Remnant of old house by Vince Reinhart
Via Flickr:

Near the ephemeral waterfall there is also the remnants of an old house - just the fireplace really and some of the chimney. As with the “secret” waterfall, I also do not have this Geotagged at its exact location (for the same reason).


OH Cleveland - House 3 by Scott
Via Flickr:
Decorative house in Cleveland, Ohio.

Ohio Gothic
  • There are only three cities in Ohio: Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati. The corn fields between them have not been run by anyone living in decades.
  • At the request of the locals, you taste Malley’s Chocolate. It fills a hole in your soul you never knew you had. You can no longer remember anywhere other than Cleveland. You continue eating.
  • Everyone is a fan of Ohio State. If you don’t like sports, you like the marching band. Everyone knows someone who dotted the ‘i.’
  • Sandusky is not a real town. Its only attractions are the indoor water parks and the gas station that sells donuts to those who don’t want to pay for hotel food.
  • You hear frightened yelling in the middle of the night. You look outside and see the silhouette of a toddler standing in your yard. “It’s only the neighbor kids playing,” you tell yourself.
  • “Where’s the best place to ski around here?” asks a tourist. “Hell town!” says the local, laughing. It is not a joke.
  • “Highest point in Cuyahoga County!” boasts the sign on this hill. The sign on the next one says the same. You are starting to get altitude sickness.
  • Don’t drive in the flats at night. The Torso Murderer is alive and waiting.
  • The site of the old Gore Orphanage is haunted. Not by the spirits of the children who lived there, but by those of the drunken teenagers who thought it was a good place for a party.
  • Every town has an “early settlers’ cemetery.” The houses around it are abandoned because no one can stand the screams.

anonymous asked:

How does it feel to know that people like you were by and large the reason that Trump got elected?

yes, has nothing to do with the economic depression and total despair in the american industrial heartland in the face of changing economic realities and free trade deals that drain their communities of work and condemn it to forever irrelevance in the eyes of the two big tent parties that only come by and pretend to care during election season. or occupy wallstreet minded young democrats being totally demoralized by a friend of the big banks along with the party they supported crushing the ever loving fuck out of their progressive populist candidate in spectacularly plutocratic manner, but certainly in the rust belt, where most struggling families were wary of Clinton’s favourability toward the TPP and embraced Sanders’ efforts to protect american workers before all else.

1.  Effectively 77,759 votes in three states (WI/PA/MI) determined the Presidency: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump

won by:

  • 22,748 votes in WI, 0.7 of a point (3rd party candidates received: 188,330)
  • 44,307 votes in PA, 0.7 of a point, (3rd party candidates received: 218,228)
  • 10,704 votes in MI, 0.2 of a point (3rd party candidates received: 250,902 votes)

2.  Just three counties – Macomb County, MI; York County, PA and Waukesha County, WI – elected Donald Trump. If those three counties had cast zero votes, Trump would have lost all three states and the election. By the same logic, just three counties re-elected President Obama in 2012: Miami-Dade County, FL; Cuyahoga County, OH and Philadelphia, PA.

Ah, wisconsin, ah yes, the state that was blue for 32 years (since reagan) but swung red after how, among things, hillary not even ONCE sat foot in it during her primary or presidential campaign

This image is god as far as i care, because no amount of shitposting on the internet wouldve mattered, because these states and their economic misfortune determined the election, not cynical coastal bitches like me on the internet

Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the first African American woman elected to the House of Representatives from Ohio, was born September 10, 1949 in Cleveland. She received her law degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1971. She was an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor for three years. In 1981, she was elected a Cleveland Municipal Court Judge and then became a chief prosecutor. She was an active supporter of broader health care coverage for low and middle income individuals and assistance for re-entry of convicts into their communities. She also fought against predatory lending practices. In 1998, Jones was involved in the controversy of reopening the investigation of the murder of Dr. Sam Sheppard’s wife in 1954. In her later years, Jones was against additional financing for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Jones passed away in August 20, 2008, due to a ruptured brain aneurysm. 

I apologize for the radio silence as of late. I’ve been listless and rather uncreative. To top it all off, I’ve been battling migraines all week.  I blame work and loneliness.

Fortunately, I’m off all next week, and I plan on shoving myself into being productive around the house while also maybe leaving Cuyahoga County a couple times. And maybe finally hitting up the Parma Animal Shelter.

If you're in Cleveland and find a building with three red doors, there may still be time to save them

Three people are dead.

Countless more are patiently, helplessly awaiting a fate far worse.

I can’t go to the police. The police are a part of this. The police are the ones who killed Darcy. They’re the ones who have Theo – locked in a cell somewhere or dead, I can’t be sure – but either way I know I’ll never see him again.

I can’t go to anyone. The implant, whatever it is they put inside of me, reminds me of this. It bulges, perverting the surface of my skin, moving. It’s alive, it can feel and think, and it won’t let me anywhere near it to try and get it out.

It’s too late for me, but it may not be too late for the others.

There’s a certain sense of sacrifice that you learn to give into when you start caring about more than yourself. I’ve always been a self-absorbed person; I’ll be the first to admit that. I used to say “better them than me”. I was the kind of girl who never really thought that anything bad could happen to her so long as I kept my mouth shut, head down, and eyes averted.

Well, so long to that idea.

Here’s to the sacrament for the selfish, that final acceptance of reality.

I guess I should start somewhere, and the cliche “beginning” usually works.

It was just another day. Another shitty, wasted day in the soggy taint of Cleveland, Ohio. My neighborhood has a playground. A Target. A few parks. I lived just down the street from Lakewood High at Chesterland and Madison. My parents always told me to be careful about giving out my personal information, especially online. That doesn’t matter anymore.

Lakewood is a pusher’s paradise. The parks and alleys may as well have big flashing signs, the kind you see outside casinos or carnivals, saying hey: get your heroin right here buddy, step right up and pump that vein full of pleasure. It’s not like the cops do anything except ruin your life if they dare catch you with a dimebag of bud. And if it’s not H, it’s fentanyl. Beggar’s choice, right here. Between the two, we’re on pace to hit over 500 deaths this year in Cuyahoga county alone and we still have two and a half months left in the year. We’re overachievers of the worst variety.

The problem is, there’s nothing to do. And I mean nothing. My friends and I all graduated highschool, puttered around in college, and most of us dropped out to pursue big dreams of doing nothing.

I landed a job working the register at Tower City cinema, shoveling hulking tubs of fake buttered popcorn for the larded masses. It depresses me to think that the last movie I’ll have seen will’ve been The Girl on the Train. Should’ve gone for Deepwater Horizon like Theo wanted. I will never not think Wahlberg is a hunk.

People will always tell you that your home, your friends, your surroundings, your life; they’re only what you make them. That you have the power to be your own person and forge ahead and not look back, that you have the ability to change the world around you.

What a load of shit. The only thing we’ve managed to change for ourselves is how short the rest of our lives are.

I woke up yesterday morning with an itch, and not my usual one. I didn’t need a fix. I didn’t need a drink. I just needed to get out and do something. I didn’t have work, and neither did Theo or Darcy. One phonecall later and we’re all sitting outside Darcy’s apartment in Kamm’s Corners chainsmoking butts. I’m down to my last three.

“Where do you wanna go?”

I look at Darcy; wearing her sister’s torn croptop, jean shorts, faded black docs, and draped in plastic dollarbin jewelry, she’s got the usual half pound of eyeliner smeared across ever-tired eyes and the red wound of her mouth sneers around a clove. She’s the type of girl you’d drop a trailer on instead of a house and she’d start painting the walls black and call it home.

I take another drag and say, “I don’t know. Somewhere. Anywhere besides here. Let’s drive up to Toledo?”

Theo, from his perch on the back of Darcy’s rusted out Mazda, brays with laughter, “Toledo? Yeah, sure, let’s just trade our plate of dog shit for a platter of slightly more watery dog shit.”

Exasperated, I flick my butt at him, sending a spray of sparks up his pant leg. He brushes them off with a yelp and glares at me. I shrug. Pushing his floppy brown hair aside, he hops down. In torn blue jeans, a studded black bracelet, and too-large flannel shirt resting over a ratty band tee, he’s the angtsy portrait of post-grunge perfection.

“Let’s go break into the Newburgh temple in Miles Park.”

“The masonic place?”


Darcy and I exchange looks and she nods her head. “Sure, why not.”

The drive should only take a half hour but Darcy drives like a blind grandmother on xanax. On the way, we listen to a cassette, a mixtape an ex-girlfriend made her; its trip through the speakers is belabored and scratchy, the sounds of dying relationships and dead mediums.

Anyone who’s ever been urban exploring before knows that you scope the area in your getaway car once, maybe twice, park as far away from your mark as possible without it being too far to run to, and memorize your route back. That’s where we make our first mistake; we forgot where we parked.

By this time, it’s dark out. Dusk is just about 7 PM, and my watch is blinking 7:13. We probably should’ve waited a little longer to head out, but we’re excited and high on the notion that we’re finally doing something other than watching TV and burning glass or shooting dope. I can see the reflection of my pumping heartbeat in my friend’s faces, lit up for the first time in a long time.

Darcy stumbles over an uprooted piece of plaster and Theo catches her. They laugh. I laugh. We all hush each other; this area isn’t usually patrolled too heavily, but the idea of running from pigs doesn’t sound overly appealing. The temple sits tall and foreboding against the darkened sky and we make our way around the edges, looking for a good way in. Between a set of broken slats in a boarded-up door, we find it.

Footing our way around piles of rubble and trash left by squatters, we find just the right amount of refuse to sate an explorer’s lust. Darcy comes across an upright piano coated in what looks like ten pounds of dust and runs her fingers across a few keys. The sound is dead and hollow, but still rings out through the heart of the empty building, faintly tinkling in the darkness.

Suddenly, as if on cue with the music, a spotlight hits us head on and it feels like the sun is exploding in my face. I shout, but am quickly drowned out as the sound of a deep, booming voice fills the room with authority and my heart with terror, seizing in the cage of my chest.

“Police!” it shouts, “This is private property. Stop where you are.”

We do stop, but only for a moment before Theo comes to his senses for the three of us, and yells, “RUN!”

As fast as our smoker’s lungs and addict’s legs can take us, we bolt for our makeshift entrance, which is thankfully in the opposite direction of the cops. Out the door, past the fence, in between alleys and through yards, we run and run and run. Whether from excitement or fear or a mixture of both, we don’t stop running for at least 10 minutes. Out of nowhere, we all stop as a group, collapsing against a wall, chests heaving, and find ourselves surrounded by unfamiliarity.

Coughing, Darcy looks around and kicks at the crumbling brick, “Fuck. Where are we? Where is the car?”

Abandoned areas all look the same. You could drop me in a factory wharf line somewhere I’d never been before and I would probably easily get lost for hours.

“I have no idea,” I sigh, “But at least we didn’t get caught.”

Theo glances at me, smirking, “Ya gotta admit, that was kinda fun.”

I hold up my hands, palms out, “You don’t see me complaining.”

“Let’s start walking.”

Ten minutes later, dipping in and out of shadows at the slightest noise, we finally come across something that looks familiar, but in a way none of us could place.

A mile-long, short building, tucked away from the rest, hidden far, far away from the street. Brown brick facade, black metal roof, it looks like a million other buildings in this wasted city. No discernible marks, except for the doors.

In the middle of the side of the building sits three red doors. Faded, peeling, the color is reminiscent of the sky right before the nights sips away its last few breaths.

After a moment of sneaking and prodding, curiosity gets the better of us; Theo, a makeshift criminal when he needs to be, was able to pick the lock on the first door. I don’t know what drove us to even look in the first place, but that’s not important now.

The smell hits me first. That sort of heavy, rotten perfume people get when they’ve been sitting for too long. It’s more than sweat, more than shit or piss or anything else that we produce. It’s fear. Fear of the unknown is a real thing, but fear of the present and the real and the right-in-front-of-your-eyes can turn the human body into a sickening kiln of toxicity. Fear filled that room, to the brim, and we walked straight into it without a second thought.

Rows of steel cages with needles sticking into them like thorns from some massive connected vine sit against both walls of a long, narrow room.

Hidden machines beep in a chorus of monotony from behind the cages, which are wrapped in a two layers of interlaced bars.

Each cage holds a girl.

With shock bubbling in my throat and bursting in my stomach, I rush forward to the nearest cage, gripping the outer lattice with trembling hands. Inside is a girl who can’t be a day over thirteen, but her state makes her look years younger. She’s wearing a thin white dress, a hospital gown, and her skin is perforated by a half dozen needles hooked into bags holding liquids of various colors. She sleeps, a deep fretful sleep, and I can see a trickle of dried blood spilled from both her mouth and nose, joined in a deep v down the side of her face.

Behind me, Darcy screams I can hear her retching, breathing hard, trying to not vomit. She loses the battle, spilling her guts against the wall. Theo just stands and stares.

“WHAT THE FUCK?” she shouts, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, “WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?”

The girl in the cage stirs; her eyes flutter open, and I can see that they’re bloodshot, the veins brought harsh and red to the surface of the membrane with repeated strain. She sees me, sees Theo and Darcy, and she tries to grasp for me through the inner lattice, but her wrists rebound on the steel shackles binding her to the wall. A number is burned into her left forearm, #1. Her mouth twists open in a scream, but nothing comes out.

Behind me, all around, there’s more shuffling, more rustling noises as the rest of the girls come to. More clinking of metal restraints, more mouths hanging open in muted pleas for help.

I slam my open palm on the wall above the cage, my skin burning with anger. The girl looks up, startled, and that’s when I see the jagged, fresh scar across the base of her throat.

The sound of silent screaming is something I have never heard, but can still hear all too well in my head.

Darcy runs to the wall opposite me, grasping at bars, and tries to pull them apart to no avail. I scream for Theo to help us, and he rushes forward. He can’t pick any of these locks. The deadbolts stare back, malicious, hungry, unyielding.

My eyes flit up. The plaque above the girl’s cage reads:

#1 – A. Lange, Saxony, DE – E. 10/08/16 – C. 10/10/16 – S. 10/16/16

I look around, eyes trailing helplessly on the ten cages lining the walls of the room, and they all share a similar plaque. Each has a number. Each has a location and three dates.

I don’t know where the realization comes from, but it hits me like a freight train. Each cage has a name, but not the name of the person inside. The buyer. Entry date. Shipping date. Some date in the middle.

A fire of rage tears through my body and spills out of me in a furious stream. I look around for something, anything I can use to break apart the cells. There’s nothing.

Then, the door bursts open and spotlights hit us once again. This time, there’s nowhere to run.

As the cops pour through the door, slamming Theo into one of the cages and pinning me against #1, the girls rise up in a seething wave around us, straining their bodies against their cuffs until the metal bites straight through their skin. Darcy is screaming, screaming for the cops to look, look around them, but one of them just rushes her and tears her arms behind her back.

She wriggles free and manages to grab his gun. My cry gets caught in my throat as I watch her raise her arm, pointing at the cop nearest me, and she fires off a round, the move catching him by surprise and the round catching him clear in the throat. The force of the shot pirouettes him, turning his last moments into that of a twisted ballerina, and blood sprays across my face in an almost beautiful arc.

As she turns to fire again, a blast goes off next to my ear, deafening me, sounding like the last shot at of the world, and a gaping wound appears in the center of Darcy’s forehead. She falls forward, and for just a moment, everything slows down and I can see the wall behind her, speckled with blood and bits of bone and grey matter, clear as day through the new hole in her face.

The last thing I see before the blow to the base of my skull steals my consciousness is girl #1’s eyes; they’re a soft brown, and they’re full of tears, full of fear. They’re full of emptiness.

I awake, I don’t know how much later, unable to move. My eyes shoot open and I’m temporarily blinded. Everything is freezing cold, smells sterile, and the taste of copper fills the air like it’s got something to prove. I can’t move my head, can’t budge my body. My fingers and toes are the only thing that seem to respond to direction.

As my eyes adjust and the white light begins to fade, I realize I’m looking up into the rude face of a halogen. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see a grey metal edge, the piece that’s holding my head in place. My throat is burning and my lips are cracked and dry. I run my tongue over them, and realize my mouth isn’t bound. I open my it to scream for help, but no sound comes out.

Straining my head up as far as it can go, pushing my chin out without moving my head, I feel the fresh stitches pull taut against the skin above my collarbone.

Like a hellish angel, a face appears above me, blocking out some of the light. Goggles, a surgical mask, white apron and light blue scrubs. Another figure appears next to it, its appearance mirrored. One of them makes a gesture towards the other side of me, and its partner goes to fiddle with a knob on a machine. I feel a strange euphoric sensation rush my body, and darkness comes, blissfully, once again.

I woke up just past four this morning next to a dumpster outside of the UHAUL near Berea and W. 114th in Cleveland. My body is different. They did things to me, put something under my skin. I assume it’s a tracking device, but every time I get anywhere near it, something inside of my brain stops me. I can no longer speak; I try, but no sound comes out. There is a number branded into my left forearm. I am number 7. Lucky.

It took a little while for me to figure it out, but I think the third date in the sequence, between the entry and the shipment, was the date of recapture. If I’m right, I only have one day left.

My name is Theresa Bell. I’m twenty-three years old. My friend, Darcy Wilson, 22, is dead. My other friend, Theodore Albright, 27, is either missing or dead.

I will not let myself end up in one of those steel cages, strapped to a wall with mystery liquids pumping through my veins, patiently awaiting my shipment off to god knows where. There is no hope for me. I’ve lived my life a selfish person, a wasted person, ready to give into anything that brought me the most minute, instantaneous amount of pleasure.

However, before I take my own life, I can make one final decision; to make this plea in the hopes that the right person will see it, and do something.

If you’re in Cleveland and find a building with three red doors, there may still be time to save them.
BREAKING: Tamir Rice Grand Jury Never Actually Voted on Whether to Indict Officers
The grand jury that declined to indict two police officers in the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice never actually voted on whether to bring charges, an investigative report from Cleveland says, leaving open the question of how the controversial decision was actually reached.

The grand jury that declined to indict two police officers in the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice never actually voted on whether to bring charges, an investigative report from Cleveland says, leaving open the question of how the controversial decision was actually reached.

The alt-weekly Cleveland Scene’s report revolves around the concept of the “no-bill,” which is the name for a grand jury’s formal decision—arrived at by voting—not to bring charges in a given case. (The opposite of a “no-bill” is a “true bill,” i.e. a decision to indict.) When Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced on Dec. 28 that officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback would not be charged in Rice’s death, he said only that the grand jury “declined to indict” the officers, leading many observers to assume that a no-bill had been voted on. But the Cleveland Scene’s reporters could find no documentation of such a decision, and a spokesman for the Cuyahoga prosecutor’s office responded to the publication’s queries by saying that there had been no vote.

Two area law professors told the Scene they had never heard of a grand jury behaving in such a way. What’s more, reporters were unable to find any official documentation in the Cleveland court system of the grand jury having concluded its business:

We were then directed to the Cuyahoga County grand jury office. Wednesday morning, a clerk there told Scene that the “mysterious document” may or may not exist and that, even if it does, it could only be provided to us via court order by Administrative and Presiding Judge John J. Russo … Russo, who spoke to Scene by phone, professed to be as confused as we were. “When you say ‘document,’ I’m not sure what you mean. I don’t know what that is. It’s either a true bill or a no bill,” he said.

But actually, no.

His staff determined Wednesday that a “no-bill” had never been filed.

What any of this means for Rice’s case is unclear. A lawyer representing the Rice family said the lack of a no-bill could constitute another indication that McGinty—who formally recommended against indicting Loehmann and Garmback and presented expert reports to the grand jury that backed up his recommendation—had not taken the idea of prosecution seriously.

A federal investigation into Rice’s death is reportedly ongoing; Rice’s family has also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the officers involved.

Find LGBTQ Fiction In Your Local Library!

We’re huge supporters of local libraries here at Riptide, and periodically we like to stop and give shout-outs to the various libraries who’ve stepped up to support their LGBTQ communities. While we’re unable to know where our print books end up, we can see where our ebooks end up, and to that end, here’s a list of library systems where you can borrow at least ten different Riptide LGBTQ books through Overdrive!

And remember, if you don’t see your local library system listed here, you can always request titles. Most libraries are very receptive to better serving their community’s needs.

Libraries with over 100 LGBTQ titles in circulation:

  • Seattle Public Library
  • Los Angeles Public Library
  • Digital Downloads - A Library Collaboration (Ohio)
  • Greater Phoenix Digital Library (Arizona)

Libraries with 50 to 99  LGBTQ titles in circulation:

  • Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative (Florida)
  • Kentucky Libraries Unbound
  • Wisconsin Public Library Consortium

Libraries with 20 to 49 LGBTQ titles in circulation:

  • Cuyahoga County Public Library (Ohio)
  • Indianapolis Public Library
  • Arapahoe Library District (Colorado)
  • Pima County Public Library (Arizona)
  • Boston Public Library
  • St. Louis Public Library
  • San Fransisco Public Library
  • Tampa Bay Library Consortium
  • Tennessee READS
  • King County Library System (Washington)
  • The Ohio Digital Library
  • SEO Library Center (Ohio)
  • Sno-Isles Libraries (Washington)
  • Virginia Beach Public Library
  • Rangeview Library District (Colorado)
  • Media on Demand (Illinois)
  • eLibrary NJ
  • Multnomah County Library (Oregon)
  • Libreka
  • Western Australia Public Libraries
  • Brooklyn Public Library
  • Pikes Peak Library District (Colorado)
  • (New York)

Libraries with 10 to 19 LGBTQ titles in circulation:

  • Auckland City Libraries (New Zealand)
  • Ontario Library Service Consortium (Canada)
  • Chinook Arch Regional Library System (Canada)
  • Calgary Public Library (Canada)
  • Henrico County Public Library (Virginia)
  • Fresno County Public Library (California)
  • Daniel Boone Regional Library (Missouri)
  • Capital Area Library District (Pennsylvania)
  • Kansas City Public Library (Missouri)
  • Online Media of Northern Illinois Libraries
  • CLEVNET (Ohio)
  • Oshawa Public Libraries (Canada)
  • Burnaby Public Library (Canada)
  • Libraries Southwest Consortium (Louisiana)
  • Onondaga County Public Library (New York)
  • Allen County Public Library (Indiana)
  • Plano Public Library System (Texas)
  • Wellington City Libraries (New Zealand)
  • South Australia Public Library Services
  • Pinnacle Digital Consortium (Illinois)
  • Central Texas Digital Consortium

Don’t see your library here? Hit up their circulation desk and request titles! All of our books are available to libraries at full wholesale through Ingram (for print) and through Overdrive, Smashwords, BiblioBoard, and Baker & Taylor (for ebooks).

And if you do see your library here, remember–the best way to get more LGBTQ books into circulation is to borrow what’s already there! Check them out, tell your friends, spread the word!

And to the many wonderful, supportive, pioneering librarians who work so hard to bring these books into your collections–we thank you with all our hearts.

Secret Smoking

   Every adolescent smoker begins in secret. That’s the whole reason to do it. Or part of the allure, at least, along with the fact that you don’t know how to do it. The first time we all got together to smoke, B tried lighting the thing two feet from her face. She just held it in her hand. We laughed and asked her, hadn’t she told us she’d done this before? She had of course. Of course she hadn’t.
   The first time was in the loft of A’s garage, after orchestra. We were in eighth grade and she had filched a few from the jumbo carton in her mom and step dad’s kitchen. Did we each get one? Did we share a single cigarette, and pass it like weed, like we’d do in A’s garage someday in the future? At some point, we smoked enough that K mentioned how dizzy she was. It came as a surprise to all of us, that little high. No one said it fucked you up.
   I didn’t inhale right. I didn’t cough like B, who bent over and spasmed, but I didn’t take it into my lungs and push it slowly out. I never have, and I’m sure I’ve smoked enough cigarettes in the ensuing twelve years to pick up the habit.
   K found a pack abandoned in the park. She and B smoked it, walking down trails. A’s parents caught on to her stealing at some point, and lectured her about the havoc she was wreaking on her body. Parents who smoked were always the worst about it.
   As we got older, we took to waiting outside Berea Beverage, a liquor/convenience store by the college, and asking patrons if they’d buy us a pack. Then K learned that if she wore her Perkins apron, the cashiers would mistake her for an adult who’d left her wallet in the break room.
   I had a jean jacket with a secret pocket in the breast, like a man’s blazer. I kept a dirty box of Parliaments crammed in there, and took walks around the neighborhood so I could secretly smoke. I sat behind the pump house by the old pool, watching the bats fly off the trees while the sun set. After a cigarette, I’d come home famished. I remember walking past my family without even trying to cloak the odor in febreeze or perfume, because my tastebuds were alight from the smoke and I desperately wanted to eat minute rice with tons of butter and salt.
   K started Accutane, which meant she started birth control, which meant she had blood clots to worry about. It was right there on the package: smoking was a risk factor. She wasn’t supposed to sit for too long, like on an international flight, or else her leg might clot up and she’d die. She didn’t stop smoking, but we started taking long walks and standing at every opportunity.
   By then, we were trying to weigh as little as possible, so smoking and walking went hand in hand. The Cuyahoga County park system did not let is down. We found dozens of nooks, behind bushes and curled under trees, and tucked down long horse paths, where it was incredibly easy to light up and not be perturbed.
   Somewhere in this timeline, my secret smoking became secretly shoplifting and secretly holding onto all my friends’ weed so they wouldn’t get caught. My parents didn’t snoop, and they were divorcing, and so, I thought, distracted. The smoking outed itself stupidly one day, when my mom reached for the car keys in my purse and found the box.
   She was pissed, but she directed me to my dad. A former smoker, he’d quit when I was born. Hypnosis, they said was what did it. He met me in the garage of our house, because he was living someplace else. Or perhaps it was to spare my mother and sister the conversation. He paced around the car, his face red, sobbing.
   "You crept out in the middle of the night to smoke,“ he said. "That, to me, says you’re addicted.”
   He wandered around the garage, clasping and unclasping his hands. He reminded me of all the reasons I had not to smoke. My great grandfather, who smoked straight through cancer, who didn’t ditch the stick in his death bed. My grandfather, who smoked and stressed and died of a heart attack at 50. The Bohannons all died young, and suddenly, on account of not caring for themselves.
   I listen to his rant. It went on for what seemed like hours. I think I cried too. His sadness was infectious, cancerous; once he started crying and freaking out and ruminating, he could not stop, it just kept going, twisting, meandering, then exploding with new purpose. At some point he was spent, so he turned, walked to his car, and drove away.
   It didn’t stop anything. I didn’t smoke that much. I was just tagging along, most of the time. My friends were consumed with the desire to acquire and imbibe nicotine, weed, and drinks. Sometimes it drained me dry; I just wanted to go back to making dumb movies in the backyard. But that time was done. I accepted the grounding my parents gave me, regrouped, and got back to it.
   K and A got cars, and we ditched school at lunch to tool around and find places in the park to smoke and sometimes chug Gatorade and cheap vodka that had been sitting in the floor of their cars all day. The park was ideal as always. One day, a few months after my parents had divorced for good, we drove into Strongsville in K’s car and pulled into a nook of woods overlooking a grass field and a playground. As we turned in, we saw my dad walking across the pavement with a stout black guy none of us recognized, both of them smoking cigarettes.
   We made a sharp, obnoxious U-turn and careened back to school. We discussed the information. How long had he been smoking? Who was that guy? What if they were boyfriends, B asked? Maybe, I said. Speculation ran rampant.
   I sat on the information until I was caught cutting classes. It was a perfectly laid counter-trap, but I was caught in the jaws as well. My dad confessed he’d never quit. For sixteen, seventeen years he’d been creeping off to smoke, hiding the packages God knows where, covering the scent in gasoline and grass clippings and spicy Cheetos.
   It was better this way, he said. Now he could smoke openly, without lying to my sister or me. He kept the packages sitting out in his new microscopic apartment. I don’t remember him lighting up in my presence, but we weren’t in contact for very long after that.
    By then, my interest in smoking had waned. My friends could buy whenever they wanted. We could sit in the smoking section of Perkins and inhale and pour Hennessy into our orange juices and stay out all night. I couldn’t hold my liquor, just as I couldn’t suck in smoke. We drove down to Columbus and tried to get seriously high and I felt nothing.
    We went to a hookah bar after blowing through a bag of stemmy weed and passed a hose filled with grape flavored tobacco between us. I sunk into the couch and stared off, like the rest of them, but I had neither giggles nor fits of paranoia. I didn’t want to smoke anymore either, not anything. I just wanted to pass for interested.


Grand Jury Declines To Indict Police Officers In Tamir Rice Investigation | NPR

A grand jury has declined to bring criminal charges against two Cleveland police officers involved in the fatal shooting of 12-year old Tamir Rice.

“Simply put, given this perfect storm of human error, mistakes and miscommunications by all involved that day, the evidence did not indicate criminal conduct by police,” Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty told reporters.

The grand jury has been hearing testimony since October about the fatal shooting of Tamir by police last year. It was deciding whether to indict officers Timothy Loehmann — the officer who shot Tamir — and his partner, Frank Garmback.

Tamir was playing with an air gun in a public park last year when someone called the police. The caller mentioned the gun might be fake, NPR’s Nick Castele reported. But “the dispatcher didn’t relay the caller’s doubts,” and “within seconds Officer Timothy Loehmann stepped out of the passenger side and fired two shots, striking Tamir once in the abdomen.”

McGinty added that a recent enhancement of the surveillance video was “perhaps the most critical piece of evidence.” He said that because of that new enhancement, “it is now indisputable that Tamir was drawing his gun from his waist as the police car slid toward him and Officer Loehmann exited the car." 

(Read Full Text) (Photo Credit: Lisa DeJong/Lisa DeJong/The Plain Dealer via Landov)