So, What Are You Up to
These Days?

Fernando Meisendhalter
He tells me heís still robbing banks.† He has no choice, he says, everything is so goddamn expensive these days.† But he only uses air guns, not the real thing. †He just paints them so they look real and he always gets away clean, except one time, a while back, when his girlfriend ratted him out.

She wanted to buy smack, he says, needed the money, so she went to the cops. He says this put a serious strain on their relationship, but he didnít leave her. †He says heís not that kind of guy, that he understands sheís an addict, that she needs love, not more rejection, and says he understands her better now that heís attending his NA meetings regularly.

And now heís off air guns, he says.† Now he uses a note, which is how you rob banks nowadays, just handing the teller a note.† Itís no longer a violent crime, so now even freaking Gandhi could do it, he says.

The world is changing, and for the better, he says, anyone can see that, you just need to stay positive, always find a way forward, and learn from your mistakes.

He says he met a woman at a bar last week, and she invited him to dance, then grabbed his ass, which is okay, he says, because he likes that in a woman.

But then the womanís boyfriend showed up and wanted to know what the hell was he doing dancing with his old lady.

So they went outside to settle the matter. †But just as he was getting ready to beat the crap out of the boyfriend, he says his pacemaker went off and had to stop the fight and rest until his heart rate stabilized.

Heís had two heart attacks, he says, one in prison, one on the outside, so now heís careful, takes it easy, he says, has learned to take his time in life.

But the boyfriend started laughing at him, so he pulled out his knife and slashed the boyfriend twice across the chest, which is insane, true, but someone had to teach this punk a lesson, how to respect people with pacemakers.

The girlfriend screamed and all, but he could tell she loved every minute of it. Then he says he fled the scene, of course, went to a friendís house and since no one knew him at that bar, he says he was in the clear.

The next morning he read an article in the local rag saying that the cops were looking for a Caucasian male about fifty years old suspected of stabbing an off-duty police officer behind a bar last night.

But he says he never stabbed the guy, just slashed him across the chest.† Also, the article stated he had a mustache when in reality he had a goatee; that he was six feet tall when in fact he was just five foot ten.† I mean, these dumb reporters canít get anything right, he says.

I should have called them, tell them they had it all wrong.

But he says heís too old that, that heís tired of the same old crap, same messed up ladies, messed up fights, that life is just repeating itself, that heís tired of that. But you need to stay positive, he says, the world is changing, and for the better, anyone can see that, and you always want to look for a way forward, and always learn from your mistakes.

So, what are you up to these days?

Fernando Meisendhalter,

is of German ancestry, raised in Mexico City, a full-time immigrant in the US since 1995, and a God-fearing citizen since 2002.

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