Category Archives: Imagination

Dance of the Seagulls

Circling around above the bay, like a dance of ballet.                                                                      They soar, they dive, as they glide in the flow of the wind.

Dancers have a common interest, they like to dance.  Apart and together. Whatever the dance, it is movement.  An expression of self and spirit.  But there is something unique about a ballet dancer.  It’s a love of grace and beauty, and discipline. Theatrical, yet very athletic.  They practice their art to perfection.

What do the seagulls have in common with dance, the ballet?  It’s movement.  But  they are birds in flight.  They have the ability to glide effortlessly across the sky.   Again, it’s movement, a disciplined coordinated dance of sorts.  A free expression of self and spirit. They can fly together or apart.  Something graceful about them, but it comes naturally with them.  A movement, yes a ballet in flight.

“Welcome to ‘Ballet for the Birds.’ All of you have the ability to dance, to move with ease and grace.  I will take you to new heights in flight.  You will learn how to dance with class.      I have observed many birds in flight, but seagulls can perform with grace and beauty. Naturally, you have the ability to move together in coordinated moves.  In ballet, our moves are graceful, yet disciplined.  A ballerina performs for art alone, but for a seagull,  it’s for survival.  By the end of this class, all of you will be able to perform a ballet in the sky. We can practice and perfect our art.  As you can see, I am a seagull, too. By the way, I’m Petra, a prima ballerina of flight.  You’re learning from the very best.  You’ll see.”

“Ms. Petra, I don’t know anything about ballet, but I’m eager to learn,” said Angelina. “By the end of this class, you may become the prima ballerina in the sky.  I’m so glad you’re eager to learn,” said Petra.

“Lady, I mean Ms. Petra,  I’m Francois. Looking for a gull friend.  Maybe one in here.” “You are so debonair.  Just like a Frenchman, looking for love.  We’re here to learn ballet first, maybe a girlfriend for you later,” said Petra with a wink of her eye.

“I’m Sofia, always wanted to dance in the sky.  This seems to be the place for me.”  “A very wise decision.  You will dance in the sky with grace,” said Petra with a smile.

“May I speak?  I’m Mikhail.  Ballet is my forte.” “Oh my, with a name like that you are a cavalier of ballet.  I look forward to dancing with you,” said Petra in an excited tone of voice with much interest in Mikhail.

“I need just one more ballerina,  how about you Mademoiselle?” said Petra. “I’m awfully shy.  I was told to come here to build confidence,” said Marie with a blush of her cheeks.       I will spend time with you ’till you feel comfortable with dance.  Ballet is an art form. Think  ‘I am a ballerina’ and you are, just need to practice.  I’ll make sure of it,” said Petra in a soft and encouraging voice.

“I need a man of confidence, you look self assured. Sir, how about you?” said Petra. “You got the wrong man.  All I know how to do is circle around for fish.  This is not me. I doubt      I can do it, but I will try,” said Peter. “A positive attitude is what it takes to start. You already know how to circle for fish.  I will teach you to circle in dance.  That’s exactly what this class is all about, learning to circle in dance.  No need to doubt yourself, you can do it,” said Petra with her head held high.

“Okay, now we have an ensemble of ballet.  Are you ready to dance?  Even haphazardly?”  said laughingly by Petra. “We will have fun.  I will show you how.  I’ll see you at ten at the Academy tomorrow at mid morning.  Be here at ten a.m.”  said Petra.

“Good morning.  I see you all are here.  You are courageous and you will do well.  Just  follow my lead,” said Petra. “Any comments before we go up?  Be positive, I’m listening.”

“I’m eager to learn,” said Angelina. “I will learn to dance first, but still eyeing for a gull friend,” said Francois. “Up, up and away.  I’m ready to dance in the sky.  So beautifully blue in the beam of the sun,” said Sofia. “I will lead.  I’m the danseur of the ballet,” said Mikhail with insistence. “I know, but you must dance with the rest.  All equally able.  I know you want to be treated special, and you are, but you must dance together with the ensemble,” said Petra in an affectionate way.  Marie said, “I’m a ballerina.” “You know, a circle of dance may be better than eyeing for fish, but I don’t think so.  I must keep my eyes on you,” said Peter in a confident manner.

“Everyone sounds great.  Upbeat and ready to fly.  This morning we will do only one thing.  We will fly up high and form a circle of dance.  Just follow me and I will show you how.  You will enjoy.  All seagulls like to fly.  Let’s go up.  Follow me,” said Petra with exuberant energy up to the sky.  All follow right behind.  They reach the height set by Petra and she   instructs them on how to fly in a circle.

“Here we are, just hover in place.  I will demonstrate a circle for you, just watch,” said Petra.  She flies around and around and around. “That’s how you do it.  Now I want each of you to follow me.  I will call your names.”

“Peter, behind me.  Don’t take your eyes off of me.  Angelina, behind Peter.  Francois, follow behind Angelina.  Think dance, dance, dance.  Sofia, follow behind Francois.    Mademoiselle Marie, get behind Sofia.  Think ‘I’m a ballerina.’ That’s all you need to do.  My cavalier, Mikhail, behind Marie.  Now we have formed a circle.  Circle around, and around, and around. A circle of dance.  I will flutter and observe.  Wonderful.  A dance in the sky for sure.  Three more rounds and we’ll fly down.  One, two, and three. Marvelous!”

A slow descent to the ground. “This is truly amazing.  All of you have done well.  You followed my lead.  You know how to dance in the sky.  A dance of seagulls in perfect form. Tomorrow, here at ten a.m.  We will try a little more to add to our dance.  It’s called ‘drop down, rise up’  See you, my ensemble of ballet.”  Petra departs and so do the rest.

The next morning.  Another beautiful day.  Clear blue sky with puffs of clouds and a brilliant morning sun. “Good morning.  I see you all are here.  Feeling more confident?  I’m sure you do.  Let’s rise up now to form a circle of dance in the sky.  Same line up, follow me.  Up, up and away!”  All up in air and follow Petra’s commands. “Follow me, the same order.  Peter, Angelina, Francois, Sofia, Marie and Mikhail.  Circle, circle, circle around.  Again.  Circle, circle, circle around.  One more time.  Circle, circle, circle around.”

All birds move out of circle hovering in front of Petra.”This is our new move.  It’s called ‘drop down, rise up.’ I need two other gulls to help me demonstrate.  Mikhail and Francois. I’m in the middle.  Okay, men, hover in place.  I will hover with you.  Stay in place and I will drop down and rise up.  Watch everyone. I drop down and rise up back in formation with the guys.  Now Mikhail, you’re in the middle.  Drop down, rise up. Drop down, rise up. Bravo!  Francois, in the middle, please.  Drop down, rise up.  Drop down, rise up.  Very good to both of you.  Now, everyone let’s form a circle again.  Okay guys, drop down, rise up.  Girls, drop down, rise up.  Repeat.  Very good.  Repeat.  Now, back in place as a circle. Marvelous!  That’s it for today.  A great performance.” All fly down to the ground.

Petra to all, “I am so proud. Perfect formation.  A dance in the sky.  One last move tomorrow.  See you at ten,” said Petra.  All leave with smiles, heads held high, and leave with a sense of confidence.

“Good morning, again.  A beautiful morning to learn and perform.  We are going to do an advanced move of ballet.  It’s called ‘pirouette.’  It means to whirl around.  A spin of the body.  Let’s go up and I will demonstrate.  I need to make one slight adjustment in order.    I need a guy, then a girl.  A guy, then a girl.  A guy, then a girl.  Let’s fly up and form a circle. Okay, follow me to circle around.  In this order.  Peter, Angelina, Francois, Sofia, Marie and lastly, Mikhail.  Watch me.  I will pirouette, roll over to the left, and return to formation with my head up.  Watch again. Roll over to the left and back to formation with my head up.  Let’s all try it together.  Left wing down and around to the top.  Left wing down and around to the top.  Great.  Now alternate moves.  Girls remain in place in the circle.  Ready.  Guys, left wing down and around to the top.  Roll over, left wing down and around to the top.  Now guys remain in circle formation.  Girls, wings down to the left and around to the top with your heads up.  Left wing down and around to the top. We have just done a ballet in the sky.  A dance of seagulls.  See you down at earth.”

Everyone is excited.  Chatter and hugs and cheers. “All hail to the queen.  Our prima ballerina.   Hooray, hooray, hooray!” “Here’s your dance certificates.  Also, there is a coupon for the next advanced class. Fifty percent off.  Next week, ten a.m. at the Academy.”

Petra thinking to herself.  They’ve all done well.  A little sloppy, but I couldn’t tell them that.  New recruits for the academy.  I can’t do this for nothing.  Let’s see, six times fifty is three hundred dollars.  Not bad for a one hour session.

Oleo Buttermilk

“Hello, Oleo, what are you making?” “I’m making buttermilk pancakes, Mrs. Butterworth.  Recipe calls for two aigs, a stick of oleo, and a large cup of buttermilk.” “You mean two eggs, a stick of butter, and a large cup of buttermilk.” “I mean two aigs, a stick of oleo, and a large cup of buttermilk.”  Mrs. Butterworth to Oleo, “If you’re making buttermilk pancakes, it requires more eggs, more butter, and more buttermilk. You need four eggs, two sticks of butter, and two large cups of buttermilk.” “Okay, if you’re doubling the recipe, then it’s four aigs, two sticks of oleo, and two large cups of buttermilk.  That means we’re making twice as many pancakes,” said Oleo to Mrs. Butterworth. “Whatever you think, Oleo.  Four aigs, two sticks of oleo, and two large cups of buttermilk.  I have no idea what aigs are, but if they’re like eggs, then, they will do,” said Mrs. Butterworth.

“Where did you get this recipe, Oleo?  It’s not the standard pancake recipe,” said Mrs. Butterworth. “Yes, it’s a special family recipe.  It’s my Mama’s recipe.  Not one like it.”   “Whatever you say, Oleo.  I don’t quite understand your ingredients.  Rather primitive.     My mother would not approve.  She always follows the exact recipe and it always comes out perfect.”  “I follow Mama’s recipe and it always comes out just as Mama told me,” said Oleo.

“Let me give a call to my sista.  She can interpret and confirm that this is Mama’s genuine recipe.  Sista, this is Oleo, can you come over and explain my buttermilk pancake recipe? On your way, good.  My sista lives next door.  She knows the recipe well.” “Thank you, Oleo.  It’s always a good idea to have someone else, who knows the recipe well, verify that you know what you’re doing, which I think not.  This is not a standard buttermilk pancake recipe,” said Mrs. Butterworth.

“Sista, good mornin’.  Mrs. Butterworth, meet my sista, Jolene.  This here lady is having a problem understanding Mama’s buttermilk pancake recipe.  Can you explain it to her?” “Glad to, sista.” “Mrs. Buttermilk, I mean, Mrs. Butterworth, it’s a simple recipe.  Let me clear up your problem.  I’m sorry you can’t follow the directions, but let me see if I can make sense out of it for you.  Once I explain it and show you how, any idiot can make these cakes,” said Jolene. “Oleo seems to be the one that doesn’t know how to follow directions. This recipe is a train wreck in the making.  Give me a sensible explanation to your Mama’s fine recipe and it’s proper ingredients,” “Glad to do it, Mrs. Butterworth,” said Jolene.

“Now, Mrs. Butterworth, these are the main ingredients.  Two aigs, a stick of oleo, and a large cup of buttermilk,” said Jolene. “It’s the same as Oleo’s recipe.  Surely there must be other ingredients.  I just cannot imagine these ingredients making a culinary delight,” said Mrs. Butterworth in a repulsed manner of speaking.

“Here’s the rest of the ingredients. Two cups of flour, a teaspoon of baking soda, a teaspoon of baking powder, a little salt and sweeten as you like with white sugar,” said Jolene to Mrs. Butterworth. “Well, Jolene, you, at least, know the rest of the proper ingredients.  Two aigs and a stick of oleo makes the worst kind of anything,” said Mrs. Butterworth to Jolene. “Sista, Oleo, you got one ingredient wrong, only a half stick of oleo.”

“Mrs. Butterworth, here’s a mixing bowl.  I’ll let you do it for yourself.  Add two cups of flour, two aigs, the oleo, and buttermilk, then add the rest.  Stir the batter, not too much, then you’re ready to make your pancakes,” said Jolene. “Sounds so simple and it’s easy to do.  Maybe these will turn out to be pancakes after all. Maybe,” said Mrs.Butterworth, a little skeptical, yet with a positive manner of speaking. “Oh they will, you’ll see.  Mama told us so and we are right,” said Oleo emphatically to Mrs. Butterworth.

“Mrs. Butterworth, have you ever tasted buttermilk?  No? Well, have a taste,” said Jolene. “This is awful, spoiled milk.  So bitter and so sour.  There must be a substitute for it.” “Nope, that’s the way it is.  It’s the left over butter cream with bacteria added to it.  A tangy and sour taste.  You will be surprised with the outcome.  You’ll see and taste the difference,” said Jolene to Mrs. Butterworth. “I am not responsible for any sickness caused by these flat and despicable pancakes.  In good conscience, I cannot do it.  Mother would, certainly, not approve.  She would disown me,” said Mrs. Butterworth.

“Now, here’s the pan.  It’s a cast iron griddle.  Been in the family for years. It was Mama’s,” said Jolene with pride. “You mean, pancakes are made on that dirty, smutty flat pan?  I really don’t think these buttermilk pancakes will be pleasing to the eye. Like burnt toast, I’m sure,” said Mrs. Butterworth. “Now don’t draw any conclusions, yet.  Let’s make them, then you can judge for yourself.  You will be surprised with the outcome.  I promise,” said Jolene. “Turn your fire on low, then slowly add your batter, a large tablespoon for each pancake.  We are making large pancakes.  Just like Mama told us so,” said Jolene. “Oh, I’m so nervous. Here goes. Batter on the griddle.  How long do I cook them, Jolene?” said Mrs. Butterworth. “About two minutes on one side and one minute on the other because the griddle is already hot enough,” said Jolene.

“You know, Jolene, these do look like pancakes.  I like what I see. Just like mother learned in culinary school.  She may approve.” “Now flip them over and in one minute you will have made your first genuine buttermilk pancake.  Just like Mama told us, and she is always right.  You’ve done it.  Have a taste.  What do you think?  A culinary delight?” asked Jolene. “These are more than culinary, they are delicious,” said Mrs. Butterworth.

“Now, place your cakes on this here plate.  Add two pats of oleo and pour a hot warm liquid of real, artificial, maple syrup.  I guess you may know something about artificial.  The pancake mix out of a box just doesn’t taste like Mama’s cakes.  Mama knows best,” said Oleo. “I think your Mama does know best.  These are cultured and I like them,” said Mrs. Butterworth.

Any homemade recipe is always better than out of the box.  Real ingredients make the difference.  Whether it’s Mother or Mama, they know best, really.

Gas Station Ninja

“How long have you been a ninja?”

“My whole life,”said Vickey.

Customer responded, “Really?”

“Yup! My entire life. It all happened twenty-two years ago. I have birth parents.                    They knew there was something different about me. But couldn’t figure it out.”

“Mom and Dad witnessed my super human strength. When I was two, the family car had a flat along the highway. We had no spare, and the closest exit was five miles away, and nightfall was near.  I told Dad I could fix it in a minute.”

“All I had to do was pull the nail and seal the tire with my laser sword. Then I used the super wind power of my lungs to blow air back into the tire. Just pulled off the valve, and inflated the tire to its exact PSI and off we go.”

“We had a burglar in the neighborhood for about a week.  He had struck and robbed many households on the street. One night I saw his shadow near the window of a neighbor’s house.   A street light gave him away. I approached the silhouetted figure. He could not see me.”

“I used my mind waves to zap him of his strength, and he fell to the ground. Simply used the power of my index finger to lift him up and threw him out front to the street. He ran off quickly and was rather confused. That’s what my mind power can do.  As I told you, ninjas work by night. Again, I protect.”

“Does anybody here, at the gas station, know about you?”

“They don’t have a clue. Bill, the owner of this establishment, hired me as a clerk. He doesn’t know that I’ve been sent here to protect him for another reason.  A recent break-in here, in the night, got me this assignment.”

“Who assigned you?”

“My master.”

“And who is your master?”

“I can never tell. Ninjas can never reveal their source.”

“What do you mean, source?”

“The source, man. You don’t get it.  Only a ninja would know. This dude in line doesn’t even know it, but there are five ninjas, including me, surrounding him. He can’t see us. We stay in our shadows by day.  We are protecting him for a reason.  He is about to find out, here at this store, that he has just won the fifty million dollar lottery. He needs all the protection he can get.  He must go into hiding. We must take him there.”

“Where is there?”




“You can’t tell me?”

“Let’s say it’s somewhere you have never been or seen.  It’s a different place.  A world of our own.”

“Are there others there like you?”

“Yes, many of us.”

“All ninjas?”

“All ninjas and one master.”

“What is your mission?”

“As I said, it is to protect. There are ninjas around you, but you  can’t see them.”


“We have to remain hidden.  We are protecting you too.”

“Me, too?”

“Yes, we are.”

“Can you tell me why I need protection?”

“In time, you will know.”


“Soon, very soon.  But, we are with you at all times.  You are safe.”

“You said Bill, the owner, needs protection.”

“Everywhere Bill goes for the rest of his life, we will be in his shadow. Protecting him for a reason.  The reason, I will reveal to you, but you must never tell Bill. He will be in a low-profile position, but in a very special role. He will be the only galactic receiver of intelligence from another world.  Our world.  The ninja world.”

“Can you tell where?”

“It’s somewhere out there.”


“We can never tell.  He will know in time.  Only he will ever know.  Remember, our mission is always to protect.”

Mango Market

Mango Market on Isla del Sol.

Feel the breeze, the warmth of the sun.

Isla del Sol is an uninhabited island and protected to keep it in it’s natural state.  A very tropical feel to the island with it’s abundance of mangoes, fanned palmetto palms, and awesome wind blown oaks.  It is believed that the island was originally occupied by native dwellers who worked in the groves of mango there.  The island is also nicknamed Mango Island.

Today, descendants of explorers live in a nearby  village on the mainland. Isla del Sol is only accessible by canoe.  Visitors must paddle their way to the island, across a small inlet, as did the natives long ago.  Abandoned and weathered canoes still rest upon it’s shore. The island is managed by a farm cooperative. Members, who grow their own natural fruits and vegetables, share them in a marketplace twice weekly on the island.

“Good morning, members.  Another delightful day in our marketplace.  I decided to add some color to make it look more festive and tropical.  I have the usual six carts. They   are now painted with a variety of pastels.  I hope you like them.  Thank you, Ernesto,” said Magdalena, manager of Mango Market. “Let’s see what you have, Diego.” “Mama,  I have the finest coffee, tea, cocoa and apple cider.  The coffee, today, is one hundred percent Colombian.  I have English tea, the best Swiss chocolate, and fresh squeezed apple cider.  I have four decanters, one for each.  Piping hot, ready to serve,” said Diego. “Load your items on this cart.  It’s mocha brown.  Place your cart at the end of the path on the left. The aromas will radiate throughout the market.” “I will, señora.  And I have my earthen clay mugs and wooden spoons.  Natural everything.  Raw honey, fresh cream, and brown sugar cane,” said Diego.

“The breads, come ahead.  Rosa, what a wheat wagon you have.  Mmm, hot crusted French, Italian, and Cuban.  Oh, the aromas will blend well with the coffee cart,” said Magdalena with delight and a smile. “Buenos días, Magdalena.  Fresh from the oven. Spreads of butter, cream cheese, and apple butter.  Clove and cinnamon sprinkles. These will awaken the senses,” said Rosa as she fans her hand across the baskets. “Take this cart.  It’s painted with a pastel of clay yellow.  Please, set up on the left, up front next to Diego’s mocha brown coffee cart.  A nice contrast of color.” said Magdalena.

Feel the breeze, the warmth of the sun.

“Need fruit.  Need fruits and juices.  Come on up, Juan,” said Magdalena. “I got the fruits, señora, and I got the juice.  Is tropical okay?” said Juan. “Of course, they look so luscious.  The juice boxes are fine, as long as they are fresh squeezed,” said Magdalena. “I have papaya, guava, and ripened mangoes,” said Juan proudly. “I hope those are my mangoes.  They don’t look like my mangoes. Are they organic and not supermarket?” said Magdalena with suspicion. “Not supermarket, but farmer’s market and I was told that they are organic.  All natural,” said Juan. “Well, they’ll do, but please, do not tell anyone about them.  They all come here for my mangoes, as you know, grown here on the island.  Here. Take the aqua marine cart.  A nice contrast of color.  On the left, right here, up front.   Gracias, Juan,” said Magdalena.

“I need a hot food cart.  Benito, I smell your tamale pies and burritos and sizzling sausage.   Do you have sauce and cheese?” “Yes, I do, señora.  And I have hot cheese sticks and nachos.” “I’ll be the first in line for your cheese sticks.  I hope you have a blazing hot sauce for the nachos. Need mild too.  Oh, your cart.  Take this one, the pastel palmetto green.  At the end, on the right, across from Diego’s coffee cart,” said Magdalena as she views the set up of the carts.

Feel the breeze, the warmth of the sun.

“Let’s see, the pastries. Ah, the smell of yeast, vanilla, chocolate, sugar and spice.  I know you are here, please come forward,” said Magdalena with anticipation. “I have the cart already.  Loaded and ready to go,” said Anna Maria. “Oh, my goodness, what a display.  A bakery cart adds flavor to a marketplace. This is the perfect cart.  Raspberry is the right color for you.  Up this way, on the right, next to Benito’s hot food cart.  Mmm, the blend of coffee, sizzling sausage, and pastries will compliment each other.”

“One last cart, a vegetable cart, please. Señora Alvarez,  good morning.  Your vegetables look so fresh.  All organic, I hope,” said Magdalena. “Yes, indeed, señora. I have fresh golden corn in their husks, ripened cherry tomatoes, green and red peppers, red onions, and crisp lettuce,” said Señora Alvarez. “This cart is for you, brilliant orange. On the right, up front, here.”

Feel the breeze, the warmth of the sun.

Magdalena, with her arms crossed, looks at the marketplace on the yellow clay path, under the shade of the wind blown oaks.  The sun is beaming through providing the light of day.   She bends back breathing in the flavors of the market and she delights in the pastels of color she has created. “Everyone, this is the day, this is the place, this is the time for us to celebrate.  Moments away before our first guests arrive.  Are you ready? Do you all have mangoes?” “We are ready,” said by all the vendors in the marketplace. “And yes, Magdalena, we all have mangoes, plenty of them!” said Juan.  All laugh.

“We are ready, then.  I need two greeters at the entrance.  Carlos and Alicia, can you assist me here?  Remember to check their membership cards.  All guests must be accompanied by a member.  Must do a count.  We only allow twenty five into the marketplace per hour.  On each side of you, there are two tables of my fresh mangoes.  Give one of each to our  members and guests may have one, too.  Oh yes, tell them about our sunrise market.  It’s the day after tomorrow.  Must be here at predawn before sunrise.  I know it’s early, but that’s what it’s all about, the sunrise.  It’s a two hour market open to only twenty five.  That way, there will be room to casually roam, allow time and space to gather, and to enjoy the flavors of our food and drink.”

“Good morning, all.  Welcome to Mango Market.  A mango for you and a mango for you,” said Carlos wearing his straw hat with a colorful red band. “This way, please.  Straight ahead.  Enjoy your time in the market,” said Alicia wearing a long melon tunic belted at the waist with a yellow braided tie.  On her feet are simple leather sandals.

Magdalena said to those entering the market, “Good morning, buenos dias.  It’s a delightful day.  Have a great time.  We have everything for you.  All fresh and natural.”

Just before noon when the market closes, Magdalena walks through the market  talking with each vendor. “Everything good, Diego?” “Yes, used four decanters of each today.” “Benito, all your food is gone.  Did you run out?” “Yes, Magdalena.  I was raided,” laughingly said Benito.

“Rosa, you still have breads.  What happened?” “Not too many bread lovers today.   Everyone seemed to like the bagels which I  don’t normally have much of a demand.  And the cream cheese.   Went like ice cream!”

“I know the pastries did well and I see they did, Anna Maria.” “Everyone wanted every one of them.  The sweet breads were the most popular, conchas and, believe or not, the German chocolate cake.” “This is an island market, you would think,” said Magdalena. Anna Maria continue, “The frosted apple turnovers went like fresh apples picked from the tree.” “Did you save me a couple?  You know what I like,” said Magdalena with a smile. “Yes, I did.  The concha and the German chocolate cake.”  Shh!” said Magdalena.

“All right, give me your score, Juan.” “I did well, all stopped here first because I’m at the front of the market. The most popular fruit was the Georgia peach.  The most favored juice was pineapple,” said hesitantly by Juan. “What do you mean, no mangoes sold? How did the Georgia peach get in here? and the pineapple juice?  This is not Hawaii!” said Magdalena a little distressed.  Juan to Magdalena, “They were requested and I had a few under the counter.  Yes, I got them at the farmer’s market, too.” “Aye Yai Yai!  Next time, all mangoes, my mangoes!” said Magdalena shaking her finger with a smile.

“Mrs. Alvarez, I know you came through for me, you always do.  Vegetables.  Everyone needs vegetables.   How did you do?” said Magdalena hoping for a home run. “I sold a few tomatoes, and the husks of corn are always popular, but the rest  are still here.  I’m sorry no home run,” said   Señora Alvarez, then said “I sold mangoes, many of them.  Fresh from your grove.” “That really delights me, you did make a home run!  You win the prize,” said Magdalena. “Prize, I get a prize?” said Señora Alvarez. “Yes, you sold mangoes.  Above the rest!  Here’s a bag of mangoes to go,” said Magdalena with a grin and a wink.

“Thank you folks for coming, the market closes in five minutes.  Remember the sunrise market in two days.  Only twenty five are allowed and must be here before the break of dawn.  Reservations are required,” said Magdalena as she directs Carlos to close the gate. 

Feel the breeze, the warmth of the sun.


Fish Market Drifter

“If you don’t write your own story, somebody else will write it for you.”

“Just be yourself.  No need for pretense.  Write your own story.  If they write your story, will it be about them or you?  Be yourself and your story will be about you,” said the fish market  drifter. “Who are you?  You seem to be a very wise man.  How did you know that I wanted to write a story, one about me,” said the somewhat startled, surprised young man. “I know a lot about life.  Been there, done that.  I know a lot about writing, that’s what I do.  I’m a ghostwriter.” “Are you a ghost?  What is a ghostwriter?”

“A ghostwriter?  Let’s see.  Someone hidden, not visible, not known, writing a story for you. Why do you ask such a question young man?” “I have a draft of a story I have written and I think it isn’t very good.  I don’t write very well.  I need someone to polish it up.  Make it a worthwhile read.  It needs to be inviting.  Like the neon sign behind you,” said young Mark. “Your name, bright young man?” “I’m Mark.  Mark Twain.” “Mark Twain?  Do you know who you are?  Your style of writing was a new genre of literature.  A little rough around the edges, but your books were, and still are, some of the most read books to this day,” said the ghostwriter beneath the neon light.

“How do you know that about me?  I never knew it.  I want to write an engaging and provocative story.  One that makes people think.  Imaginative and adventurous.  A ghostwriter, I hear, can bring a story to life.  A ghost never reveals himself.  Remains anonymous.  One told me on the telephone that she could write me a story that will shine. As bright as that neon light behind you.  You see it?” “Yes, I see it.  It’s bright and sends a message that there is something of value in there. ‘We have crabs’ must be in demand here.  You know this is a fish market?  People come here for the best and select.  You already have that gift with your writing.  Thought you ought to know,” said the gravelly voiced old man. “I really do?  I already have what I need to write my story?” said young Mark, and said, “I’m only a diamond in the rough.” “That’s what makes your writing so special.”

“How do you know me?” “All ghostwriters know about you.  They try to copy your style, but have never been able to do it.”  “Who are you and where do you come from?” “Maybe  I’m someone from your past.  Maybe you.”

Julia Mae’s Sari Night

Port of Pascagoula, Mississippi

Aboard the SS Dolphin
New Delhi, India

As Julia Mae was leaving the church service one Sunday evening,  she saw an attractive finely dressed couple standing alone in the pew. He was dressed in a  black captain’s attire with golden waves of the sea on his cuffs and across his captain’s hat.   Both looked very exotic.

She was dressed in a beautiful silk gown.  A dark bluish color with a pattern of soft blue waves woven into the fabric.  Her gown was covered with a sheer chiffon midnight blue covering with a pattern of shimmering stars across it. The attire appeared to  be  glittering gold stars atop a deep blue sea.  “Just stunning” thought Julia.

Julia acknowledged the couple with a  genuine friendly smile.   She said in her Southern Belle tone of voice, “I’m Julia.  Visitors in town?”

“Yes,” he said.  We’re docked at the port.  My ship is a freightliner. We’re here to deliver goods from the Far East.”  Julia said “Are you from India?” “Yes, Julia, we are from India.  New Delhi is our home when we are there, but most of the time we are at sea.”

“Well, welcome to town.  I’m Julia.  Actually, Julia Mae.”  “I’m Ansee and this is my husband Nestor.  He’s captain of our ship.”  “Julia Mae, said Ansee, I just love your Southern hospitality and we appreciate it.”  “Julia Mae, you are a magnolia blossom.  I just love your Southern accent” said Ansee.

Julia said, “Well it’s how most of us sound around here.  We do have some foreigners here, but mostly visitors from the port like you.”  Julia to Ansee, “Any dinner plans?” “Not yet, Julia.”  “Well, would you like to be my guests for dinner at my home?  It will be a simple meal.  I have some jambalaya.”  Ansee said “I’ve heard of it.  Crawfish pie, filet gumbo, me-oh-my-oh”

Julia continues “Red beans and rice and my famous Southern potato salad.” “It’s hard to pass that up, Julia, but we must go.  Next time, me-oh-my-oh.” said Nestor.  Ansee to Julia “You are so gracious and thank you.  We must decline, our ship leaves from port in early morn.  A long journey back, across the sea, to our home in New Delhi.”

Ansee to Julia and looking at Nestor for agreement.  “You know, Julia Mae, our dinner on board is at seven thirty.  Thirty minutes from now.  Would you join us?”  Julia said “I would love to come aboard.”

Nestor says “All right, ladies, let’s go.  We will all ride together.  Our limousine is waiting outside.”  Ansee to Julia “It’s not ours, but we like to travel in luxury when we are ashore. We are forever on that ship and need to touch the earth every once in awhile.”  They both laughed.  Driver opens the door for the two ladies, then Nestor enters the car.

En route to the port.  Julia says “I have never ridden in a limousine before, this is very nice.”  Nestor to Julia “It’s not ours, but when we are ashore, we like to ride in style.”  Again, Ansee says “Julia, we are forever on that boat, we’ve got to touch solid ground. All we know is how to float!”  They all laugh.

The limo pulls up at the dock.  It’s still twilight and the ship is visible to the eye.  Nestor says to Julia “We are the third ship berthed at the dock, see it?”  Julia sees a large blue  vessel. The name of the ship on the side of the bow reads “SS Dolphin” stenciled in gold and below it in an Indian language which Ansee interprets “Safe Voyage.”  On the back of the ship, also in gold, is the vessel’s name “SS Dolphin” and directly under it “New Delhi, India.”

The Indian flag flies below the American flag.  It’s considered by them, a protocol for their  vessel entering any U.S. port. It’s like their ship is a guest to America and certainly these folks, from their conversation with Julia, come in good will.

“Julia” said Nestor.  “Our port city is actually Calcutta.   New Delhi is quite a ways from there.  We have a small condo in Calcutta,  near the port, so when we are ready sail, we are ready to go.”  “Occasionally we get back to Delhi, but most of the time we are at sea” said Ansee.

The ship’s second captain, Amal, wearing a light blue T, blue jeans, brown deck shoes and a red ball cap atop his head.  He hurriedly walks down the plank to the dock.  Ansee says to Amal “This is Julia Mae.  She’s our guest for dinner.”  Amal says  to Julia “Greetings and welcome aboard.”  Amal removes his cap, bows to Julia with his hands folded, then  he rises back up saying in Hindi, “Namaste.”  Ansee to Julia, “It means you are divine.”  Julia smiled.

Ansee to Julia “Fold your hands, bow and rise up with a Southern greeting.”  Julia bows and rises up and says “Well, welcome you all.”  Everyone laughs and then board the ship.

Amal says “Ladies, follow me.”  They enter the captain’s quarters.  Julia was just amazed with the fine decor.  Paneled walls of cherry veneer with murals of the sea hand painted within frames in the wall.  And, of course, the center mural was of dolphins rising up and down into the sea.  Just spectacular!

The table was made of the finest teak and was covered with a linen tablecloth.  On it’s four corners, the tablecloth was embroidered with dolphins and sea waves.  The lighting above the table was a translucent chandelier made of Capiz shells with strings of clear beaded  glass.  Magnificent!

The center piece of the table was a tall  squared sculptured glass vase of sea green which flared out at the lip with a bluish white foamy sea.  The vase was filled with yellow roses, Ansee’s favorite rose. Surrounding the vase was an assortment of golden candles all aglow.

All are seated at the table.  Julia seated first at the center.  Then Ansee at one end and Nestor at the other end.  The rest of the crew joined at the table as well.  Nestor stands  asked an Indian prayer and blessing.  He said “Julia Mae, you are our friend and friends are friends forever.”  He raised his crystal goblet and everyone raised their glasses as well. “A toast to you, Julia Mae.”  All crystal clang in unison.   Nestor said,  “Let’s enjoy our Indian feast.”

As dinner went on, Julia compliments Ansee on her dress.  “Your gown is so beautiful, Ansee.”  “Julia it’s not a gown, but a sari.  It’s a wrap.  One piece of fabric, and this is silk, about 6 yards long.  Julia, it fits all women, no matter what your figure.  I have one for you.” “I don’t know, Ansee, it doesn’t seem to be me.”  “It is you, Julia.  Let’s choose one  for you, I will wrap you and then you can make your debut.”

“Let’s go to my quarters and I’ll show you what I have.”  Julia said “I can’t wait to see them all.”  “Come on in, Julia.  Here’s my closet. Take a look.” “Ah, so many of them and so exquisite.”  “This one is perfect for you.  See, it’s a pattern of red roses across a purple wrap of silk.  Okay, let’s wrap you.  Julia, now don’t be bashful.  You must remove all your clothing except your lingerie.  It’s just you and me. No one can get in here and you will look just stunning in it.”  Julia hesitantly agrees.

“Now let me start.  I’ve done this a thousand times.  I’ll have you wrapped and covered in less than five minutes.”  Both laugh.  “You’re done, Julia.  Let’s take a look.”  “That’s me,” said Julia.  “That’s you,” said Ansee.  “Well, are you ready to make your debut, Julia?”   Ansee further says “Let’s go to the dining room.  Oh, I nearly forgot, you need a red dot,       a bindi.  See, I have one.  Here we go, a red dot for you.  Now, let’s go to the dining room.”

“Amal, we are ready.”  Amal asked all to stand.  Ansee leads the way followed by Julia.  Ansee says “Everyone, presenting Julia Mae, this is her ‘Sari Night.'”  Everyone applauds and bows to Julia.  Julia bows back gracefully with a beaming smile.  Nestor walks up to Julia and escorts her to the head of the table. All are seated for a light dessert of a saffron yogurt mousse. Coffee and tea are also served.

After dinner all bid farewell to Julia.  All say “me-oh-my-oh!”  Julia says back “me-oh-my-oh, y’all.”  Everyone laughs and party is ended.

Nestor and Ansee escort Julia down to the dock with the limo waiting for her.  Julia says  “Ansee, I haven’t changed back into my clothes.”  “No need to, Julia, this sari is yours to keep.  I have your other clothes packed and they are already loaded in the trunk.”

“Oh, Ansee, that is so generous of you.”  Nestor to Julia “Remember we are friends forever.  Me-oh-my-oh.”  Ansee says “yes, indeed, Julia, we are friends forever.  Next time. Me-oh-my-oh!  A hug a piece and Julia is helped into the limousine.  She waves and off they go their separate ways.  “Me-oh-my-oh!”

Copyright 2012 Frank Clark

Indian actress Deepika Padukone

Gorilla In Mirror

One time in a social psychology class, I read about the concept of “the looking glass self.”  Supposedly the idea is, how do I see myself as others see me?  It’s like looking in a mirror.  Some say it’s a mirror image of who we are, the reverse of that is real about ourselves.  So, if you’re looking in the mirror at yourself, you are seeing the opposite of who you are.

One morning, Ed said to himself, “I’m so glad I took the day off.  I’ve been pushing it.  Burning the candle at both ends.  I need a day to rest and recover.”

The phone rings, “Mornin, Ed.  This is Edith.  Remember our lunch date today?  Meet me   at the new restaurant ‘Reflections.’  It’s located at Image Way and Mirody Highway.  You can’t miss it.  It’s all covered in glass.  You can seen the sunrise and the sunset in it.  A real cool place.  Wait til you see it inside.  See you there at ten forty five.  I’ll make reservations, for the lunch crowd is already there.  Brunch ends at eleven thirty, so don’t be late.”

“Edie, I look kind of rough today. Unshaven and in my tee shirt.”  “Don’t worry, come as you are.  There are many there that look just like you.  They all look like gorillas that just came in from the jungle.  I think you’ll be quite comfortable there.  Just wait til you see it.  It’s operated by my friend ‘Beau.’  He used to own a diner and is used to short order cooking.   Again, you’re in for a imaginary experience.  I’ve never seen this concept ever in a restaurant.  Beau is a former college professor of sociology.  He created a unique theme with this restaurant.”

Ed to himself, “It’s seven a.m.  I’ll lie down for a few more winks.”  Beep, beep, beep.  Radio news.  “Good morning.  Here’s the latest top news.  The Commerce Department reports that the economy may be on an upswing.  Retail sales are up and new job growth of two hundred thousand this year, thus far.  From Hollywood, a remake of  ‘Alice through the Looking Glass’ debuts this week.  An extraordinary story,  anthropologists believe that humans and gorillas may share 98.6 % DNA.  Are we apes now?  What do you see in your mirror?  After the break.  Stay with us”.

From Now Radio News.  “We are joined by phone with Dr. Bradley Holway, an anthropologist who has studied primates and humans.  Dr. Holway, what do you think about this find?”  “It’s probably true, but we are more kin to the chimpanzee than we are to gorillas, but they are primates too.”  “Are you familiar with the concept of ‘the looking glass self?”  “Yes, I am, but I have never seen a gorilla in my mirror.”

Dr. Holway laughed and said “Maybe I should take a look to see what may be there.  Chimps first, then gorillas.  Do I look like a gorilla?  Do you look like a gorilla?”  Dr. Holway finally comments, “When I see a gorilla in my mirror, I may become a believer, but not just yet.”  “There you have it folks.  What do you see in your mirror?   Send me your responses to”

“All right it’s time to rise out of bed, Ed.  Brunch at eleven.”  Ed grabs his tooth brush and his shaving gear.  “Okay, it’s time for a warm invigorating shower.  It should clear my mind.  Ah, this is so stimulating.  My body is coming alive.  Must hurry, I must get out of here soon, time can’t wait.”  Ed towels off and goes to his vanity.  The mirror is fogged and wet, so he wiped off the glass with his hand.  “There, I can see now.  Wash my face, brush my teeth, and shave myself back into my human likeness.”

Ed turns on the TV news.  “Good morning.  NCN reports an astonishing find.  Humans and gorillas are kin.  It’s believed that man is more ape than man and ape is more human than ape.  Scientist report there is a strong connection sharing 98.6 DNA.  Do you see a gorilla in your mirror?  More after the break.”

Ed picks up his “Morning Daily News” at his door step.  He unfolds paper and the headlines read, “Gorillas are Men.”  More inside about this amazing story.  Do you see a gorilla in you mirror? ”  Ed says to himself, “They’re all talking about gorillas in mirrors.  Can’t be real.  What we see in the mirror is only a reflection and nothing more.”

“Now that does it.  I am not an ape and certainly not a gorilla.  Let me prove it to myself.  Now, Ed go to the mirror in the hall and take a look at what you see.  All I see is me. That settles it.  Take another look.  What is that?  Oh no, did I just see a gorilla in my mirror?  Let me look again, there’s me again.  I knew I wasn’t a gorilla.  I just don’t believe this nonsense.  There’s that gorilla in my mirror, again.  I am not a gorilla.  I am not a gorilla. I am not a gorilla.  Good, I just saw me again.”

It’s getting late.  I don’t want to be late and Edie is treating.  One quick call to Jim.   “Mornin, this is Ed.  Say, Jim, what did you see in your mirror this morning?”  Jim to Ed, “Me, of course.  “Not anything else,” said Ed. ” No gorilla?”  “Ed, don’t be ridiculous, we’re not apes.  Only me in my mirror, a little unshaven, but no gorilla.”  “Thanks, Jim,” said Ed.

Phone rings again.  “Ed, where are you?  It’s ten of eleven.”  “Edith, I just had a strange occurrence.  I’ll tell you when we chat.  You would not believe it.  On my way.  Fifteen minutes away.  Looking forward to “Reflections.”

“Hi, Edith. You made it Ed.  It’s eleven fifteen.  You made it just in the nick of time.  Brunch ends at eleven thirty.  Miss, do you have a table for two in the dining room?”  Waitress to Edith, “As you can see it’s full.  We do have seats at the counter.  Will that do?”  Edith said, “We’ll take them.  Come on Ed.”

Ed to Edith, “This place is just full of mirrors.  I’ve never been here.  I see mirrors on the floor, mirrors on the ceiling, mirrors on the wall and a mirror right in front of us.”  Edith to Ed, “Notice in the dining room, the back wall is mirrored.  It gives the illusion that the dining room is twice it’s size and has twice as many customers.  But it’s a mirror and not true to life.”

“Ed, look directly in front of us, we can see ourselves and the other diners at the counter.  Cool, isn’t it?”  Ed sees himself and Edith to his right.  On the other side of Edith are four more customers.  Over to his left, he sees four other patrons.  Total seated at the counter  are ten customers.   So, there are ten images in the mirror.  The counter has ten seats.

Waitress takes their brunch orders and returns with hot fresh coffee.  Ed looking ahead,   he sees Edith and all of the counter guests.  He looks down to mix his coffee.  Then raises up his cup of Columbia’s best.  What he sees is alarming.  He sees a gorilla holding a cup of coffee just like he.  He raises his cup again and takes another sip.  The gorilla mimics the same.  The gorilla mirrors Ed’s every move.

Ed looks over and comments to Edith.  “Do you see what I see in the mirror?”  “Just us, Ed. Why do you ask?”  “Just wondering, that’s all.”  Peering up again, he sees himself and Edith.  But to the right of Edith he sees all four guests as gorillas.  “Ed, why are you looking  my way?”  “Oh nothing.  These mirrors can create all types of illusions.”

They continue in a casual chat.  While enjoy his plate and conversation, Ed looks up again for a glance in the mirror.  Now, the four guests to his left look like gorillas.  All eight counter patrons are gorillas and he and Edith are just the same.  Ed, starts to wonder, Is Edith a gorilla?  I don’t see it yet.  Ed eyes scan the dining room.  All he sees are gorillas at the tables and gorilla waitresses.  He thinks to himself, “I’m really losing my mind.  Gorillas are not people and people are not them.”

“Edith, I’ve got something to tell you.  Look in the mirror, we are all gorillas, see?”  “Ed, there is nothing but you and me and all these people. No gorillas.”  “I think you’re right, Edith. I’ve been working too hard.  My nerves are just about shot. I can’t think straight and now my eyes are on the blink.  I just don’t know what to do.”

Edith to Ed, “I can arrange an appointment with my friend, Nick.  He’s a great psychiatrist. There is medicine to take away these obsessions and delusions.  Ed, my friend, these mirrors or any mirror are only reflections of ourselves and you may see a gorilla in your mirror.  Just tell yourself,  that may look like a gorilla, but it’s not me.  I hear once the medicine starts to work the gorillas disappear.”

On their way out, the cashier takes their payment and they leave.  Ed to Edith, “Did you notice that the cashier was a gorilla, too?”  “No Ed, no.  Here’s Nick’s card and make an appointment soon and don’t work so hard.”

Ed gets in his car and adjusts his rear view mirror.  Guess what he sees?  Ed, of course.  Traveling down a busy street at an intersection.  He looks over to his left and a gorilla is driving a cab.  Over to his right is a police gorilla driving the squad car.  Ed turns on his radio and hears “You’re listening to Gorilla 98.6 on you radio dial.”


Winter Haven

The colors of autumn are ablaze in our forests of maples, poplars, elms and oaks.          Brilliant reds, yellows and orange painted on every leaf.  The panorama of color  is just breathtaking.  As the winds rush in, every leaf will fall and eventually drop to the ground.   A season of change when cooler temperatures become frigid as winter approaches.

October 1st–Migration Day.  One week away.  Birds of every feather are gathering to determine whether to stay through winter or to head south to a warmer climate for rest and  relaxation.  No time to waste.  A long flight ahead.  Hundreds of miles for many and       for some, a thousand mile journey.

Here is the dialogue among the flocks as they prepare themselves for their winter holiday  in Florida.  Destination–Winter Haven.

In lower Ontario.  Canadian Joe briefs fellow geese about what they need to do to get ready for next week’s journey to the Deep South.  “Eat hearty.  Store up fat.  In a week, we will fly south.  A long flight.  Over one thousand miles.  Bring ample supplies of grass and seed as snacks.  There won’t be any stop overs at any of the fast food establishments.  As a matter of fact, next week report to McDilly’s parking lot at 6:00 am sharp for a feast on left over burgers and fries.  Then up and away we go.”

“Our trip will take two days.  Five hundred miles to Tallulah Gorge in Georgia.  We will stay for the night in the oaks at the state park there.   The next morning we will scavenge the grill areas and trash cans for any morsels of food.  Then off we go to sunny Florida.  Destination–Winter Haven.  Our home til next March.  Then our flight back home to Canada land.”

“Attention everyone!  As you can feel, there is a cool nip in the air. Twenty-eight degrees expected low for tomorrow morn.  Next Wednesday, October 1st, is migration day.  We head south for the Winter.  Niagara Nell goes on to say.  We, as finches, can’t take the cold    of winter.  It’s more comfortable for us down south.”

“Wednesday morning, we will gather on the power line at the corner utility pole at American Way and East Falls Street.  There, I will do a head count to make sure everyone is present.  Must be on line by 6:00 am sharp.  After attendance and a moment of prayer for a safe journey, we will swoosh down into Helva’s Kitchen lot for a pancake feast.  After our fill, we will flutter up and away.  Florida bound.  One thousand miles away.  We will fly non-stop to Winter Haven.  Our sunshine home til April when we return home to Niagara Falls,”    said Niagara Nell.

Buzzard’s Nest.  Hoot n’ Holler, Arkansas.  Buzzard Sam–“listen up!  Next week is migration day.  On Wednesday, October 1st, we leave for a long winter’s vacation in sunny Florida.  Dude and Dudess Buzzards, remember, we buzzards need to stick together.  No straying away from the flock.  I know how many of us like to soar alone.  Can’t do, must fly as a flock together.”

“We will meet at 6:00 am sharp at the Pizza Shed lot for a quick pizza snack.  Then up and away, in unison, five hundred miles to Georgia’s Tallulah Falls State Park.  We will stay the night in the pines.  Try to rest, but we must take turns doing night watch.  Georgia black bears do climb trees.  Their favorite bird of prey–buzzard–us!” said Buzzard Sam.

“Okay, okay everyone.  Good Mornin.  I know we’re all excited about our flight to Florida.  But, it is another five hundred miles.  Let’s eat all we can from the trash cans at these shelters.  We must be ready to leave in thirty minutes.  Then, off we go to Florida.  Our vacation home for the next five months.  Then, in March, we return to our home in the Ozarks of Arkansas,” said Buzzard Sam.

“Hey, Buzzard Sam, we goin’ to Daytona Beach?”  “No, too cold.  Besides, there’s no spring break in Winter.” “Sam, where are we going?”  “Winter Haven.” “Whars’ that Sam?”  “Near Orlando.” “Great! Theme Park City.  A stop over there?”  “Nope!  All the way to Winter Haven for some real rest and relaxation.  Maybe we’ll plan a day trip to go ride the killer whales.  We’ll see.  But we got to get there first.  Everybody ready?”

“Ready! Let’s go!”  “Me too, can’t wait to sun bathe with all the babe buzzards at the lake.” “Mama Buzzard Belle retired to Winter Haven a few years back.  I will give her a ring when we get there.  She makes a great gator soup!  All right, up and away!  Remember, us buzzards must stick together.  We don’t want any one of us in a buzzard stew for dinner,”      said Mamie Belle.

Migration Day has come and gone.  All birds have left for sunny Florida.  They are just about to arrive in Winter Haven.  Complimentary sunglasses for all birds at the Sunglass    Station and, of course, samples of Florida orange juice for everyone.  Who can go to Florida  and not have juice from the sunshine tree?

Ah, Florida!  Home Sweet Home!  At least for a little while.



Somewhere out there.

Bigfoot, a legend or for real?

Many people talk about me as a legend.  Skeptics say I’m not for real.  Imposters dress up in gorilla suits and run through the woods as me.  But they’re not me.  Nobody like me.  I should know.  One even admits that he made a mold of my big foot.  How could he have done it?  He has never seen or met me.  Now, he’s a phony!  But not me.  I’m for real.

Legend or for real?

There have been occasional sightings of me captured on film.  I know of one for sure.  It’s about a thirty-second clip of me on the hunt for a banana burger.  I’m not an ape.  I’m not a man.  I am Bigfoot and I have big feet.  However, I do have a human friend.  I do know Elvis.  We play hide and seek.

When you see Elvis, you may see me.  When you see me, you may see Elvis.  We jam together.  We play rock and roll.  Our last sighting was at Dandy Discount.  Elvis was in Music signing autographs.  I was in Lingerie trying on something called a bra.  They didn’t have my size, so, I strung ten of them together to get the right fit.  I really liked the shocking pink ones, but the banana yellows had more appeal.

Legend or for real?

Well, if I don’t exist, why is there so much interest in me?  I’m occasionally on the six o’clock news.  On slow or no news days, local television runs that thirty-second clip of me between ads.  One newscast ran my clip every two minutes just to keep the viewers from changing the channel.  They will even change the lead to keep interest like “Special Report-Bigfoot Found,” or “Bigfoot Sighting Today,” or “Bigfoot’s Coming Out.  Stay tuned for more.”

Legend or for real?

There is one likely place you might see me.  We all drive cabs in New York.  There’s            more than one of me.  We have a fleet of cars.  Always ready for a pick up.  Just yell ‘Hey, Bigfoot.  I need a ride.’  I’ll pick you up, but be at the curve.  Must make a fast get away.  Cash only and no monkey business.

A lot of people in gorilla suits, so we blend right in with the crowd.  All are in the monkey business.  A lot of bananas in the Big Banana.  So, don’t be fooled by a banana bandit.  A lot of then there too.

Legend or for real?

I know you’re looking for me.  I am out here, but you will never meet me.  I’m like a fugitive, always on the run.  Just when you think you see me, you don’t.  Elusive as a butterfly.  Always lost and never found.

By the way, I have two requests before I go.  Does anybody have a dollar for a banana  burger?  Just leave it at the Banana Burger.  Corner of Monkey See Boulevard and Monkey Do Run.  They know me there.  I’m a regular customer at the drive through.  As I told you, I do drive a cab.

Lastly, I really like my bras.  I bought five pinks and five yellows.  They are on layaway.  I can’t pick them up.  Will you do?  They accept cash and Monkey Express.  Leave them at Gorilla Gas.  They know me there.

There’s no business like show business, but most likely, I’ll never show.  See ya!

Meltdown at Hershey!

If a serious meltdown ever occurs at the nuclear power plant near Harrisburg, PA,               the nearby Hershey plant in Hershey, Pennsylvania would be impacted by the                     nuclear explosion.

Can you imagine, the heat being so intense (5000 degrees plus), that the Hershey chocolate bars would melt down into a fiery lava type flow of bubbling chocolate running like a river for miles around?

Also, once the plant cooled down and the chocolate cooled, there would be a layer              of chocolate fudge for miles around.  Maybe even sweetened by sugar, for sugar               does melt too.  But the chocolate fudge would be so radioactive that no one could           ever eat it.

Way down deep below the hardened layer of chocolate could still be a flow of                    molten chocolate.  So hot that it may spew out like a volcano or a geyser-like                       “Old Faithful” thus creating a new tourists attraction for Pennsylvania.

It could be called “Geyser Hershey.”  Tourists would be allowed to view the chocolate geyser and the miles of chocolate at the new “Fudge National Park.” But, the tourists would have to wear protective clothing to be able to view the radioactive chocolate bed and geyser.

Then Hershey, Pennsylvania would have to be renamed “Fudgeville, Pennsylvania.”

News alerts are reporting bubbling hot flows of chocolate everywhere.  Tremors are radiating out from chocolate ground zero for hundreds of miles.

In the nation’s capitol, barricades are in place all along Pennsylvania Avenue.  Bubbling chocolate is flowing along all curbs around Capitol Hill.  In New York, transit officials report that torrents of chocolate are pushing through subway tubes and that chocolate has now entered the hub terminal at Grand Central Station.

Down south, the Blue Ridge Parkway has become a chocolate reservoir and a new “Chocolate Falls” has been created due to a spill over of chocolate near Asheville. Further south, in Georgia, a flash flood of chocolate moving south covering every peach, every peanut and every piece of cotton in it’s path.  Every hen in the hen house is covered in chocolate and each of their eggs are chocolate covered too.  Hey Florida!  Coming your way.  How about a chocolate covered flamingo?

Enough chocolate?  I think I better stop before my chocolate imagination runs away with me.  Geyser Hershey!  I really like it.  Now, that would really be something to see.

Locked In Produce

Sonny’s Grocery & Market

Jeter Campbell, Produce Manager                                                                                                 Conversation with himself and anybody who will listen to him.

Jeter spends much of his time tending to his vegetables and fruits on the produce aisle.  He looks at everyone to ensure they are fresh and displayed attractively for his customers.  He is well known in the area and has had loyal customers for years.

He is best known for his watermelons.  Jeter sez: “the best watermelon in the world come from Dothan, Alabama.  The sweetest and juiciest watermelon around.”

Jeter spends most of his time at his produce table in the stock room. There he prepares his fruits and vegetables.  He trims bananas and onions.  Selects grapes of all kinds.  Smells his peaches to see if they are sweet.  Separates and cleans his fresh turnips and greens.  Makes sure his lettuce is crisp and that his vine ripe tomatoes are red and plump and fresh.

It’s the first of May and summer is approaching.  Watermelons are in demand all summer long.  Jeter is expecting his first delivery of melons this afternoon. Every year he orders all types of watermelons in all sizes and shapes and variety.  And yes, they all come from Dothan, Alabama.

Jeter stores his watermelons in his produce cage.  It is a complete iron cage.  It allows ventilation but is used to secure his prize crop of melons.  The only access to the cage is by key.  The cage has a release bar inside to open the gate should it shut close behind him.  This is the only way out.  He is working in and out of the cage today preparing  a place to set his first 100 melons of the season.  He sells 50 per week.

While carrying wooden pallets inside the cage, Jeter trips.  He drops the pallets and falls to his knees.  He attempts to pull himself up by grabbing the bars of the iron cage.  Instead, he pulls on the iron gate and slams it shut on himself.  He locked himself inside the produce  cage.  Release bar won’t budge.  Locked inside and he can’t get out.  No way out till help arrives.

Over the intercom he hears:  “We need some help up front.”  Again, “We need some help   up front.” “That’s Laverne.  She must be alone and flooded with customers.  By the way, where is the help needed up front?  He hears running and jumping and yelling.  Hears a ball bouncing on the pavement.  They’re shootin’ hoops.  It’s Billy and Joey.  The ones needed up front. But I need some help back here.  They run off and are nowhere to be found.       Laverne continues to wait.  Jeter continues to wait.

“Since I’m locked in produce, might as well make the best of it.  I know I’ll get out, but not just yet.  You know, every year I sing my watermelon song.  I composed it several years ago.  I sing it for the customers every year accompanied by my banjo.  It’s a really nice tune.  I see my banjo case.  It’s in the cage!  Hooray!  It’s singin’ time.   Here goes it.”

One-two-three-four.  Strum-strum-strum-strum.

Best watermelon in the world…come from…Dothan…Alabama.                                                 Best watermelon in the world…come from…Dothan…Alabama.                                                 Best watermelon in the world…come from…Dothan…Alabama.

Watermelon Dothan! Watermelon Dothan! Watermelon Dothan!  Strum-strum.

Over intercom:  “We need some help up front!”

Customers on the produce aisle.  “Where’s Jete?”  “But, where’s the watermelon?”         Jeter hears his customers but is too proud to yell for help.  Jete thinking to himself,       Can’t have them see  me locked in the produce cage.  Just can’t.  They will laugh and laugh and laugh.  Where’s some help when you need’em?  The truck is almost here.  Got to get out!

Jete, this is the voice of your writer.  You know–Frank!  Ha, Ha, Ha!  Feeling cagey? Don’t worry Jete.  I’ll get you out.  I’ll write you out.  Soon!  I’ll write for help.

Over intercom:  “We need some help up front!”

Billy and Joey reappear at the front of the store.  They run in and say to Laverne:               Where’s Jeter?  The watermelon truck is here.  They’re waiting at the dock for Jeter.    We’re gonna find him.  They can’t wait!  Laverne: They can just wait.  I need you boys right here, right now.  Don’t go anywhere!

Jeter hears some sound and movement outside the dock door.  He thinks out loud.  They’re here.  Soon I’ll be set free.  But, not just yet.  Since Jeter no show, the driver and helper step across the street to Rooter’s Diner.  They’re served a tray of sandwiches along with 2 large mugs of root beer.  Driver says:  “The best mater sandwich I’ve had in a long time.”  “Let’s have another round of belly wash!”  They take a long break and return to the store 2 hours later.

The two enter the store and ask Laverne :  “Where’s Jeter?”  “Need to unload these melons.”  A melodious sound of music and voice are heard from the stock room.            Driver says:  “I hear a banjo!”  Helper:  “We know who it is.  It’s Jeter.” “Pickin n’ Grinnin!”

As they approach the stock room they hear a voice singing and a banjo strumming.  They   open the door and see Jeter behind bars just a singing his watermelon tune. They laugh and laugh and laugh.  Jeter says:  “Can you let me out?”  “Please.” Jeter is set free. He leaves the stock room with banjo in hand.  Out to the produce aisle and greets all customers there.

You all know the tune.  Sing it with me.

One-two-three-four.  Strum-strum-strum-strum.

Best watermelon in the world…come from…Dothan…Alabama.                                                 Best watermelon in the world…come from…Dothan…Alabama.                                                 Best watermelon in the world…come from…Dothan…Alabama.

Watermelon Dothan!  Watermelon Dothan!  Watermelon Dothan!  Strum-strum.

Sunrise Lotus

Sunrise at Sanibel Island, Florida

The surf gently rolls ashore.  Foamy and cool across your feet.                                                  Looking for shells.  They’re here somewhere.  Always here and roll in with the tide.            Very peaceful at this time of day .  A new day to enjoy!

A treasure hunt for treasures from the sea.  Shells from the sea. Sent from Neptune himself.  The discovery of them is just awesome.

“C’mon Mom, get up.  It’s almost sunrise.  We’re ready to go to the beach,” said Joey in a lackluster tone of voice.  “Time to hunt for shells, while the tide is out.  We’re so excited, can’t we go now?  Later will be too late.  C’mon Mom, ” said Molly.  Both say “Mom, you promised.  Now get up.”

“Kids, just let me sleep.  A long drive from Jersey yesterday and all last night.  Maybe later today at sunset.  When the tide goes out again, there will be plenty of shells.  Now,  I’ve got to sleep.”  Shaking Mom’s shoulder, “You promised, you promised,” said Molly and Joey.  “Ask Gram, she’s always up before sunrise.  Check with her.”  Mom turns on her side and pulls the sheet over her head.  She positions her head comfortably on pillow.  “Later kids, later.”

“Grand mom, you’re up.  Will you take us to the beach to hunt sea shells?” said Molly.     “Later will be too late.  The beach is just over the dune.  See, there’s a board walk out.          A quick and easy way to the beach.  Will you, Gram, will you?” said Joey in an excited and anticipatory tone of voice.

“I will, dears.  Let me finish my coffee and danish, then we’ll go out.”  “Thanks, Gram,” said Joey and Molly.  “Let’s get in our suits and grab our pails.  Hooray, hooray,” said Molly to Joey.  Joey gestures thumbs up.  Joey jumps into his blue colored trunks.  A fiery red-haired, freckled-face boy of eight.  Curly blonde Molly, six of age, with glistening blue eyes dons her two-piece, pink ruffled bikini with pink-sparkled shades to match.  “All right!  Gram is so cool and nice.  Hope she’s ready soon,” said Molly. “I’m ready.  Are you ready?” said Joey to Molly.  “I am ready.” said gleefully by Molly with anticipation.

“Ready, kids?  In you swim suits?  Have your pails?  One more thing, I’ll need my sea foam pad.  It makes it comfortable for me to sit and watch the sunrise.”  “We’re ready, Gram,” said Joey and Molly.  “Let’s go,” said Gram as she gathers her straw hat, shades and foam pad.   “Can Beemer go, Gram?” said Joey.  “He hasn’t had his walk yet, please.”  “Okay, come on, Beem.  Get his leash.  That’s a good boy,” said Gram.  “This way, Gram, to the board walk.  The beach is just over the dune,” said Joey as he hurriedly leads the way.

While on the board walk, Gram said “You know, it’s so beautiful here.  The dunes, the sea oats, the sand, the surf and the sun.”  Molly and Joey both start to run ahead to the end of the walk.  “Down here, Gram, down here,” said Joey.  Gram steps down the walk to the sand.  The kids run ahead.  “What about Beemer?  Take him, too.  He’ll enjoy his wade and run in the surf.  Take him, Joey,” said Gram as she looks for the right spot on the sand.

“Gram, are you gonna come out, too?” said Molly.  “Not yet, just go on out and start your hunt.  Stay nearby in sight of me.  I’ll be right here.  Joey, here.  Stick this cane in the sand.  You see, it has two pennants.  One red and the other orange.  You will be able to locate me from a distance.  I’ll be right here on my green foam pad.  Must start my morning meditation.  I already see the light of dawn.  Let me sit and you go play.”

Gram places her sea foam pad on the sand.  She positions herself in a lotus position.  She sits straight up, with both legs crossed.  Arms are relaxed and resting comfortably on her knees.  The palms of her hands are open.  She is now in the lotus position She is ready to meditate.  The sunlight beams her way.  With a glow on her face, she closes her eyes.  She inhales, then exhales.  She inhales, then exhales.  She begins to chant her mantra.

“Hum, hum, aah.  Hum, hum, aah.  Bathe me in your light, bathe me in your peace, bathe me in your love, peace and harmony.”  Inhales, then exhales.  “Bathe me in your light, bathe me in your peace, bathe me in your love, peace and harmony.”  Gram folds her hands and raises them above her head.  “Refresh my heart and soul.  Your energy, I receive.”  Finally with arms across her chest, “I embrace your light, I embrace your peace, I embrace your love,  peace and harmony.”

“Gram, Gram, look, see, I got shells,” said Molly excitedly about her new found treasure.  “Indeed, you do, my child.  Let’s see.  You’ve got a small conch, a fanned scallop. Lightning welk is one of my favorites.  And this special treasure, a sand dollar.  See, it is broken.  They are very fragile.  When you find a whole one, handle with care and save it as a collectible.”

“Gram, are you ready to come out to shore with us?” said Molly.  “Not yet, honey.  Still in meditation.  I’ll be out in about twenty minutes.”  “Gram, here’s Beemer.  He ran in and out of the water.  I think he’s ready for a rest.  Can he stay with you for awhile?” said Joey.  “Of course.  Beemer and I can sun bathe together.  Sit here, Beemer.  Sit here.”

Gram’s back in lotus position.  Beemer, on the mat beside her, looks as Gram begins her chant.  He seems amused by the sounds she makes and continues to watch her as she meditates.

“Hum, hum, aah.  Hmm, hmm, aah.”  Inhales, then exhales.  “Bathe me in your light, bathe me in your peace, bathe me in your love, peace and harmony.  Gram raise her arms up above her head with folded hands.  “Refresh my heart and soul.  Your energy I receive.” Again, with arms across her chest.  “I embrace your light, I embrace your peace, I embrace your love, peace and harmony.”

Beemer moves around in front of Gram.  He looks up at her.  Their eyes connect and Gram  senses that Beemer wants to join in on her song of day.  Gram said to Beemer   “You want to receive the light of day?”  Beemer barks with his paws out stretched in front of him.  Gram, again, asked Beemer “Bathe you in the light?  “Ruff!”  “Bathe you in the peace?”  “Ruff, ruff!”    “Bathe you in the love?”  “Ruff, ruff, ruff!”  “Do you want peace and harmony?”  “Ruff, ruff, ruff, ruff!”  “Beemer, let me position you so you, too, can receive the light of day.”

Gram is again in lotus position.  Beemer, a large golden retriever, is lying on his back with paws out stretched, and his eyes are shut. “Beemer, you look comfortable, let’s begin.  Repeat after me.  “Bathe me in your light.”  Beemer replies “Arf, arf, woof.”  “Bathe me in your peace.”  “Arf, arf, arf, woof.”  “Bathe me in your love.”  “Arf, arf, woof, woof.”  “Peace and harmony.”  “Woof, woof, arf, arf.  Then he pants, “Hah-hah, ha-hah.”

Gram and Beemer continue to receive the light and energy from the sun.  Nearly done,   and here comes Joey and Molly.  “Gram, you never came out.  The tide has come in and no more shells to be found,” said Molly in a disappointed tone of voice.

“Gram, what’s wrong with Beemer?  Did something happen to him?  Do we need to call the vet?  Never seen him like this before.  It’s like he’s in some sort of trance,”  said Joey with concern.  “Beemer is fine.  He is still transcending.  He’s in a meditative state.  He will come out of it soon.”  “Now, Gram, what did you do to Beemer?  Slip him one of your herbal pills?” said Joey.  “”Oh no, he has fallen into a slumber from the energy of the sun.  He is okay.”

“Gram, what do you think of our treasures from the sea? said Molly.  “You have so many and such a variety.  Neptune has blessed you.  He has given you gifts from his sea.  Enjoy and always treasure them.  Shells actually are relics from the sea.  Every one of them held life at one time.  New shells, again, will bear new life.  That’s the cycle of sea life.  Neptune is the guardian of the sea.”

Beemer starts to move his head back and forth ; and he yawns then begins to pant.   He rises up slowly and sits up looking at the risen sun.  Now, Beemer is fully alert and wagging his tail.  “Beemer, you have come back to life.  I was afraid you would never come out of it.” said Joey.  Molly, dripping wet and full of sand, gives Beemer a big hug and a kiss.  “Let’s go, kids,  it’s going to be a delightful day.”  They hold hands while carrying their pails, and Beemer leads the way in peace and harmony.

Chocolatier Mountain

Chocolatier Mountain, Tennessee                                                                                                           Elevation 6200 feet.

One morning at Eula’s Breakfast Stop.

“Fellas, I don’t know about you, but I’m tired.  I’m away from home for nearly twelve hours a day,” said Jedd.  “Me too, Jedd, almost never home,” said Tom.  And Jerry Lee “Never see my kids.  Just a quick kiss on Rose’s cheek, then out the door I go.  That’s my day.  That’s my life!”

“Hello boys, what can I getcha?  Coffee, coffee, coffee???”  “No coffee this mornin’,             Eula.  Just a cup of your hot steamed chocolate, that’s all,” said Tom.  “Right back             with the coffee, chocolate and some complimentary hot buttered biscuits,” said Eula.

Jedd to Tom and Jerry “An eighty-four mile round trip to Baconton, every day, does               a lot of wear and tear on the body and soul.  There must be somethin’ else, closer to        home that we can do.  Gotta be,” said Jedd with his thumb supporting his chin.                     “Here ya go, fellas.  Hot brews and biscuits too.  Enjoy!” said Eula.

Huddled together around a table, wearing their torn flannel shirts, Jedd, Tom and Jerry discuss what their futures may hold for them.  Jedd said, “It’s been ten years since we closed the mine.  No more coal needed, now that we’re nuclear.  I just cannot take another ten year commute.”  “Not me and no more,” said Tom and Jerry.

“Anyone thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?” said Jedd.  “I think I know what you’re thinkin’, Jedd.  I’m thinkin’ it too,” said Tom.  Jerry to Jedd and Tom, “I think I’m thinkin’ the same thing, but thinkin’ about a refill right now.”  Jedd, “If I think we’re all thinkin’ the same thing, we may be on to somethin’.” Jedd said further, “Here comes Eula, let’s ask her what she thinks we’re thinkin’.  She will know, she’s got intuition.”

“Here we go, refill, refill, refill and biscuits too,” said Eula.  Jedd to Eula, “We’ve been thinkin’ about somethin’ and wonder if you know what we’re thinkin’.”  Eula to the three mountain men, “How am I suppose to know?  I don’t read minds, but I do sense somethin’. I think you guys want somethin’ closer to home.  Maybe thinkin’ about openin’ up the mine shaft again.  I may be wrong, but I sense it.  My intermission tells me.  I just know it.”

“Well, Eula Mae, you have kinda’ read my mind,” said Jedd and  “Maybe there is somethin’ else in there we could mine, even more precious than gold.  This may be our big find.  First, we found coal, then we found gold, then we found coal again.  Then the mine closed.  That’s been ten years and nothin’ since then.  A closed mine shaft forever.  Well, I think it’s time for a grand re-opening.  Let’s just see what’s in there.  Are you guys game?”  “I’m in, Jedd.  Me too,” said Tom and Jerry.  “Me three!” said Eula Mae.  Jedd to all, “Let’s break her open this Saturday morn.  Meet here at Eula’s at seven a.m.  We will go from here.”

Saturday morning at Eula’s Breakfast Stop.

“Mornin, guys.”  “Mornin’, Jedd” said Tom.  “Mornin fellas,” said Jerry Lee.  “Come on in, boys, breakfast is awaitin’.”  “Mornin, Eula Mae” all three say together.  “Have I got a breakfast for you.  Bacon and eggs, red-eye gravy on hot buttered biscuits, grits is creamy and waffles on the griddle.  All made especially for you on this day of discovery.  Now, have a seat, coffee is on it’s way and biscuits too.”  “Eula, you shouldn’t have,” said Jedd.  “Eula, you shouldn’t have,” said Tom.  “Eula, you shouldn’t have,” said Jerry.  “Now, fellas, I know you all know I should have and I have done it just for you.  All you can eat and all you can drink.  Just relax and enjoy.  Here’s your coffee and here’s your biscuits.  The rest is on it’s way.”

“Mmm, this is good.  Great coffee and these biscuits are heaven sent and already buttered.  Made just for us by Eula Mae.  She’s a mighty fine lady,” said Jedd.  “Yup, she is,” said Tom and Jerry.  “Let’s toast our toast to Eula Mae.”  Toast are toasted and Jerry loses his jelly.   “Where did my jelly go?”  “Who knows, Jerry?  Here, I even buttered and jellied your toast for you.  Now, try again.”  “Jedd, I can butter my own toast.”  “But, Jerry, you need help with the jelly, bud.  With the jelly!”  Jedd and Tom laughed out loud and applied more butter and jelly to the conversation.  “Jerry, do you need someone to spoon feed your grits?  I’ll yell for help, if you need it,” said Jedd waving his spoon.  Tom to Jerry, “Do you need a bib?  It will keep your jelly, your grits, your eggs from staining that nice raggedy shirt of yours.  I’ll yell for a bib from Eula.”  “Okay guys, you’ve had your fun on me.  Just let me be.”

“Anybody heard of the Legend of the Chocolatier?” said Jedd with an engaging tone of voice.  “Never, Jedd, never,” said Tom.  “What’s the legend, Jedd?  Sounds like chocolate, but maybe not,” said Jerry.  “Well, at one time, this valley was an Indian settlement.  They called themselves the ‘Chocolatiers’ named for a legend about the mountain. They were an agricultural tribe.  They farmed this land and grew all types of fruit trees and even coffee trees.  This rich mountain soil produced the best apples, the best pears, the best figs, the best plums and the best coffee beans found nowhere else.  All natural.  Organic, as they would say today.  We could restore these orchards and make part of our living off of them.  Just thinkin’.  You guys thinkin’?”  “We’re thinkin’ too, Jedd,” said Tom and Jerry.

“Back to the legend,” said Jedd.  “It is believed that the cocoa trees up along the mountain side were planted in rows by the Chocolatiers.  We can still see that pattern today.  They chanted, in their Indian language, of course, about the legend of the mountain.  Here’s the chant as I know it.  ‘Sweet, sweet chocolate, within the mountain.  Smell the chocolate, taste sweet life.’  That’s it. This chant was said every year at harvest time.  They believed that the cocoa tree was eternal.  They believed that chocolate was food for the soul and nourished the body for a long healthy life.”

Jedd goes on to say, “One interesting thing about these cocoa trees is that they are out of place, out of their climate.  Most of these trees are usually grown in a warmer tropical terrain and not along a mountainside at a 6200 hundred feet elevation.  Just unheard of and as far as we know, these trees have been here for hundreds of years.  The tree reaches maturity at fifty years and needs to be replanted.  But nature does the work.  Every twenty five years, the trees begin to drop seedlings and the next generation of trees begin to grow.  This cycle has been observed for years and it is always on time.  A cycle of life, as they believed.  An eternal cycle of life.”

“Okay, fellas come out of the trance.  You’ve been here for two hours and it’s half past ten.  Still gonna’ open her up?”  “You bet, Eula, let’s go guys.  But before we leave the lot, we want to check our gear.  We want to make sure we have everything we need to safely enter the mine, be safe while we’re there and safely get out of there.  We can’t leave anything to chance.  We all know and remember the hazards and the losses at the mine.  Let’s never forget the fate of our fellow miners.  I believe their spirits are still there.  I hope they’re there to guide us through.  Just a comforting thought.  But, if we want to know what’s there, we need to get there.  So, let’s go.  Thanks, Eula Mae, it’s been great and you fellas?”  “Thank you, Eula, it has been great,” said Tom.  “We are well fed and in great spirits all because of you.  Thank you, Eula Mae,” said Jerry as they left out from the door. “Be safe and bring back your find.  Show me first, then tell the world!” said Eula Mae.

In Eula’s parking lot.  “Fellas, let’s check our gear.  Flashlights, headlights, batteries, goggles, plenty of face masks, jackets, tools, air supply, food supply, radios, first aid kit and any other gear, guys.  Remember, safety first and we all stay together.  It’s been ten years and we don’t know what it’s like in there.  We must use caution at all time.  We all want to go in there together and we all want to come out together.”  A quick prayer by Tom, “dear Lord, guide our way and protect us all.”  All three say “Amen!”

Jerry Lee to Jedd and Tom “Here’s the mountain, but where’s the shaft?”  “See all that underbrush and the overgrowth of brush and vines?  I think the shaft entrance is under there,” said Jedd and he went on to say  “Let’s take a look guys.  Again, safety first. It’s all boarded up and who knows the condition of the wood.  Don’t need it on top of anyone of us.”  Tom said, “here’s some tools to remove the vine and brush.”  “Tom, start your cutting,” said Jedd.  “Jerry, remove the cut vines and I will remove any other brush,” said Jedd.

Two hours later.  “Tom, do you see anything yet?” said Jedd.  “I do see somethin’.  Yes, it is the shaft door and it is gray, rotten and covered with dirt.  The boards are separated and it looks like it’s about to collapse due to the weight upon it.”  “Boys, this is going to be slow going, but we don’t want anything on top of us.  Get your iron tools guys and let’s remove one board at a time,” Jedd said in a cautious tone of voice.  “Tom and Jerry, pull the first board off.”  “It’s off, Jedd,” said Jerry.  Jedd to Tom and Jerry, “I see there are three boards left, the others have caved in.”  “Ready, Tom?  You and I will get this one.  Pull slowly and we got it,”  Jedd said with relief.  “Now one more board.  It’s very loose, guys. Let’s all pull it off.  Carefully, pull, pull, pull and there it goes down into the shaft.  Done!”

“I feel a cold draft from inside.  It’s not damp, but very dry,” said Tom.  Jedd said “We must be even more careful, one accidental move could move that coal like an avalanche on top of us.  Not ready to be buried alive.”  “Let’s check out gear,” said Jedd.  “I’m set, Jedd,” said Tom and “me too with hard hat, lights, air supply and tools,” said Jerry.

Tom enters the mine first.  He is carrying a large light and is very alert looking for any possible hazards.  “I see the first supports and they appear secure,”  said Tom.  “Good,”     said Jedd.  Let move in farther.  Jerry, stay right behind me and we all need to beam our lights.  As we used to say, “it’s coal dark in here.”  Tom to Jedd and Jerry, I see the second support.  Let me check it.  It’s secure.  We can move ahead.  But, I need you guys right behind me.  This is like stepping into a black hole.”  “We’re with you, Tom,” said Jerry and Jedd in reassuring tones of voice.  All three are scared but can’t let their fear control them.  Only thinking about the next move.  One step at a time.  One careful step at a time.

Jedd said “Only two more supports and we will be at the back of the mine.  Careful, guys, careful.”  Tom said in apprehensive voice “I see the third support and it looks great. Almost to it.  I’m here.  It’s secure.  Come ahead, fellas, carefully.  Shine your lights all around and straight this way.

It is very chilly in here and I even see ice formations on these supports.  I wonder what’s ahead.”  Jedd said “I think I know, but I won’t say, I’ve had a hunch about it all along.”  Jerry, I think I know what you’re thinkin’, Jedd and I’m thinkin’ it, too.  Are you thinkin’ it too, Tom?”  “Think so, come along guys, we’re almost there.  We’re at the third support, see the ice?” said Tom.  “Icicles and they are large. There is something in here that needs very cold air and I really think I know what it is, but won’t say, just have a hunch,” said Jedd laughingly,” but then turned his voice to a serious tone, saying “but this is no time to laugh.  Just be cautious.”

“Guys, I’m at the fourth support.  It’s so cold that I could hardly pull my glove off of it.  Shine your lights this way.  I think I see the back wall.  We need all the light we can get.  I see it.  I see coal, but smell’s like coffee.  It has a very sweet scent.  Almost like sugar, but all I see is coal.  “Tom, I know what it is.  It has somethin’ to do with the Indian legend,” said Jedd.  Jedd to Jerry, “bring your small shovel and I want you to gently dig into the coal wall.  Tom, you do it too.  I think we are about to find somethin’ extraordinary.”

“Hey, Jedd, shine your light right here.  I’ve made it through to somethin’ else and it ain’t coal.  It’s brown and it sparkles.  It is very hard and is very cold, but it smells so sweet.  “Sweet, sweet chocolate.  Could it be?” said Tom.  Jedd moves in closer and said “Looks like, smells like, taste like and sweet as sugar.”

Jedd to Tom and Jerry, “Are you thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?”  “I know for sure what you’re thinkin’, Jedd,” said Tom.  “I think I’m thinkin’ the same thing too,” said Jerry.  Jedd with an excited voice said “If we’re all thinkin’ the same thing, I think we should say it.  On the    count of three let’s say what we’ve been thinkin’.  One, two, chocolate!”

Jedd starts the Chocolatier chant–“Sweet, sweet chocolate, within the mountain.  Smell the chocolate, taste sweet life.”  “What a find.  More precious than gold.  A natural wonder and a legend solved.  One that is real to life.  Now, what happens to the legend if the truth  is known?” said Tom.  Jedd said to both of his friends “The legend is no longer a legend.  There really is value to a legend.  It allows us to wonder, to ponder, to speculate, to imagine, to question and to seek the truth.  Now that the truth is known, what do we do?”

“Eula Mae said to tell her first, then tell the world,” said Jerry.  Tom to Jedd and Jerry,  “Can you imagine what would happen to our lives, what would happen to our town and what would happen to our way of life, if the world knows?”  “The world would come to town and our lives would be changed forever.  Do we want that here?  I say no and don’t tell anyone about out find.”  Jedd said, “It just wouldn’t be right.  If I have to spend the next ten years doing an eighty-four mile round trip to Baconton for work, I will do it.”  “I feel the same way.  I will find a way to spend more time with my kids and have more than a kiss with Rose,” said Jerry.

Jedd to his friends “Fellas, what do we want to do?  Tell the world or keep the legend?”   “Keep the legend,” said Tom.  Jerry said, “We can’t do this to our people, to our town.     Let’s keep the legend.”  “That makes three of us.  Keep the legend” said Jedd and he went on to say  “I know Eula Mae is expecting us to tell her about our big find.  We’ll  just say Nothing there of value. We closed the mine for good.  The value is in the legend and let’s keep it that way.”

Jedd to Tom and Jerry, “Are you thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?”  “I’m thinkin’ what you’re thinkin’, Jedd,” said Tom.  “Me too, Jedd, I’m thinkin’ the same thing.” Jedd says to Tom and Jerry. ” Let’s do it.  We know it.  In memory of and honor to the Chocolatiers.”

“Sweet, sweet chocolate within the mountain.  Smell the chocolate, taste sweet life.”

Far More Than Less

In the night, many think about a lot of things.  Things from the day.                                                  Interactions with people of all sorts of personalities.  People that make                               them glad and those that make them mad.  Work undone and work to be                           done.  The responsibilities of living.  Food, shelter, clothing and more.                                   Stretching a dollar from paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet. You are                                 about to meet a couple trying to live on less.  Let’s see what they can do.

“Marge, we have a lot of bills to pay.  There are extra unexpected expenses.                                 What are we going to do?  We can’t live without food.  We can’t live without                               a roof over our heads.  We must have clothes to wear or can we do without them?”       “Stan, we need clothes.  We can go to the thrift store and spend less money for brand names.  Even the well to do shop there.  They’re trying to save a dollar or two, as well.  Now, what else can we do?”

“We could live in a tent or a cardboard efficiency,” said Stan laughingly.  “Stan we have a family, you know.  We need space. That won’t work, but it’s worth consideration.  Oh, we could refinance with the mortgage company to get our payment down.”  “Marge, we can’t do that, we rent!  I wonder if tents are on sale at the discount store.  We could look behind shopping centers for boxes.  Many of them are high quality corrugated cardboard.  We could get extra large boxes and attach a couple of them together to make it a duplex and rent out the other side.  What do you think?” said Stan about to roll on the floor laughing.  “We really are feeling desperate, but there is a solution.  You got one, Stan?”  “Yes, it’s called a budget which we have never done.  I will devise one, but you must agree to it.”  “Only if I’m part of the plan,” said Marge.  “So, let’s do it,” said Stan.

“Marge, grab a pencil and a pad of paper.  Let’s get down to business and think seriously about what we must have to live.  I’ll start.  I must have my easy chair and sports channel.” “You mean you must keep your wide screen TV and sports channel and cable! I think that’s asking too much.  You could just watch the regular channels with rabbit ears.  There’s sports on there, but not the sports channel.”  “Who uses rabbit ears anymore and where are we going to find them?” said Stan in an irritated sounding voice.  “Mom has them and has used them for many years.  I’m sure your Uncle Joe uses them and has an extra set of them just for you,” said Marge in a counter solution which Stan won’t consider at all.

Marge to Stan, “Joey must have his video games.  He enjoys playing his two favorites, ‘Cave Enchantment’ and ‘Cage Fighters.’  Lisa must have her smart phone so she can text with her friends.  So, those are a given, must haves.”  “Another option, Marge dear, we could negotiate with the landlord a rent payment twice per month.  That will give us more money for other things that we really need,” said Stan, in a positive tone of voice, as a solution to their shortage of money.

“Well, Stan, what do you absolutely need to meet your basic needs?” said Marge with pencil in hand about to note what Stan says he really needs. “I do need my easy chair       and my massage twice per week with the chiropractor to treat my rheumatism.”  Marge thinking to herself…Stan doesn’t need the chiropractor.  It’s too expensive.  We could save one-hundred dollars per week if I do the massage for him.  I’ll say it in a pampering voice to have him reconsider.  

“Stan, you know, I could do the massages for you.  Even better than the chiropractor.  I’ll give you a deep massage and you will feel like a new man.”  “Can you relieve my pressure points to relieve my stress?”  “Yes I can and do more.  You will feel ecstasy.” “Tell me more, my sweetheart,” said Stan with excitement in his eyes and a grin of delight.  “I can’t tell you, but you will feel the difference,” said Marge in a flirtatious manner with a wink.

Marge to Stan, “I need something for me.” “Really, why would you need anything?  You got all of your pots n’ pans and all the latest kitchen gadgets to perform your art of cooking . And you have your used romance novels that you can read again to capture your fantasy of romance in your life. I just can’t imagine you needing anything more,” said Stan while twirling the egg beaters with his hand and his fascination with their utility.  “Okay, Marge, what do you really need?”  “This is what you want me to say.  I want, I need a new vacuum cleaner and a new dust rag to wipe down everything, including you.  What else would a woman need?” said Marge with a sarcastic smirk at Stan for minimizing her importance.

“Margie, sounds like we’re doing collective bargaining, rather than simply considering our personal needs and the needs of the family.  This is harder to do than I thought.  Let’s take a break and come back to it later, actually tomorrow.  At least we have started a dialogue.” “Let’s stop for now.  We need a break from each other.  I’ll escape into one of my used romance novels.  My lover awaits me,” said Margie with a trance like expression and a smile. “My easy chair awaits me.  There’s always something on the sports channel to capture my interest.  I really don’t want rabbit ears.  I better enjoy cable while I got it,” said Stan with a sigh.  Kiss, kiss.  Hug, hug.  Marge to Stan, “See you later, alligator.”  Stan to Marge, “Afterwhile, crocodile.”

One week later.

“Good morning, Stan.  Fresh coffee and pastry?”  “Mornin’, Marge.  Yes, indeed.  I need coffee so I can awaken my senses!” said Stan with a grin.  “What sense do you have, Stan?” said Marge with a light chuckle.  “Well, I had sense enough to marry you, dear heart.  You have taken good care of me.  What man, in his right mind, would want to give up the life of leisure?”  said Stan in a delightful voice.  “What woman, in her right mind, would make such an error in judgement.  But I guess I’m stuck with you.  I did vow to stay with you for better or worse.  Most of the time it’s better, but sometimes I wonder,”  said Marge in a playful mood and a roll of her eyes.

“Marge, are you ready to look at what we can live without?” said Stan in a soft and gentle voice.  “Stan, I know the Prospero’s do have more than us.  You know, they were just like us ten years ago. I don’t know what happened to them.  They live a life in recluse, now. They live directly across the street from us, but since their open house ten years ago, which they charged us and the neighbors ten dollars each to attend, we’ve had no contact with them at all since then.”

“Marge, we’ve found out who they really are, nothing like us in any way.  We don’t need them and it’s obvious they don’t need us,” said Stan in a matter of fact way.  “Well, Stan,  I will forget about keeping up with them.  They have all the worldly goods, but we have love,” said Marge with a smile and a hug to Stan. “Yes, we have love.  Let’s go to the dining room table and talk in a civil manner to each other about what we can do to live on less,” said Stan as he rises from his kitchen chair.

“Stan, I’ve been thinking, I don’t want to give up anything.  I do not want a budget to control me,” said Marge honestly to Stan.  “It’s not to control you, but we have to live             on less.  I don’t want to give up anything, either.”  “Let’s brainstorm to see what we can do to generate some more income so we can maintain the lifestyle we enjoy.  I have a great idea that may be feasible for us and we won’t have to do extra work,” said Marge. “Let’s hear your idea.  I never thought about generating income and not having to labor for it.”

“Let’s see, you know Mom lives alone.  She needs company.  She needs family.  She needs us.  We could help her out and she could help us out,” said Marge with a little excitement.   “What do you mean about Mom?  I hope it’s not what I’m thinking.  That would be a nightmare.”  “Well, I mean, we could take on boarders.  Mom could come live with us.  Isn’t that a great idea?”  “Just what I feared.  There is no way I will have her board with us.  She will control everything, even us, even me.”  “Let me finish, Stan.  Mom could pay a little rent for a room with us.” “We don’t need her rent money, but maybe we could use her,         I mean her money.  As long as I have space from her.  She could bunk with you. I could  bunk with my TV clicker in my easy chair and enjoy the sports channel in the den.”

“I have one more thing that will put a plus in her column, she gets a monthly pension check which is guaranteed.  That would help us a lot.  She gets a hefty check and I’m       sure she would share it with us.”  “We’ll need half of it.  That may break her.  All I need from her is three-hundred dollars, if you could work it out with her, that would be great.  Before she moves in, we’ll need a deposit on her room of three-hundred dollars.” “I can work that out with her, Stan.  If you agree, I will phone her today about the benefits of living with us.” “I agree.  She’s in.  Let me write it down on our budget, I mean supplemental income sheet.  Let’s see.  Mom–three-hundred dollars.  I like it.  Great idea.”

“Stan, who might you suggest to board with us?”  “I don’t know of anyone in the family who could help us out.”  “Stan, there is someone else who would pay to live with us, your   Uncle Joe.  He is retired from the military and he gets a guaranteed monthly pension.     One plus in his column, he knows how to cook. He was a chef while he was in the Navy.     He could prepare some great meals for us.  After the service, he got trained to be a gourmet chef.  He does fondue, can sizzle the best steaks, and grill fresh fish.  His specialty are desserts.  If I remember, he makes a delicious butter pound cake with rich cream cheese frosting.  Since he will be the cook, we must give him a discount on living with us.  He could pay us two-hundred dollars a month to board and he will purchase all the groceries out of his pocket.  We pay twice per month nearly five-hundred dollars for food. He will save us one-thousand dollars per month on groceries.  I could call him this afternoon, if that’s okay with you.”  “Yes, please call him.  I’m his favorite nephew.  Let’s see.  Uncle Joe–twelve-hundred dollars.  I’m liking your idea even more.  That is a total supplemental income of fifteen-hundred dollars per month.  That’s five-hundred dollars more than we need to maintain our standard of living.   Yee-haw, we’re in the money!”

“If we could make room for one more boarder, we could possibly add five-hundred dollars to our surplus of five-hundred dollars, what do you think, Stan?”  “Who Marge would be willing to pay us that sum of money just for a small room?”  “Well, I know a very nice couple that I met at the market.  They would be the perfect fit.  Both are students and are gone most of the time.”  “What are their names, Marge?  “Jake and Molly.  They could rent the small guest room on the other side of the house and have kitchen privileges.  There is one more boarder with them.  They have a young toddler named Teddy.  A really cute kid.” “Well, that may be too many boarders.  We need our space, but we need their money. They’re in, as long as they stay on their side of the house and contain Teddy within their living quarters.”  “I have their number, I will call them today after Mom and Uncle Joe.”

Joe to Margie, “how, I mean, where will we house all of them here?  Let me make that decision.  Jake and Molly in the guest room.  Uncle Joe in the renovated attic and Mom in the basement.  That’ll work.  Everybody will have their own space.”  “Stan, we can’t put Mom in the basement.  It’s too damp and isolated for her.  Let’s put Jake and Molly and their Teddy in the basement.  It has a small kitchenette and a small storage area which they could use as a place to bunk.  Also an outside door, so we would never see them.  Uncle Joe in the attic will work out fine.”

“We have done well creating a workable plan to supplement our income.  The extra thousand dollars, we could bank it.”  “Why bank it, Stan,  we could live far more than less.   I would like to have a coiffure and a manicure every two weeks.”  “I would like to have a haircut and join the football game pool at work.  It’s all for leisure, but I do need to ante up fifty dollars for upcoming games each week.  That’s only two-hundred dollars per month.” “I could join the women’s bowling league which meets twice a week.  That’ll cost only fifty dollars a week.”  “We’re still within budget, I mean our money management plan.”

“Stan, you know Joey really needs to join some team with his friends.  Let’s sign him up  for the boy’s soccer league. That’ll be one hundred dollars.  We could enroll Lisa in a dance class.  Many of her friends are already in class.  Maybe she will become a prima ballerina one day. Dance classes can be expensive, but this will help build her self esteem.”

“Marge, it sounds like we’re focusing on what we like again, rather than what we really need.  It will defeat our plan and we could sink back into debt.”  “Stan, we can afford to live a little better since we have more money.”  Stan to Marge, “we don’t have the money yet, but I’m willing to take a risk to live a little better, we do deserve it.”  “We forgot about someone in the family who has some real needs.  Milky Way needs a flea dip and grooming at least once a month and he likes his filet mignon.”  “No more, Margie.  Milky Way doesn’t need a filet mignon anymore. Only gravy nuggets from now on.  We can’t spend anymore to stay within our means.”  “Let’s stick to our plan,” said Stan. “The plan, yes, but we just need a little more to live.  That’s not asking too much. A little far more than less, but not less than more.”

The Imaginary Chicken

The Chicken Coop Cafe                                                                                                                                          “We Got All The Chickens Here.  Even You!”

Ester and Edson Bok enter the waiting area of the Chicken Coop.  Ester is dressed in a brown feathered chicken vest with a side cap upon her head with a red crown crest from front to back.  She is wearing  large circular red framed glasses with a very thick lens.  She is short and plump just like a hen.  Edson is a slimmed built man dressed in a yellow tee with the image of a red rooster across it’s front. He is wearing tattered blue jeans.

“Hello, welcome to The Chicken Coop. How many in your party?” said Trudy. “There are three of us.  A table by the window, please,” said Ester as she raises up her head, looks to the left, then to the right, and blinks her eyes. “All I see are the two of you.  Where is the third in your party?” said Trudy with a puzzled stare at Ester. “Oh, she’s right here.  You don’t see her, but she is here,” said Ester as she blurts out a “bok, bok, bok.” “I see you have a leash. One of those stiff plastic ones with a collar at it’s end.  Are you bringing a pet in here?  Pets are not allowed by order of the health department,” said emphatically by Trudy.

“Well, no one can see it.  So, it really doesn’t matter.  It’s my imaginary chicken, a perfect place for her to dine.  She’s a guest just like us.  We are family, aren’t we Edson?”  “Yes, we are family,” as he looks at the hostess with a blushed red face.  Quietly he asked, “Can you please seat us now? Over there by the window.” “Okay, follow me party of three,” said Trudy as she rolls her eyes, then looks back at the leash to ensure there’s no chicken there. “Your server will be right with you.”

“I’m your server, Thelma.  What may I get for you to drink?”  Edson said, “Just water for me.”  “And you, ma’am, a beverage for you?”  “A Bok-A-Cola, please.”  Server to Ester,           “I don’t believe we have that, but we do have a cola available, it’s called ‘Fizzy Fizz.”   Ester cackles a laugh then said, “It’s the same one.  I just like to call it that since this is a chicken coop.”  “Okay, I’ll be right back.  Here’s our menu for you to browse. Let me move this chair to give you more space.”  Ester to server, “please, no, there’s another guest seated there.”   Thelma replys, “really?  I don’t see anyone.”  “Yes,  she’s there, but you can’t see her. She’s my imaginary chicken.”  “Okay, imaginary chicken, what will you have to drink?”  “Oh, she doesn’t speak.  I have to order for her.  She will have just a plain glass of water.”  “I’ll be right back, and here’s a menu for the imaginary chicken to peruse.”  “That won’t be necessary, she can’t read because she can’t see.  I will order for her.”

“I love this side by the window.  A view of the chicken yard shaded by a large oak tree.           I seen some hens pecking at the mash and drinking from a water basin in the center of the yard. Don’t you see them, Edson?”  “Ester, there are no hens there, only a bird bath in a courtyard shaded by a tree.” “Aha, a bird bath.  A chicken is a bird, so they must be there somewhere.”  “Ester, there are no chickens there.”  “Okay, I’ll just pretend they are there.  All imaginary chickens.”

“There it is again.  The chicken, don’t you see it?” said Ester. “I don’t see a chicken.  It must be invisible,” said Edson. “You have to imagine to see it. Ed, you do know what a chicken looks like, don’t you? Listen. It’s tapping it’s beak on the window pane.”  “Tap, tap, tap.”  “Don’t you hear it?” as she taps her nail on the lower pane.  “I don’t hear anything but the sound of you tapping your nail on the window pane,” said Edson as he laughs with a cackle.  Ester thinking to herself,  I think there’s something wrong with Edson. He doesn’t see or hear the chicken. But a chicken has no brain. Maybe he doesn’t either. I’m getting a little worried about him. 

“Imagination is thinking of something that’s only inside your mind.  Let’s see, think yo-yo.  What do you see?”  said Ester hoping for Edson to see something that isn’t there.  “I seen a clear yellow yo-yo with someone spinning it.  Maybe it’s me.  Actually,  I like orange.  I will make it a clear orange with sparkles of gold glitter inside.  I can see it,” said Ed with excitement. “I think you’re getting it.  You can see it inside your mind.  It’s imagination.  I may not see it, but you do.  It’s invisible to me.  Your description of it makes me see it in my mind.  You do  have imagination,” said Ester with delight.  “Just maybe I can imagine.  Never thought about seeing things in my mind that really don’t exist, but with my imagination they are real to me,” said Edson with a ponder of thought.

“Some of the most creative people have a vivid imagination. An artist can imagine a scene or person to paint.  Artists identify with their art because it is an expression of themselves.  Usually an artist paints with passion and feeling.  Those who view it can interpret it for what they see and what they feel.  That’s what’s cool about art,” said Ester.

“Another way to imagine is to compose music.  Many famous composers, like Handel and Bach, were able, with imagination, to write a score of music inspired by the divine, I think.  Such a gift.  Music is the creation of sound that touches the soul. Sound can generate emotion in those who hear it.  Musicians compose with passion and feeling.”

Thelma the server returns with their meals.  “All chicken meals, as you requested.  Chicken a la King for you, sir.  Mrs Bok, Chicken Alfredo for you, and an imaginary bowl of chicken broth for your imaginary chicken.  Would you like a soup spoon to feed your chicken?”   Ester to server, “Oh yes, please.” Edson to Ester, “An absolutely king of a chicken.”  “My Chicken Alfredo is so delightful,” said Ester.  And to the imaginary chicken,  Ester said, “I see you are enjoying your soup. Here’s another spoonful.  Imaginary chicken responds, “bok, bok, bok.”

Ester said to lady at table across from them. “So glad you have your imaginary chicken with you.  Don’t you see it? ”  Patron responds, ” No I don’t and you are doodles.  Now, please mind your business and leave me alone.”  Ester responds, “Well, be that way, you have no imagination.  But the chicken is there.”  “Harvey, let’s leave.  This woman is cackling crazy.”

Edson thinking to himself, Ester is starting to get out of control.  I got to get her out of here before it gets worse.  If we stay longer, she will disrupt the whole place.  Let’s see if she can get control of herself.   “Edson, it’s happening.  I feel the urge to be a chicken.  I must do it,”said Ester in a panic.   Ester drops down from her chair to the floor.  While on her knees, she begins to bob her head up and down like a hen picking up feed.  She blurts out a “cluck, cluck, cluck.”  She begins to move across the floor of the cafe picking up feed.  She lets out a couple of cackles, then continues to bob her head down to the floor.  She raises up her head, she blinks her eyes, then looks to the left, then to the right.  She cackles again.

Manager aproaches Edson and said, “She has disrupted the dining of everyone here. Please get control of her.”  Edson walks across the room, bends down and speaks to Ester,  “The doctor said to stay in the present.  You can get control of these impulses.”  Ester continues with her disruptive behavior.  Edson said to Ester, “We need to leave.  You are out of control.”  He grabs Ester’s arm and pulls her up to stand.  “Now, let’s go.”  He begins to escort Ester out the door.  She said to Edson, “Where is my leash?  Where is my imaginary chicken?”  “It’s all in your head.  All in your head.”

Oasis on the Prairie

Flint Hills of Kansas

“Hey, little fella, what’s your name?”  “I’m Peyote, what’s your name?”                                       “My name is Sam, Sam Swindle.  You look like a squirrel, are you?”                                              “Oh no,  I’m a prairie dog.  A different type of dog, but I am a dog.”

Mr. Swindle to Peyote “What makes you think you’re a dog?”  “A man                                    named Lewis discovered us years ago.  He heard our chirp type of bark                                     and thought ‘these are prairie dogs.’  And there you have it.”

“What are you out here for, Mr. Swindle?”  “I’m a writer looking for a story.                         Maybe a story about you.” “A story about me?” “Yes, Peyote, a story about you.                  Actually, I work for a Hollywood producer.  He sent me here.”

“Why would you come out here?  There’s nothing here but us prairie dogs.”                         “But Peyote, look at the panorama.  Grassy green fields, wild flowers of every color,                rolling hills and valleys.  This place is an oasis.  An oasis on the prairie.”

“Mister Swindle, let me introduce you to my cousin.  Chirper is his name.                                     He chirps like a bark.”  “Nice to meet you, Chirper.”  “Bark for us Chirper, bark.”                   “Oh Peyote, I don’t care to, I’m so bashful.  The last time I barked was for a ranger.                 He laughed at me and I haven’t done it since.”  “Come on, Chirpie, bark a little for us.         It’s just me and you and this guy writing a story about us.”

“Okay, chirp, chirp, chirp.”  “More” said Peyote.  Chirper barks again.  “Chirp, chirp,            chirp.”  “You know, I am looking for new talent.  A dog that chirps like a bird would               be an interesting story.  It could be titled ‘Chirper Dog.’  A dog of a different kind on              the prairie.”  “Mr. Writer, I mean, Mr. Swindle, could this get us a Hollywood contract?”

Mr. Swindle to Peyote “I don’t think so, but maybe a promotional ad for the planned       new hotel and casino to be built right here on this spot.  Heard that a real estate magnate    in the east is looking for land and he will buy it, if the price is right.”  “Mister, don’t you   think Chirper’s got talent?”  “He’s got talent, but you got land and lots of it.”

“Peyote, how much can I offer you for a few acres?”  “What’s an acre, Mr. Swindle?” said Peyote  “An acre?  Let’s see, from this bush to that bush, over to that fence post and back to your hole right here is about an acre.”  “That’s a lot of land, Mister.”  Mr. Swindle to Peyote “Yes it is, Peyote.  Who owns this land?”  Peyote to Mr. Swindle “Nobody, that I know of, it’s just us prairie dogs out here and no one else.”

“Well, Peyote, someone was here at one time, the fence post over there with the rusted barbed wire wrapped in a circle and hung on the post.  You know anything about it?”             Peyote said, “I heard that there was a cattle rancher here at one time, but that was long ago.  He couldn’t make a go of it, so he left and this is the remnant of what is left of it.” “Do you know if he ever owned the property?”  “I don’t think so, others were here too and were not able to do anything with this barren land.  Since then it’s been us and no one else”said Peyote.

“Okay, Peyote, I need a deed for this property.”  “What’s a deed, Mister Swindle?”                  “A deed indicates who owns the property.  Since we don’t know of one, I’ll create one.       So, with the deed, we can transfer ownership over to Mr. Real Estate Developer, that is,         if you both strike a deal.”  “Who is this Mr. Developer?” said Peyote.  “He is a big time real estate developer in the east.  He owns just about every casino on the east coast.  He’s got    the bucks to buy this land.”  Mr. Swindle goes on to say “This could be big money for you, Peyote.  You will never be without.  His success could be your win and the land deal, a plum in his pocket.”

Peyote to Mr. Swindle “This sounds too good to be true.”  “It is true, Peyote.  It will change your lives forever.  You will never have to hunt for food ever again.”  “Chirper, what do you think?” said Peyote.  Chirper says “I think we should go for it.  Our lives changed forever.”

“Peyote and Chirper, Mr. Developer will need one thousand acres.  Can you do?” “Why not?” said Peyote.  “We have plenty of land to share.  A thousand acres will work for me,       I mean for us, me and Chirper.”  “How about two hundred fifty thousand dollars for it?  A lot of cash.  This is my one and only offer.  Just think ‘lives changed forever.’  Deal?”  “What do you think, Chirpie?”  Chirper nods his head.  “Okay, Mister Swindle, let’s make a deal” said Peyote.

“Okay, fellas, I knew you would fall, I mean go, for it.  I’ve already prepared the documents.  Need both of your signatures.”  “But, Mister Swindle, I don’t know how to write.  Can you help me?”  “I’ve already taken care of it.  I have you name printed below the line.  All you have to do is sign above the line next to the X.”  “Okay, Mister Swindle.”  “Peyote, just press your paw on this ink pad and then press your paw on the line next to the X.  Done.  Very good.”  “Now, Chirper, it’s your turn.  You do the same.  Next to the X please.  Great, deal is half way done.  Your offer is now ready to be presented to Mr. Developer.  He will be quite pleased and eager to sign it.”

“Meet us at the fence post tomorrow morning at ten a.m.  Mr. Developer and Mr. Banker will both be there to seal the deal.  Remember ‘our lives changed forever.’  See ya then.”

“Mornin’, fellas.  Meet Mr. Developer and Mr. Banker.”  Peyote and Chirper shyly say    “Hello, sirs, nice to meet you.”  “No need to be so formal, guys.  Just call me R.E.  I like to     be on a first name basis with all of my friends.  My full name is Real Estate Developer, but   just call me R.E.  Heard my money made you sign.  It works every time.  This is a deal, guys, what a deal!  Just what I was looking for, cheap, I mean prime real estate.  And you got it.”

Mr. Swindle to Peyote and Chirper “Meet Mr. Banker.”  “Mornin, boys.  I’m the man with the dough.  You will get a lot of it.  You won’t regret it.  Your lives will be changed forever.”  Mr Banker says to Mr. Developer “I like the name.  ‘Oasis on the Prairie.’  Well, is it a deal,  fellas?”  Peyote and Chirper nervously say “It’s a deal.”  “Great!” said Mr. Swindle.

“Here are the documents.  Mr. Developer you sign here and Mr. Banker, sign right under his name.  One last thing, transfer of title to the property.  Peyote and Chirper sign here.  Both sign paper.  Congratulations everyone, the deal is done.”

“Mister Swindle, haven’t you forgotten something, our check?”  “Of course not, here is a certified check in the amount of two hundred fifty thousand dollars.  All you need do is cash it and the money is yours to keep.”  “How do I cash it?  There’s no bank around here.  The name of the bank on the check, Bank of Fools.  Is that a good bank, Mister Swindle?” “Trust me, it’s a good bank in the east.  Over one thousand miles from here.  I’ll take it with me and cash it for you.”

“Here, both of you sign on the back to endorse the check.  Peyote you first, then Chirper  you sign right under him.  Then I will sign it last.  It gives me permission to cash your check for you.  It may take a month before you get your cash.  It will be delivered by a trustworthy man.  He will be on horseback with a leather satchel strapped across his shoulder.  He may be wearing a black mask, but maybe not.  Just look for a man on a horse.  See you guys,  your lives will be change forever.”

One month later at the fence post.  “Well, Peyote, it’s been one month and no money yet.”   “I know Chirper, but Mister Swindle said he promised and I believe the money is on it’s way.  I bet, any day now.”  Chirper to Peyote “You know, something told me we shouldn’t have signed over our check to him.”  “I know Chirpie, but Mister Swindle gave us his word. But I have never heard of the ‘Bank of Fools,’  but he said it was a good bank.  I’m sure we’ll get our money soon.  Mr Swindle promised.”

Lives changed forever, what do you think?

Savor the Flavor

Pause for a moment and just enjoy. Savor the moment.  Savor the flavor of life.  Enjoy the flavor of something as much as you can by eating or drinking it slowly.  I sipped my coffee, savoring every mouthful.  Tasted so good.

Jason in his tee, shorts and slippers eases back in his chair to enjoy the moment of a new day. “I enjoy my time on the deck savoring the sunrise.  The birds begin to chirp.  I hear them, do you hear?  There’s a lark that sings every morning for me. The sparrows  jump from limb to limb, then they perch on the fence to begin a new day, you see them?  A blue jay, with feathers of blue and white, just dropped down to the ground.  He is already attacking the cat.  He does this every day.  A mockingbird is rustling through the leaves and brush on the ground, do you see it?  Take a look, John.  Here’s my binoculars.  Look up there.  A bluebird, another one, sings a song to me.  I’m a bird watcher.  This is my morning delight.”

John replied, “I hear them.  I see them.  Never noticed before.  I’m out the door in a rush. Never take the time to slow down.  Marie is good to me, but she gets in the way.  I don’t have time for her.  She wants me to embrace her for a moment.  I’ve done it.  She gets so emotional.  I don’t have time for her nonsense.”

Jason thinking to himself,  He’s married to his work.  That’s all he does, work.  I’m sure she has thought about…well I won’t say it.  A woman needs tender loving care.  

“Well, I’ve got to go, Jase.  The bird show was interesting.  You’re retired.  The way things are going, I’ll never retire.  I hope you and Edith have time to savor the moment,” said John with a wink as he left out the door.

“Here darling, fresh cinnamon twirls right out of the oven.  Iced and buttered just for my man.  Enjoy, savor the flavor,” said Edith. “Maybe later to have and to hold?” said Jason. “Maybe later,” said Edith with a smile.

Rap, rap, rap. “Well, what a surprise.  How are you today, Marie?” “I just made this peppered omelet,  It’s still hot.  Would you like it?  It was for John.  As you know, he’s always in a hurry going somewhere, but really nowhere with us.  No appreciation whatsoever.  He doesn’t savor the moment,” said Marie.

“Have a seat, my friend.  You and I can enjoy the omelet.  I’ll cut it in half.  Coffee?  It’s hazelnut.  Love the taste.  I savor every sip.  Here you go, dear.  And fresh fruit, chilled from the fridge.  Apples and oranges.  Like? “Indeed, I do.” “How about one of each? Have your pick.  Fresh from the market,” said Edith holding the bowl for Marie to choose.

“Let’s see, a Washington State, and a sunshine orange from the groves of Florida.  Nothing like them,” said Marie. “Yes, indeed.  Only the best for you.  You said Washington, then you’ll have Washington.  Florida citrus is the best.  Have a little sunshine.”  Edith thinking to herself,  Actually, these are from Pennsylvania and California.  Amish country and Pleasant Valley Ranch.  Both organic.  The very best.  Glad I noticed and removed the small oval labels.  One with Amish on the apple, and the orange labeled California.  She won’t know the difference.  But she will taste the difference.    

“Marie, just thinking, there is a solution.  It worked with Jason after he retired.  He was so grumpy and restless.  All of a sudden he was doing nothing, where he was doing something. He worked all the time, just like John.  But I found a way to soften him up.  See on this sheet, chocolate chips.  One hard, the other soft.  How did I turn a hard cookie into a soft cookie?  It has to do with the ingredients.  For a hard cookie, add extra flour.  It stiffens the dough.  A double dose of brown sugar will make a soft and chewy cookie.  It depends on which you prefer.”

“Hmm, you think I can make John into a soft cookie?” “Yes you can. Add extra sugar and he will melt in your hand. Here’a what you do, simply pamper him. If he comes home stressed, draw a pleasant warm shower for him.  Give him time and let him savor his shower.  When he steps out, be there for him. Have a soft towel for him.  Next ingredient, pat him dry.  We may be moving a little fast with this recipe.  Just hand him the towel. Later, you can pat him dry.  Savor the moment with him.  He will begin to like it.”

“Edie, you are so inventive.  Thank you for the recipe.” “You will notice the difference in him and he will feel the difference.  Give him time to soften up.  Don’t want to rush, let him enjoy the moment with himself.  We all need that time.  That’s what I did and Jason is a new man.  One last thing that is universal about men, feed them well.  The way to their hearts is how much sugar you add to the dough.  Sweeten him up for a flavor to savor.     He will savor the flavor with you.”

Tampa, Florida Author..New Book. “Frank Clark Short Stories.”

Frank Clark is proud to announce that his new book, “Frank Clark Short Stories” is now available.  Humor, Imagination and Introspective.  Creative writing style. Book is available in 3 formats, hardback, paperback, and e-book.  Kindle and Nook are included.  Available at these on-line book sellers., my publisher.  Barnes & Noble,, and  Perfect gift for any occasion.