41: They call me Red…

     
 
 
 
Turn! Turn! Turn! 
by The Byrds
 

To everything turn, turn, turn
There is a season turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose
Under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything turn, turn, turn
There is a season turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose
Under heaven

 

Months passed, the Paddy Murphy Emergency Shelter was completed. People came and went, some would stay forever. Rhondda and I became close friends with Shakes, Ted, Sean and many of the other residents. Brianna, for the most part, kept busy in the house. Her friends and family visited often. The medical facilities were running smoothly with many addicts in recovery. Ted became an advisor to sobriety converts adopting a twelve-step program. Shakes liked to sit in the shade with his marijuana, Jack Daniels and his thoughts. We indulged him because we knew he wouldn’t be with us much longer. A hard life of sleeping outside through all seasons and abusing his body with drugs and alcohol had weakened his heart. He died several months later. Others helped with farm chores, cooking, cleaning and administration. There was even a learning facility for those who wanted to further their education and acquire new job skills. Each day was a new beginning. In all, there was a feeling of hope.

We were ever conscious of the danger from the bikers, but they were currently at war with another international 1%er club. Since many of our residents were former military and paramilitary, some having fought for years with the Fenians, the Black and Tans or the Provisional Irish Army, we were no longer viewed as an easy target, but as a force to be reckoned with.

For Rhondda and I, this journey had taken some strange turns. We weathered them as well as we could, based on our abilities and knowledge at the time. We would always be haunted by the fear of our real identities being discovered. That would never change, however, our new life in Ireland had brought us much joy as well as heartaches. We sat looking out at the beauty of the natural wonderland that surrounded the farm.  In the distance the mountains…closer a gently flowing spring that fed a river along the foothills.  The sound of the birds and scampering squirrels flitting about in the live oaks filled the sweet breeze that filtered through the open windows, it was hard to imagine that all was not perfect in the world.  Patrick closed his book, “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck, one that I have read several times. We discussed the current state of our world, the political climate and desperate situation of many of our friends and acquaintances were not something we could get past even for the brief time we had together in our private escape. I had been fighting the despair and outright anger at the downward spiral and sense of helplessness brought on by the movement of neo-conservatives advocating the use of force, manipulation and deception, driving radical changes to social policy, repressing society,  enabling large corporations to take over the world. It was clear that our government was lying, covering up and those whose task and responsibility to oversee and prevent the encroachment of this adversarial power could not be trusted. I now felt encouraged by the gatherings of protestors in the streets, something I would have been frightened by in the past. It was satisfying to devote our time and resources to the homeless survivors and those at risk of homelessness. In our minds, we had accomplished a lot. Many had been hurt along the way but, in time, we would have good memories to replace the bad. All in all, we were a happy couple with a large community of friends and a future promising joy and happiness.

In closing we leave you with two Irish proverbs, ‘May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far’  and ‘Here’s to a long life and a merry one. A quick death and an easy one. A pretty girl and an honest one. A cold pint and another one!’

Sláinte! 

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40: They call me Red…

 

The wake lasted for three days to allow people to come from afar to pay their respects and to say good-bye. It ended when the body was taken out of the house for the last time and moved to the local Church. On the day of the funeral, the coffin was carried by 6 males, family and close friends of Paddy. A Hearse led the procession to the Church with family and friends following behind the males carrying the coffin.

The funeral mass lasted 45 minutes with the priest and loved ones speaking about achievements made by the departed. Again, the coffin is carried by family and friends to the cemetery. 

The farm was quiet as nobody wanted to disturb the reverie. Instead of hammers banging, saws buzzing and drills whining we heard birds singing. Birds brought solace, not just bad omens. In ancient times, it was believed that your beloved departed relative would return to you in the form of a bird, at least for the duration of the mourning period.

Seven bikers were arrested and held in custody until the seven-week trial ended. The judge in sentencing said, “This was an appalling murder. A totally innocent man was cold-bloodedly executed with a firearm in broad daylight. Padraig Murphy was a person with his own work life, his own social life, his own private life, none of these lives, which he enjoyed, was entitled to continue to enjoy, in any way impinged upon your lives. The utter pointlessness of what you did makes his murder more shocking.”

The judge added: “None of you has shown the remotest feeling, consideration or remorse for what you did.

“This dreadful crime, in my judgment, falls into a particularly high category of seriousness because it involved the use of a firearm and because of its cold-blooded and ruthless nature.”

The seven defendants were each given life sentences of approximately 27 years for a combined total of 191 years.

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Freedom – Holly Rene Hunter

“Memories, like the corners of my mind
Misty watercolor memories
Of the way we were”

Gladys Knight And The Pips – Way We Were Try To Remember

FREE VERSE REVOLUTION

In the sweet summer

below the rusty fasteners of

an old swing I pump the air

with the spindly legs of childhood,

dream my wide eyed dreams of whirling

pathways to the beckoning sun.

My heart leaps at the sight of a brilliant

rainbow and with small fingers I reach up

to swathe its colors over a bluepalette sky.

Now I know about life,the real truth of it.

Now I know the swing is just freedom.


(copyright H. Rene Hunter)

https://houseofheartweb.wordpress.com/

View original post

39: They call me Red…

 

Rhondda and I were startled by the ringing of the phone. On the other end of the line was a sobbing Brianna, “They’ve killed Paddy right on the courthouse steps. We didn’t see it coming. What am I going to do?” I handed the phone to Rhondda and feeling stunned said, “It’s Brianna.”

Rhondda looked at me in confusion. She said to Brianna, “You stay safe, love we’re coming to get you. Just hang on.”

Rhondda and I jumped into the car and sped to the courthouse. We might have been driving into a trap, but leaving a brother behind just isn’t an option. The scene at the courthouse was a mass of police, ambulance attendants and neighbors frozen in shock by what they had witnessed. There wasn’t a motorcycle jacket in sight.

Rhondda searched for Brianna, finding her with a group of women sitting on the courthouse steps. The front of Brianna’s dress was soaked with blood. I saw Shakes, Ted and Sean standing off to one side. Not knowing what to say I asked, “How did this happen?”

Sean was the first to speak. “He came out of nowhere. A normal looking guy wearing a windbreaker, tweed flat cap pushed through the crowd just behind me. Before anyone knew what was happening he pulled a handgun, shot Paddy twice then disappeared back into the crowd. We chased him, but all we found was the abandoned cap and jacket. The cap had been pulled low on his forehead so we never had a good look at his face.”

I walked back to where Rhondda was holding Brianna in her arms. Rhondda provided strength. I broke down in tears. Thinking of all the times that Paddy and I had patrolled the battlefields of the world, it seemed insane that he would be murdered in his home town. He’d always been the twin brother I never had, now half of me was missing and I didn’t know how to function alone. I sat with my head between my knees and bawled my eyes out like a baby. Ted and Shakes sat on one side of me, Sean on the other. I could feel comforting arms around my shoulders. They knew better than to attempt to console me. I was well aware that Paddy had died in my place.

Brianna was accompanied by the ambulance attendants to the mortuary where the post mortem examination was conducted. They prepared the body and transported it in a closed coffin to the farm. It was placed on the dining room table with candles placed at the head and foot for the traditional wake. 

I opened a window in the Irish tradition allowing Paddy’s spirit to leave and closed it two hours later to prevent the spirit from returning to the body. All mirrors were covered with fabric, all curtains closed, all clocks covered and stopped at the time that Paddy died.

Brianna sat in a rocking chair near the casket. At the front door, I greeted friends and who visited bringing food and drinks. They went to the coffin to stand for a few minutes paying their respects or saying a prayer. They were then taken into the other room and offered refreshments.

I pulled up a wooden chair and poured whiskey for Brianna, Rhondda and me. I downed my first two quickly hoping for the numbness to take over. I knew I would be of no help drunk so I turned to reason but found none. We drank a toast. I said, “To Paddy, ‘until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.’ ”  

Once the body was prepared, it was never left alone until after the burial. Someone, usually a woman, sat in the living room until it was taken away. According to custom, crying couldn’t begin until after the body was prepared lest it attract evil spirits that would take the soul of the departed. However, once the body was properly prepared, the keening began. The Caointhe, the lead keener, was first to lament the deceased. Keeners, especially the Caointhe, recited poetry lamenting the loss of the loved one in addition to crying and wailing. All the women in the house joined in, especially as each new caller arrived to pay his or her respects.

The farm that had seemed like a refuge was now a barren war zone.

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38: They call me Red…

 

Morning at the Farm

Patrick

I awoke to the sound of rain and the feeling of a warm body behind me. I leaned back slightly to feel more of your breasts against my shoulders. I arched my back to feel your belly and pussy against my ass. I’m in heaven. I reach around with one hand and stroke the firm cheeks of your ass. I fondle them and think of all the pleasure they have given me. I imagine all the parts of you that I can feel, but can’t see. I catch the scent of pine and your perfume and the faraway odor of wood smoke. My life is perfect.

I gently roll onto my back and you take me in your mouth. It feels like paradise. I watch you touch yourself, slowly sliding your fingers into your pussy. I take your hand and suck your fingers individually. You lean into me, your hair falls around me and your breasts fall into my cupped hands, a warm, sumptuous gift of flesh. I kiss each nipple in gratitude, run my tongue around the edges then gently suck them into my mouth. They harden into firm buds and I can feel your intake of breath. The back of my hand touches your ribcage and I feel the quickening beat of your heart.

You trace the veins that extend up my arm and across my chest. As I tighten my fist the veins enlarge like a roadmap then fade when I release pressure. You run your fingers through my chest hair then kiss and gently bite my nipples. Like an electric current my abdomen is jolted with warmth and desire. We deep kiss. I reach back and gently pull the hair at the back of your head so that I can see the beauty and the allure of the woman who is pleasuring herself while looking deep into my eyes. I reach around your hips and with my hands on the cheeks of your ass, I lift and pull your so that your pussy is against my welcoming mouth. I lick your folds, taste your juices, flick and suck your clit with my tongue. You moan with pleasure. As I’m sucking your clit I hum a deep vibrating note that brings you to orgasm. You then slide back and forth over my engorged cock, stroke it with your hand and press it against your wet folds until you are ready to lower yourself onto me. We sink into the depths of pleasure as every nerve is firing. When you’re ready to come you reach back and gently massage my balls. Feeling them tighten I arch my back and you ride me until I’m nearly ready to explode, harder and harder, deeper and deeper. We are both perspiring and slippery. I embrace you with my arms and pull my face to your breasts. I taste the sweat and pull them into my hungry mouth.

You beg me to make you come again so we roll over together, you pull your knees up,  I spread your legs and press your calves against my chest. With my hands at your waist, I pull and push you, testing the depth of your cavity, before exerting pressure. I adjust your legs so that I don’t cause you any pain. Then I plunge in. The bed is rocking. You reach back to grip the slats. I arch my back as I feel my orgasm building. I am wild, out of control, everything depends on riding this climax to the end. My cock erupts and spurts inside you over and over again. I am weak with exertion as I slowly rock back and forth. You lower your legs and squeeze my shaft with your thighs. We hug and kiss deeply allowing our breathing and heartbeats to slow. We luxuriate in the feeling of our bodies pressed together.

Later, you arise and I watch the vision of your legs and ass as you walk to the bathroom. You bring a warm wash that you place over my cock then reach under and gently sooth my balls. We shower together, slowly lathering and caressing each other. Wrapped in bath towels we then lay back on the bed. You pull on your jeans and one of my flannel shirts that you roll up at the wrists. It fits you like a dress. I smile and you bend to kiss me before you leave.

 

Rhondda

The day is dreary, I can hear raindrops falling and slipping down the roof of the cabin. I want to stay in bed but get up and shower, wash my hair, come back to you in bed and snuggle up naked behind you. The warmth of your body is delicious and I stretch mine full against you, my breast pressing into your shoulders, my belly and pussy pushing against your lower back and bare ass. You turn over onto your back, I wet your erection with my saliva and suck you until you are fully erect, I love to see it fall back engorged on your abdomen. I feel my own sex with my fingers and I am slippery and need to straddle you, I lean my breasts forward and you suck and run your tongue around the nipples, they hardened into firm buds and it sends a feeling into my abdomen, sinking into desire, I think your body is beautiful, that you are a beautiful and sexy man. We deep kiss and bite gently each others throat, you gather me by my hair and pull me back. I sit up you watch as I pleasure myself, stoke my clit until it is swollen with desire for you and I am softly moaning, my slant like a feral animal glazed with need. You are engorged and throbbing when I take your cock into my hand and stroke it upwards and hold it against my wet folds and slowly lower onto you. The rush is heavenly, riding you, my hand reaches behind me and caresses your balls gently, feel them tighten, and I ride harder, deeper, and faster, perspiration runs in droplets between my breast and you lean up and suck them again and I feel the sweat on your upper lip. I beg you to make me come and you roll me over, remaining inside me, pull my legs up, bent at the knees, pull them open wide and plunge deeper inside me rocking the bed. I raise my arms to hold onto the brass slats above me. The soft force of your cock at the core of my womanhood is the most amazing and exquisite feeling I can imagine, it triggers an orgasm that is hard and violent and delicious. My hand finds your balls and they spasm and you come in rhythms of waves, Your breathing is hard as your muscles tighten, your eyes close, and you come inside me and it is a paradise for me. When you pull away, our juices run down our inner thighs. We separate and kiss very deeply, there are no words to describe this feeling of complete satiation.

I get up and you watch me walk naked to the bathroom, come back with a warm soft cloth that I place gently over your pelvis and cock, lightly soothing you until our orgasm boils down. We get into the shower together then and bathe one another caressing tenderly.


I slip back into my jeans and put on your shirt because I like the smell of you, you smile. I take another glance at you on the bed, you are already falling into sleep and I close the door behind me.

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37: They call me Red…

 

For the third time, a Garda van transported Paddy, Brianna, Shakes, Ted and Sean to the courthouse.  A corridor of police officers protected the witnesses as they entered the Special Criminal Court.

Everyone was directed to their respective places in the courtroom. After a brief wait, the Registrar announced: “All rise. Department One of the Special Criminal Court is now in session. Judge Clarence MacMillan presiding. Please be seated.”

The Judge addressed the court, “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Calling the case of the People of the Republic of Ireland versus Dermot O’Sullivan. The Judges in the case have reached a verdict.

“The Hon. Mr. Justice Brian Cogan will read the verdict.

Judge: “Your Honor, Ms. Justice Isobel Ryan, Mr. Justice Clarence MacMillan and I, Justice Brian Cogan have reached a verdict:  On the charges of theft, illegal weapons and drug offenses the verdict is guilty as charged. On the charge of reckless use of firearms the verdict is guilty as charged. On the charge of attempted murder, the verdict is guilty as charged. 

Justice MacMillan said, “These are very serious charges and the court will defer sentence. Mr. O’Sullivan will remain in custody for sentencing on February 27th.

The corridor of police officers escorted the witnesses upon leaving the courthouse. A large crowd composed of farmers, military personnel and bikers milled about in front of the court. Despite the police presence, a man wearing a business suit and hat pulled low over his eyes stepped out of the crowd with a handgun pointed at the back of Paddy’s head fired two shots. He quickly disappeared back into the crowd.

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36: They call me Red…

 

 

Again, a Garda van transported Paddy, Brianna, Shakes, Ted and Sean to the courthouse.  A corridor of police officers protected the witnesses as they entered the Special Criminal Court.

Everyone was directed to their respective places in the courtroom. After a brief wait, the Registrar announced: “All rise. Department One of the Special Criminal Court is now in session. Judge Clarence MacMillan presiding. Please be seated.”

The Judge addressed the court, “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Calling the case of the People of the Republic of Ireland versus Dermot O’Sullivan. Are both sides ready?

District Attorney: “Ready for the People, Your Honor.”

Public Defender: “Ready for the defense, Your Honor.”

Deputy District Attorney: “Your Honor and other Honorable Judges as you have been informed the defendant, President of The Screeching Gnats Motorcycle Club, is charged with the crime of shooting at the home of Padraig Murphy of Carlow town. At the time the home was occupied by Padraig Murphy, his wife Brianna Murphy and various guests staying at the farm.”

Judge: “The prosecution may call its first witness.”

Deputy DA: “The People call the co-owner of the house targetted, Brianna Murphy.

Clerk: “Please stand. Raise your right hand. Do you promise that the testimony you shall give in the case before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, God?

Prosecution witness: “I do.”

Clerk: “Please state your first and last name.”

Prosecution witness: “Brianna Murphy, your honor.”

Clerk: “You may be seated.”

Deputy DA: “Where do you live?”

Prosecution witness: “My husband and I own a farm near the village of Enniscorthy.

Deputy DA: “Were you there on February 8th?”

Prosecution witness: “Yes, I was. I won’t soon forget that day.”

Deputy DA: “Describe to the court events that happened on the 8th of February.”

Prosecution witness: “It seemed that all of a sudden all hell broke loose. It nearly scared the life out of me. A mortar shell hit close to the house near where a number of people were standing and another hit near the barn. Two more followed striking both the barn and the house. Luckily, neither of those buildings were occupied at the time, however, we are in the process of building a homeless shelter and the barn will be used as to house homeless guests and military personnel suffering from PTSD.

“A few nights later we were awakened by the sound of assault rifle fire and breaking glass coming from an unoccupied upstairs bedroom. Shards were sprayed across the floor. It was a devil of a job clearing up. We still don’t have all the windows replaced. 

“Three nights later we were awoken by the sound of motorcycle engines, rifle shots and breaking glass. The front door was forced and broken. There are hundreds of bullet holes in the front siding. We’ll have to have it completely replaced.”

Deputy DA: “Have you had bad relations with any of your neighbors in the past?”

Home Co-owner: “No, I know most of the neighbors. We get along well.” 

Deputy DA: “Let me be more specific. Have you had bad relations with the motorcycle gang whose clubhouse is near your farm?”

Prosecution witness: “I’ve had no direct dealings with them. From appearances, they’re a scruffy lot, also noisy and rambunctious. They don’t show respect for anybody. If anyone in my family acted like that they’d get their hides whipped. In the past, if I saw them coming I’ll cross the street. Now, I’d wring their necks and throttle them.”

Deputy DA: “Does the name Dane Cross mean anything to you?”

Prosecution witness: ” Since we’ve been building the shelter people have been coming and going at all hours. I don’t know anybody by that name. He may, or may not, have stayed at the farm. If he did he didn’t make much of an impression.”

Deputy DA: Thank you, I have no further questions of the witness. I next call Mark Williams, a temporary resident of the shelter.”

Clerk: “Please stand. Raise your right hand. Do you promise that the testimony you shall give in the case before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, God?

Prosecution witness: “I do.”

Clerk: “Please state your first and last name.”

Prosecution witness: “Mark Williams, your honor.”

Clerk: “You may be seated.”

Deputy DA: “Where do you live?”

Prosecution witness: “For the last couple of weeks I’ve been working and staying at Murphy’s farm. In the daytime, I work on the construction of the shelter. At night I have a cot and blankets and sleep in the barn. Before staying at the Murphy’s I was homeless.”

Deputy DA: “Were you there on February 8th?”

Prosecution witness: “Yes I was. I don’t think I can add anything to what’s already been said. We were bombed and shot at, it was just like war. I grabbed a pitchfork and went after some of the bikers. I punched a few as well. I used to be a boxer.”

Deputy DA: “Does the name Dane Cross mean anything to you?”

Prosecution Witness: “On the streets, we don’t use names very much. I’m usually called Shakes. It’s because I shake so much. That’s what everybody knows me by. I guess it’s part of getting old. The name Dane Cross doesn’t ring any bells, but I can’t count on my memory. I’m a drug addict. Sometimes I remember things, sometimes I don’t.”

Judge: “Does the defense have any questions?”

Public Defender: “Not at this time, Your Honor.”

Judge: “The witness is excused.”

Deputy DA: “Your Honor, the prosecution has more witnesses, however, the evidence would only be a repetition of what the court has already heard.”

Judge: “Ladies and gentlemen, I am now going to read to you the law that the Judges must follow in deciding this case. To prove the crime charged against the defendant, the prosecution must prove three things: First, that the defendant launched a mortar attack on the property of Padraig and Brianna Murphy, damaging the house and barn; Second, that the defendant and 13 other members of the Screetching Gnats Motorcycle Club shot at the house of the Murphys and Third, that the defendant used illegal firearms and weapons of war. If the Judges believe that the prosecution proved all three of these things beyond a shadow of a doubt, then they must find the defendant guilty. But if they believe the prosecution did not prove any one of these things beyond a reasonable doubt, then they must find the defendant innocent.

“Court is adjourned until the final decision by the three Judges has been reached.” 

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35: They call me Red…

 

Court day eventually arrived. A Garda van transported Paddy, Brianna, Shakes, Ted and Sean to the courthouse.  A corridor of police officers protected the witnesses as they entered the Special Criminal Court. This court consists of three judges sitting without a jury and mostly deals with criminal charges involving terrorist organizations, and more recently, charges relating to organized drug activities. The court was established by the Government to hear cases that the ordinary courts might be unable to deal with, because of fears of the possibility of jury intimidation.

Everyone was directed to their respective places in the courtroom. After a brief wait, the Registrar announced: “All rise. Department One of the Special Criminal Court is now in session. Judge Clarence MacMillan presiding. Please be seated.”

The Judge addressed the court, “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Calling the case of the People of the Republic of Ireland versus Dermot O’Sullivan. Are both sides ready?

District Attorney: “Ready for the People, Your Honor.”

Public Defender: “Ready for the defense, Your Honor.”

Deputy District Attorney: “Your Honor and ladies and gentlemen of the jury: the defendants, hereby known as The Screeching Gnats Motorcycle Club, have been charged with the crime of shooting at the home of Padraig Murphy of Carlow town. At the time the home was occupied by Padraig Murphy and his wife Brianna Murphy. Other occupants of the farm stayed in an adjoining building presently under construction to be a homeless shelter. The evidence will show guns, ammunition and club patches confiscated from the shooting site. The defendants were apprehended at the scene. The evidence I present will prove to you that the defendants are guilty as charged.”

Public Defender: “Your Honor and ladies and gentlemen of the jury: under the law my client is presumed innocent until proven guilty. 

Judge: “The prosecution may call its first witness.”

Deputy DA: “The People call the owner of the house targeted, Padraig Murphy. The Prosecution presents to the court the following items as evidence of the crime: photographs of  14 assault rifles, not registered; 14 handguns, also not registered; 14 vests with patches identifying the wearer as a member of the Screeching Gnats Motorcycle Club. 

Clerk: “Please stand. Raise your right hand. Do you promise that the testimony you shall give in the case before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, God?

Prosecution witness: “I do.”

Clerk: “Please state your first and last name.”

Home Owner: “Padraig Murphy your honor.”

Clerk: “You may be seated.”

Deputy DA: “Where do you live?”

Home Owner: “I own a farm near the village of Enniscorthy. My family has lived there for close to two hundred years. There are over 200 acres of arable land. Currently, 60 acres are in tillage with the remaining in permanent pasture. We raise sheep, cows and horses.”

Deputy DA: “Were you there on February 8th?”

Home Owner: “Yes, I was.”

Deputy DA: “Describe to the court events that happened on the 8th of February.”

Home Owner: “A mortar shell hit close to the house and another hit near the barn. In quick succession, two more followed striking both the barn and the house. Luckily, neither of those buildings were occupied at the time. From the north-east, we had seen the smoke trajectory of the two rounds.

“A few nights later we were awakened by the sound of assault rifle fire and breaking glass coming from an upstairs bedroom. Shards were sprayed across the floor. The room was unoccupied at the time.

“Three nights later we were awoken by the sound of motorcycle engines and rifle fire. The police are aware of the rest.”

Deputy DA: “Have you had bad relations with any of your neighbors in the past?”

Home Owner: “No, I know most of the neighbors. We’re a contented lot on the whole. We see each other at the farmer’s market, that sort of thing.”

Deputy DA: “Let me be more specific. Have you had bad relations with the motorcycle gang whose clubhouse is near your farm?”

Home Owner: “I’ve had neither good nor bad relations with the motorcycle club. I’ve had no reason to associate with them in any way.”

Deputy DA: Thank you, I have no further questions.”

Judge: “Does the defense have any questions?”

Public Defender: “Not at this time, Your Honor.”

Judge: The witness is excused. The prosecution may call the next witness.

Deputy DA: “The People call the arresting officer.” 

Clerk: “Please stand. Raise your right hand. Do you promise that the testimony you shall give in the case before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”

Officer: “I do.”

Clerk: “Please state your first and last name.”

Officer: “I am Police Inspector, Liam Mac Namara of the Garda Síochána station in Carlow town. Our offices are located on the Athy Road.”

Deputy DA: “Were you on duty on the night of February 13?”

Officer: “Yes. I was in a Garda van patrolling the Mortarstown Upper/Kilkenny Road, highway R448. A radio dispatch informed me of a disturbance near Enniscorthy. When we approached we encountered a gang of armed motorcyclists shooting at the home of Padraig Murphy. We called for backup then returned fire with the gang who was at that time on foot approaching the front of the house.

“There was a brief skirmish, but the gang realized that they were in the crossfire of two armed groups. They soon surrendered their weapons and were taken directly to the Carlow Garda Station to await trial.”

Deputy DA: “I have no further questions.”

Judge: “Is the defense ready with its case?”

Public Defender: “Yes, Your Honor. I call the defendant, Dermot O’Sullivan to the stand.”

Clerk: “Please stand. Raise your right hand. Do you promise that the testimony you shall give in the case now before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, God?”

Clerk: “Please state your name.”

Defendant: My name is Dermot O’Sullivan.”

Public Defender: “Mr. O’Sullivan, where were you on the night of February 13?”

Defendant: “I was at the farm of Padraig Murphy. We, the Screeching Gnats, had been informed that Mr. Murphy was harboring, Dane Cross, the killer of one of our members, Owen O’Brien who died as the result of cut brake lines on his motorcycle. He died on the first of February. We’ve had many deaths since then.”

Public Defender: “Have you determined that Dane Cross was at the farm of Padraig Murphy on February 13?”

Defendant: “I have no further knowledge of the whereabouts of Dane Cross, other than he had been staying at the farm. We went there to find him.”

Public Defender: “You say that you have no knowledge of the whereabouts of Dane Cross, yet you viciously attacked a private dwelling. Do you admit to shooting at the house.”

Defendant:  Yes.

Public Defender: Have these deaths you speak of been reported to the police?”

Defendant: “No, we haven’t reported anything to the police. That’s not how we operate. It’s a club rule.”

Public Defender: As a matter of curiosity how did your club decide on the name the Screeching Gnats? It doesn’t bring to mind an intimidating presence.”

Defendant: “The Folland Gnat was is a British compact swept-wing subsonic fighter aircraft used by The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team. In the 1970’s I liked to watch them buzz the crowds at air shows. They were intimidating.”

Public Defender: “Am I to understand that you had no grudge against Padraig Murphy? You only believed that he was harboring a murderer. Is that right?”

Defendant: “Yes, that is the case.”

Public Defender: You had no evidence you only suspected that Padraig Murphy was harboring a murderer. Do I have that right?”

Defendant: “We saw a closed circuit camera image of Dane Cross. We would recognize him on sight.”

Judge: “The witness is excused. The prosecution may call the next witness.”

Public Defender: “The Defence recalls Padraig Murphy to the witness stand.”

Paddy took the stand.

Clerk: “I remind you, Mr. Murphy, you are still under oath.”

Public Defender: “Mr. Murphy, you’ve heard the defendant’s statement. How do you respond?”

Home Owner:  “I don’t know the man, Dane Cross, to whom the defendant is referring. I had no knowledge of why my farm was being attacked and why so many innocent lives were put at risk. It was a cowardly act with no clearly defined motive.”

Judge:  “The judges have heard the evidence. To give them time to deliberate I declare the court adjourned for today. We will resume the trial at 10:00am tomorrow.”

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34: They call me Red…

 

Another day at the farm. Talk at the table was buzzing about the police visit, possible retaliation from the biker gang, safety was the main concern. Many of the people didn’t want to be interviewed so they packed their belongings and left.

Paddy said, “I can understand how people are feeling. Being attacked here is similar to being attacked in Afghanistan. We may now be in the scope of a sniper’s rifle. If any of you want to join the others who have left you have our blessings. The court case may ease some of the tension. There is no guarantee what will happen after that.

“Let’s put our energy into building the homeless shelter. You can see that the framework is now in place, electrical and plumbing work has been completed. We still need volunteers to help with painting and other cosmetic treatment.”

 

There was a loud cheer from everyone. Paddy went on to say, “Medical equipment is being installed, beds and other furniture will be delivered soon. I offer my thanks to everyone who has been a part of this project.” Another cheer arose.

Patrick talked privately to Paddy, “What do you want Rhondda and me to do? I’m responsible for bringing this trouble to your doorstep. Rhondda has been implicated through no actions of her own other than accompanying me. Pictures of us are still circulating between clubhouses.”

Paddy said, “We’re in it for the long haul. I don’t hold you responsible. I would prefer that both of you stay to help with the shelter, but if you decide to leave I understand.”

Rhondda said, “It doesn’t seem safe for us anywhere. I’d prefer to be here where we can do some good and have protection. We’re sitting ducks wherever we go. I don’t know if that’s ever going to change.”

Patrick said to Paddy, “Point us to the paint brushes, right now that’s where we can do the most good.”

There was a flurry of activity as tasks were discussed and assigned. Everyone was equal and everyone had a say in how construction should progress. A general feeling of goodwill united everyone in their common effort to build their collective home.

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33: They call me Red…

 

 

Police Inspector, Mac Namara arrived at the farm before breakfast. He approached Paddy and said, “Fourteen bikers have been charged with attempted murder, reckless use of firearms, theft, weapons and drug offenses. I suggest that neither you nor any other person staying on these premises leave the country until the matter is fully investigated. You will be called as a prosecution witness as well as your wife and others who were present during the attack.

“I notice that there seem to be fewer people here than there was the last time I visited.”

“Our construction crew will be arriving shortly. Apart from that, the population here is highly transient. People stay for as long as they want then leave.”

“I still find it odd that a group of farmers could defend against a fully armed criminal organization. Can you shed some light on this? Is there anything you aren’t telling me?”

“No sir, we had the house as protection. Some of our people were on the roofs firing down on the bikers while they were in the open. I have a bullet-resistant vest that I put on when I heard shots fired. I purchased it after the mortar attacks.”

“You previously said that you knew of no reason a biker gang would attack a farm. Do you stick to that story?”

“Yes, I’m a simple farmer defending myself and my family.”

“We found biker patches from Carlow, Dublin, Limerick, Cork and of all places Florida. You seem to have pissed off bikers from around the world. How did you manage that?”

Paddy answered, “You’ll have to ask the bikers that question. They don’t confide in us.”

“Are there, perhaps some ex-bikers here who may have been homeless or returned here after serving with the armed forces? The reason I ask is that some of the bullet holes in the bikers and embedded in fence posts were fired from illegal weapons. It’s obvious by the size of the holes.”

“I’m sorry, Inspector, I haven’t asked about the past history of people seeking sanctuary here. I also have no knowledge of illegal weapons on the property. You’re welcome to search anywhere you want.”

“That’s something we will do. We don’t need your permission. You and your wife are required at Garda headquarters to view some photos. We haven’t received any cooperation from the bikers.”

“I’ll contact my lawyer and have him meet us at the police station.”

“Do you think you need a lawyer?”

“Of course, Inspector and his first instructions will be to say nothing until he is present. I’ll tell Brianna and we’ll be right with you.

“Do you know the court date? Will there be protection for the witnesses called to give evidence?”

“You and the others appearing in court will have the full protection of the law. We will also post officers around your property and have vehicles patrol the roads for extra surveillance. The court will assign a trial date after all evidence and statements have been collected.”

After returning to the farm, Paddy said, “I expect that the defendants will stand trial before a three-judge, non-jury Special Criminal Court on a date yet to be determined. Briana, Shakes, Bernard and Sean will probably be called as witnesses. Red, Dane and the paramilitary personnel had managed to stay out of sight and had hidden most of the weapons before the police arrived. Paddy’s shotgun, hunting rifle, handgun, pitchfork and a handgun had been confiscated as well as Brianna’s rifle and shotgun, but no other weapons were found at the farm.”

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32: They call me Red…

 

At the breakfast table, Paddy announced, “We’ve survived a lot. Now, I hope we can get back to our initial mission of building an emergency shelter for our brothers in arms and for people forced onto the streets because of homelessness.” Everybody gave a rousing cheer.

A globe of the earth was on the table. There had been some disputes about geography. I looked at the globe and asked, “Shakes, are you planning to do some world traveling?” He laughed.

“How about Australia?” I asked. “Would you like to go there?”

Fred said, “I have a friend who came from New Zealand.”

I said, “I’ve seen pictures of New Zealand. “It’s really beautiful.”

“Yeah, he said, “They also have seventeen women to every man. I asked my friend if it was true and why he left. He said, ‘They have lots of women alright, but they’re all ugly.’ I don’t think any women are ugly. Every one of them has something beautiful about her.”

I pointed to Iceland, to show where my grandparents came from.

Little Chester pointed at Newfoundland, “This is where I came from. They’re the same color.”

I said, “I’ve always wanted to go to Newfoundland. It’s really beautiful.”

“No, it’s not. I lived there for twenty-four years. I couldn’t wait to get away.”

“I hear the economy has really picked up since the oil discovery.”

“I’ve been hearing about that for forty years. I don’t think anything has happened yet.”

I asked, “Were you a fisherman?”

“My mother said I had lazy bones. I’ve always had lazy bones. I shared rabbits. Once, some friends and I were out in the bush. We had a cable and made a lasso out of it. We hung it between two trees.  A moose came running along, right into the snare. My friends hauled it up in a tree.  We had meat to last us all winter. Lots of people have heard of snaring rabbits, not too many have heard of snaring moose.”

“I’ve eaten Moose,” I said, “It’s really good.

“Sit down, Chester. Oh, I forgot, we had this conversation yesterday, you prefer standing.”

“Yeah, I like to stand. I’m short enough anyway. The only way I get to look down on people is if they’re sitting and I’m standing.”

I asked, “So, how’s it going, Chester?”

“About five feet, one and a half inches. Standing on a rock makes me a bit taller.”

Patrick asked, “Paddy where did you get permits for all the guns?”

“The same place I got your false passports. I got them at the same time, expecting that we’d have problems with the bikers. I hope we’ve seen the last of them. I expect that they’re looking at lengthy prison sentences. Gun violations alone would put them in jail.

“On to other business. We’ve reached a milestone in the construction process. The frame is up, the floors have been laid. It’s now time for the plumbers to install the rough plumbing and the electricians to wire the building for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Next, we’ll insulate the exterior, erect the interior walls and drywall. It will start to take on the appearance of the structure we intended as your new home.” Everybody gave another rousing cheer.

“Once we clear the sawdust and scrap lumber you can move your cots inside. The rest of the construction can go on around you. If anybody has any suggestions we’d like to hear them. After the interior walls go up there is nothing we can change.

“Something else I wanted to mention. I know that some of you have criminal records. That’s not a reason why you would be disqualified from staying here. Please explain your situation to us. We may be able to help with resumes, job searches, retraining opportunities and job offers. We have a list of employers who hire ex-felons, mainly because they’re ex-felons themselves. They know how hard it is to get back into the working world if you have one strike against you.

“I know that some of you are alcoholics. Soon we will have medical assistance if you have a strong desire to quit drinking. We allow alcohol on the premises, just don’t make life difficult for your fellow residents. They will be the ones to tell us about problems and they will suggest the solutions.

“Drug use; some of the same rules apply to drug addiction as alcoholism. The difference is that some drugs are illegal. If you are using something that your physician has prescribed, we have no problem with that. We don’t allow any non-prescription or illegally supplied drugs on the property. We could be shut down by the police if drugs were found. If you use drugs in town or someplace away from the farm you’re on your own.”

Wolf said, “I know I shouldn’t smoke or drink beer. I shouldn’t use pot or the other stuff —  that we don’t talk about — but I’m healthy. I don’t have stomach problems. I enjoy a drink and a smoke with my friends every once in a while. It’s a treat for me.”

“There’s a lot to do today so let’s get to it.” An eager crowd marched to the building site to lend a hand where needed.

“This afternoon the medical staff will be touring the facilities to advise as to the placement of electrical fittings, plumbing and anything else we may not have included in the plans. This really gives me a sense of satisfaction to see my dream coming to fruition. Thanks, Dane, Red and our military brothers for helping to make this happen.”

Patrick said, “Thank you, Paddy, for your insight and generosity in getting this project started. Red agreed with “Hear, hear.”

The rest of the day was filled with examining blueprints, pointing out the different areas, the kitchen, the medical facilities and the community rooms. 

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a different kind of love

A beautiful poem about the magic of childhood, ‘wild, ruthless, and unafraid.’

House of Heart

Sometimes I see myself through

your eyes,   my pale  face so in  love,

aching  for  the caress of that

flaxen haired boy racing

through rolling wheat fields.

Suddenly serious your adventurous

eyes sent shivers through  me.

I longed for your touch anytime and

we kissed open mouthed without

permission.

I adored your mock anger when

chasing after me and  the awkward

way you looked down at your hands.

Soon Autumn threw its shadow on

sprouting wheat,  smooth and wet.

From the half closed door I hear the

whisper of your breathing and know

there are different kinds of love,

wild ,    ruthless,  and  unafraid.

Image result for Art by Rob Hefferan

art by Rob Hefferan

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31: They call me Red…

 

There was an air of quiet around the breakfast table. We all knew that we had been through hell and had come out the other side. Apart from a few wounds our lives were safe for now. How long this peace would last nobody knew. The first order of business was to hide all of the assault and military type weapons. The only firearms left in the open were hunting rifles that had permits. Irish gun laws are very strict.

We began the cleanup and repairs, taking measurements of the glass and the door that needed to be replaced. The front yard was scoured for bullet casings, especially those that could be traced to the paramilitary.

The police arrived, no sirens this time. An Inspector asked, “Is Padraig Murphy on the premises?Paddy arose from the table and talked with the officer, “Yes, sir, how can I help you?”

“You can help me by explaining the meaning of this. We found three large craters caused by military-grade rockets. You were attacked by a gang of 1%er motorcyclists, many of whom are now dead. For a farm and a homeless shelter, you have a very sophisticated defense system. Why is that and why should I not arrest you and everybody else here for murder and attempted murder?”

‘I know it looks bad officer, but I can explain. We didn’t bring any of this on, it was forced on us. Self-defense was our only concern. Three times we have been attacked and we responded with what I consider reasonable force. There are a lot of ex-servicemen here, many of whom are working as private military contractors. PTSD is what brings them here. They have a wide variety of weapons and licenses to use them. What would you do if someone was shooting at your house? I suggest that you speak to the MC club and find out why they  wanted to kill farmers and homeless people.”

“We’ve interviewed them without success. They have a rule about not speaking to the police and they’re sticking to it. We have a warrant to search your property. I hope we can bring some light on this bizarre situation. So, with your leave, my men and I will have a look around.”

“Certainly, officer, we’ll do whatever we can to assist in your investigation.”

We began the cleanup and repairs, taking measurements of the glass and the door that needed to be replaced. Some people stayed seated to finish their coffee. Others returned to their regular construction jobs. Just a normal day in the neighborhood.

The police returned to say, “Everything looks in order. I’d like to see the licenses for these weapons. You have enough to start a war. I hope that wasn’t your intention.”

“No sir, it wasn’t our intention to start anything. We were only defending our lives.”

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30: They call me Red…

 

 

After the excitement of yesterday, Rhondda and I were reluctant to get out of bed. We hugged and were thankful that we still had each other. It made all the difference.

After breakfast, Paddy and I checked on the construction of the shelter. Everyone was working. Many had skills in the building trades, others helped with carrying lumber, boxes of nails or mixing concrete for the foundation slab. There was a good feeling of camaraderie since what they were building was where they would live. Paddy and I were impressed with the progress.

We heard rumors of bikers coming from other parts of Ireland, Wales and the Scandinavian countries. This brought to mind the Great Nordic Biker War of 1983 that brought murder of nine club members (including three presidents) and two innocent people. In 1994 a similar war erupted in Helsingborg, Sweden. It started with a shoot-out between two gangs, followed by several bombings and an anti-tank rocket fired at one of the clubhouses.  There were attacks at airports in Denmark and Norway. By the end of the conflict 11 murders and 74 attempted murders had been committed and 96 people were wounded.

We were surrounded by fields on three sides, a road passed in front of the house. We placed land mines inside the fences and had snipers on the roofs of barns, outbuildings and the house.

Three nights later we were awoken by the sound of a land mine being detonated followed by rifle shots. We examined the footage of the surveillance cameras and saw that three bikers had been killed. Our defenses had so far proven effective.

Later, the distant roar of motorcycles awakened us. This time the military was prepared with highway spikes that caused a pileup of bikes. Some took to the ditch and continued toward the house. From a side road, a bulldozer emerged causing another pileup. Still, they advanced toward the house. Rhondda and Brianna were at the second-floor windows where they poured boiling water on anyone that came too close. They also threw furniture out of the window. Snipers on the roof took out many of the approaching bikers. Still, some got through and began chopping with an axe at the front door. Paddy and I blasted the door with shotguns killing several bikers. We saw a hand reaching for the deadbolt through the ragged hole in the door. I smashed it over and over again with my shotgun butt. There was a horrendous scream on the other side of the door but the hand remained. While trying to reload my shotgun some bikers ripped the door open and rushed into the house. Paddy and I pulled our semi-automatic pistols and managed to kill some the invaders. Rhondda, hearing the commotion at the front door ran down the steps two at a time. I felt a burning sensation in my right arm. My gun dropped and a biker came at me. Rhondda kicked the biker squarely in the face. He dropped and added to the pile of bodies in the hall.

It wasn’t over, the bikers regrouped and attacked the house from all sides. We heard other shots from outside. We learned later that Shakes, Ted, Bernard and other guests armed with rifles, handguns, axes and pitchforks had come to our defense, killing many of the bikers. The sound of sirens brought an end to the shooting. The bikers, seeing that they were caught in the crossfire lay down their weapons and surrendered to the police.

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29: They call me Red…

 

 

Rhondda and I were awakened by the sound of assault rifle fire and breaking glass. Shards were sprayed across the floor. We turned on the bedside light and put slippers on to maneuver a path to the door. Glass crunched beneath our feet. All the lights in the house had been turned on. Paddy was in the kitchen with his cell phone to his ear, “Thanks Sergeant, now go back to your post.

“Dane, I just spoke to one of the soldiers guarding the perimeter. He stopped a small van and questioned the driver. It was a local farmer. He allowed the van to pass and when it neared the house a side door opened and someone opened fire with an assault rifle. The soldier fired at the van. He’s sure he hit it but it didn’t stop.

“Let’s look at the footage of the surveillance camera overlooking the clubhouse. There it is a white van entering the front gate. Upon stopping the driver is pushed out of the front door. He’s being beaten by someone who was inside the van. Now he’s being dragged into the clubhouse. Someone else has taken the van and they’re leaving the compound. I assume they want to get rid of it since it has bullet holes in the back. That would arouse suspicion when the police return. “

Rhondda and Brianna came down the stairs and entered the kitchen. “What’s going on. Does anybody know?”

“I think we can assume this attack was a warning. The shooter in the van was too far away to have a clear target. The best he could do was to spray a hailstorm of bullets at the house. I’ve made a quick check, nobody seems to have been hit. Highway spikes are what we need to prevent this from happening again.

“We need to decide what our next move will be. I think we should remain in a position of self-defense. We could retaliate, kill some bikers. What will that accomplish? The police will be back and people staying here will be charged with murder.”

Patrick said, “Rhondda and I are already flying under the radar for two other murders. We don’t want police attention. I suggest that we double the military presence defending the perimeter. I agree that highway spikes should be available to stop fleeing vehicles. The gang has its pride, but they won’t continue an assault that they can’t win. Even if they get reinforcements from other chapters or other gangs they can’t do anything that they haven’t tried already. Let’s look at all possibilities for defense. We know what this gang is capable of; we see it in the newspapers: car bombings, one clubhouse was destroyed by an anti-tank missile, machete attacks in airports, assassinations. Most of their activity is close hand to hand or armed conflict. I think we have a good defense. I suggest that we wait and see what their next move will be and go from there.”

Rhondda said, “That doesn’t give me a feeling of security. I feel that we’re like sitting ducks.”

Paddy asked, “Do you have any suggestions? What would you like to see us do?”

“I guess you’re right. I just hope that we’re not attacked again.”

 

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28: They call me Red…

 

 

The police raided the MC clubhouse and seized a quantity of suspected cocaine valued at approximately €20,000. Also seized were a sawn-off shotgun, bulletproof vest three stolen cars, a stolen Harley Davidson motorcycle along with mobile phones, knives computers and documentation. They also found a drug-dealing tick list and weighing scales. Police have linked the gang to 40 robberies from shops and other establishments and almost 30 robberies on persons where iPhones, wallets and jewelry were stolen. Nine members were arrested other charges are pending.

Police returned to the farm to advise Paddy of findings from the raid of the clubhouse. Inspector MacNamara said, “We found three mysterious craters on the club property. Judging by their depth, these craters were caused by a military rocket launcher with a range of 32 kilometers. Do you know anything about this?”

“No sir, there’s nothing like that around here. The only gun I keep is a shotgun to chase the foxes from the henhouse. Have you checked with the army?”

“I’ll do that.” said the Inspector.

After the police left Paddy conversed with his Irish military friends. “It’s time to return the rocket launcher to the army before they realize it’s missing. We have a flatbed truck available. Make sure the launcher is covered and disguised as much as possible.”

With the excitement over for a while, we continued construction of the homeless shelter.

A man with a white beard walked into the farmyard. I greeted him and said, “I’m Patrick, how can I help you?”

“My name is Bernard. I heard something about a homeless shelter around here. I’ve applied to the Carlow County Council, but I can’t receive anything until I have an address, so for now, I’m sleeping under a bridge. They gave me some forms to fill out. I don’t fill out my own applications because I’m illiterate.”

“How did that come about?”

“I just didn’t like school and I missed as much as possible until I was eighteen, then I was allowed to quit. They passed me from grade to grade even though I couldn’t read or write. If I try to complete an application I can read some of the questions and the words are flying around in my head, but I can’t put them on paper. Now both my long and my short term memory are gone. I don’t remember what happened last week. When I left this mornin’ I knew I had forgotten something, but couldn’t figure out what it was. Then it came to me — rolling papers. Sometimes I’ll go into a room and forget what it was I went in for.”

“We’re still under construction, but we have a cot and blankets for you. We serve meals at regular times, but if you’re hungry right now, knock on the kitchen door Brianna will be happy to fix you something. Before that, I’ll show you to your cot and introduce you to the other staff and guests. If you have valuables I have a secure safe. I’ll give you a receipt for anything that you want to store. I’m the only one who has access, so I take full responsibility for your things. If you’re inclined to help with the construction it will be appreciated, but it’s not necessary. We’re not looking for slave labor. Our rules are simple:  don’t lie, don’t steal, treat everybody with respect. If there is a dispute it will be discussed at a general meeting, everyone has a say. If disciplinary action is required it must be agreed on by the majority.”

“That sounds fair”

I led Bernard to a communal table where a number of guests were enjoying coffee. “Bernard, this is Rhondda, Paddy, Sean, Ted and I’ll let the rest introduce themselves.”

Ted offered a handshake as did Sean, Red, Shakes and Paddy. “How are you, Bernard?” asked Ted. You missed some excitement yesterday. One of our neighbors sent some mortars in our direction. You can see the damage to the house and barn. Nobody was hurt. I walked in the direction of the mortar fire and found an MC clubhouse. By the time I got there one of our soldiers had returned fire with rockets. They didn’t see that coming. We also had a platoon of fully armed mercenaries check things out. When the bikers saw them they ran back to the clubhouse and locked themselves in. Nobody was hurt on either side. I hope they won’t bother us again, but if they do we’re ready.”

Bernard said, “I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I thought this would be a safe place to stay. I’d be safer on the streets.”

Ted asked, “What is the worst thing that’s happened to you on the streets?”

“I’ve had my tent set on fire while I was in it.”

Ted replied, “One of my friends was doused with gasoline and set on fire. Another had his teeth kicked out while sleeping on a park bench. It’s a tough life.”

Bernard said, “If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to lay down. I walked a lot of miles today. I look forward to seeing you all in the morning.”

In unison, everyone at the table said, “Good night, Bernard. It’s good to meet you.”

Rhondda and I also said goodnight to the group before heading to the farmhouse and bed.

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27: They call me Red…

 

 

Hearing the police (Gardai) sirens I directed my army mates to hide the M270 in one of the empty outbuildings along with the men in combat gear. Rhondda and I followed.  We camouflaged the launcher with tarps, bales of straw, tires and anything else we could find. Then we climbed the ladder to the hayloft. This would pass a quick inspection but not a thorough search.

The people remaining outside appeared as ordinary farm folk. Four blue and green police vehicles with flashing blue and red lights came down the driveway. Seeing no violence, one of the officers stepped out of his car; remaining behind the door of his squad car he shouted, “Who is the owner of this property?”

Paddy waved his hand, stepped forward and said, “I’m Paddy Murphy, officer. I’m glad to see you. Is the army doing testing nearby?  Look at the mess they’ve made of my house and barn. We were minding our own business when we saw the smoke trails then mortar shells smashed into the yard then into the house and barn.”

“Are you familiar with mortar shells then?”

“I did two tours with the Royal Irish in Afghanistan. I saw plenty of mortars there. I’ll show you the spent casings.”

The officer said, “We haven’t been informed of any army weapons testing activities in the area. I can assure you that the army doesn’t conduct this type of test close to populated neighborhoods.”

The officer examined what remained of the mortar shells. “These appear to be from 80-millimeter shells, the range is about 6 kilometers. That’s the radius of the area these shells were fired from. Have you had any problems with your neighbors? Is there any reason they should want to kill you or anybody on your property?

“No, I know most of the neighbors. We’re a contented lot on the whole. We see each other at market, that sort of thing.”

“We’ve been having trouble with a motorcycle gang nearby. We’ll get a search warrant and inspect their clubhouse. Do you mind if we take a look around here?”

“Be my guest,” said Paddy.

“There seem to be a lot of people here, more than a regular farm crew. Can you explain that?”

“Yes, officer we’re constructing a homeless shelter for vets returning home with PTSD and anyone else who requires emergency housing. We’re doing this in cooperation with the local social service facilities. When we’re finished we’ll have doctors, social workers, addiction therapists and anything else required. Do you suppose that any of our neighbors carries a grudge against the homeless?”

“I’m not doing any speculating, but if you’d show me through your house we’ll see if there is any evidence. Was anybody killed or injured? This place looks like a war zone?”

“No, officer, there were no killings.”

After having a good look around the police concluded their search and advised us they would keep us informed.

Paddy called everyone together, “We’re safe for now but we need an underground bunker for the rocket launcher and any weapons not being used. It will also be a place to hide if the situation gets worse.” With the construction machinery on site, the bunker was quickly dug, covered and camouflaged so it looked like the ground had never been disturbed.

Paddy continued, “I’ll phone the army commander to let him know what has happened. I’m sure he won’t take kindly to his troops being mortar bombed.”

The rest of the night passed peacefully.

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26: They call me Red…

 

 

I called a meeting of everyone at the farm. “I said yesterday that anyone who wanted to leave would be provided transportation. That offer still stands. That being said I assume that everyone in attendance is here for the long haul.

“I’ll tell you what we know: The biker I killed near Carlow was very respected by the gang. According to the newspaper, close to 300 members from all around the world attended his funeral. It said that he ‘used to have Bible talks at work in the mornings and prayer meetings in the afternoon.’ Police described him as ‘hard-working, friendly, but private.’ He had no criminal record. His girlfriend read a tearful statement and won the heart of a nation. So, that really makes me feel like shit.

“Had I not killed him he, or another gang member, would have killed me and Rhondda. In addition to that, I killed another gang member in the United States and many of his brothers came here for the funeral. Because Rhondda was with me on both occasions she will be considered an accessory after the fact. Paddy, by harboring a fugitive, is also implicated. Not a very positive situation all around.

“We can expect an attack at any time. It’s doubtful that gang members will be riding motorcycles or wearing club patches, that would make them obvious targets. We know that they have access to every kind of weapon from handguns to rocket launchers. Luckily, thanks to Paddy and our military comrades we have an even greater arsenal of weapons. It is expected that the gang will make the first strike. That is likely to bring in the police which further complicates matters. They won’t yet be aware of my involvement in the murders, gangs have a ‘no comment’ policy concerning the police.

“Soldiers have installed surveillance cameras covering every angle of the clubhouse. If anything out of the ordinary appears we will be informed. At present, all we can do is wait and be ready to act immediately to anything they throw at us.  I asked yesterday if any of you had contact with any members of a biker gang. Any information they could pass on would be of help. If they have grudges against this gang they may even offer assistance.”

A mortar shell hit close to the house and another hit near the barn. In quick succession, two more followed striking both the barn and the house. War was on. Luckily, neither of those buildings were occupied. We had seen the trajectory of the two rounds, so we knew where to direct our offense. A platoon of mercenaries in full battle gear and camouflage headed toward the area. The range of a mortar shell is approximately 6 km. Our troops immediately brought out an M270 multiple rocket launcher and fired 3 rockets toward the disappearing trail of smoke. It then moved to another position. Our ground forces would advise if we had made an effective strike. If nothing else we shook up our adversaries and showed them our superior firing power.

All was quiet for a while. then we heard the sound of assault rifles. One of our troops identified the distinctive sound as being that of an M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle used extensively by US Marines in Afghanistan. There were brief bursts of fire then silence.

A tall, bearded, scraggly looking man wearing a red and black plaid flannel shirt approached me. “Patrick,” he said, “I’m Ted. I think I can be of help.”

“How so?”  

“I was a hunter and trapper in northern Canada for 29 years. If I can get within shooting distance of bears without being seen, I can certainly do the same with a bunch of clumsy bikers. I can handle any kind of gun but prefer a bow and arrows. I prefer quiet and it seems more sportsmanlike.”

“I’ll take you to our Sergeant-at-Arms and see how we can equip you. Bows and arrows may be in short supply.” We managed to find him a sniper’s rifle that he was familiar with then he headed in the direction of the mortar trail.

Another man, tall, gangly with long greasy hair asked, “Can I get a gun, perhaps a nine millimeter and a shotgun.”

I said, “I notice that you walk with a slight limp. Are you a war veteran?”

“No, a friend shot me. The bullet went in here,” pointing to his thigh, “it broke my femur and came out the back of my leg. They had to cut me open to put the rod in.

“I got it at a house party, there was lots of booze, drugs, but I decided to leave. My bro asked for my gun. I took it out of my pocket, took the clip out, but forgot there was still a shell in the chamber. It had a hair-trigger, much too sensitive. When my bro took my gun, he accidentally shot me in the leg.

I asked, “Why did your friend want your gun?”

“‘Cause he wanted to shoot the guy.”

“I assume you’ve done time in prison. We won’t hold it against you.”

“The last time I was in prison was in 1995. I was in Collins Bay for nearly five years.”

I asked, “What were you in for?”

“Bank robbery. I was just seventeen, selling drugs, robbing banks, boxing. That’s when I was sparring with George Chuvallo and Shawn O’Sullivan. I still got it.”

I said, “I’m sure you can be of great help to us. Talk to Paddy, our Sergeant-at-Arms.”

I got a call from one of our mercenaries at the front. He said, “We sure surprised them, they scattered like rabbits. They’ve locked themselves in their clubhouse. We’ll wait for them to come out. I’m sure that one of our rockets could annihilate them if that’s what you want.”

I said, “Hold your position. We’ll hold a brief meeting to decide on our next step.”

I called another meeting. I said, “I think we have them on the run. We have the choice of sending rockets at their clubhouse. That would probably kill everyone inside. Is that what we want, or should we wait to see what happens next?”

General agreement was to wait. In the distance, we heard the sound of police sirens.

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Beach Girl

Beach girl
silhouetted
against the horizon.
Wild hair fluttering
flag of the evening breeze.

I sit
admiring
this distant beauty.
Heartfelt rhapsody
engulfed by remorseless night.

I see
small footprints
in the moist sand.
I know them as yours.
Would that I could take them home.

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25: They call me Red…

 

I called together a group of farm guests. I said to them, “I have some important news that I must pass on. An international biker gang is trying to kill Rhondda and me. It’s my fault. I take the blame and full responsibility. It’s your choice whether you want to face that danger or not. I know it’s not what you signed up for. As you can see we have a lot of military presence. There can’t be better protection than that. If any of you have any combat experience please let me know. If you have medical skills that may be of help, please let me know. If you personally know any member of a biker gang, please let me know. If you feel you must leave transportation is available.

“I spoke to Sean yesterday about a book I’m planning to write concerning people that have been forced onto the streets. What would you guys like the public to know about your situation?”

“I’ll talk to you,” said Darren (a college graduate and Gulf War veteran). “Do you have your pen and paper? First of all, we aren’t you guys, we’re not a group, we’re individuals. We come from different places, different backgrounds, different religions. Some of us don’t even like each other, but we congregate to have a beer, smoke a joint, to be with others who don’t judge or abuse us Physically or verbally. We accept everyone here as they are.”

“I can appreciate that. I didn’t mean to lump you all together. I stand corrected.  I’d like to tell your individual stories the way you wish to express them. I think that if the general public was introduced to you and the situations that you’ve endured they would be more sympathetic. Perhaps, we could help end the abuse.”

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24: They call me Red…

 

We ordered a full English breakfast to be brought to our room. The dress code for the restaurant is smart casual, whatever that means. In any case, we weren’t in the mood to make small talk with other diners. I phoned Paddy at the farm to hear if there were any new developments. He informed me that our pictures had been linked to the farm, they had probably been circulated to airports, seaports and major cities in Brittain. There was no purpose in another change of identity. The farm was in danger and we were the cause. Paddy had contacted his friends with the Irish Army and military contacts worldwide. We decided to head back.

We drove to the Chaplin’s Fancy dress where I purchased a Boris Johnson wig, Red went with a Theresa May. We have no love for British politicians, these wigs were simply inconspicuous. An Elvis and Marilyn Monroe wig would cause a lot of attention, even though they’re both dead. We next went to a thrift store where we purchased fairly conservative pants, shirt and jacket for me and a shapeless casual dress and coat for Red. We weren’t trying to make a fashion statement, just the opposite. We also purchased hats to complete the disguise and as something to hide behind.

We drove back to Holyhead and tried to stay out of sight until it was time to board the Ulysses. On board, we stayed in our room on Deck 10. We sampled the bottles in the mini bar and fell asleep shortly after. Our arrival back in Dublin was uneventful. there was little likelihood that anyone knew what kind of car we were driving. We avoided the busiest traffic routes and reached the farm just before nightfall. Paddy greeted us with a big hug and we sat at the kitchen table and drank Jameson.

Although the Irish Army couldn’t help us officially there were 1,600 active Reservists and plenty of soldiers on leave who had offered their personal assistance. We even had representatives of the Army Ranger Wing the special operations force of the Irish Defense Forces. Paddy had installed closed-circuit cameras covering the entire farm, these were monitored 24 hours a day. We had guards hidden around the perimeter fence. They would keep us advised of any intruders. We didn’t know how many gangs had been recruited. Intergang warfare kept many of them separated. Around 200 bikers gathered in Limerick for the initiation ceremony of a ‘full patch chapter’.

The last biker battle had been simmering for several years. Issues over patches and respect had resulted in numerous violent incidents. This led to the clubs attempting to broker a peace agreement over beer and wings – and it ended with countless bullets fired, nine bikers dead, 480 weapons recovered (151 guns, plus assorted knives, brass knuckles, batons, hammers, just everything), 20 injured, and over 177 arrested.

The pay for a security contractor is off the charts. Some mercenaries make from $500 to $1500 per day. Money to militarize the farm was not an issue. We would need our mercenaries to go undercover and report on the activities of the nearby gangs. This wouldn’t be an easy proposition. It had been reported that the clubhouse “had dozens of security cameras pointed in all directions making it impossible for anyone to approach the site without being seen. Also, it was bullet and blast proof. With plenty of food and water as well as a generator, the club would be able to sustain itself in a locked-down state for several days.” 

Paddy said, “The law is on our side. We’ll fight a defensive battle. Those motherfuckers have no idea of our potential strength.”

With the construction equipment already at the farm, we could dig trenches for troops and pits to hide tanks and other military vehicles. There was a steady stream of military vehicles entering and leaving the farm. Hopefully, this would deter any direct attack. Primarily, the vehicles were providing food and construction materials for the homeless shelter, they were also transporting troops and state of the art weapons to be used when needed. 

With our briefing over, Rhondda and I took a leisurely walk to view the progress on the building of the shelter, the establishment of on-site medical personnel and kitchen facilities. The construction, with military assistance, was progressing fantastically. 

I saw Sean, who we’d brought to the farm, sitting on a stump, appearing to be enjoying the rare appearance of the sun. Ireland is green because of the rain. “Hello, my name is Dean. How are you enjoying the accommodations?”

“It beats living on the street. Accommodations, as you call them, are still temporary but I’ve been able to keep dry and have had a full belly every day. While I was begging on the street I had problems with accepting food from strangers. One guy gave me a homemade muffin. After I ate it, I felt a buzz like I’d had four hits of LSD. I was able to make it to the Cymru Shelter. That was the only place I could think of to go. I was able to lie down and it eventually wore off.”

I said, “I’ve heard similar stories from other street people. Vulnerability is a life-threatening danger. I’m planning to write a book about it. Perhaps you could mention that to your friends. I’d like to get to know as many homeless people as I can. Everyone will remain anonymous. I won’t be wearing a wire. I don’t judge anybody. Do you think that it will help to tell your story from another viewpoint, a more accepting viewpoint?”

“Yeah, I’ll mention it, but I can’t promise anything. Many people have told us things that never happened, so expect them to be skeptical.

“I see the way that shoppers on the sidewalks look at me like I’m some kind of scum. The guards (police) have started issuing fines to anybody caught begging or rough sleeping. At least 51 people have reportedly been convicted of breaching a public space protection orders (PSPO) for begging or loitering and failing to pay fines up to £1,100 since 2014, while hundreds of fixed-penalty notices of £100 have been issued. Cases are said to include a man jailed for four months for breaching a criminal behavior order (CBO) in Gloucester for begging – about which the judge admitted: ‘I will be sending a man to prison for asking for food when he was hungry’. In another case, a man was fined £105 after a child dropped £2 in his sleeping bag. The world is going crazy. If people can’t afford a place to stay or food to eat they certainly can’t afford to pay a fine.

“I don’t know what people are upset about. I have a real job. I sit on the sidewalk and greet people. I’m a greeter. I could work at Walmart.” 

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23: They call me Red…

 

 

We awoke to the sounds and smells of a castle. I looked at the huge tapestry, the coat of arms and portraits on the wall. I asked, Rhondda “Do you trust me?

“What do you mean, trust you?”

I pulled out a blindfold and said, “Would you trust me if you couldn’t see what I was doing? I’ve got a fantasy where one of us is in charge during sex. What do you think?”

“I could go along with that.”  

“Do you consent to be tied and spanked with this Sweet Sting Riding Crop from the Shades of Grey Bondage Collection?”

“I consent, but will it hurt very much?”

I was a novice at this, but advised, “We’ll agree on a safe word, a prearranged and unambiguous sign to end whatever we’re doing. The most common safe words are red, yellow and green representing the traffic signals for stop, proceed with caution and go. What word do you choose?”

“Motherfucker! That’s a word I don’t like and would never use it in casual conversation.”

I placed a pillow in the center of the bed and had her lie on it with the side of her face on another pillow at the head of the bed. I asked, “Are you comfortable?”

“Yes.”

I looped silk ropes around her wrists and ankles using girth hitches and tied them to the four bedposts using quick release mooring hitches. I showed her how the girth hitches would secure but not tighten. I also showed her how the knots on the bedposts would release with one tug of the free end. I then placed the blindfold over her eyes and checked to see that nothing interfered with her breathing. When I was sure everything was as planned I placed the blindfold over her eyes. 

Rhondda said, “This makes me feel very vulnerable.”

I said, “That’s where the trust comes in.”

I stood and with the riding crop in hand, stroked her body with the slapper. I patted the insides of her thighs and the cheeks of her bum. I slid the slapper up and down her spine ending at her exposed sex. Then I took a tease tickle feather stick and followed the same route. When she began to relax I touched her lower back with an ice cube.

“Ooooh, that’s cold.”

“It’s also surprising, you won’t know what’s coming next, but I promise nothing will harm you or leave marks, a little redness perhaps. Do you consent to have me begin?”

“Yes.”

I started with the tease tickle feather and began at her feet, inside her thighs, then under her arms continuing down her sides. With the riding crop, I slapped her gently on the inner thighs then the cheeks of her bum.

“Does that hurt?” I asked.

“No.”

I slapped harder on the cheeks of her ass. A warm glow began to appear. She winced.

“Should I go on?”

“Yes.”

I placed an ice cube on the redness then continued slapping. I tried not to overlap the strokes and limited them to her buttocks and upper thighs. I developed a regular rhythm. Rhondda began writhing against the pillow, a highly erotic sight. My cock began to rise of its own accord.

“It feels so good. I want you.”

I continued slapping and her wriggling and squirming only increased. I released the knots and before I even had a chance to remove her blindfold she grabbed me by my hips and began swallowing my erect penis. I pushed her on her back and spread her legs. I dived into her dripping pussy and sucked the delicious juices as my nose rubbed her clit. I could feel her orgasm mounting. I penetrated her and was drawn into the vortex of this divine maelstrom where we went mad with a disturbing blend of violence and eroticism. We bucked and pounded in a seemingly relentless orgasm. Gradually we came down from the dizzying heights of euphoria and gazed into each other’s eyes. We were spent and happy luxuriating in the magic and love that was us.

 

Rhondda

I could tell that Patrick was in an adventurous mood.  He watched me cross from the bathroom where I had been luxuriating in a claw foot bath that one might expect in an opulent castle. The room smelled of the candles that I had lit on the nightstand,  though it was the morning I still loved the scent.  Patrick sat across from the bed as I combed my wet hair on the edge.  Suddenly he asked if I felt like experimenting if I trusted him.   I trusted him implicitly to never to do anything that would not be pleasurable and since I recognized some toys that he had brought with us, I knew we were going to try a bit of dominant/submission, something new to me. 

We decided on a safe word, and he positioned me on the bed as he wished, silken ropes held me loosely to the four poster. I could feel the deep sensation of desire welling in my belly, slowing moving downward. I did feel vulnerable, helpless, but that only added to my passion.  I felt the swish of the slapper against my ass cheeks, perfectly applied I felt no pain but an exquisite rush of need and an aching deep in my sex.  He continued to use the various dominant tools on me, at one point carefully letting the wax drip at my navel and watch it dry in streams toward my pussy.  I needed to be fucked, to be fucked by him. He sensed my urgency and with one hand released me from the binds,  pulled me toward him, his cock hard and ready, I stroked it with my hand and slipped it into my mouth, letting my tongue circle the head and I began to suck and lick rhythmically to his moans. 

He pulled out and cupped my breasts, taking each nipple, sucking it, gently biting and each time I felt as if I would come that very second.  I opened my legs wide for him, my feet touching the bed and when he entered me we looked deeply into each other’s eyes and I felt him pulsating and my sex tightened around his cock as I came over him, I felt his hot cum filling me and my legs lifted slightly from the bed and wrapped around him to pull him in further.  We held each other, exhausted. We put off our plans for a while, we just wanted to be alone, wrapped around each other. 

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22: They call me Red…

 

Rhondda and I hailed a taxicab and returned to the Cardiff Hilton. We packed our bags and rented a car that picked us up at the front door of the hotel. I said, “It seems that we have overstayed our welcome.”

“Where to now?” asked Rhondda.

“Where would you like to go? We can drive to anyplace in Great Britain. We can also drive to any airport.”

Rhondda said, “Life with you certainly isn’t boring.”

“I suggest that we drive to Bristol. It’s 44 miles via the M4 so we can be there in less than an hour. We’ll spend the night in Bristol then decide our future. The world is our oyster. Google hotels in Bristol and take your pick.”

Hillcroft self-catering is interesting. It’s described as a Cozy barn conversion with all mod cons and close to the airport. The rooms aren’t overly large but they have access to a deck with table and chairs overlooking the countryside. Or, we could stay at Thornbury Castle in the duke’s bedchamber. Are you in the mood for ‘a four-poster bed with brocade bed hangings? Staying in the castle where King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and Princess Mary Tudor (later Queen Mary I of England) stayed for a time’ would be amazing. When we stop the car I’ll show you the pictures. You’ll be blown away.”

Thornbury Castle it was. From the time we passed through the arched stone gateway we entered the 16th century. The Howard Room had an open fireplace faced by a loveseat. The bed was a huge four poster with plush wine velvet tester, hangings and skirt. Two walls were of stone hung with tapestries, the doors were arched oak, the ceiling was sculpted plaster. There was a circular table with oak armchairs in front of a window with padded seat. Outside the window was a trellis with climbing yellow roses. The view was of sculpted hedges, the Tudor gardens and the breathtaking scenery of South Gloucestershire.

I ordered champagne to be sent to our room then I lit the fireplace. We undressed and lounged in the loveseat wearing the bathrobes provided. The flicker of the flames, the sparkle of the champagne and the warmth of Rhondda nestled beside me made for a perfect day. I nuzzled her hair, inhaled the fragrance and whispered in her ear, “Rhondda, over the last few months you have changed my life. I can’t imagine us being separated. I love you.”

“Do you really mean that? I’ve waited so long for you to say that because I love you too.”

She wrapped her arms around my neck and kissed me with passion. I took her lower lip into my mouth and sucked on it. Our tongues touched, circled and probed each other. My heart was pounding. No woman had ever excited me like Rhondda. I don’t know what it is about her that is so special. I just know that every time we are near each other my body reacts in a way that is beyond my control. She has bewitched me and I love it. We kissed for what seemed an eternity, tasting, touching. I ran my tongue behind her ear and whispered again, “I love you.” She pulled closer. Our robes were coming undone and I couldn’t wait to have her skin against mine. I kissed her throat and licked across her collar bone. My lips slowly found their way down her breast to her waiting nipple.

“Patrick, bite me. Leave your mark on me.”

I grazed her nipple with my teeth and slowly increased the pressure. She squirmed with delight and draped her leg over mine. It was such a wonderful feeling of togetherness. I reached down and cradled the cheek of her ass in my hand, gently squeezing and manipulating, pulling her towards me. We abandoned our bathrobes and I pressed my chest against her breasts. I felt a tingling deep in my abdomen and my cock responded. I wanted Rhonda so much, but I didn’t want these moments to end. I was dizzy with excitement.

With the heat of the fire we were sweating and it felt so good. My hands slipped over her skin exploring every curve, cupping her breast and suckling her nipple. My breathing became heavier as I emersed myself in this waking dream. We slid against each other as we were made to. Rhondda’s hand slipped between us and held my aching cock, gently moving the foreskin up and down. I didn’t know how long I could endure this ecstasy. I needed to be inside her.

I slid off the loveseat, stood and reached my hands under her knees and shoulders. I picked her up as if she was weightless and gently carried her to the bed, placing her head on the pillow.  Four poster beds were a new experience for me but I spread her legs and lifted her knees over my shoulders. Her eyes were wild like an animal. I expect that mine were as well. I felt like an animal, a carnivore. My lips kissed the inside of her thighs then worked their way to her vulva where I buried my face. I licked slowly from her perineum over her vaginal opening to her clitoris. Her juices were sweet and intoxicating. I explored her labia with my tongue, one side, the other then up the middle flicking her clit. I sucked her lips into my mouth and dipped my tongue in and out of her opening. I wrapped my lips around her clit and gently sucked. She tasted so good

Her vagina was dripping wet. While still attending to her clit I moistened two fingers and inserted them into her opening, stroking her G spot first with one finger followed by the other keeping steady pressure.

Rhondda whispered, “Patrick, I need you inside me.”

I couldn’t wait any longer and replaced my fingers with my engorged penis continuing to rub her G spot. We fell together pushing and pulling, sliding and rubbing. I held the headboard with one hand and moved back and forth still gently rubbing her clit between my fingers. I felt the pressure building, we rocked back and forth, faster and faster until we were both engulfed in an orgasm that overwhelmed us.

We lay together in mutual exhaustion, kissing and stroking. Embers still crackled in the fireplace. We pulled up the bed covers, nestled into the pillows and the knight fell asleep holding his lady.

 

Rhondda

A sliver of sun slipped through the silky draperies across the large window that overlooked the landscaped view below the hotel. The ashes in the fireplace glowed but the room was cold and I silently returned to bed where Patrick lay sleeping, slipped beneath the duvet and snuggled against his warm body,  softly pressing my own as close as possible, my nipples still taut from the cold grazed his back and I deliberately pressed my warm sex against his firm ass.  My thoughts were all over the place, I was still overwhelmed by hearing those words from Patrick, “I love you.” I had been in love with him nearly from the start and the idea that he felt it too sent an ache to my heart and a small tear of joy ran down my cheek. We were sharing an adventure most would never imagine or dream of and it had brought us so close that we felt as one mind and body.

I pulled back as he turned over, his arm reached across me, his eyes opened.  My hand ran through his hair and over his face,  I took his fingers one by one into my mouth and licked and sucked them, I knew this meant I was feeling orgiastic and did not try to restrain my need for him.

As though he read my mind, he grasped a hand full of my hair and with my head slightly back, placed the other gently at my neck, holding me still as he deep kissed me, biting my lip softly, not unlike big jungle cats in a frenzy to procreate.  I slid my nails along his shoulders and whispered profanities in his ear, “fuck me, fuck me”

Patrick positioned me on my shoulders and knees on the firm bed, pulled a small pillow beneath me, held my hands above and with his knees spread my legs…I opened them wider, eager to feel his erect cock enter me.  His warm breath on the back of my neck and his hands cupping my breasts swept all inhibitions away and I opened completely for him, completely his, I felt no shame,  like an animal needing her mate.

I moaned his name again and again and felt his tongue slowly glide through my pussy, titillating my clitoris, enter swiftly in an out of my sex.  As he bent forward and bit my neck, holding me still, he pushed his hard cock inside my sex,  I stifled a cry of ecstasy but could not hold back the orgasm that began in my belly and shot like a lightning bolt to my pussy, the walls began to tighten around his cock that massaged my G spot with each rhythmic thrust.  My hand between my thighs, I gently fondled his balls and they tighten against me, I waited to feel the warmth of his hot semen pulsate inside me and he pulled me tightly to him and his came hard, a low guttural sound escaping his throat.  We stayed there for a moment, not want to separate until our bodies boiled down. Finally, he pulled away and held me to him, face to face we were lost in each other’s eyes.  Could this kind of exquisite ecstasy be possible? We knew we did not want to ever let it go.

Together we showered and planned our day, still shaky from our forceful orgasms. When I looked at his beautiful naked body, I felt desire rising in me again but resisted.

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21: They call me Red…

 

We dressed in our thrift store clothes, left the hotel with our umbrellas and walked the streets around Cymru Shelter. The scene was the same as yesterday, people sitting in sleeping bags. Others wandered around with no obvious purpose in mind.

Rhondda sat beside one of the women whose arm was all purple and in a makeshift sling. The woman said, “Bo did this to me.”

Rhondda answered, “I hope you got him back.”

She said, “After he’d punched me three times in the head, I stabbed him in the side. I’d had enough, so I packed my bag. Sometimes, I just don’t want to be here.”

“Do you mean begging?”  asked Rhondda.

She said, “I used to be able to take a break but now I can’t. I just don’t want to be on this earth.”

I sat next to a man and asked, “Do you have a place to stay?”

He said, “Yesterday I found a tent in the garbage. It looks brand new. I set it up in my living room. I’ve never seen a tent so small. It would only fit one person. There is no way that two people could get in there. If I don’t find a place by the end of the month, maybe I’ll be sleeping outside. I don’t think for too long. Who knows?”

His outreach worker stopped by and said, “The processing time for admission is quite lengthy. We’re looking at a few places, the problem is they become available December first, so we’ll have to find someplace temporary for you from the first to the end of November.”

A couple sat down next to the woman with her arm in a sling, Very excitedly, the man said, “My girlfriend is pregnant again. She went to see an apartment yesterday. She’s been put on first priority. We find out today if she’ll be accepted.”

Rhondda asked, “When is the baby due?”

The woman said, “We’re not sure. I took a home pregnancy test and it showed two pink crosses. I’m not taking any drugs or alcohol now.”

Her boyfriend said, “Same with me.” He looked longingly at a gram of pot the other woman had in her cigarette case. “That looks so good,” he said. They walked off together to have breakfast.

I heard another woman say, “I don’t want anybody to know that I’ve started cutting myself again either. My probation officer asked, ‘Why do cut yourself?’ I said, ‘It’s hard to explain, but when my mind is going a hundred miles an hour, in a ten-mile an hour zone, I don’t know where I’m going to stop. I need something to distract myself. Cutting does that for me.’ Mind you, the second time I cut myself I was thinking, ‘Hey, this hurts, I don’t want to be doing this.’ People nearly freaked when they saw me coming out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around my arm. It was a deep cut too. It was gaping open. I didn’t want to go to the hospital this time. I used band-aids to pull the skin together.”

Somebody else said, “Hey Barfly, do you know you’ve got a cigarette burn in the crotch of your sweat pants?”

“Yes, I know. These are my court clothes. I was in court this morning. I’ve been staying in shelters, but I hate it. To wake you up in the morning they kick you in the foot.”

I said, “I’ve heard that there are a lot of crack heads there, getting up every hour, walking around, keeping people awake.”

“Not only that, but they smoke crack in the bathrooms. The smell makes me sick. It’s like burning tires. My former wife used to be on crack. I’d wonder where all our money was going. We could never seem to get ahead. One day I came home and found two guys on top of her. One of them broke my leg. I took our two kids in the truck and they stayed with my mother. The next time I saw her she patted her backside and said, ‘Kiss my ass.’ That’s the last time I saw her.”

One man said, “My girlfriend has been going to a women’s shelter to have a shower and get cleaned up. She said there are always women smoking crack in the bathrooms.”

“Yeah,” said his girlfriend, “This morning I saw a woman with a hypodermic needle to her throat. I don’t know what she was shooting. I couldn’t believe it.”

Rhondda and I had an appointment with an expert housing adviser, whatever that was. We entered his office and he showed us some architectural drawings, building plans and real estate listings. I recognized the one on top of the pile. Its description is as follows:

Property features

  • Freehold Office Building with vacant possession
  • Close proximity to Llandaff City and Pontcanna
  • 56 car parking spaces
  • 11,462 sq ft (1,065 sq m)
  • Total site area approximately 0.83 acres
  • Prominent position at the entrance to Western Avenue Retail Park and Tesco Extra


The detached 3-storey, yellow brick office building needed repairs to the elevator, presently not working. It would, of course, require conversion from an office building to a university type dormitory for use as an emergency shelter.

The housing advisor said, “This seems to be the most practical for our needs. The problem is the asking price of $1,500,000.”

I handed him a bank draft for the remaining $500,000. “That is certainly generous of you. There will be renovation expenses and other costs involved with conversion.”

I handed him a second bank draft for 500,000. “Any further construction expenses will also be taken care of, after all, it’s only money.”

“We are very grateful. May I ask the name of your organization and their function?”

I replied, “No, you may not. Donations are completely anonymous, as are the names of the various international partners. You may rest assured that the money was legally obtained and our credit rating according to  Fitch, Moody’s, and S&P is AAA. I’ll leave the design and details of the construction completely in your hands. It has been a pleasure doing business with you. We will be in contact with you as the building shows signs of progress.”

Rhondda and I left the totally flummoxed housing advisor stuttering his thanks and goodbyes. We exited the building into surprising sunshine.

As we left the courtyard of Shelter Cymru I noticed a man with a camera. I casually walked up to him and asked, “Are you a tourist, or do you have a reason to photograph us?” He didn’t see the uppercut to the solar plexus that I threw from my waist. It was from an angle out of the stranger’s eyesight so it not only caught him off guard but it was also more damaging. Before he fell I grabbed his throat and held him vertical. “You don’t mind if we examine your camera, do you?” I handed the camera to Rhondda who scrolled through the pictures.

She said, “There seem to be a lot of biker images. Perhaps our friend can offer an explanation.”

As the man’s eyes regained focus he gasped, “Why did you hit me and take my camera?”

With my hand still around his throat, I manoeuvered him into a nearby alley. I said, “Okay, spill! Don’t think of lying. It could cost you your life.”

“Okay, Okay I’ll tell you. A friend, who is in a motorcycle gang, handed me a photograph of you and the woman. He said if I found you there would be a lot of money in it for me.”

I slammed his head into the brick wall and could hear his skull crack. Making sure he was dead I let him slide down the wall. He would appear as a passed out drunk until someone took the time to examine him closely.

We flagged a taxicab and returned to the Cardiff Hilton.

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20: They call me Red…

 

Rhondda

The day is dreary, I can hear raindrops hitting the hotel windows leaving wet trails on the glass. I want to stay in bed but get up and shower, wash my hair, come back to you in bed and snuggle up naked behind you. The warmth of your body is delicious and I stretch mine full against you, my breasts pressing into your shoulders, my belly and pussy against at your lower back and bare ass. You turn over onto your back. I wet your erection with my saliva and suck you until you are fully erect, I love to see it fall back engorged on your abdomen. I feel my own sex with my fingers. I am slippery and needing you. Straddling you, I lean my breasts forward and you suck and run your tongue around the nipples, they hardened into firm buds and it sends a feeling into my abdomen, sinking into desire.

Your body is beautiful, you are a beautiful and sexy man. We deep kiss and bite gently each others throats, you gather me by my hair and pull me back. I sit up. You watch as I pleasure myself, stoke my clit until it is swollen with desire for you and I am softly moaning, my slant like a feral animal glazed with need. You are engorged and throbbing when I take your cock into my hand and stroke it upwards and hold it against my wet folds and slowly lower onto you. The rush is heavenly, riding you, my hand reaches behind and caresses your balls gently, feels them tighten. I ride harder, deeper, and faster. Perspiration runs in droplets between my breasts and you lean up and suck them again. I feel the sweat on your upper lip. I beg you to make me come and you roll me over, remaining inside me, pull my legs up, bent at the knees, pull them open wide and plunge deeper inside me rocking the bed. I raise my arms to hold onto the brass slats above me. The soft force of your cock at the core of my womanhood is the most amazing and exquisite feeling I can imagine, it triggers an orgasm that is hard and violent and delicious. My hand finds your balls. They spasm and you come in rhythms of waves. Your breathing is hard as your muscles tighten, your eyes close, and you come inside me. It is a paradise for me. When you pull away, our juices run down our inner thighs and we separate and kiss very deeply.

There are no words to describe this feeling of complete satiation. I get up and you watch me walk naked to the bathroom, come back with a warm soft cloth that I place gently over your pelvis and cock, lightly soothing you until our orgasm boils down. We get into the shower together then and bathe one another caressing tenderly.

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19: They call me Red…

 

 

When Rhondda and I returned to our hotel we discovered a message from Paddy. Our photos had been circulated internationally. He also sent a picture of the damaged motorcycle ridden by the deceased biker. I recognized it immediately. We ordered from the room service menu. It wasn’t overly impressive.

We started with the Angels on Horseback; bacon-wrapped oysters, watercress with aged balsamic vinegar. Rhondda ordered the whiskey roast pork shoulder, three potato hash, grilled asparagus and a glass of Red Rock merlot. I had the New York strip steak, roasted fingerling potatoes, tomato provencal, house steak sauce and a glass of the Main Street, cabernet sauvignon. For dessert, we had an artisan California cheese tray, a selection of grilled bread with a bottle of Dom Perignon Brut, 2006.

We took off our shoes, turned the lights down low and gazed at the view of Cardiff Castle from our window. Rhondda snuggled against me. We discussed the day’s events and the 11,462 sq ft building we would be viewing tomorrow on Excelsior Way. It had been a long, eventful day. I grabbed the bottle of Dom Perignon and lead her to the bedroom. Having turned down the bed linen. I slowly unbuttoned her shirt, helped her off with her jeans and lingerie then I undressed.

I turned toward the bed and she took me in her mouth. It felt like paradise. I watched her touch herself, slowly sliding her fingers into her pussy. I took her hand and sucked her fingers individually. She leaned into me, her hair fell around me and her breasts fell into my cupped hands, a warm, sumptuous gift of flesh. I kissed each nipple in gratitude, ran my tongue around the edges then gently sucked them into my mouth. They hardened into firm buds and I felt her intake of breath. The back of my hand touched her ribcage and I felt the quickening beat of her heart.

She traced the veins that extended up my arm and across my chest. As I tightened my fist the vessels enlarged like a roadmap then faded as I released the pressure. She ran her fingers through my chest hair then kissed and gently bit my nipples. Like an electric current my abdomen jolted with warmth and desire. We deep kissed. I reached back and gently pulled the hair at the back of her head so that I could see the beauty and the allure of the woman who was pleasuring herself while looking deep into my eyes. I reached around her hips and with my hands on the cheeks of her ass, I lifted her pussy to my welcoming mouth. I licked her folds, tasted her juices, flicked and sucked her clit with my tongue. I hummed a deep vibrating note that brought her to orgasm. She then slid back and forth over my engorged cock, stroked it with her hand and pressed it against her wet folds until she was ready to lower herself onto me. We sank into the depths of pleasure as every nerve fired. When she was ready to come she reached back and gently massaged my balls. Feeling them tighten I arched my back and she rode me until I was nearly ready to explode, harder and harder, deeper and deeper. We were both perspiring and slippery. I embraced her with my arms and pulled my face to her breasts. I tasted the sweat and pulled them into my hungry mouth.

She begged me to make her come again so we rolled over together, she pulled her knees up, I spread her legs and pressed her shins against my chest. With my hands at her waist, I pulled and pushed her, testing the depth of her cavity, before exerting pressure. I adjusted her legs so that I didn’t cause her any pain. Then I plunged in. The bed was rocking. She reached back to grip the slats. I arched my back as I felt my orgasm building. I was wild, out of control, everything depended on riding this climax to the end. My cock erupted and spurted inside her over and over again. I was weak with exertion as I slowly rocked back and forth. She lowered her legs and squeezed my shaft with her thighs. We hugged and kissed deeply allowed our breathing and heartbeats to slow. We luxuriated in the feeling of our bodies pressed together.

Later, she arose and I watched the vision of her legs and ass as she walked to the bathroom. She brought a warm, wet washcloth to wipe my cock then reached under and gently soothed my balls. We showered together, slowly lathered and caressed each other. We dried then lay back on the bed. I pulled her close so that her back pressed against me. Sleep took us to the dreams that we shared every night.

I awoke to the sound of rain and the feeling of a warm body behind me. I leaned back slightly to feel more of her breasts against my shoulders. I arched my back to feel her belly and pussy against me. I was in heaven. I reached around with one hand and stroked the firm cheeks of her ass. I fondled them and thought of all the pleasure they had given me. I imagined all the parts of her that I could feel, but couldn’t see. I caught the scent of pine and perfume and the faraway odor of wood smoke. My life was perfect.

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18: They call me Red…

 

Morning came way too early. I had forgotten to close the drapes and the sun was shining directly in my face. I thought about breakfast, about coffee, but settled for champagne. I asked Rhondda, “Do you feel as sick as I do?”

She answered, “Pass the champagne, I’ll think about it later.”

We dressed in the clothes we bought at the thrift store. Avoiding the Grey Restaurant we exited by a side door. We walked to the Cardiff Central Market on St Mary Street. Upstairs we found The Bullterrier that has one of the best views over the market. I picked up a newspaper and was pleased to see a headline that read: ‘Shipping container flats for homeless people in Cardiff won’t be ready until summer.’ I would rather they were ready now, but what a novel way to provide emergency housing. ‘Cardiff Council and Cadwyn Housing Association have agreed to set up 13 one and two-bed flats in shipping containers in Bute Street.’

The National Living Wage will rise to 8.21 pounds per hour. One reader commented:

2 people living together working full time on Living Wage (40hrs/ week) will be taking home about £30,000 between them (after tax etc.). In most parts of the country that is plenty to live off and save for a deposit on a house. 


…AND save for a deposit on a house!

At the rate house prices are going up that’ll be after hell freezes over.

Get real!

Naturally, the raising of the National Living Wage is welcomed by employees and condemned by employers. “The British Retail Consortium (BRC), which represents shops, said hundreds of thousands of jobs could go in the retail and hospitality sectors particularly. The former boss of Sainsbury’s, Justin King, said that the National Living Wage would ‘destroy jobs’ “

Unemployment in Wales has gone up to a rate of 5% – slightly more than the overall UK rate, according to the latest figures. Average house prices range from  75,000 pounds in the north to between 200,000 and 300,000 in the south. 255,541 is the average, with a prediction to increase by 20% over the next five years. Housing in Cardiff is relatively unaffordable compared to other cities. The average house costs around eight times the average salary. Monthly rent for a 480 square foot studio ranges from 443 to 775 depending on location.

The complex problems of homelessness, as well as alcohol and drug abuse, are regular sights on Cardiff’s St Mary Street. But for the people who work there, it’s something they can’t just walk past. It’s happening outside (and sometimes inside) their doors and not just having an impact on their bottom lines but leaving them fearing for their safety.‘ We saw dozens of people in sleeping bags lying on the wet sidewalk against the shop fronts. Others were sitting on the sidewalk. Some were walking the streets with sleeping bags wrapped around their necks.

I had read the newspaper article “Opening up empty buildings would be a very positive way of increasing capacity to address rough sleeping.” I browsed the Real Estate section. There were a number of boarded-up buildings in the area. One advertised ‘Rare opportunity to acquire a well located / prominent office building. Also benefits from planning consent for redevelopment for Student Accommodation. Planning consent was granted in December 2017 for 213 student units and 2 commercial units.’

Rhondda and I visited Shelter Cymru. I proposed purchasing one of these buildings with the idea of converting it into emergency accommodation. They were open to the idea, but I don’t think they took us seriously. I gave them a cheque in the amount of $1,000,000 to get the project started. I said, “There’s more where that came from.” I also told them of our success in Ireland. Their attitude immediately changed and they suggested viewing some buildings.

This was exciting. The next few days were occupied with visiting the residential and commercial real estate that met the requirements of Cymru Shelter. The building would need to be close to the city center because that is where medical, alcohol and drug treatment facilities were located. Also, it had to be within walking distance for people who had no other means of transportation. Other details could be worked out later, but we had made a start.

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17: They call me Red…



Again we breakfasted at the Grey Restaurant in the Cardiff Hilton. Rhondda ordered Crushed Avocado & Chilli on Rye Toast and poached, free-range hen’s egg. I chose the Eggs Royale Severn & Wye, smoked salmon and free-range hen’s egg.

As we relaxed over coffee I looked across at Cardiff Castle. I suggested to Rhondda that it would be a shame to visit Cardiff without seeing the famous Castle. Excavations have raised the possibility that the Roman legions arrived in the area as early as the first half of the reign of Emperor Nero (A.D. 54-68).

Tickets to enter the castle cost $23.31 each. We followed the tour guide and were immediately overwhelmed by the fairytale fortress. As the guide said, ‘Walk over the drawbridge, through the portcullis and leave the modern city behind in a visit that covers 2,000 years of history.’ 

Cardiff Castle began as a Roman fort. A new castle was raised within its remains by the Normans, Gilbert deClare, Lord of Glamorgan, ruled the castle in the eleventh century. He is principally remembered as one of the barons of the Magna Carta; he died in 1230, leaving his son, Richard, as his heir. I was most interested in Richard de Clare, nicknamed Strongbow since members of my family served under him as archers in the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland.

We climbed to the top of the Norman Keep and enjoyed the panoramic views of the city, from Cardiff Bay to Castell Coch. We also explored the Wartime Shelters, used by more than 1800 people during World War 2 as protection during air raids.

We visited the Firing Line, Cardiff Castle’s Museum of the Welsh Soldier, and discovered the story of Welsh soldiers over the last 300 years. Then, we headed for the main house and marveled at the spectacular interiors, designed by William Burges in the 19th century for the 3rd Marquess of Bute, who transformed the castle into a Victorian gothic fantasy.

The lordship was to be held by the Bute family, until 1947, when the Castle was given to the City of Cardiff. The Bute family brought power and prosperity to Cardiff, which they turned from a sleepy backwater into one of the greatest coal exporting ports in the world. They transformed the Castle into the gothic fantasy we see today, as well as revealing the Castle’s Roman past.

After a day of walking, we retired to the Keep Terrace Bistro that offered a selection of hot meals, sandwiches, daily chef’s specials and sweet treats, plus a range of coffees and blends of tea. We decided to relax on the terrace and observe the spectacular views of the Norman Keep and the castle grounds.

For dinner, as Welsh people call their evening meal, we decided to walk the short distance to Barrack Lane and the Dead Canary. Apart from its unappetizing name, the Canary is the top-ranked cocktail bar in Cardiff. They offered sublimely crafted cocktails inspired by the Deaths and Entrances, a book of poetry penned by the great Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. 

The menu stated: “Inspired by famous Welsh heroes of past and present, will you choose to sip the herbal and exotic concoction from Mr. Nice, share the gold-laden punch bowl of Goldie Lookin Chain, or take a hit with the Italian influenced cocktail of Joe Calzaghe?’ known as the Italian Dragon, Fighter, Champion and Legend. It contained Campari Cask Tales, Coconut infused Beefeater Gin, Byrrh, lemon and egg white.  The drink named “Darling’ by Catharine Zita-Jones consisted of Kombucha, apple, rhubarb, ginger and lemon. Beneath the list of ingredients was her statement, ‘I think I will kiss you too!’ Other notables listed were Dylan Thomas, Dame Shirley Bassey, Christian Bale, Henry Morgan and Kirsty Hill, model and actress, whose menu item concluded with ‘Ass good as it gets’.

Rhondda and I had the whole evening to attempt to consume the entire drink menu. The ingredients were so exotic that we couldn’t decide, so we ordered two of each. Walking back to the hotel I had my arm around Rhondda’s shoulder. Suddenly, she seemed so small and vulnerable, yet only yesterday I saw her in a street fight. I pulled her close. I realized that I couldn’t do without her. The rest of the evening was a blur. We made it to our room. That’s the last I remember.

 

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16: They call me Red…



Rhondda and I breakfasted at the Grey Restaurant in the Cardiff Hilton. Rhonda ordered the Welsh Rarebit on Proper Toast with grilled, smoked, streaky bacon and a poached free-range hen’s egg. I chose the Full Welsh Brekkie consisting of locally cured bacon, locally made pork sausage, fried duck egg, confit field mushrooms, plum tomato, cockle and laverbread cake.

I had been awake for most of the night thinking of ways that we could effectively help homeless people on the streets of Cardiff. We had read reports, knew of all the organizations geared to help people in need. What we didn’t know was the experience of street people themselves; how they came to be there, what their treatment was when contacting the local agencies and how they were treated by the public. I suggested to Rhondda, “I think we should try living on the streets to see what these people are confronting.”

Rhondda said, “I wasn’t expecting that, but the idea does have some merit. I agree we can’t help people until we find out what they want. I’m sure that each person has unique priorities. The situation would be different for a man living on the streets as opposed to a woman. In either case, I see it as being very dangerous.”

“Are you willing to give it a try? We would be armed. We would be in sight of each other in case things turned ugly. If you agree, our next stop should be a thrift shop to buy more appropriate clothing. I don’t think that your Rodeo Drive purchases would give the proper message.”

“I’m willing to give it a try. After all, we have a place to stay. We aren’t destitute as are the homeless.”

At the thrift shop, we bought used but gently worn clothes. We wanted to look as if we were trying to make a good impression, not a fashion statement.

Our first venue was in front of the Playhouse Gentlemen’s Club in the Hayes district on St. Mary Street, one of the main shopping streets in Cardiff city center. St. Mary Street is home to a large ‘Howells’ or House of Fraser store, numerous arcades that house one-off, independent shops with many of the arcades having entrances on the Hayes. This seemed to be as good a place as any to see what kind of a reception we’d receive as beggars asking for change.

We took our stations with me in front of the strip club, Rhondda across the street where I could keep an eye on her. A group of university students passed by me and one at the rear shouted, “Get a job!” I replied, “I’ve got a job. I’m a beggar also an unemployed shepherd.” A trio of suits said the same thing. I said, “Hire me!” One of them answered, “Bathe first!” I replied, “Just because I don’t have access to a shower, doesn’t mean I don’t wash all over.” Another one said, “That’s an image I don’t want in my head.”

Across the street, Rhondda was sitting cross-legged on the sidewalk, her back to a stone wall. A man approached her and asked, “How much for a blow job.” Rhondda stood and said, “I have a problem hearing in one ear. Stand closer and repeat what you just said. The man stepped closer. Before he had a chance to open his mouth, Rhondda snapped a front kick to his groin. He doubled over in pain. Rhondda said, “Now what was that you were saying about a blow job?”

As we sat there more people wearing sleeping bags and duvets drifted by, some stopped at each bin to comb through the cigarette stubs left in the ashtrays on top. Others simply keep moving to stay warm. One man stopped and said, “Hello, mate, how’s it going? You can’t spare a smoke, can you?”

Patrick replied, “I don’t smoke, man, but someone dropped me a meal card. Do you want it?”

“I was hoping for something else, but I’ll take it. Thanks, man.”

There was a crash behind where Patrick was sitting and a bottle came flying through the plate glass window of the club. Shortly after a man was pushed onto the sidewalk where he received a vicious beating by bouncers. The talk was that the man had spent several hours and a large amount of money on one of the lap dancers, or she on him. He had taken a shine to her and had arranged to meet her outside the club at the end of her shift. He sat outside waiting for her with food and a bottle of champagne. Impatient, he went inside to ask for her. When she didn’t want to speak with him he felt hard done by and threw a champagne bottle over his shoulder hitting the front window of the club causing it to smash.

Police soon came by asking questions of everyone in the vicinity. Patrick tried to look inconspicuous and slip away unnoticed but a constable called him over.

The officer said, “What’s your involvement in this ruckus?”

Patrick answered, “I was just a bystander. I didn’t see much of what happened.”

“So that’s the way you want to play it. I’ll need to see some identification.”

Patrick handed the officer his passport. The constable said, “You’re a long way from home. What brings you to Wales?”

“I’m a retired soldier, writing about homelessness, especially among ex-servicemen.”

“That’s an unlikely story. You can prove this, I assume.”

“Yes I can,” said Patrick. I’m staying at the Cardiff Hilton. My writings are in my room.”

“Are you carrying any drugs or liquor?”

“No.”

“I could issue you a section 35 notice, under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act, requiring you to leave the city center for 24 hours, but seeing that you have money and a place to stay in the area. I’ll let you go this time. If I ever catch you begging again you could be jailed, fined, or both.”

Patrick walked across the street to where Rhondda was sitting and said, “That seemed like a good idea at the time, but it turned sour. Let’s go back to the hotel, have a drink, a meal then relax in a cozy bed.” He helped Rhondda up from her sitting position then they walked away hand in hand.

At the Hilton, we noticed that the Executive Lounge had closed at 8:00 pm. It appears that executives aren’t late drinkers. We went instead to the Metropole lounge where we ordered snifters of Rémy Martin XO, blended from up to 400 eaux-de-vie by Rémy Martin’s cellarmaster, this velvety blend hits a symphony of notes full of white flowers, juicy plums, candied oranges, hazelnuts, and freshly grated cinnamon. It gave us pleasure to cradle the snifter in our palms and gently swirl the liquid to raise it to body temperature then bring the rim of the glass to our noses to breathe the heavenly bouquet. I also like to warm cognac over a candle. There are more elaborate ways. One is by rinsing the snifter with hot water, draining it then adding kirsch that is set on fire with a cigarette lighter. Swirling it until the glass is uniformly warm, empty the kirsch and add the cognac. There is no better way to end a delightful evening before going to bed.

Sample my books for free — To date, $1945.00 has been donated to the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($.99 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($.99 Download)
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15: They call me Red…



The Ulysses docked at Holyhead at 11:30pm. We’d notified the owners at Bwthyn Y Borth of our late arrival. They assured us the cottage would be unlocked and ready for our occupancy. On our drive from the ferry to Rhoscolyn Head, we tried to get a glimpse of the breathtaking sea and Snowdonia mountain views, but we would need sunlight to fully appreciate the scenery.

The cottage was spectacular. We were tired, but couldn’t resist building a fire in the immense, cut stone wood burner. I fixed martinis and we snuggled on the love seat and rested our feet on the ottoman. It was a great ending to an eventful day. As the flames flickered to coals we made our way upstairs to the huge king-sized bed. We welcomed sleep as a breeze from the Irish Sea drifted in through the open window.

In the morning we walked 30 minutes across the cliff tops to The White Eagle, a fine dining pub where we both ordered the toasted steak sandwich on brown bloomer bread with cheddar cheese and red onion, served with coleslaw and a mixed greens salad. We asked the waiter about Welsh ales and he recommended for me the Rampart Brown ale with hints of chocolate malt and for Rhondda, a lighter taste, the Beachcomber Blonde with a delicate grapefruit flavor and aroma. To finish the meal we each ordered a Merlyn Welsh Cream Liqueur described as ‘rich, warming creamy texture and fudge toffee is overlaid with the tingling aroma of fresh clean spirit. Vanilla, hints of banana and exotic fruits – and even rose petals – all linger gently in the background.’ How could we resist?

High tide will be at 1:00pm, we looked forward to enjoying the private beach and natural seawater pool, described as ‘perfect for a summer dip!’ We walked back to the cottage, changed into swimwear and followed the steep, stone steps down to the pool. It was refreshing to languish in the cool water. Since we had complete privacy our swimwear soon came off and we enjoyed the sea view and each other’s bodies for the rest of the afternoon.

We phoned Paddy at the farm to learn if there had been any recent developments. He said that there had been a fatal motorcycle accident nearby. Was it the biker that we met in Teach Dolmain? Paddy said he would check the damaged motorcycle and forward a photo. Further to that Paddy asked that we travel to Cardiff and check on the homeless problem described in the newspapers as being ‘the worst in decades.’

It was revealed in January that homeless people in Cardiff were choosing to live in tents rather than access the Huggard Centre, claiming the shelter was rife with drugs and thieves.

“There’s not enough accommodation – there are no beds and no floor space,” he said. “If you went down there after midnight, you would cry.

“Where there’s not enough floor space, people are sleeping in the courtyard in flower beds. It is heartbreaking.”

 

We decided to book a late train to Cardiff. The journey would take close to five hours give or take a half hour. We weren’t in a rush, with the first class fare we would enjoy a 3-course meal on the northbound evening service. Our onboard chefs use fresh produce, much of it sourced in Wales. And we have a range of wines, champagne and spirits available to buy. I love traveling in style.

At the Cardiff Hilton, we chose a suite featuring a view of Cardiff Castle. I know it seems incongruous that we were staying in such luxury when tomorrow we would be visiting people sleeping on the streets, in tents and cars. I hope we can be of some help.

Homelessness is a universal problem exacerbated by wars, famine and poverty. As individuals, we can’t affect a universal solution, that is beyond the scope of our possibilities. The first decision we must make is whether to be on the side of finding a solution or to be part of the problem. To remain ignorant is to be part of the problem. To quote Ronald Reagan, ‘We can’t help everyonebut everyone can help someone.’

Rhonda and I find ourselves in a unique situation, a unique community. We searched the internet to discover how the homeless situation was described in Cardiff, and what was being done about it at a municipal and national level. What help is available to a person who finds themselves homeless in Cardiff?  The first resource I found was ShelterCymru, the People and Homes Charity in Wales.

They addressed the question:

Why do people become homeless?

It’s complicated, and it differs from person to person. But there are two main types of reason why people become homeless:

  • Problems in the person’s own life – such as physical or mental health conditions, relationship breakdown, or drug and alcohol misuse;
  • Problems in the system – such as the rising cost of housing, the poverty trap, and welfare benefit cuts brought about by the Government.

Over the last 35 years, Shelter Cymru has seen the housing crisis play a bigger role in creating homelessness. There aren’t enough affordable homes being built, and this makes housing more expensive for everyone – including you.

With rent levels rocketing and homeownership an increasingly impossible dream, it’s no wonder that so many families are struggling.

Homeless people are people first and foremost. Shelter Cymru offered the following suggestions:

Many people wonder whether giving to people begging on the streets is the right thing to do. We aren’t going to tell you what to do – it has to be your own decision. But here are some pointers that you may want to consider when deciding your personal approach.

If you give money, you must be comfortable with allowing people to make their own decisions about what to spend it on. The truth is you have no idea how hard their life might be. If you decide to give money, make it a gift with no strings, from one citizen to another.

If you decide to give, make sure this isn’t the only thing you do. If you decide not to give, do something else instead.

We watched a video online entitled A Little Change Please created by, Ben Blyth, a 20-year-old photojournalism student. He introduced the video with the words,  ‘The number of people homeless in Cardiff has doubled in the last two years. All these people want is to feel human, something that costs you absolutely nothing.’

Blyth wanted to experience first hand what it is like sleeping on the streets before making a film.

He said: “I started going out and speaking to homeless people and getting their opinion on doing a film. I just took my notebook and pen and got a few ideas.

“Then I decided I was going to sleep rough myself. I had planned to do a couple of nights but I just couldn’t hack it. I wanted to try and understand what it was like to make it more genuine. I didn’t want to be completely ill-informed.

“In the end, I spent one night sleeping rough and two days on the streets begging.

“The hardest part of sleeping rough was not talking to anyone. I felt completely lost in a city where I had lived for two years.

“It was strange not having anything to do at all. I felt very isolated.

Sample my books for free — To date, $1945.00 has been donated to the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($.99 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($.99 Download)
Podcasts:http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6