The Pirates Of Pleasant Grove.

by Serge Bielanko

God, its deep in the night. Deep down, buried under the layers of dream strata and nightmare fossils, is where I end up awake. Three AM maybe. I come awake as I'm actually standing beside my daughter's crib and not as I'm walking in there or anything. I don't remember being in my bed thinking I've gotta get up and go see why she's crying. I don't recall opening my eyes and having rational thought. I just end up over there by her side as she's weeping and hacking her little precious cough and peering up at me with her sad tiny eyes; a lovable short stack asking me why she has to have this stupid cold. Asking me what I'm gonna do about it. Maybe asking me for apple juice cut with tap water.

I am that chick in Paranormal Activity. Anchored and bobbing: possessed and catatonic off the coast of a loved ones bed.

Then, I notice I'm not alone. It comes off the Ham radio of my brain shooting signals out into the dark of my mind like an echo from a rifle two mountains away.


She's here too. Hmph.

I prepare a sleepy greeting. Maybe a deep night ass pinch.

I get cut off by the echo coming into sonic focus.

'.....and I need to get some fucking sleep! I had her too for like 7 hours this morning!"


"....You NEVER get up in the night!"


I try and close my eyes and concentrate myself into an exploding burst of bloody dust but no dice. I open them again and my wife is gone. To the kitchen, maybe. Juice. Its just me and my sick daughter in there now and she is moaning the moans of a lost baby possum. It breaks your heart, really. And its true what they say: that you'd give anything to just reach down and pop out that little sick chip from their chest and stick into your own system, so they could be rid of it and happy and smiling again.

So, deep in the night I try and come up with a plan on how to heal the kid and rest the wife and still find the time to make myself a pot of coffee. But as I'm just standing there combing my knotty fingers over Violet's warm scalp, Monica is doing magic dances with baby bottles and fresh diapers and CDs of South African lullabies and before you know it I am running my gross tired thumb through the artificial fur of a Baby Gap teddy bear still thinking its my child while my wife has already swept the kid up and is rocking her in the chair in the corner and whispering old Lakota health coos in her small ear.

I flick my finger and ping the dumbass bear in its plastic eye.

I wander downstairs, stand on the linoleum in the kitchen and wonder what I'm doing. Oh yeah, I tell myself, coffee. I manage to fling enough shit around that soon enough there is coffee brewing.

The tv goes on. Did I turn it on? I dunno. I must've.

CNN. Pirates take a new ship off Somalia. Surprise. Then: my first clear-ish thought of the day.

Those fucking pirates. Those little sneaky bastards just pointing well-oiled machine guns at each other with huge gleaming smiles whenever they're bored. Drinking sweaty bottles of Heineken around a junky formica table in the hideout, counting the ransom cash, the big bills in tight fat wads between the heaving ashtrays and some half-empty cans of hot Coke. Those pricks. From land to sea to land, like salty crabbers , if they happen to come back: they come back to their houses or huts or castles (who the hell knows?) a few blocks from the docks, their bones aching from a long couple days of Pirate Shit, their tattered fake leather day bags filled with what? Toothbrushes? Floss? Portable DVD players? Season Two of Entourage? Limping back up early morning streets towards sleeping kids, pointing themselves towards rooms where women lie awake and stare at the shadows on the bedroom ceiling.

My first clear thought of the day is: Pirate...what a goddamn good life.

You know you're stressed out when you think those thoughts, huh?

Clearish, I said. Not clear.