Tag Archives: murder

The Old Boar

11 Nov


The Old Boar

By L. Stewart Marsden

The old boar padded his way slowly down the thin rivulet that had served as his pathway for decades. Younger, he was more energetic, huffing and snorting along the trail, sending out audible warnings to trespassers on what he considered his domain. His self-coronation was the result of many battles with would-be contenders, and back then he was sinewy and strong. Now, more massive, he carried a repute that served him well, as many younger bears were simply too in awe of his renown to challenge his rule.

From the top of Beech Mountain, down into the valley, coursing up and over Sugar Mountain, and along the ridge of Grandfather, he knew the way by rote. That inner map served him well in dark moonless night, or when pursued during season by hunters.

As more humans invaded and built homes and stores and complexes, he tried to block out the inevitable from his mind. Now his great head was misted over white along his brow and under his chin. Like hoar-frost in early winter. Now his massive shoulders felt each plod more sharply, as years of winter sleep and foraging from spring through fall caused bone to grate upon great bone.

The sun poured over the ridge to the east, and the old boar squinted to see — but to no avail. He stumbled in his blindness, and slowly righted himself. Squatting, he lifted his head to the air, sniffing for any scent of danger, but his old cracked nose failed to discern anything that mattered. He headed for his rubbing tree, and shoved his back along its now barkless trunk, scratching the one place under his brittle fur that chronically itched. He let out a sigh of relief and pleasure. 

For the old boar, pleasures were fewer now. He was disinterested in mating as he had enough progeny to push the resources of the area beyond capacity. Plus, they tended to be ungrateful heirs and were obviously merely biding time.

He dined on tiny voles he scratched from the earth near the humans’ homes. The creeks were virtually troutless, and offered up the occasional crayfish or newt. The wild blackberry bushes were normally stripped by the oddly-skinned humans before he could lumber up the slopes for a meal. Roots and fungi had grown tasteless to him.

Sometimes, although not often, he considered what one of those humans might taste like, and imagined hiding in the brush near the blackberries and picking one off. A human, that is. But his great uncle warned him. “There will be dire retribution dealt by the humans.” He should know. He went a bit crazy one spring and ravaged one of the humans on a trail at Roan Mountain. He was never seen again.

The trail forked. The old boar couldn’t remember which way to go for a moment. He tried to remember his mother’s words. Was it “In the spring, right is wrong; in the fall, take either or all.” Or was it the other way around? His stomach growled loudly. Was it spring? Had he just aroused himself from his leaf-bedded burrow? Or was if fall, and he was headed to that sanctuary? A sudden panic gripped him as he tried to remember. He finally chose to go right, and leave the other path for another day.

The trail descended down and across a small creek, where he refreshed himself. Then back up and over a knoll. The trees thinned out, and the old boar could see an open area of tall, dry grass ahead. The sun warmed the colors of the opening. He stopped at the edge of the clearing and sniffed and looked and listened, as his mother always told him to do before entering a clearing. “Stop. Sniff. Look and listen,” he heard her gruff but kind grunt.

A choke cherry, bare of its leaves, leaned precariously in the line of trees across the field, its limbs filled with large black crows. Suddenly the murder took flight, cawing and winging in a uniform arch across the deep blue sky. 

The old boar peered more intensely about.


He heard a strange click off to the right as he stretched out his front leg and entered the clearing. Turning his great head toward the noise, he knew instantly — he should have gone left at the fork. He sighed. He was too tired, too old, to run.






Review: Sons of Anarchy

10 Jun




Sons of Anarchy

A review . . .

By L. Stewart Marsden


By the time Jax Teller makes the only feasible exit possible after 95 episodes of “Sons of Anarchy,” the community of Charming, California, surrounding areas as well as parts of Ireland are strewn with an incredible body count. In fact, I’m not sure there is an accurate count available. In the hundreds, I think.

What took seven years to smear onto video tape occupied just a few years of television world time.

To what end?

Was there some kind of bet between the producers of SOA with those of “Dexter” or “Breaking Bad?” Did ratings soar with each shot to the head, decapitation, people burned alive?

Anchored in fantasyland, the storyline seeks to draw both disgust and empathy for a lead character who belies heroic description. Jax begins this jugular-ripping journey with a modicum of innocence. A desire to flesh out the dreams of his dead father. To change the culture of SAMCRO and the Sons of Anarchy.

Most of its members are ex-military. All are etched with scars, tats, and the propensity to hug and slap leathered backs at every turn. Alcohol and drugs are the sustenance of everyone. Women are the subjugated possessions with incredible power that is never used.

Blacks, Hispanic, Whites, Nazis, Asians, IRA members (not the retirement kind) and all part of the mix. Transgender, gay, porno actors … all combine for the Charming effect.

Basically I was disappointed with the series. I’m nearly convinced it was the boyish ruggedness of lead actor Charlie Hunnam and his slick bare butt that lit the fuse of popularity for the series. Again, what kind of hero?

In a screenwriting course at NYU, rogue heroes were touted as a popular character. Maverick is a good example of such a hero. Loveable, funny … an outlier in balancing on the edge of propriety and the law.

Jax takes that to new horizons. And in my estimation, fails.

Again, actor Hunnam spent the series trying to land on an accent. I was never sure if he was from New Orleans, Atlanta, or the Bronx. Every once-in-a-while he slipped and his Newcastle, England accent broke through.

What I got used to was any character that you liked at all was going to get killed. With the exception of Jimmy Smits, who probably didn’t like the way his character ended up in the Dexter series.

The formula of the series really was a daytime drama format. Endless movement from one spot to another spot to have a few words, got a minute, can you spare me a second, I need to see you kinds of rendezvous with plenty of “I love you, man” and slaps on the back.

And cigarettes. R.J. Reynolds and all the other tobacco companies must have LOVED this series! I’m wondering if Hunnam has some sort of lung cancer fund proviso in his contract.

Language? Well, compared to everything else, not a big effing deal.

One more observation . . .

This spring nine motorbike gang members were killed in a shootout in Waco, Texas. The media went WILD! In this series hundreds of people are murdered, including cops — and nothing from the media.

So, like Jax, I’m glad the series is over. There was no way to charge through this series. It took me a looooong time to watch.

Can we go back to something more realistic and tame? Like “House of Cards,” please?


Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 10 June, 2015