Vegas Valley Sports Beat

greetings sports fans

And welcome to the first ever self-published edition of Vegas Valley Sports Beat; that feisty little column that simply doesn’t know when to quit which is why we are open to suggestions until 9 A.M PST this morning.

It’s a cold but beautiful Sunday morning here in the Las Vegas Valley region. Unfortunately, it is the first day of Daylight Savings time so if you haven’t already; do be sure to set your clocks ahead one hour today. Which of course means it’s too late to suggest reasons for me quitting this lonely endeavor.

Moving on then I would like to say good Sunday morning to you Las Vegas and to all of my family and friends all over the world and welcome all of my visitors to this my newly refurbished website. I am the curator of B.B. Wolfe Publishing, or Crypt O’Keeper if you wish. Some of you might know me as Typo Marx from other social venues.

What is in a name? That which we call a rose would smell as sweet by any other name. Inversely a horse’s behind is a horse’s rear end by any name, and I can assure you they all pretty much smell the same too. So don’t expect me to be anything but the same me as I am anywhere else. Call it what you will but I gotta be me and that’s that. At least I’m consistent.

B.B. Wolfe Publishing is a start-up publishing house that represents the fruition of a long-standing dream to do just this. To not only manage the publishing of my own work, which is quite voluminous as you will see in the coming days as I continue to transfer my previously published articles, poems, and reviews to this site. Where I intend to make them available to visitors in the site’s archives, but to promote my original unpublished works, and those of my extensive social family here as well.

I am frequently asked about my experience as a writer and the short version is I fell in love with storytelling in the 4th grade when I was assigned to write a short story for a grade. I wrote a story called, “The Rubber Band” which was a fictionalized story about how I was just walking along one day minding my own affairs and fell into a hole. Someone had dug it in an empty field and then covered it up again to hide the millions of dollars in cash they had hidden there.

Being no fool I, of course, took every last penny of it to my bank. Yes, I did have an account then at Commercial And Farmers which I believe is called Bank Of America now? Anyhoo, being a wise investor of 9 years and already a seasoned entrepreneur for two years I was nobody’s fool when it came to money matters. Or so I thought.

I began my first door to door lawn care business in Kennewick, Washington in the Fall of 1971 when I was in the 2nd grade. I went around the neighborhood, door to door to door with my Grandma Butler’s rake and raking leaves during the fall for fifty cents a yard. The leaves in question being sometimes as big as a dinner plate and the average yard being ankle deep in maple leaves it was never hard to find a yard to rake.

I’d go up to the door and if someone answered I’d say rake your yard for fifty cents Lady? Or sir, as the case were. I got extra for bagging the piles. The first day I did that I went to the market with a grip of change from raking 3 front yards and I couldn’t decide what to get myself as a reward because I could buy anything I wanted.

I left the store with nothing but I certainly did learn the value of a hard-earned day’s wages and the pride of knowing that when I went back in the store again and bought myself a thing of Jiffy Pop Popcorn; took it home to my Grandparents house and popped it on the gas stove just like on TV that I had earned it. I didn’t like popcorn so much as I always wanted to pop one off of the stove just to watch it in person. I’m fairly sure I never got another one on purpose, at least not for myself.

I raked leaves until the leaves were mostly gone. Needless to say, I cleaned up. By 5th grade, I would have parleyed my weekly allowance into a lucrative door to door lawn mowing service in Oxnard, California. My father gave us boys $0.50 which would buy like 3 comic books a week in 1972 maybe 4 if you were lucky.  Or it might buy you two ice cream sandwiches, two packages of Wacky Packages stickers, or a handful of candy.

Or, I could take my Dad’s gas can up to the ARCO gas station next to the Stop & Go market where said treasure lie and get fifty cents worth of gas. I took it back home and then pushed my father’s lawnmower down the street offering to mow lawns door to door for $1.00 a yard. Needless to say, I had my choice of the best and the latest in comic books and read everything from Richie Rich to Scrooge McDuck, Archie and Friends was always a favorite, as was anything from Marvel save for Batman whom I never really got into in print. I was a faithful fan of the TV series though. You can bat your assets on that. The Hulk in print or on TV especially because Bill Bixby has been a favorite actor of mine since when I watched The Courtship Of Eddie’s Father while it was still on. I’m still a little upset about it being canceled so abruptly but what can you do?

As for Wacky Packages stickers, when we moved out of that house on Yucca Street my closet’s sliding doors were covered with them, and they’re probably still there. Needless to say business was good, and again I cleaned up. But it cost an extra dollar and you had to provide your own garbage bags as always. Company policy.

I learned that I had an affinity for storytelling when, while I was also in the 4th grade I lost a very expensive pair of gold-framed prescription glasses on my way home from school one day. My mother refused to believe that I had lost them, or a word of the truth which was that I had looked high and low between my classroom and home and had even walked over and over the big field behind Larsen Elementary where I’d last seen them. I even checked on top of my head numerous times having been made a fool of that way before. They were gone. Period.

But try to tell my mother that. She hounded me well into the night, interrogating me incessantly and I was in bed at the time. The hell of it was that she was in her own bed too. I finally told her a big fat story about how I had accidentally broken them and freaked out because they were twisted out of commission permanently so I took them up to the empty field across from the Stop & Go market and buried them somewhere in the field but I couldn’t remember where exactly.

She actually insisted that I go and look for them. And believe me, I did too. So I wasn’t lying when I reported this to her afterward. I looked but alas I could not find them no matter how many times I looked.

And this was the basis of my first short story “The Rubber Band.”

So then being stinking rich from the booty I fell on that day and having the Princely sum of $30,000,014.35 counting the $14.35 I already had in my white Commercial And Farmers, savings passbook; I did what any smart kid would do. I went to the marina where I also happened to spend a goodly portion of the youth I wasted in real-time and bought myself a respectably sized fishing boat of my own. Now I would no longer have to fish off the docks at the marina, while everyone else went out on the big charter fishing rigs.

I paid the man from petty cash and then took my newly acquired 45′ foot motor yacht which I had christened the SEA YA, on her maiden cruise out to the Channel Islands to see where the girl lived from The Island of The Blue Dolphin. A book which my teacher Mrs. Munyan had just read to the class prior to my sudden windfall.

When I got to the island I docked my boat at the marina and proceed to tour on foot and I discovered a lively marketplace selling trinkets to the tourists. I looked but didn’t see anything I cared for until I happened to find a peddler who was just setting up his little stand which consisted of a TV dinner tray the tin kind like Archie Bunker might have used. On top of that he placed an old briefcase that had seen better days that Samsonite had ever foreseen by the looks of it, and he placed a card on the briefcase that said simply,

FOR SALE-1 Rubber Band, $250,000. Serious inquiries only.

I thought it was the most ludicrous thing I had ever seen. One rubber band for a quarter of a million dollars?! He must be insane was my impression, but the old black gentleman had a way about him that didn’t strike me as being that of one given to foolishness. Then again you never can tell, can you?

So I went up to the man who was dressed in an old tan-gray suit and a natty black bowler hat with a gleaming black ribbon around the brim and I know now that it was rude of me to just come right out and say so like I did but I was like come on? $250,000 for a rubber band?

I have to admit that my inner Encyclopedia Brown got the best of me and of course Sherlock Holmes was no stranger to me by this point in my life so I had to know the meaning of this sign and what he thought was so special about this single rubber band that anyone in their right mind would even look twice at the sign. Except maybe to make sure it really did say that, and then have an even bigger laugh.

I don’t know what it was that kept me from laughing in the old gentleman’s face I suppose it was the same thing that kept me from laughing in Waylon Jennings’ face when he told me he Willie Nelson was his best friend. My father taught me to respect my elders, the Bible taught me to never cease showing kindness to strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. I had read almost every book of the Bible by then too thanks to my Father who insisted we do an hour of study and homework as soon as we got home from school or we could read the Bible. I decided from the moment the edict was voiced that I would never spend a second doing homework so I read the family Bible. I especially enjoyed reading the book of Job.

Even though I was thinking he might be a few screws short of a full deck (metal roofers joke) (haha) I hit him up and to my complete amazement, he told me that it was not just one single rubber band but a whole bunch of them.

You can believe I laughed my butt off then. I wanted to know what the difference was and that was when I thought he had lost his mind for sure because he leaned over close to my ear as if he didn’t want anyone else to overhear and told me that they were not just any ordinary rubber bands. They were magical, and they played music. They were an actual band. You know, like you see at a band concert when they have a band.

I was like, “I think I hear my yacht calling me I better go see what it wants,” but he stopped me in my tracks when he snapped open the briefcase and I saw the Rubber Band for the first time. The leader of the band was by far the only recognizable one of the bunch as he was one of those gigantic red rubber bands which one seldom saw, in my 9 years of experience anyway.

The rest of the rubber bands in the briefcase were of the more common variety one might find at Kinko’s or Office Max these days. They were much smaller than the bandleader, plus they were multi-colored and there were a bunch of them at the bottom of the old man’s case.

The bandleader, however, was lying on top of a small podium at the top of the case and there was a tiny bandstand at the back. Both were lined with red velvet that was as worn and faded as the gentleman’s suit and looked like time had worn it thin in some places while in other places it was still as shiny and crimson as if it were new.

I snorted and walked away but then I head the old man cry, “Wait just a minute now before you leave, son. You haven’t even heard them play yet.”

That stopped me dead in my tracks and I turned around to see if he was grinning or not but he seemed earnest, and the only hint of a smile was more of a guileless one than a sneer so I’ll admit I was intrigued but only to about one more point and then I was going to blow him off for the pop-sickle stand down by the marina. The one that sold chestnuts.

“You’re right, sir,” I said, I have not heard them do anything worth $250,000 dollars that’s for sure.”

“That’s because they don’t play unless you give the leader of the band his baton to lead the rubber band with.” I was about to say something when he pulled a tiny gold baton like the one’s you oftentimes see Drum Majors twirling at the head of marchings band in various parades.

The sun gleamed off of burnished gold that had a patina of age far greater than even the old gentleman himself wore on his ancient brow. The tiny jewels that studded the bulbous head of the baton were minute to my eye but the sunlight gleaming through the ruby’s diamonds, and emeralds were proof they were real gemstones whose facets had either been cut by the hands of a miniature master stone cutter, or someone with very tiny hands and really good vision.

“Watch this kid,” the old man said with a bit of a showman’s flair that I thought was reminiscent of a carnival barker even to my own young mind. And then he held the baton out close to the big rubber band that was lying as limp as a boiled noodle on the podium. He touched the tip of the baton to it and I jumped back in shock as the rubber bandleader came to life before my very eyes and took the golden baton from the old man’s hand.

As I watched, completely transfixed by what I could not possibly be witnessing, the bandleader twirled the gold baton in a rubber hand that grew from his rubber form which was now a little more fluid than one normally sees in a common rubber band. But of course, this was anything but a common rubber band; by any stretch of the imagination.

The old man then bowed formally to the bandleader who snapped to attention smartly, bowed low in return and then rapped the gold baton on the top of the tiny podium. Instantly all of the rubber bands snapped up and began playing Dixieland rag in full orchestral force. Every rubber band had it’s own instrument because they were the instrument too.

As I tried to get my jaw off of my sneakers the bandleader waved his baton in the air and 5 rubber bands broke off from the rest of the band and took to the stage at the back of the briefcase. The orchestra in the meantime segued into, Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and the musicians I have to admit were nearly flawless in their performance of that favored classic which I loved even then thanks to having joined the school orchestra that same year.

When they started playing a Fifth Of Beethoven at the same time however I was snared like a tuna in a gill net. I knew I had to have this amazing band and considering their talent I didn’t think a quarter of a million dollars was too much to ask for. I wasn’t about to tell the old man that though because I thought it might induce him to raise the price if I seemed too eager to buy the band.

All things considered, I think I handled the sale negotiation well. “I’ll take it!” I said though I had to shout to make myself heard above the twangy din of the band who was still going strong and blasting out rubber born boogie-woogie beats like only a blasted boogie-woogie blaring rubber band can.

“I take it you have $250,000 dollars?” the old man said and the band fell silent at a gesture from his hand to the bandleader. “You know that is a lot more than three dollars.”

“”Yeah, I know how much money that is. I want them, and I have the money.” I assured him.

“On you?” He said looking dubiously down at my not bulging pockets that actually only held a few bills for nicknacks and refreshments.

“Well yes and no, I have the money here with me but I’m not carrying it around with me in my pockets,” I told him, and I turned my pockets inside out to prove my point.

“I see. Well… I don’t know son, I have places to go and people to see. I can’t just stand around here all day waiting for you to come back with this money you claim to have when for all I know you might be pulling my leg. You might just run off and change your mind. If you’re not fibbing me altogether that is.” he said as he stroked the wisp of beard that flowed down from his chin.

“Would you take a check? I asked hopefully.

“Do you have a check? he asked leaning back he looked at me like he could never believe that a 4th grader could have a checking account. “I find it hard to believe you have a checkbook with that kind of money in it. he said, confirming my suspicions.

“Well no not really but I have my passbook from my savings account.” I offered. “Does the band play any kind of music you want?” I asked, hoping to maybe change the subject because I was enchanted by the rubber band and scared they might be sold to another buyer before I could come to agreeable terms with the gentleman.

“Yes, they do.” he said patiently. “And don’t go changing the subject either kid. This is business an…”

“I don’t believe you,” I affirmed rather firmly.

He gave an old stink eye look with a cocked brow accent I’d gotten from Principal Anzana a few times already at school. (I did say I gotta be me right? Okay, as long as we’re on the same page here, cool).

“and business is… What? Yes, it is business, and as I was saying before I was interrupted, business is….”

“I don’t believe they can play every kind of music there is. That isn’t possible.” I most assuredly assured him. You know how it is when you’re 9. Especially you 9-year-old reader’s. Grown-up’s need to be assured all the time. They’re funny that way.

“Yes it is possible, I assure you. Everything is possible. Even a rubber band. But that’s irrelevant. This is about money and money is about bus…”

“I still don’t believe it, and yes it is relative.”

“Relevant.” he corrected me, but in a gracious way that wasn’t the least bit condescending.

“Same difference,” I countered I don’t believe they can play anything more than what I just heard. And since it’s my money that’s involved here, I think that makes it my business whether or not they can play any song or type of music there is. I think I have to see that for myself.”

“What kind of proof would it take to convince you? he asked, glancing over at the bandleader who was standing at rigid attention in front of the podium, the gold baton held firmly in its rubber hand against its rubber body, then back at me. “A demonstration perhaps?” he asked with a raised eyebrow?

“Yeah, sure. That would work. I told him.”

The old man looked at the bandleader again and it pointed the baton at me for a moment then stood at attention again. “We don’t believe you have any money, and that is our business in a nutshell.” He said

“Yeah, I was kind of hoping you might overlook that.” By then as you might well imagine I was well on my way into the depths of my imagination. I could just see it right in front of my own eyes. My name up in lights in front of Carnegie Hall and below my name the marquis read,

TONIGHT ONLY-RUBBER BAND!- SOLD OUT!

“Nope,” he said. And the bandleader waved his baton slowly back and forth in front of himself in silent accord with the old man. “We also require a demonstration.”

“Yeah, I was kind of thinking you might say that,” I admitted sheepishly.

I’ve set a hook or two in my time and I knew that he was about to take the bait. I hoped. In my old age, however; I understand now that wily old sharks don’t become wily or old by being stupid. The whole time I thought I was about to set the hook in the old man, his own hook was already in my bottom lip and set firmly. I just didn’t know it yet.

“I have the proof but it’s at the marina in my boat.” I said pointing towards the path that leads back down to the docks where I had tied up the SEA YA.

“Your boat.” He said in a manner that suggested I told him I was the owner of Mars. “You have a boat? Don’t you mean your parent’s boat?”

“Nope.”

“I’ll wager it’s probably their money you’re going to spend on the band too, isn’t it?” He said and I saw the bandleader shaking a little with laughter. In a rubbery sort of way. I guess you had to be there.

“Nope. I mean my boat and my money. They’re both down at the marina. One is getting gassed up and the other one is in the map box on the flying bridge.” Sinker, line, aaand, hooked. Fish on!

“On the flying bridge,” he said matter of factly. He was giving me that Principal Anzana look, again. Boy if you have a boat here it’s a rowboat that you somehow managed to get all the way out here in without getting your fool self lost at sea or killed by a head-on collision with a baby seal.

“And I still don’t believe you either. About the band’s musical abilities I mean.” I said folding my arms in front of me with the finality of youth..

“Yeah well I have to get going soon and I need to sell the band so I can retire in style. I don’t have a penny to my name so I need the cash influx to carry me through my golden years. My dream is to retire to a nice little cabin in the woods where I can hunt, fish, and grow my own food.”

That should have thrown up a huge red flag but hey I was 9 so give me a break.

“We can go down to the marina if you like and then you can see my yacht and my bank passbook. The band can play for us while we have a bite to eat and if all goes well maybe we can seal the deal.” I suggested hopefully.

To my delight, he agreed to the idea after a moments consultation with the bandleader who simply shrugged a rubber shoulder and handed the gold baton back to the old man. When it left his hand again the bandleader slumped over the podium again, as limp and lifeless as before.

“I have a long-standing policy of never turning down a free meal or the opportunity to give a man the chance to prove he is honorable. But only once mind and then they’re finished in my eyes.” the old man said as he put the baton back in his coat pocket, shut the briefcase, and folded up his TV tray. “I hope I won’t be needing this anymore, but it sure was nice that it happened to be sitting here just when I needed it,” he said as he leaned it against the tree he had set up in the shade of. The day was a bit hot as I recall now.

To make a long walk short the old man could hardly believe his eyes when I took him on board the SEA YA and got out my bankbook.

“Holy smokes!” He exclaimed when he first set eyes on her from a block away. “You sure didn’t get that toy boat out of your bathtub did you?”

“Nope.” I agreed as we marched on down to the docks. The old man kept the briefcase between us the whole way back and I could hardly take my eyes off of it long enough to watch where I was going. Blinded by greed I was. Stumbled over many rocks I did.

“Hee-hee! I guess you didn’t even know about the counter checks your bank puts in the back of your passbook did you, boy?” He said when he had finished examining the passbook and satisfied himself by his probing questions that I was telling him the truth.

“no, I didn’t know,” I admitted sheepishly. I could hardly contain myself though because he had said he would take a personal check, hadn’t he? “Will you still take my personal check for the Rubber Band, sir?” I asked him suggestively.

In the background the Rubber Band was playing, “In The Mood” and then they switched up and began playing bluegrass music and gospel in the salon behind us. All I heard was CHA-CHING!$ ringing, cha-ching a ling a ling with every song they played as they ran through a rather impressive repertoire of music genres seemingly in random order.

The old man sat back in his deck chair there in the galley which I was using for the first time since buying her that morning. She was all polished Teak wood, spotless glass, and gleaming stainless steel. A cleaning crew which the salesman at the yacht brokerage had come in to give her the once over and they had done the SEA YA extra proud.

He looked me dead in the eye for what seemed to be an eternity before he took a deep breath and sighed. “If it were anyone else but you young man I would be inclined to say no.”

“But…”

But.” He stopped me with a raised finger that was as old and bony as a bony old finger can be and said, “But, I see now that you are indeed a gentleman of your word. So, given the circumstances, yes, I will accept your check, just as long as we can verify the funds by making a ship-to-shore call to the bank manager first.”

My heart nearly skipped a few beats when he said the magic word I had been waiting all afternoon to hear. Yes.

Yes! the Rubber Band was mine! Yes yes yes yes yes! My heart jumped for joy in my chest. He said, Yes! I, of course, wasted no time whatsoever connecting with my bank manager on the radio. Thanks to a very nice Coast Guard operator who patched it through for me. They remembered me from the day I was fishing over the side of someone’s boat while I watched it for them and got a shark hook in my side. They were the best. They took me to the Coastguard station there on shore and a corpsman gave me a free tetanus shot after they explained the joys of lockjaw to me and how you get it.

The old gentleman smiled and I would almost swear his eyes were deeper then than the end of space but it passed just as quickly when the band began to swing.  All I saw then was a world tour poster with my name on its banner. It was not all of my thoughts that day were based upon greed. I really was looking forward to seeing the world. After all, I was headed that way when I found, no when I discovered the Rubber Band. Yeah sure that would fill the playbill quite nicely.

Game set and match I thought as I sat there on the deck of my own big asset of a boat. A fish out of water and floundering. Flip flop flippity-flip, flop. But I’m coming to that.

So to make a long story of a short one I wrote the counter check out like the directions in the passbook illustrated made out to the order of

Pay To: Sir. The sum of: $250,000 and 00/100——- 
Signed. you know who. The old man smiled as he slipped the check into his inner coat pocket and then he shook my hand, tipped his bowler hat, bid me bon voyage and he was gone just as quietly and quickly as that.

In sharp contrast, the Bandleader struck up a rousing rendition of Flight Of The Bumblebee just then so my attention span may not have been as far reaching as it might have been. I thought he’d never leave.

I cast off shortly after paying the fuel bill and made steam for Hawaii where I had everything all mapped out in my mind. I could put some Pacific Ocean between me and California. How hard could it be to cruise to Hawaii? I had everything I needed for a long cruise already so Hawaii it was.

If you are thinking this has a happy ending it doesn’t really, but in retrospect, I have to say it was an expensive education on the dark side of money. Meanwhile, back in Honolulu I had rented a lovely berth for the SEA YA and spent a ton of money promoting the Amazing Rubber Band to the masses via expensive ad campaigns. Then I hired a PR firm and a high profile press agent to hype the event and subsequent world tour kick off. Oh yeah, I had it going on like Donkey Kong and the memory of that opening night is etched forever in my brain. It’ll haunt me that way for a long time too.

The crowd was starlit like a cloudless night. All of the big names from Hollywood were in attendance as were the creme DE Le creme of society from numerous societies, or wherever it is that snobs come from and it was a black tie affair. But only for the gentlemen. The ladies dresses put many a sequin sewer’s children through college just from that one event alone. It was glitz and glitter galore. I watched from the wings stage left as the house speakers came up and the lights went down in the theater.

I can even hear the absolute silence of the crowd as the curtains rose and the stage lighting came on. I looked over at the stage that had been constructed just for the show. I choreographed the set changes and the playlist that moved the whole show along and oversaw the design process as well. It was so going to be a thing. I was ready, the Rubber Band was ready, and the whole wide world was waiting breathlessly with me as the curtains rose.

But all you could hear was a continual silence where there should have been fanfare and trumpets, and music blaring aplenty. Rubber Band members should have been busy marching all about and playing their little rubber hearts out for the paying public who were waiting to adore them and make a great big honking deal out of them and me. And make a whole bunch more noise too of course. You get the picture.

But so did the audience and before I knew what had occurred on stage I saw the faces of everybody in the theater break into wide grins and then an explosion of laughter burst forth from the audience. That is when I turned to look at the stage and I nearly threw up my black Italian socks.

Where a moment before there had been a rubber orchestra ready to boogie-woogie, there was nothing but a motionless pile of colored rubber bands lying on that silly looking stage setup. The only thing standing was a tiny gold Drum Major’s baton that stood propped against the red velvet covered conductor’s podium.

You should have seen their final opening night rehearsal, then perhaps you might understand how it was supposed to look in production that night. But that didn’t happen. I told the rigging guy to drop the curtain and that turned the laughter into an angry mob soundtrack that I can still hear in my mind as well.

As the heavy curtain fell, effectively cutting off the surging mob who was already calling for torches and pitchforks to be passed out. I ran out onstage with the old briefcase the band came in, scooped them into the briefcase and exited stage right. I made it to the backstage door just as the mob unlocked the secret of crawling under the heavy bottom hem of the curtains. Looking hither and yon quickly I saw my chance to make a clean getaway by going straight up instead of trying to escape unseen across that massive parking lot. If I was found out I would surely face the real possibility of being tarred and feathered.

That is what the tabloids said was in store if my poor publicist should ever show his face again anyway so I’d say that was a fair analogy. Even if it wasn’t really a concern at the time because I couldn’t very well use my own image to promote the band so I hired Barry The Face to be me until I grew up and was old enough to be me in real life.

I scrambled up a fire escape that went up to the roof located close to the back door like a squirrel with his tail on fire. I vaulted over the parapet wall onto the roof just as the mob started pouring out of the same door I had just used to escape from them.

I was safe in my lofty perch because adults never look up unless the sun eclipses or the moon explodes and they were looking for Barry anyway. To his credit, Barry had assessed the situation a few seconds faster than yours truly did because he was watching the band and he saw them go limp at their first sight of the audience. I only found all this out later on.

Right then I wasn’t going anywhere but across that roof and down the other side on another fire escape as fast as my feet would fly. I walked quickly as I  passed by a few gaily dressed hunters but they didn’t give a nine-year-old kid carrying a battered old briefcase more than a brief glance. I ran when the coast cleared ahead of me and then I was out on the street that ran in front of the theater where it was easy to lose myself in the crowd. Don’t forget Barry was still running around out there somewhere and that last thing I needed was to run into him in public just then.

After I paid all the bills and paid everyone back for their tickets and settled all the lawsuits out of court through my attorney’s I wound up selling the SEA YA just to break even.

The most ironic thing about it was that I came up smelling like a rose because I still had $17.50 remaining in my account at Commercial and Farmers National Bank. I was $3.15 ahead of the game and I did have one grand adventure with someone else’s money. On paper anyway. It was still mine until I had to pay it all back to other people.

As for the fate of the now infamous Rubber Band, they faded into obscurity thanks to a lot of money and an airtight non-disclosure proviso to go along with receiving their settlement checks. It helped me out a lot that nobody really had the courage to admit to their friends they were ever there in the first place. Those friends who knew about their folly were there that night too.  They didn’t care to admit to it either lest they were ridiculed by their friends who were not there, for being taken for a ride by a scam artist who sold them all on the ridiculous idea that rubber bands could make beautiful music.

Talk about your perfect storm of plausible deniability. And like every storm does, it quickly blew itself out from shame and faded quickly away to nothing. But as to what befell the Rubber Band that dreadful night off the coast Honolulu; I caught a cab to the marina where I boarded the SEA YA cast off her mooring lines and slipped out to sea. When I cut the engine again 4 miles offshore, well out of the reach of the law in international waters, I opened up the old briefcase and set it on the table in the galley and tapped the bandleader with the golden baton.

Instantly he sprang to attention and the Rubber Band began to play the first song for that night’s show. As I stood there watching in shock they went through the entire 45-minute concert routine flawlessly, just like we had rehearsed it. Right up until someone shouted ahoy the SEA YA from inside the salon and right in the middle of the grand finale they all fell down limp and lifeless again. again.

My visitor and the first person outside of myself and the old gentleman who sold me the band to hear the Rubber Band play was the Harbormaster. He was checking to make sure, or so he said, that everything was okay because he had seen lights on inside the yacht and was just making sure all was ship shape. I looked at him and then at the Rubber Band and that’s when I made the connection and a little light flashed on in my brain.

The old man had neglected to mention that they all suffered from a debilitating case of stage fright that left them paralyzed in front of an audience other than their owner and whatever sucker he managed to sell them to. As I cut the engine 4 miles off the coast of the Big Island I flew into a rage because the Rubber Band had been playing, “I’m sorry” by Connie Francis the entire time. I chopped them all up like a Ginsu madman. Including the big red bandleader whom I chopped into tiny little rubber band pieces. When my rage had passed and my mind was clear again put them in a sealed glass jar where they remain to this day.

Today my dear friends and family I dedicate this website to all of the amazing people I have met between 1971 and today for being a part of what makes B.B. Wolfe Publishing what it is. The result of a story based upon a lie told to cover up an unacceptable truth a long time ago. I have written many more stories since then including a stack of novel manuscripts which you all shall see published in the future.

I have read extensively since then and I have written extensively as well. I had my own column in an online news agency for just over a year until just recently when for some reason it decided to get up and vanish without so much as a goodbye. I studied with my own creative writing coach for two years, and while I was writing my first novels I began studying the publishing industry to better understand it and the process of publishing a book. I also studied methods of distribution and desktop Publisher in preparing for this day when I would celebrate the Grand Opening of B.B. Wolfe Publishing.

I still don’t have much of anything to my name but a big lesson to be learned, from my own point of view anyway, is that you cannot truly appreciate having nothing until you gain the world and then carelessly lose it all again. The world owes you nothing in return and the world will give you nothing in return except for an unending series of unfortunate events that are bound to hurt. A lot.

The real kicker to the whole thing was that when I finally went back home again two and a half weeks later my mom asked me why I was late getting home from school. I told her it was because I stayed late to search the field behind the school again for my glasses. I’m pretty sure she didn’t believe a single word of that, but it makes no difference. She’d never believe me if I told her the truth anyway.

On a happier note, I have been keeping abreast of all the latest in innovations and technologies being developed by Firestone, Goodrich, and Goodyear Rubber plus I have been diligently searching on my own time trying to find a way to fix all of the rubber pieces and make them whole again. But the work is moving along really well so one day soon I’m hopeful about the possibility of getting the band back together again

God bless you one and all and goodnight.

Charles Ramos Jr. 3/10/2019

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