Thursday, November 3, 2011

Somthing Gnu

While Eliza busied herself trying to jump atop the gnu, the safari guide settled under a bush to sneak a nap. The guide, whose name is Chakta, was a native of the Republic of Congo. He was also the tallest pygmy of his tribe. He had learned English in England where he had attended Oxford on scholarship. After he had earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in general studies, he returned to the Congo and became a safari guide. Soloman's Safari Spectacular, for whom he worked, could care less about his degree. His ability to speak several languages was what got him the job. The pay was lousy. It was the tourist's gratuities that made up for the minimal salary.

Chakta looked over at Eliza one last time before beginning his nap. She was hanging sideways off the gnu. She had one leg over the animals back while she hugged the gnu's neck. She lost her grip and fell on her rump. She got up immediately and lunged hands first across the beast. She laid there momentarily before attempting to swing a leg around to sit atop the animal. As soon as she moved, so did the gnu, and she was once again thrown to the ground. Chakta smiled to himself at her inability to mount the beast. He shut his eyes and fell right asleep.

Eliza's husband, Jimmy Pernell, approached her and offered his hand to help her back to her feet. "Don't you think," he said, "that it would be easier if you put a saddle on him?"

On her feet, Eliza brushed dirt off her bottom, and glared at Jimmy. "Do you have a gnu saddle?"

"Does it have to be new?" Jimmy jokes.

"Oh, aint you the clever one. You know what I mean."

Smiling, Jimmy starts to says, "No, I don't have one. We should have stopped in the Used Gnu Saddle Shop..."

" opposed to the New Gnu Saddle Shop?" she finished.

Jimmy adds, "Either there or the New and Used Gnu and Ewes Supply Depot."

"Is that for new gnus and used ewes or for new ewes and used gnus?"

"Any combination will do. They even clothe nude ewes and gnus for you."

"If the new gnu knew nude ewes use used shoes, they would want a pair too."

"Why would the gnus choose shoes when what they need is a saddle."

"I don't know. I'll have to ask them."

And she did.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Boy and His Dragon (Part 6)

(Let's see how far I get this time.)

Barnicus arrived back at his home just before sunrise. He went straight to his sons bed to awaken them. Annabella woke upon hearing her father return. As Barnicus shook his sons, Annabella lit a lamp to illuminate their cabin. The father turned to Annabella and said, "Good morning, little one, are you ready to start the day?"

Annabella looked out a window and saw the beginning trace of morning sun erasing the starry sky. "Father, we were not expecting you so early. Did your business go well?"

"Yes, I'll talk about it in a while. How about getting a fire going and fix some food for us?"

The brothers greet their father and go outside to relieve themselves. Annabella added fresh tinder and wood to the cold hearth, struck a spark and watched as a tiny ember grew into a flame. Soon a healthy fire warmed the room. When the brothers came back in, Annabella excused herself and went out for her morning constitution.

When Annabella reentered the cabin, she found her father and brothers pulling their old fishing net from the wall. Not used in nearly two years, since the days they lived on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, the huge net was now merely a decorative wall fixture. They examined the net for rips and defects as they folded it in the middle of the room. "Looks good," Barnicus said.

Annabella had cut a big slab of venison from the smokehouse next their cabin. She put the meat on a spit and hung it over the fire. As she tended the meat, her father stood aside her.

"I have some bad news," he said. Annabella turned and looked up to his face. "Your friend downstream has deceived you. He is not an innocent. His is wanted for the murder of two Roman Officers. I had heard a variation of the story he told you, and I wanted to know the factual account of the tale. That was the purpose of my outing. I traveled to where the closest representative of Rome is posted. I checked his story and found that he was unprovoked in his attack. No cruelty had been done to his family. There was no rapes. No butchering. His family is well and still resides on the same farm where the boy committed the murders."

"But that does not make sense. Why would he kill anyone?"

"There are two possible explanations. The first would be that the boy had honed his archery skills to such perfection that mere targets and small game no longer satisfied him. He wanted to see how it was to hunt humans."

Annabella shook her head. "Are you saying he just decided to hunt down Romans? That his appetite for the hunt so consumed him that he sought out Officers of Rome?"

"No, the Roman Officers were at his farm. They merely stopped there to water their horses and stretch their legs. The Officers posed no threat, but the boy responded as if they did."

"An spur of the moment killing just for the sport of it?" Annabella said. "That does not sound like something the boy I talked to would do."

"Well, that is one theory anyways. The second is that he thought the Officers were there to repossess his home, leave him and his family homeless. The family did owe back taxes. Not enough to warrent seizure of their property. Maybe the boy did not know this. Things can be blown out of proportion in a young boy's mind. He may have attacked believing that disaster would befall his family if he did not strike first."

"But why would he tell his family was slaughtered?"

"Perhaps that is the only way he can justify what he did. If he tells the same lie enough times, he could end up believing it to be true."

"You going after him, aren't you?"

"Yes. Your brothers and I going to bring the boy in for trial." Barnicus took Annabella by the shoulders and looked into her eyes. "I promise you the boy will be treated fairly."

"He'll be executed!" Annabella cried.

"No, he won't. He may be enslaved for several years. He will pay a price for his crimes. But because of his youth, they will not execute him. The worse that would happen is ten or twelve years as a galley slave or mine worker."

"Ten or twelve years?!!"

"It's not as long as it sounds. It only seems long to you because of your youth. Trust me, he will be free by the time he turns thirty. And that is totally free. No longer will he be pursued by the law. He can start his life anew."

Annabella hated to see anything happen to the boy. She felt sorry for what woud soon befall him. Then she thought about the dragon. "And what will happen to his Dragon?"

"We'll take care of the beast if you like. Bring it back here where you can feed and tend it."

Barnicus knew the thought of having the dragon would ease Annabella's concerns for the boy. But the truth of the matter was that Barnicus could care less if they capture the boy. The dragon was the prize. He would offer the boy his freedom in exchange for the dragon. If the boy did not agree, then he would have to kill the outlaw boy and claim the dragon as reward. In either case, his daughter would only hear that the boy got away.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Boy and His Dragon (Part 5)

(Here we go again...)

On the third night that the boy and his dragon were bedding down in the same clearing, he reflected on the day's events. Annabella had spent another morning with him and Ambernia. He enjoyed her visit, but was also leery of her. He felt that Annabella preferred his dragon's company to his, and that sparked a bit of jealousy in the boy, an emotion with which he was unfamiliar. Then there was that thing about her father being an ex-soldier. Although, she barely spoke about her father's military allegiance, she did imply he was a loyal Roman. He may have left his command to tend to his family, but there was no doubt that he preferred a soldier's life. And it was that soldier side of her father that caused the boy to worry. The boy regretted having revealed to Annabella how his family had ended.

When he learned that the men in Annabella's family hunted for a living, the boy wished he had not abandoned his archery equipment. When he set fire to his parents home, he had left inside his bow and quiver. It was his archery talents——since age five he could outshoot the best of adults——that caused the death of his loved ones. If he had only held his temper and not killed the Roman officers, his family would still live on. True, his mother and sister had been raped, yet he would rather have them alive and defiled than dead and avenged. He had not held a bow in two years, yet when hearing Annabella brag on her brothers skills, he longed to draw on a target, if only to show off his accuracy to Annabella. The boy was also skilled with a sling. It was the way he has hunted for the past two years. He had the same eye with a sling as he had with a bow, but a sling did not always provide a kill shot. Sometimes the game would recover from the slung projectile and scamper off before the boy could reload and take a second aim. This was alright with the boy, it felt like he was allowing the animal a second chance. Everyone deserves a second chance.

He thought about the killings less and less in the last two years. He had only been eleven when his life had abruptly changed, and he knew he would handle the situation completely differently now that he was the older and wiser age of thirteen. Yet, things being the way they were, he felt he had earned his second chance through his actions since that fateful day. He did not seek out the soldiers who killed his family. To be fair, if he happened on to them he still would demand retribution. He sought them naught, and if it be he that was still sought, he no longer warranted the attention. It was strange that the boy did not fantasize his revenge. It was the symbiosis between the boy and the dragon that created the boy's impassive regard to his past. Had it not been for Ambernia, the boy's thoughts would have tortured him to the edge of sanity; constantly reliving those last days on the olive farm. The boy only had an inkling of an idea on the effect of the dragon. He knew Ambernia had magically mended his broken leg. He did not know Ambernia had also mended his broken psyche.

He weighed his feelings towards Annabella. He was definitely attracted to the girl, yet she appeared not to have the return attraction. She seemed to be more interested in Ambernia than him. He wondered if he could win her over. That was doubtful. Even if he felt equal to Annabella, he believed she thought of his as a child. She was two years his elder. Two years would never be taken into account if they were in their twenties, but being thirteen and fifteen, their maturity was decades apart. At least, that was how Annabella acted towards him. On this second day spent together, she still had not asked his name. The boy felt slighted at this.

While the boy was thinking about her, Annabella was awake in her cabin. She listened to the snores of her brothers as she laid close eyed in her bed. She had told her siblings about riding the dragon that day. They congratulated her, but they did not share in her enthusiasm. They were more concerned about besting each other in their next contest. Quickly, the conversation turned back to which brother would outdo the other on the morrow. Unchecked by their father, the brothers argued for hours until bedtime. Annabella loved her brothers, but at times they could really get on her nerves. Falling asleep to their rhythmic snoring, Annabella began dreaming immediately. In her dream, it was her family who owned the dragon. As her brothers were arguing over which was the better flyer, she hopped on Ambernia's back and was at once soaring over the treetops. It such an exhilarating experience, flying high, free from the bickering of her siblings, high above her father's reign.

Meanwhile, Barnicus was aboard his raft. He did not have to fight the current for his return trip. The fourteen hours traveled to see Lionus, would be shaved down to nine for getting home. He estimated he would be there just around sunrise. He hoped his sons would not be off hunting when he arrived. He would have a different hunt for them tomorrow. His suspicions had been confirmed by Lionus. Either the boy with the dragon was the murdering farm boy, or knew who the murdering farm boy was. He was confident the former would be true. No matter, he would capture the boy and take him to the Roman post in Dacia for trial. Barnicus' reward would be more than just the praise of his loyalty, there may be a monetary reward but Barnicus did inquire into it, his reward would be the dragon. A trained dragon at his beck and call could earn his family more dinarii than his family could spend in their entire lifetimes. Plus, the fame and prestige the dragon would bring would open doors to the rich and powerful. Perhaps Trajan himself would have Barnicus share his table.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Boy and His Dragon (Part 4)

(There is still more of this story left. I'm not going to guess how much is left. I have been wrong three days straight.)

The boy asked Annabella, "Which way did you travel to get here?"

"Same way I came yesterday."

Puzzled, the boy asked, "Did you see me swimming?"

"Yes." Annabella looked at the boy's wet clothes and said, "I didn't know you were swimmming clothed. I was afraid to cause you embarrassment. I see now that I could have stopped and talked to you."

The boy tugged at his wet shirt. "I swim and wash my clothes at the same time."

Annabella shook her head in disbelief. "Well, I thought I would come up here to wait for you. Ambernia took it upon itself to entertain me. I hope you don't mind my riding your dragon."

He did but said, "No. That's okay." He decided to change the subject and asked, "You know, you never told me anything about yourself yesterday. You live around here?"

"A little ways upstream. Not too far."

"Did you grow up here?"

"No. My brothers and I have only been here a little over a year. We joined my father here after our mother died."

"Your father didn't stay at home?"

"When he could. He was a soldier with the troops that conquered the Dacia Kingdom. Once lands were safely under Roman rule, father would find a home and bring us to join him. The bad part was after a month or so of being was under control, father and the troops would move on for further conquests. So we would catch up to father, make a home together for a few weeks, father would leave, and in a few more weeks we would be moving again."

Worried, the boy asked, "So your father is a soldier?"

"Not now. When mother died, he left the service and stayed with us. This is the last place we lived with our mother. I think father wants to stay here because this is where she is buried."

"How did your mother die?"

"She got sick. I think she was sick when we first arrived here, but she kept it to herself. She just got weaker and weaker. Father had already moved on when she passed. He hates himself for not being here. The last couple days she hardly got out of bed. Finally she just went to sleep and died. It was strange when she died, she looked terrible the last few days but when she died, she suddenly had a peaceful look about her. It was like she willed her body to look at peace to make it easier on my brothers and me. I still miss her everyday."

"Yeah, I still miss my family."

"You had it much worse than me. Losing your entire family like that."

The boy shrugged indicating that he knows that the world can be cruel and he can only ride the waves of fate, not control them.

# # # # # # # # # # # #

Around dusk of the same day, Annabella's father approached the sentry. "Hail Trajan," he said and saluted the soldier.

"Who goes here? State your business."

"Am I that easily forgotten? Do you not recognize me, Draco?"

The sentry looked at the man and grinned. "Barnicus! Greetings, friend. Have you come to rejoin us?"

"I wish that was the case. I must tend my children. Perhaps when they can fend for themselves, I will rejoin the ranks. Tonight I am seeking out Lionus. Do you know where I can find him, my friend?"

"His tent is the fifth one to the left. But he may be at the bonfire center camp."

"Yes, it is still too early for Lionus to cease spinning his tales and drinking his wine. I shall find him at the bonfire."

Annabella's father, Barnicus, entered the Roman camp and headed to where the soldiers socialized at the end of the day, the mid-camp bonfire, a place they gathered to exchange conversations and indulge in drink. Barnicus walked up behind Lionus who was talking with another soldier.

Loudly, Barnicus interrupted the two men, "Is that Lionus boasting again of his heroic deeds? How does his mouth find room for the ale when all that bragging is pouring out?"

Lionus spins around to face the intruder. Seeing it to be his old friend Barnicus, he immediately smiles and greets Barnicus with a hug. "Barnicus, my old ally. You have returned to do battle at my side. I should have known you wouldn't keep away."

"Sorry, Lionus, I am here only to visit. Next year may be the time for my return. But right now, I need to talk to you in private."

Lionus lets loose of his friend and excuses himself from soldier to whom he had been talking. He and Barnicus walk off down the row of tents. When they get to Lionus' tent, the two enter and Lionus sparks a light in a lantern. The flame flickers giving an eerie quality to the faces of the men.

Barnicus asks, "Do you remember telling the tale about a farmboy killing officers?"

"Yes, it happened two years back near Neapolis. You were not with us on that?"

"No. I was on furlough with my family. What can you tell me about the farmboy?"

"We never found him. What more do you want to know?"

"Can you describe him?"

"Certainly..." And Lionus gave a description of the boy.

(Okay, it's bedtime for me. More tomorrow.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Boy and His Dragon (Part 3)

(Hope you ain't getting tired of this story. I now know where it is going. With any luck, I'll be able to wrap it tonight. Keep your fingers crossed.)

Annabella followed the river's edge. She walked two kilometers before she veered off onto a path that led back to where she was staying. Within minutes she was back to the cabin that she shared with her father and two brothers. She was pleased to find the cabin empty. The men had not yet returned from their morning hunt. She busied herself chopping vegetables. She placed the cut veggies into water-filled kettle, swung the kettle over the fireplace, and lit a fire. She seasoned the stew with salt and basil. All the stew needed was the meat her father and brothers would bring home with them. She let the stew simmer and went outside to wait for her family's return.

Her brothers were carrying a deer; the deer's legs tied together over a pole and each brother had an end of the pole on their shoulders. Her father, smiling proudly, led the brothers back to their cabin. He was carrying several rabbits banded together and tossed over his back. He also toted the hunting party's bows and quivers. Annabella greeted them under the tree they used to hang and gut game.

Father slung the rabbits on to the table next to the tree. "These," he told Annabella, "are your brother's spoils." He then swept his arm towards the brothers hanging the deer. "That is my morning kill," he boasted. "Your siblings are no match for your father."

Annabella looking at the rabbits said, "My brothers killed three. Father, you have only one."

The brothers quickly joined in to tease their father. "That's right, father. We shot three times as many as you."

Their father joked back, "Well, if you feel that you are the better, then you survive on your kill and I will on mine. We'll see who suffers hunger pains first."

The family jests with each other as they gut and skin the animals. Annabella uses the rabbit meat to add to her stew. After an appropriate cook time, the family sits down for their mid-day meal. In the after dinner talk, Annabella tells her family about meeting the boy and the dragon. Her father takes a particular interest in the story about the death of the boy's family.

# # # # # # # # # # # # #

The boy saddled up Ambernia. The saddle fit the dragon as a collar, it held tight above it's shoulders allowing room for it's back wings to spread out unhindered. Like a horse, the dragon could not be strangled, so there was no discomfort tightening a saddle around it's neck. The weight of the boy in the saddle was centered between the dragon's shoulder blades while the boy's legs wrapped the creature's throat. The horn of the saddle was what the boy held when flying. The dragon did not have reins. Instead, to turn the dragon right or left, the boy would apply pressure with his leg for the direction he wanted to go. To rise the boy would shift his weight backwards. To land he would give two quick kicks with his feet. Even with the commands, the boy would seldom use them. Ambernia would sense the way the boy wished to go, and would travel that way before the command was given.

The boy sat in the saddle. The dragon poised for take off waiting for the boy to decide upon a direction. All their gear and supplies loaded into the saddlebags. Ambernia knew the boy was thinking about the girl. Would he decide to seek her out? Or would they continue on their aimless quest? Finally the boy asked, "Ambernia, do you remember where you got the peaches?" Ambernia flew off towards where it had found the peach tree.

The peach tree grew at the west end of a small garden. At the east end of the garden stood a pear tree. The garden itself produced corn, radishes, carrots, turnips and onions. This garden belonged to Annabella's neighbor. In fact, the turnips, carrots and onions that she used to make stew had come from this garden. Her family exchanged meat for vegetables with the lady who tended this land.

Ambernia hovered next to the peach tree while the boy reached into its limbs to pluck the fruit. He stuffed one saddlebag to its limit with peaches. The boy loved peaches as much as Ambernia loved black olives.

"Let's head back to our old campsite," he instructed the dragon. Ambernia obeyed. It knew the boy was hoping to encounter the girl again. It was a rarity to keep the same campsite for two days in a row.

Back to the clearing, the boy removed the saddle and bags from his dragon. He ate a couple more peaches while Ambernia fed on raw turnips. To pass time, the boy took a couple rabbit pelts from the saddlebags and continued to sew them together to form a hat. The needle he used for sewing was made from animal bone and his thread was thin strips of leather. This would be the sixth hat he fashioned in the past two years. He enjoyed making them but despised wearing them. The finished product would be left behind when the two journeyed on. Unless the girl came back. The boy would be happy to present her the hat. He wondered if she would wear it. He hoped she returned so he could find out.

# # # # # # # # # # # # #

Annabella's brothers were throwing knives at a tree stump to see who had the better accuracy. They always found ways to compete with each other. They were a year apart in age; one eighteen, the other nineteen. Annabella, who was fifteen, was frequently called on to judge. Which brother was stronger, which was faster, which was more agile, which could hold their breath the longest, which could climb higher, which was smarter, which had the harder muscles, which could eat more, which was more handsome, which is the best swimmer... Their individual competitions never tied, yet when looked at in totality, one did not outshine the other.

Throwing out the dish water from cleaning their plates from the evening meal——venison steaks——Annabella shouted over to her brothers, "Will you boys stop that and go and get more water from the stream?"

The brothers agreed, took four buckets and headed to the stream. As they went out of sight, her father approached her and said, "I'm not going with the boys tomorrow. They can hunt without me for a day."

"Oh," said Annabella with surprise, "do you have chores to keep you home?"

"You may have replaced your mother to the boys, but don't start thinking you replaced her to me."

"What do you mean?"

"Do I have chores?!!" he mocked. "You are still my daughter and I do not answer to you."

Annabella hurt by her father's stern retort said, "I'm sorry, father. I did not mean to talk down to you. I was only being curious as why you are staying home tomorrow."

Her father, although quick to anger, was quick to regain calm. "I am not staying home. I have business elsewhere. Annabella, you are my youngest, and female, but I find myself confiding in you rather than my sons. Perhaps that is wrong. Ever since your mother died, it feels like you are the one keeping our little family together. I have a mission tomorrow and I will be gone before you or your brothers waken. I do not wish to tell them tonight about my plans. When the sun rises, you can tell them I went on a task. Tell them I wish them to go on the hunt without me. I should be back by the following morning."

"And you won't tell me more?"

"I will, but not until I return."

"Okay, father, I will send my brothers out by themselves in the morning."

# # # # # # # # # # # # #

The following day, the boy awoke to find Ambernia watching over him. This was how he greeted everyday since he first met the dragon. He said, "Good morning, Ambernia."

The boy went into the bushes to make his toilet. Returning to the camp, Ambernia held out the water canteen for him. He drank several gulps and then took a peach from the saddlebags to eat. He said to the dragon, "I hope we get some meat today. A boar would be tasty, but I would settle for pigeon." The boy sniffed his armpits and added, "I better bathe. Maybe I'll catch a fish while in the water. We haven't had fish in a long time."

The boy walked down the wooded slope to the stream. He removed his sandals and dove in the water. He tried washing his clothes while wearing them. Soon he was enjoying the water so much that he began to swim in circles. He dove to slap the rocky bottom. The stream was barely six feet deep at the center. He spotted a short overhang on the opposite side and swam to it. He climbed out of the water and onto the overhang. He cannonballed the four foot drop back into the stream. He liked it and did it several more times.

The boy spent an hour in the water before returning to his camping area. When he stepped back in the clearing, he found Ambernia riding Annabella on its shoulders without the saddle. Ambernia was staying low to the ground and Annabella was laughing, fully delighted with the ride. The dragon saw the boy and landed. Annabella hopped down and walked over to the boy.

"Good day, sir," she said. "Fine animal you have there."

The boy did not know how to react. He was glad to see the girl, but was also jealous that Ambernia gave her a ride without his permission. The thought entered his head like lightning: 'Is she trying to steal my dragon?' Ambernia, sensing the boys concern, shook his head, no, she would not replace the boy.

The boy smiled weakly and said, "Good day, Annabella. Yes, Ambernia is a fine dragon, one of the best." Behind the girl, Ambernia nodded his head in agreement.

(Looks like I did it again. I am stopping now. I will try to conclude again tomorrow. I hope someone besides me is enjoying this little yarn.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Boy and His Dragon (Part 2)

(If you thought I would leave you hanging, you are wrong. Hopefully, I will conclude the story I started yesterday. Let's pray I can work through any unanticipated plot twists.)

The boy had turned his parents home into a funeral pyre. The fire's shadowplay danced on the trees as he passed. He drove the olive cart and horse into the woods. He did not know or care where he was heading as long as it wasn't anywhere near soldiers. With tears streaming down his face, he disappeared among the trees, never looking back.

Over the next few days, the boy took a northerly zig-zag course always on the less traveled roads and paths. On the fifth day of his flight, the boy found himself on one of the most uneven, bumpy paths of his life. A snake appeared and startled the horse. The horse reared up, the wagon twisting up and to the side tossing the boy to the ground. The animal's halter snapped in two freeing the cart to overturn atop the boy. The boy's right leg received the bulk of the wagon weight breaking the femur. Black olives spilled out half covering the boy. Excruciating pain caused the boy to lose consciousness.

Some time later, he came to, covered in sweat. Any movement sent torrents of pain to his leg. The broken bone also upset his stomach. He retched up the olives he had eaten earlier. Empty of food, he threw up bile. The nasty taste and smell caused him to pass out again.

In the middle of the night, the boy woke up in a fever. He had the shakes which caused his leg to scream in agony. He had been trapped under the cart for over twelve hours and not a single person had found him. He cried because of the pain, because he was trapped under the wagon, but mostly because of the loss of his family. His mind kept showing images of his father and mother, his sister and her groom lying butchered on the floor. He cried and shivered with intense pain until he passed out one last time. Two hours after the dawn, the dragon found him.

Two years had passed. The boy still had occasional nightmares about the slaughter of his family, but for the most part, the boy was content traveling with Ambernia. They had not met any soldiers, Roman or otherwise, in all their journey. It was a rarity the boy thought about being wanted for killing of Roman Officers. He did not feel pursued. Occasionally, they would happen upon people, farmers or hunters, but no one paid attention to him. They were generally fascinated by Ambernia. When they did see folk, the boy would jump into Ambernia's saddle and have the dragon fly them away. He would smile and wave at the people who would return the gestures. This was as close as they had come to mingling with the human race. Now you see us, now you don't.

On the day that Ambernia flew the skies seeking food below, and the boy took his canteen to the stream to refill, the boy met a girl. As he approached the stream he noticed a garment thrown over the dry end of a log that laid half in the water. He looked at the stream and saw nobody, so he went to the garment and picked it up. It was a female dress. He looked back at the water in time to see a girl rise out of it. She was coming towards him, twisting the wet from her long hair. She was waist deep when she spotted the boy. Quickly she covered her breasts and lowered herself to shoulder level.

"Who are you?" she demanded.

The boy looked around for his dragon. This was the part where he would hop onto Ambernia's saddle and they would fly off. He had not spoke to another human for two years. He was at a loss for words. Embarrassed he turned and began to hurry off.

"Stop!" the girl yelled.

The boy halted in his tracks. He slowly turned back to the girl.

She said, "You put that back."

The boy suddenly realized he still had the girl's dress in his hands. He walked back to the log and put the garment back where it had been. He stuttered, "S-s-sorry." He was about to turn and go but he remembered his canteen. "Can I fill my water flask?" he asked the girl, his gaze cast skyward.

The boy was younger than her, a year, maybe two, still shy around girls. She knew he was not a threat, so she said, "Fine. Fill it fast and go away." She stayed submerged as the boy filled his canteen and walked back through the thicket. Not even a goodbye. Boys!

The girl waited a couple minutes after the boy had gone before leaving the water. She stood naked on the bank brushing water off her body. When she had dried as much as possible, she picked up her dress and pulled it over her head. As the dress shifted into place around her body, she spotted the boy partway up the wooded slope. His smiling face was visible poking out from behind a tree. When he saw that she saw him, he turned and hurried up the hill.

Back at the campsite, Ambernia sat in front of a pile of peaches, pears, corn and turnips. The boy rushed up to the dragon. He was excited and stated, "You won't believe what I just saw!"

The dragon cocked its head as if to ask 'What?'

"A girl taking a bath! She walked out of the water without a stitch on. You should have seen her. She was beautiful."

Ambernia understood that most species, including humans, have two sexes, male and female. But being neither, it could not understand why one sex would get so excited about the other. And the boy seemed very excited indeed.

"I think she caught me looking at her. I.. Hey! You got some peaches! I love peaches." The boy picked the fruit up and bit into it. Juice flowed from the sides of his mouth over his chin. The boy said through a mouthful of peach, "I saw her titties, I did. Boy, that was something." He swallowed and took another bite. "You should have seen her, Ambernia..."

"Are you talking about me?" came a female voice from behind the boy. The girl walked up to the boy and his dragon. "Are you telling the dragon about my... titties? Is that what you said? Titties?" she asked the boy but kept her eyes on Ambernia.

The boy choked a little and uttered a "Uhhh..."

Ambernia was amused at the situation. His master's face was so red. The girl was acting mad but Ambernia knew she was just having fun at the boy's expense. This was the first time the boy and Ambernia had been so close to another human, yet it felt right. Ambernia picked a pear from the food pile and offered it to the girl.

She took the pear and said, "Why, thank you. Its nice to see at least one of you has manners."

"I.. I'm s-sorry."

She turned to the boy and asked, "For what? For not being hospitable or for spying on my walk out of the water?"

The boy hung his head shamefully. "For both, ma'am."

She decided to let him off the hook. "Okay, I forgive you," she said and waited for the boy to look up at her. When he did, she gave him a smile. She then asked "So where did you get the dragon?"

"Ambernia? We been together for a long time. Ambernia saved my life and we've been together ever since."

The boy then told the story of the olive cart breaking his leg. When he finished, the girl asked him, "Where were you going when the wagon tipped over?"

"I wasn't going any place. I was trying to get away." Then before he could think it over, the boy was telling the tale of the soldiers and the killings. Once he had started talking, he could not bring himself to stop. It felt good to talk with another person after so long. He did realize how much he had missed conversation until now. He was willing to tell this girl, who he just met, all his secrets just for the privilege of being able to converse. A dragon may be a fun companion, but they cannot talk.

After about an hour, the girl got up and said, "My father may be starting to worry about me. I better get back. It's been nice talking to you."

They said there goodbyes and as the girl was almost into the woods, the boy shouted out, "Hey, you never said what your name is..."

"Annabella," she shouted back and then entered the woods.

The boy thought Annabella was a lovely name and then wondered why she hadn't asked his.

(Alright, I lied. This story does not end here. I'll have more tomorrow.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Boy and His Dragon (Part I)

(It's story time again. So put on your jammies, cuddle up in your favorite chair and be ready to embark on a journey through the surreal landscape of my inner mind.)

The morning sun exploded onto the sleeping boy's eyelids forcing him to awaken from his dreams. He squeezed his eyes shut tight craving the escaping serenity of his sleep. He did not wish to wake up. Instead, the new day encompassed his every being; he felt the sun warming his skin, heard the birds singing in the distance, smelled the dew covered grass upon which he had slept, and tasted the dry nastiness of his morning mouth. He squinted open his eyes to see his dragon obediently sitting on it's haunches waiting for the master to rise. The dragon had not slept; it did not need sleep. It had spent the night guarding the boy, vigilant for any intrusion to the boy's rest.

"Good morning, Ambernia. I need some water."

The dragon, Ambernia, turned to where their belongings were piled, grabbed the canteen from inside the saddlebags and offered it to the boy. The boy drank in quick gulps until the canteen was empty. He tossed the canteen back to the pile. He got to his knees and folded the blanket on which he had slept. "How we doing on supplies?" he asked Ambernia.

The dragon looked over at the saddlebags again. It wasn't necessary. Ambernia already knew they had to replenish their food. He looked back to the master and shook its giant head nay.

The boy stood up and placed the folded blanket in the saddlebag. He did a three-sixty, taking in the clearing, searching for the stream he had seen last night. Spotting it, he picked up the canteen and headed towards the water. Taking only a few steps, he stopped and turned back to the dragon. "How about getting us something to eat?"

Ambernia happily agreed, stood, shook out its massive wings and flew up to a height just above the treetops. It began circling in an outward spiral searching for edible vegetation or perhaps a tasty rabbit. The master loved barbecue rabbit. Ambernia could barbecue a rabbit to perfection with one fiery blast through its nose.

The dragons of the world were almost extinct. The last dragons could not reproduce. They were sexless, neither male nor female. They should never have had life. They were born of the abandoned eggs that had sat dormant for eons. The creatures that had laid the eggs were the prehistoric mix of Tyrannosaurus rex and Pterosaurs. A multitude of eggs were buried deep in the earth at Mount Vesuvius. When the volcano erupted in the year 79 AD, the eggs were pushed by lava to the surface. The intense heat revitalized the embryos into incubation and within weeks four hundred and seven dragons were hatched.

The dragons were as easily trained as dogs, but man initially feared the new creatures and killed over half of them before learning that the beasts posed no threat. By the time man was willing to befriend dragons, dragons feared man. Seeing their number so greatly reduced, the dragons shied away from any further contact with man. They broke off into packs of ten or twelve and took to deserted high grounds and desolate caves. The only time they came close to were men might be was when they needed food. They were herbivores with a preference for black olives. When scavenging for food, only one dragon would do so, bringing back whatever booty it found to share with its clan.

The day before Ambernia was named, it was its turn to gather food. It left its cave at dawn with the pack's watchful eyes following its flight as it disappeared into the distance. After two hours of flying, the dragon spotted an overturned olive cart on a remote road. It could not believe its luck; thousands of black olives spilled in one big pile ready to be gathered up and flown back home. It glided down to earth landing atop the overturned wagon.

"Owwwww," came a cry from below.

The dragon looked down and saw a boy was trapped under the cart; the boy's right leg was pinned by the wooden wagon and the dragon's weight had increased his pain. The dragon quickly jumped off the cart and pushed it upright freeing the lad. The boy was unconscious yet still moaned in pain. The dragon noted the unusual bend in the boy's leg. It sensed the bone broken, which was quite a remarkable trick for a dragon who had never studied human anatomy. In fact, it had never encountered a human close up before now. It felt a strange sympathy for the boy and knew it could not abandon the injured youth. The dragon sat down and watched the boy. While waiting for the boy to come around, it helped itself to the black olives, eating them a dozen at a time.

After an hour without seeing the boy wake, the dragon decided to straighten the leg. It took the leg in its hands and pulled and turned until the broken leg looked the same shape as the other leg. The dragon was so intent in the chore that it did not notice the increased sobs of agony the boy emitted. When the dragon looked at the boys face it saw the lad was drenched in sweat but his breathing was not labored anymore, a calm had come over the boy. The dragon took back its place watching over the boy and ate more olives waiting for the human to either rise or die.

The boy did not awaken that day. The dragon knew it was suppose to be back to its cave by nightfall, but it could not bring itself to abandon the boy. It stood guard throughout the night. At daybreak, the boy still had not stirred, yet he no longer moaned and he looked more at ease than the previous day. The dragon knew the boy would awaken, he would not die, so it decided it was time to leave, to gather the olives and bring them to the cave. It hoped the others would be so happy at getting the black olives that they would not scold the dragon for missing its curfew.

There was one thing that the dragon should have known. The pack would abandon their lair at first light. They would fear that the food gatherer who did not return had been captured and would divulge their location to the humans. They would take no chances and be gone at first light. When the dragon finally arrived at its home, its mates had been gone two hours. It then realized what had occurred. It did not have any notion in what direction or how far they may have gone. It would not see the pack again. The dragon cried.

By the afternoon, the boy was stirring. The dragon had returned and was watching him with curious eyes. The first words the boy spoke upon awakening was, "Ow, my leg hurts."

What few humans and dragons knew was the accelerated healing touch dragons possessed. In less than thirty hours, the boy's broken leg had mended as if two months had passed. Also, by straightening the boy's leg, a bond was created between the two. They could sense each others thoughts and emotions. Even though the dragon did not know the language of the boy, it could tell the boy had pain in his leg but it was insignificant, more like a phantom memory of the pain that he had slept through.

The boy was startled when he noticed the dragon. "Wow," he said, "you're huge!" The boy was not frightened in the least. He instinctively knew that the dragon had fixed his leg. He also knew that, even though the dragon was five times his size, he would have to be the one in charge, the protector of the creature. The boy was also struck by the golden coloring of the dragon. So beautiful a shade, a shine of yellow, a rich amber shade. "Amber," the boy said. Then, "Ambernia! That's the perfect name. Do you mind if I call you Ambernia?"

The dragon understood it was being named and readily agreed. It would have a name. How marvelous. It was the only dragon to have one. Ambernia. Yes, that felt right. It would be Ambernia from now until its days on earth were over. It never occurred that the dragon had a name but the boy did not. If the boy did have one, he never revealed it.

Over the next two years, Ambernia and the boy learned each other's story as they traveled across the backwoods of Europe and into Asia. Along the way, the boy, quite talented, made a canteen, a saddle, saddlebags, clothes and other supplies from the hides of animals that he had eaten. Ambernia never ate meat, but was more than happy to catch and cook animals for the boy. Ambernia survived on all sorts of vegetation. It was content to eat grass and leaves if fruit or vegetables were not to be found. It did miss the black olives when they traversed territories where the fruit did not grow.

The reason they traveled backwoods and entered Asia was because the boy was being sought for the murder of two Roman officers. Ambernia understood that the boy had committed a crime, yet it admired the boy for doing so. It wished the aftermath would have been different. The two officers had raped his mother and sister on the day of his sister's wedding. The mistake the boy made was killing the two in front of several soldiers. He had shot the one officer with an arrow through his heart. The other was shot in the neck and slowly bled out. As the soldiers decided to either chase the boy or try to save their bleeding superior, the boy escaped into the olive groves of his parents farm. He hid out for several days before the soldiers finally gave up the search. When he returned to his parents home, he found his entire family dead. His parents and sister had been brutally slashed many times over by the soldier's swords. So were his sister's husband and his brother. Remarkably the groom lingered on. His arms and legs cut off near the torso. They had been amputated with such force that the arteries were pinched shut in the remaining stumps. How he lasted three days was short of a miracle. The last words the groom told the boy were, "Run. Run as far as possible. Six soldiers did all this. They went to get more help to find you. Run..." Then, mercifully, the groom joined his bride in the afterlife.

The boy placed his parents into their bed. He put his sister and new husband in her bed. He put the groom's brother in his bed. The boy would no longer need it. He kissed his parents and sister and set fire to the home. He fled his home in a wagon pulled by the old family horse. The wagon was filled with black olives. His sister had filled this cart. She was fourteen years old and would never be fifteen. The boy was eleven.

(This story will conclude the next time. I need my sleep.)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Monkeying Around

A hand in the bush is worth two in the bird...

Or something like that. Not only do I enjoy mixing metaphors, I enjoy mixing up a metaphor. You can take a drink to a horse but you can't get him watered. A doctor a day keeps the apples away. Living fast in the life lane. Evil money is all the root.

Are those metaphors or idioms? Or could they be both? Taking a horse to water is worth two in the bush. Now that's a mixed metaphor. I think... Is there such a thing as a mixed idiom? How about an idiot's idiom?

The internet does provide the answers if I should look. But that would be cheating. When I tell the Jeopardy answers to my TV, I do not Google the answer first. I derive a smug satisfaction when I get the answer correct and the contestants do not. You should see the way I gloat and stick my tongue out at the Jeopardy players. I yell at my TV set, "You nimrods, I just told you the answer! What the hell is wrong with you?!!" For some reason I assume the people on television can hear me when I talk to them. I don't really, but yet I do. It's like I feel they should have some mental connection to me, even though the program was recorded weeks ago. It's kind of like when I watch The Godfather. I know Sonny is gonna get shot dead at the toll booth, but every time I see it, I warn him not to stop his car. I feel like maybe one of these times he will hear me and avoid the ambush.

Speaking of movies, I saw "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" this weekend. I must say it was well worth my time. I liked the way they reworked the explanation for intelligent apes. In the old 1970s movies, the intelligent apes of the future come back to our time and start the race of smart monkeys. This is a paradox. How can a creature give birth to itself? If time travel was possible, could you go back in time and kill your younger self? If you did, you would not exist to go back and kill your younger self. You would still live. So you could go back and kill your younger self. So you would not be alive to go back in time. Your young self will live on. Et cetera, et cetera...

Anyway, back to this new version of the ape movie. The explanation for creating an intellectual monkey is from pharmaceutical testing. Scientists working on a cure for Alzheimer, use monkeys to test experimental drugs. Thus we are responsible for giving smarts to the apes. That is a more plausible interpretation of how the future will be taken over by apes. Since the reason was reasonable, I was able to get lost in the movie. But why take my word, go see it yourself. If you don't enjoy it, you can put in a requisition to have your time reimbursed or compensated. Of course if choose to have your time given back, then you will have to wait until we complete a functioning time machine so we can send you back to moments before you shell out the bucks for your ticket. Of course, you will have to sign a waiver not to kill your younger self. I've already explained the complications that that could bring.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Spouting Off

The longer I don't write, the harder it is to start up again. Never say I don't challenge myself.

So what have I been doing? I've been wondering what would happen if the Chinese declared the U.S. in fault to the loans. If they evict us, what other country would be willing to take in over 300 million people. Knock, knock, Mexico... Now, how do feel about putting up fences?

Here is an interesting fact: In the last forty years, there have been only two Presidents that had a surplus of money; more money taken in than what was spent. From his fourth year until the end of his office Clinton enabled the country to run at a surplus and George W. Bush inherited that surplus and kept it going for the first year and a half of his presidency. The two Presidents who increased the national debt the most are Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. In the entire history of the U.S.A. there has only been one President to wipe out the national debt. Can you guess who that might be? Here's a clue: Certain tribes of American Indians hate this President so much that they refuse to accept or use the currency that bares his picture. Do not guess George Washington because this country started out in debt. The First Continental Congress had to borrow money from France to finance the American Revolution. The ONLY President to pay off the national debt is pictured on the twenty dollar bill. If you still don't know who I am referring to, go ahead and look at a twenty. I'll wait.

Would you like a solution to America's woes? I have one but you won't like it. Increase the tariff on imported merchandise so that foreign goods will cost more than the same product made in America. Walmart's may go out of business but so what. There will be more than enough job openings in manufacturing and related fields to take in those displaced workers. Sure you will have to pay more for your jeans and DVDs, but you'll have a bigger paycheck to even out the inflation.

Also, we have to quit making gasoline powered cars. Why do we keep manufacturing vehicles that depend on a very limited source to run. Come on, people, this planet only has so much oil! Electricity can be created through solar panels, windmills, waterfalls... hell, you can even hand crank a generator to recharge batteries. I'd rather pay Edison an extra ten bucks a month to drive my car a thousand miles, than five bucks a gallon for every twenty miles. California already has public recharge stations to plug in your car. Detroit also has started building battery recharging depots. I know, hybrid vehicles already exist, we are easing away from gasoline. But not quick enough. All 2012 cars, mid-size and smaller, should run solely on electricity. The technology has been there for decades. Watch the documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car?" and shed a few tears.

The soapbox under my feet is starting to break. Guess I better get down before I fall flat on my face. I'll leave you with these parting queries: "Just how fast do hotcakes sell? Can I profit by setting up a pancake stand in front of my house?"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's the End of the World...

I was watching a show on the Science Channel about the end of mankind. The seven ways the world will end was being discussed by the smartest people on the planet. Steven Hawking was of them. I was listening to his computerized voice and thought "Hawking was born in England, raised there, educated there, taught at Cambridge, and still resides in England to this very day. So why doesn't his computer voice have an English accent?"

Let's see if I can remember the seven ways the world could end.
1: Being hit by a meteor or asteroid.
2: Sun or nearby star burning out and radiating us with gamma rays. (For some reason when a star burns out, it emits powerful gamma rays.)
3: Super volcanic eruption. (There's a giant lava field underneath Iowa. If erupted, Iowa would be gone in minutes, and the rest of the world will fall like dominoes.)
4: Plague. (In the last 300 years, there has been a major plague every 30 years. We haven't had one since 1918. Way overdue.)
5: Melting polar caps would drown 90% of us.
6: Accidental or intentional nuclear war between USA and Russia is the most likely way all the scientists agreed.
7: Technology. Machines will become self aware, realize they are smarter than humans, and eliminate us. It is already impossible for a human to beat a computer at chess.

Then I thought about Roger Ebert. His computer voice is his old voice. So why doesn't Hawking's computer talk cockney?

By the way, the seven ways I listed is not in any particular order. The show counted down from seven to one, one being the most likely. I cannot recall the exact order. The only one I am positive about is the number one way: Nuclear war. These brains were pretty specific about the USA and Russia wiping out the planet. Together we have enough nuclear bombs to wipe out eight billion people. There are only six billion on the planet. Other countries that have nuclear capabilities do not possess enough weapons to kill the earth.

I wonder who constructed Hawking's computer voice. Was it made in the USA? Or perhaps a visiting American programmed it while over in Great Briton. I mean if we can have Joe Pesci's voice in our automobile's GPS system, then Hawking should have a Brit's voice coming out his wheelchair.

Anyway, after watching the TV Show about the end of man, I went to bed. I did not sleep very well. I don't know what worried me more. The thought about a nuclear ending or the state of Hawking's computer voice. In either case, work needs to be done to correct the situation.

Monday, July 18, 2011

An Interruption In My Dereliction

Linda is out tonight. She said she was going clubbing with some of her girlfriends. Now I am sitting here thinking about it and I have no idea where they're going to find baby seals in the Detroit area.

So anyway, I am alone in the house and bored shirtless. Yes, I said "shirtless." I am sitting at the keyboard typing this bare chested. The temperature has been through the roof. This is why I prefer winter to summer. In the winter, when it's too cold, you can keep putting more and more clothing on until you arrive at a comfortable temp. But in summer, when it is hot like today, you can take off your clothes, but only to a point. Once you get naked, and if you're still hot, there is nothing to remove to cool down any further.

I saw a commercial on television for "Exelon." This is a patch medication for Alzheimer's disease. The majority of the ad boasts how the patch helps the patient with memory, understanding, communicating and reasoning. The last portion of the commercial is the disclaimer which states that the patch cannot change the course of the disease. Also, using a second patch before removing the first patch, or any use of multiple patches, can cause death. Suddenly I pictured all these poor old people forgetting they already put the patch on and putting on a second and then a third and maybe a fourth before falling over dead, and never once realizing that they have over-medicated themselves.

According to Reader's Digest "Laughter is the Best Medicine." So instead of prescribing Exelon to Alzheimer patients, how about just tickling them four or five times a day. It may seem like you would have to dedicate a good portion of your day and energy for tickling, and you would, but even so, it's worth it when you see those dentures go flying. It's fun for the whole family.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

2D or Not 2D

I watched a special on 3-D movies.  This was on Roger Ebert's current movie review show.  The two hosts, neither one is Roger, discussed the positiveness of 3-D movies (such as "Avatar" and the Pixar movies) versus the negative aspect of turning 2-D movies (like "Clash of the Titans" and "The Last Airbender") into 3-D just to make a few extra bucks at the box office. The general consensus was that the movie going public are tiring of shelling out their hard earned cash to watch a 3-D flick when the same movie in 2-D is just as entertaining and can add an extra box of Raisinets to your concession stand purchase.

The term 3-D bothers me.  Every movie I have ever seen was in 3-D.  I have seen a few in 4-D also.  Movies that advertise as being 3-D are technically 4-D.  We exist in 4 dimensions: height, width, depth and.... (place dramatic pause here)  ...time!

Yes, time! Time is a dimension.  Without it, if you were to watch Avatar in 3-D, you would be frozen staring at one cell of the film coming off the screen for all of eternity.  You would not be able to register the image in your mind because your thoughts as well as time has stopped.  You would be a flesh and blood statue forever sitting in a movie theater, unable to appreciate that one single scene from Avatar that your eyes stay fixed on forever and ever.

The last movie I watched was the 2-D version of the Green Lantern.  In reality it was in 3-D.  I know this because not only did the movie have height and width, I saw it from beginning to end.  Therefore, the dimension of time was used to display the film.   And I am glad for that.  I hate to imagine being imprisoned for all eternity staring at a single screen shot of that movie.  Even if my mind would be unable to register it.

3-D movies (technically I should say 4-D) are considered to be a passing fad.  It's not that people hate watching them.  Besides having to lay out the extra moolah, people hate wearing those silly ass glasses.  Plus the effects are not that impressive anymore.  Some scenes are lengthened and slowed down just for the 3-D effect, not to further the plot.  Watching that same scene on a flat screen is boring.  We have been dazzled already, so lets get back to the story.  If it were possible to film a movie and view it in all its dimensions without having to strap on awkward eye gear, then, I believe, all movies would be shown this way.  Also, the cost factor would have to be reasonable on both ends of the spectrum; the viewing public and the filmmaker.  I think that day may one day arrive.  Unfortunately, that day is not in the foreseeable future.

One last closing thought. I wonder if they make 3-D porn?  I do not know if they do or don't, although I can picture that as a moneymaking enterprise.  I'd go out of my way to see Pamela Anderson popping out of the silver screen.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

TV Views

There are many good shows on cable television.  In fact, the amount of time needed to watch all the good shows  outweigh the amount of time available to your everyday out-of-work sleep deprived individual.  I have my cable internet and TV supplied by Wide Open West, known in my area as Wowway.  Channel 1 is "WOW on Demand" or WOWOD.  WOWOD allows me to select numerous different shows from a wide variety of channels and be able to watch a chosen program at any time I choose.  As an example I can watch several "30 Rock" shows, one after another, at 4:17 a.m..  If I need to use the toilet at 5:03, I can pause the show while I am away from my TV, and pick it back up on my return without missing a gag or a story plot point

Wowway also supplies, at no added expense, all the STARZ and Encore channels.  These are mostly movie offerings and it does not take long for one to view all.  There are more selections added at the beginning of every month, but it does not take long to watch these.  The movie offerings I enjoy, but it is the series of original programs I crave.  Spartacus, Camelot, Party Down, and Pillars of the Earth are among the most addictive entertainment for your viewing pleasure.  "Torchwood" is another series that begins next week and it promises to be as wonderful as any of the others.

This evening I added another "must-see" TV to my ever expanding list of personal favorites.  It is a program on TNT called "Franklyn and Bash."  I do not know the names of the leading actors (nor am I inclined to look them up at this moment) but they are familiar faces.  Franklyn and Bash are lawyers at a law firm run by Malcolm McDonald.  Malcolm is the actor's name, not the character's.  Malcolm has been a favorite of mine since "Clockwork Orange."  The show could be called "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure with Perry Mason"   The latest episode I watched featured Beau Bridges as Franklyn's father.  Beau Bridges is an actor with two mustaches; one over each eye.  I hope this show has enough viewers to keep going.  It is good!

So I added "Franklyn and Bash" to my list of must-sees.  Other programs on my list include: In Plain Sight, True Blood, Camelot, Burn Notice, The Closer, Law & Order-Criminal Intent, Falling Skies, Warehouse 13, Fringe, Castle, Psyche, Big Bang Theory, Mike and Molly, 30 Rock, Community, Cougar Town, Hot In Cleveland, The Middle, Modern Family, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, The Borgias, Nurse Jackie and  many more serial programs.  Then I also get into watching DIY, Discovery, PBS, the History Channel, E!, Comedy Central, the Food Network, A&E, TruTV, Animal Planet and the Weather Channel.  I have favorites on each of those.  And there are several well-scripted reality shows I watch such as "Gene Simmons" and "The Apprentice."

Every once in a while I will discover an old show that I had never watched when it originally aired (The Golden Girls, Firefly, Everybody Loves Raymond...) and I will dedicate blocks of my time to "marathon" viewing.  I have missed so much.  I don't think I will ever catch up.  This will be hard for you to believe, but I never have seen a single episode of "Mister Peepers."  It starred Wally Cox as Mr. Peepers, and it was on from 1952 until 1955.  I know, I know, it IS available on DVD.  What's a poor boy to do?

If Saint Pete requires passing a TV trivia quiz in order to enter the pearly gates, I am doomed.  There is so much to see and so little lifetime to see it.  I could probably do well if the category is "1960's Westerns" or "Archie Bunker Quotations," but if it's "Snooki and the Situation Trivia" or "Who Are the Stars on Dancing With the Stars," then its off to hell with or without the hand basket.

The only show that may be coming off my list is "Two and Half Men."  I cannot imagine Ashton Kutcher even coming close to Charlie Sheen's humor.  I'll give it a shot and see, but my hopes are not very high.   I never viewed Kutcher as a believable actor. Even on "Punked" he wasn't that convincing, and he was portraying his own self.  Hard to comprehend why Ashton is getting one million dollars per episode.  I would have done it for half that.  And I openly admit I cannot act.  That makes me one notch above the Kutch.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Another Great One Gone

Every now and there is someone's death who should not affect me but yet does.  When Peter Falk died last week, I felt a real loss.  I have enjoyed Peter Falk ever since I seen Robin and the Seven Hoods.  He portrayed Guy Gisborne.  After that I would notice him as a guest star on various television programs.  He always stood out; an unintentional scene stealer..  Then he became Columbo.  Not only was he my favorite TV cop, he was also my parent's favorite.  But he was more than a humble rumpled crime solver.  He was the story teller in "The Princess Bride" and the story writer in "Tune in Tomorrow."   "Tune in Tomorrow" is one of the best Radio Soap Opera satires that has been written, and the success of the movie is mostly on his shoulders.

As a comedic actor he was tops.  Watch him play the Sam Spade parody in "Murder by Death."  Or as Paul Reiser's father in "The Thing About My Folks."  He's fantastic as the title character in Elmore Leonard's "Pronto."  He also shines as the 100 year old Rocky Holzchek in "Roommates."  This one is a true story.

When Peter first tried to get into the movies, he met with legendary Harry Cohn. President of Columbia Pictures.  Cohn told Peter, "Why should I hire you, when I can hire another actor with two eyes for the same price?"  This determined Peter even more to break into the movies.  Whereas Cohn thought nobody would be interested in a one-eyed actor, the public reacted in the opposite way.  Peter had lost his left right eye to cancer when he was three years old.  Being so young, he never looked at it as a handicap, and he proved his merit right as well, if not better, than everyone else.

As a guest on Craig Kilborn's show in 1999, Kilborn ask Peter to "Use the words 'Falk' and 'you' in a sentence". Falk chuckled a bit, touched his nose, and replied simply: "Falk . . . you!"

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Whats Up, Doc?

I went to the doctor today.  Every time I go I weigh five pounds more than my previous visit. I definitely got to quit going to the doctor.

Statistically, there are more old drunks than old doctors.  I should live to a very old age.  I have the odds on my side.

Dirty joke time...
Doctor tells patient, "You have to stop masturbating."
Patient says, "But why, Doc?"
Doctor replies, "It interferes with the examination."

Henny Youngman joke...
"Doctor gave me six months to live.  I told him I couldn't pay his bill that fast.  He gave me another six months."

Another dirty joke...
Woman tells her doctor, "That Kentucky Jelly you gave me tastes terrible."
Doctor replies, "Not Kentucky, its KY Jelly!"

The bill for surgery is highway robbery and they know it.  That's why the doctors wear masks.

And finally...
Medical history was made today.  Baby Joey was born without eyelids.  Doctors, after performing circumcision on the boy, used the foreskin to create eyelids.  The operation was successful and praised throughout most of the medical community.  The few dissenters were quick to state they worry that Joey may grow up to be cockeyed. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Road Restraints

I am convinced that there is a network of drivers on the road with the sole purpose of delaying me in traffic.  This network consists of the elderly who move slowly in front of whatever lane I drive and the teenagers who pull alongside me and blast bass vibrations to shatter my windshield and eardrums.  The elderly make sure I catch every light and the teenagers pull right along side with their bombastic noise.  Even with my hands pressed firmly over my ears, the bass beat vibrates my head to the point of bringing tears.   As I wait for the light to change, so I can escape this torture, I see that all lanes are clear sailing.  Then right before the light changes, another elderly putz turns from the cross street into my lane.  The light will change and the teenager keeps pace with me, ensuring that I cannot pass the old people.  When I am fully established behind the elderly, the teens zoom off and all the other traffic in that lane speeds up.  It is impossible to get over since I am traveling at five mph and the lane I wish to be in is going fifty mph with no breaks in between cars.  If by some miracle I do manage to switch lanes, another old fart will magically appear creeping along in front of me and the slow driver I had just passed will find his gas peddle to accelerate off into the distance.

Semi-truck drivers are also in on this conspiracy.  Anytime a road has been merged down into one lane, I can guarantee that even at three in the morning if there are only two vehicles on the road, they will be me and an eighteen wheeler that cannot get out of first gear.  Guess who's in front.

Of course this network does not confine their assaults to the open road.  They also find me in parking lots.  At first they will trick me into thinking parking spots are available close to the buildings, and right before I get there, one of them will slide into the spot.  When I finally find a spot at the back of the lot, and I leave my vehicle, the network will commandeer the spots on both sides of my car.  When I return I find my car straddled like a hot dog in its bun.  I will wait for one of them to return and move their vehicle.  It does not happen and, frustrated, I decide to access my car another way.   One direct method is having me squeeze through my door, usually leaving several layers of skin on the door frame.  Or sometimes, when I don't care how much I tear and soil my clothes, I will go through the trunk into the back seat and over the headrests to take my place behind the wheel.  Whenever I complete one of these entrances, as soon as I am ready to start my car, the drivers of the cars on both my sides will mysteriously appear and drive off.  I know these people were watching, waiting for me to make an unorthodox maneuver to claim my driver's seat, before showing themselves.  They always leave me with the feeling "if I had only waited another two minutes."

Another trick the network pulls on me, is relocating my car when I park in a large lot.  I am not sure how they do this, unless they have duplicate keys, but I will park by post A-14 and when I return, I spend countless time looking for my car before discovering it at HH-29.  I may be wrong about them moving my vehicle.  It may be that they take down, shuffle the "Lot Markers" and replace them in any willy nilly order.

The whole point of this post is to state that I am aware of the "Irritate John When He Is Driving Network" and if you are a member, I want this nonsense to stop.  It is not funny.  It never was and never will be. So stop it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Season of Dogs and Beatles

I attended a high school reunion over the weekend.  Seeing certain people triggered adolescent memories. I shall relay one of those memories right here, right now.

When I was in elementary school, I had a friend named Dennis.  Dennis had a dog named Daisy.  It's strange that I can still remember that dog's name.  I have relatives who's name I can't remember, yet I can recall Dennis' dog's name from forty odd years ago.  To make this even stranger, I only have one distinct recollection about Daisy on one particular day.

On this day, when we were about ten or eleven years old, Dennis brought me to his house to listen to his latest record.  He had, and I can still see this album when I close my eyes, a Vee Jay double album that was called "The Beatles vs. The Four Seasons."   Vee Jay records had taken the albums "Introducing the Beatles" and "The Golden Hits of the Four Seasons," repackaged both into a double "International Battle of the Century" album set, sold, then requested that you vote for your favorite songs, send the ballot (which was the album jacket) back to Vee Jay records, and they would tally the results.  This was a very effective marketing ploy.  Countless young girls, and a smathering of young boys, bought album after album to stuff the ballot box.  I cannot recall if the Vee Jay ever announced a winner.  Publishing the results would put an end to the album sales, and I am fairly certain that Vee Jay would not want that.

Anyway, to enter Dennis' house, we would have to go through the connected garage.  As we traipsed our way to the inner door, we passed a big cardboard box with an old blanket spread out inside it.  On the blanket was Daisy.  As I looked over at Daisy, she suddenly plopped out a puppy.  Dennis remarked nonchalantly that Daisy had been doing this for a while now.  There were six or seven brand new puppies strewn all across the blanket, their eyes small slits that were yet to open.  There were meager whines emitting from some, while others were fast asleep.  I was dumbstruck.  Never in my life had I seen new life come into existence.  It was such a wondrous thing to behold.  Dennis behaved like his dog gave birth on a daily basis and he was bored with the whole process.

Dennis insisted I leave the dogs to fend for themselves, and accompany him inside to ascertain the better of the bands.  Reluctantly, I followed Dennis to his record player.  It has been too long ago for me to give you our detailed results for the Battle of the Bands, but I know the Beatles won out.  It was such a lopsided match.  Now, if it had been Beatles vs Rolling Stones, that would have been a fair fight. 

I wish I had recalled this tale last Saturday when I saw Dennis again.  I wonder if he would remember it differently.  I will have to ask him at the next reunion, ten years from now.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Plastic People

I went to use the facilities and forgot to take the remote with me.  When I returned, Linda had found the clicker and had put on a program called "The Talk."  I could not believe my eyes.  This was some kind of sci-fi horror interview show.  There was a plastizoid Suzanne Somers.  Her face, stretched smooth of wrinkles and other human features, had been frozen into a demented baby doll expression, forever smiling, eyes unblinking.  She was sitting at a table trying to blend in with the human females who regularly host this show.  It was an impossible task, like switching a Raggedy Anne doll with a human baby in a hospital maternity ward and expecting the parents not to notice.   Anyway, these four women and the cyborg Suzanne greet their guest, a house-of-wax Barry Manilow.  This was a very good likeness of the 1970's Barry Manilow.  It moved and talked just like the real Barry.  I refused to be fooled.  Everyone on the program pretended this Madame Trousseau creation to be the actual Manilow.

The female hosts took turns welcoming Barry by giving him a kiss.  They stood in line with the thigh master spokeswoman being last.  I sat in a horror struck anticipation, waiting for the two animatrons to  bash into each other.  I knew that the faces would collide, shatter and fall from their heads, mixing the shards of the Barry/Suzanne features into an inseparable pile at their feet.  The stone-faced Barry accepted kisses from Holly Robinson, then Sharon Osbourne and Julie Chen.  When Leah Remini finished her kiss it was Suzanne's turn.  The porcelain people clinked loudly like glasses being toasted as Suzanne's lips connected with Barry's cheek.  I was amazed that both faces remained intact. It was like dropping an egg, watching it fall to the floor and then not break.

Barry sat at a piano and the women sat along side.  They would have Barry play bits of their favorite songs and then ooh and ah.  During the idol chatter between riffs, it came to light that Barry and Suzanne were old friends and go back over thirty years.  I wondered if they had gone hand in hand from plastic surgeon to plastic surgeon.  I can picture their conversations over the years: "Suzanne, your surgery has healed completely."  "Your's too, Barry. Wanna do it again?"  "Let's go!"

It took a while for me to get use to these new facial features of Barry and Suzanne.  I finally was able to look at the TV without the urge to run screaming from the room.  Yet, I do think that CBS should have put a parental warning before the show; "Rated NC-17.  Please be advised. The following program contains graphic images that may be disturbing and not suitable for all ages."

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hair I Go Again

I want to know what in the hell is happening with my eyebrows.  There are several hairs on each one that grow as fast as weeds.  About 5 or 6 hairs that group together and spiral upwards forming strange curls on my forehead.  I can lick my fingertips and smooth them down, but this is only a momentary fix until I grimace or smile.  I even tried hairspray to keep my  eyebrow hairs contained in the eyebrow area.  A few expressions later and the wild hairs are curling up again.

So why not cut them?  For some reason, the long hairs of my eyebrows have taken the place of the shorter hairs to the outside.  If I flatten the long hairs, my eyebrows appear normal.  If I was to cut them to the proper length, then the outside of my eyebrow area would be hairless.  It would look as if I had shaved them from the center on out, leaving little half inch strips on each side of the bridge of my nose.

I may have a solution.  If I were to let the wild eyebrow hair grow out a couple inches, and do the same with my newly acquired ear lobe hair, I could tie the two together.  That way my eyebrows would be held to their designated shape and I would have at last found a use for this tangle of lobe whiskers.  Since I'm on the subject of facial hair, I should mention the nose.  With nasal hair you can comb it down into your mustache and blend it in.  You can fool people into thinking your mustache is thicker than it really is.

Speaking of mustaches, Oliver Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, and Adolph Hitler all wore the same style mustache.  Two out of the three famous people were comedians.  Both Chaplin and Hardy wore the style before Hitler.  So why is it when someone wears that type of mustache today, we only associate it with Hitler?  It is considered politically incorrect to wear this facial hair design.  It's a shame that Adolph had to spoil the unique style for everyone else.  He also ruined the name Hitler.  Try to find a Barry Hitler or Susan Hitler or a Little Mikey Hitler anywhere on the planet.   No can do.  Now try checking a 1920 New York City phone book.  Fourteen listings for Robert Hitler alone.

Muttonchops is another facial hair style that is hardly being grown anymore.  I wonder if this is because "muttonchops" sounds like something you would order at a Steak House.  "Yes, I'll have the muttonchops medium rare, with the baked potato and a side of cole slaw."

I will leave you with one last look at a unique mustache.

"You're looking swell, Dali.."

Friday, June 3, 2011

Shopping With Linda

I take Linda to Wal-Marts. I drop her off at the southernmost door and go park the car close to the northernmost door. I then enter the store and head in the direction that Linda is shopping. I take my time walking the lenght of the store. I hope that we will meet somewhere in the middle. I find her around 30 minutes later. She has only made it 20 feet into the store and she is looking at garden hoses. We do not need a garden hose. She knows this, but she still has to look at the wide variety of garden hoses available just in case we have to replace one of ours. She imagines our current hose could become victim to the notorious "North American Garden Hose Thief."  You know, the guy who replaced Bin Laden on the FBI's Top Ten Most Wanted. So I leave her to her own devices after we agree to meet up by Subways, a place in front of the registers where I can sit and be easily found. To kill time until then I go perusing the store.

First I head to the book department. I read a bit of a book called "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter." The author claims to have found a lost Abraham Lincoln diary that tells about how his mother was murdered by a vampire and ever since he has spent all his free time hunting down the blood suckers. This is a top selling book in the horror section of nearly every book store throughout America. Give it a gander next time you are in a B. Daltons or other book merchant shop.  Also by the same author: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Next I go to the computer department. I price their laptops. They appear cheap both in price and quality. People get what they pay for. Do not purchase a computer from Wal-Mart. There are some low priced ones that may be worth the bucks. But you will want more than a basic system, and the one that you really want is overpriced. Trust me on this. If you are looking for a deal on a new computer, find a weekend computer show where a variety of venders set up stands to sell their products. Never buy a computer from Wal-Marts or Best Buy or Sears. You are better off buying at a trade show or on-line.

Finished looking at PC's I go over to the DVD's. I haven't bought a DVD in over two years. The last one I bought I paid $18.95 and now I see that same one for $2.95. Makes me happy to know that my DVD collection has depreciated at the same rate as my home. I play no favorites in my world.  Blu Ray discs are the current trend.  Blu Ray is to DVD as CDs are to 8 tracks.

I have wasted almost an hour and a half.  I decide to work my way over to Subways  In the middle of the store I spot Linda.  She is in the pharmaceutical section looking at bottles of vitamin C.  I approach her and ask what she's doing.  Linda says she wants to buy a jar of chewable C.  The orange flavor C sells for two dollars more than the multiple flavor C.  She hates the taste of most of the multiple flavors.  But does she hate it enough to make up two dollars worth?  I leave her to her conundrum.  Any input I could offer would be immediately ignored (I know this all too well) so I offer none.  As I walk away, I notice Linda's cart.  The only item in it is dog food, two twelve packs.  She has spent over two hours shopping, getting her halfway through the store, and all she has selected for purchase is dog food.

Not knowing where I am headed, I seriously consider seeing a movie at the Multiplex Theater a mile away.  The only problem is, if by some miracle, Linda finishes shopping before I get back.  It is fine for her to keep me waiting for hours, but if I kept her waiting for two minutes, I would never hear the end of it.  She still brings up the time I bought the wrong brand coffee creamer.  That was in 1994.

I enter the Home & Garden department and plop into a cushioned lawn chair.  It is so good to be off my feet.  I close my eyes and try to relax to the max.  I am on verge of sleep when I hear a child ask, "Mommy, is that man dead?"  I open my eyes and look at the tyke.  His mouth drops open in shock.  This must be the first time for the little boy to see a corpse come back to life.  His mother is embarrassed by her son's remark and apologizes to me.  I give my shoulders a "what-can-you-do" shrug.  Mother and child hurry away from me.  I shut my eyes again and manage to fall asleep for a few minutes.  The overhead florescent lights are intrusive and will not allow full slumber.  The all too brief nap does not refresh.  It has the opposite effect and I feel more drawn out.

From where I sat, I could see the Women's Clothes department with Linda unfolding blouse after blouse.  After examining twenty or so unfurled garments, she refolds all she has undone.  Before we had left the house, Linda promised me she would not be shopping for clothes.  I know if I were to confront her, she would claim she is not shopping but only browsing.  I don't see the difference.  That does not matter to Linda.  She will argue to her dying day that browsing has nothing to do with shopping.

I watch Linda for fifteen minutes before she moves on.  Hopefully over to the Food section.  I do not want to follow her to see where she goes next.  If she ended up anywhere other than Food, I would be screaming with frustration.  I will not risk a public breakdown.  I mosey over to Subway.  I plan on staying in the sandwich shop until Linda completes her purchases and is ready to leave.

At Subway I buy a bag of chips and a soft drink. I take up residence in a corner booth where I can see a good portion of the checkout registers.  I play a game with my chips.  I eat only one every time I can think of a Beach Boy song.  This should occupy my mind with something other than Linda's marathon shopping spree.  "Help Me, Rhonda" and chip one is eaten.  "Fun, Fun, Fun" for chip two.  "Sloop John B" and I am rewarded another chip.  "California Girls."  "In My Room." "Good Vibrations."   Chomp, chomp, chomp.  I get the surfing songs, "Surfing Safari," "Surfin' USA," "Surf City," "Surfer Girl."  Next I recall the car songs: "Little Deuce Coupe," "409," "Shut Down," "Little Honda."  I finish off the bag with "Be True To Your School."  Still no Linda at any of the checkouts.

Doing another mental exercise, I try to remember the words to "Be True To Your School."  Under my breath I start singing... "When some *da*da*da* fellow tries to put me down by saying his school is great.  I say now wait a minute... Whats a matter buddy aint you heard of my school?  It's number one in the state.  Be true to your school.  Like *da*da*da* colors fly..."  I wonder how close I got to the actual lyrics.

An older women in the booth behind me taps my shoulder.  I turn around to hear her tell me, "I think it starts out "When some loud mouth braggart tries to put me down...""  She is pleased to give me this information.  She smiles proudly.

Her husband ( I assume this.  He is a man around her same age sharing her booth.)  starts tapping his plastic fork to keep beat with his humming of the tune.  I accompany him by whistling along.  She waits until the appropriate stanza and sings softly, "When some loud mouth braggart tries to put me down by saying his school is great..."

Across the aisle at another booth sits a thin man in his late forties.  He sings a little louder, "Now wait a minute buddy aint you heard of my school?"

The thin man, the older lady, and two more people in the order line sing together, "It's number one in the state!"

Now everyone in Subway sings out the chorus: "BE TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL..."

The older lady: "Like you would to your girl."

Everyone again: "BE TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL..."

Just the men sing: "Let your colors fly..."


Now the rest of the shoppers in the Wal-Mart's checkout lanes shout. "DO IT AGAIN, DO IT AGAIN, WE LIKE IT, WE LIKE IT!!!"

Suddenly someone is grabbing my ear and yanking me to my feet.  Linda pulls me through the crowd of singing customers.  Wouldn't you know it, just when I was starting to have fun.  She says to me as she leads me out of the store, "I can't take you anywhere!"  After loading the car with groceries and such, we drive off while the people inside the store continue singing.  Linda says, "You always got to start something, don't you?"

Looks like I'll be hearing this one over and over again for the next twenty years.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No Subject

Anyone know how to restore the shine to a halo?  Mines been kind of dingy lately.  Hardly any glow to it at all.  At first I thought the batteries had died, but it doesn't use batteries.  I don't know what powers the thing.  Plus when I wear it, it wobbles over my head.  It shouldn't do that.  There is something definitely wrong with it.


In the news:
Texas students can now legally carry concealed weapons on campus.  Betcha the instructors think twice before handing out grades.

World Health Organization says cell phone usage may be linked to cancer.  Who would have thought that that crazy old drunk at the end of the bar had this right all along.

Steve Martin sells forged artwork.  Apparently the purchaser did not have Steve's sense of humor.  "Well, excuuuuuuse me."


Yesterday was memorial.  Only got partially schnockered.  Attended a barbecue and it turned out that I was the main course for every mosquito in Macomb County.  Its hard to concentrate on drinking when you're being constantly bitten.  But other than being itchy for over the past 24 hours, I must say it was a good time with some good friends.


"America's Got Talent" returns tonight.  The very first act of the first show has a unicyclist molesting Howie Mandel's head.  Left him speechless.  Hope the rest of the season turns out to be this funny.  Well, I'm gonna watch the rest, so bye bye for now.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Night Visitor

Several years back I awoke in the middle of the night with an uneasy feeling.  The items in my bedroom were shaded with black or dark shades of gray.  It was hard to determine where furniture ended and walls began.  All was deathly quiet, even Linda's breathing was hardly noticeable.  I struggled to hear any possible noise that could have disturbed my sleep.  After a few minutes I gave up and was about to attempt to go back to sleep when I heard the soft popping sound.  It sounded similar to when you blow softly through a straw into a glass of milk. The sound was coming from the darkest corner of my bedroom.  I tried to focus my eyes on the source of the noise without any luck.  The noise stopped suddenly.  I eventually went back to sleep and by morning had all but forgotten about it.  I would not think about this event again until a week or two later when it reoccurred.  This time with more detail.

There is a show on the Biography channel called "Celebrity Ghost Stories."  It would be more appropriately named "Celebrities Trying to Regain the Spotlight Ghost Stories."  I have never actually watched an episode.  I have only seen the previews.  If you ever wondered what happened to Ralph Malph from Happy Days, or Brian Wilson's daughter Carnie, or Elizabeth Rohm who portrayed the blond D.A. on Law and Order from 2001 to 2004, then this is the place for you.  The reason I never watched an episode is because I do not believe in ghosts.  Yet I have a ghost story of my very own.

Two weeks after first hearing the popping noise it happened again.  Just like the first time, I was awakened in the middle of the night.  The noise was coming from the same corner of my room.  When I stared at the dark space, this time I was able to see a faint shape.  It was spherical about a foot in diameter.  I could see through it more easily than focus on it.  If not for the noise, I would have just dismissed this as shadow play, a mere nighttime optical illusion.  I turned to Linda and shook her awake.  "What is that?"  I said as I pointed to the corner.

Linda never appreciates being awaken from a sound sleep to be frantically grilled.  Especially if the subject is about something of which she has no idea.  By the time she could wipe the sleep from her eyes and look to where I pointed, it was gone.  I slapped on the light switch.  This further aggravated Linda. The corner of the room  which I indicated held only a wooden chair with my prior day's pants and shirt laying on the seat.  The place where I had seen the sphere would have been about two feet over the seat.  I could not determine what in the bedroom could have caused the noise and shape.  Linda was yelling at me to turn off the light and go back to sleep.  I shut off the light, Linda returned to her slumber, but I sat up for the rest of the night waiting for the sphere to return.  It did not show up again for another two weeks.

The third time I saw the apparition, I was able to make out what it was.  I awoke to the bubble popping noise again.  Linda stayed undisturbed in her dreamland as I sat up in bed and looked to the corner.  The blurry sphere shape was there again.  This time it was glowing ever so slightly.  As I stared at it, I saw that there was something inside the sphere.  Three quarter of the sphere seemed to be holding water and floating at the top of the water was a goldfish.  Although there was a transparency to this ghostly image, I could still see the gills of the fish emitting the last of its oxygen bubbles as it died.  Then the fish and its bowl disappeared.  It would be another two weeks before returning.

The next morning I told Linda about the goldfish specter.  She insisted I was dreaming.  I couldn't convince her otherwise.  I was alone in this haunting.  I never had a goldfish.  Neither did Linda.  So why would the ghost of a goldfish show itself to me?  Then I thought about the people whom owned this house before me.  My house use to belong to a family named Smithers; Harvey and Joy, and their little girl, Pauline.  I wondered if they could have once owned a goldfish.

It was another two weeks before the fourth appearance.  This time, as I alone stared at the ghostly fish, it righted itself in its bowl and stared with its dead eyes directly at me.  I grabbed a paperback book off my nightstand and threw it.  The book passed through the phantom causing it to ripple like a rock tossed in a stream.  The rippling image dissipated into thin air. Linda's sleep stayed undisturbed.  The following morning I decided on a course of action.

I knew the Smithers had moved to Lansing, Michigan.  I called information and got their phone number.  Although it had been twenty years, Harvey Smithers remembered who I was right off.  We talked pleasantries for several minutes before I brought up the subject about pets.  Why yes, Harvey said, his little girl did once have a goldfish.  It was her responsibility, but being only 8 at the time, she neglected to feed it and it starved to death.  I asked how his daughter was nowadays.  He told me that Pauline had just got married a couple months earlier.  She and her husband were living back in my area, they bought a place in Warren.  I talked for a few more minutes with Harvey before ending the call.

Thinking over what I had learned, it seemed that Pauline's wedding and relocation to Warren coincided with the appearance of the ethereal goldfish.  Now I would have to find a way to redirect the dead pet to its former owner.  I needed some type of goldfish whisperer exorcist.  This all happened in the last millennium before Google existed.   So my main sources of research was to scour the Yellow Pages or visit the local library.  The Yellow Pages were useless, so off to the library I went.

The Center Line Public Library is not the biggest library in world.  The only book I could find for getting rid of evil spirits was "The Exorcist" by William Peter Blatty.  There were no books on goldfish whispering.  I did not think I could talk a Catholic priest to come over my house and perform an exorcism for a goldfish.  So my trip to the library was also fruitless.  It wasn't until days later, when I passed a certain restaurant, did I come up with a solution.

On the fifth and final appearance of the goldfish, once more I was awaken by its bubbling sound.  The bowl was shining more brightly than ever before.  The fish scowled its dead eye glare at me.  It even appeared bigger in size than previously.  I was not going to let this creature intimidate me.  I reached to my nightstand and grabbed the bag I had placed there for this occasion.  Showing it to the fish, I watched the ghost mouth the word "No" and tremble as it disappeared forever from my bedroom.  Satisfied that this episode of my life had ended, I opened the bag and enjoyed the crispy potato chips within.  No self respecting sea creature wants to end up as fish and chips.  Thank you Long John Silver for the solution.