If you don’t think those clowns are entertaining, you’ll never enjoy your root canal.

It’s not what you learn from life, but what you refuse to learn that leaves its festering mark.

FICTION which should be NON:


Strictly for legal reasons Estuary Publications neither agrees nor disagrees with anything
anyone ever says on any matter whatsoever, and especially anything that we ourselves might
put into print, market, and hopefully sell a few copies of to our helplessly vulnerable, easily
influenced, and always eager to please gun-totin’, trigger-happy readership.

Nonetheless, we have to agree—albeit regretfully—with Henry Edward Fool, that there must be
a reason God gave us guns. (enjoy the show)
A little necessary additional note:  Estuary Publications in no way condones the use of violence
as a form of entertainment, and we feel strongly that such use should be strictly confined to
television, movies, cartoons, video games, private jokes amongst old friends, off-mic politicians
and anyone too damned drunk to recognize just how appalling their behavior has become.

The kid who was bagging our groceries at Whole Thieves today responded cleverly to
something I'd said, and so I evaluated him and found him to be
a completely pleasant
(one of my highest ratings). I told him I'd like to offer him some advice and, as I
picked up the bags, I told him, "When I was about your age and in college, 46 years ago,
I sold a 1957 Mercedes Benz 190 SL in order to buy a motorcycle. I
strongly suggest that
you DON'T do that."

He thanked me for the advice and promised he wouldn't.
I think we both went away from that brief encounter better off.

In a way, that is precisely what B. O. B. is about. That is what I'd like to get started here.

It's a two-way street. What us old bastards have to offer is tempered with the understanding
that many of us have absolutely NO IDEA whatsoever what the heck is going on in this
world. That fact ’ll be made ever more clearly, I’m guessing, with each new issue of this
publication. But, as importantly, perhaps, will be our focus on loss (see FINAL THOUGHTS
on page 80 where I beat that dead horse three different ways, before admitting defeat.)

I was watching a thing on TV where these kids—kids to me; a couple in their 30s—buy
houses at auction and flip ‘em. Apparently, when you buy such a house, you can look at it
from the outside, but are denied access until after you’ve won it, so you have very little idea
what you’re really buying. Here they are now, shortly after entering a house which they’ve
just won, and they are looking into a room where there is a desk, a couple large tables,
floor to ceiling shelving along one wall, free-standing bookshelves along another, and there
are stacks of paper everywhere. Every inch of the floor space is covered with boxes of
notebooks and files; the shelves are loaded with newspapers and books. And, as these
young people enter that room they say something like, “Wow, what a mess! We’re gonna
need more than one dumpster to haul all this away.”

I then turn to my very dear wife and I say, “That’s some guy’s work! It could be the man’s
life-long study; but, to them, it’s just garbage. Years of work, and it’s all going into a
dumpster.” She understood completely.

My wife’s father owns a small hotel. When he and his wife bought it, it was a sad, old, run-
down residence club. But, after all the tenants had either died or moved away, they turned
it into a lovely little hotel; its charm due entirely to their, nearly fifty-year long dedication
and relentless hard work. And, though they are in the position to do whatever they might
wish with their time—travel around the world or just sit at home in the quiet of their library,
reading every book ever to see print—they still come into work every day. He comes in to
talk to salesmen, to deal with accountants and governmental authorities of every
conceivable irritating sort, over the phone; she writes checks and talks to suppliers. While
she is arranging flowers, cut fresh from their garden, he is greeting guests at the door, or
plunging a toilet, or trying to coax the ancient elevator back into action, or showing the
maids, for the ten thousandth time, how he’d like to see the towels folded, in those
moments when he’s not outside sweeping and watering the plants.

It would be impossible for me to tell you how many times I have turned to my very dear wife
saying, “What the hell is wrong with that man? Why on earth, if you could do anything you
want, would you drag yourself into this hotel, only to put in a full day’s work arguing with
some lawyer about some supposed-injury to his client, who has never even set foot in the
place?” I know the answer of course. And so does her father. We both know that, in the
end, when he finally leaves this place, everything that makes this lovely little hotel unique—
all the art, all the statues, all the tapestries, the quirky little signs; every delightful thing that
he and his very good wife have wrought with their own labor and their love—will be trashed.
It'll be tossed into a very large dumpster, and hauled away to the city dump. And, when that
happens, what's lost will go far beyond the mere stuff; because what has been created
here can never, and will never, be duplicated.

More painful still is the very cold fact that it probably won't even be missed.

On the personal level, I have to admit that right now I am having some difficulty digesting
the idea that nothing I do --either as a mediocre artist or as a so-called writer-- has any real
value in this world. I cannot imagine what that must feel like to someone who has actually
accomplished something.

About that I could not be more sincere.

Richard Mansfield, editor

OUT OF THE CAVES... and into the dumpster