A Unique Gift – Chapter 2

I loved writing this series!

He was on his way to bed when he stopped in the kitchen to grab a drink and saw the package sitting on the side. He had totally forgotten about it and he picked it up. It was a small, plain cardboard box with no markings other than his address which was written in a handwriting he didn’t recognize. He grabbed a knife and cut the tape on the box. Inside was another box, this one wooden. He opened the box to find a black shiny collar and a letter. Jack double checked the address, it was definitely sent to him but he couldn’t understand why someone had sent him a collar. He hoped the letter would explain.


To Jack,

Hey kiddo, long time no see. I spoke to your mother recently who said you were having a hard time at college and with your job. She said last time she spoke to you you had sounded pretty miserable. She also said she didn’t think you had many friends to rely on. I was the same at your age, although college was a lot different in my day. There’s so much pressure on you kids to be popular these days. Back in my day we went to college to learn, not to have popularity contests.

Anyway I’m getting off topic. I did try calling you but your mother said your mobile phone was broken. Why does nobody have a land line these days? I wanted to tell you about what I’ve sent you so I wrote you this letter instead. Inside the box you’ll find a collar, I know strange but stick with me here, it’s about to sound stranger. That collar is magical. Press your thumb against the back of the pendant and it will bind to you. Then anyone who wears it will become completely obedient to you for twelve hours.

I know, it sounds crazy, I thought the same when I first got it too but trust me it works. There are only two rules. First the wearer must put the collar on willingly by themselves. No sneaking it onto people, that won’t work but they don’t have to know what it does. Second it will always last exactly twelve hours, no more, no less and once it is done, it will return to this box. Again, I know how crazy this sounds but it’s true.

Give it a try if you don’t believe me, see for yourself. Also don’t worry, whoever wears the collar will remember what happened when the twelve hours is up but they will be completely fine with it. I hope you have as much fun with this as I did and it makes college a little bit easier to cope with. Oh and the collar has some other features but I’ll leave those for you to discover.

Lots of love,


Jack just stared at the letter. There was no way this was real. Now he knew who it was he recognized it was indeed his grandad’s writing, or at least he was fairly certain it was if he remembered from the Christmas card he got every year. This had to be come kind of prank he was playing. Sending him this collar and claiming it was magical. There was no way.

Jack removed the collar from the box and studied it. It was black, shiny leather and had a small round pendant hanging on the front with a clasp at the back. It seemed completely normal, there were not markings, no inscriptions, nothing to even hint at this collar being magical. Not to mention that it looked brand new. Just to prove a point, Jack followed his grandfathers instructions and pressed the flat of his thumb against the back of the pendant. As expected nothing happened until, much to Jacks surprise, the pendant glowed blue and Jack watched in amazement as the light seemed to wrap around his thumb before disappearing instantly.

He double, triple checked the collar for some kind of battery or light but found nothing. He started to doubt his own convictions that this was a trick. He couldn’t find anything to explain what had just happened and began to consider maybe his grandfather was telling the truth. Next he started wondering who to test it on. He was too tired to think now, it could wait until tomorrow.

He went up to bed, putting the collar on his dresser before falling into bed. Despite finding out magic may in fact be real he was so tired he fell asleep almost instantly.




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Are You Taking Him for Granted? The Checklist to Know for Sure



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Wildwood Daze – Summer of 1980 – Morey’s Pier

That photo above is of me rocking out on Morey’s Pier. You can see in the background my ex-girlfriend Lola wearing a shirt that reads: And on the eighth day God created Union Jacks.

Somehow we got a gig playing on Morey’s Pier. That’s the best amusement pier in Wildwood, New Jersey.

I remember the morning of the gig the band converged on the boardwalk with all of our gear.

We set up our stage in front of one of the amusement rides and went to Sam’s Pizza to get something to eat.

Back then I had terrible anxiety and it was hard for me to imagine eating before a gig, or anything for that matter.

I got a slice and a coke and laughed it up with the boys in the band.

This was going to be a watershed moment in our bands short history.

We went under the boardwalk to get ready and have a chat before the show.

I stayed behind telling the guys I’d be right up and ready to play after I took a piss.

I stood in the soft sand under the best amusement pier on the island. This was going to an amazing show. It was still early and the sea air was sweet and it was cool in the shadows beneath the pier.

I proceeded to throw up because I was so afraid.

I pulled myself together after several minutes and headed up the ramp to the sunny pier.

People were starting to fill the pier.

We needed to go on. The day was beginning.

I pulled my Ibanez Iceman from its case and put her on.

I never felt like I was anything until I put that guitar on.

I plug into my Marshall and we all tune up. I have to tune Mark the bass player’s bass because he’s tone-deaf. Can you imagine that? A kid whose parents are wealthy enough to pay for their music loving son great equipment who wants to be in a band and doesn’t have the physical chops to actually e a musician.

I need to get the fuck out of this band.

I love Jim, and he is a good musician and all but he’s into Lynyrd Skynrd and Clapton. I want to play music like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. I no longer feel like I belong in this band anymore.

We blaze through our set and it’s a beautiful day. I’m surrounded by pretty girls (There they are in front of me!) and doing the one thing I love the most in the world. It’s the beginning of the summer and I couldn’t be happier.

When you have anxiety and get sick, you’re not really ill. You’re just frightened. You vomit because you’re so terrified to have to do the impending deed, you become physically ill. But once you vomit, you actually feel better because you know you can’t puke onstage now. (Pat Benetar and Barbra Streisand have the very same thing)

The show was great and we killed it. I had my Marshall amp on 6 and the show was loud. The crowd loved our set. My mother later told me that she was sitting on the porch of our house at 8th street and could hear me playing the opening riff to the song “Satisfaction” .

Let’s do the math here. That’s 18 blocks away. My mom heard my Marshal roaring from 18 blocks away. That’s some loud rock n’ roll man!

It was an amazing show and everybody loved us and I was pelted with phone numbers as usual.


But it would be bittersweet.


That was our final show as a band. The summer was upon us and we all worked our jobs during the busy season. During that time Mark had lost all the weight and fell in love with the band The Cure. The eighties were rapidly approaching and Mark wanted a change.

He told us that we could no longer practice at his families restaurant and he was quitting the band.

He wanted to pursue the new wave music that was coming at the turn of the decade. I got it. He was always a weak member but I liked the guy. But without a place to practice, the band fell apart.

I remember my father seeing this picture of me and my best friend Jim and saying :”What are these guys on?” 

We never took drugs and rarely drank even beer. I love this pic. Jim and i shared a passion for music, depression, isolation and a love of playing rock and roll.

I hardly talk to him now but know if I showed up at his house we’d be right back where we were as teenagers and have a laugh, a drink and a meal.

He’s a gifted hard-working artist and I will never forget him.

To me it looks like a pic of a couple of good-looking young rock stars.

And I’ll tell you this… I  get my energy from people. I don’t need coffee or cigarettes anymore. When I played on stage with Jim, I got my energy from him.

I would look to my left and he was always there. My best friend. I knew we were in sync as musicians because we were such good friends.

Thank you, Jim. I love you.


The Union Jacks were a defining moment in my music career and I will never forget the time I had with these guys making music and trying to figure out our lives a long time ago.


Once we all realized the band was dead we all needed to figure out what we were going to do.

Jim, was going to be a sophomore in Wildwood School. (He later married an older woman whose dad was a doctor and he started an Art Institute in the Poconos that still thrives today. Jim is an artist and entrepreneur.

Mark was going to become Robert Smith in the Cure. (He later was in a band called The Flesh Lords that were an absolute piece of shit)

I never found out what happened out what happened to Brian. I later found out he was gay and hopefully he is happy doing whatever he’s doing. What a spectacular drummer and singer!


Me? Graduated high school and no longer in a band. My father said “You’re either going in the military of getting a job.”

Really dude?

You rip me from my life in Philly and my band and drop me off here because of your fucking life?  So Janice can go to college and fuck my life because I’m a shitty student and I don’t matter?

I’m getting second honors at Wildwood High you cunt. I’m an art major and people love my work. You can’t crush this artist. I’m out of here.

Why would you drop me off in the hell you came from your childhood? the resort town you were forced to live in because your parents got divorced when nobody did that?

You asshole.

I love you for all that you’ve done but you’re still an asshole.


Fuck this.

Fuck you.


I know I’m not good enough and a disappointment and a sad dark refection of you. (I know you’ve told me who you are… almost proudly)

You can’t make a good son because he’ll be too much like you.

Don’t worry I know you. You’ll never admit that. You have three great daughters to justify your existence.

Whats one son?

You always have your grandson for a do over.

See ya.


“I’m going to California to play rock.”



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