In June, a 25-year-old Mexican girl was raped and killed on the beach, in spitting distance from my tattoo shop. Within a few hours her name came out and people found out what her Instagram was. I looked at it and saw her smiling big with her backpack on, saying how excited she was to be going on her first solo trip. Another one of the photos was her in a bikini, taken at a local waterfall, she wrote that she had to stop taking photos because some local creeps were perving out on her.

The morning of the murder my wife and I were walking our dog on the beach and we saw our friend Gabi with her dog. When we got closer, she asked us if we had heard what had happened? There was a dead body there, a tourist. She pointed, and we saw a white tarp with a couple of cops sitting around it on some driftwood. I was nervous our dog was going to run over there. We walked past it and couldn’t help but look. The cops looked like they were just hanging out.

“That’s someone’s daughter under there, and her family has no idea,” Giulia said. We walked down the beach, throwing rocks and sticks for Shoki to chase. We talked about what might have happened. Was it an overdose? If she was killed would they catch the killer? What would the crime scene look like if it was in the US? We talked about the town and the violence that seemed to be ramping up. When we walked back by, around an hour later, they were still there. Sitting around her body, laying in the sand, under the heat of the Tropical sun.

As the day went on, different stories started to circle around. Everyone was curious. It was tense. One girl had escaped, she had been dragged down to the water and someone tried to drown her, she got away and ran to get help. A police officer refused to go on the beach because it was high tide and he didn’t want to get his shoes wet and he wouldn’t let her use his phone because it was his private phone. Some locals came to the rescue and caught one of the guys and beat the shit out of him. The other escaped. Later on in the day, he was caught and a video was posted of him, incoherent and beat up, being put into the back of a truck.

Men talked about setting up vigilante groups and beach patrols; if the police wouldn’t protect the community, then the community would have to protect itself. Women talked about what it was like to be female in this place, and in the world itself.

I’m reading a massive book right now titled The Story of Civilization, it’s an old book, published before Gandhi liberated India from England. One thing is clear throughout it, mankind has the ability to do great and/or horrendous things. Reading the history of civilization is like reading the script from Game of Thrones, all the evil shit in that show, it’s in this book. It’s history.

We are more refined now, we have more information, regulation, and laws; individuals and authority figures are held more accountable than at any time in history because of technology and the world wide web. But evil still exists and given the opportunity, it still flourishes.

Two months before Maria was killed here, a young man was dragged out of a bodega in the Bronx, and killed, hacked with machetes and stabbed multiple times. The whole thing was caught on video for everyone to see. I watched it because I’m an idiot. I didn’t need to see that and I hope that his family never watches it. I thought about these two young kids and how their lives ended so abruptly. Sometimes tragedy just seeks people out, for no reason, except that fate deemed it so. Tragedy is always there, waiting in the shadows, you just never know when it’s coming, or for who.

The Unexamined Life

Some people go through life with no thought as to why or how or what any of this means, they have no thoughts of morals, ethics, or reason. They live an unexamined life, doing whatever they want, whenever they want.

I live in a town with a lot of these people. They surf, they do whatever drugs they can get a hold of and they drink from morning until night. There’s nothing more to their lives.

Sometimes I’m envious. I look at their lives and every now and then, I wish I could feel that empty. I’ve lived that life and enjoyed it, but even there, I’ve never been able to escape the weight of existence and meaning.

There’s no internal voice calling these people to live up to something, no urge to create or contribute. They’re content to eat, shit, fuck, sleep and pass the time. It looks like a simple life. But how does it differ from the life of animals? Does a moment ever come from them when they wake up and realize they’re wasting their one life on Pornhub and hangovers?

It’s much easier to see, here, in this surf town. But they exist in every country, in every town, and in every city. Here though, in the land of the sloths, it’s easy to live this way, they can live on a smaller budget. It’s harder to live like this in Brooklyn or San Francisco, where it costs 7,000 dollars a month to live in a closet.

It’s harder to be active here, it’s too damn hot, and it’s a place people come on vacation. A place to do nothing.

This is hard for me and my hamster wheel brain, which is always searching for some underlying meaning, for a connection to something greater than myself, or for a meaning to life.

When the town empties out for slow season and there aren’t many tattoos to do, I end up in an existential crisis. I need to work on my own projects and to maintain some routine, otherwise, I go rancid.

Sometimes I want to live like a sloth, to have no ambition and no desires, but it’s so fucking boring. I know I don’t really want to live like that, that it looks nice, but it’s a trap. Every now and then though, I’ll get tired and I’ll take a little break. My routine will fall off and I’ll take my eyes off my goals, and get undisciplined and I’ll do whatever I want, whenever I want.

This story always ends the same way, with me being a miserable fuck. So I do the opposite. I’ve got no choice, and when I do, I feel good.





for a way to be consistently happy and present. I’m constantly wondering about how I’m doing, compared to what I could be doing. Or I get frustrated about all the things I’m not doing, I sit there and

Searching history for answers, for examples of great minds and their thoughts on this experience of life.

The Rapture

It’s slow season down here in Mal Pais. It rains a lot throughout the days, and most nights there are crazy powerful storms.

Around a month ago, my wife and I were woken up in the middle of the night by a crack of lightning. I swear to God I thought it was the rapture and Jesus was coming back.

First, there was what sounded like a bomb explosion and then a crack of lightning like I’ve never heard in my life.  G and I instantly grabbed onto each other thinking it was the end of the world. The dogs were trying to get under the bed, my heart was racing like crazy, she was crying. It was terrifying.  The storm kept on through the night, eventually, we drifted off to sleep again.

In the morning the storm had passed. The jungle was there outside, with its clicks and chirps. I woke up, walked downstairs with the dogs and made coffee. The dogs pushed each other out of the way in an attempt to get more attention. I thought of the explosive sound and the incredible power of that crack of lightning, it was fascinating.

I remembered a woman I had tattooed who had been struck by lightning, it had exited her body through her feet and calf, three different exit points. She had lost her husband, but I think her son survived. They were all struck.

We live on the land where thunder and lightning play and I’m good with that. I was just glad Jesus didn’t come back becasueI would have been fucked.

ON Losing Virginity

Let me tell you about how I lost my viginity, about that magnificent moment in a young mans life. It was the beginning of a funky life long realtionship to sex that started when I was just a young buck.

So, I’m 19 years old and I was a born again Christian, dating another born again Christian named Christy and not only were we not going to have sex until we were married but we werent even going to kiss until we got married. This of course was all in the name of honoring our Lord and Savior. The heathens around us could do whatever they wanted, but we were living sacrifices to Christ, yes, we wanted to kiss, but no, we would not. We wanted to be in the world but not of it. This is how you end up going down on your girlfirend while never once letting your lips touch her mouth lips, these lips would only touch her other llips, the aftermath was always the same – extreme guilt. If it was so bad why did it feel so good?

No one, that I can remember told us to do it this way, I must have read it in a book somewhere and thought it sounded good. This was around the same time that I was trying not to masturbate becasue my friends dad had told me – “you can profess your faith and tell me how much you believe, but what really matters is when it’s just you, Jesus and Satan sitting in a room together, which one do you choose?” So, hormones raging like a bull, I would constantly choose Satan by rubbing one out and then I would watch Jesus cry in the corner of my room, He was always so dissapointed in me.

I was working at a Mexican restaurant in Milford, Connecticut, which can also be referred to as the fifth ring of hell. Christy’s brother worked in the kitchen and I was waiting tables. One of the girls that worked at the front desk was a stunner. Dark eyes and dark hair. The kind of girl that never even looked at me in high school. I had bleached hair, had a couple of tattoos and wore shoes with hot rod flames on them. I was a 90’s punk rock kid. I didn’t drink or smoke or anything of the sort, but one night after work some of the crew went out and I went out with them, it was good to love the sinners but not the sin afterall.

Afterwards I drove this girl home and she invited me into her house at which point my hands got really sweaty and clammy, I went with her, she lived at home with her parents who were asleep upstairs. It was a nice big house and we sat on the couch downstairs, she turned the television on creeped up closer to me. I could feel the tension and the heat of her body, she kissed the side of my neck and nibbled on my ear and the next thing I knew we were making out. Oh God did I feel horrible! But Oh God I felt so good! I was like Ricky Bobby, I had no idea what to do with my hands, but she guided me around and slid them to the right spots. She whipsered in my ear and said “I want you to fuck me”. People really talked like this!? I felt like I was in one of the porno mvoies I would watch and then feel horrible about. So I did, for a good minute or two and then I came.

Before I even had the chance to start beating the shit out of msyelf, she pushed me off of her and started to cry, she ran into the bathroom and slammed the door. I was in another world, a new one, I had tried so hard to hang onto this precious shiny virginity of mine and I just lost it. I had tried so hard not to kiss my girlfriend only to kiss this girl I ended up having sex with. I zipped up and walked towards the bathroom, I could hear her crying inside. I knocked on the door and she said “Leave me alone! I can’t believe you! Why don’t you just leave the money on the table and get out of my house!” I tried to get her to come out of the bathroom, she didn’t. So I left and as soon as I shit the door, I started crying.

I got in my car and started driving, all I could think of was killing myself and the lies and the deciept that laid ahead of me, my poor sweet girlfiend, what was I going to tell her and now Jesus was super dissapointed in me, crying his eyes out over my lustful decisons. I thought about how I could attach a spike to the steering wheel of my car and drive full speed into a wall, I thought about it a lot on the way home, ending it all. Instead I broke up with Christy shortly thereafter and had sex with the restaurant girl again. I only lasted a minute longer.