My Grave Nightmare: A Halloween Story

SpookyImage

Was it a day in full blinding sun or a night in deep gloomy shadows?  Was I asleep?  Awake?  I don’t remember.  No, it was both.  I wandered about in my dream with my eyes open, my dream that quickly became a nightmare.

What I looked upon were reflections of my darkest thoughts and fears.  My sub-conscience was trapped in the dreaded landscape of the land of the dead–the churchyard, the cemetery, God’s Little Acre, the lawns and fields of the departed.

AngelOverlookingGraves

The angel stood on the rock and watched over the mute stones.

“O, What has come into this world that these once vital souls, who lived, loved and danced and sang must now repose until the Day of Judgement?”

I stood watching a man mourn the loss of his wife, lover, child, parent or self.  He cannot bear the loneliness of existence.  He pulls at the door.  It is solid and firm in its closure.  The door is thick bronze.  I touch his shoulder to offer solace.  He, too, is bronze.  It’s all metal and stone except for the dust that lies within.  He will remain in this torment until the acids of the rain reduce him to molecules.

BronzeAtDoor

I walk on.  I don’t know why I do this.  I know what awaits me behind the next tree or over the next hill.  I walk into the trees.  Roots have begun to ensnare a gravestone.  The trees will absorb the crystals in another century.  Then, who will remember?  Where will the flowers be placed?  Where will the tears be spilled?

RootedGrave

The only comfort for my eyes are the green and living leaves, mosses and lichens.  Objects with life hold firmly to the ultimate symbol of death.

True irony.

I leave the dark trees and stand to meditate the monument before me.  I read the inscription.  It’s not an epitaph–it’s a promise:

Somewhere in Mexico–when you were hurting and in despair, I sent my angel to comfort you.  You are not alone.  I will be with you even unto the end of the earth. 

ComfortAngelCaption

There is an old house with an open door.  I grew up and passed from childhood into manhood in an old house.  I must enter.  I walk into the foyer and along the hallway.  There she is.  The transparent image of a long-ago lover.  Or is she the sister I never had? Or is she my mother as a beautiful youth?  Or is she someone unknown to me–coming to hold my wrinkled hand and place her young cold lips on my warm cheek.

Instead, she passes through me and ascends the stairs to meet another shade–someone her own age to play with–someone as spectral as she.  I watch her ascend the stairs and experience an overwhelming sense of melancholy.  I wished to know her in life.  I probably would have given her my heart–the heart she would break when she passed away.  My heart breaks as easily as ancient Oriental porcelain.

SpiritGirl

I leave the house to her spirit.  I whisper a prayer for her restless soul.  Does anyone hear my words?  I walk on into a monochromatic world.  There at my feet is the grave of a man who is holding…is it his own face?  The head of someone he is longing for?  The visage of a family member?  I walk by and he continues to stare, without terror or anger into another pair of eyes.

HoldingHead

I have seen too much for a living and mortal mind to comprehend.  I want to be awake.  I don’t care if it’s just past mid-night or if the sky in the east is becoming pale.

Pale!  Enough pale! I want to be amongst the living and the breathing.  I want to mingle with lovers who embrace with a terrible passion for life.  I want to walk along flowered paths rich with bees and insects and birds singing for the company of a mate.  I want to help a lame farmer till his field, an old woman with arthritic joints knead her bread, a teacher tell his students the truth about life, calm a couples angry words, write a song a child will love, write a book that will make a man weep, kiss a wanton woman, drink a dark ruby wine, eat a mushroom in a desert, draw a picture that a blind person could see, dig a grave, speak words at a burial, pour Holy Water on an infant’s forehead, stand on a mountain peak so very sharp and pointed that the highest crystal pierces my thick boot soles and makes my foot bleed so that red stains on the heather will guide a lost soul to the low meadows.

I can feel sleep falling away.  But, I sit up in bed, still in a deep slumber and see my last vision for the night.

It’s the Angel of the Fog.  But is she fading away or growing more real?

FoggyAngel

I rise and boil water for tea.  I wrap myself in flannel.  I rub the Sandman’s leftovers from the corners of my eyes.  I am fully awake and fully alive.  I will use and live this day to its fullest.  I will live with faith and hope.  As I slowly stir a drop of honey into my tea, I begin to wonder…

What will tonight bring me as I put my book down and let the dark envelop me?

Down And Out In Dillon / A Fictional Respite

Only the lonely (dum-dumb-dummy doo-wah)
Know the way I feel tonight (ooh yay, yay, yay, yeah)
Only the lonely (dum-dumb-dummy doo-wah)
Know this feeling ain’t right (dum-dumb-dummy doo-wah)

–Roy Orbison “Only The Lonely”

DillonDinerPowerballSign

The waitress at the Steak and BBQ joint had the eyes of a girl scout.  They were fill with enough innocence to make a biker gang in Fresno call for a mass confession at the local church.  She had the body of a Pilates instructor and wore a shade of nail polish that didn’t have a name or FDA approval yet.  She walked like she was born on the red carpet.

Yeah, those girl scout eyes… It didn’t take a Nobel Prize winner, or a schlep like me to guess what merit badges she had earned during her nineteen years of outdoor activities.  She kept fiddling with the apron strings that were tied in a perfect bow just above her perfect…backside.  I think she was due to get off her shift in about seventy-five seconds.  I looked around for a waiting boyfriend.  Pretty young women like her always had a big, unshaven Palooka waiting for them.  I didn’t see anyone, tattooed or otherwise, spinning a set of Chevy Pick-Up keys around a thick finger.

So, she was leaving alone.  I glanced at the two cars in the employee parking area.  Her wheels must be the ’63 Mustang convertible.  The yellow bug light in the lot made her car look like it needed a paint job.

I was pretty good with a spray can…as good as they get.

“What are you staring at?” said my wife.  “Are you going to get your food or not?”

I snapped out of my 8:00 pm daydream.  I was standing in front of the salad bar.  There was a small pile of white lettuce in my bowl.  I took a spoonful of chick peas, shredded “cheese” and eight cherry tomatoes.  I grabbed a stale roll and headed for our table.  I wasn’t very hungry.

It had been that kind of day on the road.  My wife and I seemed to be searching for excuses to argue.  Maybe she thought I was playing Dwight Yokum too loud.  If it wasn’t that, it was which flavor of gas to put into our tank or whose turn it was to go into the unisex restroom first to wipe the toilet seat dry.

Some men can’t do anything right when they use a public bathroom.  I’d like to say I always lifted the seat, but I stopped doing that about fourteen years ago.  What difference did it make?  What difference did anything make?

Some road trip.  We didn’t even have a final destination.  We just needed to get away from the cold weather.  We were heading for a beach…any beach, as long there was enough sand to put an orange blanket on and enough room to work out a leg cramp and take a nap.  That’s right, any beach and plenty of warm weather.  She wanted to show off her new polyester Wal-Mart bikini.  Me?  I had a red Speedo I pick up for 50 cents at a Salvation Army store just outside of Port Arthur, Texas in 1988.  My gut had grown since then, so I was at a serious risk of being seen as a naked bather by a devout Baptist cop.

Another summons was something I really didn’t need.

I finished my salad and went to get a small bowl of peach Melba.  I was careful to scrape the meringue off the top simply because it didn’t have the color of any meringue that I had ever seen.

“Watch the sweet crap,” said my wife.  “I’m not giving you another dollar for a new swim suit, hear me?”

I was feeling the need to hit the boy’s room to see a man about a horse, when the words of my dear mother echoed in my memory bank.

“Son,” she said, “if you ever get a date, don’t excuse yourself to go to the bathroom ’cause the girl will leave you.  Most woman hate losers.”

I often wondered why my mum would tell me that.  I’ve had plenty of dates when I was younger and I went to the bathroom on a regular basis, as needed.  My date was always waiting for me at the bar.  She never left me…until I gave her the $75.00.  I dunno.  Maybe there’s a connection somewhere.

So, I dumped my tray into the can and walked back to the loo.

Even though it was always in the back of my head that such a thing could happen, it didn’t stop me from turning a vulgar shade of pale when I saw the table empty upon my return.

She’s in the ‘ladies’, I said to myself.  That’s when I saw the waitress looking a bit funny at me and whispering something to the teenage dishwasher.  I walked to the window.  Our car was gone.

She did it.  She left me.  She left me stranded in Dillon, South Carolina.  I looked at my watch and pretended I was waiting for her to make a quick drug store run to stock up on her magenta lip gloss.

I took a seat by the window.  I was the only customer.  A light in the “special events” room went off.  A kitchen light went off.  A minute later, the waitress, you remember, the girl scout, came up and said that it was closing time.

MeAtDinerDillon

I stood out on a cement parking barrier.  I looked up and down the highway for signs of our car.  Four cars went by.  Three of them were police cruisers and the fourth was an empty taxi.  I felt weak in the bowel area.  Neon lights were blinking off.  Even the PowerBall sign went dark, but not before I saw the prize was $100,000,000 bucks.  I fingered the cash in my pocket.  I pulled out three twenty-dollar bills.

A light rain began to fall.  I looked beyond the closed Taco Bell and spotted a VACANCY sign on a motel.  It was the Hi-Ho Motel.  I had seen it earlier when we were driving around looking for a gourmet meal.  I quickly crossed the empty highway and approached the office.  They advertised rooms for the week, day and even the hour.

I hoped they changed the sheets sometime in the last month or so.

I paid the desk manager the $16.00 for the room.  I’m sure I picked up on his Calcutta accent.  I clutched the key to Room 4 tightly in my sweaty palm.

A few minutes later, I was stretched out on a lumpy single bed inhaling mildew spores and after running up and down the dial, I tuned the black and white TV to a rerun of Bewitched.  I pulled my jacket over my chest and several business cards fell out.  I spread them on the sheet.  I would need the services of one of these concerns before the end of tomorrow came…that I knew.

BusinessCards

I slipped into a light slumber.  An hour later, I woke with a start.  The space beside me was empty.  She was really gone.  This wasn’t a bad dream.  But, whatever it was gave me a powerful thirst.  I locked the room and walked along the highway, passing strip malls and used car lots.  Then I saw the light of heaven in front of me: BUD LITE.  That wasn’t what I needed, but it was a start.  I went in just as I heard a train whistle blow from somewhere behind the cement dealer.

As I slid onto a stool, the bartender came over.  I blinked three times in disbelief.  It was the waitress from the BBQ place!

“Hey there Mr. Blue,” she said.  “High and dry, I see.  What happened?  Did she recognize a chiropractor from high school?”

“You’re a riot, Lucy,” I said.  I waited two beats.  “Besides you, what the special here tonight?”

“That would be my new invention.  I just finished Mixology School last week.”

“What would that be,” I inquired, with breathy anticipation.

“It’s called Mindy’s Merit Badge.  That’s me.  I’m Mindy.”

“So very nice to meet you, Mindy,” I said.  “Wanna go camping?”

[Please note: This post is 99% fiction.  The only real thing that happened was eating at a salad bar.  Don’t panic and don’t worry about us.  We’re fine.  Mariam did not leave me stranded in Dillon, SC.  I’ve always been a fan of noir, hard-boiled writing styles ( i.e., Dashiell Hammett) so I though I’d have some fun trying my hand at it.  Dillon is a fine place.  If you did happen to buy into the reality of my story…and you want to send cash (small unmarked bills) to help me catch a Greyhound back to NYC, I can provide a mailing address.  Meanwhile, watch for the really crazy Halloween blog in a day or so.  Thank you, loyal readers…but please click “follow” on my blog page or “like” on the FB page.  I need the numbers like a stand-up comic needs laughs.  If you don’t click on something, I’m going to bring out “Fluffy” and lay a guilt trip on you!]

 

 

I’m Sorry, Ava, But I’m Having Issues Of My Own

GasGauge

As I write this post, I’m seriously considering going into the r-Pod to get another layer to drape over my shoulders.  The sun has just dipped below the tree-line at the far edge of the RV park.  When we arrived, about two hours ago, I was sweating and hot and in a mood most foul.  Now, it’s cooled enough to make me think about my light fleece hoodie.  It seems my lot in life is to know where my fleece garments are at all time.  I’m in the mid-south, for heaven’s sake, it’s supposed to be warm.  I don’t know.  Maybe I was having a “hot flash” this afternoon?  Men go through menopause just like women.  I’ve had “hot flashes” before, but they occurred in those brief moments when I would walk past a twenty-something female beach volleyball player on the boardwalk of Redondo Beach.

The real purpose of this blog, however, is not to dwell on my body issues.  I need to explain that sometime tomorrow, October 24th, sometime in the early afternoon, sometime after I locate a Starbucks and purchase a Cold Brew coffee, I will drive past Exit 95, on I-95 and not visit the Ava Gardner Museum.  Don’t misunderstand me, I am a huge fan of Miss Gardner.  I may be her biggest fan.  I simply love her iconic film roles that have made her an…icon.  I get shivers when I watch her standing at the doorway, asking Rhett Butler: “Rhett, Rhett…Rhett, if you go, where shall I go?  What shall I do?”  I feel a tingle of seduction when she leans against another doorway and ask Bogey: “You know how to whistle, don’t you?  You just put your lips together and blow.”

But the fee for a couple is $50.00!  Okay, $40.00 for seniors–but we were on a strict budget.

Don’t even mention the shower scene in Psycho.  Don’t even go there.  So, you see, I’m her favorite fan.  But, when you’re on the road and traveling hard like me, you have to keep your eyes on the final destination.  And, tomorrow, that would be Dillon, South Carolina.  We simply did not program into our schedule any actual stops to see stuff.

That’s for tourists.  We’re world-weary travelers.  I won’t say that we’ve seen everything, but we’ve seen pretty much of everything.

Having said all that, I need to tell you about a very disturbing and disorienting occurrence that happened to me after we left our camp site this morning.  We just filled up at the Shell station, ($1.93/gal), when I noticed that the gas gauge did not read FULL.  It registered only 3/4 of a tank.  Now, we weren’t in New Jersey so I pumped my own fuel.  I know I filled the tank–the excess gas even bubbled out of the fuel hole.  But it simply was not FULL.

I was irritated because it would mean another stop before I wanted to make it.

After a few miles, I glanced down at the gauge.  The needle was slowly, very slowly moving toward the FULL!  What was happening?  What did this mean?

It meant only one thing.  We weren’t using fuel while we were driving–we we’re gaining fuel!  We were using negative fuel.  The implications of this astounded me.  If this continued (and I had no reason to think it wouldn’t) then we would   not only not pay for gas, but we would be due some kind of rebate at the end of the trip.

I would come out ahead for once in my sad life.

All I can say is, it’s about time.

On second thought, perhaps we would be able to stop at the Ava Gardner Museum after all.

Marilyn_Monroe_photo_pose_Seven_Year_Itch

[Ave Gardner in the famous “white dress” subway scene from “The Seven-Year Itch”]

 

Do You Really Want To Go There?

Dark Lane 4 Blog

It’s early Autumn.  The air is crisp.  The broad leaves of the oaks and maples are sharp and bright in the sun.  Against the darker conifers, the reds and yellows are more muted–less distinct and less joyful.

There is a lane.  It seems to possess a faint voice calling for you to follow to wherever it leads.  The fair-haired, blue-eyed woman beside you urges you to take a few steps into the forest.  Her white hand suddenly is gripping your right forearm.  Without words she is telling you to not take another step.

“We don’t know where this path leads,” she says with her eyes.  You brush a red leaf from her soft hair.  You look down the lane again.  Something is urging you to explore–to follow the trail to its end.  On your left, a woman with dark eyes and pale flesh takes your hand.

“Come,” she whispers in your ear.  “We can’t keep them waiting.”

You look to your right.  The fair one has a distressed look as she stares down the lane.  Her hand trembles.

Turning your head, you see your car parked miles away.  How can this be?  You’ve only taken a few steps into the woods.  A breeze picks up a few leaves and stirs them at your feet.  The branches of the trees begin to weave and roll and shudder.

There is a tug at your right arm.

“Let’s go back,” the fair one says.  “I don’t like this.”

“Let’s move on,” your pale lover says.  “It’ll be good.  I’ll see to that.”

You are unable to move.  You stare into the distance and wonder where it will end and how far the walk will be.  Will there be a pool of clear water?  A bower of red and scarlet leaves?  An old farmhouse?  Does the backdoor–the screen door, bang in the wind?  Is the spring rusty?  Are the rooms empty?

Is there a house at all?  If not, why the road?  All roads lead to something in this forest.

You’re frozen with indecision.  You want to go forward and you want to run back to the car.

What about your lovers?  You look from left to right.  There is no one there.  Was anyone ever there?  Are you awake?  Is this a dream?

You look back at your car.  It is not in sight–there is no car.  Looking down, you see there is hardly a path.  It’s all overgrown.

A woman’s voice calls to you.  It’s a song–so very sad.  You’ve heard this lament before.  Nothing good can come of this, you’re thinking.  Nothing good.

It’s never good when you’re alone–in the woods when the sun begins to set.

Oxford Of My Dreams

Plane

I was drifting off to sleep.  My dreams began.  I felt disoriented.  Where was I?

I was in Oxford, England to accept an award for “Best Blogger in the World.”

I was waiting in a room in one of the 38 colleges that make up the University.  I had walked here from the hotel, but all the buildings were made of the beautiful honey-colored limestone from the Cotswold hills.  This room is where the dons donned their academic robes. The place was heavy with the dust of history…literary history. Books dating back centuries lined the walls. I saw an early copy of “Alice in Wonderland” signed by Lewis Carroll, himself.  Was I in the college that gave the world Richard Burton, the actor? Or, Edmund Halley, who made his name on a comet?  Was this the room where J.R.R. Tolkien thought about the narrative of the Hobbit books?  Did T. S. Elliot walk the path I just walked?

Perhaps I was in a room off a small lecture hall in Bodleian Library, which claims to have over 100 miles of shelves (The Strand Bookstore in NYC says it has 8 miles of volumes.)

In the lecture hall next door I could hear the shuffling of feet and chairs as the runner-up and past winners were taking their seats.  I could hear Fineguy6076, who blogged out of Jersey City.  There was the instantly recognizable voice of martagoesyo, who wrote from a small town in Ohio.  Last years winner had just arrived to a smattering of applause.  He may have a large following and was quite an original blogger of 2014, but many readers, including this writer, were put off by his daily output of cats dressed as dogs and disguised as trivets or mid-southern house plants.

His wrote under the name of HeSheGuy.

You do the math.

The opening speeches droned on and on.  The room was warm and I began to grow sleepy.  I drifted into a peaceful land of Nod.  I began to feel I was near a great dining hall with floating candles and a really bad bully was picking on a guy named Harry.  Wait! That was the Great Hall of Christ Church College around the corner.  I continued into a light dream-like state.

“Ahem”

My senses became fully awake.

“Order please!”  The words came from the lecture hall.

I knew then they were about to announce my name and I was to make my arrival through a massive oak door.

Applause and shouts of “Here! Here!” and “Hussa” and “About time old boy” would soon ring out.  Pretty ladies would stop fanning themselves and whisper, ever so discretely,  “ I want him to be the father of my children.”

But I was not out of my nap.  Another, less salutary voice spoke:

“Ladies and Gentleman” the calm business-like nature of a man’s tone had indeed broken my REM sleep.

I still felt it was my time.

I tried to rise but felt a restraint around my waist.  I opened my eyes and found myself staring at a small TV monitor mounted on the back of the seat in front of me.

On the blue screen was a small icon of an airplane. Behind it was a blue line that connected it to JFK. As the plane was set against a blue color, I surmised that we were over an ocean. The little icon seemed to be headed toward the letter LHR.

As I regained full awareness, it all came back to me. I wasn’t in Oxford, yet.

I was on American Flight #106.

Then more reality came flooding back to me.

We were caught in traffic somewhere near La Guardia Airport.  Despite being picked up three hours early by a car service from the Upper West Side, my wife was beyond frantic.  She was convinced we were going to miss the flight.

I said we wouldn’t, traffic was always like this out here in Queens.

She said we would miss the flight and that it would cost a small fortune to make new arrangements.

I suggested, calmly, like a man, that one screwed up ticket was only half as bad as two and I suggested she get on the flight without me.

[She was TSA approved and I wasn’t, so I would have to take off most of my clothes and pass through a scanner that would prevent me from having any more children in the future.]

She could breeze past all that and still make it to Gate 14.  I told her I would sleep in the airport or go to some cheap motel and find something to amuse me, like going bowling with a woman named Candy from Flushing, and I would catch up to her in London.

She flatly refused. [Sometimes, women just see the logic in some things.]

Without making this blog any longer, we actually made flight #106

So, now my watch reads 5:15 am.  We’re about 45 minutes away from landing.  Some kind of breakfast just got slapped down next to this computer.

My eyes turned red about two hours ago.

We’re going to pick up our rent car at Heathrow.

Our first night is already booked and it’s not that long a drive.

Where, you may very well ask, are we going first?

Oxford, of course.

My birthday is nine days away.  It’s not too early for a gift, is it?

Maybe an award for writing something like this?

Lone Ranger and Tonto United in California Civil Ceremony

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Media representatives, Native American leaders, cultural historians, gay rights activists and many cowboys rejoiced yesterday afternoon when two long-time partners against crime were united in a civil ceremony on a dude ranch outside Oxnard, California.  The marriage was held in strict privacy with only several hundred invited guests in attendance.  Reporters hiding in the hills and using high-powered spotter scopes were able to identify only a few attendees.  Among them were Johnny Depp, Bob Seger, Bono, Harvey Fierstein and Doris Day.  Bob Dylan’s Wedding Song was voiced by Lady Ga Ga.  Because of strong dust storms in the area, GaGa was forced to lip-sync the song.  The only tape available was a 1982 rendition by Liza Minnelli.

“Because of their on again, off again relationship, we had doubts the ceremony would ever really become a reality,” said Chief Running Water of the Potawatomi nation.  Tonto is a member of that particular tribe, but as a part-time actor, he has often been confused with playing a Mohawk of Ontario, Canada.

Neither Tonto or the Lone Ranger were available for comment.  Moments after the vows were exchanged, the two boarded a Tomahawk helicopter and were flown to a spa somewhere near Twenty-nine Palms.

Several friends close to the pair agreed to speak to this reporter on condition of anonymity.

“We can confirm the two exchanged silver bullets instead of rings during the ceremony,” said one part-time actor from Van Nuys.  “Silver is considered to be rare and precious, like justice, law and order, not to mention a human life…we think it was better than the old-fashioned ring-thing because when you’re out riding the range, rings can chafe the finger as you grip the reins.  We’re so totally into the bullet thing.  We think it’ll be a big deal in unions of this nature in the future.”

Asked about the unusual names the happy couple have used with each other over the years, one friend chimed in: “Well, we know that Tonto translates from the Spanish into a less than kind word, so sometimes the Ranger uses Toro, meaning “bull”.

I asked about the term “Ke-mo say-bee” and was greeted by blank stares by those standing nearby.  “We think it means faithful one or something like that.”

I pressed on because that was my job.

“How did the Ranger become known as The Lone Ranger.”

“It seems that he was a member of a party of six Texas Rangers who were tricked into an ambush by “Butch” Cavendish.  All the rangers were thought to have been killed.  This Native American rode by and found that one of them was still alive…barely.  He nursed him back to health.  The two recognized each other immediately.  The ranger had rescued the Native American when they were children.”

Apparently, the bond was made then and there and they have rarely been separated since.

“What’s with the mask?” I asked, blindly.  I thought I had pushed these guys enough, but I kept on.

“Well, to honor his brother, who was leading the group of rangers, the survivor fashioned a mask out of his older brothers vest.  He never revealed his identity until later in life to his Aunt Frisby.”

“It was the mask that apparently intrigued Tonto enough to keep hanging around the ranger,” someone from the back said.

“Aunt Frisby?” I repeated.

“That’s right.  Say, I think you’ve asked too many questions.  Why don’t you get the hell off the driveway before I call Security?”

I back off.  I’m no hero.  I had enough for the story.

So, there you have it, folks.  Two strange men, always alone, always doing the right thing to help the helpless, finally seal their fate.

Right about now, they’re probably in a whirlpool spa somewhere on the edge of the Mohave Desert.

Word has it that they are going to open a landscape decorating business somewhere near Pismo Beach.

“Hi Ho to them,”  I say.

 

 

 

Next Stop: Easy Street

RRStopInPararie

“Well, this is where I get off, Baby Blue.  I got a cozy little spread about a dozen miles out-of-town.”

“This don’t look like no town to me, Buzz.  The flies have taken over the ticket booth in the hole you say is the station.”

“I’m not a man for big words, Blue, but I can manage to ask you to stay for a spell.”

“You don’t look like the kind of guy a kind of girl like me can hold onto for much longer than the next time the whistle from the westbound blows.”

“You once said that I was the sort of guy who could leave his boots under your bed.”

“That was back in Little Rock.  You had a fresh bandanna on that night.  You looked like Mel Gibson without the attitude.”

“That’s sayin’ a lot, girlie.  You kept those cowpokes sweeping the boardwalk so you could keep your Gucci boots clean.  You traded those Gucci’s for a pair of J. C. Penney “cowgirl” shoes that were made in Sri Lanka.”

“We’ve both come a long way since then, Buzz, and almost all of it was rolling down a hill full of tumbleweeds and thistles.”

“You can’t keep looking back, Baby.  It only shows you where you’ve been and not where you’re goin'”

“And you want me to get more dust on my shoes down at your spread?  I’m thinking twice about that.”

“Well, don’t think twice, it’s alright.  Say, I never caught your last name, Sweet Cakes.”

“I didn’t throw it, Bronco Buster.  If you want to know who I really am, check the wall of the nearest Post Office.”

“Why? Are you the Post Master General?”

“Let’s just say I’m the Post Mistress of these here parts.”

“Dang.  And all these years I lived on my cozy little spread, I never ran into you.”

“That’s because nobody wrote you any letters, Larry.  Ya got to have friends to get and send letters.”

“Well, lick my stamps, Baby Blue, you sure are full of surprises.”

“I got one more surprise for you, Saddle Tramp, nobody licks stamps anymore.  They’re self-stick these days.”

“Well, I got one for you too, Blaze, nobody sends letters any more.  It’s all email.  Where have you been?  Out back of the stable braiding horse tails?”

The train lurched to a stop.

“One minute,” the station master yells.

Baby Blue pull her bonnet off and let her wild red tresses cascade over her slender tender shoulders.

Buzz broke out in a sweat.  He hooked his forefinger under his collar and tugged to let out the steam.  It was 106 in the shade.

“So, we’re both getting off.  But you’re goin’ thataway and I’m goin’ thisaway, so I guess it’s good-bye, said Blue.

“Good-bye is too good a word, Babe.  I’ll be seeing you around when my fan mail starts pouring into the Post Office.”

“What fan mail?  Did you go on The Bachelorette again?”

“No, the fan mail from my blog award.  This is just a big blog idea, Sweet Cake.  All this never really happened.”

She stared at him for a full two minutes.

“I think you’d better go saddle up Old Paint and ride off into the sunset, Buzz, you’ve had too much sun.”

“I can’t ride off into the sunset, Blue, I live north of here.  You wouldn’t understand.”

Two hours later, Baby Blue was sorting mail in the air-conditioned Post Office while Buzz was getting a sore bottom on a sour saddle.  He was lost in thought.  But Old Paint knew the way home, after, of course, the bathroom stop at the Organ Grinder Saloon.

“There got to be a better way to end this blog,” he thought.  “In just one of these stories, I should get the girl.”

 

 

The Digital Indoor-Outdoor Thermometer From Area 51

Indoor:OutdoorThermometer

It’s common knowledge that various agencies under the umbrella of the “Federal Government” have been conducting TOP SECRET experiments in highly secure location inside an Air Force Base in California (or Nevada or some such forgotten region of the Great American Desert).  This place has been known by many “in the know” people as “Area 51.”  I’m sure you are aware that is where the remains of the aliens that crashed in Roswell, NM are kept in a large freezer unit made by Sears.  This crash occurred in 1947 (the same year I was born–but I swear to you on a stack of Bibles from the Westfield Baptist Church that I had nothing to do with the accident nor am I a product of it.

The fact that this is clearly a government conspiracy  is widely known to all rational thinkers.  Myself, I would blame Barack Obama for the cover-up, except for the fact that he wasn’t even born then.  These locked and guarded hangers also hold secrets to scientific evidence of the existence of Bigfoot, UFO’s, the government’s role in starting AIDS, social security, and the proven fact that Elvis is living outside Cincinnati.

Now I have proof that NASA, NSA and the CIA have been running a series of covert experiments in my very own kitchen.  I wrote a short post on FB about this about two years ago (before I discovered WordPress and other ways to annoy you).  No one took notice (except my niece in Maine) about my suspicions then…but with my wider audience, perhaps someone out there can respond to my discovery.

The facts of the case are simple: We bought this house in 2000.  A few months after we closed, I went to the local Radio Shack in Saranac Lake.  It looked like any other Radio Shake, lots of things with wires, mountains of batteries and only one salesassociate.  But I did find something on the rack that attracted me.  It was an Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer.  A guy knows when he needs certain things and this was one of those things I knew I needed.  My wife (being a woman) thought that maybe I didn’t need this thing.  Now, looking back on that day, perhaps she saw something I failed to see.  Women and intuition and all that.

So, I buy the thermometer and load two AA batteries in the unit.  I found a tiny shelf near the sink (see illustration) where it fit perfectly.  There was a nearby window where I could put the outdoor sensor.  So, now I had the best of two worlds: I could wash dishes and check the outside temperature at the same time! 

And, now the mystery (paranormal activity?  government experiment? ) has become serious enough that it is causing me problems sleeping and concentrating.

You see, I have absolutely no recollection of ever-changing the batteries!  None!

One doesn’t have to possess the mental abilities of Stephen Hawking to do the calculations.  This Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer has been giving accurate readings, on the same pair of AA batteries, for 14 1/2 years!  This is not physically possibly.  Now, as you know I taught science for 35 years.  I know a test tube from a flask.  I never totally ‘got’ physics but I do know that the drain on batteries for merely reading the temperature is low.  But, this…this is unreasonable.  Especially given the fact that a few C batteries in our holiday wreath lasted about 6 days.

I can also attest to the accuracy of the Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer.  It’s readings are to be trusted–just like those of Madam Zelda’s readings at the Franklin County Fair.  Ok, there was one fluke–only one error.  Back in the late ’90’s I checked the Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer one February night and the digital reading was -36 F.  Now, I know that not at all possible…not here in the Adirondacks in the middle of winter.  No way.

I’m tempted to open the back and check the brand of the batteries, but in truth, I’m afraid of what I might find inside the small white plastic box.  Something made of Thorium, Einsteinium, Praseodymium or Dysprosium maybe.  Anyone of those might prevent me from fathering a child when I’m 74 or maintaining my jet black (natural) hair.  I know at least two of them would cause parts of my body to glow in the dark–but that part is not for minors or gentle eyes.  Other side effects of some of these newer elements have been shown to cause adult listeners to hum along with Miley Cyrus or go out to old vinyl LP stores and find unopened copies of Captain and Tennille albums.

Or, even worse, there could be a micro treadmill inside the Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer operated by artificial cyber-ferrets.

Whatever!  I’m not going to open the back and look.  I’m hoping the batteries just rotted away and the electricity is being provided by some chemical interaction between Lithium oxidation and plastic polymers.

Me?  I’m just going to continue to wash the dishes and watch the digital numerals go up and down with the temperature.

Up here in the Adirondacks, they usually just go down.  So, I have a simple job to do.

[Note: If my blogs and FB posts suddenly stop, it probably means I got bored one night doing dishes and decided “I’m goin’ in there.”]

 

Floccinaucinihilipilification Or Not

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On a day last week when the sky took on a strange hue of Cerulean Frost mixed with patches of Brandeis Blue that hung, ever so delicately, over hills of Bulgarian Rose and Caput Mortuum, I happened to be having a chat with my octogenarian friend…a retired oceanographer.

“I am full of vicissitudes today,” she said, as she slipped her walker to the side of the park bench. “My tintinnabulation has increased a thousandfold.”

“Well, I guess it’s all hands on the deck for you, my friend,” I said. “Just don’t tip the bucket.”

“Not only that,” she said with trepidation, “I am suffering once more with a bad case of Helminthophobia.”

“Now, that’s one for the books,” I replied. “Have you seen a specialist?”

“Oh, heavens, no,” she said stifling a sneeze with her forefinger beneath her proboscis.  “He would have to examine me and I have had Gymnophobia for years.”

[I thought to myself that after my recent bout with Eurotophobia and the resulting Defecaloesiophobia, I totally understood.]

“Nothing like airing your dirty laundry,” I said. “I guess all bets are off.”

“If it wasn’t for my awful Eremophobia, I’d dump my old man,” she said with alacrity.

“Even though he’s as horny as a three-balled tomcat?” I said.

“Hey, if you ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies,” she said with a sniffle.

“Now that you mention it,” I said as I shifted on the bench, “last month I suffered greatly with a case of Pteronophobia and along with that came a flare-up of my Proctophobia.”

“Psaw,” she replied, “at the end of the day that was as plain as the nose on your face.”

I looked at the sun dipping below the roiling hilltops.

“It’s getting late,” I said, thinking of my constant Myctophobia. “Let me walk you home.”

“I’m all ears,” she said, “and I’m thirsty.”

“Good.  Let’s go get a garlic milkshake,” I said.

“Oh, you youngsters are all talk and no action,” she said with a wink.

As we stood up (it took me 14 minutes to straighten my knees), a young couple took our places.  They immediately began kissing like there was no tomorrow.

“Get a room,” I said, over my shoulder, as we walked away.

 

Behind the News: Tarzan and Jane Locked in Bitter Custody Battle

Inside sources at the High Court of Nairobi were able to confirm that there has been no resolution either way in the tinder box case of Tarzan v Jane.  All that is known at this time is that the battle is raging and lines have been drawn in the sand concerning the custody of the mysterious child of Tarzan and Jane.

It was not clear at press time whether the two have ever, indeed, been legally married by an officer of the court.  Tarzan has stated on many previous occasions that the child, referred as Boy, was, in fact, a male child that could have been fathered by any number of Safari clients.

“She always went for those Great White Hunter types,” Tarzan was heard to comment.  “She was an easy make for me…I mean I merely rescued her from certain death at the hands of the giant ape tribe and the next thing she’s climbing the rope to my treehouse.”

Jane’s law firm, Ball, Buster and Reems of Philadelphia, claim they have abundant evidence that “this Tarzan guy swings between a large number of women who get caught in the quicksand or alligator pit…he has given the directions to his treehouse to them all.”

Jane’s attorney’s also claim that this Tarzan is a hunky fake.  They have mentioned they are in possession of papers that prove this vine-swinging jungle Lothario is none other than an English Viscount, whose real name is John Clayton, of Greystoke.  “Even his loin cloth is from Gucci, for God’s sake,” Jane was once quoted as saying.

Tarzan denies any and all of these claims through his Hong Kong lawyers, We, Got, Yu and Tats It.

The biological parenthood of the child in question…known only as “boy” has, unbelievably, not been determined by DNA tests.  Tarzan has been in seclusion somewhere at his jungle retreat and has resisted any attempts by law enforcers to provide a sample of any body fluid needed for the testing.  On the last occasion a medical team had him up a tree, he (Tarzan) put his hand to his mouth and yelled something like: “AHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA.”  This seemed to bring out every savage and wild animal to defend his tree.  The medical team retreated from the retreat.

Meanwhile, according to sources “in the know”,  Ms Jane Tarzan (nee Porter) has been staying with her aunt in Great Neck, Long Island.  She has refused any comment and has only posted one Tweet in the last three weeks.  It simply read: “I may seem like a Plain Jane to many, but that jungle-hugger who calls himself Tarzan IS the father of “Boy”.  He simply doesn’t hang around long enough to be a proper father.  The first thing I’m going to do when I gain custody is to have the child’s name legally changed.  I’m going to drop the ” ” around his name.  Tarzan is a no-good son of..” [At this point, her 140 characters limit was reached].

The radical-academic feminist, Dr. Libbie Wolf said in a recent interview: “This just proves what will happen how an innocent woman named Jane will be turned into a sex-object and plaything when thrown into the patriarchal society of the deep jungle environment.  If it can happen in some wilderness in Africa, it can happen right here in New York City.”

A court date has yet to be set.

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[The Tarzan family in happier times. L to R–The pet Cheetah, “Boy”, Mr. Tarzan and Jane Tarzan]