Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Blind Eye of God

Chapter Three

Not long after the beginning of the twenty-first century, two major forces that had shaped the modern world could no longer exist in harmony, if it ever truly had. The idea of totalitarian communism had been weighed, measured, and found wanting. The lure of capitalism and it's false promise of freedom and prosperity appealed more to the greedy nature of humanity than any other system thus far, and the corporation became the tool of choice for those seeking power and wealth. Knowing full well the controlling power of faith, when manipulated by those in power, the "conservative" movement in the United States gained overwhelming control of the reigns of power, and soon rivaled China in it's insidious suppression of freedom of thought and expression. As the perfect compliment to it's "moral" approach to government and control of the masses, both the Catholic church and Protestant Denominations were given more and more influence in Government until it soon reached the point where the country could truly be considered a theocracy on par with the worst the Islamic world had to offer.......and any hope of peaceful coexistence soon vanished.
The Bush Administration, and it's even more conservative successors, never dealt directly with the volatile Combination of the North Koreans and nuclear weapons, first off, because resources were already stretched dealing with the mideast, and secondly, because they never really took the danger seriously. This calculation soon came home to roost when nuclear devices, provided with blessings by the North Koreans to Islamic terrorists, made their way into shipping containers that were detonated in the Ports of Los Angeles, Boston, and Houston. This time there was no restraint, no seeking to lay blame on individual extremists, no rooting out of jehadists from the midsts of their Middle Eastern homelands. As the missiles flew and the bombers headed towards the capitals of any and all nations dedicated to Allah, the President of the United States announced that the evil of Islam could no longer be tolerated by the God fearing, Christian peoples of the Earth, and the last crusade began it's final, bloody march.
Much like the crusades of the past, hell on Earth was visited in the name of Jesus. The only choice, when it was convenient, was to renounce Islam, accept Christianity, or die. Almost twenty years later, after a death toll that exceeded all the wars before it, the war finally ended, leaving the planet with one government and a battered ecology that could never recover. The Chinese had wisely stayed neutral, agreeing in the end to join the Christian coalition rather than suffer the ire of any enraged West. India suffered terribly as Pakistan managed to throw a few nukes at New Delhi in it's death throws.
Russia gave up it's dream of returning to empire and accepted the reforms demanded of it by the new world government.
When a few decades of political stability had been finally established, attention was turned to what could be done to ensure the survival of the victors, only this time the denial of the conservative elite could no longer hide the stark truth: the damage to the ecosystem was irreparable, and the clock was ticking.
Then, the fervent prayers of a people weary of waiting for the second coming where answered, in a round about way. A Chinese physicist had an epiphany, and suddenly he found himself as the guest of honor at the United Nations Science Directorate. Describing a convoluted process that was amazing in both it's simplicity and utter violation of many of hard and fast rules of Einstein's Theories of Relativity, he explained to them how one could fold space, force a convergence between two points between just about any two points in the universe, and pass an object thru that hole, thus negating the need to travel faster than the speed of light to explore space. The only caveat was that it took immense precision in timing, calculations, and allot of power to accomplish. However, with the resources of a desperate government behind it, the UNSC soon had so much money and manpower thrown at it they could have wallpapered the International space station with hundred dollar bills and still be behind budget. Of course, a government that needed to keep things under wraps also didn't need heroes, so the physicist, once his theories were completely understood, mysteriously disappeared.
Within ten years, a station was constructed at the L-5 la-grange point between Earth and Moon, and the first jump gate was powered up. Entering the ring at a precise velocity in order to penetrate a hole in the fabric of space that only existed for three seconds, the first test module, a large and ugly robotic contraption that carried it's own jump gate with it, sent back a communications pod, signaling success, and the race to space was on. Unfortunately, it took 37 probes to find a system worth investigating, and it was not till then that the first manned space vessel was constructed, the "Genesis" class scout ships. It was the second ship of this class that introduced LTJG Carlson to the dubious joys of space travel, including the terrible nausea that inflicted humans when they were exposed to the jump gate effects. It also exposed him to the harsh disappointments of finding planet after planet that could not support human life. Sometimes the limited telemetry the advanced probes brought back gave false hope, and it was up to the scouts to determine one way or another if a foothold could be made on a borderline world. As the sensors officer onboard "Revelation", Carlson was responsible for many improvements in probe technology that eventually led to the elimination of the scout class, saving the space service millions of dollars, and moved him up the advancement ladder ahead of many other officers older than him, resulting eventually in him becoming the youngest officer to be granted his own command.
Yet even Carlson, like most of his fellow line officers, were kept in the dark as to just how desperate the situation back on Earth had become. And like most in the service, he was also unaware of just how much influence the church was having over the inner circles of power in the government. As conservative as the government had become, the constitution was still based, on paper at least, on secular principles, and it was a secular oath he had taken, albeit the "so help me God" clause at the end, and his loyalties were about to be put to the ultimate test as the Chaplain pulled out the thick envelope stamped "Top Secret: Eyes only" and handed it to Carlson.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

A truly nice visitation.......

I recieved a truly enjoyable visitation today. I spied him thru the blinds perched on my front porch. I got off one pic, and as I was trying to adjust the blinds for another, he saw me and decided to boogie. He hangs around for the squirrels who violate my bird feeder and pay the price, I think. I hope you enjoy him as much as I did. If anyone can identifify exactly what kind of Raptor he is, let me know.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

"Religeous" Justification....

There was a special on tonight concerning one of those many towns out west populated and controlled totally by polygamists. It is downright amazing what some people will get away with under the guise of "divine edict". Out here in the real world we call these people perverts, child molesters, control freaks, you name it, the crimes they commit could put them away forever if caught doing this crap in the real world. What amazes me is that the states of Utah and Arizona has for all practical purposes turned a blind eye to this debauchery. Maybe it's time for the feds to step in and inform these state governments that they either clean this filth up NOW or the FBI will step in and do it for them. It's time to put and end to child molestation and forced sexual slavery disguised as a religious lifestyle. OH, I know. The religious right is to busy trying to take over the government and put us atheists and agnostics in our place. I understand. We don't have God on our side.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Discovery away!

Well, with the successful liftoff of the space shuttle Discovery, we are sticking our toes back into the celestial pond. It's about time. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the ball of fire and associated plume from the launch, but the cloudy overcast and haze defeated that notion. Still, I am rooting for Nasa, and those brave souls who dare to climb into a complicated, ungainly machine attached to a hydrogen bomb, and put their asses on the line for all mankind. May you touch the face of God, my friends, but return to share the glory with us all......

Monday, July 25, 2005

Journalistic cowardice

I have become rather angry at the journalistic profession lately. Not because of any perceived bias, not because of an increase in emphasis over entertainment versus news, but for the shameful cowardice the profession is demonstrating in not standing up as a group, as an institution, for their colleague now rotting in a jail cell for her steadfast refusal to reveal a confidential source. The fact that another reporter released the information that she is being jailed for makes this debacle even more maddening. This is a clear cut case of prosecutorial malfeasance and a direct attack on the publics right to know.
Once a reporter's word is rendered meaningless, where do you think we are going to find out what the government and other parties who have a direct impact on our lives are doing behind our backs?
Gentlemen, it's time for you to step up to the plate and take your oaths to your profession seriously. If you all fail to hang together, you will certainly hang separately. I think it is time for you as a group to stage a demonstration of solidarity with this reporter, who has selflessly faced the real possibility of losing her freedom, in order to protect YOURS, as well as ours.
I for one would like to see every news reporter in this country walk off the job, and let the American public see what it's like to have no information whatsoever about what's going on in this country, even the world. See how long they can go in complete ignorance before they start howling at our legislators to do something about this. Then, maybe, you can return some measure of honor and pride to your profession, which without, all our liberties would truly be in peril.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

An OS by any other name would stink as bad.....

Microsoft, the people who have brought you the pathetic imitation of Apple's operating systems, now known as OSX, now are about ready to release the long awaited Windows OS, code-named LONGHORN, as Windows VISTA. It was an ambitious project, Microsoft's attempt to release an operating system sometime in this century, that might somehow compete with OSX in user friendliness, stability, etc, had to scale back it's ambitions in order to get something out the door, so half of the features this new OS might have employed in the OS wars against Apple have had to be left out for now, lest PC users come to the long overdue conclusion that Microsoft hasn't a clue as to how to create something that "just works".
As a favorite target of hackers and miscreants the world over, the Windows Operating System has always been a hapless construct of bad code patched over and over again in a vain attempt to keep it capable of running more than a day before the viruses and trojan horses have rendered it worthless, at best, or a vehicle for identity theft at worst. Anyone who has used a PC for any amount of time is quit familiar with such terms as CRASH, REBOOT, INFECTED, etc. Wouldn't it be equally wonderful if every car you bought required a special add-on every week or two in order to keep it from exploding, and wouldn't it be even more thrilling if you had to shell out hard-earned bucks in order to pay for these add-ons? I speak of anti-virus programs and special firewall programs most Windows users spend millions of dollars each year in order to protect their PC's from Windows vulnerabilities. Well, if you are allergic to such drama, consider this. Macintosh users do not have to worry about such things. We turn our computers on, go surfing the net, plug things in, and (You might not believe this, but it's true) they just work. No antivirus programs, no patches every five minutes, no mayhem.......Apple's just work.
So, we who have for years known the peace of angst free computing welcome Microsoft's new efforts in bamboozling it's clueless customers with yet another operating system sure to continue the long tradition of Winblows dominance. It can only make an Imac look even better.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Unbearable Darkness of "New" Rock

When i am forced to listen to the alternative rock station in my car for lack of anything else, I have become increasingly aware that I have not heard a happy song in I don't know how long. Everything is Anger, heartbreak, angst, or simply shallow anarchy. And that's not including rap. What in the hell has happened? Has peace, love, some illusion of happiness been replaced by hopelessness, disrespect, anger, sneering, or utter chaos? Everything I hear sounds more like a reason to commit suicide than to commit to anything joyful. No wonder all teens seem to want to do anymore is sit on the couch muttering that life is already over, let's go kill something.......sheesh!
I want to hear someone do something totally radical, revolutionary, in the face rebellious! Dare to insert the words, "I love you" in a song.........have you got the guts? Of course, I realize you have to make the lyrics almost totally unintelligible, loud, insanely fast, with lots of profanity (or their associated BLEEPS) and disrespect for women and your elders to get airplay, but hey, whatever it takes, right? Just slyly slip those three terribly boring and old fashioned words in there somewhere........then sit back and watch your fans go.....WTF did they say? Then, all of a sudden, it will be the latest fad, you will be proclaimed the saviors of rock, and you can rack in the bucks. I's all about the money, right?
Or, just once, you can just write a good song. That says something, shall I dare say....meaningfull. Without the cloak of anger or darkness you think you have to wrap yourselves in to get airplay. It might accidently get on the air. Now, wouldn't THAT be a happy accident?!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

You know you've really made it when.......

they mint a coin in your honor! Congradulations, Buffalo, old buddy, you have been memorialized, and you haven't even kicked the bucket yet!

On Hold

Well, seems like I might have lost what little audience I have. Two chapters of a new story and not a peep out of anyone. Well, I guess I will strive to find something a bit more exciting (now, just where in MY life am I going to find THAT?) to post, and just put the story on hold for now.

In the meantime, here's my tribute to THE band.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Blind Eye of God

Chapter Two.

The last of the staff, minus the Chaplain, was dashing up the corridor as Carlson turned into the wardroom. He made his way to the head of the table with the thick report in his hand as everybody elbowed their way into there space at the table. He saw that his Exec had his own copy with him, and he cleared his throat as the officers quieted and turned their heads towards him. "Well, I don't know what you've heard so far, but it looks like we have a problem. A BIG one. Sensors are picking up data that seems to indicate our planet ahead may be inhabited, and that does not jive with what the initial survey report is supposed to have said. XO (which is short hand for Executive Officer), is there anything in your copy of the survey that mentions this anomaly?"
Stark stared directly at Carlson and did not hesitate, "Captain, my report says we have virgin soil ahead, perfect for colonization. No mention of any kind of sentient occupation. That probe had to be totally blind not to see what these sensor reports are bringing back. I think somebody screwed up big time long before we left Earth orbit!"
Carlson held up his hand to mute the mumblings going on...."OK, then, I guess we alter the insertion course just a tad to distance our orbit, in case these people down there can see above them, and hold until I can get a message back to Mission Command. I hate to say it guys, but it looks like somebody back home just blew a few billion dollars. Nav, "he said, turning to his Navigation Officer, "are you 100% SURE nothing happened during our jump to make us appear somewhere else?"
"I'm positive, Captain, we are where we're supposed to be, and besides, other than the new data, everything else matches up perfectly with the probe info. There's no way in hell another planet altogether could have the same identical land masses that this one has. This IS the planet we were sent to claim!"
Carlson frowned, and was about to dismiss them, when the Chaplain made his first appearance, strolling into the wardroom and looking around in puzzlement. "You mean there was a party and I wasn't invited?", he tried joking, "Hello, Captain, sorry it took me so long to recover......anything exciting going on?" Everybody just glanced at each other, then back at the Captain. "Well, no, unless you consider a ruined mission exciting, Padre," quipped Carlson. "OK, everybody back to stations; we're going into surveillance mode until I can get new orders."
The Chaplain worked his way past the exiting staff members and stood next to the Captain, waiting for the room to empty. Carlson stared at him, wondering how much of his time the Padre was going to waste. However, the look on his face of impatience was replaced with puzzlement as the Chaplain spoke in a low voice, leaning past Carlson's shoulder, as tho he wanted no one else to hear. "Captain, you won't be needing to send any messages, I need to speak with you in your stateroom concerning a change in mission profile. You were not informed before departure concerning these new facts for a good reason, which I was briefed on and will relay to you now that the cat's out of the bag, so to speak. After you, Sir...."
Carlson stood stock still for a second, staring incredulously at his Chaplain, a man responsible for the spiritual well-being of his crew, not one expected to be privy to secret, off the book orders. He knew as well as anyone that Chaplains now operated pretty much like the political officers of the old communist regimes of the 20th century, placed there as much to keep an eye on loyalites as much as preaching the gospel. But this was a blatant bypass of the chain of command that Carlson was not going to accept without a damn good explanation. But for now he needed to know what the Padre knew, so he wheeled around, and headed for his stateroom at a fast clip, the Chaplain right on his heels.
The Captain closed the cabin door and pointed the good Reverend, LCDR Polson, to the chair on the other side of his small desk, sat down, and leaned forward. "OK, Padre, spit it out! I want to know what the hell is going on! Since when is the Captain of a space frigate the last one knowing what's going on with his own ship? This better be good, is all I can say!"
"Captain, " said the Padre, with a pained look on his face, "I can fully understand why you'd be upset. I follow orders just like you, and my orders were to brief you on the mission as soon as we cleared the jump. I'm sorry you discovered the anomalies before I could recover from the jump effects, I truly am. At any rate, I need to tell you something that has been kept from the general population, including most of the space service. This is Top Secret information that even I was unaware of until I was briefed by the UN directorate. It seems that our probes haven't been finding anything livable for some time now, with only a total of 3 planets that come anywhere close to being habitable, much less productive. Orion 5 has proven to rich in resources, mineral resources, that is, but the air is barely breathable and we've got just one base at the south pole where the temperatures can enable us to stay there. Capra 3 has two very small continents, so we can fish to our hearts' content, but there's not alot of dry land to colonize. This planet was the first we've found in 438 probes that resembles Earth, and frankly, we just can't afford very much more poking around in the dark before we have to shut down the deep space program altogether. Trouble is, if we do, we all die, because the environmental forecast gives us maybe 50 years before Earth becomes unlivable due to elevated temperatures and environmental collapse. We have no choice but to take what we can get, and that throws the whole "prime directive" idea right out the window."
Carlson soaked all this up calmly, at least on the outside, but inside his mind was racing. The Earth was in it's death throes? Anybody with any sense knew this was happening for decades now, so who did UN Directorate think THEY were fooling? Environmentalists had been sounding the alarm as far back as the beginning of the last century, yet conservative governments prospered and suppressed the whole idea that things would ever get that bad. That would have been bad for business. Yet now they were telling him that it was a sham, and that he was out here to find real estate, whether it was already occupied or not. Images of the trail of tears, an ancient tragedy his ancestors had endured, passed thru his mind as he comprehended what was happening.
"So, Padre, what you are telling me is that UNSC knew damn well this planet was occupied by a race of sentient beings and decided to send us out here anyway, only they thought if they sent you along to instruct me to invade this place, I would just smile and say "Yes Sir!" ? And did they honestly think I would just that easily overlook everything I was taught about my oath, to protect and defend the ideals spelled out in the New World Constitution, and merrily ignore all that by blindly following what are obviously illegal orders? Go ahead, I'm sure they told you something inspiring to lay on me when I questioned all this!"
The Chaplain sat back, interlaced his fingers, and stared hard at the Captain. If he had thought this was going to be easy, he knew better now, and yes, he DID have something to "lay on" the Captain, and the services most decorated space farer wasn't going to like it.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Blind Eye of God

Chapter One.

The UNSC Frigate Faithful had been coasting on it's intercept course for two weeks now, which was about how long it was taking for the crew to overcome the ill effects of the jump from the Sol System. Something about penetrating a fold in space to exit one point in space to enter another millions of miles away was not kind to the human body. Despite being drugged into unconsciousness and pumped full of anti-nausea medicine, it took forever to overcome the disorientation the effect produced. Without computer automation and carefully plotted trajectories thru the jump effect, a ship would smack into something while it's crew puked it's collective guts out.
The Captain of Faithful was finally feeling up to getting on his uniform and taking to the bridge. The officer of the deck and his Exec was already running a post jump status check when he strolled into the cabin with a hot mug of coffee. If the Bridge had been fully manned, a hastily shouted "Captain on the Bridge!" might have been in order, but the two men were to focused on more important duties than protocol. If some sort of shit was about to hit the fan, now was the time to find it and fix it before it killed them all. "Well, Bob, anything fall off yet?" Captain Carlson asked his second, Commander Robert Stark. "No, Sir, everything seems green across the board, not even an blown fuse. We seem to be blessed this time out."
The Faithful had four jumps under her belt, and the third had been a challenge. She had passed thru a small, thin dust cloud right after the jump, and the shield generator had blown under the pressure of pushing thru so much solid matter in such a short time. Only the fact that it had happened just as they cleared the cloud had kept them from sustaining more punctures and the associated havoc that came with it. Only the professionalism of a well trained damage control team saved the ship, but not without the loss of systems crucial to the mission. It took two years of refit to return faithful to duty.
Carlson called up the system map on his console and was pleased to see they were close enough to their destination for a long range scan. He called up the surveillance module and saw that the mappers were 85% manned and were already collecting data, so he headed back to his stateroom to review his mission orders and get ready for the evening meal, which would be the first time he was confident he'd be able to keep down a decent meal.
Most of the ship's officers were seated when the Captain entered the Wardroom, and as Carlson took his customary seat at the head of the table, he noted the absence of the Chaplain. "So", he observed, "I take it someone's prayers haven't been usual." This elicited some chuckles from around the table, as the Chaplain had become a source of scorn and amusement amongst the "real" officers of Faithful. "No Sir, Cap, he's still praying to the porcelain deity to return him his stomach!" quipped the Communications Officer, Lieutenant Commander Randy "Buzz-word" Macky. Laughter erupted as they all dug into their meals. Carlson smiled, trusting them to keep their disdain to themselves once the Chaplain started moving around the ship and getting into everybody's business, which he was quite good at doing.
He had finished up his meal and was making his way back to his stateroom when his com-link pinged and the Cartography Chief came on the line. "Captain, I think you should get down here, we seem to be having some problems with the mapping returns.....we're getting readings that we shouldn't." "Be right there, Chief", Carlson replied, and turned into a drop tube to head down towards the forward keel section where the sensors section was quartered.
The guy who looked far to young to be a Chief Petty Officer was glancing back and forth between the monitors and a notepad computer he held in his hands, and frowning. Carlson waved down the techs before they could all rise to attention and sauntered over to his best sensor man. "OK, Chief, what's going on?" Stanley Mabotu handed him the tablet and waved towards the rows of monitors that only a geek could hope to understand. "Sir, this survey said we have a primo planet down there, no life forms more advanced than a lemur, no sentient beings at all, but everything I'm getting from sensors says otherwise. Nothing flat out obvious concerning industrialization, but there are trace elements, there are roads, we are even getting some faint radio transmissions. Sir, we haven't gotten close enough for high rez yet, but I can tell you right now with some certainty that we are going to find people down there, probably a lot of them, so either we took a wrong turn somewhere or somebody lied to us!"
Carlson had learned alot about sensors simply thru osmosis, and could make some sense of some of the monitors and their lines of code and jagged lines, and he could plainly see what was upsetting his Chief. Half of the readings they were displaying had to be impossible if the survey had even been done by a crew of monkeys. All he could do for now was call a meeting of the staff and try and find out what was happening. "Carry on, Chief, make sure you record and archive everything you get and keep my apprised." He turned around and headed back to his stateroom to retrieve his own copy of the initial survey report, and called his officers back to the wardroom via com-link, instructing them to keep their departments on their toes while he grilled them all for some sort of explanation. He hoped like hell his Maneuvering Officer didn't just commit one of the worst jump miscalculations ever to have been survived.......this mission and alot of officers careers, including his own, was beginning to look bleak.

A Spade is a Spade.....

You can take the nation to war under false pretenses.......ah shucks. You can put the nation into the largest debt it's ever seen, from the first surplus, no less......oh well. The man most responsible for getting you elected can expose a CIA agent in retaliation for having your intelligence spin revealed........big deal.

Get caught with your pants down.......IMPEACHMENT!

Am I missing something here?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

In the name of God

This which I tell you, this which I show you in this book, is the word of God. God favors us, the righteous, and he commands us to convert the infidels, or slay them. There are no innocents. If you die in the service of God, you will be rewarded in heaven.

You may think the above is a mindset unique to the Islamic way of thinking. You'd be wrong. There are many "Christians" who think the Lord Almighty hands to them pretty much the same directive. They might paint their justifications in a slightly different color, but when it all boils down to it......a bomb is a bomb.

Bombs are indiscrimament. They do not distinguish between the righteous and the favored. They simply do their thing, they blow up. Park a Pope next to one, and he dies. Same for a Mullah. Or a three year old toddler.

What makes me laugh at these pathetic excuses for sentient beings is the great big, all-so-obvious question you will never hear them answer: If this big bad God of theirs who wants things done just so is really so Omnipotent.......what in the hell does he need them for? They claim he knows all, sees all, is capable of anything, yet they pay him the worst blasphemy imaginable.......that he isn't capable of setting things right himself.

Imagine if you will, the devout suicide bomber showing up at the palace of Allah, expecting his 70 virgins. Imagine said idiot getting his 70 virgins.......virginal for good reason. Imagine getting to share all eternity in the company of the ugliest, foulest and shrillest champion naggers of all time. Imagine them all having been murdered by him or his companions, or having had a loved one die by his methods.

Do you truly dare claim to know the mind of God?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A letter I could have done without......

During my entry concerning my 5th annual 45th birthday, my good Bloging buddy Buffalo made a snide comment about recieving my AARP card. Well, Buf, you psychic SOB, it came. Hope you're happy! lol!

And stop laughing, you youngsters, your time is coming!

Monday, July 11, 2005


They now make a diet cherry vanilla Dr. Pepper. Diet. That's it. No regular, just diet. Somebody at product developement is going to have to die for this!

Evolution of a Shade Garden

When you never seem to have a lot of disposable income, landscaping an acre of Florida sand can seem to take forever, and it generates a whole bunch of sweat, not to mention sore muscles and some sunburn. But, when you see your efforts start to take shape, it is indeed all worth it.
Now, as your typical husband, it is incumbant upon me to do the heavy work, hauling timbers, hammering in the spikes, hauling dirt and mulch, while the wife wields the rake and hoe, crafting my grunt work into something soothing and natural. If truth be told, I think she actually puts in more work overall, and being the brains behind the outfit, at least when it comes to design, she gets credit for authoring the story I help her write.

The terrace garden sculpted into the side of the septic mound was initially installed using the bounty of small logs derived from the many trees I had to clear. But nature has it's way, and those logs have since been degraded by rot and bugs and age. So now we are doing it right with treated timbers, which means money, which means it's going to take awhile. But, as you can see, it's getting there. The wife has lots of herbs she has cultivated here, and we use them with our cooking. When the bottom teir is completed, she wants to try strawberries.

In the grand scheme of things, we don't have alot. Yet, in the grand scheme of things, we have it all. It's just a matter of taking what you do have and putting your soul into it, making it your own.

The goats, who own the back half, lust after this lush little paradise we are crafting, as they have pretty much made a wasteland of their area. But, now the time they have saved me from mowing is now being spent improving our shade garden.

So, there you have it, the evolution of our simple little shade garden beneath the four oak trees, guest starring the terrace garden, a work again in progress. I hope you enjoyed your visit as much as we had bringing it to you.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The End......

Well, there you have it, my friends, the final chapter of my online short story. I hope the ending was sufficiently out there to have been a true surprise. I couldn't bare to have had the butler do Anyway, feel free to tell me what you think of it, good, bad or indifferent. I doubt you'll ever see it in print, but it was fun to write nonetheless. Stay tuned for my next thriller, something having to do with a goat, a stripper, a baptist preacher, and a Miss America Pageant gone horribly wrong.
He he.....just kidding!

A Crossing of Paths

Chapter Ten.

into the living room....Sur's living room....but it was different. The wild eclectic mix of art and furnishings that had grown on her now had a new flavor to it......her own. Instead of portraits and candids of strangers, there were now those of the people she knew and loved, past and present, her Parents, her late husband Daniel, other friends and family. The couch she had sat on facing Sur's commanding throne had been replaced with the overstuffed antique she had hauled with her everywhere she had moved, but the throne remained in it's place of honor, tho now it had a wide black ribbon across the back of the chair. On the seat of the throne lay a book, with the words "Guest Book" in fine gold calligraphy.
Many of Sur's strange erotic sculptures were mixed in with Melissa's own more muted pieces, and as she gazed about in confusion and wonder, it all seemed perfectly natural, just the way she would have had it. She wondered around the bar into the kitchen to see that she had a more commanding impact, with all of her personal appliances parked on the countertops and the island, including her expensive set of German cutlery. It was all as it should be, only Melissa couldn't quite remember it being this way, and she ran back into the bedroom, easily found a pair of jeans and a top, got dressed quickly, and ran out the door.
Her car was parked in front, instead of back at her house where she last remembered leaving it, but she dismissed the odd fact and hopped in, throwing gravel as she tore out of the drive and onto the road, heading towards her house. Within a few bone-jaring seconds, driving hell-bent down the bad road, she had to suddenly stand on the brakes as she almost ran into a metal gate barring the road where her property began. A fading and badly painted sign was hung from the gate, declaring "PROPERTY CONDEMMED........NO TRESPASSING" Melissa was shaking now, frightened at the turn her life had taken, as she walked up to the gate and tried to pull it open, only to be defeated by a rusted padlock and chain. Totally frustrated, she growled and climbed over the gate, hitting the ground running as she sprinted the remaining quarter mile.
She came up short, breathing heavy from the exertion, and stared at the carnage that once was her home. It was now nothing but the charred remains of a house that had burned, with no fire department to save it, a black and ashen mess of what was once a fine residence. Melissa edged forward, stepping over the burnt wreckage, which appeared to have been in this state for quite some time, not warm and smoking from an overnight fire. Even the smell of burnt wood was muted, and it even seemed to have rained on the place many times since the fire. Picking her way in a daze thru this impossibility, she glanced down and stop suddenly, almost toppling over into a dark pit that occupied the back half of the house, where the floor had burned thru to reveal the basement she now knew for certain was there but had never visited.....or had she?
She drew in a sharp breath as she began to form a picture in her mind, which she compared with the burnt remains of various pieces of strange furniture and benches scattered about the pit, the blackened chains that lay on the sooty floor, and then zeroed in on what was left of the simple rail she knew so well, two posts and a cross beam, heavily charred but still recognizable. That was where she had been broken, her demons released, her spirit freed from a self-imposed prison. But how could any of that have happened, how could her house be in this state, and why had she awoken in the cabin this morning? She knew why, much like a phrase sits right on the tip of someone's tongue when they struggle to find a word, but it was creeping back ever so slowly. With a cry, she turned and ran back down the road, heading back to the cabin.
She ran back thru the door she had left wide open and screamed out, "Sur, Sur, where are you, what is happening to me?!" She was greeted by silence, and she did not scream out again, for as she twirled around, staring at her new reality, her eyes fell upon the guest book sitting on Sur's chair. Shaking, she crept over and picked it up, opening the leather cover to reveal cream colored pages filled with signatures and comments.........

Sur, my dear Sir, I will never cut again, thanks to you! All my love, Stephanie

My husband gets back the girl he always deserved, thank you, my teacher. Grace

You are the cruelest man a girl could ever hope for, Sur, thank you for your kindness! Brigit

and on and on, a testimony to the special "counseling" ability that Sur had laid claim to. Then, halfway thru the book, she encountered a folded up and yellowing page of newspaper, which she removed and carefully unfolded. Near the top was a newsprint photo of the smoldering ruins of the house she had been living in, or thought she had. The leading caption declared "Arson determined in House fire deaths of local man and companion". She read on, a tear starting to form at the edge of her eye, of how Sur Thomas, a somewhat infamous recluse, and a female visitor, had both died in the fire that had been started by the liberal use of kerosene by a man who made little effort to make it look accidental. She found a second folded up page from a later edition that spoke of the arrest of a local bible-thumping crazy that had bragged to some close friends that he had sent God that "heathen devil worshipper and his homosexual orgy den". He was later convicted, easily, of murder, with the classification of hate crime tacked on for good measure, by a jury of his peers.
As Melissa wondered throughout the house, she found more and more evidence that she had lived in this cabin since she had moved from back East, had bought it and not the house she had, what, dreamed she'd been living in all this time? And she discovered her answering machine, full of messages from Kay, her agent, concerned friends asking about her, and a few frantic ones from her brother. And so, as she soaked it all in, it all came back to her, the truth of how she had picked the cabin out from the internet, moved out just as she thought she had to the other house, went to bed the first night, and began her strange journey of redemption with the aid of a stern, cruel, and yet most kindly gentlemen who broke thru her wall of denial and freed her to grieve for her losses. Then, looking out the window over the kitchen sink, there in the back of the cabin, she saw the grave and the stone marker. She slowly walked outside, into the sunlight, knelt down over the grave and read the name of her benefactor.....Sur Thomas. With a gentle smile, and a single tear that dropped onto the dirt, she whispered..........

"Rumplestillskin, my dear Sur......Rumplestillskin..."

Friday, July 08, 2005

A Crossing of Paths

Chapter Nine.

Melissa felt wired, for now she awaited the approaching night with a tinge of dread, and she hadn't put down the key once since she'd gotten home. She was torn between what the key could tell her and what Sur didn't want her to know. But, dammit, she thought, this is MY house, I have every right to know what I'm walking over. Still, she couldn't escape the feeling that somehow, Sur would know if she used the key, and he might have answers the basement might not. Such a conundrum! She poured herself a healthy glass of wine, thinking she'd need it to calm down and hope to get to sleep this night, but the night had more control over her than she realized. She barely made it thru her bath before her eyelids began to droop, and she fell upon the bed, naked, still glistening from the heat of the spa........
And rapidly sucked in a deep breath as the flogger passed over her nipples, stinging both of them, causing her to jerk upwards, thus jerking on the chains connected to other, equally sensitive parts of her body. The sensations that before had been registering as simple torture were taking on a whole new aspect, as her mind tried to grapple with the mental and physical assaults her tormentor was visiting upon her. She felt almost as though she was leaving her body behind as her mind focused on the awful truths he was forcing her to face.
"Melissa", the soft voice continued next to her ear, "You expected so much of Daniel, to be like your father, who was the example you came to believe any real man should live up to, and when you realized he was just a friend, a lover who gave you only what he thought you wanted, never made any demands of you, you grew cold inside, dismissing him as a husband, and just resigned yourself to your life with him. That's why you didn't grieve, Melissa. You'd already given up on him. You hadn't lost anything, had you, dear?"
The horror of his truth hit her harder than his flogger ever did. Not only had she dismissed someone who had loved her so dearly, but she had buried her feelings so deep she had devalued both of them. Daniel hadn't had a clue that the calm of their relationship was not due to their perfect compatibility, but due to Melissa's inability to see that Daniel was not living up to her expectations.......or that she was even giving him a chance to BE the man she though a husband should be. He never had a chance to either make her happy or set her free. She had cruelly denied him that. And on top of it, he didn't rate a single tear. Melissa's shame boiled to the surface in wave after wave of heaving sobs, the tears falling like rain on the cold stone floor beneath her. Tears that should have come out years ago, for her father, for Daniel, for herself, now came in torrents, and the only pain she felt now was so deep in her soul, so overwhelming, the man could have hit her with a baseball bat and she would have not felt it.
Melissa went limp, her body spasmed as she cried like a baby, and she was not aware of the gentle hands disconnecting the chains, unwrapping the cuffs, gently removing the clamps and other devices, lowering her gently to the floor, where she curled up in a fetal position, totally ignorant of her cruel surroundings. She did not feel strong arms pick her up, hold her close and secure, and carry her up the stairs. She moaned as she was lowered gently into a warm bath, as he tended to her sore and red-streaked body, washed her sweated soaked hair, and gave her sips of juice. She did not feel him dry her tenderly, dress her in a thick terry cloth robe, and put her to bed. She did not see Sur standing over her, a sad smile on his face, fading away into the darkness as it took hold of her and returned her to her world.
The sun streamed into the bedroom and crept across her face, and Melissa awoke with a start, sitting upright in bed, looking around in panic, for she fully remembered the night before, and every torturous night that she'd been here. She thru back the covers, leapt up and ran to the mirror, examining her naked body for the marks she knew had to be there.......but weren't. Then she stared about the bedroom, shocked to notice it wasn't hers, although it was totally familiar to her. There were pictures on the nightstand...hers. She opened the closet.....her clothes. Confused, she grabbed the robe off the foot of the bed, threw it on, and dashed out into.......

Thursday, July 07, 2005


I have found it! I am so friggin proud of myself. I finally figured out how to insert links to my blogging breathren! It turns out that the template I chose for Musings didn't have a link field to begin with, so the new look is due to having switched to a template that has one, plus I figured out how to paste in the appropriate secret code found only inside a cracker jack box. Anyway, this is the third post I've made today, so be sure to scroll down to catch the latest installment of "A Crossing of Paths" as well as my birthday blog. And please, let's not make snide remarks in the vein of "any 5 year old could have figured THAT out easily!" (I know how true that is, no need to rub it

The BIG Five-Oh

It's the day after my birthday, and the big 50 has just whooped me upside the head. Well, it was gentle whoop, it's not like I hadn't seen it coming. The strange thing about being 49 was how long it seemed to last. I cannot for the life of me remember a year that seemed to pass so slowly. Maybe when you are facing a milestone as intimidating as this one, a rare subset of Einstein's theory of relativity takes effect, and you can spend a little time enjoying the very last year of your young life. I am now officially old. I do not look old (with the exception of the grey I've adopted so fondly in my beard), I do not feel old (with the exception that everything hurts some of the time, or something hurts most of the time), but I am, nonetheless, now old. I can hear my peers howling even as they read this, but they know damn well they are old too. Only I think that there is a new definition of old nowadays that dispenses with many of the assumptions of those not faced with having lived this long. It aint such a bad thing. My life is not over by a long shot. I am fairly healthy, and I would be in pretty good shape if I got off my butt more often and exercised. The only thing that really keeps me from worrying so much about that is the exercise I get at work and in the wife's garden projects at home. It's the tobacco that really has an impact on my overall health, but that's another story altogether. Needless to say, being 50 these days has a whole new look and feel to it that isn't half bad, if I may say so myself.
My sweetheart took me out to Olive Garden to celebrate and it was truly an enjoyable meal. Then we came home and watched a movie. It was a Jennifer Lopez, Richard Gere number called "Shall we dance." The guy is having something of a mid-life crisis, aka "Have I done everything I wanted to?" type of angst, and he ends up taking ballroom dancing lessons. It's all rather innocent, actually, but of course he doesn't tell the wife, and eventually she thinks he's having an affair and sics a private detective on him. Anyway, somewhere in the movie, the old quote, "Most men live lives of quiet desperation" came up, and the wife turns to me and asks, "What about you, are YOU living a life of quiet desperation?" Christ, in all honesty, how could I answer a loaded question like that? I never made it aboard the Calypso, haven't hand glided yet, never got to Australia, hell, I still haven't and doubt I ever will make it onboard a cruise ship. There are literally hundreds of things I wish I had done, wish I COULD do, but feel like my chances of ever doing them lessen with each passing year. These days I have attempted to balance these longings with being happy with what I have achieved.....the love of a good woman, a halfway decent roof over my head, never having gone hungry, a job that while trying to kill me gives me some quality time off to recover from....hell, things could be allot worse. My wife seems hellbent on assuming the middle aged crazies HAS to hit me sooner or later, no matter how much I try to assure her I haven't the strength to even consider it, but I can understand her fear, especially when I talk wistfully of hiking in Denali National Park or what it would be like to just chuck it all and move back to Alaska. Hopefully, she'll give me some credit for being happy with her before that heart attack nails me or some drunk in an SUV swerves into my lane. I love her to death.
So this is my ode to my first half-century on planet Earth. What a long, strange trip it's been. The second half, I'm sure, has things in store for me I can only imagine, but that's just half the fun of it. All I ask now is they find a better way to glue dentures in. It's the 21st century, for Christ's sake, you'd think if they could put a man on the moon........

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A Crossing of Paths

Chapter Eight

Melissa began her morning rather perturbed, for the marks on her body, now faded away, were the first real indication that something wasn't quite right during the night. Her energy had steadily declined since her arrival, and now she feared she'd been sleepwalking, although she had no history of it she was aware of. And the marks...what on earth could have caused those? She knew she could easily head for a breakdown if she didn't find some answers soon. She'd come here to escape her demons, only to have discovered new ones.
Once dressed, she ventured into the pantry, pulled back the moving shelf, and examine the secret door again. There were answers behind it, she just knew it. And that meant her mysterious neighbor, Sur, had them to, for he had claimed to have built the place, thus he had to know what lay behind it, probably even had the key. So she shoved the shelves back, left the pantry, and fixed a quick breakfast. Then, she got on the phone and tried to get ahold of Kay, the real estate agent who had found her the house, to press her concerning the house plans. She was going to ask her if a page might have been misplaced, but she was directed to voicemail, so she left a message and hung up in frustration. Well, fine, she'd just have to go straight to the source. She had a good enough excuse to pay another visit to her neighbor, might as well go for it.
This time she made no effort to dress "appropriately". She pulled on her tightest pair of low riders, put on a halter, sans a bra, let her long tresses fall as they may, and headed out the door. Maybe a little eye candy would make him a little more open with her, she reasoned. It was almost eleven AM as she walked at a brisk pace down the road towards his cabin.
As she made her way down the road, Melissa could make out a car parked in front of the cabin. "Oh, great", she thought to herself, "He's got about bad timing....crap!" She kept going, tho, and as she got closer, a woman came out of the cabin and headed to the car. Her luck got better, she thought, but there was something familiar about both the car and the visitor. Just as the woman had gotten into the car and started it up, Melissa suddenly realized who she was. It was Kay, the agent she had been trying to contact! Melissa broke into a trot, yelling for Kay to stop, but the distance and the soundproofing of the car defeated her efforts, and the auto was soon accelerating down the road and out of sight. Melissa slowed down, breathing heavily, and kept walking till she was at the foot of the cabin's porch. As usual, there were no signs of life from within the cabin, so she approached the door and announced her presence with the iron door knocker. It took her several rounds of insistent rapping with the knocker before the door swung inward and Sur, with his somewhat neutral expression behind that beard of his, presented himself.
"Back so soon, I see. I guess you came for that basket you left here yesterday, let me go get it for you." He turned, not asking her to come in, but she took it upon herself to slip in through the door behind him. As he strolled across to the kitchen, she stole in and glanced around, taking in the ambience, trying to decipher the code they spoke of this man, this stranger who was having some kind of mysterious impact on her. She turned, and he was standing there, holding the basket in his hand, a look of slight irritation betrayed on his face. Before he could urge her back out the door, she stood toe to toe with him and asked him point blank, "You built the place, Sur, tell me about the basement. Where's the key, I wasn't given one."
It was as if it was the question he was expecting and didn't want to answer. He thrust the basket into her hands and brusquely told her, "There is no basement, dear, the door simply leads into a root cellar, and no, I don't have the key. It should have been left hanging on the key-hook in the kitchen." Melissa wasn't buying his story, not with everything she'd been going through, not one bit. "Sur, please be honest with me, I think I've been having walking nightmares or something which I can't remember, and I just know it has something to do with that basement, whether you want to admit it's there or not. I'll get into the damn thing if I have to rent a back-hoe and dig it out!"
Sur, a look of resignation on his face, motioned for her to sit down and returned to the kitchen, muttering something about pains in the ass and determined women. He rummaged around in a drawer, then returned, handing her the key to the door. Then he sat down in his favorite chair, folded his hands into each other, and stared at her. Melissa stared back, waiting for his explanation. Finally the man spoke, slowly, deliberately, an edge of pleading to his voice. "Melissa, dear, there's nothing good to be found in that basement. I left things down there that, taken out of context, would not paint me in a very favorable light. I would ask that you take my word for it that it would serve both our interests if it remained locked away. I can't say anymore about it, and I'm asking you to just let it go, till such time you've known me long enough that I can explain why. If you go against my wishes, I will have no choice other than to ask you never to come here again. Either we have a deal or you can leave now."
Melissa listened to him and fought with her inclinations. She needed answers, but to get them, at least immediately, would cost her the friendship of the only person she knew within any distance, and she didn't want to invite the ire of a neighbor. So, she called it a draw, and rose from the couch, key in hand, as he continued to stare at her. Just as she reached the door, she turned and asked, "Sir, I thought I saw Kay, my real estate agent, leaving here before I arrived. I hope you aren't planning to sell the cabin as well." She was intrigued to see a flash of puzzlement cross his face before he replied, answering to her second, but not first, statement. "No, dear, I like it here just fine." Apparently Sur was as surprised as she was that Kay had been there, but Melissa just let the matter drop and headed out the door, closing it behind her.
She rolled the key around in her hand as she walked back down the road to her house. "Well, Sur, " she thought to herself, "there's more than one way to skin a cat!" The sun was well past it's zenith as she got home, and she pondered the arrival of night time with some trepidation. Had she any inkling of what the coming of darkness held for her, she might have packed a suitcase and headed back East.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Quick, get that ark built!

It's Sunday, and the monsoon season is really in full swing. No sooner do I venture out into the sandlot than a squall pounces, so nothing's getting done outdoors. The mall parking lot got flooded yesterday and the wife was lucky to make it out before the water rose. The clouds are gathering one again as I type so I think maybe some vacuuming, listening to The Redwalls, and posting is in order.
I know it's a holiday weekend, which explains why no one has posted, but dammit, I'm suffering withdrawal. No feedback on chapter seven yet, or my ghost story. Patience is a virtue.......patience is a virtue.......patience is........
Hope you guys like the pic......these little guys blend in so well it's amazing I caught him. He's probably enjoying the hell out of all this rain. So are the plants in our ever-evolving shade garden.
Well, I guess I will work on chapter eight while I have some free time on my hands. Let's just hope the trailer doesn't start floating or the power goes out.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

A Crossing of Paths

Chapter Seven

Melissa returned home feeling rather energized from having solved some, if not all, of the mystery of her neighbor, and unwittingly from the dreamless sleep she had enjoyed the night before. The evening was now advancing, so she prepared herself a light dinner, broke open a bottle of frangelico, and pondered her strange visit with the man called Sur. Of all the people she had ever encountered in her life, this one had to be the most intriguing one yet. She knew there were many more secrets to be revealed about him, if she were lucky, so she reminded herself to fashion a return visit to retrieve her basket.
After dinner, she tuned into the eclectic internet radio station she enjoyed and ran her bath. With the help of the warm embrace of the spa jets, the wine, and the music, she was soon ready to turn in for the night, but not before she attended to the tingle she was now feeling down below, beneath the frothing bubbles of the bath. By the time she was thru, she was feeling no pain, and stumbled zombie-like into her bedroom, shucking her clothes onto the floor and crawling naked between the sheets, out like a light bulb in less than a minute......
And right back where he had secured her, bent over the beam, legs splayed out, arms spread wide, her head held up by the chain attached to her hair. Her breath was ragged, beads of sweat beginning to form on her brow, as she felt the sting of his flogger across her ass. She jerked again, feeling the tug of the clamps and restraints, but not quite as violently as before, almost accepting the assaults with a resignation reserved for a sore joint or tired feet. But the anger and fear were beginning to overcome her curiosity as to what his motives were, and she twisted her face sideways to scream back at him, "I suppose you expect me to start begging you to fuck me or something, is that it, you fucking pervert?!"
"Fuck you? You honestly think I have any interest in your scrawny little ass? I can assure you, little girl, I've got better things to do with my time than getting my rocks off on some whiny little brat!" She felt the sting of the flogger as he punctuated that last with a healthy swipe, and chocked off a sob, her eyes already beginning to water from the pain and discomfort. "Then why, dammit, why are you doing this to me?"
He was suddenly next to her ear, speaking softly, gently....."Does it hurt, my dear? Can you admit the discomfort of your bondage is robbing you of your control? Admit it, something about it speaks to you, or you would have used that safe-word by now........and what is this? Is this a tear running down your face? When's the last time you felt a tear, my dear? When? Tell me....."
"I'm not a cold hearted bitch, dammit, I've cried before! You're hurting me, why wouldn't I cry, god dammit!" The words came out broken up with sobs, as she fault against them.
"Answer the question, Melissa, when did you last cry, for yourself or someone else? When was it Melissa, tell me..." His voice remained calm, but insistent.
The answer was clear, and it struck her harder than the flogger had. She couldn't remember. She shook her head attempting to clear her mind, only to be reminded of the clamps in her hair and elsewhere as she tried to shift her position. "I don't know, I can't think like this, how could anyone? Please stop it, I don't deserve this......" and Melissa could no longer hold back, as the tears and body wracking sobs shook her body.
Again, the firm but gentle voice....."Melissa, your Father died, why did you not cry for him? You didn't cry when he died, you didn't shed a tear at the funeral, and not one has come forth since. Why not, Melissa, tell me. Did you really believe that crap your mother told you about being strong for Daddy, for making him proud by not making a scene? Why did you allow her to rob you of your grief, Melissa? Why?"
She twisted about and stared him in the face, painfully, a shocked look on her face. How could he know about her Father, and how her Mother had browbeat her and her little brother into being staunch little soldiers, all for her husbands sake? She had loved her Father dearly, but he had always told them to mind their mother, and she always did what Daddy told her to do. How could this sick bastard know about that?
He struck again, not with the whip but the pain of his words,however gentle....."And what about Daniel, my dear, did he tell you not to grieve for him as well? Was Daniel such a hard ass he wouldn't let you grieve for him either? Tell me, Melissa, did you not love Daniel enough to grieve for him?"
Melissa was staggered by his accusations, yet could not answer them, could not come up thru the pain and the tears and refute him. Perhaps being obedient to her Father could have allowed her Mother to submerge her feelings the way she had, but what was her excuse with Daniel? No one had taken it upon themselves to tell her not to grieve, not to cry, not to let the loss she had suffered take it's natural course? What WAS her excuse, and how could she come to be here having to answer to a stranger, who had stripped away all her control and was even now bringing forth the pain she had avoided all these years and forcing her to deal with it? She did not have time to regain control and try to answer the questions, for it all faded rapidly away as it always had, leaving her wide awake, soaked in sweat, with strange reddish marks on her wrists and ankles, and light pink streaks fading into her skin all over.......leaving her for the first time frightened by what unknown thing had happened to her in the night.

All good pick-up trucks go to heaven

If memory serves me, and at this late stage that is one big if, it was the summer of 72, in Fairbanks, Alaska, when I had my most convincing encounter with the paranormal. My good buddy Davey had gotten his hands on a Honda something or other, and we were headed down some nameless dirt road, him driving, me on the back hanging on for dear life. It must have been late in the summer and even later at night, for the sun was actually far enough below the horizon to cloak the landscape in deep twilight, enough so to have to use the headlight. We had heard there was some party going on at a gravel pit somewhere down that road, and kids our age NEVER avoided a situation involving girls and intoxicants.
Anyway, I'm peering over his shoulder, hoping to be able to perhaps leap from the bike should I see Davey heading for some immovable object, when an old pick-up truck drove across the road maybe fifty feet ahead of us. It was one of those old bulbous streamlined beauties of yesteryear, circa early fifties I imagined. Although I don't think I noticed at the time, the truck wasn't using it's own headlights and it was just out of reach of our own puny headlight, but it was clearly visible, albeit in a sort of colorless moonlit sort of way. It wasn't until we passed the location of the trucks' crossing did we realize something was amiss.
As we roared past, we both looked to the right and saw an old, abandoned, rotting, falling apart filling station that had seen better days, those days apparently being long before either of us were born. Old rusting pumps, the kinds that had the glass bowls, were still standing, if not exactly straight, in front. The attached garage had collapsed into itself, the peak of the roof now inverted and sitting in the bed of........get this.........the very truck we had seen driving across the road ahead of us. The rubber of the tires had given up their mission long ago, sitting collapsed on the rims. Both headlights busted out, the windshield cracked and filthy. A neglected relic of another era.
A chill went down my spine, and I leaned forward and yelled over Davey's shoulder....."Davey, did you see what I just saw?" "Yea, man, that's just too fucking weird!" He yelled back. OK, I wasn't convinced we were on the same page, so I poked his shoulder and yelled at him to stop the bike. He slowed and pulled over, and I got off the back and stood next to him. "What did YOU see, Davey?" He looked at me a tad bit wild eyed and said, "I swear to God I saw that truck drive across the road!" I stared at him and said, "Let's go back, I gotta see this." His eyes got a bit wider and he shook his head..."No fucking way, I aint going back there!" "Awe, comon, piss ant (I didn't usually have the luxury of calling Davey a piss ant, but I suddenly had license if he of all people was scared), what, you afraid that trucks gonna run you over? I want to see where it went!"
Well, no way was Davey gonna wimp out in front of me, so we turned around and puttered back to the station, and stared at the old wreck, and then to the other side of the road where we'd both seen the truck go in the dim light. We could make out what might have been evidence of an old driveway or something leading into the woods, but it had been long overgrown. So we both shrugged our shoulders, got back on the bike, and continued our journey to the gravel pit, both of us silent, pondering the mystery of our shared experience. If I had been the only one of this motley pair to have seen this apparition, I would have chalked it up to a trick of the dim light, but I had not told Davey what I saw, and he had confirmed on his own what had transpired ahead of us. So, there you have it, my encounter with the paranormal, not with an ethereal human figure, but the ghost of an old pick-up truck, which in retrospect, HAD to have been a Ford. I have yet to have owned one that gave up on life that easily.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Another Vacation

Well, another excuse to take another week off. It's going to be my fifth annual 45th. One of the twins and her new husband were supposed to be up for the weekend, but she begged off with a migraine. Oh well, more time to write. And work on my wife's landscaping projects. I thought I had mulched every fucking thing in sight, but she managed to rake up more leaves, so I guess I will shred their little asses to.
The blogs have been excellent this week, especially Buffalo's and Shandi's. And I have discovered Bloggers' new picture upload feature so I'll have to grab my trusty digi and find something blog-worthy to include with my posts. Prepare to yawn. I will see what I can recall about my encounter with the paranormal back in Alaska, but I really need to whip up the next chapter of "A crossing of Paths", so I will get that up and get around to the spooky stuff later.
See you guys tomorrow.