magic wild onion/orchid juice to reverse our neuropathies, our arthritis, our pops and twinges, our encroaching deafnesss, blindness and dithering mental acuity.  I hereby decree that growing old is an activity of heroes, that it takes major guts to manage the passages that lead us to the Great Light that waits beyond death.
            And if there is no Great Light?  Then we will turn back to behold our brief and insignificant life experiences and know that this WAS the Great Light, one that we weren't able to recognize until after we had lived it.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Start With "Crazy"

The U.S. Of A resembles one giant dysfunctional family.  Those on the left regard their cousins on the right as malignant idiots.  Those on the right regard their cousins on the left as elitist saboteurs of democracy.  The squabbling is endless.  Tempers flare, voices are raised. Weapons are brandished and occasionally they are used to murder people. Before Donald Trump came to office this friction stayed mostly within a healthy parameter.  We were engaged in The Great American Debate regarding the nature and function of government.  Sadly, History has shown that we are capable of doing terrible violence to one another.  The extremist talk that's making its rounds scares the hell out of me.  When a spokesman for a powerful gun association accuses "Liberals" of brainwashing and manipulating high school students, I wonder if he actually believes what he is saying, or whether he is saying these things as part of a script.  Either way, such ideas reek of malice. I don't trust extremists on either end of the spectrum.  We're losing the moderate center, and we're losing it to those who have some concealed reason for inciting animosity between Americans. I don't know what a functional family looks like, but I imagine it's one in which members support one another with compassion and generosity.  This is not what today's America looks like.  Instead of mutual support  I see hostility, contempt and rancor. I see blame and a failure of individuals to critically examine their own thinking, just in case they might be wrong about some of their beliefs.

It is vital that we always hold up our beliefs to scrutiny.  We should examine our own minds and belief systems with great care.  People hold their opinions with tight death grips because they are frightened.  That fear generates bloodshed.

One of our greatest disasters is the connection between politics and money.  Only the rich can afford the towering cost of running campaigns.  Thus we are dominated by the agendas and tactics of the rich and powerful.  We ARE an  oligarchy.  We are actually something far worse, we are a Kakistocracy.  That's a newly popular word that originated in ancient Greece.  It means "government by the worst".  Every day we are regaled to a cast of venal operators whose appearance suggests that they are wearing horror movie clown faces.  If we need a reform urgently, before we reform gun laws, before we reform immigration policy, before we change ANYTHING, we need to reform campaign finance.  We need to bring a new method of choosing the people who make the laws by which we are governed. We need to get money out of politics.  I don't know how we'll achieve that.  The fox is already guarding the hen-house.  We need something akin to a revolution, one that is miraculously shorn of bloodshed.   

American culture is a multi-headed hydra.  It's brilliant and it's toxic. Over the decades, life has become more and more expensive in the U.S.A.  This "free" country charges an exorbitant price. The complex demands of a consumer society weigh heavily on its citizens.  Young people are especially vulnerable when they feel an avalanche of expectations laid upon them.  If they're to have a decent future, if they're to 'get ahead' they need to have stellar grades, be models of civic action, join clubs, demonstrate competence in multiple disciplines and volunteer to help the afflicted. It doesn't hurt if they're also athletic and good looking.  Who can fit into that template?  Who can get into an Ivy League school and graduate with an MBA and show the drive that's required in our heated business world?  What about the average kids?  It's said that everyone is good at something but the complexity of our culture is robbing ordinary people of a future  All the while a torrent of image and information comes pouring through the Internet, television, movies, radio, advertisements and smart phones.   This information chaos skews our perceptions and encourages depression and confusion.  Take a look at any waiting room or bus stop..  The people aren't talking to one another.  Their eyes are glued to the screens of their phones.  Americans may be the loneliest people in history. 

Recently a depressed and unstable eighteen year old murdered seventeen high school students with an AR-15 assault rifle.  Today  I heard the tape of a 9-1-1 call  made by this child about a year ago, just days after his mother died.  I felt such pity for him.  I couldn't help it!  I'm outraged at his evil, but I imagine that he felt abandoned and terrified.

In a nation of more than three hundred million people, there are millions who aren't being seen and cared for.  So many people fall through the cracks, yet we are armed to the teeth and waiting for some catastrophe so we can discern which are the good guys and which are the bad guys.  We are better than this.  Our president suggests that we give weapons to school teachers, that they may protect their students.  This epic dumb idea will create a new class of suicides.  We'll be adding Death By Teacher to the already climbing incidents of Suicide By Cop.  We aren't going to purge this nation of firearms.  Guns are deeply embedded in our national DNA.  There are immutable historical reasons for this situation.  Guns will always be a part of our cultural nervous system. 

It would be better to try to stop being crazy.  Because we are...crazy...we're bat-shit crazy.  Our minds can only cope with so much signal intensity before they start to smell like fried wiring inside the walls.  That's where I would start, anyway.  I would accept the fact that I am crazy, I'm disturbed and I need to look for someone who can help me. If I were to pin a diagnosis on Americans it would be that we suffer Bi-Polar Disorder wrapped up in a mantle of PTSD.

Maybe I'll call the Norwegians.  Or the Dutch.  

Monday, August 6, 2018

The Conscious Agent

You are a conscious agent, living within a human body.  When the lungs stop breathing, when the heart stops beating, the conscious agent packs up the tools it needs for its next journey.  Where will the conscious agent be going?  That depends on a lot of things.  Destiny is a very large word.  It’s also an unavoidable word.  Every creature has a destiny.  Every sentient, thinking and feeling creature has a destiny that is an outcome from the way the particular life has been lived.  The events of each life are decided outside of time, hence, they are immutable.

You and I can’t change what is going to happen.  The only thing we can change, as conscious agents, is our response to what happens.  That response is the instrument of change in the next existence. 
You can’t change the life you’re in, but you can use the life you’re in to change the next life you will live.

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Pet Psychic Speaks

Those of you who haven't read my Travel Memoir, "THE ROAD HAS EYES" don't know that I have spent the last twenty years living with a woman who is called a Pet Psychic.  She doesn't call herself anything.  Or, needing a label,  she calls herself an Animal Empath.  I have learned to trust her on these matters by witnessing countless demonstrations of her unusual abilities.  The following passage is a chapter in my book.  It happened exactly as I have written.  The e-book can be found here: The Road Has Eyes

Fox’s cell phone tinkled its cascade of musical notes. I was at the computer and Fox was behind me on the couch.

She listened for a moment, and responded, “Yes, this is Fox D-----. Yes, I do work with animals…..”. More words were spoken on the other end, and Fox interrupted. “Wait wait. All I need is the dog’s name at this point. If I want other information, I’ll ask. Sometimes knowing too many facts will taint my reading. Just give me a few minutes. Let me see if I can contact the dog. His name is Mikki? Okay.”

Fox rested the phone on her knee, straightened her posture, and seemed to be staring at a spot about two feet in front of her eyes. Her eyes were de-focused as she loosed her imagination into a receptive mode. Her breathing grew deeper, and there was a tingle of energy in her nerves, as if she had been switched on to some current that now raced through her body.

She picked up the phone. “I see a male dog, very small. A Yorkie, maybe. No, don’t answer me, just let me talk until I’m finished. There’s a fire, and he’s running. The area looks like San Diego, maybe the suburbs. Forest fire, trees burning near this house. His family’s house. There are mom, dad, and two kids, the kids are about nine or ten. Mikki’s their baby, they love Mikki. The fire comes and the parents bundle the kids into the car. They can’t find Mikki. The kids are screaming where’s Mikki, where’s Mikki? But Mikki’s hiding behind a shelf in the garage, he’s so scared. The sounds of the trees burning, the crackle is very painful to his ears. The car pulls out of the garage and Mikki chases after it, gets out before the garage door closes. He runs and runs after the car, and the kids see him, they’re screaming at their parents stop for Mikki, stop for Mikki, but the parents are scared, they don’t stop. The fire is really close. Mikki sees the kids faces, crying as they look out the car’s back window. Mikki runs until he can’t keep up with the car, but he keeps following their scent until he loses it. His paws are bleeding he’s run so far, but the fire is now distant, it isn’t threatening any more.”
I could hear the voice of the person through Fox’s little cell speaker. “Oh my god,” I heard distinctly.
A sheen of sweat coated Fox’s forehead. She spoke with urgency, words coming fast, a torrent of words. “Mikki can barely walk but he’s so thirsty and hungry that he keeps moving. He’s in a place where all the signs are in Spanish. There are a lot of people, crowds walking, and Mikki’s afraid. He stops behind a restaurant or a fast food place and there’s dirty water in a bucket and he drinks it. There’s a dumpster with food garbage, and there are other animals, wild and scary…”
I’ve seen this happen before, but rarely with such elaborate detail. And what a story! It’s like some Hallmark or Disney movie, but it’s real!

“A man comes outside and sees Mikki” Fox continued. “He brings bowls with some hamburger and clean water and beckons Mikki to come inside a little fenced area where he can eat without being bothered. He leaves Mikki there and goes back inside. Mikki crawls under some wooden crates and goes to sleep. He wakes when his paws hurt too much. He can barely walk. He stays in this place for a while, until his paws feel a little better. Then some men come and load the crates into a truck, and Mikki hobbles out through the open gate and goes down the road. Some kids see him and one of them catches him before he can hide. He tries to bite but he’s too weak to defend himself.”
Fox stops here and begins to weep. A sound comes from the phone. I can hear the woman on the other end also weeping.

“It’s okay,” Fox reassures. “I just can’t believe how these kids treated Mikki. I’m not going to tell you that. You don’t need these images. They drove around in a car playing loud  music and laughing. They treated Mikki like a toy. Mikki bit and fought, so they tossed him onto a busy street. He just managed to get to safety. He tried to hide behind some barrels, but a man found him and took him with a net on a pole, took him to a place with a lot of dogs barking, a lot of fear. Mikki was moved once more to a small kennel. He was treated well and his injuries were looked after.”

Fox slumped, exhausted. Her color was grey. She was breathing hard, as if she had been Mikki and had run all that distance, suffered all those trials. Tears pooled at the point of her chin.
The woman on the phone was speaking. Fox responded. “No wonder Mikki goes nuts when he hears the sound of Spanish! There are animal abusers everywhere but it seems that Mikki was in Mexico."

She listened for a moment. “Don’t hold that against him. No wonder he bit you when you tried to clean his paws. His paws will always be sensitive.. Where did you find Mikki?”
Fox listened. “So the San Diego Yorkie Rescue found him? Amazing. I can tell how much you love Mikki. Do you smoke? I didn’t want to tell you this, but I guess it’s relevant. Those kids burned him a couple times with cigarettes.”

Fox listened to the answer. “It doesn’t matter what you smoke. Mikki can’t tell the difference. It’s still smoking. You’ll have to smoke somewhere Mikki can’t see you. Anything to do with smoking will scare him, and he’ll get aggressive. Was everything done to try and contact his original family?”
Fox listened, nodded her head. “You have to do that. You have? That’s good. Maybe they lost their home, who knows? You did your best. Well .now you have Mikki.”

I could hear the effusions from the woman on the phone. She was weeping. Fox was weeping. Every part of the story she had gotten from Mikki could be corroborated. He had been picked up by Tijuana Animal Control, and when a rescue organization specializing in Yorkshire Terriers was patrolling the kennels, they found Mikki.

The new place was filled with people who cared for Mikki, soothed him and loved him. He had no tags, no collar. His feet were lacerated, and he had cigarette burns on his body. He was nursed back to health, and then a picture of him was posted on the internet. Three months passed with no one to claim him, then he was put up for adoption. That’s when Fox’s new client saw him online and drove to San Diego to bring him home to Northern California.

I can’t explain how Fox achieves these readings, these transfers of information from an animal’s experience into her own. Science scoffs; but I see it happen, I see her readings corroborated time and again. Science is not adequate to encompass such mysteries, so science says, “Impossible.”
Everything is possible. Sometimes, Fox can describe an animal’s experiences without having met the animal. All she needs is a name or a photograph. What is going on here? This isn’t a television show, this isn’t a gimmick. It happens and it has real consequences. Animals are re-united with their people, pets are healed of old trauma by having a witness. All kinds of strange things happen in Fox’s universe.

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