THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 99

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 99

…Too many twos, two many 2s and if there was a rock big enough to hide behind, Roy would have preferred it to this…

Image result for too many

Braden has been slowly dismantling the many-gift-mountain of cards, boxes, gift wrap and tissue. There are some meant to be shared, ‘Deke & Gus’. There are many specifically labeled either ‘Deke’ or ‘Gus’. Others are anonymous tributes to The Space Family McKinney.

By sheer coincidence and not divine intervention, we think, Francine and Roy’s packages are the last to be unwrapped. The givers of said gifts are still standing near one another, having ooo-ed, aah-d, and clapped politely throughout the process, which has run past daylight’s influence.

Most everyone has done the math or eliminated themselves from belonging to the boxes. Fate is once again shining a spotlight on that reluctant featured pairing, still trying to sort out their feelings, once they get past continuing awkward social situation.

The lady-well-wisher’s carton is next to last, opened with genuine excitement by Gus, “Channel 13 News Crew bomber jackets, look Deke!”

She was afraid people would think her a self-promoter, “It’s the same one worn by our cameramen and grips.”

“Way kool Miss Bouchette. All the kids at school can drool.”

The final unopened gift belonged to Roy.

“Read the card first Deke,” if Braden has the boy skip that part, it would be fine with Roy, who knows exactly how he signed the card.

Too late!!

“2 the two finest young men we know. With Love and friendship, Uncle Roy and Channel 13 Francine”

The young man reads it loud and proud.

Too many twos, two many 2s and if there was a rock big enough to hide behind, Roy would have preferred it to this. The boys do not think about motivation when it comes to birthdays.

“A 4-D Galaxy Planet Asteroid Tracker by Intel, wow just like the one in your office Uncle Roy… and Francine?”

asteroid-tracker

Roy wanted to explain Francine’s duplicity, had he known how to. Some things are better left to wondering.

The agreeable crowd subdivides into smaller groups, to sample Braden’s BBQ skills—-and gossip.Related image

Roy looks for that back-forty boulder to hide behind.

Francine is just plain curious, but they are overtaken by the shuffled throng.

“I can’t believe how generous people are. Deke & Gus are so lucky,” Aunt Sassy (from the old country) shakes Roy’s hand like she was trying to bust it loose from his shoulder socket, while eyeing Francine up and down.

“Now Sassy, don’t break his wrist,” insists the senior member of the McKinney relative contingent Savta Inga Bergestrom (from the other old country). “You two look like you are having a wonderful time.”


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 99


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 98

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 98

…Attention everyone, I would like to propose a toast… raise your glasses as I salute our Director Roy Crippen and Channel 13’s own Francine Bouchette!”

Image result for a toast artwork

Separately and together, she and he play it oh-so-kool, willing to allow randomness to take its course.

To anyone with two eyes and a television, they had been captured on video holding hands; the tension is thick and juicy.

braceT LFTWhispers:“Why aren’t they talking?” “I thought they liked each other.” “At bracket rt least they can talk to each other.”

In-house wagering is going on among the adults, “I have 50 bucks that says they will not talk.. any takers?” Just one of the side bets.

The master of ceremonies Braden takes matters in his own hands, “Attention everyone, before Deke & Gus open their gifts, and I take the ribs off the grill, I would like to propose a toast… raise your glasses as I salute the two real celebrities among us—my apologies to any movie stars or sitting Presidents—To our Director Roy Crippen and Channel 13’s own Francine Bouchette!”

“C-H-E-E-R-S! Here – here! Salud!” come from all around from every side as the toasted make their way forward.

Whispers (he & she):“There are lots of people here.” “Yes there are and so many gifts.” “I didn’t expect to see you here.” “I had to file that story, I hope you know that.” “Of course you did, and I imagine my impulsiveness caught you off guard.”

13d01-6a00d8341cb55f53ef010536ace89f970b-800wiFrancine, in her big girl voice,“No need for you to apologize Roy what happened to us was perfectly natural.”

“Had I known you were engaged that would have never happened,” counters Roy.

“You were every bit the gentleman and I did not offer any résistance.”

“I am in some hot water over this whole mess, maybe you should keep your distance.”be5e8-6a00d8341cb55f53ef0120a604af2c970c-800wi

“Do you think I’m worried about my association with you? Bring it on fools!”

Big Girls Don’t Cry


THE RETURN TRIP

he-and-she

Episode 98


page 93

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 97

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 97

While Gus is wondering what gift Francine has brought, the slightly elder brother is more interested in the bada-bing…

chocolate_birthday-cake__five__abstract_pastel_painting_by_carol_engles

Chocolate Birthday Cake abstract pastel painting by Carol Engles

“You have a Texas-sized thirst Miss Francine!” the bartender comments.

“Thank you and I will be back later,” she draws a deep breath and heads toward the mountain of gifts.

Like fire ants in a rainstorm, the McKinney boys are getting closer to the nest. Gus has spotted the pile of presents and Francine to boot, “Hey Deke, look who’s here!”

She was the only person who could steal the spotlight from Uncle Roy.

“Holy cow Gus, did you invite her?” Deke looks for some glass reflection to finger-comb his hair . “You have guts Gus!. Boy, she is prettier in person than she is on TV.” bada-bing-001While Gus is wondering what gift she has bada-bingbrought, the slightly elder brother is more interested in the bada-bing.

Francine places her gift carefully to one side of the growing pile, trying to act naturally in spite of her nerves, anxiety caused at the sight of Uncle Roy.

Said Crippen is in the midst of a reenactment, perhaps the tackling form he used on Gherkin Dogman or whatever his name was. “Notice how square my shoulders are to the target, head up, all the time driving my legs.” He sounds like a football coach speaking to Pony League footballers, when in fact he was using the demonstration as a diversionary tool… after all Francine was here, what now?

He takes his Camelhair sport coat back from the woman who was holding it for him, thanking her over-politely to convey the fact that they were not indeed here together, should Francine even notice; who, having seen the exchange peripherally and pretending not to.

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This pointless posturing went on for 15 minutes as each waited for the other to crack. It is an unfortunate distance for them to be separated by, after all it’s not like they are ex’s of the other.

That they are not alone or free to interact in a more private setting isn’t helping. Not knowing what the other is thinking does factor in the standoff. Separately and together, she and he play it oh-so-kool, willing to allow randomness to take its course.

Image result for winkRelated imageImage result for winkRelated imageRelated image


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 97


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 96

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 96

…“Where are the guests of honor? I need set this down Mr. King,” Francine re-positions the package under her arm….

brothers-001

There are two late arrivers to the festivities:

@“Uncle Roy” Crippen – who has been trying hard to steer clear of crowds of people uncle_royfor 3 distinct reasons:

  1. Condolences on the Colony disaster (bad)
  2. Congratulatory on his launch pad heroics (better)
  3. Given the cold shoulder by a woman (Worst of all)

@Francine Bouchette – who Braden placed on a possible no-show list is:

  1. Glad-handing her admirersmillion-dollar
  2. Looking like a million bucks
  3. Appears to be looking for a specific someone

 

“Miss Bouchette, hey, over here!” Braden waves heartily like an autograph seeker. It is all he can do to get her attention, while admiring his famous ribs out on the patio BBQ. “I didn’t think you would make it. The boys were wondering about you.”

“I didn’t either, hence the lack of an RSVP,” she replies, unbuttoning her KHST 13 blazer and re-positioning the package in her arms. “Where are the guests of honor? I need set this down Mr. King.”Instrument Sticker GIF | Gfycat

“Oh who knows where they are, but when I clang the dinner triangle, they’ll come a running, Miss Bouchette,” he points out to the 1000 acre back section of the property.

“Please, call me Francine.”

“Only if you call me Braden and there is the gift table. The bar is under the awning and feel free to give all the teenage boys a thrill, Roy could probably use a break.”

Roy is here? For some reason, she had overlooked that possibility. Come on, no Uncle Roy, really?

manhattanwithcherryShe stops to pose for pics and sign a few ‘graphs on the way to the bar. ”May I have a Brandy Manhattan press, one cherry. I could spit cotton,” she tells the bartender.

He cheerfully obeys,

She takes the crystal glass and empties it instantaneously, dispatches the cherry and hands it back to him for “one more just like that one.”

“You have a Texas-sized thirst Miss Francine!”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 96


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 95

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 95

…Subscribing to the “strength in numbers” axiom, the guest list has been expanded to include a variety of acquaintances, from the past, present and those not met

edgar-wallace-entertains-a-few-of-his-acquaintances

by HENRY MAYO BATEMAN

These past 2 action-packed days, from the point when the McKinneys attached the deep-space Chronicle to Space Colony, then go and pile on the current theatrics, will distort a person’s concept of the passage of time. Plus or minus 48 hours have drawn 2 days out to what seems to be a week, weaving and knitting every second into a patchwork quilt…

By the grace of God, the succeeding identical period of 48 hrs. streaks by and King Ranch logobefore you know it Wednesday 9 January 2030 A.D. has arrived. For visitors to Braden’s King Ranch, they are treated to the atmosphere of 19th Century American Old West, the date and place chosen to celebrate the combined birth of Deke McKinney, born 6 January 2015 and Gus McKinney born 11 January 2016.

The event was conceived out of love by the ranch’s owner to ease the pain of separation, for both children and parents alike. If everything had gone “according to space-birthday-001Hoyle”, Sampson & Celeste would have been back aboard the Colony and through the miracle of accelerated space communication, they would have been linked to the party by voice and by sight.

Regrettably, Mom & Dad are otherwise occupied.

barbecue_pin_up

Gus’ BBQ Fantasy Guest

Subscribing to the “strength in numbers” axiom, the guest list has been expanded to include a variety of acquaintances, from the past, present and those not met. Friends, relatives, well-wishers and those pesky party crashers have gathered at King Ranch. The menagerie gathers around BBQ hour, which could be any random time of day, and has a few surprise guests; Grandma Savta Bergestrom from Sweden (the country) and Aunt Sassy McKinney, Sampson’s crazy Scottish/Irish sister from Great(er) Britain.

The turnout of GLF and LSC personnel is impressive, with the boys having grown up in front of their eyes as they tagged along with Mom & Dad over the years. Admirals and Generals have reason to be jealous of this Who’s Who crowd. There are two late arrivers to the festivities: ??? + ???


THE RETURN TRIP

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by Jon Flaming

Episode 95


page 90

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 94

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 94

…Now that’s what I want to hear… enthusiasm – enthusiasm…

Image result for enthusiasm painting

Brittle Enthusiasm by Polly Castor

“The President says that there will be no second Space Colony until Sammy Mac and Cel are christopher-columbus-001back on Earth!”

“Is this a repeat of what went on in the 20-teens? Feed the people and starve the space program, how shortsighted is that? Yeah, let’s try to privatize space again, we all know how that turned out; that’s like sending out Christopher Columbus with two dinghies and a canoe. By the time they get done with the Washington push-pull, a Martian colony will not be feasible, hell then we might as well shoot for the stars.”

“Not necessarily Roy, they (the McKinneys) could be debriefed en route from Mars and we could have the main body completed by then; no reason we couldn’t have #2 in place by the end of ’31.”

“A year behind schedule and not manned by our 1st string people!” Crip’s biorhythm readings are lowered to somewhere between Custer at Little Bighorn and the Captain of the Titanic; surrounded by 2000 fighting Indians & the Promenade deck listing at 45º in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic.

“Maybe they are right Braden. We had a serious breach of security at the very least and when the smoke clears from the inquiry, I will be working 2nd shift IT at an El Paso Automated Warehouse.”

“Look my friend, we are not going to let you anywhere near some half-baked witch-hunt, so I have a proposal,” Braden does what a friend does best; he tosses out a life preserver. “Come up to the Ranch (King) for a little R&R. I have a reluctant filly I’d like you to break.

“That’s not in my wheelhouse right now. I would probably get thrown and break my back, neck, space-birthday-001and both arms trying to cushion the fall.”

“We will be expecting you on Wednesday the boys’ birthday bash and bring your bedroll.”

“Hey, I can’t disappoint my biggest fans!”

“Now that’s what I want to hear…enthusiasm — enthusiasm.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 94


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #125

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #125

…Doubtless, few other married couples have only one set of in-laws, they being shared parents…

“I married my…”

William McKinley turns his attention to the gathered throng, reveling in a moment that every politician, or even want-to-be ones, dreams of; being President of the United States and addressing hundreds of admiring citizens. He has truly reached the pinnacle of his career.

  “On behalf of the fine people of Buffalo, organizers, engineers, builders and volunteers, I would like to invite you an exhibition of marvels and wonders, feats of science and ingenuity, culture, art and music. The Pan-American Exposition will go down in history as one of the Western Hemisphere’s greatest achievements!”

“President McKinley is quite an orator, is he not,” comes a voice from behind the Ferrells, who like the rest were listening forward. All of a sudden, they were not expecting the obvious. John pivots not to a stranger, but the big, beautiful smiles of of James and Abigail.

“Ohhh my, Martha, looks who is here! We were so inspired by Mister McKinley, we lost track of time.”

“You would never have found us, Father… Mom, ummmm, how are you? You look great!” James hugs his mother. She squeezes him within an inch of asphyxia. Abbey gets cradled by John. Doubtless, few other married couples have only one set of in-laws, they being shared parents. It is tough to figure out without the family history in previous pages herein. “Yes, I mean it Father, have you ever seen more locomotives in one spot! We arrived from the other direction, ten tracks away! It was our good fortune to hear some chap telling another that word was the President was waiting for the 12 o’clock Southern and here we are.”

“You are becoming quite the big city gadabout, are you not?”

Abigail lends her ear to John’s assertion. “My dear no, Father. He still knows little of Boston proper and is known himself to lose his way in the Law Building on campus.”

James accepts Abbey’s assessment of his guide skills without refute. He has learned to set aside his male pride, reluctantly nodding. All of his eggs are in the legal basket. Abbey can have that navigator job.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Lost Directions by Ann-McLaren

Episode #125


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #124

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #124

The former, actually still, country businessman Love has adopted a very distinguished look; a splash of dashing with a pinch of pomp

Dashing-001

Painting by adlovett

“James’ train may not be in as yet, so don’t get your hopes up and try not squeezing them to death if they are there.” The fact is that the Ferrells have no idea of who will be there or even what the Buffalo rail depot looks like…

Pan American stamp

Pan-American Commemorative Stamp

  …until the long steam engine grinds to a halt at a bustling dock. There must be 10 similar trains, at different stages of loading or unloading, if there is one. But the train bearing the dozen Floridians has a unique distinction–it is the only one with a Presidential greeting party. It may be ‘ho-hum’ to certain passengers on the 12:10 Southern, but the opportunity to actually see a sitting President in person has most of the others irresistibly transfixed.

The McKinley entourage shifts to the car that sees Herbert Love emerging first. The former, actually still, country businessman has adopted a very distinguished look; a splash of dashing with a pinch of pomp. He is automatically, if not unanimously, assuming leadership for his group, advancing them to forty square feet of empty platform.

“How have you been, Herb?” The two embrace at once.

“Good, good, but it has been a busy year for you, has it not?” Love asks rhetorically.

“I am afraid that Ida is feeling much neglected this year. I guess the days of running the country from the White House are gone for good.” He seems to long for the good old days. “Say, we should not ignore the rest of my friends.

 “Welcome to the Queen City of the Lakes!” He broadens his focus. “How are you all? John, Martha…..Doc Ziggy and Frieda. And Willy Campbell, did you bring me any of those wonderful cigars?” He bends slightly, seeing he is close to the ground himself, to scoop up the young Campbell, “And you, Alpha, has Ziggy showed you how to remove tonsils? Mine have flared up and I have an important speech tomorrow.”

“If we removed your tonsils, Mister President, you could not speak for four days. I would recommend a sulfa drug to treat your symptoms.

          “Well, well, Master Campbell, you would be a strong candidate for Surgeon General in…what… 1918? Well, I am afraid I will not be able to make it to five terms in office, but I will put in a good word.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Queen City

Queen City of the Lakes

Episode #124


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #123

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #123

…Anticipation to see the newlyweds  is building…

“Do I look alright, John?” Martha Ferrell fidgets with the mound of hair atop her head, he being the mirror in the absence of one. She is afraid that if she goes to the washroom, sheLegacy-001 will miss their entrance to the station. She pictures James and Abigail waiting and waving.

“Yes you do Ma’am,” answers John–rather the conductor. And he is not lying. She wears her 48 years very well, perhaps because her 19 Century vogue hour-glass figure intrigues the male eye. “We will make the Buffalo station within the hour,” he offers as a more relative addendum.

   Well, at least she got one response. Deep in thoughtful contemplation, her John may as well be in another car. He is watching the landscape turn from empty rural to farm rural to suburban to urban. During that span, he reflects on his life. What will be his legacy? Sure he has his stores, but there are a hundred stores of one kind or another in Tallahassee.

He has fine children, all grown except for little Maggie Lou and who knows just what will come of that; Martha mostly washing her hands of the issue. He suspects that parts of the truth have already filtered into the gossip stream. ‘And I am entering my forty-fourth year. My father died when I was sixteen, he was only 45 and leaving us with only the shack we were living in,’ he thinks back with trepidation. The doctor did not know what killed him, believing he was, “Healthy, surely not,” he mutters aloud.

“Pardon me?” responds Martha to the only sounds coming out of John’s mouth for 100 miles.

“I was saying that I hope the children are healthy,” masking what he had made audible.

“It looks like we will see for ourselves in a minute.” Martha is anxious and content at the same time.

“Their train may not be in as yet, so don’t get your hopes up and try not squeezing them to death if they are there.”

Anticipation to see the newlyweds is building.

“I was saying that I hope the children are in good spirits,” repeats John F., seeing that those kids did these, in ascending order:

“It looks like we will see for ourselves in a minute.” Martha is anxious and content at the same time.


Alpha Omega M. D.

Episode #123


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #122

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #122

…The very same mix of people that freed the Campbells that heroically came to the aid of hurricane victims, plus spouses is streaking down the iron rails in luxury berths….

The two incoming trains containing the greater Tallahassee reunion are maintaining their Related imageschedule to arrive at Buffalo’s Union Station on Tuesday 4 September about the noontime; on a perpendicular intercept course.

There is a passive urgency for some on the Florida train, fore mostly John and Martha Ferrell. They have endured a season of an empty Thanksgiving, a spiritless Christmas, a hollow Easter, uncelebrated birthdays and anniversaries, all lost in the physical separation between Tallahassee and Cambridge.

It will not be long now.

The very same mix of people that freed the Campbells that heroically came to the aid of hurricane victims, plus spouses and minus the Flying Bleaker Brothers is streaking down the iron rails in luxury berths.

The passenger list is as follows:

We know what the top two names are looking forward to. As for Secretary of Agriculture and personal friend of the President, Herbert Love, he will feel most at home at the Exposition. The remainder of fine folks will be wide eyed and ready for a good time; guests of the President, again, how about that.

“Do I look alright, John?” Martha Ferrell fidgets with the mound of hair atop her head, he being the mirror in the absence of one. She is afraid that if she goes to the washroom, she will miss their entrance to the station. She pictures James and Abigail waiting and waving.

“Yes you do Ma’am,” answers John–rather the conductor. And he is not lying. She wears her 48 years very well, perhaps because her 19 Century vogue hour-glass figure intrigues the male eye. “We will make the Buffalo station within the hour,” he offers as a more relative addendum.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Buffalo Terminal NY

Episode #122


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