A Brand New World

How You Will Live


Intro . 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6 . 7 . 8 . 9 . 10 . 11 . 12 . 13 . 14 . 15 . 16 . 17 . 18 . 19 . 20 . 21 . 22 . 23 . 24 . 25 . 26 . 25 . 27 . 28 . 29 . 30 . 31 . 32 . 33 . 34 . 35 . 36 . 37 . 38 . 39 . 40

May 6, 2018 9:59 PM PST - Posted by Jason

Intro

A Brand New World: How You Will Live is the 9th book in A Brand New World. It is the second book that focuses on Ross "Rico" Reich and his personal journey. A Brand New World: How You Will Die (book number seven) followed Ross from his home in Quantico, Virginia to Los Angeles to Havana, Cuba. After he quits his government job at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, his coworkers give him top secret government documents about a sonic weapon. He is horrified to learn about the testing and effects of the tests on unwitting test subjects, so he decides to go to the media with the story.

After Ross drives across the country to give Alice from InfoLeaks the top secret government files and tells her what he knows, he escapes to Havana, Cuba to lay low. However, everywhere he goes somebody dies and he doesn’t just feel unsafe. Ross feels like somebody is after him.

The previous book contains 30 unique stories and ends with an email exchange with Alice that leaves Ross asking himself some questions. That is where this book begins. Return for new stories because I will start writing them this week. If you want to read A Brand New World: How You Will Die, you can buy it on Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle format.

May 7, 2018 5:16 PM HST - Posted by Jason

Emailing Alice Again

Emailing Alice Again

Even though Rico didn’t know Alice that well he liked her and trusted her. Since she worked at InfoLeaks and seemed to be in the business of telling the truth he didn’t question her credibility. During his interview she was professional and cordial too.

Rico was shocked that Joe died by poisoning just like Bill did. He was friends with both of them, but he was closer to Joe and knew his wife and daughter. They lived in Honolulu, Hawaii, but they visited Joe at Ramstein Air Base in Germany where Ross (Rico), Bill and Joe were stationed.

Rico wanted to call Ricardo about church, but he replied to Alice’s email first.

Alice,

I hope you’re well.

I don’t have any more info about the government’s sonic weapon. Sorry.

I also don’t have any more government contacts that can help. Bill and Joe were the only ones that approached me about it.

I am in Havana, Cuba. I could be here for a while because I have a nest egg in the bank and I want to lay low. Weird things kept happening in the U.S. and it seems safer here than there right now.

I didn’t hear that Joe died like Bill did. That’s horrible. They must have gotten to him too.

I am looking forward to your next report about the sonic weapon. People really need to know about it.

Take care,
Ross

After Rico sent the email, he used the hotel’s phone to call Ricardo. He still wanted to attend church with him.

“Hello?” Ricardo answered.

“Hi Ricardo. This is Rico. How are you doing?” Rico asked.

“Good! How have you been? Are you enjoying Havana?” Ricardo asked. They hadn’t talked since Ricardo saved his life on the street when a speeding car nearly hit him.

“I’m well. Thanks. Havana is nice. I bought clothes at the mall and I visited the market and bought some groceries,” Rico said.

“Very good. Did you still want to go to church with me?” Ricardo asked.

“Yeah. I don’t have a car though. Would you mind picking me up?” Rico asked.

“Ok. Where are you staying?” Ricardo asked.

“Right where you recommended! Your brother hooked me up and it’s a beautiful hotel,” Rico said.

“I knew you’d like it. How about I pick you up in the lobby at 5 o’clock?” Ricardo asked.

“Five is great. When is church?” Rico asked.

“Church starts at six. Is there anywhere you need to go?” Ricardo asked.

“I just need to go to the bank or an ATM,” Rico said.

“No problem. We can go there before church. I’ll see you at five,” Ricardo said and hung up the phone.

Rico had a few hours before he had to be ready, so he visited the hotel’s sauna and it made him sweat like a sponge of water being squeezed. Afterwards he took a shower and got ready to go to church.

May 8, 2018 11:22 AM HST - Posted by Jason

Rico and Ricardo Attend Mass

Rico and Ricardo Attend Mass

Rico was ready for Mass before Ricardo arrived because he didn’t want to keep him waiting. In fact, he went downstairs and waited for him about five minutes before 5 p.m.

Right on time Ricardo pulled up in his blue 1957 Ford Fairlane and stopped, so Rico could get in.

“Hi Ricardo. Thanks for picking me up,” Rico said.

“De nada. Before Mass did you want to go by the bank or an ATM?” Ricardo asked.

“An ATM is fine please,” Rico asked.

“Didn’t they have one in the hotel lobby?” Ricardo asked.

“Yeah, but it was broken,” Rico said.

“Ok. I know where one is. We’ll go there and then to Mass,” Ricardo said.

About five minutes later Ricardo pulled up to an ATM and parked his car. Rico jumped out and approached the machine. However, after he inserted his debit card and entered his password it wouldn’t give him any money. It looked like a technical glitch.

“I don’t think it’s working. Can we try another one?” Rico asked and Ricardo said ok. They drove another five minutes and Rico jumped out and tried to withdraw some cash, but it wouldn’t let him either. In fact, the machine took his debit card and wouldn’t return it.

“Did this one work?” Ricardo asked.

“No. It took my card!” Rico said.

“It took your card? I’m sorry. Can you call your bank? Maybe they can send you another one,” Ricardo said.

“Yeah, I’ll call them after church,” Rico said and they left. Rico still had $800 in cash in the hotel, but he wanted to take out some more money just in case.

About 15 minutes later Rico and Ricardo arrived in the parish parking lot and parked. They got out and entered the church a few minutes before it began.

“I’ve been going here since I was a kid,” Ricardo said.

“That’s great. Does your family go here too?” Rico asked.

“Yeah. They’re here somewhere. They get here really early,” Ricardo said and the service began.

The priest read the liturgy and they took communion. It was a unique experience for Rico because he had been to Protestant Christian churches. However, Ross not only used the name Rico in Cuba, but he also wanted to act like a Catholic. He thought this would be the best way to blend in and conceal his identity.

After it was over Ricardo and Rico walked to the car.

“How did you like it?” Ricardo asked.

“It was good. Thanks for taking me,” Rico said.

“I would introduce you to my family, but they had to leave early. They are putting together a missions trip with some families in another building,” Ricardo said.

The ride back to the hotel was uneventful and they shared a warm, friendly embrace and parted ways. After Rico entered his room he called his bank.

Rico was disappointed to discover that his account was closed pending an investigation. Wells Fargo was vague about the details, but they said his funds wouldn’t be available for up to 90 days while they conducted the investigation. Rico spent over an hour on the phone talking to several different employees and supervisors, but nobody could give him a straight answer or release any of his money.

Rico brought some organic avocado oil with him, so he rubbed it on his skin and went to bed early. He had a lot on his mind and needed rest.

May 13, 2018 12:34 AM HST - Posted by Jason

Aloha

Aloha

Rico didn’t sleep very well. He tossed and turned and woke up several times during the middle of the night. He felt like he dreamed, but he couldn’t recall his dream.

Rico opened his laptop and visited Bing to read the news. One of the headlines said that Alice from InfoLeaks was going on an extended vacation. When he clicked on the link and read the article, it said she felt overworked and needed to take some time off. There weren’t any direct quotes though. Rico thought it was suspicious because Alice said she was going to broadcast a series of reports about the government’s top secret sonic weapon.

Living in Havana was starting to take its toll on Rico. Everything was unfamiliar. The hotel felt foreign and now he wasn’t able to access his primary bank account. He also witnessed several deaths around town and thinking about it made him uncomfortable.

Rico wasn’t sure what was really happening with his bank account, but he suspected that Wells Fargo wasn’t telling him the whole story. He wasn’t sure how he was going to live on his cash for 90 days if the investigation took that long. However, he had some stocks that he thought he could probably sell.

After careful consideration Rico decided that he should leave Havana and return to the United States to lay low. He didn’t want to get stuck in a foreign country without any money and things seemed to be getting progressively worse. However, he didn’t want to buy his ticket online or let anybody know what he was doing. Since he had been feeling like he was being targeted Rico wanted to throw them off his trail.

Rico took a shower and put on some clean clothes. He quietly packed his belongings in the bags that he got when he bought them and placed the laptop in its bag. Even though he had prepaid for a few more days at the hotel he didn’t try to get a refund. In fact, he didn’t even tell them that he was leaving.

Rico flagged down a taxi in front of the hotel and asked the driver to take him to the shopping mall and he did. When he arrived with his back against he wall, he stood in front of the mall for 10 minutes and watched every car that drove by to see if anybody was looking for him. He eventually flagged down another taxi and paid the driver to take him to the airport.

Rico bought a suitcase in the airport and put his clothes in it. Afterwards he left and took another taxi to Havana Harbor where he found a boat to take him to Miami. Rico still had about $700 in cash, so even though it cost $250 it was worth it.

Once he arrived in Miami he took a taxi to the airport. In the airport he bought a one-way ticket to Honolulu, Hawaii. It was only $450, but he had to wait three hours before he could board the plane and go. Rico didn’t mind though, so he bought a cup of coffee and relaxed by the gate until it was time to leave.

Rico’s eyes were hurting because he didn’t sleep very well. It felt like an eye strain headache, so he sat down and closed his eyes and cupped them with his hands. Making sure no light entered he kept them closed for six minutes and when he opened them they felt better.

The direct flight to Hawaii took over 10 hours and the time changed six hours from Eastern to Hawaiian time, so it was only abut four hours later when he arrived. He didn’t have a lot of cash though and he was concerned about the money that was frozen in his bank account, so he took a taxi to a U-Haul Storage by the beach and rented a 5’ x 5’ unit for $46. It was big enough to store his suitcase and have some extra room for groceries or other things.

Rico was exhausted due to traveling, so he walked to Ala Moana Park and took a nap under a shady tree in the grass. When he woke up, he returned to his storage unit.

Rico didn’t think that he had enough money for a hotel or an apartment, but he had enough for food, so he began walking to the grocery store. He also brought some clean clothes and toiletries with him, so he could visit 24 Hour Fitness and shower. Rico wasn’t used to living like this, but he didn’t see any other way right now, so he was determined to keep a positive attitude and make the most of it.

May 18, 2018 9:19 PM HST - Posted by Jason

Adjusting to Island Life Again

Adjusting to Island Life Again

Rico wanted to get some things like a bike, food and a backpack, so he bought a bus pass for one day for $5.50 and hopped on. About 45 minutes later it stopped by Walmart, so he got off and went to their bike section.

This was a large Walmart nestled in downtown. It wasn’t open all night and Chinatown was a few blocks down the street.

There were not many bikes to choose from. The best looking beach cruiser was a girl’s bike. The only other one would have made him look like a pimp, so he decided to walk.

He had plenty of cash, but he figured this would be a good place to get cash back from an ATM card purchase. However, he recalled how his bank locked his primary account while they investigated something. If he had to wait a full 90 days, it was going to be difficult.

Rico walked out the back door. He had heard that a man in Chinatown by the canal sold some great marijuana. Somebody on Twitter mentioned it, so he walked there in a few minutes. The famed spot was near the skatepark, but before Rico got there he saw two people smoking a huge joint by the bathrooms.

Rico wanted a puff, but he was all business. He thought the girl looked like somebody that tried to rip him off. He recalled the time when he grabbed her shirt before she could make off with his money and weed. She obliged, but she was not happy about it. Fortunately one of her friends told her to give Rico the cash back and she did. All of her bags were small.

“That looks good. Do you have any that you want to sell?” Rico asked.

“Yeah. Talk to him,” she said and pointed at someone.

“Ok. Let me see my friend first and I’ll come back,” Rico said and they said ok. Walking by the canal felt nostalgic, but he wasn’t sure why. On the right water flowed through the canal to the sea and on the left was the skatepark, a parking lot and three people sitting on a wall.

One man was African American, but he had white skin patches on his arms and body. It looked like he had been burned by stomach acid as a fetus or something. He seemed friendly and he spoke to Rico first.

“Hey man. What do you need?” the man asked Rico.

“Here. Have a seat,” a man with some cardboard said and tried to slip it under Rico’s butt.

“I’m ok. Thanks. “Just weed. Do you have an eighth of pot?” Rico asked as he sat on the rock wall.

“Yeah. Three $20 bags,” the man said.

“Is it good?” Rico asked.

“Yeah man. It’s great,” the man said and smiled like he knew what he was talking about, so Rico gave him three 20s, they shook hands and he left.

Rico didn’t stop to examine it. He just walked to the bus stop and caught a ride to the health food store. It was across town and several miles away.

There was a head shop before it, so Rico stopped there first. After jumping off the bus at the Kaimuki library stop, he noticed some homeless people living there in tents. It didn’t look that bad, but the streets were dirtier than the parks and beaches.

Rico crossed the street and entered a head shop on his way to the health food store. A park, a bike shop and some lonely road separated the two businesses.

Two flights of wooden stairs led to the front door of the head shop. It was open, so he entered and some people were working.

“How can I help you?” the woman asked.

“I’m looking for a bubbler to use it for parts,” Rico said. He wanted the bowl piece and the hose.

“We don’t sell those anymore. How about this one?” the woman said and showed him some smoking device that attached to the top of a water bottle.

“No. How about water pipe parts. Do you sell them separately?” Rico asked and they said yes and pulled out some boxes. Within a few minutes, Rico had found a glass pipe that was shaped like a one-hitter, a green hose, a black plastic grommet and two glass screens. It was the perfect setup for $17 and he was going to make a bong out of a plastic spray bottle. In fact, he had just purchased a green bottle at Walmart for $1, so he took it out and they fitted it there. There was nothing in the world quite like it.

Rico paid the kind folks and left. A park was nearby, so he walked through it on the way to the health food store. It was simple and only a few acres. Homeless people lined the inner walls and lingered in the shade by the restrooms.

A large family was eating together in between the street and the park and little kids were playing on the playground. It was a relaxing scene that Rico could take in for a while, but he wanted to get to the health food store. He needed to buy some healthy things and he knew he could drink coffee and use their WiFi. He also needed to take the bus to the storage unit before it closed at 10 p.m., so he didn’t feel like he had time to spare.

Rico crossed the street at the crosswalk and walked two blocks and he was there. He grabbed a basket and bought all sorts of organic food like pea chips, spicy chips, dark chocolate, tofu, root beer and sesame oil. He didn’t want to store too much in his storage unit and there was another store nearby his unit to buy food. Also, he didn’t want to store food that would smell or spoil quickly. He wasn’t supposed to store food at all, but he doubted that they would enforce the rules.

Rico got some hot water and cold water and brewed a single cup of organic coffee. It was delicious and awakened him. While he sipped it and ate a bag of spicy chips, he got online with his iPad and he noticed an email from his dad.

Rico was pretty close to his dad, but not like when he was a little kid. He trusted him and they did everything together. However, as he got older he started seeing his dad differently. He was no longer that flawless superhero that would probably live forever, but he was actually human.

His email was short. It just said hi and asked him how he was doing. Rico’s mom died last year, so he had been in touch with his dad even though he was in Germany. This time he didn’t want to immediately respond because he was going to have to tell him where he was and he didn’t want to let anyone know yet.

Rico checked the bus schedule and noticed that one was leaving in 45 minutes, so he ate and surfed the web, used their restroom and walked to the bus stop. It was less than a block away from the store. After waiting 5-10 minutes, the bus arrived and drove Rico back to the storage unit.

Rico put away the things that he bought and he swished organic sesame oil around in his mouth for 15 minutes. Pulling oil had kept Rico’s mouth healthy, so he had done it for years.

Rico packed a bag with some clean clothes and food. He also put his toiletries in it because he was going to take a shower at his gym and stay up all night. This was a brand new lifestyle for him, but the future was uncertain and he figured living this way was the best way to lay low and make his money last.

May 21, 2018 11:29 PM HST - Posted by Jason

Up All Night

Up All Night

Rico took his backpack and walked to the gym, so he could shower. The gym was open all night, so he wasn’t on a tight schedule. Rico just wanted to get clean and stay up all night.

Rico ate a few herbs each day in gel caps and he needed to make some more of them. He had zip loc bags, organic turmeric powder, organic garlic powder and organic black pepper and hundreds of vegetable glycerin capsules, so he brought them. It took about an hour to make a month’s supply, but it was worth it. Rico didn’t like or trust vitamins or most pills.

After he left the gym, Rico went to a cafe that was nearby. They were open until 1 a.m., so Rico plugged in his laptop and got online. He also brewed organic rooibos tea and a cup of organic Mayan coffee. He had some organic green tea for later.

Rico played some videos on YouTube while he constructed the capsules. Turmeric and black pepper went into one type of capsule and garlic went into the others. He filled half of the small half of the capsule with black pepper and filled the other half with turmeric because that increased the turmeric’s bioavailability.

He watched and downloaded comedy, educational, music and news videos as he made the caps. When he was finished he had a big zip loc full of them. Rico estimated that the bag could last a month if he took 1-2 grams of each type per day.

Rico’s body clock was messed up. He had traveled to Hawaii from Cuba and he was still adjusting to the time difference. However, even though the clock said 11:22 p.m., it still felt like 5:22 a.m. He figured it would take six days to adjust to being six hours earlier.

Rico visited Instagram and a few people followed him today. He usually posted pics and videos on Instagram, visited a few pages and saw a few stories. Watching them and connecting with their author/actor creators was fulfilling to him and it took the place of the friends and family that he had left behind in Virginia and in the military. Between Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and email he was able to keep in touch with the world.

Rico was raised with the first computers and game systems. It was his generation that used them first. He played King’s Quest, Police Quest and Space Quest on his first computers. He also liked Starflight and Adventure. They made him solve puzzles and use his imagination and he would usually eventually solve them.

Since Rico sent his cell phone to Alaska in the Burbank, California mail with a Texas return address, he had not used a cell phone. He thought about setting one up in Cuba, but he didn’t and he just used the hotel room’s phone. Since he still wanted to keep a low profile, he wanted to avoid using one for now. He was also going to limit his social media posts, so people couldn’t figure out where he was.

Rico stayed at the cafe until 12:45 a.m. and then he left. It was a beautiful night outside and the wind was powerfully blowing. Safeway was 1-2 miles away, so he walked there to buy some food and use their WiFi.

The night was full of stars because it was clear and the wind made the leaves on the trees move. Before he left the cafe he found the directions and it was pretty simple. However, he had to walk almost a mile uphill to get there.

Safeway was open all night and they had a bathroom, drinking fountain and some tables inside and outside with free WiFi Internet access. You could stay online all night, but you couldn’t sleep there. However, sometimes people put their head on the table and slept for a short period of time.

Rico bought some organic pistachios and organic oranges at Safeway. He took them to the table by the cafe and ate them while he watched some videos. The cafe was closed, so hot water was just out of his reach. However, since he had some German, instant organic coffee he just needed water to dissolve it and they had that in the drinking fountain.

Rico needed a good laugh, so he watched some videos by comedians. Sam Kinison, Andy Kaufman and Stephen Colbert entertained him along with Sara Schauer, Lilly Singh, Miel Bredouw, Kaitlin Olson and others. YouTube seemingly had everything.

After his mental vacation, Rico wanted to smoke a bowl, so he walked downstairs and went to the smoking section by the bikes. It wasn’t designed for marijuana smokers, but he didn’t care.

May 24, 2018 7:00 AM HST - Posted by Jason

Flying to Justin’s Email

Flying to Justin’s Email

Rico pulled his water pipe out of his backpack and packed a bowl. He lit it and inhaled and it tasted great. After holding the smoke in as long as possible, he exhaled all of it out of his lungs. He felt an instant headchange too.

Rico felt the hair on his arm stand up. All of his senses were already heightened because he was living on the street. However, being high made him realize it and how he had to be now.

Rico felt the adrenaline rush of street life. Although he knew it was unlikely, he had to stay awake and be ready in case somebody stole from him or attacked him. There were several places for him to go that were pretty safe.

Rico played some music on Spotify with his Kindle. He had saved hundreds of songs in a Playlist he dubbed #1. Rico liked to play one song and let it shuffle them and play the list randomly, so he started with DJ Quik’s Tonite.

Rico’s mind drifted back to the time when he listened to Tonite for the first time. He was in high school and they were drinking 40s of malt liquor on a street corner on a hill. It seemed like an odd thing for rich white, private school kids to do, but one of his best friends was a transfer student from a public school in the ghetto. He was a nice gangsta, so they would drink in a few different parking lots that had good visibility in case the police came.

Rico didn’t have a 40 of malt liquor, but he had some organic red wine in a flask, so he took a sip. It gave him a basic buzz.

Even though Rico was getting sleepy, he wanted to make it through the night without sleeping. In the morning he was going to his storage unit to get some sleep gear, so he could sleep in the park during the day. However, his storage unit was locked from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m., so he had to wait until the morning to enter.

Ala Moana Park was nearby and Rico figured that he could find a good, grassy spot to sleep for 6-8 hours. He was going to bring a tarp and a couple of sheets, but leave his valuables in the storage unit. Rico thought sleeping days in the park would be the cheapest and safest thing that he could do while he waited for his money to become available.

Rico felt high as a kite and he felt thankful for the people at the water pipe shop that helped him create such a great pipe. Three of them spent about 30 minutes helping to varying degrees. Most of the things didn’t work because he wanted something very specific, but in the end they found some pipe pieces that were perfect for his unique pipe.

Wind was an issue in Hawaii and Rico noticed that the weed smoke quickly blew west. He would have to be aware of who was downwind in case the police were there. He could get ticketed or even arrested for using marijuana in public in Hawaii.

Rico tried to avoid the police, but he also tried to avoid giving them a reason to come after him. He generally supported law enforcement and had good experiences with police officers.

Rico didn’t get paranoid and looked comfortable in most situations. However, he always looked for the police, so he could avoid them or at least avoid doing anything stupid right in front of them. In Hawaii the police cars had a blue light that shined on top of them, so they were easy to identify. They used the lights about 80% or 90% of the time.

Sitting outside at a table, Rico spent a few hours surfing the web. He caught up on the news by reading and watching a bunch of stories. He also connected with some people on social media.

One of his old friends from college Bible study emailed him, so he read it.

Hey Ross,

How are ya doin man?

I’m good in Norway with my family. I’m coming to Mililani next week to check on my house and do some work. I’ll be there a month or two. We should hang out and catch up. I haven’t seen you for two decades.

Take care,
Justin

May 26, 2018 5:40 AM HST - Posted by Jason

Rico’s Replies and New Schedule

Rico’s Replies and New Schedule

Rico replied to Justin’s email.

Hey Justin,

How have you been?

I’m not too far from Mililani. We should hang out. Come to Ala Moana Park and I can meet you at the sea wall by the lifeguard tower. Just let me know the best day and time for you. I’m flexible right now.

Do you have any snorkeling gear? We could go snorkeling in Ala Moana or at Hanauma Bay if you want.

Take care,
Ross

Rico replied to his dad next.

Hey Dad,

How’s it going?

I’m ok. I am in Hawaii. I’ve been wanting to come here and since I’m done with the military I figured it would be a good time.

There was some kind of snafu with my bank account and they are investigating something. They froze my money for up to 90 days. Hopefully they’ll be done soon.

Take care,
Ross

Rico watched some of his favorite Instagram stories. Ireland Basinger-Baldwin, Hayley Stewart, Sunny Mabrey, Steph Barkley, Miel Bredouw, Zoe Lister-Jones and Hallie Jackson, in particular. He thought they were an interesting bunch of genuine ladies acting like somebody like them should be acting day in, day out, in real time. They were beautiful, whimsical and different.

Just before dawn Rico went inside the gym and took a shower. The water pressure was fantastic and the shower head was high. He left his dirty clothes in a locker with his generic combination lock on it, so he didn’t have to carry it in his backpack. Since he had another two hours until his storage unit was opening, he practiced yoga and stretched for about 45 minutes. It felt great and he charged his devices at the same time.

At 3:45 a.m. he began walking to Starbucks because it opened at 4 a.m. It took about 15 minutes to walk 1-2 miles there, so he plugged in his devices for 45 minutes. They gave him hot water and he brewed organic rooibos tea and it was good.

Since he had some more time to spend online, he visited some Twitter accounts. He felt like a big brother to some users. His interests were varied, but he typically visited comedians, musicians, politicians and world leaders. The amateur comedians he followed were just as funny as A-list comedians.

At 4:45 a.m. he started walking to his storage unit. He made it there at 5:01 a.m. and two old men were walking inside in front of him. He let them go and he swiped his card and typed in his digits per the proper protocol. The door popped open, so he entered and took the elevator to the 2nd floor. However, first he walked to the water fountain to fill his Brita filter bottle. When he smelled the water it smelled bad and like metal, so he waited to check the bathroom’s sink water.

The red sign on the bathroom door indicated that somebody was in there. As Rico waited he could hear a man’s voice making noises like he was masturbating. Rico wanted water and he also had to pee, so he knocked on the door. It suddenly became very quiet in the bathroom. After flushing the toilet a couple of times, an old black man left and glared at Rico as he slowly walked away. All three of the old men looked homeless.

The bathroom sink water smelled ok, so he filled up his bottle. He also peed and rinsed out his mouth with water and took the elevator to his storage unit on the second floor. He grabbed his sleep stuff and put his backpack inside. He also kicked off his shoes and socks and wore a pair of sandals. Rico wanted to find a place to crash before sunrise.

May 28, 2018 12:31 AM HST - Posted by Jason

Harthorn

Harthorn

Rico walked across the street and to Ala Moana Park. It was near the ocean and there were lots of shade trees, so he picked one, but before he spread out his tarp he made sure it would stay dark for eight hours. He estimated that it might, but there were some holes in the tree’s canopy, so he wondered if the sun would peek through and make him warm and if his tarp was at the right angle or not. There was a soft slope in the grass, so he slept with his head above his feet.

Rico slept under a blanket and wrapped his shoes, socks, jacket and bag in another blanket and used it as a pillow. The ground felt cool through the tarp, but it was welcoming because he was tired.

As Rico was drifting off to sleep, he started thinking about the top secret government weapon that he had exposed; the “sonic weapon” and how it was tested on people.

Rico recalled the government file he opened that archived many tests that were conducted on people around the world. Politicians during Obama’s administration pushed a male black veteran with PTSD named Kevin Harthorn in Indiana to commit a mass murder, so they could restrict Hoosiers from having assault rifles, but he wouldn’t do it.

The study said they increased the dosage over and over and it caused all kinds of behaviors. He started buying a lot of ammunition and going to the gun range to shoot all of the time though.

Harthorn also responded by playing violent video games at home with people online. He started buying gun magazines and building guns. It became his hobby and he even watched some of the stations that they control.

Harthorn would sit in a chair in a cold sweat just staring at his weapons for hours. He was a good candidate because they would have gotten away with it. However, no matter how high they turned it up they couldn’t make him do it. He was briefly hospitalized for a brain aneurism though.

Rico slept from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. and woke up a couple of times, but it was a good spot because it was quiet and there wasn’t very much wind. It was also shady enough to work.

May 28, 2018 6:44 PM HST - Posted by Jason

Around Ala Moana

Around Ala Moana

Rico looked around his tarp to see if there were any bugs. Since he was under a tree in short grass it was a home to all sorts of bugs. He flicked a black ant and some sort of beetle off the tarp. He was fortunate that they didn’t bite him.

Rico walked back to the storage unit, put away his sleep stuff and grabbed his backpack. He took a clean pair of clothes with him and a bag of spicy, organic pea chips.

His storage unit was busy and some people were talking to each other. However, Rico didn’t want to talk to anybody because he didn’t want to get into his past. He hadn’t decided what to tell people yet and he was considering either making up a story or just giving select details about his life and omitting sensitive things.

Rico hadn’t watched the news in a few days and he wasn’t sure how InfoLeaks’ story was being received. However, he intended on finding out soon.

Rico walked to the gym to take a shower and it took him about 15 minutes. Cars drove up and down the busy street as he walked. He passed a car wash, strip malls, a shopping mall, restaurants, a tattoo artist and more strip malls on his way.

When he entered the gym, he looked at the exercise class schedule and noticed a yoga class was starting in 15 minutes, so he took it. After locking his backpack in a locker, he went downstairs to the yoga classroom with his notepad. Rico didn’t like using a yoga mat, so he simply cleaned the floor with two paper towels.

Rico took off his shoes and socks and crossed his legs and closed his eyes. He put his palms together in front of him and breathed deeply through his nose and out through his mouth. When he opened his eyes he realized that there were lots of people in there.

A few minutes later a woman named Moana addressed the group and led the class for an hour. She started slowly with poses like child’s pose, cat and cow and intensified it with reverse triangle, warrior one and two and dancer’s pose. It opened his joints, stretched his muscles and felt great.

After the yoga class Rico walked upstairs and took a shower in the men’s locker room. A TV was playing CNN, but they were airing a commercial, so he just grabbed his underwear, liquid soap, a sponge in a zip loc and a small towel and showered.

There were seven private showers with hot water. Rico picked the one on the end on the right and the shower’s water pressure was strong. They had free soap, but he preferred his own soap and he used it as shampoo too. It was better for his skin and the environment than the chemical-laden crap the gym gave away.

After his shower he shaved, applied some deodorant and brushed his teeth. However, his deodorant seemed like an atrocious mixture of toxic chemicals and he became queasy, so he threw it away and wiped it off. Rico figured he would be better off without it until he bought some natural deodorant at the health food store.

The Ala Moana shopping center was nearby, so Rico walked there to get online and drink some organic coffee. First, he tried sitting in the food court to use their WiFi. However, the connection was horrible, so he walked to Foodland to use theirs.

Foodland was connected to the shopping mall and the underground parking lot. You could see Ala Moana Park and the beach from it too.

Rico entered Foodland and bought an organic peppermint chocolate bar. He asked the woman working at the Coffee Bean for a half a cup of hot water and she gladly gave it to him, so he could brew some organic coffee.

The WiFi connection was good, so Rico surfed the web as he ate chocolate and drank coffee. He looked online for the latest report on the sonic weapon and he noticed several headlines and stories. Alice from InfoLeaks was missing and her office was torched.

Apparently part of one of the files was leaked to the mainstream media, so they were running with the story. They were already having a dialogue on the legality of such a secret program and its ethical ramifications. Government officials were upset about the leak, but they didn’t seem to know where it came from or be on a reckless hunt for the leaker.

Rico was relieved that he wasn’t the focus of the reports, but he didn’t feel like he was out of the woods yet. He exposed the government’s top secret program with files that two dead men gave him and the one person he gave them to was missing, so he figured they may come looking for him eventually.

May 30, 2018 10:31 PM HST - Posted by Jason

Wicked Pisser

Wicked Pisser


Rico had to use the restroom, so he went to the back of Foodland and used theirs before he left. It couldn’t have been further from the entrance.

The bathroom had one sink, one urinal and one toilet, so he entered the toilet bathroom. Rico grabbed some toilet paper and used it to lock the door, so he didn’t have to touch the lock. He hung his backpack on the hook on the back of the door.

As Rico pissed into the toilet he thought about the bathroom. It didn’t look very nice or new like the store. At least it wasn’t too dirty or smelly.

Like a supersonic boom Rico ripped a gigantic fart and it echoed out of the bathroom and its open door, through the hallway and into the earshot of women entering their bathroom and employees walking around. Rico laughed because it was so obscene.

Rico hummed a few bars of Guns N Roses’ “Out to Get Me” song and tapped his penis a few times to make the remaining urine drip into the toilet. He hated it when it leaked in his underwear.

After kicking the toilet handle to flush it, he noticed that his shoe was nearly untied, so he leaned over, untied it and tied it. He made the other one snugger and more secure for good measure.

Rico didn’t trust their soap or any soap for that matter. Sure, after the government betrayed him he became skeptical of everything, but hand soap in particular looked like a bad gamble because of the weird chemicals in it. He took an alcohol wipe out of his pocket and cleaned his hands with it.

A short, young Asian man walked into the bathroom as Rico cleaned his hands. He politely smiled and slightly nodded and peed in the urinal.

Rico looked in the mirror and smiled. He was happy with the way that he looked. Nothing was in his teeth and they were not yellow. However, it was a constant battle because the coffee he drank darkened them. Swishing water in his mouth, pulling oil, flossing and brushing his teeth with baking soda were his main defenses. However, the instant coffee that he drank, even though it was organic, darkened his teeth more than filtered coffee did.

The alcohol section was on his way out, so Rico looked at their organic wines before he left. They sold two kinds and they were cheaper when you bought three of them, so Rico picked Our Daily Red and bought three bottles. They wrapped each one in a brown paper bag and he paid for them with cash, put them in his backpack and left.

June 1, 2018 5:40 AM HST - Posted by Jason

Paradise Island

Paradise Island


Rico walked down the street listening to Guns N Roses with Spotify on his Kindle Fire like it was an iPod. He had all of his favorites selected to play.

It was turning into a warm, sunny day, so Rico walked to Paradise Island next. It was a 10 minute walk from Foodland and not really an island. It was a peninsula in Ala Moana Park.

After Rico crossed the busy street he could see the peninsula in the distance. It had recently rained, so a partial rainbow was over it. The rain briefly fell and it was more like a mist, but he couldn’t tell if it was raining harder in the distance or not.

The park was full of people like families with canopies, college kids cooking over a fire pit, sunbathers, walkers and birthday parties with Hello Kitty jumping castles. Small waves gently lapped the sandy shore.

The air was clean and cool on the peninsula. The grass was soft and green, so Rico sat in a bench overlooking the water. He could easily sleep here, he thought.

Rico looked at the horizon and the vast ocean and it appeared to be endless. Where the sidewalk ended a man with a bucket and a pole was trying to catch fish. Some kids with boards were entering the water through the jetty’s rocks.

Rico looked around to make sure there weren’t any cops and then he smoked a bowl. It was good and the perfect reset button to him. He liked letting his thoughts run wild too.

The scene was beautiful because birds were chirping and the sound of waves lapping the coast was relaxing. The breeze was clean because it was directly off the ocean.

Rico thought about his independence. For the first time in many years he was making all of his own decisions. The military used to control everything, he thought. Literally every minute of every day was free now, except he had to get food to eat and find adequate shelter each day.

Rico tried to make it like a mountain experience when he got lit, so he opened one of the bottles of organic wine and drank some of it. It tasted fruity and it reminded him of when he first drank that wine on another island.

On vacation a couple of years ago, Rico visited Kahului, Maui and stayed here on vacation for two months. While he was there he visited Tamura’s liquor store and bought the same wine he found at Foodland.

Even though he was alone Rico felt content. With so much on his mind, it was hard to be too concerned with anything superfluous. He figured this would be a short-term situation though and that he would find a new place to live when his money was available. Although he hadn’t figured out where he was going next it was something that he was intending on researching and considering at the library soon.

June 3, 2018 2:40 AM HST - Posted by Jason

The Finger

The Finger


After breathing enough cool, salty air, Rico left Paradise Island and walked to the library. It was a mile or two away, so he meandered through back streets to get there.

As Rico walked down Queen street, he noticed how undeveloped it was. In the mainland United States he didn’t usually see streets like these in or near big cities. It was the type of street that you’d see in the country.

There was no sidewalk and random businesses lined the street. Loud cars, motorcycles and trucks drove past Rico while he walked on the right side of the road. Not only did they kick up a giant dust cloud, but their exhaust was disgusting and nauseated Rico. He noticed how each tailpipe was pointed at him as he walked with traffic.

Rico held his breath when waves of cars drove by. He could hold his breath for a couple of minutes. Rico considered tying a bandana over his face to keep out the dust, dirt and debris. His black, wayfarer sunglasses protected his eyes and his earbud headphones protected his ears.

A particularly smelly truck slowly drove by Rico, so he flipped it off and the driver stopped. As Rico approached, a short, stalky, dark-complected man exited the truck and made fists with both hands.

"You got a problem brud-duh?" the man menacingly said, preparing to fight.

"Your truck stinks. Why do you have to stink up the place?" Rico asked and the man became angrier and lumbered toward him with his fists raised. Rico raised his fists to defend himself and the man swung at him and missed. Rico slowly backed up with his fists raised like a boxer.

"Do you have a mental problem? Stay away from me," Rico said and as the man approached him again he walked off. The man shouted some obscenities, but didn’t chase him.

Rico continued walking to the library. It was only a few blocks down the street. When he got there Rico filled up his water bottle, walked downstairs and sat at a table. The air conditioning made the room cold, but the WiFi was strong and he could plug in his devices.

June 3, 2018 11:10 PM HST - Posted by Jason

An Offer and a Confrontation

An Offer and a Confrontation


Rico checked his email and his dad wrote him a message, so he read it.

"I can send you some money if you need it before you can access your money. How should I send it?" Rico’s dad wrote.

This was a generous offer, but it was typical of Rico’s dad. He always looked out for Rico and wanted to help him. Rico didn’t see any downside, so he replied.

"Thanks. That sounds great. How about with Walmart or PayPal? I’d suggest EFT into my bank account, but it’s still locked up," Rico wrote and emailed to his dad.

Rico didn’t know how much his dad wanted to give him or how much he would need. However, he was sure that his dad would give what he could. He had worked very hard for decades and was on the brink of retirement living in Rico’s childhood home that he would inherit one day.

Sometimes Rico’s dad quickly emailed him back, but sometimes it took him a few hours. He was working from home and likely had appointments, Rico thought.

The library’s WiFi was strong, so Rico did some research. He liked examining cities across the U.S. and the world that he might visit, so he researched Phoenix, Flagstaff, London, Houston, Tijuana and Madrid. Rico learned all sorts of things about their economy, money, sites to see, things to do, sporting events, weather, geography, etc.

Rico looked around the library’s basement and a few homeless people were sitting at tables and on their cell phones. They checked email, watched videos and used the library’s computers sometimes. They rolled luggage bags with them or carried a sleeping mat or bag, so they were easily identifiable. Most of them smelled like they had showered within the last day or two, but some of them smelled badly.

After spending a few hours online and charging his devices, Rico walked outside of the library to enjoy the park. The state library was situated in downtown and next to a park with some trees and benches, so Rico sat under one of the huge shade trees.

Rico sat on a large, circular, wooden bench that was painted dark brown and it went around the large tree. After a minute or two somebody else sat on the other side of the tree and smoked a cigarette. Rico started coughing because he couldn’t breathe fresh air anymore, so he confronted the smoker.

"Your cigarette smoke is bothering me. Can you stop or go somewhere else please?" Rico asked, but the skinny, old man ignored him and kept smoking his tobacco cigarette.

"It looks like you’re sucking a little penis. Are you practicing for a dick sucking contest?" Rico asked and looked at the man for an answer, but he kept ignoring him.

"Do you like polluting on little babies or old ladies the most?" Rico asked in jest while cocking his head, but the man ignored him again.

"Damn. You can’t shame somebody with no shame," Rico said to himself and walked to a nearby building with bathrooms and a water fountain.

June 8, 2018 5:57 PM HST - Posted by Jason

Bitch Better Have My Money

Bitch Better Have My Money


Rico was feeling overwhelmed, so he stopped to think at a table in front of a cafe. He had been walking everywhere and staying busy; so busy that he hadn’t thought about many important things that he was shelving for later. Everything had been ranked in importance on his mental to do list; even thinking about things.

Rico thought that it was a lot dirtier outside than he remembered. When he drove around in his car, he never thought about the dirty streets, but now he lived on them. He thought about all of the garbage on the side of the road and everywhere and it repulsed him.

Rico considered the homeless people that he had seen and realized that he had something in common with them now. He used to give food, clothes and money to the poor, homeless and less fortunate, but now he felt like he was on the other end. Rico wanted to do it right though and avoid taking what he didn’t need. In fact, Rico wanted to live perfectly now.

Rico read the news and noticed that the sonic weapon had been tested in China on Americans. The government blamed China although they didn’t have a smoking gun and it called its ambassadors home. They had the same sensory damage that the other test subjects had in Cuba and elsewhere.

Rico thought this weapon had the power to do all sorts of damage not only on an individual, but on the people that the victim targets. The weapon caused awful health issues and sometimes led to suicide or fighting, but sometimes it caused mass murders too.

It was for this reason that Rico left the military and returned to the U.S. from Germany. He didn’t want to be a party to this testing. He didn’t realize that two government employees would give him the files to expose the program until he had one foot out the door. However, that only complicated his life because it gave him a sense of responsibility to tell the truth about their bad behavior even though they might come after him to harm or arrest him.

Rico replied to his dad’s email.

Dad,

I think I will be fine without any help. I have some money that should last a few weeks and they could be done with the investigation at any time. I’ll give them a call and see.

Thanks,
Ross

Rico didn’t want to go to the well too often even though he rarely took any money from his dad. He didn’t know how long the bank’s investigation would last, how long his money would last or how long he would have to live on the street.

Rico figured that when his money was accessible he would rent an apartment somewhere. He wasn’t sure where, but Hawaii was fine. Otherwise he would probably return to the mainland and live in a suburb.

Since he hadn’t set up a cell phone yet, Rico called his bank on a payphone.

“Hi. My name is Ross Reich and I have a question about my account. Are you done with your investigation and what’s going on?” Ross asked and they verified his identity.

“Thanks for your call today sir. I am looking at your account information on my computer and I see that there is a hold. The hold will be there until they finish their investigation,” a woman with a Southern accent said.

“Ok. Do you know what they are investigating and how long it will take?” Rico asked.

“There is nothing written in the notes,” the woman said.

“Ok. Well, when should I expect access to my money?” Rico asked.

“According to the Terms and Conditions, it can take up to 90 days for the investigation. It has been almost one week,” the woman said.

“It just seems shocking to me that you can hold my money for up to 90 days without really telling me why,” Rico said.

“I understand sir. I will write that in the notes. Is there anything else that you need help with today?” the woman asked and Rico said no and hung up the phone.

June 18, 2018 2:55 AM HST - Posted by Jason

Inside Out

Inside Out


Rico needed to order some things online, so he walked to the UPS Store to rent a mailbox. They charged $92 for three months, so he paid in cash and they gave him a key. They required an address, so he made one up.

Rico sat at a table in front of the store and ordered several things from Amazon. They said it would take about a week for a backpack, organic turmeric powder, organic garlic powder, organic black pepper and vegetable glycerin gel caps to arrive. Rico had a $99 credit with Amazon for a return that he had made, so he used part of that balance to pay for his purchase.

Several months ago Rico read an article about a study conducted in New York and it revealed that only 21% of the herbal supplements tested actually contained what was written on the bottle. Therefore, he liked to make his own gel caps for optimal health.

Rico started thinking about the sonic weapon that he exposed. It reminded him of an X-Files episode called “Pusher” because he had similar abilities. Pusher made people do his will by using his voice and the sonic weapon exacerbated people’s weaknesses with concentrated sound waves on certain parts of the brain and it drove them to act out in destructive ways. Sometimes it even resulted in suicide, mass murder or both.

The test subjects experienced painful symptoms like ear aches, vertigo, tinnitus and nausea that were treated by doctors. However, they didn’t understand how they got them. Since sonic waves travel through air and walls, they never saw the soldiers that were used to test them.

July 4, 2018 11:31 PM HST - Posted by Jason

Scarlet Fever

Scarlet Fever


Rico wanted to call his bank about his money because he needed access to it as soon as possible. It was under investigation, but he wasn’t sure why.

After about 45 minutes of being on hold and talking to various customer service personnel, Rico didn’t know more than he knew before. They said it could take up to 90 days and they couldn’t give him any more details about the investigation or his account, but the funds were unavailable until they were finished.

Rico was becoming increasingly upset at his bank, but he didn’t let it get to him. He had bigger fish to fry.

Rico felt like his country betrayed him because he had always had such a sense of honor and duty to the United States and they let him down. He didn’t sign up to be on the team that attacks innocent people with a space-age weapon to make them commit horrible acts of violence.

Since he no longer trusted them he had trouble trusting others too. In a way his worldview was changing because his foundational beliefs were changing. Things weren’t the way that he thought they were. They weren’t the way that he was told. This made him want to know the truth about what was going on everywhere around the country and the world.

Rico learned how to make websites in college, so he visited major news outlets, copied their RSS feed links and embedded them in a web page. This became his news page and he watched about 50 different feeds from national and international news companies with various and opposing perspectives.

Rico felt like CNN was fake news sometimes, but only because they prioritized stories with high production value and missed many important ones that weren’t as emotionally charged. He also felt it was a hotbed for opinions instead of hard news and facts. Nonetheless, he watched it from time to time because he liked how some of the anchors presented the news. The ticker was informative at least, he thought.

Using the CNN application on his device, Rico watched their live news station with the free 10 minute preview.

“This just in. Some lettuce produced in California has been contaminated with E. coli. Between June 1 and June 21, if you purchased conventional lettuce - the organic lettuce is fine - from Sundance Farms in Valencia, California or if your lettuce has their logo on it, don’t eat it. Destroy it or return it to the store where you bought it,” Wolf Blitzer said. While he spoke the news ticker at the bottom of the screen was slowly moving right.

“Scarlett Johansson faces backlash after accepting role as transgender man,” scrolls by.

Rico looked forward to when he could watch CNN on TV for hours without being interrupted. However, his life wasn’t allowing such a luxury right now unless he wanted to do cardio at the gym and watch, so he was considering it. He was there for a shower every day anyway.

Rico used the cafe’s bathroom and brushed his teeth. First, he flossed them and cleaned his hands with an alcohol wipe. Next, he sprinkled baking soda on his toothbrush and brushed his teeth for a few minutes with both hands. Finally, he rinsed his mouth out with water several times, then he gave the mirror a big, toothy smile and nodded approvingly.

July 7, 2018 2:25 AM HST - Posted by Jason

A Test Subject Disappears

A Test Subject Disappears


Rico walked to 24 Hour Fitness to take a hot shower and stretch. When he entered the men’s locker room, several guys stood around in their underwear watching CNN on TV. Rico tuned in to see what was so interesting.

A contractor for the military disappeared after she went public with her health problems. While she was working in Cuba and living in Havana, she thought she was being hit with some sort of sonic weapon. She said she heard voices and they told her to do bad things like punch holes in walls.

Rico knew how the military liked to keep things in-house. Great stories were suppressed due to national security. Nobody could challenge them too, so it was ultimately up to them.

Since victims acted erratically, they preferred testing the secret weapon in Cuba, Canada, China and the U.K. This also served to keep it out of the U.S. press.

Savannah Smith was the missing contractor and she said she saw a suspicious van in front of her house from time to time. According to the news report, she felt like her ears were ringing, buzzing and burning and she became dizzy and felt mania, depression, anxiety and nausea.

Savannah had been treated by a physician on the military base for six months. However, she disappeared after a local doctor gave her a second opinion and she booked a flight to the U.S. for more tests. She was supposed to leave the day after she disappeared, but she was not on the flight and did not enter the airport. Her friends and family have not heard from her either.

Rico locked his bag in a locker and stretched in the yoga room for about 30 minutes. He focused on the major muscle groups along with his hips. He also did some yoga poses and when he finished he felt more relaxed and limber. He felt great despite the uncertainty about his money and his life.

July 20, 2018 1:55 PM HST - Posted by Jason

Confronting a Smoker

Confronting a Smoker


As Rico sat outside of Starbucks on his computer, somebody sat upwind from him and lit a cigarette. Rico hated breathing cigarette smoke because it made him choke and gag.

“I am sitting downwind from you and I can’t breathe,” Rico said to the old Asian man that looked homeless. The man slowly puffed his cigarette and took 15 seconds before responding.

“Why don’t you move then?” the man asked.

“Move? I was here first and clean air is a right not a privilege,” Rico said, but the man kept puffing and ignoring his request. “It’s illegal to smoke within 20’ of a building’s entrance,” Rico said and pointed to a sign on the wall. It was a state law in Hawaii.

“I’ll be done in a minute,” the man said and took another puff.

“I think you’re done now,” Rico said as he stood, walked to where the man was sitting, knocked the lit cigarette out of his hand and stomped on it.

“Hey! What’s your problem?” the man said.

“You! You’re my problem. Do you like polluting on little babies or old ladies the most? You’ve heard of the wind. Right?” Rico asked and walked back to his seat glaring at the man. Not wanting to argue or fight the man quietly left.

After Rico sat down somebody sitting next to him got his attention.

“Thanks. I hate cigarette smoke too,” a middle-aged woman wearing sunglasses said.

“No problem. It’s not fair or right for people to pollute the air we breathe. Secondhand smoke kills. It is no different than sticking a knife in our side,” Rico said.

“I know. I’m allergic to it and it makes my eyes water and my nose run,” the woman said.

“Why don’t the police enforce the law?” Rico asked.

“I don’t know. They don’t enforce a lot of laws here,” the woman replied shaking her head.

“My aunt died from smoking cigarettes and my dad smokes and it’s killing him,” Rico said.

“I’m sorry. That must be very hard for you,” the woman said and Rico nodded and returned to his computer.

August 2, 2018 12:55 AM HST - Posted by Jason

Two Dreams

Two Dreams


It was getting late in the morning and Rico was sleepy because he stayed up all night again, so he shut off his computer and walked a few blocks to the storage unit and grabbed his sleep bag. It had a blue 6’ x 8’ tarp, four tent stakes and three sheets in it and it was all he needed.

The walk to Ala Moana park took about 10 minutes because it was about a mile away. There were a lot of shade trees near the beach sand and the water.

Rico located a bathroom by the boardwalk, beach and ocean. There were giant shade trees nearby, so he figured he could sleep under them.

The bathroom was clean and it looked like they just cleaned it because the floor was wet. A few urinals and private toilets were in one half and two showers were in the other half. Rico urinated. Since there wasn’t any hot water, he used an alcohol wipe to clean his hands and he left.

Rico didn’t want to sleep too close to the bathroom and especially not downwind if he could help it. Although the ground seemed as hard as a rock he found a tree that had a huge, dense canopy of leaves and it was a perfect sunshade all day.

There weren’t too many bugs, but there were a few flies, mosquitoes, ticks, roaches and black ants in some areas like where food or dead leaves were located. There was a clean trash can about 20’ away from Rico and there weren’t any people in sight.

A light wind blew into the sea, so he pressed the tent stakes into the four holes on the corners of his tarp and spread one Full sized sheet. He used the Twin sized sheet as a blanket. He curled up inside of it, but not before he wrapped everything in the other Full sized sheet and used it as a pillow.

As Rico fell asleep he dreamed about Donald Trump’s hair. He saw the president wearing a suit and sitting in a chair talking about his hair. He said it was actually glued to his head. Trump even had somebody pull on it like others have done on camera and it seemed real. However, he slowly pulled it off and the gluey wig was almost as disturbing as seeing his bald head. It was unclear who he was talking to though.

In Rico’s other dream, he saw himself sitting in a room of recovering patients in blue garb. A TV was playing CNN and nurses were walking around with clipboards doing various tasks.

In Rico’s dream he ate rice while watching CNN and couldn’t believe what he was hearing. The tragedies they reported on and the lies he discerned made questions enter his head, so he grabbed his laptop off the hospital nightstand and tweeted CNN about the stories and researched them to understand what was actually going on. He learned a lot and uncovered all sorts of things by being skeptical and doing research.

Rico floated over himself and could see everything in the room with a bird’s eye view in his dream. It was unclear what the patients were recovering from or why Rico was there. They seemed to have mental impairments though because they happily played with toys for children even though they were adults.

The sun was still obscured by the giant tree’s branches, but Rico woke up because he felt well rested. It was after 5 p.m. and the sun was getting low, so it was time for him to get up, go and start his day.

August 4, 2018 5:20 AM HST - Posted by Jason

Downtown

Downtown


Rico walked from his storage unit to his downtown Honolulu gym. It was about a mile away, but it seemed further. There were lots of cars on the road, so he had to cross streets with caution and walk quickly.

Rico winded through streets and past parks and the library. Some homeless people were sitting in the park and talking. They looked dirty, but safe and content.

The gym was a few blocks up the street and when Rico arrived he locked his clothes in a locker and entered the sauna. He had met interesting people like purging Scientologists, an African spiritualist and a transitioning, androgynous, Hawaiian kid. There were also a lot of normal, local, young, middle-age and elderly Asians. Today it was empty though, but it was very hot.

Rico crossed his legs and sat as he sweated. He smelled the clean wood benches and walls because of the penetrating heat. Rico drank from his water bottle and a muscular black guy in his 30s entered and sat down. He had U.S. marine tattoos, so Rico wondered if he was a soldier and if so what he did in the military.

“How long were you in the marines?” Rico asked.

“12 years. I get out next year,” the marine replied.

“Where you deployed anywhere?” Rico asked.

“I was deployed in Iraq for nine years,” the marine said.

“Thanks for your service. How did it go?” Rico asked.

“It went well. We just had our missions and we executed them,” the marine said.

“Do you think it was worth it to go into Iraq?” Rico asked.

“Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator, so it was good to overthrow him and liberate the Iraqis. It’s just a little unstable right now,” the marine said.

“Yeah, but when the Iraqis were fighting ISIS, didn’t they run away and give up their weapons?” Rico asked.

“Yeah, they’re horrible fighters. Are you in the military?” the marine asked.

“I was, but I’m not anymore. I was stationed in Germany with the Air Force,” Rico said.

“What brings you to Hawaii?” the marine asked.

“The weather is fantastic! I just needed a break from everything. You know those mass murders that you see on TV? Well, I know what causes a lot of them and it’s a weapon that the military has. They’ve been testing it,” Rico said.

“I heard something about that. Like a sound weapon or something. That’s next level. How does it work?” the marine asked.

“They target unstable people that have mental illness and shoot them with the sonic weapon until they crack. It causes all sorts of irritable behavior and eventually if they are gun owners or if they have had dreams and visions about shooting lots of people they sometimes do,” Rico explained.

“That’s heavy. I’ve heard that they were doing some top secret tests like that. Is that the program you were involved with?” the marine asked.

“No, I was with aviation, but I quit and a couple of my co-workers gave me documents that outlined the top secret sonic weapon and the testing program. It’s quite sinister and the two buddies that gave it to me have died under suspicious causes at the base in Germany,” Rico said.

“I hate it when that happens,” the marine said and shook his head.

Rico was getting overheated, so he shook the marine’s hand and thanked him for the conversation before leaving. The air outside of the sauna felt much cooler on his skin and began making the sweat evaporate. However, he went straight to the locker room and took a shower and wore clean clothes.

As Rico got ready he thought about his frozen bank account and wondered if the military or the government had anything to do with it. He recalled that he knew a guy that held a high position at his bank, so he called him on a payphone.

“Is Matt there?” Rico asked.

“This is Matt. Ross? How have you been?” Matt asked.

“Good. I just have a weird hold on my bank account,” Rico said.

“Let me check it out for you. Can I have your account number?” Matt asked and you could hear him swivel in his chair and type on the keyboard. Rico told him the bank account number and he entered it in the computer.

“They said it could be closed for up to 90 days while they do an investigation, but they haven’t given me any details, so let me know what you see,” Rico said.

“That sounds weird. We normally give people a reason. Well, let me see what’s going on,” Matt said and typed some commands into the computer.

“Thanks for doing this for me. I totally appreciate it and I owe you one,” Rico said.

“Don’t mention it. Well, it looks like it’s locked with a high security clearance. Only the vice president or president can open it while they are investigating,” Matt said.

Rico thanked Matt again and ended the call. He could hardly believe that it was locked down and not even his friend that is an executive with the company can look into the account. Whether or not the investigation into his bank account had anything to do with breaking top secret government documents to the press or not he didn’t know, but he hoped to find out or at least get access to his money soon.

August 17, 2018 12:26 AM HST - Posted by Jason

Clean Again

Clean Again


When it was time to wash his dirty clothes, Rico put them in his dirty clothes bag. He wore a backpack with liquid detergent and cash for the quarters machine in it. The laundromat was about a mile away, so Rico carried his laundry bag and walked there.

Kapiolani was a busy street because it connected a lot of people to some of Honolulu’s southwest and southeast sections. Fortunately there were sidewalks and crosswalks, so Rico safely arrived at the laundromat in about 25 minutes.

The unnamed laundromat was unassuming and built into the side of a building. It was obviously open 24 hours because there was no door or way to close it. Nobody was there except for a sleeping man that appeared homeless. The skinny African American man slept under a table on a wooden shelf about two feet above the floor.

Rico bought $10 of quarters from the quarters machine and it took a couple of them. It said on the machine that it would take them for maintenance costs.

After Rico put his dirty clothes in two washers, set them to the hottest setting and added detergent, he waited. As he waited a lanky, shirtless man with tattoos entered with his laundry and spoke to Rico. They talked about Hawaii and the man said he grew marijuana and had some great weed. He put his clothes in a washer and left.

Rico had to urinate, so he went to the store next door. It was a big grocery store called Don Quijote and it was open 24 hours. There were two restrooms, but the one near the front of the store was closed, so Rico walked to the back of the store and used the bathroom. Afterwards he bought a bottle of organic red wine and returned to the laundromat.

The wine had a screw top, so Rico screwed it open and began drinking. He liked to drink red wine for good health and the little buzz that it gave him. He preferred red wine over beer, vodka, rum and tequila.

Rico dried his clothes for almost 30 minutes at the rate of .25 cents for four minutes, then he folded them, packed them in his laundry bag and left. Rico walked back to his storage unit and put away his clothes and it felt good to have clean underwear and all of his clothes to wear for the week.

After packing his backpack with clean shorts, underwear, a white t-shirt and a towel, he walked to the gym in his sandals to take a shower. It was about a mile away in the opposite direction of the laundromat. As Rico meandered through the downtown streets, he wished that they were cleaner. However, the curbs were blackened with car tire smudges and the streets were littered with pollution.

Since Hawaii was the youngest state in the union, Rico had hoped it was going to be a lot cleaner. Rico compared it to the dirty Los Angeles streets that he walked to meet Alice from InfoLeaks and they were strikingly similar.

As Rico walked to the downtown gym, he wondered if he was there for a bigger reason and perhaps this was just a stepping stone to something greater. He had exposed a top secret government weapon. Now he could do anything he wanted, but he hoped they couldn’t identify or locate him. In the meantime he just had to lay low and wait for his bank to finish their investigation, so they could release his funds. This didn’t stop him from living or planning though.

Rico thought about starting a non-profit corporation that could clean the island. Not only was there pollution from cars, but there was also lots of trash. In fact, he had noticed trash at the beach, in the park and everywhere else too. Rico wondered if he could get people to work off their court-ordered community service hours by cleaning parks, streets and beaches under his supervision.

A local business license was $50, but incorporating it as a non-profit corporation would cost at least $140 for the federal 501 (c)(3) designation. Whenever he came across garbage he thought about it and how it could be part of the next chapter of his life.

The gym was crowded because a lot of people visited after work. Rico was only there for a shower this time even though the sauna was tempting. It was also tempting to do some cardio and watch CNN on TV. In fact, that was one of his favorite pastimes; riding an exercise bike while watching the news on TV. Rico figured that he could always do it tomorrow though.

August 22, 2018 1:44 AM HST - Posted by Jason

Wounded, Watching, Waiting

Wounded, Watching, Waiting


Rico woke up in the park and noticed a tick embedded in his bicep, so he grabbed it with his fingernails and pulled it out. Unfortunately, its body broke and he pulled half of it out.

He cleaned the wound with an alcohol wipe which would have to be sufficient until he could get his tweezers and pull out the rest. Fortunately, it was dead and skin grows from underneath, so his body would slowly push the creature out. It had already created an irritation, a cut and a bruise though and Rico hoped it didn’t carry Lyme disease.

Rico admired the amazing ocean view. A cool breeze blew from the ocean to the shore and cooled everything. Even though it was sunny and three in the afternoon it was still comfortable. After packing his sleep things, he went to the bathroom.

The public bathroom was pretty clean and it had two sinks, two urinals and one toilet with a locking door, so Rico used it. It had some toilet paper and a hook on the door for his bag. However, as he was pooping somebody entered the bathroom smoking a cigarette and Rico gagged.

“God damn,” Rico said and there were only sounds of shuffling feet on sandy concrete. “There’s no smoking in the bathroom,” Rico said.

“Hey. Mind your own business brudduh,” a man said with a Hawaiian twang. He was trying to sound like a lowbrow local thug or he couldn’t help it because he was one, so Rico took a deep breath in his shirt, shit all he could, wiped his butt and left.

As Rico walked back to his storage unit, he noticed all kinds of people enjoying the beach. Some people were practicing yoga on surfboards in the calm water. Others were cooking meat with children and friends. Music blasted from one group and another group tossed wood on a fire pit presumably preparing to light a bonfire. There were also a couple of inflated jump houses with kids jumping in them.

Rico stopped at the water fountain for a drink, but when he turned it on and smelled it, it smelled like metal, so he avoided it. The pipes were leaching into the water and it didn’t taste safe to drink.

Walking on the boardwalk by the water was relaxing and lots of people were sunbathing and playing volleyball. In the water kids were swimming and catching waves on surfboards and bodyboards. However, the bigger surf was in the distance and required a long paddle to get there.

The park was huge and Rico liked several sections of it. He also liked the benches by the boardwalk and figured they would be a great spot to watch the sunset. In fact, it was great but only barely because the sun set in the extreme right and is almost obscured by land.

As he sat in a wooden bench under a tree, he was on guard for black ants that patrolled the sidewalks for food. An old Asian man with a fanny pack pedaled past him on a black beach cruiser and a young Asian girl with a tiny dog on a leash walked by. In the distance a surfer caught a wave and took a long ride.

Even though life was difficult and seemed upside down in many ways, it also felt familiar and doable to Rico. He felt like he was ready for the unique challenges that were presented to him.

The street was a rude awakening because people drove fast and polluted the air and roads. It was a juxtaposition that was not lost on Rico. Fortunately, his storage unit was only a couple of blocks away, so he quickly arrived and grabbed his laptop and day bag. After removing the rest of the tick with tweezers, Rico walked to the nearby Whole Foods to get online and eat some organic food.

Organic strawberries were on sale, so Rico bought two containers of them and rode the escalator upstairs to sit down, eat and get online. He liked how it was clean and upbeat and they had electricity, so that was a bonus too.

Rico checked his email and his bank contacted him and asked him to call them about their investigation. Rico wondered what they wanted, but he wanted to get to the bottom of it and get it over with. He still didn’t have a cell phone, so he made the call on his computer with his Google Voice number and Apple’s mic’d headphones. After confirming his identity and waiting on hold for 20 minutes, Rico spoke to a bank representative.

“Hi Ross, this is Sheila Smith. Thanks for confirming your identity with our system. I just wanted to let you know the investigation is about the large deposit that you made,” Sheila said.

“Large deposit? My inheritance check? Is that what you’re talking about?” Rico asked.

“Yes. That’s what the notes say,” Sheila said.

“Ok. Well, it’s legitimate, so I don’t know what to tell you. It was drawn on a major bank, so what seems to be the problem?” Rico asked.

“It raised a red flag in our system, so we had to investigate it. If it was a legitimate deposit, then it will be in your account within 90 days. If not, then we will contact you,” Sheila said. Rico thanked her and hung up the phone.

Rico was surprised that his inheritance was the reason for the holdup. Since he deposited that check into his bank account about six months ago, he thought it was settled. It posted within a few days and everything seemed normal until he made a few withdrawals and went to Cuba and they froze his account. However, it was also frozen after he emailed Alice from InfoWars (who subsequently disappeared), but Rico didn’t connect those dots yet.

August 23, 2018 5:15 AM HST - Posted by Jason

Voices Carry

Voices Carry


Rico turned off his computer and left the cafe because he needed to buy some supplies from the store. Walmart was about a mile away and they sold some things that nobody else sold that he needed.

Rico passed a car wash, restaurants, bus stops and small businesses on his ay there. After he arrived he used the restroom and got a shopping cart. Slowly walking around the large store for about an hour, Rico picked up all sorts of things like a notepad, pens, alcohol wipes, hydrogen peroxide, an organic chocolate bars, organic Rockstar drinks, organic chips, organic Cliff bars, Ziplocs, zip ties, two combination locks, a 6’ x 8’ tarp, eight tent stakes, a plastic spray bottle, a black hat, a small pillow, super glue, Scotch tape and a coffee mug. He also bought a vinyl Walmart bag to carry everything in.

McDonalds was up the street a couple of blocks, so he walked there to get online and eat. It was totally packed full of people except for one seat, so he sat there. Rico didn’t eat McDonalds’ food, so he ate the food that he bought at Walmart. Nobody seemed to mind and he even used their napkins and filled his water bottle with their fountain.

As Rico looked around the restaurant, he noticed that everybody else was Asian. Most of the people were old and everybody was with at least one other person except for a homeless man that sat alone. It was a busy place with lots of chatter and business, so Rico blended in.

After cutting the tags on his new hat, Rico donned it and turned on his computer. The free WiFi was fast and made up for the cockroach that he saw on the floor.

Before Rico could enter search terms in Bing, he noticed a headline at the bottom of his screen and it had a disturbing picture above it. Three school children were shot dead and 10 others were injured at a high school in his hometown.

Rico clicked on the link and read the article and apparently the shooter is in custody, but his social media accounts say a lot about him. He was a gun enthusiast and he was hearing voices. Rico didn’t know him, but he looked familiar. He wondered if the government’s sonic weapon was used to push him over the edge and he looked for more information about the article, but it was too recent to find much.

August 29, 2018 1:13 AM HST - Posted by Jason

Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now

Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now


As Rico slept under a large tree in the peaceful, grassy park, dark rainclouds crept in and he woke up to raindrops. He looked closely at the clouds to try to determine if it was a serious storm or a stray shower, but it suddenly got worse. Before he could pull the tent stakes out of the ground, he was soaking wet.

After quickly grabbing his things he ran into the men’s bathroom and it was dry and without any wind. There weren’t many people in the park because of the rain, so Rico figured nobody was going to care if he slept in the bathroom. Fortunately, it didn’t stink and it seemed recently cleaned. He squashed a big cockroach and some black ants with his shoe, spread his tarp and fell asleep on a long, concrete bench.

A couple of men came and went as Rico slept and they woke him up, but he went back to sleep. The concrete was not exceptionally comfortable, but it was dry, off the ground and a comfortable temperature. Rico knew if he slept for a few more hours he would have energy to stay up all night again, but if he didn’t he would be fighting sleep all night.

Around 3 p.m. it was pouring rain again, so Rico kept sleeping and he didn’t wake up until the sun was setting. Since there was a break in the rain, he quickly walked to the laundromat to dry his blankets. There were lots of big puddles especially in the alleys and side streets, so he carefully avoided them.

Rico liked getting extra hours of sleep on such a dreary day. It was 74 degrees with plenty of humidity, so he did not feel cold, but it was getting colder as it was becoming darker.

September 7, 2018 5:57 AM HST - Posted by Jason

Meeting the Cops

Meeting the Cops


Rico had mixed feelings about his situation because on one hand he was in Hawaii and it was beautiful. The weather was amazing and the people were friendly. However, on the other hand his cash was dwindling and he was getting impatient waiting for his bank to finish investigating his account. His inheritance check was deposited six months ago, so he didn’t understand why there was a hold now.

Since Rico still had about $800 in cash, he bought a beach cruiser bike for $100. It was a black and silver 26” single-speed bike with fenders and a rack on the back. He preferred zipping around the island on it because walking was too slow. He locked it everywhere he went.

Rico liked sleeping in the day, but he wanted to get back into a regular sleep schedule at night since he could ride his bike to a nighttime sleep spot. He grabbed his sleep bag from his locker before it closed at 10 p.m. and rode his bike down the dark alley looking for a good spot to sleep.

Rico always looked over his shoulder and sometimes he would double back for no reason. He just wanted to see how people were going to act after he left. He also wanted to be unpredictable in case he was being followed.

It was very windy and difficult to ride because it was blowing so hard. The wind also made it more difficult to find a good place to sleep. When there is not much wind, you can sleep on any side of a building. However, when it is very windy you can’t and there is usually only one good side. Sometimes that side is accessible, available, safe, away from traffic and covered, but sometimes it isn’t.

As Rico rode his bike by the beach park he wished that it was open because it was beautiful at night. Also, he wouldn’t mind sleeping there under the stars.

Lots of old boats were docked in the harbor and it smelled like fish. Undeveloped land behind locked fences kept people out, so Rico kept riding until he could turn left and drive ride it. Eventually he found a big park and homeless encampments.

For several blocks homeless people lived in tents or makeshift homes on sidewalks. They had tables, bikes, grills, cell phones and radios. A few people were awake and talking quietly, but others were already in bed because the sun and a rooster wakes them up early.

Rico liked this area because it felt safe. He didn’t want to occupy an encampment, but he slept on his tarp on the concrete with a blanket over him and he used his backpack as a pillow. He locked his bike to the fence behind him after turning it upside down, so nobody stole it while he slept.

The simple, dark-skinned families playing together on the street made Rico feel sad for them. It was difficult for anybody to live outside, but it was particularly hard for families with kids. They felt embarrassed and weren’t able to do the fun stuff that the other kids could do.

Rico woke up at civil twilight because a dog was barking and a rooster was crowing. Nobody had bothered him throughout the night, but he noticed a nearby light post was being used to charge a cell phone now. Somebody had apparently opened its wiring box and bitten into the electricity.

Rico began sleeping there every night, but after a few nights one of the encampments had spread into his temporary spot and there weren’t any other good spots.

A children’s center was steps away and it was not only covered from the rain, but it was protected from the wind. It was such a great spot that another Hawaiian with a moped drove there every night to sleep.

When Rico had to pee, he walked to the nearby bushes and peed. He didn’t want to make a mess on the concrete even though it rains a lot. He felt like his spot in front of the building’s front door was safe because there was probably a security camera that could be referenced if there was a crime (e.g. assault, theft, etc.).

One time when Rico was sleeping he was awakened by bright lights and police officers. They told him and the other man that they were not allowed to sleep there because it was private property. One of the officers said the owner watches people through the camera inside the building and she called them.

Rico complied with the officers’ wishes and even though he didn’t have his ID with him he gave them his real name and information. He knew that the price of giving them false information could be much worse. He was also thankful that they cut him a deal and let him go without a ticket.

Rico rolled his bike down the sidewalk to the park and noticed several sleep spots that would suffice. First, he tried sleeping on top of a giant, green electrical box, but it was too windy. The sidewalk nearby was ideal because there was a pole to lock his bike, it was on a gentle incline and he could pee in the plants.

The sunrise awakened Rico because nothing else was loud or bothersome, so he kept sleeping. He was thankful that he stayed out of jail and got plenty of rest because it was always unpredictable outside.

September 11, 2018 3:33 AM HST - Posted by Jason

Wong Way

Wong Way


After Rico woke up and packed his sleep stuff, he unlocked his bike and rode down the street. His storage unit was a mile or two away, so he took back streets and main roads to get there.

As Rico was riding down the street in the bike lane, a driver in a stopped car looked the other way. Rico tried to ride by the car, but it rolled forward and hit his bike. Rico fell on the ground, but he wasn’t injured, so he got up and examined his bike for damage.

An Asian man in his 30s got out of the car and his girlfriend stayed in the passenger seat. He was nicely dressed and seemed concerned.

“Are you ok?” the driver asked.

“Yeah. I think so,” Rico replied.

“Is your bike ok?” the driver asked.

“I’m not sure. The back tire is wobbly and it needs air,” Rico replied.

“Here’s my business card. Give me a call if it won’t hold air and I’ll fix it,” the driver said and Rico took his card, thanked him and left.

Unfortunately, the bike tire wouldn’t hold air and it kept going flat. Also, the rim was bent, so the wheel needed to be trued or replaced. Rico didn’t mind calling the driver that hit him though.

“Hello?” the driver answered. According to his business card, his name was Mike Wong.

“Hi Mike. This is Rico. You hit my bike yesterday and the rear tire won’t hold air and it’s riding funny because the rim is bent,” Rico said.

“Ok. Why don’t we meet at the bike shop after work?” Mike suggested and Rico obliged, so they agreed on the location and time and met there.

Mike was nice and he wanted to fix the damage that he had done. Instead of repair it the bike shop wanted to replace everything, so Mike paid for a new rim, tire and tube to be installed. It cost about $100 and it didn’t match the other tire, but it worked and Rico thanked him as they parted ways.

September 15, 2018 5:57 AM HST - Posted by Jason

Sleeping Before the Storm

Sleeping Before the Storm


“Did you hear about the hurricane?” a stranger asked Rico.

“Hurricane? No. How far away is it?” Rico asked.

“It’s almost 300 miles away. It’s a Category 2, so you better get somewhere safe,” the stranger said and walked away. Rico hadn’t heard anything about a hurricane approaching, so he got online and did some research.

Hurricane Hugo was approaching the Hawaiian islands from the east and it was predicted to make landfall in Oahu in about 24 hours. They were already getting high surf, but it was predicted to make a mess in remote parts of the island with strong, gusty winds and lots of rain in Rico’s area.

Rico went to the store and bought some supplies like a gallon of water, earplugs, three 6’ x 8’ tarps, zip ties, string, some PVC pipe connectors, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol wipes, earplugs, tent stakes, a ski cap and good rain jacket. After putting everything in his storage unit, he packed his sleep bag with the tarps, zip ties, string, earplugs and PVC.

The park down the street was beautiful and Rico liked visiting and sleeping there. Normally he slept openly on a tarp with a sheet over him. However, since a big storm was approaching he decided to make a better sleep spot.

Rico found two trees that were about 10’ apart near a bathroom. Fortunately, the bathroom was clean and its west-facing wall by the trees sheltered him from the relentless trade winds.

First, Rico placed one tarp on the ground in between the two trees. Pressing the tent stakes into its holes with his sandal anchored it to the ground, so it was not subject to the wind’s whims.

Next, Rico tied strings to the other two tarps. One tarp was tied to two tent stakes and the other tarp was tied to two PVC connectors. He wrapped the PVC connectors around the tree branches in single knots, so he could easily undo them.

Rico attached two tarps at the top with zip ties and one tarp went straight down and was attached to the ground with stakes. The other tarp was at a 45-degree angle and the stakes on strings kept it grounded. Several feet of open space at the bottom was like a window because Rico could see out while he was lying down.

Rico pulled three sheets out of his bag. He laid the full sheet flat on the tarp, so he could sleep on it. He put his jacket in his sleep bag and wrapped a sheet around it, so he could keep it safe and use it as a pillow. Finally, he used the third sheet for warmth and it kept bugs away because he pulled it over his entire body as he slept.

After sticking his sandals under part of the tarp, Rico drifted off to sleep within a few minutes. He woke up a three hours later and had to pee.

Rico extended the sheet over the tarp and onto the nearby grass. He scooted to the edge of the tarp, laid on his side and rested his head on his makeshift pillow. After pulling down his shorts and boxers a few inches, he peed in the grass next to his tarp. Nobody could see him or knew what he was doing, but not many people were there. They were preparing for the hurricane.

Rico knew the value of sleep and that it wasn’t always easy to get quality sleep when he slept outside. He figured he wanted to sleep as much as possible before the storm hit because he may have to stay up for a couple of days.

Shortly after he stuck the earplugs in his ears he drifted off to sleep again. Rainclouds crept in and rain fell on his tarp, but it kept him dry. The wind blew, but everything stayed anchored into the ground. He woke up a couple of times because of the wind, but he fell back to sleep and didn’t get up until he felt rested.

After Rico slept enough he was ready to get up, but it was raining, so he went back to sleep. He did this a few times until it was getting dark. A few minutes before sunset the rain finally stopped and turned into a light sprinkle, so Rico quickly grabbed everything and returned to the storage unit.

September 16, 2018 5:40 AM HST - Posted by Jason

The Hurricane Shelter

The Hurricane Shelter


As Rico arranged the things in his storage locker, rain echoed like thunder on the metal roof. A local hurricane shelter down the street was accepting people that needed to get out of the storm, so Rico rode his bike there. However, before he left he packed an emergency blanket, jacket, food, toiletries and computer in his backpack.

Water was beginning to make puddles, so Rico quickly rode his bike through side streets to the shelter and he arrived damp, but not drenched. After locking his bike he entered and the Red Cross was running it inside of a high school gymnasium.

“Please sign in,” an old woman with a name badge said, so Rico did. They only wanted his name.

There were about 17 people in a big gymnasium and some of them had tents, but most of them slept on the floor. Rico chose a secluded spot behind some benches that was near an electrical outlet, so he could plug in his devices.

Several Red Cross volunteers helped people get situated, but there was no food, no bedding and no frills. However, there was a bathroom and a drinking fountain. Rico was happy to have these amenities because the town was boarding up its windows and going home because of the hurricane that was approaching.

Rico spread his big rain jacket on the ground by the wall near a covered window and hoped it wasn’t too dirty. Using his backpack as a pillow, he spread the emergency blanket over him and rested. After a few minutes he fell asleep for several hours. When he woke up it was dark and most of the others were sleeping.

Rico walked to the bathroom that was right outside the gym and returned with a roll of toilet paper. He used it in between his knees to keep his spine aligned while he slept. It wasn’t too cold or inhospitable inside, but it was windy outside and he didn’t want anybody to steal his stuff.

It was quiet inside of the gymnasium, but Rico wondered if more people would sleep there tomorrow night and if it would be louder. If it rained a lot for several days it could get packed.

The concrete floor was surprisingly welcoming to Rico. It made his back feel good as he slept on his side. The emergency blanket provided plenty of warmth too.

A cock crowed at 4 a.m. and awakened Rico, but he fell back to sleep and got up after the sunrise. The rain had stopped and it was cloudy outside.

Rico ate a can or organic soup and applesauce for breakfast and watched news, comedy, music and educational videos on his computer. They didn’t have WiFi, but he had already downloaded thiem.

The buses were not running because of the hurricane, but Rico rode his bike everywhere unless it was far away. Since it was only about a mile to town, he rode there, but almost everything was closed. The hurricane forecasts terrified people, so they boarded up their businesses and told everybody to avoid going to work.

The Jamba Juice shop left their WiFi on, so Rico sat in front of their store for a couple of hours and got online. Apparently, the hurricane was hitting the Big Island hard, but probably wasn’t going to do much damage where Rico was. This was good news for Rico and the local community even though he would have to wait until tomorrow to begin enjoying life as usual.

Rico noticed an article that said the government was Investigating “health attacks” that had occurred on U.S. diplomats in Cuba and China. He chuckled because he had exposed the sonic "microwave" weapon that the U.S. government was using on people around the world. Now they were making it look like another entity had done it and some people were blindly blaming it on Russia. However, Rico didn’t rule out the possibility that more than one entity had the same weapon.

It began sprinkling and the sprinkles turned into light rain, but Rico stayed dry under an umbrella above his table. The building sheltered his backside from wind and rain.

Rico checked the weather report and it called for an increased chance of rain and high winds throughout the day, so Rico downloaded some more videos and hurried back to the hurricane shelter to watch them in safety. About an hour later it started raining and it didn’t stop for several hours.

The shelter was a good place to stay dry and Rico ate, watched videos, brushed his teeth and slept. He was sleeping more than usual, but there wasn’t much else to do and he usually slept outside and it wasn’t always easy to get quality sleep.

When Rico awakened in the morning a Red Cross volunteer said they were closing the shelter at 10 a.m. because the hurricane had passed the island. That was fine with Rico because he would be gone before then even if he took his time eating, watching videos and packing his backpack (which he did).

September 17, 2018 11:15 PM HST - Posted by Jason

Like a Kick in the Head

Like a Kick in the Head


After the storm passed, Rico rode his bike to the park to sleep like he usually did. It was a convenient spot to get his required rest for free. The ocean breezes were cleansing too.

With a long chain Rico locked his bike to a tree. He also locked his bike’s tire to its frame with a steel u-lock, so it was secure while he slept in the shade.

A few snails with colorful brown shells were moving very slowly in the grass. Since Rico didn’t want to accidentally crush them, he carefully moved the snails and they didn’t seem to mind.

To deter bugs Rico spread organic, ground, black pepper around his tarp. It repelled most ground-based bugs, but it didn’t hurt anything like synthetic pesticides did.

While Rico was sleeping under a blanket, somebody kicked him in the head. It was a glancing blow, so it didn’t hurt too much, but it startled Rico and woke him up. When he pulled the sheet off his head, he saw a dark-skinned kid in his 20s with a big back tattoo slowly walking away with a girl beside him.

“Hey! Asshole! What’s your problem? Motherfucker!” Rico yelled at the top of his lungs, but the couple continued walking away.

Rico noticed a police officer nearby and thought he was within earshot, so he yelled to him, but he either didn’t hear Rico or he ignored him. The officer didn’t appear to be busy, so Rico was surprised that he just stood by his vehicle and did nothing.

Rico wanted to chase the man down and confront him, but he wondered if somebody would steal his things if he did. In fact, he wondered if it was a planned trap with another accomplice, so he quickly gathered his things and ran to the policeman to report the crime.

“A man just kicked me in the head in the park while I was sleeping,” Rico said to the officer.

“Would you like to make a report?” the officer asked.

“He is walking slowly that way. Can you pursue him?” Rico asked and pointed to the east.

“No, but you can file a report if you want,” the officer said and Rico obliged. He gave the officer his information and described the perpetrator in case it happened again. The officer gave him a paper record of the report and they parted ways.

October 3, 2018 10:01 PM HST - Posted by Jason

Big Brother’s Fingerprints

Big Brother’s Fingerprints


Rico ran out of weed and wanted to buy some more, so he rode a bus across town. When he got off he crossed the street and walked over a canal full of water running to the sea.

Rico had bought weed at the park by Chinatown in the past, so he figured it would be quick and easy again. He noticed a chubby, dark-skinned guy with a Vietnam Veteran hat that was there last time.

“Does anybody have any weed?” Rico asked the man.

“No. Didn’t you hear? There was a raid and the Drug Enforcement Agency arrested 14 people,” the man said.

“Oh my God. That’s horrible. You’ve gotta be kidding me,” Rico said.

“Now why would I lie to you?” the man said.

“It was just a figure of speech. When did it happen?” Rico asked.

“Earlier today. They got everybody,” the man said.

“God, that’s awful,” Rico said.

“So this ain’t a good day. Nobody will be selling here today,” the man said and Rico thanked him and left.

As soon as Rico turned to walk down the path, a lean, black man approached him.

“Want weed? I know where some great weed is. Come with me and I will show you,” the black man said.

“What’s your name?” Rico asked.

“Gabriel, but call me Gabe,” the black man said and Rico shook his hand.

“How far away is it?” Rico asked.

“It is about eight stops away on the 55 bus. If you buy my bus pass, I’ll take you there,” Gabe said and Rico agreed, so they walked through the park, past the skatepark and up the hill to the bus stop. As soon as they arrived the bus arrived too, so they boarded. Rico bought their passes and they sat down.

“You’re gonna like this herb,” Gabe said.

“Great. I can’t wait,” Rico said. After about 15 minutes they arrived at the correct bus stop.

“This is it. C’mon,” Gabe said and they exited the bus.

“How much can you get?” Rico asked.

“How much do you want?” Gabe asked.

“$80 worth would be great,” Rico said.

“Ok. I can get a fat eighth for that much. Let me have your money and I will get it,” Gabe said.

“Can I come with you? I don’t trust anybody,” Rico said.

“No. These people don’t like strangers, but I will tell them that you are with me and next time you can come alone,” Gabe said.

Rico reluctantly gave Gabe the cash and waited as he entered a garage off the main road. Rico could see Gabe and the others the whole time, so he wasn’t worried about him running off with his money. About five minutes later Gabe came outside, motioned to Rico to follow him and they walked together.

“Here. Do you have a bag?” Gabe said and handed Rico a bunch of green buds that smelled like breakfast cereal.

“Yeah,” Rico said and pulled a zip top bag out of his backpack and put the buds in it.

“Can I have one?” Gabe asked.

“Sure,” Rico said and gave Gabe a small bud. “That will get you high,” he said and Gabe shrugged and said ok like he was expecting more, but would settle for this meager gift.

“Write down my phone number and give me a call some time,” Gabe said.

“Ok,” Rico said and wrote Gabe’s number in his notepad. They shook hands and parted ways because Gabe stayed there and Rico got on the bus and left.

October 18, 2018 8:24 AM HST - Posted by Jason

Transitioning

Transitioning


Rico’s gym in downtown Honolulu had a sauna, so he began using it almost daily. He met all sorts of interesting people in there too. He liked going late at night, but it closed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at 10 p.m.

Rico enjoyed sitting in the sauna for 30-40 minutes, but it was very hot, so he sweated a lot. Afterwards he always took a shower and felt better. He also drank a lot of water and some coffee or tea to replace the fluids that he lost.

A short, older, Asian woman with a clipboard and a book occasionally lingered in front of the sauna, so Rico said hi to her.

“Hello. Are you waiting for someone?” Rico asked and smiled.

“I’m with two people that are on a cleanse. They’re in the sauna right now,” she said and smiled behind thick eyeglasses.

Rico nodded, said ok, wished her well and entered the sauna. She didn’t look like a spy, but spies aren’t supposed to look like spies.

An older man and woman were sitting near the door and they were clearly the ones that she was talking about. Rico asked them about their cleanse and discovered that they saunaed for six hours a day! They were following a cleanse by Scientologist L. Ron Hubbard.

The next day Rico visited the sauna there was a black man sitting by himself. He was lean and balding with black hair dye and looked like he was in his 40s.

“How are you doing?” the man asked Rico with an accent.

“I’m fine. How are you?” Rico replied. They struck up a conversation and talked about all sorts of things. He said he was from Africa, so Rico was excited to learn about his culture.

“In Africa, we call God ‘Hu’. It sounds like ‘hugh’ or the sound you make when you exhale. That is God’s name,” the man said and Rico marveled. He had heard many different names for God, but never that one.

The next day Rico went in the sauna and he met a feminine looking Asian man that was friendly and interesting.

“Hi! My name is Holly. What’s your name?” he asked. Rico couldn’t tell if he said Holly or Ollie.

“Did you say your name is Holly or Ollie?” Rico asked.

“I’m transitioning and my name used to be Ollie, but it’s Holly now,” the man said. Rico was intrigued, but he didn’t want to focus on the fine details of his sexual transition too much because he didn’t want to make him feel uncomfortable. He did have some questions though.

“Which locker room do you use?” Rico asked.

“Well, I used to use the men’s locker room, but I use the women’s one now,” the man said and titled his head and smiled.

After sweating for 40 minutes Rico left and showered. Afterwards he walked across the street to a café and got online with his iPad. He liked to research topics, check his email and post on Twitter and Instagram and the interesting people in the sauna gave him plenty of things to tweet.

Rico researched Honolulu for things to do and after about 45 minutes he noticed that his dad had written him an email message. It was brief and it said:

“How much is the gym across town? I can pay for it if you would rather go there.”

The other gym was affiliated with the downtown one, but they were open 24 hours every day instead of closing on the weekends. They also offered free towels and other amenities because it was nicer and it cost more.

Rico had been posting some messages on social media about his experiences in Hawaii and his dad was following him on Twitter. He did not use his last name or pictures of himself though, so nobody knew it was him.

This was a nice offer from his loving, conservative Christian father, but Rico wasn’t used to it because he had been working and paying his own way for many years. However, with his money unavailable while his bank performed its investigation he accepted his dad’s kind offer and immediately replied.

“Ok. I think it is either $20 or $40 a month. It depends on whether or not they have an upgrade special. I will stop by and ask them.”

October 18, 2018 5:33 PM HST - Posted by Jason

Rico Dreams

Rico Dreams


The next day Rico visited the library to research the neighbor islands. He was always interested in visiting Maui, Kauai, Hawaii isle and Molokai. He created a new email account and used a fake name as he contacted businesses and asked them questions. He also typed the information that he found into an email draft, saved it and printed it.

After several hours of doing research on all of the islands including airfare, libraries, camping facilities, stores, sights, etc., Rico rode to Walmart to buy a few things. Since he had spare time, he walked up and down every aisle and noticed everything they sold, how much it cost and how many they had left.

By the end of his shopping trip, he had a Mylar blanket, string, a 6’ x 8‘ tarp, two combination locks, zip ties, scissors, a small knife, a very small pairing knife, alcohol wipes, two small plastic spray bottles, organic honey, lighters, organic apple cider vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and pink salt. He also bought a blue nylon Walmart bag to carry it in.

Rico stopped by his storage unit and dropped off the things he bought and grabbed his sleep bag because he was exhausted. It had some sheets, a tarp and a small pillow. It was the perfect sleep backpack, so he rode his bike to the park and pitched it under a large tree with plenty of shade. The sky was clear, so Rico didn’t worry about the possibility of rain.

As Rico slept he had three dreams.

In the first dream, Rico was riding his bike down a busy city street in Honolulu when a bus hit him. Rico fought it as he slid down the side of the bus. His left, rubber bike grip left a long black streak down the bus, but when he got to the wheel well he was overcompensating and fell into it and on the black asphalt.

Rico hit his head on the ground and was knocked unconscious, but his memory resumes in an ambulance going to the hospital. He woke up when the siren came on, so he remembered his dream until that point.

In the second dream, Rico was an analyst for news stations and he was telling everybody a story about something on live TV. Rico couldn’t recall more details about this dream when he woke up in the middle of it. He had to urinate very badly.

Scooting to the side of the tarp, Rico pulled the sheet over the ground and pulled back the tarp, so he could pee without being seen. It soaked into the ground and nobody knew what he was doing. A couple of minutes later he was sound asleep again.

In the third dream, Rico was in a battlefield in the Middle East. Bombs exploded and planes filled the sky. He was sad to see it that way. He expected more from the holy land and wondered why nobody was stopping the bloodshed.

A bomb exploded near Rico, so he ran with a pen and pad in hand and a backpack on his back. As he took cover he woke up for the third time and decided to stay awake.

November 30, 2018 3:03 AM HST - Posted by Jason

Man in the Box

Man in the Box


Rico was adjusting to broke island life even though it was temporary. He was used to having lots of money, a nice car and a roof over his head at least. Living with nothing on a dwindling, shoestring budget was new, but felt liberating too.

Rico bought a few supplies before starting his day. Since he could get free hot water at Starbucks and 7-11, he figured he would brew his own tea and save money. He bought 100 organic green tea bags for $5, a mug for $5 and a thermos for $10. He also bought some paper clips, zip-top bags and alcohol wipes for a few dollars.

Rico felt ready to start his civilian life. After his discharge, he drove across the country, visited Cuba and flew to Honolulu. Now he just needed to access the money in his bank account, so he could settle down somewhere in the mainland. He wondered why his account was being investigated and when they'd be done. 90 days would be up soon and that was supposed to be the maximum amount of time it could take the bank.

Lots of pe0ple slept outside around town at night and in the park during the day, so Rico didn't stand out too much. He preferred sleeping days, but he thought about buying a tent to pitch it on concrete at night. He thought it'd be easy to do for 6-8 hours. He didn't understand why the police ticketed people for being in the park after 10 p.m. It was so beautiful at night.

Rico got sore from riding and walking everywhere, but he liked the exercise. He wasn't able to refrigerate food, so when he wanted fresh food he had to ride his bike, walk or ride a bus. It didn't bother him and he was starting to see how polluted it was from vehicles, so he was happy to avoid leaving a carbon footprint.

Rico visited a cafe and used their free, outdoor WiFi to check his email. His dad had written and said he was visiting Maui soon and wanted him to come. He offered to fly him there and back. It sounded great to Rico, but he hoped he'd have his money soon.

The famed North Shore had always intrigued Rico. Since he wasn't sure how long he'd be here or if or when he'd return, he started planning a trip there.