Monthly Archives: April 2016

Rubber tits

View from a Stationary Bike

She seems always to be bustling around in an accelerated gait, ear buds in, staring straight ahead so as not to notice our gawking, just as, I suppose, she bustles past everybody—our gym goddess.

She seems always to be bustling around in an accelerated gait, ear buds in, staring straight ahead so as not to notice our gawking, just as, I suppose, she bustles past everybody—our gym goddess.

by Dell Franklin

Earlier, a very pretty girl, around 27, with easily the best body in the gym, walked past Walt and me on her way to the treadmills in back. She seems always to be bustling around in an accelerated gait, ear buds in, staring straight ahead so as not to notice our gawking, just as, I suppose, she bustles past everybody—our gym goddess. She wears one of those trendy beanies that tuck in her bleached blonde hair. She has a very lean, firm body, exposed by the tiniest and tightest of black spandex shorts north of a bikini, and a narrow black spandex strap around her irregularly huge boobs that make this doll seem top-heavy. Her belly is gorgeously corded.

I said to Walt, after she passed by. “I remember when that young beauty had an ass.”

“Her ass looks pretty nice to me,” Walt responded.

“Before she began sprinting for an hour straight on the treadmill and going apeshit on the other machines, like an exercise addict, she had a perfectly rounded appetizing ass. Right now, from the workouts, and probably a bird-seed eating disorder, that once succulent, fantastic ass has been reduced to a terrier ass.”

“Terrier ass?” Walt mused, as he pedaled in slow motion beside me. “Never heard that one before.”

“Whaddaya think about her boobs, Walt?”

“They’re pretty big. They’re attractive.”

“Kind of big for her body, ey?”

“Well, maybe. All ladies are built differently.”

“Have you taken a good look at her boobs?”

“Well, now, you can’t help but notice them.”

“Do you notice how they bounce?”

“I haven’t noticed if they bounce or not.”

“Well, you should notice how they bounce, the way she traipses all over the gym for everybody to look at.”

She always has a sheen of sweat on her body after a treadmill sprint. She does not have a sexy walk for a woman as drop-dead as she is, which makes me think she might be a tri-athlete. But with those boobs? When she’s in the weight room, all the muscle-heads congregate around her and this guy she always comes in with, a stud type who runs on the treadmill beside her, hovers close by to keep an eye on her. She’s very friendly and vivacious around the muscle-heads.

Walt and I watched her as she went into an Olympian type sprint as if finishing a 100 yard dash.

“What’s the story on that guy who’s always with her, Walt?”

“She’s not married to him. I’m not sure they’re a couple. I heard he was her bodyguard, and an agent, and she’s trying to find a modeling job in Hollywood so she can get into acting. I think she modeled at one time.”

“Then what the hell’s she doing up here in Hicksville?”

“I don’t know that,” Walt confessed.

“I don’t see how she can get a modeling job with those enormous jugs…anyway, do you think they’re real?”

“Real? Why wouldn’t they be real?”

“I think they’re silicone implants. Watch her on the treadmill. They don’t bounce. They sit perfectly still.”

Walt craned his old wattled turkey neck toward the treadmill area in back, where the beauty was spinning away, hardly panting, the body guard working fairly hard beside her.

“They’re not bouncing at all,” Walt observed.

“She’s like all those women on the Beverly Hills Housewives,” I informed him. “All these Beverly Hills housewives are heading toward middle-age or are already middle-aged, and they got phony tits and phony asses and botox lips, cheeks and necks.”

“Beverly Hills Housewives? What’s that?”

“A reality TV program, which is sort of scripted, I guess, and you got all these incredibly rich Beverly Hills women married to millionaires and celebrities, and they hang out together, either at parties at their palatial estates, or in trendy expensive restaurants, and they get drunk on $100 bottles of white wine and act like best friends but behind each others backs they plant nasty horrible rumors about each other, and when they get together they deny starting these lies and argue and cry and scream at each other and throw things at each other and then make up and cry again and hug and kiss each other and say they love each other and then start the lies and rumors all over again.”

Walt, still pedaling, not looking at me, said, “I don’t watch that stuff. I’m not going to. How can you watch such stuff?”

“I don’t know, Walt. My woman, a college grad with a master’s in literature, she watches it, too, and we talk about those women as if they’re humans when we go out to dinner.”

“Well, I’m a college grad, and I’m not watching a bunch of women like that get drunk and yell at each other. It makes no sense.”

“It’s not supposed to. What you do is watch it and decide which one of these spoiled, snooty, entitled witches you hate the most.”

“Well, that shouldn’t be too hard for you to do—it’s right up your alley.”

A girl walked past us in tight black spandex workout pants and a full spandex workout blouse. She was a big girl, around 22, with majestic, breathtaking breasts. Walt and I watched her.

“See the boobs on that lass, Walt? They bounce, jiggle a might, and tremble.”

“They’re very nice,” Walt admitted. “And they do bounce and jiggle.”

“And they look perfect on her, because she’s a big girl, with a nice big ass and wide hips, perfectly in proportion.”

“She’s a sweet girl, always says hi.”

“Got a good attitude. She’s what I call voluptuous.”

Walt nodded. She did in fact nod at us as she sat down on a stretching machine, almost as if she read our minds. She even smiled at us.

A few minutes later, as Walt and I were finishing up, the so-called future Hollywood model/actress was again gallivanting around the gym. As she headed for the moist antiseptic strips to clean her treadmill of germs, and bent down to pull them from a plastic pail, exposing those boobs, Walt and I made sure to watch.

He nodded. “Rubber tits,” he said. §

Dell Franklin, who writes from his home in Cayucos, Calif., admires women of all stripes but most especially those who are real and don’t pretend or put on airs, or get fake breasts, to make themselves more attractive or feel better. He posts his stories online at, where this story was first published.

Murder and rape in Cayucos

Why do we remain silent, or worse, defend the perpetrator?

by Stacey Warde

(Screen shot from

(Screen shot from

In a small town like Cayucos, with a population of only a few thousand residents, at one point or another, you’re likely to run into just about everyone who lives here, including the nut cases and predators and their friends, not to mention the few people who don’t like you.

I’ll admit, I’ve befriended a few of the nut cases.

We’ve had our share of them, and I’ve loved them all, and for the most part they’ve been decent people, in spite of their peculiar behaviors. This town, as small as it is, embraces the stranger, the oddball, I’ve seen it more than once, so long as he gets along, does his share, and generally respects his neighbors.

In this town, we like to say that we watch out for each other, especially those who are vulnerable, the elderly and the young, for example, and we keep a close eye on our children. We’re a quick easy stop for kooks traveling the coastal road between LA and San Francisco. Sometimes they stop and stay, sometimes they keep moving. We’re wary of strangers who don’t quite fit in and, trust me, we know who you are.

Which is even more important when it comes to people of questionable character, whether they’re passing through or actually living here, those who do more harm than good, who prey on the weak, lie, cheat, steal and inflict pain on others, including murder and rape, both of which have recently occurred here.

Thankfully, I’ve managed to avoid getting too close to the predators—and we’ve had more than one in the neighborhood.

Matthew James Levine, for example, reported his grandmother, Dorothy Vivian Autrey, 84, missing from her home on Hacienda Way, where he also lived with her on the southern outskirts of town, at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 21, 2008, about a day after she was last seen alive.

Dorothy Vivian Autrey, whose body was never found, was murdered by her live-in grandson.

Dorothy Vivian Autrey, whose body was never found, was murdered by her live-in grandson.

Dorothy, apparently, had been getting on Matthew about his lifestyle and an argument ensued, and she disappeared. He claimed she must have gotten lost, being old and forgetful and all, wandering who knows where. Maybe she got swept out to sea. It happens. Her soggy purse was later retrieved near the Cayucos Pier but she was never found.

Meanwhile, according to one account, Matthew handed out fliers about his missing grandmother, asking for clues and signs, anything to help him find her, even boarding a Cayucos school bus to enlist the children’s help.

Matthew turned himself in a month later and confessed to killing his grandmother. He’d stuffed her body in a suitcase and threw it over a cliff near Ragged Point, a treacherous stretch of Highway 1 that winds high above the jagged Pacific coastline in Big Sur. Her body was never found.

He claimed to have misjudged a blow to his grandmother, a warning bump, an accident perhaps, because he’d been under the influence of marijuana and cough syrup. He got scared and took the mafioso approach to hiding the evidence, tossing her remains into the sea. She is still reported as a “missing person.”

I didn’t know either Matthew or his grandmother and this tragedy may or may not have been avoidable, but there must have been signs of trouble. Someone in the neighborhood or family or circle of friends might have seen the signs, and made note of them. That alone would make us safer, just noticing, talking, making sure everyone’s ok.

Maybe it’s unfair for me to categorize Matthew as a predator because I didn’t know him but I suspect he had other motives for moving in with his grandmother than simply keeping an eye on her and making sure she was safe. He was later convicted of first degree murder and elder abuse.

I suspect that something darker than good intentions were also at work in the case of Oscar Higueros Jr., a former volunteer Cayucos fireman and citizen in good standing, who was recently convicted on several charges of raping a minor and human trafficking, and faces the likelihood of spending the rest of his life in prison.

I doubt his actions in keeping company with an underage girl rose solely from a desire to protect and love her, as has been conveyed to me by friends who know and like Oscar, and who have tried to convince me there’s more to the story than meets the eye.

Nonetheless, a jury found Oscar guilty on numerous counts and he will be sentenced for his crimes beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, May 9, at San Luis Obispo Superior Court. He faces a minimum of 64 years and a maximum of 183 years in prison.

I noted the fact of his recent conviction in a Facebook post, suggesting that it would serve the community well to begin a dialog about how we might in the future protect our children from others who wish them harm: “Dead silence in Cayucos about predators in our midst. When do we start the conversation about how to protect our sons and daughters?”

I got the following comment from the wife of someone who worked with Oscar at the Cayucos Fire Department: “Stacey, you need to get all the facts before you lash out.”

I responded to this effect: “What are the facts? Let’s hear them, especially since the court that convicted Oscar, and Oscar himself, might be interested, if the facts can show that he’s not guilty.” She deleted her comment.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been scolded or corrected after mentioning Oscar’s arrest and conviction, as if there were details I should know—such as he was in love, or the underaged girl was a tramp.

At Schooner’s, soon after Oscar’s arrest, a friend of his told me over beer that Oscar really loved this girl. He was protecting her, as a good fireman should.

“You really don’t know what you’re talking about, dude,” he said, as if my mentioning the news of Oscar’s arrest had put me in the wrong. I had mentioned only the facts of the case as reported in local news media, which basically was a rewrite of the district attorney’s press release on the subject.

Maybe I didn’t know the whole story, I responded, but the court would find out whether he really loved this girl, or was using and abusing her. In any case, I added, the fact that she was underage might have been clue enough for Oscar to leave her alone. So, why didn’t he? And why didn’t those who know Oscar, and who still defend him, warn him that he was treading on thin ice? Or, for chrissake, why didn’t they report him?

Well, came the response, love knows no bounds and people do what they must when they fall for someone. Perhaps, I said, but the law is pretty clear, even for firemen, regarding sexual behavior between adults and minors. Oscar crossed the line. Now, he’s guilty of rape.

I respect and understand friendship and loyalty, but these qualities, as I’ve known them, would never, in their best form, tolerate or quietly condone the abuse of a minor or elder, regardless of whether their friend was in love or his victim a tramp. His actions were reprehensible and cannot be defended on any grounds that I know.

I’d give less consideration to defending one who has been deemed a predator, a menace to the community, and put more focus on the victims who have suffered from their abuse. §

Stacey Warde is publisher of The Rogue

Crossing the color line—again

Cuba, baseball and Obama

by Dell Franklin

GAME TIME—President Barack Obama and President Raul Castro of Cuba applaud a run by the Tampa Bay Rays during an exhibition baseball game between the Rays and the Cuban National Team at the Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana, Cuba, March 22, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

GAME TIME—President Barack Obama and President Raul Castro of Cuba applaud a run by the Tampa Bay Rays during an exhibition baseball game between the Rays and the Cuban National Team at the Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana, Cuba, March 22, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

I was four when we lived in Havana, and though I recall nothing concrete, there are swirling images of bright colors and energy and activity and non-stop, fast-talking voices and rousing music. My father was playing professional baseball in Cuba during the winter after a season in Tampico, Mexico, where he played after leaving the big leagues for better money.

On my wall is a small black-and-white framed photo of dad with his teammates on his Cuban team, the only American among black and lighter-skinned men of Spanish ancestry against a backdrop of a rickety stadium. A man of high passion and strong opinion, dad loved Cuba and had already learned the language while in Mexico. As a man raised in the Great Depression and serving in World War II, he was convinced the secret to life was making the best of every situation, to ignore hardship and differences in culture and concentrate on the joy of relating to people and their customs.

Dad remembered Fidel Castro as a polite kid wanting to be a ball player and working out with his team and having a “decent glove as an infielder for a tall gangly kid, but couldn’t hit a bull in the ass with a bass fiddle as a hitter.”

He talked of the fans: “It was love-hate. They were rabid, much more so than American fans, even New York and Detroit and Philly fans, who were real wolves. Cuban fans bet on games, bet on innings, bet on at-bats. The cities and towns practically closed down when there was a game. They came to the park or listened on radio. They were rough on you if you didn’t produce, and if you were an American with a big name and came down and laid an egg, didn’t come through in the clutch, they would literally run you out of town. I was fortunate to play well down there until the malaria I got from the South Pacific during the war recurred.”

Mother said: “The Cuban people were very warm and good-hearted. No matter how poor they were they seemed good-natured and happy about what they had, there was a spirit and a soul about them, they were not afraid to reach out and embrace you. At night, Murray and I would go out after the games, very late, because it was so exciting, and also we had not seen each other for almost two years while he was away during the war, and we would go to the cantinas and clubs, and there was always music, and the people loved to dance, and we loved to dance, the parks were always full of people playing games or playing music, there was so much life and excitement in Havana, it was a city of ongoing festivity that never shut down.”

CULTURE.murray in cuba

Murray Franklin, back row, second from right, an infielder who played with a Cuban team in the late 1940s, said this about Cuban baseball fans: They were rabid, much more so than American fans, even New York and Detroit and Philly fans, who were real wolves. Photo courtesy of Dell Franklin

Dad talked of his teammates and players such as Minnie Minoso and Sandy Consuegra and many others, the black ones like Minoso not allowed to play ball in America no matter how gifted they were, while the lighter skinned Cubans were allowed to play before the color line was broken by Jackie Robinson. Minoso finally established an illustrious career in the big leagues in his 30s.


Murray Franklin at bat in his Cuban team uniform.

Dad said: “The Cubans played with a different emotion, what you would call flair. You could call them showboats. They came from a different background, a different culture. What I learned about them was that if you made an effort to learn their language and made an effort to be friendly they would do anything for you and were very loyal, they would take you into their homes and no matter how poor they were or how little they had in their pantries, they would serve you their last plate of rice and black beans, because you were a guest, and they liked you. They had this inborn quality of thinking about you first, a trait I find very rare and good in people and which I tried to copy as a man, because, in the end, it serves everybody better to share what they have. You are always learning in life, and my experience in Cuba taught me humility, even though I was a pretty humble guy to begin with and always appreciated what I had.”


Cuban baseball players risk their lives to come to America to play the great game, possibly to live in freedom, make real money, and compete against the best to show us just how great they really are. They play with a different rhythm and instinct pleasantly devoid of over-coaching and over-training, like kids growing up in the sandlots and dirt parks a century ago, like Cobb and Ruth and the Gas House Gang; so unlike the controlling and insane supervision and overexposure of American Little League and the structured and robotic techniques taught to and applied by American players along with the new metrics moving them around by front office stooges and automat coaches like chess pieces.

Cuban ballplayers are colorful, ours are not.

Imagine the culture shock of Cuban ballplayers coming to America and facing the vastness of our country, the huge shiny powerful cars marauding our massive highways, the sudden big money, the freedom, the incredible hi-tech toys and the splendor of even our minor league systems, much less the luxury of the big leagues. Imagine their reaction to the tight-lipped grimness of the baseball tradition in America…

…And then imagine our players, raised in a culture of over-abundance and entitlement if you are a big league prospect, the best food and equipment and stadiums and pampering, and going to Cuba and playing ball there, seemingly for a pittance, in seedy surroundings, for love of the game and patriotic reasons of one-upmanship on a country like ours.

Baseball, our great game, is their great game also, and now our President, Barack Obama, is trying to renew relations with Cuba, recently by using baseball as a sort of bridge to build a new relationship of visiting each other and sharing.

Meanwhile, politicians on the right squawk sanctimoniously of how Cuba is a Communist country punishing its people and denying them human rights, while at the same time these very same hypocrites wish to deny women in our country the right to make their own decisions on abortion, seek to deny black people the right to vote, try to destroy the first health care provider in our country primarily for the poor, and hang on to a cold war mentality that has long ago dissolved, and a bombastic occupational foreign policy that has failed miserably and infuriated most of the world.

We negotiate trade and exchange tourism with Vietnam and China, supposed enemies, and seem to have no problem with their regimes, or their propaganda against America, and they seem to have no problem with our history of exploiting Latin and South American governments for decades, assassinating their leaders and replacing them with any ruthless despot who would do what we told them for military support while these military puppets and millionaire aristocrats tossed crumbs to their impoverished people and jailed or murdered them if they rebelled.

And for what?

What Obama is trying to explain to the mindless knuckleheads in this country is that what he is doing is about people—their people and our people. It is about allowing their people to taste a little of what we have while we taste a little of what they have, and in the process we can learn a little something about each other without trying to turn their country into South Florida. It is about no longer demanding THEY change before WE concede even to talk to them because of their terrible record on human rights, or about us imposing our political philosophy and ideology on them, or boycotting their goods and placing embargoes and strangling their economy and rendering their people poorer than they already are.

And for what?

Cuba is a proud country with as many social ills as we have, but what it is really about is Cubans and Americans, the lot of whom, if we ever met, would probably like each other, and have a great time together, if we just for a minute allowed ourselves to have a few beers and forget about politics and history and perhaps watch a baseball game together, whether it be here or there. §

Dell Franklin writes from his home in Cayucos, Calif., and spent many years of his life active in baseball, teaching, coaching and playing, learning from all-time greats and keeping a wary eye on how the game is played. More of his work can be read on his website,


Bernie v. Hillary


<> on January 29, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Their differences aren’t a battle between good and evil

by Mark Russell

OK, here’s the thing with the Democratic primary: everyone imagines they are supporting the one candidate who can save us from the abyss and feel aggrieved and belittled by the other side. I am personally a Bernie Sanders supporter, but the truth is that this is not a battle between good and evil so much as an awkward contest between two animals who evolved in entirely different ecosystems.

Hillary Clinton is like a grizzled hunter in the Amazon. Every day is a battle for survival. She has suffered every venom and poison imaginable and from her time as being the wife of a Democratic governor in a red state to being Secretary of State to the most besieged administration in modern history, she has lived her entire life in a rainforest filled with things determined to kill her. Her political survival instincts have adapted accordingly.

Bernie Sanders is like a wallaby. He hails from the benign ecosystem known as Vermont, where he lacks any natural predators. He will be the beloved senator from Vermont for as long as he cares to be. So he hops around wherever he wants, unafraid that anyone might use his words to crucify him. Propose a $15 minimum wage? Just have a friendly chat with anyone who disagrees. Call yourself a “socialist?” Sure, why not? We’re all friends here. On the other side of the world, though, if Hillary Clinton channels her inner Eleanor Roosevelt, the Republicans call it a seance. Write a few State Department emails from your personal server? Suddenly there’s a major Congressional investigation, even though nobody cared when previous Secretaries of State did exactly the same thing.

Bernie’s instincts have evolved so he feels no danger in exposing his head to say what he thinks, however far afield it may be from current political reality. Hillary’s instincts, on the other hand, have adapted in a harsher environment, where extreme cautiousness and distrust are rewarded.

Likewise, the two candidates’ strengths and weaknesses are a direct consequence of their respective environments. Three decades of jungle warfare against Republicans has left Hillary battle-tested and well-versed in the dark arts of political campaigning. She will, I have no doubt, annihilate whoever emerges from the Republican Convention and be drinking out of their skull by November. But at the same time, this experience has made her reticent to take strong positions, to say things that could be later used against her. She tends to “evolve” rather than stand on principle. Bernie has no such qualms and, from the very beginning, has taken principled stands on the Iraq War, universal health insurance, gay marriage, etc., which while controversial at the time, have since been borne out by history. He is the forward-thinking visionary that Hillary is not, but he also seems naively unprepared for the shitwave of dirty tricks and false accusations that will come his way if and when he has to run a national campaign against a Donald Trump or a Ted Cruz.

I’m not telling you who to vote for in the Democratic primary. Thanks to decades of self-selecting news coverage, extreme right-wing radio, and the derangement induced by the reality that the white male vote is no longer enough to carry national elections, the GOP field has been reduced to an incoherent fever dream of xenophobia and obsolescence. Either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would be infinitely preferable to anyone in that mental ward. This primary is not a choice between good and evil, as some Democrats have made it out to be, but rather the choice between different types of leaders, the visionary versus the tactician, whose approach to politics has largely been forged by differences in environment rather than character. §

Mark Russell is the author of God Is Disappointed in You and Apocrypha Now. He also writes the comic book series Prez and The Flintstones for DC Comics. He lives and works in Portland, Oregon.