When I starred my business two years ago, I felt that I needed some guidance on the business side of things. I would have gone to my boss, whom I make ceramic tiles for, for guidance and advice, but she was in the middle of heavy chemotherapy and I really didn’t want to bother her. Her bout with Cancer was one of the reasons I even started my own business because I was afraid she might die.

I’ve written quite a bit about my progress as an artist and a fishmaker, but I never really tell anything. I don’t want anyone to know.

I act like I have everything under control and that I’m just riding the wave of life, but in reality, I’m terrified. I’m very scared. I’m scared of; death, of failure, of losing the things I hold dear to me. I pretend I’m not, but I am.

I’m not afraid all the time, in fact, it’s a fraction of the time I spend completing tasks and maintaining slow thought. I haven’t mentioned slow thought before. I will now. It’s when you slow your thoughts down to a standstill with alcohol so you can go to sleep. Lucid sure, but exercise might be better.

I was about three months into my own business when I finally started to worry. I’d cashed in my stock options that were gifted to me when the corporation I had previously worked for offered their IPO. Apparently, my two years of working for them resulted in a stock option of 42 shares. I cashed it out and ate sushi for a week. My undergraduate degree is in Sociology with a minor in Political Science but I went to a business school and I bet a good percent of my fellow alumni have their CPA or at least some experience in accounting. So I called my college.

“Do you offer free small business advice for alumni?” I asked.

Two days later I was sitting in the new addition of a school office building here in Minneapolis. I won’t tell you the name of the person a I met with but let’s just call him “R”.

Well, R. Is a pretty short guy and I’m not even five and a half feet tall. He wears gray sport coats and has a moustache. He told me a bunch of information I didn’t retain and I went on my way. Two things I remember he told me were, “Most the people I meet with, I never see again.” And, “What will make this worthwhile to you?”.

I told him, “It’s already worthwhile.” and yesterday I met with him again.

R. Wasn’t surprised when he saw me, rather he was business as usual. He let me talk and tell him that I had done NO taxes or accounting since I had met with him almost two years ago. He went right to work with a pencil on his giant scratch pad that was the size of the desk. He asked me how much money I make. Then, how much time I use making it.

He jotted a bunch of numbers on the pad in response to my answers and asked me how much I think I make an hour. I told him and he laughed.

R. Looked me dead in the eye and told me how much I make an hour.

Fifty cents.

”Fifty cents an hour?” I asked.

”Probably less.” He replied.

Then we talked accounting for a while and R. gave me the down low. He never judged me or said anything. He was even amused that I was worried about my unpaid taxes.

“The IRS isn’t worried about you paying taxes, they are more concerned if they need to mark you as dead.” R. Said.

”I’m not dead, but I want to get things straight and go forward with some practical accounting.” I said.

Then I started to think about the fish and I regressed into this film of remembrance that took me over like a storm. My gut got gloppy and churned. Here we were thinking and talking about money. How much I make, How much I owe. My future. I had to shake the fish off. My deep devotion to them and the art I never expected.

Talking about real life isn’t easy.

R. Finally told me the grits of maintaining a business again and told me that my “worry equity” was probably worth about three dollars an hour. It put things in perspective.

Now I have to go slow down my thoughts and get going.

Hee hee hee...

Today I pissed off 11 other men.

On the second day of a two-day match we were in absolutely no position to win, with a very shallow batting lineup and 344 runs to chase. So the idea was to last out the 75 overs we had and try to avoid letting the other team score 10 points (and make them settle instead for 6). So what do we do, but lose two wickets in ten overs.

Which is not too bad in one-day games, but this was pretty terrible for what we were trying to achieve. So I left the field (from where I had been umpiring) and got into my pads. My job? As always, stick out there for a whole heap of overs, make them make mistakes, and try to keep the scoreboard ticking over. I lost my partner, 'Bullrider', early, which brought my favourite batting partner Beano to the crease.

For the next twenty overs or so, we played a dead bat game. We scored a few runs, sure, but everything else that came our way we blocked out. We survived through lunch tea, then Beano was bowled out. Which brought Trowelly to the crease. Trowelly isn't a blocker, he's a hitter. He plays his shots well, and he scored a quick fire 36 before drinks.

During the session, the other team Tatyoon decided to try and put me off my game: I knew three blokes from school, two of which were in the slips cordon and in the best possible sledging area. I withstood every single one of their bowlers, and as I did, the 'keeper and slips were remarking how almost every single ball I faced was blocked. Politely. Almost as politely back, I shot a few one-liners back at them that were not necessarily funny, nor insulting, but they made me feel a lot more comfortable at the crease. (Practically every time I go out there I'm shaking and nervous, and it takes me about two overs to get into the groove.)

After drinks, I started again, and so did they. I lost Trowelly soon after, and the youngest member of our team, Alex, came out. All I said was "Stay with me." I was running out of partners - I only had one left after this - and we still had 13 overs to last.

However, I was bowled next over.

I had made 22 from 28 overs, and I came off the ground with a smile on my face: I was the wicket they needed the most that day, which isn't usually the case; I had all but prevented them scoring an outright victory (with 10 overs to go, they couldn't hope to get all 10 wickets); and some of the things they were starting to say to me in the slips were getting downright ludicrous. At one point I hit a square cut, and next ball I blocked it and informed them that I was back to "Classic CJ".

I have to give them credit for one over: four bouncers were bowled at my leg side - in a legal manner - which told me immediately "They've got my number". I handled them all differently, but I didn't go out. So they tried something different. I relished it all.

We lost the game, and conceded 6 points. That was the last game of the regular season. At the time I write this, I am unsure as to whether we have made it into the semi-finals: it depends on the result of another match. The team that has been even with us for most of the season needs to lose if we are to make it into the finals; if they win, we're out on percentage.

Edit: We're in the finals! Wickliffe lost by 5 runs, and there was no time to try and score an outright. We play the semifinals on both 23rd and 24th of February, and the grand final on 1st, 2nd and 8th of March. We're not looking good for the semifinal, though, as it's against a team who has only lost one match this season.

Edit again: After the first day, we're in a losing position. We have 344 runs to chase, with a fairly shallow batting lineup... I'm suddenly getting a déjà vu...

It was one of those cute little college towns sitting in a valley, domed buildings, observatory, bricks and one main drag down which the people moved. And there I was on top of the observatory when the l heard the aliens were coming. Fortunately, in dreams observatories come equipped with their own rocket launcher . I get my orders by Nextel, and let go a volley. One of the rockets runs low and nails the town hall spire with a huge boom and flashing golden sparkles.

Ornate cast iron stairs lead down from the dome to a streetside coffee shop crowded with patrons, none of whom seem to have noticed that I just nuked the town hall. Nor have the mardi gras paraders who have packed the streets. But I have my mission, and need to move through town to get there. Doing my by best James Bond imitation, I crawl up on a balcony, intending to cut down the hall and save time, but I step into a room occupied by a pair of lovers, who are horrified by my entrance.

Excuse me! I beat a rapid exit back out the balcony and swing to the next, and enter again.

People say you don't dream in color, but not this time. I enter a hallway, loaded with tchotchkes, decorated and painted like a Mexican restaurant on LSD. Brilliant atomic oranges, bright turqouise, blinding maroon. I move onward, and all around me women dressed like flamenco dancers and wild west prostitutes slink away from me. I am the only man. I apologize for the intrusion and tell them I'm passing through. None impede me but their eyes are hard and narrow, telling me I am not welcome. Perhaps they noticed my rocket barrage.

I exit the right door but end up on the opposite side of street, outside another restaurant. It has another patio behind an iron fence, a mansard roof and the walls are all made of ironwork and glass. The sidewalk is brick and a mature elm grows up through the bricks. There I meet a man, he is tall and slim, and looks a bit like creases. Up pulls a stretched cop car. "Get in" he tells me, "He'll take us to the place where they'll make us Gods."

The car is black and white with a big golden sherriff's star on the door. The cop pushes it open, and it turns out to be Seth Rogan's cop character from Superbad, only without the cycnicism. But the car has been mutilated. Someone has cut out the floor of the car from the front of the passenger seat back through the front of the rear seat. The edges are ragged, probably from a welder. Behind Rogan is caged german shepherd The dog eyes me in his cage but keeps silent, until I notice he's been muzzled. "I don't know anything about Gods," Rogan says. I take my seat, careful to keep my legs well above the open floor. He takes off and the acceleration pushes me back. Paraders scream and run for the sidewalks as we head off into the smoke and fire.

Then came the alarm clock. Always the alarm clock. It's like I can't dream a good ending.

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