Hidden Messages

I had a guy message me last night. He told me that he figured out the message in the covers of my three books. Now I know with complete certainty that there is no story or message built into my covers, but I was curious.

So I said, “Really, what message did you find?”

“Well, it’s like this: with Last One To Die you’re a younger guy and you got into some trouble, so the cover shows you in jail or prison doing your time.”

“OK, I can see how that could be seen that way. It was taken at the school across the street from where I was living at the time the book came out.”

“Now, the second book, Life Won’t Wait, you’re a little bit older and you’ve gotten deeper into the criminal world. The cover is multiple pictures of you on a bulletin board in an FBI office. Like a task force is looking for you.”

“Um, hate to disappoint you. They are all pictures taken by photographer Edward Colver. It’s not everyday you get Colver to take snapshots of you, so I tried to figure out a way to use all the pictures he would give me. It was supposed to look more like the results of a photo-shoot, not an FBI investigation.”

“Yeah, OK. The latest book, Born Frustrated, is you coming out of prison like a boss, a Suge Knight, Al Capone type of guy. You beat all the charges and you are a boss man now.”

“Cool concept, but I’m married, so I can’t be a boss man. I’m a broken shell of a man. In reality, what I was doing is this: I went back to the beginning. I shot some pictures in front of my place just like I did with Last One To Die. I walked around smoking my last Cuban cigar that I got from a cousin, and had ten or twelve shots taken. It was supposed to reflect the stripped down way the book was done, no reviews, no interviews just streamlined stories.”

“So, am I right? Is this how you connected the covers into a story?”

“Well, not really. Aw, hell, sure, why not?”

#michaelessington #misconceptionsofhell


Helping Animals

Last night the whole family got together to celebrate my nephew’s twelfth birthday. There were around ten or twelve of us that met up at Claim Jumpers in Northridge. God knows how I do with crowds. I find a person I want to talk to and hopefully it’s over in a corner.

Toward the end of the night my son came and sat down with me and played with his portable 3DS. In case I haven’t mentioned for a while, my son isn’t just smart, he’s super smart. Anyway, he was telling me and my brother-in-law, David, how something on his device works. And David says, “Luke, you’re a genius. You’re going to be a billionaire.” My son, without even looking up, says, “David, I have no desire for financial gain. I just want to save animals.”

Now, as a parent, you want your kids to be, fairly, well off and happy. But the integrity that this eleven-year-old shows, makes me proud.

My daughter left to the military in February and my son, hoping to save the world . . . there are those that may say I didn’t have much to do with shaping them. That might be, but whoever is responsible . . . the kids are turning out well.

#michaelessington #misconceptionsofhell

Bogie & Bacall

In the mid to late-nineties, I went through a phase where I read anything and everything about the Rat Pack, official biographies, unofficial biographies, books by the children of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.

All the books shared a common story. The story of how the Rat Pack wasn’t originally Frank Sinatra and the boys. The original Rat Pack was Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh and some of their friends. Frank Sinatra eventually got in with the crew and over time it became his. They stated that Sinatra became, somewhat, obsessed with trying to be Bogart, even proposing to Bacall when Bogie passed away.

In Bogart’s later years he was stricken with cancer and slowly was unable to climb the stairs in their home (his and Bacall’s) and unable to walk or dress himself.

So in order to make Bogie feel like a king amongst his peers, once a week Bacall would let the nurses have the day off and she would invite all his “buddies” to come over, Sinatra, Mr. and Mrs. Tony Curtis and anyone else in the inner Bogie circle. Bacall would shower him, shave him, tie his tie and dress him. And then carry him to the dumbwaiter outside their bedroom; lower him to the first floor. She’d go down the stairs, carry him to the couch, light a cigarette for him and have his favorite cocktail on the table next to him. Then over the next twenty minutes or so everyone would start showing up. No one knew that he was a month or so from passing away.

What I loved about this story was how much Bacall was willing to do to make Bogie feel like a man and help him retain his dignity. Every man wishes for someone like this in their corner. Rest in Peace Ms. Bacall.

#michaelessington #misconceptionsofhell

Whatcha Gonna Do?

It seems like every TV station has a lineup of reality shows. What’s funny is that most people deny watching them. They’ve become like porn, you know people watch it, but they’ll take it to the grave that they do.

The first reality shows that I remember ever existing were Cops and The Real World. I admit to watching these shows when I was stuck at home sick and I channeled across a marathon of one of these shows. They were like crack. I didn’t like them, but after that first hit, I was selling my appliances for a buck a pop.

One of my favorite episodes of Cops, I remember seeing it twice during the same marathon, was about the local police being called to a house for a domestic disturbance, a father came home liquored up and was threatening to beat up his wife and daughters. The man was a very short Hispanic man in a cowboy hat, who was drunk off his ass. The cops show up and when they saw him, they look at each other like, “Really?” He barely came up to their shoulders.

The cops walk in the house and the family is huddled together crying, they go to the back room where the father is and he sees the cops and he starts growling and charges them. They move and he bounces off the wall. He gets up, staggers and charges again. And again, they move and he flies into a dresser, knocking it over. Again he tries to stand, still growling, he lunges again, they move and he slams face first into the wall next to the bed. The cops look him over and he has knocked himself out temporarily. He jumps up and is ready to lunge again when one of his daughters scream, “Stop you’re killing him!” This is where I started cracking up. The guy is half-dead and the cops never touched him.

Finally, the wife convinces the father to leave with them peacefully. Great stuff to watch when you’re sick with a warm bowl of soup.

#michaelessington #misconceptionsofhell

A Simple Wave

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 ya doin’?”

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

#michaelessington #misconceptionsofhell


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 a B and N.

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 of 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.

When the guy opened the first can I honestly 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 on 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 #misconceptionsofhell

United We Stand

Back in 2008, when Obama was running for president and prop 8 was on the ballot, I had the naive notion that the country had become more open-minded and wanted to come together.

Obama won and 8 eventually passed, but instead of harmony, everyone seemed more outward with their racism and hate.

The more time that passes I realize people don’t want to be united. Whether it’s Democrat or Republican, we stand divided. Hell, if you can be beaten into a coma at a Dodger game by a couple of eses for liking the Giants, we will not come together, politically as a country.

People thrive on being separated, gangs, teams, politics, states, countries, cities and definitely religions. Being united destroys people’s reason to fight and kill. People, if I have learned nothing else in life, are united by their love of hate.

So, next time some bleeding heart liberal posts an image of multi-ethnic babies with a clever tagline like “We aren’t born hateful,” type underneath, “Give ’em a month.”

I’m not suggesting anyone become racist. What I’m saying is there are hoards of people that won’t and can’t be changed. Hell, the fastest growing religion in the world is based on the concept of “Convert or die.” Anyone capable of rational thought is losing.

‪#‎michaelessington‬ ‪#misconceptionsofhell