THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 144

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 144

…Before we get sidetracked by sonic overload, I was trying to tell you – that I think I could fly the NEWFOUNDLANDER back to Earth…

Sonic Overload by Caleb Brown

“Your title as Commander is hereby revoked. We are on an alien spaceship and you cannot make anything work around here without my help.”

“That is true, but the rent is paid off ‘til the end of the year and the groceries are free.”

“Money for nothing and the chicks for free.. and the music IS free, that’s right, the slightest gesture sets off some out-of-this-world sounds.” What humans refer to as musical notes and reverberations, the Newfoundlians use a form of communication. “I really miss my Justin Timberlake Collection.”

“You do have a sexy back, but I do not miss that guy… Galactic Static is more my taste.”

“How did we ever stand each other’s taste in music, long enough to get married?”

“Before we get sidetracked by sonic overload, which we can’t turn off, I was trying to tell you that I think I could fly this thing home.”

“And pass up the rescue mission without them seeing us? And when we land, if you can land it, can we convince our own people that the NEWFOUNDLANDER means them no harm,” she teases. “We would probably be shot down by air defenses, thinking we were an incoming Korean bomber.”

“But Korea is harmless, remember what President Sanchez told the world?”

“The New Mayflower expects to find us more than half-starved and happy to see them, so lets let them be half-right.”

“Good point Lt. Cmdr. McKinney, but I still may try to fly it back just to prove I can.”

Try is the operative word Sam. You are light years from understanding their technology and probably 20 light years from the folks who do.”

“I hate it when you’re right.”

“Always right and when did you finally come to that brilliant conclusion?”

“But, but, but… with me and a crew of three, I think I could get us back to Earth!” Right now, he would be 1.5 short of that.

“Let’s just concentrate on studying these beings, their technology, and find out where they came from. We have the time to have a complete dossier prepared, in the 2-odd months we have left. We can ‘present it as a present’, this incredible discovery, to the world; Perhaps the greatest contribution to the world since the wheel or fire.”

“I was thinking the microprocessor, but you are right, let’s get to work.”

She was right again. They have all the time in the world; the difference being that Mars is currently their world and the word “time” means different things to different people.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 144


page 136

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 139

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 139

…’Talk to me Tuesday’ continues, as Francine begins to reel in the illusive astronaut.

In the course of a 3-course cattle-country lunch, Roy lays out his vision, Francine’s upfront role as his Press Secretary. “I never was any good at suffering fools, so dealing with worldwide media is not my strong suit. I mean you can’t teach physics to a preschooler, can you?”

“I’m not so sure anymore, from what Gus was telling me, they already have the necessary education to go straight into the astronaut program.”

“Gus is also positive that Earth has been visited by beings from another planet and that they have been doing since before Jesus Christ was born.”

“B.C. meaning Before Cleopatra?”

“Right, and A.D. means After  Dinosaurs. God bless him for his imagination, but for all our science, we have yet to confirm anyone’s evidence on any alien incursion.” {He could be wrong about that, right?} “Getting back to my need for a media maven; we seem to be able to work extremely well together, you can put words in my mouth and then I can focus on the important things.”

“I thought you did a good job handling me and the other scoops. I had to force my way into your insulated world.”

“Insulated… good word, but I would describe me as “in a zone”, with all the chaos going on around me. That pre-launch stuff, they have made movies about, but the difference is, I had no script to follow…and I don’t like having to explain my decisions.”

“No one can blame you for appearing myopic. I think you require the visage of The Great and Powerful OZ, while you do your thing behind the curtain.”

“Well there you go; the Wizard of OZ needs another full complement of senses to help me out.”

“I’ll give you that OZ and Dorothy raises you mine,” she tosses tortilla chips onto the breakfast nook table like she is kicking in poker chips to the pot.

“I ‘call’,” he answers as he pretends to turn over, “2 pair… Kings and Jacks.”

“Three 10s and a pair of queens… full house, I win!”

“Yes you do,” he pushes the chips over, swallows hard and then out of the blue he ups the ante, “I am not sure this is the right time, but here goes nothing: As sure as a black hole devours light, Francine Bouchette, you have captured my heart.”

All this while they have been having their adult conversation in plain sight of their two tablemates, Deke and Gus McKinney, who do a fist bump, a high five and a pinky-link, having seen Francine’s hand reach across the table, a tear trickling
down her cheek.

Deke proclaims, “Is that the best you can come up with Uncle Roy? Black Hole, that’s so cornball.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 139


page 131 (end chapter six)

THE RETURN TRIP -Episode 138

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 138

…Roy Crippen’s 3-2-1-0 plan is already as obsolete as Sputnik…

3. Elucidate his concept of Francine employment,

       c) to her and NASA.

2. Clarify the status of the McKinney boys care,

       b) as neither he or Braden can do it right now.

1. Describe his feelings for her,

       a) when he doesn’t fully understand them.

Oh. Pray that she feels the same about him,

       No) now that he has left himself open for a huge fall.

PEMS

1. It doesn’t hurt to pray.

2. She must have quit her job or she wouldn’t be here now.

3. She has the whole ranch eating out of her hand.

“I am impressed Francine! For a city slicker, it looks like you have taken to life out here very well,” Roy kisses her on the cheek, just as if he has been doing it for years. There is something about assumed affection that is good for building a solid relational foundation…. he thinks.

“I like it out here,” she kisses him back, “and forgive me for wondering why you don’t have a house of your own on the ranch?”

“That happens to be on my “someday” list of things to do, but there never seemed to be any hurry, with me eating, living, and breathing Space Colony 1.”

“And I guess you will be doing the same with Space Colony II?” Francine is fishing.

“Things are happening, even changing so fast that I may have to make some mid-flight adjustments. Like right now, for example: If I could, I would head for the sawmill shed and start picking out lumber for that house. Trouble is, I’d be borrowing bits and pieces from everyone else’s life to make something out of mine.”

“Did you ever stop to think that that is how it is done?” Francine is setting the hook.

“Well, I guess I should start by delegating more at work…”

“You can start by coming into the house and talking to me. I think we have some new ground to cover.” Francine begins to reel him in.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 138


page 130

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #40

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #40

…Willy looks at the hands of the school teacher and concludes, “Get yo hands dirty for the morrow, least you’ll look like you worked a day in yo life…

Who is waiting for Willy at the gates of Fort Sumter South? It is the head overseer himself. Affectionately nicknamed, Pigface by his workers, this man is as ugly on the inside as he is on the outside. If his resemblance to a swine weren’t bad enough, he is a nitpicking all the day long.

His beef this day is tardiness. “Campbell Nigger! You were supposed to be back before sundown! I have a mind to throw you into the Hole!” The Hole is just that. Not a good thing.

“The horses needed water, Pig–uh, Master.” A name earned but never used near his presence.

“What about the pigs…? They ain’t got nothin’ to do with you bein’ a half hour late!” he grouses. “And I don’t see that barrel of molasses I asked you to get from the mill!”

Oops, there is an untimely oversight.

“I swear you ain’t worth the dirt you sleep on these days, heckfire, most of a month now.”

“I can go back for it, probably still on the dock, Master,” Campbell cowers. “I was thinkin’ you said meal, conemeal… got 2 sacks.” More correctly one sack meal and one sack of trembling bones.

“Put those poor horses away, before I kick your dumb ass from here to Quincy! Their day has been long enuff. Molasses, meal, how ignorant can one nigger be!” The pompous people pusher himself embodies ignorance, however unaware he is of his own condition.

It’s best if he gets to the stable and don’t spare the horses. All is nearly lost before it can get started. He has a special guest to care for.

“You best stay in the hay loft ‘til the mornin’. I’ll sneak you some supper later, when things settle down—you like grits and gravy?”

Jacob Haley, freedman, is no position to turn away Campbell hospitality, even though gravy and his bowels are not close friends, but then again, how can they be any looser than they already are.

“You gonna need yo strenth to pick you a bale of cotton.” Willy looks at the hands of the school teacher and concludes, “Get yo hands dirty for the morrow, least you’ll look like you worked a day in yo life.”

No insult intended, none taken.


Alpha Omega M.D.

The Overseer

Episode #40


page 38

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #28

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #28

… members  of GCASS come from all walks of life, ages, backgrounds and beliefs; eager, everyone, to join a band of principled folk heroes…

Anti-slavery organizations have been in existence since before the War Between the States. This one in Gadsden County Florida is sneaky, if not low-down & dirty. They are so smart and clever, that nary a person in the Panhandle knows who’s in and who isn’t. Without fanfare, credit, glory, honors they provide dignity, sometimes one person at a time; faithfully for more than two generations.

And it certainly does not hurt to have your members come from all walks of life, ages, backgrounds and beliefs. Eager, everyone, to join a band of principled folk heroes; understated champions of humanity, who happen to risk their lives in the process.

Jacob Haley is the present president of this 19th century band of merry men. He has the lead role as Robin Hood, but doubles as the superintendent of the Quincy Consolidated Schools. It is the kitchen of the Stonewall Jackson Middle School that, not only hosts this month’s meeting of the Gadsden County Anti-slavery Society, but feeds them as well. These men will be absent from their respective dinner tables.         

“School food has improved since most of us were kids, right guys?” Haley both asks and states his case.

“What are these brown things?” quizzes Jacques Francois, with his apothecary’s curiosity for ingredients.

“You mean next to the noodles? Well, I’d guess meat, but I’ll check the menu about what they are calling it–here it is, Barn Yard Surprise. No, I’m kidding. We do have a dietary aid on staff, so whatever it is, it’s nutritious.”

“Nutritious and delicious!” offers another member.

“Eat more peach cobbler, if you have to. And remember, next month’s is at Smithy’s Livery… I believe hay is on the menu.”

“Now, if we can get down to work, we’ll all be home in time to kiss our kids good night,” a gavel-less call to order.

There are plans to be made and a job to be done.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #28


page 27

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 220

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 220

…Ace Bannion and Agent Daniels leave Midway Airport with expectations that a climax is near…

“We have the unenviable task of guessing how (or if) Penty is going to attack. I know we are hoping that he shows his fangs, but what if he doesn’t?” Agent Daniels/Jesse James is feeling the stress of having to predict the unpredictable, expected to possess an intuitional advantage over his cohorts. “It seems I am slated to go along for the ride, Eddie’s carriages I hear.” There is a hint of trepidation in his voice. “But while we are circling the warning-track or up on stage telling our stories, we will be losing control of the venue.”

“I’m with you JJ, but the girls tell us that all we have to do is trust, especially Sister Mary Joseph. I think she would walk off a cliff and believe she would be O.K.” In between checking hydraulics and testing circuits on the repaired/restored Blue Ridge Angel, Ace equates the Tolentine nun’s faith to flying. “When we took off from KC, I had confidence that we would land safely in Chicago. I was sort a wrong this time. I saw my life flash before my eyes, and it may sound corny, but I relived every landing I have ever made in those final minutes.”

“Well I am trained to trust my instincts and I am positive that Penty will show himself, he cannot possibly pass this up.”

That’s where that weird paper we brought back from Wisconsin comes in.” Ace has seen things that defy logic.

“Yes, it is an instructional document, the very methods that Jesus’ disciples used to rid possessed folks of their demons. Jesus didn’t need a manual to do His thing, but we sure do!”

“It sounds like Billy or the good sister is rubbing off on you, Daniels?”

“Hey, if I have a choice, I’m riding in her wagon. I saw lightning take out a bad guy, with a finger on the trigger, twenty feet from her… and twenty-two feet from me. Am I a believer? You betcha!” Will he get his wish?

Bannion and Daniels both leave Midway Airport with expectations. They represent an overall sentiment that a climax is near.

As it was in the decades after the crucifixion of Jesus, so believe the most fervent presenters of the Good News; the return to Earth of the Messiah is around the corner… albeit God’s corner and that’s one big corner, h-u-g-e – big.

  • Billy Graham is doing IT.
  • A million preachers are doing IT.
  • The NBC television network is doing IT.
  • IT is called “spreading the Word”.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Spreading the Word

Forever Mastadon


page 184 (end Ch. 18)

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 188

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 188

…Here are a few (unedited) conversations from Chicago Stadium Owner’s Box…

***Martin to Connie: “I don’t think I ever took the time to thank you for everything. You came all the way from Florida and made a stranger’s abduction your own personal fight and look at the results,” he spreads his arms wide, pointing out the unexpected fruit of her efforts.

Constance to Marty: “We’ve gone from a missing person investigation to a worldwide television broadcast,” what a difference 80 days makes.—

***Eddie D. to the food guy: “Do you have any more of those little flat things that taste like fish?”

The maître d’ to Eddie the buffet destroyer in the owners’ suite: “Do you mean the Baltimore Crab Cakes (you gluttonous heathen), yes I will get some more.”—

***Daniels to the Angel’s pilot: “Do you believe that those K.C. CAA guys were legitimate? In my world, I am a firm believer in Cause & effect.” The string of accidents is pointing toward a negative response.

Ajax Bannion to the G-Man: “Did I suspect that anyone would sabotage the plane? Hell no! I did my preflight inspection around the same time and didn’t see anything suspicious, but I did get their names. Here,” he hands over his pre-flight manifest.—

***Fanny to her new legal eagle: “What are your plans after the crusade program in done, and the days to come? she certainly doesn’t want Worth taking a midnight stroll or the next flight back to Tallahassee… without her.

Worth Moore to the reason he is staying in Chicago: “I am in no rush to head back to Florida Fanny. In fact, I was hoping that you would come up a visit my hotel suite, it has two king-sized beds.” The number of beds reference is to assure Fanny that his intentions are honorable.—

***AB to CC: I think I heard that lawyer asking Fanny up to his room. Maybe we could rope off the second floor at Kimbark for the night?”

CC to AB: We’ll see.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 158

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 80

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 80

…Billy Graham bends the President Truman’s ear…

“Mr. President, we are approaching a slippery slope, a scenario in which religion is being pushed aside in favor of a godless society.” Billy Graham could not be more sincere.

“The Founding Fathers designed the Constitution around religious freedom, how can that be threatened?” wonders the leader of the Free World.

“There is spiritual warfare going on, Sir. Satan continues to exert his corruptive influence at every turn of man’s development and if he can assure his deceptions about evolution rule the day in America’s classrooms, God will essentially being shunted into an inconsequential corner, at least where the greater populous is concerned.”

Graham frames the danger with a story, “You are familiar with the analogy of the frog and the pot of boiling water, well the heat is being turned up on our people and they are ignorant of any danger. Before they know it, they will believe his pack of lies.”

“The devil you say? Like a rebellious child, he opposes God’s authority.”

“Yes the Devil and his minions. It seems to me that he is using the nation’s collective exhale from the horrors of the last war to swoop in and erode our moral fabric. And do not think for a moment that you aren’t a prime target for his misdeeds Mr. Truman. You are the leader of the free world, a world free to worship the God who created us in His own image. This nation looks to you for direction; an ethical President makes for a moral country.”

“And I thought Hiroshima had consequences,” Truman has quietly shouldered tremendous burdens in his service to the United States of America while not getting the credit for it. His dismissal of General Douglas MacArthur in the Korean Theater has people calling for his head, never mind all the other good stuff. “I had a discussion with my spy guy, Director Hillenkoetter, about the Libby Affair and he tells me they have an embedded agent, code name “Rogue”, deep inside the organization responsible and are in the process of penetrating the core leadership.”

An important ally has taken this matter to heart.

“Other than CIA involvement, I must leave a portion of this battle to those best equipped, like you and the Catholic Church. For my part, I will use my weekly radio address to reinforce the importance of God’s role in shaping the country and its policies… remind the people about why we fought for our independence… I might even use that ‘frog in a pot’ story, if you don’t mind.”

“The frog will never jump into already boiling water,” Graham underlines the punch line.

Harry Truman suggests, “That would be the President’s job.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 74

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 66

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 66

…“That’s it… sure? Do you ever say no?”

“I do plenty, just not today.”…

“I have an apartment over east of State St., would you like to come over and talk about life for a while?”

— ‘Talk about life – what kind of cornball invite is that? Constance thinks, instead of speaks, to herself this time.

Without so much as a twitch, Fanny Renwick responds, “Sure.”

Was that too easy? again, she thinks to her nosey self. “It’s within walking distance. Let’s leave before your boss kicks us out.”

On the walk to Constance’s modest garden apartment and continuing past the midnight hour, they gain a familiarity usually reserved for life-long friends. Seemingly all of their combined 50 years are covered in that span of 7 brief hours.

Everyone remembers talking forever to someone you have known forever, but in this case, two lonesome spirits bond in a blink of an eye. It becomes apparent that neither wants this day to end, but there are far too many delicate topics that need to be broached before overnight stays are proper.

Before surrendering to separation, Constance tosses another softball in Fanny’s direction, “My parents have a cottage down in Panama City Beach, would you like to come down and hang out this weekend?”

 “Sure.”

“That’s it… sure? Do you ever say no?”

“I do plenty, just not today.”

“You are a peach, Fanny! I thought I was doomed to another boring weekender with the folks. Cool. Pack an overnighter and do not forget your bathing suit.” She may not live with her parents, but they still subsidize their only daughter’s university lifestyle and they truly are boring people, according to their dearest “Connie”. “Where do I pick you up?”

“I’ll meet you back here at your place.” At 25, Fanny is embarrassed to tell Constance that she still actually lives at home with her parents in Frenchtown, an increasingly seedy area in the heart of Tallahassee. “What time?”

“Is 7:00 too early, it’s a two hour drive to the coast?”

“It’s a date, 7 o’clock and don’t be late!”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 63

 

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 64

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 64

…”Fanny Renwick at your service…”

Connie and Fan have been the best of friends ever since they met in a Tallahassee eatery 20 years ago, in the midst of the Great Depression…

‘Where is that waiter with my bill?’ Constance Caraway wonders, eating out alone having vowed that she would never do so, ‘only losers eat by themselves’. Having broken off yet another relationship the week before, the 24 year old coed she finds herself alone again. She has taken her time at university, not able to focus in on any specific major, although she always fancied herself a writer, ‘You are a bore, Connie, face it. You need some excitement in your life. Why write about something, when you can experience it first hand’.

“Who are you talking to?” asks the waitress, who had been working that “lounge” side of Yancy’s Place (Yancy hates the greasy spoon designation), replacing Constance’s former male server.

She puts away her journal, looks around as if losing track of someone, “I was—well— looking for the waiter, you know I am done eating and I’d like to leave.”

The young girl notices the legal pad, “Are you a writer? I love to read, reading Agatha Christie on my breaks.”

“Murder at the Vicarage?” Constance does fancy herself the heroine type, especially a younger version of Christie’s Miss Jane Marple. “ I haven’t written much of anything lately.” Constance is secure in that statement, but upon closer examination, she takes notice of the perky redhead handing her the bill she had been looking for. Upon further inspection, this young woman seems overqualified for waitressing “I do not recall seeing you in here before.”

Fanny Renwick at your service; would you like dessert, we have lemon meringue pie, rice pudding and the chef’s famous triple chocolate cake?” Fanny does well do recite the desert menu. “I usually work the bar.”

“I’ll have that cake, thank you,” she had not planned on topping off her meal with a treat, but what the hell. She will temporarily ignore those 5 extra pounds as swimsuit season down at Panama City Beach is around the bend. For the present, she will risk the extra calories in the interest of prying into this Fanny-person’s life status.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 61