Along the Way. . .

Experiences, Insights & Humor on the “Long Road Home”

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

Well, it’s a beautiful day, almost exactly like the one I’m gonna tell you about except today I don’t think I’ll run across any “UCF.” Now you may wonder, as I did what the heck UCF is. Of course we all (or some of us at least) know what “UFC” is: Ultimate Fighting Championship where  mixed martial artists get in a cage and go at it. Well, UCF is a bit different. Let me explain.

It was a perfect day weatherwise and I had decided to just go out to the yard directly from breakfast and enjoy the cool morning air on a few laps around the track. So I go eat, get my little oatmeal and some sort of cake-like substance that was or was not made more for punishment than culinary delight, and then off to the yard I go. On my way around the track I’m proceeding and its nice, I got the music playin thru my Mp3 player, (my money pit) and as I round the turn on the far side of the track I see a tiny cage-like thing set up off the track kinda towards the soccer field. It looked almost like a chicken-wire device people put around their plants to keep the rabbits off em.

Anyway, on closer scrutiny I see a bunch of movement and lookie here! There’s Booger kinda running around the cage thing, dropping from his hind legs to a kinda umpire-like stance, then bouncing back up and moving to the other side. So now I’ve just gotta go over there and check this out. But first I’ve gotta lean over and act like I’m tying my shoe so the cop in the perimeter truck won’t see me go over there and have his attention  drawn to it.  I don’t want to stir up any mess where Booger is cuz I already know at the first sign of trouble he will turn invisible and leave me standing there by myself looking stupid and prime to be the suspect for whatever shenanigans there may be in occurrence.

Yep, that’s Booger’s style, the little mutt. Anyway the truck goes on by and I start to amble on over and as I do I see the whole area around this cage-like thing is covered with these chattering little furry things and the closer I get I can start to make out that they are, you guessed it, chipmunks! So in the center of the cage there are a couple of these dang little fur balls no bigger than your hand, tussling, with Booger bouncing around the cage on the outside hollering encouragement and working the crowd of other chipmunks into a frenzy.

The combatants are the #1 ranked lightweight contender, “Eddie the Mauler” against the reigning champion, “The Furry Fury.” So they are fighting and the crowd of spectator chipmunks are going wild, or rather, wilder if that’s possible in a chipmunk’s existence.

So I say, “ HEY!!! Booger, what the heck is this?”

Booger looks at me and says, “Man, this is the premier event in the 2nd annual ULTIMATE CHIPMUNK FIGHTING and I’m both the promoter and the owner of the company! So you better just keep a touch of respect in that tone when you address me, mister!”

Then “poof” Booger vanishes and all the darn chipmunks scatter like leaves in a strong wind off the driveway. I’m looking around when I hear over a loud speaker, “Maisenbacher, step back onto the track and proceed to the recreation office, the soccer field is off limits at this time.”

So I know what’s up now. I’m probably gonna get chewed out for being in an “out of bounds” area, but that’s no big deal. What’s really concerning me right now is the fact that Booger has conceived and orchestrated a scenario that has, amongst other things, created situations where there is chipmunk on chipmunk violence, and he has done so all for profit. This is so like Booger.

I next see Booger when got back to the cell. He is as usual kicked back in the bunk, on my pillows, on my bed, reading a magazine of some sort. 

“Booger! What is wrong with you?” I was furious, “Ya make a dang ultimate chipmunk fight club, then ya take the money from those little furry fools while those clowns beat the stripes off each other! And what’s worse, you disappear when the cops show up!”

He looks at me and says, “DUDE, chill out, I got us some doggie treats out of it, and oh, I used the money to buy my gal, Candy the cat some tuna steaks. Yeah, man, nothin’ but the best for my lady.” Then he has the nerve to say, “And Walks, you’re ‘harshin’ my vibe.’”

Totally Booger and as for his Ultimate Chipmunk Fighting, I think he just did it for the money, that’s Booger for ya.

© Steven “Walks On The Grass” Maisenbacher, 2021

Published by Edna Peirce Dixon

I am an elder in my 9th decade. I have lived an ordinary life, I’ve done all the ordinary and expected things, went to school, got married, raised a family, tried to be a good person. Throughout this life I have also been a seeker, an outsider by nature, always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. Then in my golden years, as I sought to find meaning in my existence, some unexpected things happened and I’ve since learned it took a lifetime to prepare me for the challenge to come. My journey – indeed my calling - led me to come to know a remarkable man who happened to be an inmate in federal prison. Nothing could have been more foreign to my personal experience. GHOST DANCER Communicating daily for nearly nine years I had the opportunity to walk many paths with Ghost discussing our thoughts on many common interests with candor and respect. With enormous generosity Ghost has allowed me to share his wisdom and knowledge of his Native American heritage on Journeys of the Spirit. Over time, Ghost gradually revealed his life story in small bits, like scrambled pieces of some gigantic puzzle. Now, after spending more than 40 years in prison, Ghost Dancer is at last free and ready to tell his amazing personal story. As the saying goes, “you can’t make this stuff up” and as his friend and editor I can say this is a story so big that even after working with him for nearly nine years, I continue to be astonished as he shares new details my mind simply could never imagine. From the very first chapter, Ghost leads us on his journey and invites us to walk with him on his Nene Cate (Red Road). From the day he was born, a happy, loving gifted child, he endured heartbreaking sorrows, betrayals and exploitations. Through it all, Ghost fought a system determined to destroy him by any means, as he struggled to remain true to his calling. Through Ghost Dancer I also met and came to know Walks On The Grass, another federal prisoner whose story is also compelling even though very different. In Journeys of the Spirit, Walks has shared his decades-long journey from deep addiction to wholeness in LONG ROAD HOME and shared other bits of his story in ALONG THE WAY. Now as he approaches his August release into this crazy world of 2022 Walks shares his the thoughts and misgivings as he counts down to the big day in LIGHTS IN THE DISTANCE.

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