Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 198

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 198

…Wouldn’t you know, both liver & onions and  meat loaf are not a part of today’s menu…

Pabst Diner Menu-001

The would-be diners look at each other and say jointly, “We’ll have the fish fry.”

“That is locally caught perch with rye bread and a choice of coleslaw or french fries,” the waitress, a young woman with a farm girl look, recites by heart.

Guest check-001

“Can we have both,” asks Ace. “We are starved. It’s been a long drive.”

“Chicago… that will be $1 dollar extra.” She is unintentionally ambiguous.

“Is the dollar for coming from Chicago or the extra food?”

She ignores the question as stated, “We get a lot of folks from Chicago in here, but you two are way more polite than most; you don’t even sound like you’re from the north. I’m good at guessing where a folk is from.”

“Give it a shot darlin’. I’ve got an Alexander Hamilton here that says you can’t guess what states we are from.”

She looks around, after seeing there are no other customers, then offers, “The lady looks like a true Southern Belle, maybe Georgia or the Panhandle.” She looks at Ace from his head and stopping at his feet, “You sir are from Texas.”

“Tallahassee, Florida,” CC raises her hand, while Ace adds, “Austin, Texas and I bet my rattlesnake boots gave me away.”

She grabs the $10 Silver Certificate and stuffs it into her apron, “Do you want tartar sauce?”

“I like you, you, you are ____,” prompts Ace?

“Polly, Polly Pabst.”

“I like you Polly Pabst, but I wouldn’t play poker against you; you’re cold.”

“I have a mortgage to pay.”

“We are headed to Oconomowoc; do you have a name of a good place to stay for a couple days?” Constance is planning ahead.

“Cooney is only 20 miles away…we have a cute motel on the north side of Eagle, you can’t miss it. Are you two married?”

The would-be overnighters look at each other and say jointly, “Yes-no, no-yes.”

“I ain’t being nosey, just that the older gentleman running the place used to be the preacher over at the Lutheran church and his wife is a bit of a prude.”

“We thank you for the head’s up,” Constance locks arms with Ace as they head out. “What is the Saturday Special?”

“Hasenpfeffer stew.”

“What kind of stew is that?”

“German for good, let’s go dear.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 166

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 197

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 197

…they traverse the un-glaciated sliver of land named the Kettle Moraine State Park; bluffs, hogbacks, escarpments and kettles…

ROAD TRIP-001Thanks to a State Farm Travel Atlas and Ace’s keen sense of direction, they do not get lost on the twisting 130 mile trail through the Dairy State. Once they pick up Highway 67 outside of Lake Geneva, all signs count down the mileage remaining until you reach the city with the 5 letter Oconomowoc-001‘O’s in it. The road sign reads:

There are only 3 towns of note on this two-lane highway, an indication that there isn’t much else along the way. “You don’t go to Yellowstone Park to see skyscrapers,” the driver makes an analogy.

But not before they traverse the un-glaciated sliver of land named the Kettle Moraine State Park; bluffs, hogbacks, escarpments and kettles give it an out-of-place feel. “Are we still in the U.S.?” asks the passenger, even though she is the wiser.

Pabst Diner-001“Can we stop for a cup of coffee?” At 108 miles out of they have reached the inconspicuous berg named Eagle, 500 some odd folks who thrive on people traveling by automobile, hence the two filling stations, a general store and the Blue Ribbon Diner.

“I bet you that restaurant has coffee and a good home Pabst Diner Menu-001cooked meal,” Ace guesses. “Liver and onions, that’s what I’m hoping is on the menu.”

“Eeeuuwww!” Connie holds her nose. “I’ll settle for meatloaf and mashed potatoes.”

They stroll through the wooden screen door and discover a place frozen in time, like it hadn’t changed, even the stools at the lunch counter, since the 1920’s.

Wouldn’t you know, both of their menu wishes are not a part of the handwritten chalkboard list that includes homemade: chicken soup, pot roast, clam chowder and today’s special, the Friday Fish Fry.

“Liver and onion Special is on Sunday,” the cook (with long ears) reports from the back.

The would-be diners look at each other and say jointly, “We’ll have the fish fry.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Kettle_Moraine

Forever Mastadon


page 166

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 113

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 113

…That’s what Ace ‘deserves’ for ‘borrowing’ an Army airplane and ‘ditching’ the General’s daughter before the New Year’s kiss…

… For now, it’s on to smaller and Alabama things…

shrimp“Well Mr. Nobody, how about I treat you to a dinner that will knock it out of the park,” CC tops off the baseball comedy-act wordplay, in favor of a night on the town at her favorite seafood restaurant on Mobile Bay, where you’ll never walk away hungry and shrimp is king. She can’t help but comment on the other contrast between North & South not related to crustaceans, “It is so nice to wear normal clothes for a change.”

“When I first saw you at Meigs, I thought you were an Eskimo.” Ace Bannion jokes.

“I had to buy every stitch of winter clothes after we got to Chicago; nobody told me how cold it gets there… oh make a right turn at Texas Street, then a left on Old Water Street.”

“You must be talking about The Original Oyster House on the Boardwalk; they have a surf ‘n turf that I would trade my pilots’ license for.”

“If you’re flyin’, I’m buyin’!”

Meanwhile… At Brookley AFB, 0600 departure time…

“Civilians are required to wear life jackets Miss Caraway,” the copilot of the military transport orders.

“This is an airplane, not a boat, how about a parachute.” Logic doesn’t always apply to the armed services.

“If we have to ditch over the ocean, this baby turns into a boat.”

“How comforting… why doesn’t he get one?” she points across the wide fuselage at Ace.

“The General says that your pal Bannion needs be a good swimmer.” That’s what he ‘deserves’ for ‘borrowing’ an Army airplane and ‘ditching’ the General’s daughter before the New Year’s kiss.

“I am.” He is.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 99

The NULL Solution = Episode 79

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The NULL Solution = Episode 79

…Because you may not come back, for any number of reasons, the least of which is all the comforts of home and the housekeeper’s cooking.

See – that’s what you get for failing the transmigration class. I am going hyperphysical, baby…

Just as Deke was starting his soliloquy, Celeste pops in to check on her guys. She is acutely aware of Sampson’s opinions on his missing daughter-in-law, which means making sure he does not do anything rash.

“I gather the nonnatives are getting restless.”

“Dad wants to go back to Earth and I was talking him off the Defender ledge.”

“Ekcello and I have been discussing some options…”

“… Ekcello and I – like he cares,” the skeptic in Sam shows itself yet again.

“It’s his offspring who is lost, not ours, so you bet he cares. As I was saying, we talked it over and we think it is time I return to Earth.”

“See – see what I was telling you Gus! I can almost taste a King Ranch Hereford ribeye now.”

“But not in the Defender Sam. We think a well-being check is in order.”

“On Gus and Roy and Francine, yes! And why can’t I go?”

“Because you may not come back, for any number of reasons, the least of which is all the comforts of home and the housekeeper’s cooking.” Like a teacher with a borderline student she adds, “See – that’s what you get for failing the transmigration class. I am going hyperphysical, baby!

“Which means you can look, but you can’t touch, right?”

“Yes, I can leave clues that I’ve been there, but that’s all.”

And so the saga of a lost Eridanian Princess and her Milky Way wandering mother-in-law opens a new phase.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 79


page 82

A Space Family Thanksgiving = Earth/Eridanus Part 2

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A Space Family Thanksgiving = Earth/Eridanus Part 2

…They gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing…

Strictly coincidental {we think}and a day off in the Stardate of 2052.91, the Space Family contingent out on Eridanus in the Epsilon Eridani star system {as seen from their home planet in the constellation Orion’s Belt}, they too have fashioned a Thanksgiving feast – as near as possible that is.

Like many of the holidays those wacky Earthlings celebrate, it is mostly lost on the Eridanians. But doesn’t stop Sammy Mac from including his in-laws, Ekcello & Fortan {if she were not in a state of suspended animation}, in the festivities.

Much has happened in the last Earth year {yet to be reconnoitered with an Eridanian Cycle}. Though separated by 10 light years, the McKinneys have had contact with Crip and Gus, somewhere around “home” and that is ample reason to be thankful.

Ekcello should be thankful for having snapped out of his temporary funk, even though the rest of conscious Eridanus is dominated by the Null.

Skaldic the Null is invited as well & appreciates much. “Skaldy” as Sampson refers to him, has embraced each & every solitary slice of life ever since his rise to Eridanus prominence. His contribution to this day is one of the few wild animals on the planet {far Null side}, a nasty predator that when properly prepared tastes like chicken {what?}

Deimostra has thoroughly researched the Thanksgiving holiday and has made the proper connection between man-alien and the God of the Great Expanse.

“I am thankful for Ekcello for making us feel at home – to Skaldic for providing the protein for our meal…”

“Real meat!” her father interjects.

“… and for the hope of perhaps seeing Earth for the first time in person and meeting my brother Gus.”

Celeste McKinney has had firsthand experience with seeing Earthly-loved-ones by way of hyperphysical transmigration and hugs the 1st child of space for all she’s worth.

As a group, the Space Family McKinney has a laundry list of gratitude:

Deke McKinney gives the blessing, “Thank you Dear Lord for my wonderful family, our hosts here on Eridanus… and is that you inside   ⃝      ?

On a planet where music is king, they sing:


A Space Family Thanksgiving =

Earth/Eridanus Part 2


A Space Family Thanksgiving = Earth/Eridanus Part 1

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A Space Family Thanksgiving = Earth/Eridanus Part 1

…They gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing…

To say that the Space Family McKinney is spread out as far as the eye can see is a monumental understatement. King Ranch is Texas big, but even there, you cannot see from one end to another… as compared to wherever in God’s Universe the other Mckinneys are.

Braden King, the Crippens: Roy & Francine and of course the McKinneys: Gus & Mindy are all together, which is rare considering their considerable reach among the planets of the Terran System.

The reason: the commitment to preserve one of the most overlooked holidays that ever was… having been trampled by a herd of goblins & ghouls and that jolly red man in the red & white suit… Thanksgiving.Related image

That very day, a fresh tom turkey had been secured by one Gus M., not with a laser rifle, but an old fashioned double barrel 12 gauge shotgun. The East woodlot is teaming with the large wild birds, though getting close enough to actually bag one is not an easy feat.

“There is nothing like a fresh turkey, Gussy! Thank you for taking time out from shooting disruptor beams at aliens ships to provide us with this wonderful treat.” Francine Bouchette-Crippen has commandeered the kitchen from the ranch chef for the day, who gets to cross the border to celebrate a Mexican version of Thanksgiving, likely involving a pig w/an apple stuffed in its mouth.

“He still smells like gunpowder Francine. He refuses to take a shower because he might miss the kickoff of the Houston Texan’s game!” Mindy McDonald-McKinney bemoans the New World Football League, though she secretly roots for the London Royals because she thinks Prince Harry’s oldest son is cute.

Prez Roy bemoans something entirely unrelated to the holiday, “Harper Lea Bassett has taken down the NASA exhibit in the West Wing. What will that **%@!g woman do next, convert the Oval Office into a hair salon?”

“Roy Crippen! You forgot to re-calibrated the convection oven! It’s still 25 degrees shy of reality, so it looks like we’ll be eating at 5:00 instead of 3:00.”

That was intentional on purpose. The football game would not be over at 3 o’clock.

He and Braden King do a fist bump.

Gus McKinney just sits back and laughs. He gets a kick from the “old” guys.

The fact of the matter is that the Earth will keep on spinning regardless of the exact time of their dinner. Another fact is that they are truly missing a huge chunk of the family in the persons of Sampson, Celeste and Deke {they have yet to meet Deimostra}.

Some facts must be kept in perspective, like the annual celebratory dinner aptly named Thanksgiving. They have each other and a God who deserves the recognition.

The Texans lose in overtime.

Gus McKinney gives the blessing, “Dear Lord, thank you for this wonderful meal, my loving family… and is Lorgan really YOU in disguise?”

Together they sing:


A Space Family Thanksgiving =

Earth/Eridanus Part 1


The NULL Solution = Episode 14

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The NULL Solution = Episode 14

…there is a shiny spheroid here, close enough to the Sun that it should be melting to its core…

… as a propaganda video put together by Bassett’s people is keeping everyone occupied, Roy is getting unexpected feedback from back in SOL Control.

“Gus isn’t making the turn.”

A simple ‘What?’ will not do. He flees the stage like the prune juice he had for breakfast had suddenly done its job. He commandeers a security hovercraft to hasten his presence where it counts most. Is Gus incapacitated? That’s his stepson out there about 80 million miles + rising. The possibilities are endless.

Once at the interspace communication cube, he tries to get some answers. “Are you there, Gus?”

After a few seconds, he repeats the simple request.

“Yes Roy, I’m here. This thing seems to have a mind of its own.  I checked my heading and it wants to go to other side of the galaxy or somewhere thereabouts.”

“Override the auto-nav. Even at SOL you’re in no man’s land. This mission is over, get back here STAT.”

There are multiple factors at work here.

“I am exactly on the other side of the sun… and there is a shiny spheroid here, close enough that it should be melting to its core!”

Mercury by Maddy P. from Palmcrest Elementary

“Could that be Mercury, we haven’t looked at it much since Messenger back in 20-teens?”

“Negative on Mercury, I passed that hotspot in a flash 5 million miles ago.” Human beings are so adaptable. “I’m back in control of SEx, slowing down to get a closer look. I can tell you one thing, somebody made this thing. It ain’t no run-of-the-mill planetoid.”

“Make sure you get some selfies of that thing and head back,” That is the good news. The bad news, “I know it’s a bitch, being Saturday and all, but land over at Osceola AFB instead… I got them believing Deke is with you.”

There is no response from an astronaut who is anxious to get back to wife Mindy and a carefully planned, long overdue date-night…


The NULL Solution =

Episode 14


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