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This is it!  I am so sick of dating losers.  It is time to draw up a plan of action.  I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and it seems to me the only way it's going to work is if I make a list…will sleep on it…night!


Feb. 28

Here’s the list:  What I want in a husband ~



1.  Must have sense of humor

2.  Rich enough to keep me in style ~ we’ll figure this one out as we go

3.  Over six feet tall

4.  Intelligent

5.  Good looking in a Superman kind of way ~ glasses okay

6.  Wants at least four kids

7.  If I think of anything else I’ll add it


March 17

Oh, my word ~ it’s been weeks since I put anything down!  But diary,  I am really too busy to ~ No cross that out ~ I am too tired from being too busy to sit down and write anything.  This semester is busy and with working all day and classes all night and that dang car that I’ve got to park so it goes forward ~ well enough.  I’m off to bed…maybe tomorrow night BUT don’t count your lines on it!


March 18

Ha,ha - faked you out!  I’m here and home right after class too.  The guys I usually go and have coffee with all cried off tonight.  It’s been fun getting to know them.  There is one guy that is absolutely gorgeous! NO! No way am I interested!  Too rich {haha - not that way} for my palate.  Can you just imagine me going to dinner with him and everyone whispers as we go by ~ “Whatever does HE see in HER?”  Nope, I want a guy that isn’t better looking than me!  

Yawn - beddie bye ~ six a.m. comes sooner than I like.


March 23

I did warn you - I just cannot be faithful when it comes to seeing you every night but I just had to let you know tonight I went out with one of the guys from the ‘round table’ ~ he’s interesting, has scads of money, fits most of my list BUT there wasn’t a spark of interest  -  not at least on my part.  

Everything and I mean everything was about him and I can just see what that would be like after marriage if it's like that before getting hitched.  No, Joe, will have to go on without me in his life.  Alas, I cannot be there for him.


March 27

That RAT JOE!  He’s engaged!  How dare he date me when he’s got a fianc’ee!  Not a mere GIRLFRIEND ~ noooo ~ a FIANC’EE!  How did I find out???!!  The RAT met her for coffee  and brought her over and introduced her to all of us at the ’round table’ - that’s what we call it at the ha! very appropriate ~ RATskeller on campus!  OHHHHH I am SO MAD!!!  Talk later.


April 10

Went out with another one of the guys.  Went to Canoe Place In!  The first time for me there - big band, dancing and the food was fantastic!  

I usually pick at my food but Hal said he wasn’t leaving until I ate!  Imagine that!  He had dessert while I finished up and the food was very much to my liking... I did say that didn't I?  He even was willing to wait for me to have dessert but I was really full and no way was I going to eat and have him stare at the fork going into my mouth.   

When we reached my house, my heel caught on that blasted board that needs fixing and I fell right off the porch into his arms.  He smells soooooo good!!

Then quick as a rabbit, he had me in a lip lock…  ooohhh…so sweet!  

And, AND…   We have a date tomorrow night SO DON’T COUNT on me saying anything to YOU tomorrow night..

I’ll make it up to you..MAYBE!


April 14

Not seeing Hal tonight - both of us have to get our taxes done.  DRAT!  Not only do I hate doing these blasted taxes but this is the first night without Hal.  

I do think he’s going to be the one.  He’s a Clark Kent, Buddy Holly type…ummm..really smart but so amusing.  He makes me laugh.  

The only thing I don’t like is his car.  It’s an MG sports car {So what’s not to like? you ask.}  It eats my clothes!  The passenger door sticks and Hal’s always having to lean over and slam it and when I get out {I can’t find the 'snagger' place, either!} it grabs and rips my dress or skirt.  Good thing I know how to mend but it’s a pain in the you know where.


April 20

We’ve got a big date planned for this weekend.  Going over on ‘The Island’ - got to get to the ferry on time and we’re going to stay for a weekend party with some of the crew from college and their girlfriends.  One of the guys has a big house over there.  

Never done anything like this before.  I’m a little scared of what I think will happen but this really is the next step, hopefully in the right direction.  We’ll see.


April 27

Well, I’ve got to say that went well!  The party was lots of fun - some of the girls were nice, some not so nice but I knew most of the guys and they went all out to make the weekend special for each one of us.  

Hal and I got to spend the first night together.  He was as pleased as I was and since we’ve been seeing one another every night except that one before tax day, it seemed natural to end up in the same bedroom.   

There was some talk about us going back on Saturday but we agreed we’d like to stick around and do some more exploring around the Island AND the bedroom.

I was too pooped to write anything last night as you must have guessed!

By the way, he smells really good with or without his clothes.  {giggle}


April 28  

Wow!  


April 29

Wow!  But the stick shift is a really big problem!


April 30

Wow!


May 1

Figured I’d let you know it’s still WOW! We’re talking about getting married in September.  Neither of us want a big wedding.  Don’t know which church though ~` maybe a Justice of the Peace…We’ll see.


May 2

Wow!!!   But that stick shift is still a problem!!


May 3

Can only be faithful to one and diary, I’m sorry to tell you:  “It’s not you!”  Tell you what though ~ I'll let you know if anything changes!


May 10

Oops!


May 11

Went to the doctor today.


May 13

Speaking of rabbits - it died!


May 14

September’s out - June’s in!


May 15

Hal say’s he wants to wait until he turns 22 to get married.  His birthday is the second of June, so it's not that far off.


May 16

My stomach is all in knots.  We’re going to talk to his mom tomorrow night.  Hal says let her tell his dad - It’ll be easier.  Easier for Hal, at any rate.


May 17

Oh Boy!  Told his mom.  More later.


May 18

Hal’s mom is really nice.  The only thing is she wants us to get married in church and she wants it at her church.  

That’s fine with me.  

I’ve not been to church since they transferred Father Francis for talking too much about Jesus and His miracles.  Stuffy old crowd.  “Not in our day” they said.  'Old Farts!' is what I say.


May 19

Got an appointment with the preacher tomorrow night to set up the marriage time.


May 20

The Preacher wanted us to go through counseling before we got married but changed his mind and set the first Sunday in June after Hal told him I was pregnant.


May 27

Hal told me to go get the rings for the wedding.  He’s got a paper due at the end of the week.  Besides he said, he’s paying for the Honeymoon.  Said to pick out what I like and he’ll like it.  

Decided on the gold with the beading on the edge.  The salesmen said it takes years for the beading to wear off so I'll take the chance on getting them and hope his word is true.


June 5

Everything is ready for tomorrow except me!  My stomach is all upset and it’s not the baby.  I really like Hal but do I love him?  He says everything will be fine but he hasn’t told me he loves me either.  

I’m still a teenager!  What was I thinking?  Oh yeah!  Sex is good!  That’s what I was thinking!  Oh crap!


June 6

I can’t believe this!  My car is dead in the water - well the yard - but it’s going to be going on a deep six dive when I get back from the honeymoon!  And my brother who's supposed to ‘give me away’ - where is he????  I’m going to be late for the ceremony!!!!  

My brother’s friend just called - my brother’s drunk and won’t be walking me down the aisle.  GREAT!!!  But typical! Should have known better than to count on him.

Called Hal!  Thank God!  He’s on his way to pick me and my grandmother up for the ceremony.  Geesh!  How many women walk into church on the arm of their husband to be?  With their grandmother in the car?  My aunt is meeting us at the church; at least Grandma will get to go home with her.  

Hal said his brother will walk me down the aisle.  Which brother?  Oh, right.  The tall one!  Guess then it’s a good thing I got three inch heels on.  

Hal’s parents are having a reception for us at their place before we take off for the Adirondacks.   

Hal’s bringing his mom’s veil - that’s my old and borrowed.  My suit is the new thing and the skirt and jacket are powder blue.  Hal said I should get a white dress but I didn’t feel right about that.  

He’s here!  He’s here!!!  Got to go!  See you when I see you!


March 30, 2011

Well diary - all I can say is… sorry.  I know it’s been a long time - actually a life time - wow is right! - almost 47 years.  Still don’t have much time to sit and think and write.  Just have kept moving.  

Want to know why Hal asked me out?  I was a bet in Economics class.  The guys apparently called me “The Ice Maiden” and set a bet on who would thaw me out.  Guess Hal won!

Three sons alive and lost another one before he was born.  Grandchildren and ‘adopted grandkids’ with kids of their own making us great grandparents.  How did we get old so fast?

Saw the United States seven times over - except for Mississippi - kept falling asleep at the border. Did get to see a lot of Canada.   Didn’t get to see Ireland either…that’s one of Hal’s dreams.  Don’t know if that will ever happen now.  

Sometimes he knows me; sometimes he doesn’t.  When he doesn’t know me, he talks to me about me.  Thank God, so far, it’s all been good stuff he’s told me about me.  May be a blessing for him, that he doesn’t remember the rough and tumble days and only remembers the happy tumbles we had and once in awhile still have.  

Well diary - you’ve been caught up.  We still have some living to do - I can’t promise you I’ll be back but then you knew that when we started this journey.  

Got to go! Hal’s calling me!  Bye-bye!








 
 
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     “Are you sure they’re coming today?  The Red Dog asked.

      “Santa said they were, you know that.  When  Santa says something, believe it.  He is a friend of Jesus.  And I'm pretty sure Jesus put him in charge of Christmas, “ said the Raggedy Boy.

     “Yes, Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus birthday,  but I think He really was born sometime way back in September.”  The Black and White Tiger growled.

      “So we all get presents on Jesus’ birthday.  Isn’t that sort of weird.  Most people get presents on their birthday, not someone else’s birthday,”  The Red Guy that laughed a lot said in a whisper.

      “I heard you, Red and the reason for that is ….   Well, I actually don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that Jesus gave us his Saving Grace and all we have to do to get that gift is to say ‘thank you, Jesus, I accept your gift,”’  said Mr. Octopus.

      “Yes, and that’s all well and good, and I do believe in Jesus.  What I’m not so sure of is, are the kids coming, and if they are, will they still remember us, and will they take us with them,” all the bears sang out in harmony.

       Orange Fish blubbered out, “Why do you think they’ll take us?  They didn’t even name us!”

      “Oh, stop crying Fish.  The kids were really young when they got us, and then they went away for a long, long time.   It will be okay this time around.  Santa said so,” declared the Raggedy Boy.

      The Stuffies and Friends had spent a long time in a large black bag out in the shed.  When it got cold, they all huddled together to keep warm, and the second time the cold came, in came a family of mice.”

      ”Eeek, Eeek, Eeek,”  yelled the biggest girl Mouse, Stuffie, as she pushed away from the brown creatures.

            “ What are you yelling about?  Are you scared of our relatives, “ asked the Boy Mouse?

       “ Those, those creatures are our relatives?  Are you sure?  They’re so brown and fuzzy, not like us at all,” huffed the big girl Stuffie Mouse.

      “Of course they are, just look at their faces.  Same pointy nose, waggly tail, whiskers.  Yes, they are our family.  But it really doesn’t matter if they are related though.  They need help. Look… The babies are shivering,”  the boy Mouse said.

      “Welcome!”  All the Stuffies yelled, together, ashamed of not being friendly when the small family arrived at their bag.  Their shout scared the family of mice and the small brown mice started to scatter.

      “Hush,” said the Raggedy Boy to the Stuffies.    “Please come back.  Do not be afraid of us.  We’ve been stuck in this corner of the shed and have not seen anyone except a Squirrel that needed some stuffing for her nest last time it was cold.  I let her take some of my sleeve.  You look as if you could use a bit of my sleeve too.”

      Boy got the name Raggedy, after the time with Mrs. Squirrel.  He was a bit of a hero to the rest of the crowd of Stuffies and Friends because he had been brave to let Mrs. Squirrel have a piece of his arm.  Even the Vampire thought the Boy was brave.

 Now, everyone considered themselves brave since they rode the rapids down a large white canyon that twisted round and round.  After that,  they were blown up, down and around through a dry, warm valley.  Everyone was dizzy but nice and clean when done, needing to rest.

 But, today they had a family in need, to tend.  If they all worked together, they would accomplish all that had to be done before the children arrived. 

 The Raggedy Boy’s sister helped Mrs. Mouse wrap her babies in the blue shirt’s cloth and some of the cream cloth from the Ragged Boy’s arm.  They had just finished getting the babies settled in when they heard a car stop and children laughing.

   “I hear the kids coming.  Now shush.  All will be okay.  Santa said so,” the Raggedy Boy declared.

 And so it was, as each child greeted their old friends, having some ride home in the car, so they might catch up on all the news from The Stuffies and Friends.  And to share with the Stuffies and Friends what they had been doing for the time they had been apart.

 



 
 
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Rivulets of steamy sweat cascade ever downward, pooling under arms, breasts, and small dimpled areas while, yet, a refreshing breeze caresses the fevered brow.

I’ve known this moment. I’ve lived this moment. I detest but welcomely embrace this moment!  

Over and Over, mankind just cannot, will not,  quell their lusts ~

Kingdom upon kingdom falls to the sword; rape upon rape, until the land runs red, and crisply burns black.

Technology touted as new, never knowing those strands lie deeply buried in the forever streams of time.

Slaughter, abuse, disdain for the innocence to be sullied, stripped, discarded.

Raise the exchange standard high, squeezing the life blood of the populace, the land, the life giving air; Cries for mercy ignored.

Man rejects teaching; intellect says his way is right; there is no God!   We are the gods of all we touch, see, smell, want, corrupt, slough.  

It is time!  All nature is in accord!  

The core is heated, melting  the shale away, soon to reach the crust; waters writhing, spewing upward reaching steam to collide with incoming missiles swiftly driving a collusion path to impact.

I was here for the flood and sank beneath the waves, my body twisted, torn, consumed; my spirit returning to God.  

I hungered for another chance, but at the scattering, I was trampled, flattened into the soil, my spirit again rising as the crowd is cleaved by the voice above.

I sat.  I looked. I learned.  I could try again... But not just yet.  

I waited.  I saw the glory.  I saw it despised, refused.  I wept.  How evil cloaks the eyes to love.

My last chance for entry; I take it.  I asked for the ending of time... Ha!  Such a brave but foolish wish to prove I have seen enough to hold onto the love.

I saw the fiery end when a tot of four and did not quake.  My path set before me obstacle laden, twisting my spirit to disbelief.  

Arguing...  Until my spirit understands the way home.  Failure is not an option!

It is time!  All nature in accord!  

Planets aligned; meteor trajectory insured.

The caps uncorked, raining bullets of fire.

The core is heated, melting away the shale, soon to reach the crust; waters writhing, spewing an upward reaching steam to collide with incoming missiles swiftly driving a collision path to impact.

God claps; reshaping starts anew.








 
 
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“I see you Alex.  Your body is solidifying! We’re in some sort of portal.  I know this is difficult for you to know, never mind, believe, but those were Saturn’s Enceladus forces that attacked us and when that front soldier hit you with his revolving weapon you were spun into his orbit.  I cannot hear you...But I can read your lips!  Slowly, slowly, please.  Your orbiting rate is more than twice here.  Now, tell me where your hiding place is located on that pigeon dung ball.”

This was a time of intense pressure for Chloe and for Alex.  Becoming parents was an unexpected gift, and it was putting a heavy burden both mentally and physically upon them. This was bound to crimp their fighting ways.  Being in the middle of a war that seemed interminable was not helping their determination especially since Alex and Chloe were Apollo mates so being alone was a wrenching experience.


   “I am hiding like a puling kitten because our babes are due in two days!  How by all the shades of Civet am I to face my phalanx when you get me back? You better get reading faster on how to pull me back into our realm!  Dear mighty Carnivore, woman!”


   
   “Stop! You’re hissing again because you’re in a corner - claws!  How do you think I feel? Aaaoooowww! The kits are moving as if they’re jockeying for space in a crowded room.  The only thing calming my stomach is this pipe combination you made for me.   Mayhap a sniff of the nip, I gave you would calm you down?  And, can you not see, I’m working as quickly as possible?!?  As you were being pulled out of our dimension, we lost three of our most valiant warriors.  Their daughters and son are now on the front lines taking their places; they’re not mewling about it, this is an element of our life - now soothe your spirit and tell me where you are, not how you feel.  We’ll deal with that part when you’re back.”


   As Chloe took a deep draw, waiting for Alex to tell her the specifics of his coordinates, she realized Alex was closer than either of them could imagine.  She did not need to locate his magnitude, she just needed to....


   “Wha...The?!”


   “Sheathe those weapons my own sweet Kazza.  Ha!  I told you, I was working fast.  Now what do you say, smooth claws?”


   “Let me hold you.  Oh dear Mighty Carnivore, you feel glorious ...Umm ...Want to rumble?”


    “Claws!  All you toms think about is a roll in the …  ummmm... Whew, hold that thought.”


    Chloe was proud of how she was able to snap Alex back so quickly and was a little, no, a lot miffed, he did not seem to care how he got back, just wanted to get it on.  Heh, mayhap he should be gibbed.  That would slow him down and …


    “I’m sorry my Toitoi lady but you set my claws to flexing and my purrs to roars.  How did you get me back so soon?  I didn’t even tell you in what corner I was held up.  But, come here … I think so much better with your smoothness .. Umm ... Leaning against me ...Oh the kits moved!  Tell me, it’s not time!”


   “Alex … you are … you are.  Later.  You were glowering at me, telling me to hurry, but I knew I was not able.  The wording in our Kattrack is extremely strict.  That is why you were picked for me and me for you.  I know we fought against it, but it was the Mighty Carnivore that brought us together, not actually the Felidae.  They were only instruments.  Are you listening?  Stop with the nips!  Listen to me!”


   Alex stretched out and eyed her with his honey colored orbs.  He realized that she had a need to talk, even though he had already figured out what she had done; she was wearing their wedding headdress, sacred to their Clowder.  They were two parts of a whole, and while she was the green one at getting things accomplished, she also had the ability fiercely to fight for what she wanted and loved; he was endued with this incredible mate and claws, that’s just what he wanted to do.  Well, she’d soon have it told, and he’d get on with getting her purrs rumbling.


   “Go on then, my sweets … tell me.”

   “The Kattrack says we are One.  One!  So, all I needed to pull you back was to touch the … Apollo rings and snap - back you would be by my side!  Of course, that only works as long as The One, are truly One.  I was not sure - you don’t seem to think that ‘Kattrap’ as you name it but …”


    “How can you doubt my love for you?  With every nibble and purr I am telling you, my lady, my life, and soon to be mother of my kits, you are my green eyed tigress and my fellow warrior throughout this life and beyond.”


   True to Alex’s word, Chloe’s challenge was met, never to lose its brightness, her life being abundantly filled by laughing, love, and family. There would always be enemies in and out of the star ways to be faced but those they fought and vanquished as One.





 
 
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Watching the ripples splaying into an unending circle, made by the landing of the Grebe, until the wavelet gently reaches the shore dying on the lush ground, already sopping up the blood of my mate and young, I pray for forgiveness.  The sunlight reflects the surrounding beauty of the wilderness.

We came stealthy in the night, carrying the babes, soothing, hushing, communicating the danger that pursued us.  These woods are our home given by the Great Spirit for our use, for our welfare, to live in harmony.  My family circle has spiraled, through many eons, to arrive upon this day of sorrow.

The great thunder of the massive birds that spit forth death found us as we flattened ourselves to near invisibility, forgetting these demons can see through the dark while gleefully meting out death.  My mate riddled with holes as she tried unsuccessfully to cover the babes beneath her. I, her mantle as the end of my blood slithers off my muzzle, pooling at the feet of the hunter.

“This is the last of the wolf pack men.  Good night’s killing.”

As my spirit rises, joining my ancestors, I call the Great Spirit to forgive our killers, allowing them to understand His love for all creatures.


 
 
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Captain Snooper

By Paula Shene





Snooper and the K-9 Boys and Girls on Locus Street prepare for Halloween partying. Snooper recounts the tale of his ancestor, Captain Snooper, to Shadow, the Dalmatian.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


“Avast yer Landlubbers, out ‘o me way or ‘t’s the plank for ya!”

“What all are you jabberin’ about, Snooper? Oh, oh, never mind.  You’re goin’ as a pirate.  Aye?  Ya Landlubber!”


“I figured, Shadow, I’d stay in character.  Grandma says I’m a thief, even though I’d call it being a redistribution agent, and I am, after all, from a long line of pirates.  I’m even named after the first of my ancestors who went into that line of work.”

“You call stealin’ a line of work?  Wahoo, Snooper - the police call it a life of crime!”

“Ah, Shadow, I’m not breaking the law.  I only take stuff in the house, and Grandma says I’m a faithful old dog, even if I am a thief.  And frankly, I don’t agree with that thief name.  Come on, now!  Who else is gonna want the garbage detail.  Did I ever tell you about Captain Snooper, a true friend to Old Long Paul Silvertongue?”

“No Snooper, I can’t say as you did.”

“Captain Snooper, well, he was a sly old dog, and he didn’t have a home to call his own, like you and me, Shadow.  Nah, he had to roam the streets, knocking over cans to find even a tiny morsel to keep going; that is until he met Old Long Paul.”

“Old Long Paul sounds a lot like the character in Treasure Island.”

“Yeah, you’re right, Shadow.  Never thought of that.  Anyway...” Snooper went on,

Old Long Paul spied Captain Snooper rummaging through a pile of trash.  Pitiful, it was, I tell you.  Captain was all skin and bones and a bit on the snappish side.

“Kind of like Mandy was, when she was a youngster, sounds like.”

“Don’t think Mandy would like you comparing her to a pirate.  She takes the role of Alpha Dog seriously.  One day she said to me, ‘Well, maybe I started out as a runt but I made it to the top and your claim to fame is, you’re a thief, harrumph!’  She’s right, but I’ve had my reasons.”

“She must have been pretty mad at you to harrumph you, Snooper.”

“Nah, Mandy is more bark than bite, these days.  I’d like to think it’s due to my charming manner.  She was still a bit of a pup, when I first laid eyes on her. Boy she was  a cutie. Still is to me.”  

“Guess you see beyond her chubbiness then, Snooper?”

“Darn tooting, I do, Shadow.  It’s what’s on the inside that counts, and who is to say there isn’t beauty in bulk?  Let me tell you fellah, Mandy will not be pleased with your talking about her weight.  She’s been on a diet and exercising, but it’s not coming off as easily as it went on.  She’s already given you a paw sandwich over your fat jokes, so watch your tongue, Shadow.”

“Okie, Dokie, if you say so, Snooper… Ummm, is that a cutlass, you have clenched between your teeth?”
“Aye, I be thinkin’ yer be right.  It be truly a beautiful, gorgeous piece o’ cuttin’ tool, ya horn swagglin’ scurvy cur.”

“Huh? Let me think. You’re startin’ to sound like me, with a bit of a pirate swagger, too, Snooper.  Don’t know as the Girls will understand you though.”


“Aye, th’ beauties will love ‘t!  Mandy may want t’ go as somethin’ else, but she loves her pirate.  What do you think, Shadow – Should I wear the peg leg and patch? How about the scar?

“Well, Snooper, it’ll be a bit hard to run with the peg leg and walkin’ with one eye…. Hmmm?  Why don’t you try them out?  Give a walk about the yard.  Is it comfortable?  Can you see well enough?  Try runnin’ – we’ll have kids with us so we’ll probably need to do some of that.”

“Ufft.  Forget the peg leg, but I think I can handle the patch.  So what do you think of the scar, Shadow?”

“Why mar your beauty, Snooper?”

“Hey, ahoy, hey!  Tis a mark of triumph,‘ t is.  I think I be goin’ with this here scar.  Come on Shadow.  Help me get it on right.”

As Shadow helps Snooper with his costume, he asks, “So, you goin’ to tell me about Captain Snooper?”

“Certainly, Shadow.  Erm, umm…”

Once upon time {it’s always advantageous to start a tall tale with that opening} there be a privateer by the name of Long Paul Silvertongue.  He was an undercover cop for the crown and was masquerading as a buccaneer.

Long Paul was a well known scourge on the seven seas; unmerciful in his swift overtaking of, who else, the most dastardly pirates who sailed the seas.

Long Paul’s crew was made up of sprogs until they learned the trade and were willing to follow his orders in doing right, instead of just being a scurvy dog of a pirate, killing and stealing.  
“Whoa, Snooper.  Sprog?  What’s a sprog?  Long Paul had frogs on board?”

“There are times Shadow, I wonder how much you are learning, hanging with Grandma. You use words that sound like other words and make them into what you think they are.”

“That’s not true, Snooper.  I’m asking... I’m asking.  So, what’s a sprog?”

“A sprog is... Before, I tell you that... If there is anything else you don’t understand, you ask me... Or better yet, you ask Grandma.... Later.   Now... Ahem... A sprog is a pirate that is new to the job or new to the Captain’s way of doing business.  Long Paul was a decent guy pretending to be a terrible guy, so his crew had to act like nasty guys but be honest guys, too.  Understand, Shadow?”

“Err... Ummm..  Long Paul took pirates that were actually dishonest people, and made them into upstanding people.  So they had to learn to be respectful and were new at what they were doing and they were called sprogs.  OK... Snooper.  Think I got it.”
Snooper, now understanding Mandy’s displeasure with Shadow’s questions, continues on with his ancestor’s tale.

Long Paul had been sailing for twenty years and had gotten seven squadrons together.  One for each of the seas.  Every ship in each squadron had strict orders not to harm even the worse of the scallywags, but to disarm them and then sail away leaving them defenseless.

“You mean his men took the pirates swords and pistols?  That sure did make them sittin’ ducks, didn’t it?

“You better believe it, Shadow.”

“What happen then?”  Shadow, now wanting to hear this story, says, “Please, tell me more.”Snooper continues his tale,

Soon after the pirate crew was disarmed, left defenseless, they would be overrun by a government ship then be arrested, taken into chains, and thrown in prison.

“Oh! Prison? Not good.” Shadow said.

“Some of those pirates were nasty pieces of business, Shadow, so don’t be feeling sorry for them.”

Snooper continued on, “The ones that could be retrained to do right, they served their sentences and were given a choice to join Long Paul’s ships or to start a life as a landlubber.

“Snooper, why didn’t Long Paul’s crew just bring them into justice instead of letting the government get involved?”

“Because, Shadow, Long Paul’s men all over the world were known as the scourge of the seas and if the evil guys found out, then their undercover cop role would be blown!  So they let the locals clean up the mess.”

“Okay – got it. Oh, oh... Aha... This is where Long Paul got his sprogs.”

Snooper peers at Shadow and cocks his eyebrow, “Yup...And so the tale goes on.”

Long Paul offered Captain Snooper a hot meal and a hot deal.  

“Would ye like t’ join me starboard an’ learn t’ take down th’ scalawags an’ th’ scurvy dogs all o’er th’ world? ‘t’s a big job but ye look like ye’d be willin’ t’ take ‘t on.  Be ye willin’ t’ go on th’ account with me or be ye lily-livered?  What say ye, Captain?” asked Long Paul.

“What’s in ‘t fer me, Long Paul?”

“Ya bilge rat who ortin’ be keelhauled!”

“Say, what?!” Shadow exclaimed.

“Ha, ha, ha, Shadow.  You don’t understand Long Paul. He told Captain Snooper he would have a new life, a chance at starting over with a full belly, not to be a starving cur, knocking over cans, to eat!”

“With you spitting out your ‘it’ and your ‘to’ and some of your other words, it makes it mighty hard to understand your tale. Hmm, maybe we should stick to our native tongue.  What do you say, Snooper?”

“I’ll try, but I want to practice some of this pirate speak stuff, too.”

Long Paul Silvertongue talked Captain Snooper starboard on t’ his ship, The Jolly Cutt Lass, one o’ th’ finest, most beautiful, bodacious  sailin’ ships a gentlemen ‘o fortune ere laid one clear eye on.

“The Jolly Cutt Lass?  Not the Jolly Roger,  or The Jolly Cutlass, Snooper?”

“Whose telling the story here, Shadow?  You or me?  Jolly Roger was already taken and it would only be confusing, so Long Paul liked the sound of Jolly Cutt Lass, because he loved to eat Cuttlefish,  and if he said it fast, the pirates thought he was talking about his sword, and that is what it was.”

Shadow rolling his eyes said,  “Sure…whatever you say, Snooper.”

Snooper, again continues with his tale.

Captain Snooper was a sprog starboard e’en though he was called captain ‘t was just a name.  He had ne’er sailed on a real, solid, honest t’ Pete, on the sea, vessel.  He had t’ learn t’ tie knots, run up and down ropes, cook, an’ swashbucklin’, disarmin’ without harmin’ an’ gettin’  hurt. Not as easy as ‘t sounds.”    

“Especially runnin’ up and down ropes, I be thinkin’, aye?” Shadow said, copying Snooper’s accent.

“The rigging rope, Shadow!  Sailors do that all the time on sailing ships. The mighty vessels anyway.”

“Oooooh!”

Snooper continued,

Captain Snooper looked t’ be an old sea dog but truly he be but a sprog.  He be barely grown just a tiny bit out ‘f puppyhood.  His momma had just delivered him an’ his brothers and sisters right before they got thrown ou’ o’ their lodgin’ an’ had to make their way on th’ streets.  Pitiful awful tis be.  Hard life be etched on his muzzle, grizzled lookin’, but soon good eatin,’ no more tippin’ cans, good bunkin’ down, and a trusty hand on his brow, made his grizzled muzzle darken, an’ his body grow with strength.  He sailed only with Long Paul and be not commissioned to sail on the other ships under Long Paul Silvertongue.

“Sounds like Long Paul was a good master and took care of Captain Snooper.”

Aye, aye, he be an excellent master with a pure heart.  There be other seadogs on Long Paul’s ship, but Captain Snooper stayed the favorite of Long Paul Silvertongue through many a battle on many a sea, side by side t’ th’ Fiddlers Green be the end.

“That’s what every pup and dog dreams; a Master who loves them until they go on.  Ah, Snooper...I know this one. Fiddler’s Green...Pirate Heaven where all the good guys go, when they pass on.”

"Yes, Shadow and we are some lucky pups.  And speaking of pups, here comes our beauties with the kids, and Dad and Momma."

“Hi Shadow. Don’t you look spiffy in your fireman’s outfit?  I liked my punk rocker outfit so much I decided to go with it tonight.  What do you think, Shadow?"



Ah Sophitia, you look beautiful in anything you wear.”







“Aarrgh, Shadow, you be blushing?”


“Hush, Snooper.”

“Look at my Mandy,  Shadow - she’s going as Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile and Meghan is a Princess, Little Guy is a car.  Figures. He loves all kinds of cars and trucks.”

Mandy sashays over to Snooper, “I presume you’ll be sailing down my river, Captain Snooper?”

“For you, my Queen, be it so.”  Snooper bows before Mandy then barks out, “Come on boys, girls and kids, we’ve got a lot to do before the night is over.”

“So, Snooper, where do you figure Mom and Dad are taking us – trick or treating or a harvest party?”

“Well, Shadow if we’re lucky we’ll get to do both and then I can genuinely be a pirate.”

“How so Snooper?”

“Shadow, Trick or Treating is extortion, I be thinkin’, so that’s one step up from stealin’, and that be in me blood, me fine, hearty matey."




 
 
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PROLOGUE



   “I am getting so sick of doing this over and over.”

    “Damn, Charlie, don’t you find doing your job and doing it well, exciting in itself?”

    “Well I sure would Ches but we keep changing our roles!  One night I’m all spiffed up in blue, get a weapon and wonder of wonders it actually works!  But then I’m dressed in brown or gray and I’m lying or just downright getting hurt or worse.”

    “Heh, heh, heh.  Yeah, there is that, but it’s steady work, only a couple of hours a night, and you know that old saying, there’s no rest for the wicked.”

    “Guess I’ll go get ready.  See you’re already kitted up, and looking like you’re raring to go.  Think you‘ll dodge it tonight, Ches?”







 October 2, 2000
    


        “I’m extremely tired.  We’ve been on the move since 6 a.m.  And it’s already going on midnight.  Do you think you can find a place to stop?  It’s dark.  Looks like all the sidewalks are rolled up for the night.  It must be overcast - can’t see any stars, either. “

        “More like all the owls are in bed.  Doesn’t look like any sidewalks around here.  No street lights.  The map said the battlefield was down here…  somewhere … we’re obviously not going to find it tonight.  Let me find a place to turn around, and we’ll head back to that small town we passed.  Maybe have to sleep in a parking lot though.”

        “Look!  Isn’t that a State Trooper up ahead.  Let’s stop and ask him.  If the battlefield is around here, then we can come back in the morning.”

        Easing the van and trailer over to the side of the road, Hal gets out and walks over to the Trooper’s car.  “Evening officer.  My wife and I have been traveling cross country and wanted to take a look at the Shiloh battlefield before heading on to our destination; been wanting to see it for years, this being the first chance.”

       “Well son, you’re in luck.   I was just getting ready to clock off.  The battlefield is on the other side of this here, wall.  Don’t get too much traffic down here but the kids joyriding and looks like all them have gone onto bed; real quiet tonight.  You can pull around onto the gravel road; it’ll take you in a U shape.  There’s a rest area on the other side of the U.  Feel free to park there and look around come morning.  The park officially opens at nine a.m..  I’ll lead you in before I take off.”

       Hal cautiously follows the trooper’s car down the gravel road.  Earlier that night, the van and trailer, took a five foot leap off a concrete road into an unmarked roadside building project.  Both Hal and Louise thought that’d be the end of the trip.  Miraculously the shocks in both van and trailer held.  Now Hal is conscious of the fact that in this rural area anything can happen and while this road looks maintained, it still is far from being paved.

        The restrooms are the typical fare for a public site; women on one side, men on the other.  Hal knows his wife will need to use the facilities, but she will probably just stick with the porta-potty they have in the trailer.  A true godsend to a woman who needs a rest area twice an hour, knowing every rest stop from coast to coast and border to border in this U S of A.  She surely embarrassed him that time, asking the shuttle driver in Sitka, Alaska where the nearest rest room was located.  Said it was a good thing she had asked since it was the only one in town but Hal still maintained it was embarrassing.

         True partners knowing who needed to do what, to get quickly settled down for the night, they soon had the dog fed, watered and walked; a pot of coffee brewing, and a quick snack before settling down into a rare quietness outside where even the countryside night life appeared to be sleeping.   After reading but a short chapter in the Good Book, they snuggle under covers because early October weather even in the South is on the chilly side.   

         They both have just drifted off to sleep with the dog at their feet when the trailer is violently buffeted, knocking the overhead cot off its pinning and onto the three sleeping forms on the lower bunk.  The dog erupts into howling and starts to burrow under the covers while the humans push the cot onto the floor and then turn to different windows to see what is causing the tumultuous rocking and to see what is making the noise of an advancing army.  

         There is nothing to see  but the noise and rocking continue until it appears to move off into the distance where the sound of gunfire continues and finally sputters out.  Louise clicks on a light.  

         “I caught the time when I flipped over to look out the window - it was 2 a.m..   And now it’s close to 2:30.  What do you make of this?  You heard that bugle? And the yelling?”  

       “I know Hal.  This was bizarre - I would say a prank by the locals except I looked out the other windows while you stayed on the bed.  Nothing.  I was a bit concerned because the trailer was rocking so badly and I thought it would go off the piling you rigged, but figured it had to be paranormal because I couldn’t see anything and the dog was so scared, and she’s not afraid of anyone.”

       “How about a cup of coffee Louise before we turn in again and hopefully can get some sleep.  After eight hundred miles, yesterday, I’m going to want to sleep ‘til noon but the trooper said the park opens at nine, so we’ll be lucky to get four or five at this rate.”

       Hal tries to cajole the dog into one more outing before bed, but she refuses to come out from under the covers.  The couple settle down once more, hope for quiet, and succeed in sleeping until eight a.m. when their alarm goes off.

       After a small breakfast, they are able to talk their dog into accompanying them on a short walk around the parking area as they both look into trees for speakers which, if found, would account for the noise.  Even that was not to be.  No logical explanation is apparent.

        They guide the trailer back onto the coupling of the van, load up, and slowly drive out of the park.  










EPILOGUE


    “Last night was such a disappointment!  All that work for nothing, Ches.”

    “What are you talking about?  We at least had an audience.  That’s something that is few and far apart.  It’s as if people know it’s going to happen and just ain’t willing to be a part of it.”

    “Right.  But no one was afraid last night unless you count the dog.”

    “I don’t get you, Charlie.  You got to drive the car last night and wear the brown outfit.  I didn’t even get to be a part of the charge.  I was in Grey and got shot down first thing, and I’m not complaining, am I?
    Show goes off in half an hour and looks as you get to be the trooper again, so you just quit your whining.”  




 
 
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One of the reasons,Doctor Leo, I remembered this episode so vividly was because there were children involved. As I said, it was a dark and stormy night:

“You’d think after three days, this storm would go on. I’ve never seen so much snow down in this area, upstate, yes... But here, no way. I can’t even see the sky, forget the stars,” I whined. The only listener to my complaining was my younger sister, lounging, one leg thrown over the recliner chair armrest. She attempted to force a smoke ring in my direction, laughing, as I dodged it. “You know Evie, there are times, you need a good smack, and I’m willing to do it.” Scowling, I plopped in the partner chair.

“Come on, Sis. I’m just trying to get you out of this foul mood. Yeah, yeah, yeah,” she said, holding up her hand in the classic speak to the hand gesture. “I get it. It was a bloody long seventeen hours with two kids in the back seat, but as you said it was three days ago. Besides, you and Hal brought this with you... You rolled in with, close on your tire tracks.”

“Sigh. You’re right, Evie. But, I’m also in a foul mood because of Perry being ill. That damn cold spot that seems to hover over the bassinet, no matter where I put it in that room. Where did Mom get this home to rent for the winter? It’s in the middle of nowhere. Okay, uncock the eyebrow - so it’s on the highway, but there’s nothing for... What...? A mile on either side and nothing but woods behind and across the way. You heard her, when she first took me upstairs to see our sleeping quarters. Quite a large area, sunny, but I knew the moment I stepped over the threshold, there was something majorly hinky about that room. The hair on the back of my head lifted - Mom finally admitting someone had died in that area. Jeesh!”

“Got it in one. You always were a quick study.” Looking at her watch, she said, “It almost is time. I’ll take the candles. The board is over with the rest of the games - get it, would you?” Evie motioned to the sideboard as she left to get drinks. She had already plunked the candles down on the table with matches.

She was a terrible one for tone. Answers, she said. Yeah, right. Ouija. I’d heard of this before. We called it the yes and no board, but the name is yes, yes. Figured I’d let her have her way... but when she got caught moving that pointer.... My thought was interrupted by her return.

“Here, we go... A Scotch for you and a Rye and Coke for me. Brought the bottles too. Don’t want to stop the flow of the evening,” she said, as she slipped the bottles from where she had tucked them under her arms.

“Okay. This is your show, Evie. I’m not crazy about talking to ghosts or spirits or whatever you want to call them, but I’ll play along... For now.”

The pointer, the planchette it’s called, started moving. I looked at Evie. “Quit that,” I hissed.

“It’s not me! Look, no hands,” she said, as she raised her arms up, her cigarette dangling from her left hand.

The planchette continued to move. “Quick, use that pad over there. Dad left a pen with it too.” We had been playing Pinochle that evening before Dad and Mom and then Hal and the boys had headed off to bed. I grabbed it out of her hand and started writing the letters it was swiftly hitting on.

I had kept my eye on it from the start of movement, so I saw all It spelled out: MYWIFEWASKILLEDBYANINTRUDERINTHATROOMANDSHELOSTHERBABY - the hair again went up on my neck as I broke it into a sentence: My wife was killed by an intruder in that room and she lost her baby.

“That’s it, Evie. Enough for me. This is no game. Either you have pulled some kind of stunt that I cannot figure out how, yet, or this is real. I’m going to bed.”

“Don’t you want to say something back to the spirit? You’ll need to use the pointer.”

“Not a chance. If that thing can move like that without help, it can understand me.” I stared intently at the board and forcefully said, “Stay away from me and my family. Leave my baby alone, for God’s sake.” I took my drink and started out of the room.

Evie yelled, “Hey, wait for me. Don’t want to be down here, alone.” She quickly blew out the candles, and assured me all the way up the stairs, she had nothing to do with the movement. In fact, she said, it scared her more than it did me. She would never yell back at it.

When I got to the bedroom, I flipped on the light, to check for the cold spot. It was gone, but when I pulled down the blind, went and turned down the covers, I glanced back at the shade. There was an evil face imprinted on that shade. I sat up all night, arms crossed and glared at the impression. I fell into a light sleep towards the morning as dawn broke. The following night the face was not there, and I never saw it again.

I had my mother look into the history of the house. The house was quite a new one, less than twenty years old, and no one had died in the building. But Mom was not satisfied with that answer since the incident had spooked her too, hearing about it. She kept digging and finally found the evidence, the one that made sense. When the house was built, the owners were told they were building on unholy ground. It had been land where squatters lived, and one of the pregnant woman had been murdered by her jealous lover who had accused her of infidelity. The reason the house was rented was because no one lived in it more than one year.

“So, Doctor Leo, I still get chills from thinking about that encounter - but I was not going to allow fear to overwhelm me and have my child continue to be harmed. Mom told me that they didn’t have any more problems with that room. She and Dad continued to rent it for the wintertime when they came off the beach from their seasonal managership situation except I refused to sleep in that room again.