The Invader, A Story From Salvation

There was an article I caught a little while back from Dr. Neil Clark Warren, the founder of eHarmony. It was a lengthy piece about how marriage as a whole is pretty much dead. Not unions, per se, but the institution of marriage is not functional nowadays.

My brother-in-law likes to say “Every man needs a good woman behind him.” I’m not sure if he truly understands this quote, or if he caught it in a Humphrey Bogart movie. You see, his definition of what a good woman is very antiquated. He wants a woman standing by, waiting at his beck and call.

Now some women like that role, then people like Alfred Hitchcock had someone like this and flourished. His wife Alma would collect screenplays, read them, choose the next picture, draw storyboards, design the costumes and Alfred would show up and direct.

Then there are women that can completely destroy you. If a good woman can build you up, then a bad woman can tear you down.

A couple of years before my dad passed away, he told me about going to dinner at a co-worker’s house. He had never met the coworker’s wife until that night. Everybody was talking, eating and having a decent time. My dad’s coworker clears his throat and starts to tell a story, and as soon as he utters his first sound his wife yells: “Shut the fuck up. Don’t say one word. I know everything you’re going to say, I know everything you’re ever going to say. I’ve heard it all. You’re never going to say anything new. I’ve had it.”

Naturally, the evening wrapped up pretty quick after that. I remember my dad saying once, people, like Hollywood, only have five stories. And they just keep re-shuffling those stories. You spend enough time with people and you’re bound to be beaten over the head with those stories.

The point is if you have a good woman she can make you think that those five stories are the greatest anecdotes known to man.

In modern times, that though is hard to find. Everybody is pressed for time and agitated; no one wants to sit through a story. So maybe Dr. Warren is right, use eHarmony to meet somebody nice, and then move on as soon as your five stories get stale.

#michaelessington #salvation




Hell & Back, A Story From Salvation

I wake up to another roll call. This time I’m moving to a cell. I can’t remember where in the jail I moved. I know it wasn’t Charlie or Abel row; those are restricted as the Blood and Crip tiers. I was told I was being moved to a four-man cell. I roll up and follow the guards to my new home; the four-man cell has four guys in it already. Once in the cell, I’m told that the new guy sleeps under one of the bunks. Great. After chow, I laid out my bedding and started to nod off under the first bunk. An hour or so after lights out, I wake up to a small mouse sitting on my chest staring at me.

While in this cell I received two visits. The first visit was from my brother and my mother. Neither of them was ecstatic or proud.

The next visit was from my buddy Lance and a friend of his named Todd (I would call him Grape Ape, so I wouldn’t confuse him with the other Todd). A little bit better of a visit. Not that I didn’t want to see family, but the look on their faces reminded me of what a tremendous mistake I made. Lance brought his son’s mother along, but she was wearing shorts, so they denied her visitation privileges.

Just like the other four places, I was sleeping in; 3:00 a.m. wake up call. Get in line to catch the chain to Pitchess Detention Center. I don’t remember much about this bus ride. I slept through most of it. I woke up when we were passing Magic Mountain, and thought to myself, “If I escape from this place I’m going to scale the fence and ride the Colossus.”

The whole bus unloads, we strip, spread ‘em, lift the sack, the feet, then one of the inmates screamed, as we are bent over, “Cough.” Everybody starts coughing, the sheriffs lose it “Stop it, stop it now you faggots.” At this early hour of the morning, it was hard to figure out who shouted “Cough,” I thought it was one of the sheriffs.

We turn in our dark blue scrubs from L.A. County and put on a pair of baby blue scrubs. From there we marched down to the lower yard at Wayside. The sheriffs refer to this yard as Beirut. By the time I got to Beirut, I had been locked up at County for two weeks. Once I get to my assigned barrack, I am told to gather around, the “head of the wood car” looks like a human skull, with a blond stripe running from his bottom lip to his Adam’s apple. He was tattooed all over with various white power slogans and the two lightning bolts. Again, we got the speech: “No eating with the toads, no using the shower if there are toads in there. And if shit jumps off, the Southsiders got our backs.” Some of us nod; a few of the others love this. Within three days we were all marched to the main office, stripped of the baby blue scrubs and moved into bright orange scrubs. Once fitted with the new gear we were then marched into the second barrack from the mess hall – the fire barrack. Now the fire barrack is the worst place to be. Out in Castaic Lake during the summers there are tons of brush fires and the local fire department can only do so much, so Wayside volunteers its less favorable inmates to join in and fight fires. And when there are no fires they run through the hills doing training exercises, wearing fire gear and carrying hoses. Like the previous times, all the “new” woods are called together, and all the rules are gone over again. The head of the white car in this barrack is borderline retarded, something is just off, and the second in command is a kid who looks fourteen, but says he’s “Almost nineteen.” As if the Alka-Seltzer story wasn’t bad enough — the head wood says “If you stay in the fire barrack you’ll be given one of these great firefighter belt buckles,” he then lifts up his shirt and the head of his penis is sticking out of his pants. All at once everybody lets out a big “Dude, what the fuck?” I head over to the front of the barrack to try and find something to read.

#michaelessington #salvation



Peachy Keen, A Story From Born Frustrated

Born Frustrated

Back in 1993, I took a trip with my dad to East Los Angeles for a fourth of July party. As it was, one of the guys my dad worked with was having a huge blowout. The guy’s son lived next door to him and they knocked down the dividing wall to open up a huge backyard.

The guy tried for weeks to get my dad to come, but my dad kept saying he was busy. Finally, he pulled out the big guns and said the party was going to be catered and plenty of fresh carnitas. That was the deal changer.

My dad called me and said, “We are going to East L.A. for the fourth.”

I said, “OK, why?”

He said, “Carnitas, lots of it.”

I said, “Let’s go.”

The party was fun. Within a few minutes, my dad had some woman hitting on him. They had a live mariachi band playing and this woman kept dragging him out to dance. After four times he convinced her that she should dance with me instead. I danced with her a few times, but she had her sights on my dad.

Each time I got up to dance he was at the food table, smiling at me, holding up a carnitas taco. Shit.

The guy throwing the party, let everybody know that there wouldn’t be any fireworks. The cops were pretty hardcore out there about the stuff. I remember the drive to his house – every corner were these intense billboards of a kid’s hand covered in bandages, missing a finger, and in Spanish, it said something about, “Don’t let your kids play with fireworks.” I remember thinking that nothing that graphic had been posted in the Valley.

That day was the first of only two times I ever saw my dad dance. The second would be at my wedding.

It was one of the coolest fourth’s I ever had.

‪#‎michaelessington‬ #bornfrustrated



Comic Book Shop, A Story From Last One To Die

As I write reviews, I oftentimes remember where I was at the time I first heard the album, or where I bought it or a really cool experience I had while listening to it.

Around the time China White’s Dangerzone came out, 1981, my mother took my brother, and I to a comic book store in Studio City called American Comics, on Ventura Blvd.

The guys that ran this shop were, as the British say — right bastards. We went there one afternoon, and my mom was over on one end of the store, and I wandered over to another end of the place, and my brother was, sort of, midway between us. As soon as I stepped into the place one of the guys behind the counter started following me, and if I picked up a book he stood beside me. So, the guy saw my every move, but as I walked to the front of the store the other counter guy tells me I can’t leave until I open my leather jacket so they can see if I have any books stashed in there. By this time my brother is walking with me, I let out some expletives and left. My mother was completely in the dark as to what happened, she was on the other side of the shop, and the whole process happened inside of four or five minutes, I walked in, they saw the short hair and a leather jacket and figured either harass the guy, or he’ll steal.

My mother wrote the owner a letter asking for an apology, but none came like I said bastards.

We went back a year or two later when they changed locations and owners. It was kind of funny because I was wearing a Black Flag T-shirt, and I’ve been reading for a while and in walks Marco Pirroni the guitarist from Adam & The Ants. At the time all the L.A. punks seemed to hate the Ants, I remember people passing out bumper stickers that said: “Black Flag Kills Ants on Contact.” So Pirroni gives me a once over, and I just nod and keep reading. It was kind of funny.

‪#‎michaelessington‬ ‪#‎lastonetodie



Salvation by Michael Essington Official Commercial

Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestselling author Michael Essington presents his latest gritty and insightful book Salvation. Available now from Essex Digital Media.

“With Broken, Essington chronicled the oddities of daily life, not just in Los Angeles, but right outside your door.

Now, with Salvation, he has taken those oddities and buffed them and given us a ray of hope.”
-James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard

Visit Michael Essington at:

#michaelessington #salvation



Hello, A Story From Salvation

Sometimes the littlest things can make you smile. I went to get the mail today in our townhouse complex.

As I was walking, I was thinking how large this complex was and how I felt like an ant in a plastic green farm. The property is at least a block or more in size. At times I feel like I don’t know anyone here and no one, really, knows me.

So, I’m off on this philosophical trip to the mailbox and then as I round the corner, I see someone about 300 yards away, wave at me. I was completely caught off-guard. I do a quick squint and wave back.

It turns out it was an older Hispanic man that lives towards the end of the complex. And like me, he doesn’t like to drive. So, we both end up bumping into each other a couple of times a week at the various local shops.

The quick wave pulled me out of my “What is my existence” stroll. I gave him a, “Hey, how are you doing?”

He smiled, I smiled. Everything is good in the world.

#michaelessington #salvation



Batman, A Story From Broken


Monday night, my son and I went for our evening walk. A few blocks in, we came upon a parking lot of a Mexican restaurant. I didn’t notice right away, but in the middle of the lot was a guy and a girl struggling. It looked like the guy was trying to pull the girl into his van. Without thinking, I took off towards the van. Halfway there I heard my son hot on my trail. I stopped and walked over to the patio of the restaurant.

It dawned on me that I almost made the biggest parental mistake you can make, putting your kid in harm’s way.

So, I pulled out my cell and dialed 911, just as I was about to press the send button, and the older Hispanic man looked over and says, “They play.”

I’m perplexed, I say, “What!?”

He says, “They brother and sister. My kids.”

“Oh fuck, I was calling the cops; I was going to kick his ass.”

“Yeah, they play.”

“Oh shit.”

I walk away and then it becomes noticeable that they were playing, the girl is circling the van, and he is laughing. They weren’t doing this in the beginning. They were just wrestling. I would’ve been the nut that came barreling in on their game trying to save her.

The boy and I continued our walk. I looked over at the parking lot and shook my head.

Lucas said, “Try not to think about it.”

Lo and behold, a week later, my wife is driving my son home from school and they pass a park. In the parking lot of the park are a man and a woman fighting. The man, shirtless, torn jeans and a ponytail, has a bat that he is swinging at the woman. The woman, not scared, keeps charging in to fight the guy. As soon as my son sees this, tells my wife to call 911. They make the call. My son then says, “Let’s go get something to eat.” His reasoning is he doesn’t want to stay there and chance him and his mom being injured. They get food, and he suggests they go back and check on the woman.

They drive back and the woman is gone and the police are cuffing the guy with the bat.

My son tells my wife to call me over the Bluetooth to let me know of his Good Samaritan deed. I told him I was very proud of him. I could almost hear his smile. There is some hope for the world still.

#michaelessington #broken



Burgers, A Story From Salvation

A couple of months ago, my wife, boy and I took a trip out to Calabasas. The wife needed a few books from Barnes and Noble and Calabasas is one of the last places on Earth to house and B and R.

On the way back from the bookstore we pass an In-N-Out Burger. The boy suggests we do lunch there. We pull in, drive around back and park. The wife and boy walk up a little hill and grab a table. I order, wait and bring the food over.

Halfway through the meal I saw a guy speed into the parking lot, park, jump out and come storming over to the eating area. He was in such a hurry that he didn’t even close his door. He rushes up the steps and stops at the first trash can. He yanks the top off the trash can, places it on a nearby table. He combs through the receptacle a bit. I leaned over to my wife and said, “I think this guy lost his keys or something.”

After rummaging around for a minute or two the guy pulled out a box. It was the standard In-N-Out box that you get when going through the drive-through. He grabbed the box and started to fill it with every bit of food in the trash, fries, and partial burgers – filled to the top.

The box guy went to the next trash can and repeated his search. Open the lid of the trash can, rummage around, pull out a box – and then fill it.

We the guy opened the first can I thought he had lost something. So, I watched, hoping he found his keys or valuables, but when he pulled out a heaping box of burgers and fries, I was surprised. I wanted to continue watching, but I didn’t want to stare.

Within less than five minutes he had gone through four trash cans and had, roughly, ten pounds of food divided amongst four boxes. And as quick as he arrived, he left. All four boxes placed in his passenger seat. He slammed the car into reverse and he was back out onto Ventura Boulevard.

He may have been destitute or possibly a little off-balanced. But on first glance, he seemed to be a regular guy coming to buy a burger. I was a little surprised at the boldness of his food collection. I see people rummaging all the time, they seem a little sheepish. Avoiding eye-contact, collecting in the corner. This guy didn’t care, rushed in, collected and burned out.

#michaelessington #salvation



Seeing A Shrink, A Story From Salvation

Back in the early part of 1982, maybe late 1981, there was a woman making headlines. Her mug was on every talk show, and her quotes were splattered across pages of many women’s magazines. Her name was Serena Dank. She founded some exploitive group called Parents Against Punkers. Between Flipside, Maximum Rock and Roll, and We Got Power, Serena received tons of hate mail, rude cartoons, and overall vile comments.

Her goal was to sort of re-program punk kids into law-abiding preppies. But her argument was that punks were everything that was wrong with society. What blew about this was, like every group, there were some bad apples, but, every punk I knew was trying to make something of themselves.

None of Serena Danks’ ranting bothered me much. I felt I was under the radar enough to be immune. And I was for a minute, then at the age of 15 or 16, my mom and I would fight every time we would leave the house together. I wanted my leather jacket and 5 minutes to spike my hair. I was young, and mom took it way too serious.

So, she signed the family up for therapy. I went for about three months, the shrink was always trying to get me to come with my hair spiked, but for some reason, this embarrassed me, and I wouldn’t do it.

After a few sessions with my mom and me together, the shrink told me she thought my mom was over-bearing, I didn’t know what this meant, so I said, “Cool.” And thought nothing more about it. Then one day my mom was after me about something or other and I blurted it something along the lines of, “The shrink is right, you are over-bearing.” This flipped my mom out a bit, and she accused me of making this up.

Within a day or so my mom called and canceled all further therapy sessions. It was chalked up to me swaying the shrink to my way of thinking. Kind of using “Hitler-like mind control”. I was accused of this when I was much younger if neighborhood kids liked me, but not my mom so much, I was pulling a “Hitler.”

Anyway, having gone through this I probably won’t care what my kids do with their hair, but then again, I might turn into an old fart and bitch about hair length and color too. But the greatest thing to come out of the therapy was that my brother went on to become a psychologist himself.

#michaelessington #salvation