THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 119

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 119

…“My clubs were too short, the balls are like lead, and the wind seemed to gust every time I hit a shot, enough to make a Pope angry.”…

On their first full day out and about, Roger Rodriques drives them out into the back country and a hilly little golf course, there by fulfilling one of the to-dos on their getaway platter. The score card of the Upton Golf Course & Plantation has a tagline on its cover, ‘700 feet up and always cool’, but the persistent 90 degree days betray that claim.

So while their guide waits for them in the clubhouse, the only cool spot for miles, Francine and Roy practice their best “no’s” in turning down a pesky boy who cannot believe these Americans prefer to carry their rented clubs. Compared to the private clubs they are used to playing, this version of golf lives up to one of the sports’ nicknames: “pasture pool”. The fairway mowers are black & white, have four legs, and moo.

The round concludes with Roy losing the only tee shot that was farther than Francine all afternoon, in a pile of grass the “moo”-ers hadn’t got to; in the middle of the 18th fairway.

“The greens are like our tees, the tees like our fairways, the fairways like our rough, and the rough is like our out-of-bounds.”

“Perhaps you should have used that caddy. I beat you 89 to 93.”

“My clubs were too short, the balls are like lead, and the wind seemed to gust every time I hit a shot,” enough to piss off the Pope.

“Don’t be mad Roy; I’ll give you a rematch.”

He will take her up on that challenge, but it will have to wait for another day, there is too much else to do. —

— Like the Shaw Park Botanical Gardens, ‘which is on the site of a 19th Century hotel, long since razed, situated high on a hilltop overlooking the Bay of Ocho Rios, surveying the azure waters of the Caribbean, the Gardens embrace 25 acres of tropic splendor. A sparkling waterfall cascades down a rocky course with luxuriant plant specimens on all sides. Lush tropical trees form bowers with flamboyant blossoms every month of the year.’

This is definitely Chamber of Commerce material.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 119


page 113

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 38

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 38

…“Som……ing is not righ…” that is the last transmission they will be hearing on this trip down to the Martian surface…

last-transmission1

THE LAST TRANSMISSION by bmessina.deviantart.com

Hal 2001

“All right Sam,” Roy Crippen advises, “Check in before returning to the Colony.”

“It’ll be there when we get back, as long as Al {Space Colony 1 mainframe brain) lets us back in,” referring to the
perfunctory processor.

So, Roy must sit back and watch while the McKinneys set out to prove their worth to an admiring world. Measuring the depth of dermis layers throughout Tithonius Lacus neighborhood will be accomplished with aplomb. It may be Saturday night, on a faraway silent habitat, but they would not trade places with anyone, here or there. And the pay is secondary to the payoff.Muddy tractor tracks.

Sampson actually is enjoying himself in the back, with Celeste at the wheel, while he calculates the exact depth of their tracks. It cruises handsomely across the barren plain, but he is noticing an earthly occurrence called clumping; like walking on naked rich black topsoil in the defrosting springtime, “Mud?!”

Not all terrain here is a plain and they conquer the grueling Martian hill climb with ease. The rover comes to rest on the crest of one of the craters, cropped-mars3.jpgoverlooking the Plain of Xanthe, from where Celeste takes notice the previously inconspicuous, yet prominent mound which nearly brought their mission to an unceremonious halt.

Intuition, the human trait that seems to get better with age, clicks on within Celeste, the driver who does notdunes-001 consult while taking a detour on their way to Syrtis Major; inquisitiveness is an attribute that begins at conception

The formation that has beckoned her, stands out because from what they observed about the general topography, this knoll is singular. As they draw near, its uniqueness is even more pronounced; nothing round about this mound, angular and structured, not at all natural.

Commander Sam suggests a cautious circling approach, like a vulture cruising at 300 feet above a rotting carcass. This “thing” has a different look from every angle; one side terraced, another gently sloping, yet another with a notch running perpendicular to the base, into the interior.

Braden King breaks in to express a concern, “Our picture has been degrading steadily since you took that detour—is there another inversion storm kicking up?”

Interference is hampering Mission Control’s depth perception, with the good looks they have been enjoying transitioning into a fuzzy blur.

“No sandstorms or such” Sampson fingers a touchscreen to boost the signal, “upping to 5500 dBs.”

“No change Sam,” there is a disappointing tone back on Earth. It is like losing the picture, leaving only sound for the 7th game of the 2029 World Series, in the bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, full count, bases loaded, score tied and it’s the West Coast Dodgers at bat vs. the Twin Moons of Minnesota. The first reaction is to check the coaxial cable connections.

“Go on with what you were doing Sam,” commands Roy Crippen, “We’ll tweak something at this end.”

Even as he speaks, the crackling turns to persistent static.

“Please repeat. Braden, what did he say?”

“Som……ing is…not righ…”

That is the last transmission they will be hearing on this trip down to the Martian surface.

Sampson shrugs, Celeste gives up.


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 38


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 8

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 8

…“If you are trying to talk me out of the Commander’s chair on the New Mayflower, forget it; space is my future, not World League Baseball.”…

gut-check-001

The Mission of the New Mayflower is taking center stage.

“You must have girls  at every Air Force base..around the world I would bet.. but they will have to stand in line and wait Rick,” Roy is messing his dashing protégé Rick Stanley.

“Don’t get me wrong Crip. The space program is my life and probably always will. It’s just the little things about home that I’ll be missing; Spring training, the warm Southern sun, using my Symantec Telepathic Implant, Mexican Food, spring break, the Rio de Janeiro Red Snappers.”

“It sounds like baseball, fun and sun are your life, not Space Colony,” Roy points out. “If your heart is on the diamond or beach, you better get out while you can. I know of a dozen lieutenant commanders, who would be more than pleased, if you resumed your career with the Snappers.”

Roy is giving the young gun a gut-check.

“If you are trying to talk me out of the Commander’s chair on the New Mayflower, forget it; space is my future, not World League Baseball.”

“That is why I talked NASA into letting you play baseball six months a year, Rick my boy. You and you alone had to confront that crossroad in your career, answers only you can provide. For what it is worth, I knew you would make the right decision.”

“Yeah, well it was not as cut-and-dried as you make it sound. Baseball has been in my blood since I can remember,” Commander Stanley looks back at just one of his loves. “Thank you for allowing me to have two professions at once.”

“I’ll miss going to your Rio home games, I love that city! Can you still get me free tickets?”

“Sure Crip, box seats right next to Riva Riviera,” the wildly popular South American singing superstar.

“Hubba-hubba! She can sure shake……….”


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 8


page 8

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #326

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #326

… “Dang, those pesky Dodgers! The Yanks will have trouble beating ‘em in the Series.” Slater is a baseball fan…

The Brooklyn Dodgers In Ebbets Field by Bonnie Siracusa

The Brooklyn Dodgers In Ebbets Field by Bonnie Siracusa

“Carolyn Hanes, you look absolutely wonderful! Why has everyone else aged but you… you don’t look a day over forty,” gushes Joe Slater. He looks right past an obviously invisible Bob Ford.

the-sting-001  “Thanks, Joe, but you look good your own self,” she deflects the niceties, in favor of pressing business. “Have you talked to Cousin Curt this morning?”time-zones-001

“Yes I have and he says that Joyce is due for his visit at 4:30 this afternoon.” He takes his eyes off of Lyn to look at his watch, whose little hand is on the 3 and the big hand is on the seven.

          “My watch is still set to California time,” Lyn laments.

          “It’s three thirty-five,” he converts, roughly.

          “No time to waste, is there? Let’s go, Bob.”  Suddenly visible, her husband is accidentally introduced.

In the heat of a Florida August day, top down and whizzing back to the city, the three are headed for County Jail straightaway. In the background, on the car’s AM radio, the Brooklyn Dodgers are thrashing Philadelphia.

“Dang, those pesky Dodgers! The Yanks will have trouble beating ‘em in the Series.” Slater is a baseball fan.

  “Talk, out by us, is that the Dodgers may be moving.” Bob Ford is too.

Image result for new york baseball giants

New York Baseball Giants

          “Noooo… you’re kidding me?”

          “Los Angeles.”

          “Hey, you’re all right Mr. Ford,” male bonding. “And you can have that Jackie Robinson, he wears me out.”

          “And the Giants?”

          “California can have them too.”

          They will.the-sting-001

          “Boys, boys, can we stay on track here?” True to the specie, the girl gets her way.

           Joe switches the radio to off. “The game is lost anyhow… damned Dodgers.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #326


page 306

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #198

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #198

…Please tell me what it was like to be knighted by the Queen.” John tries his best to get his cousin to be the least immodest, bringing up a subject of great pride to a loyal subject…

Knighted

Knighted by Eva Hollyer

John Ferrell interrupts the polarized opinion exchange about golf, “I have heard of the sport, in fact we have a club in Tallahassee, on the university grounds.”

“Splendid! I will show you how to play when we take you up on your kind invitation to visit. It sounds like you have the perfect climate.” He grips his mashie niblick.

“Don’t be aswingin’ those things in the house James, remember the chandelier?” Mrs. Barrie warns.

“One of my best passes, it was.”

“Me thinks you should be in France, shurein the Germans would flee to home at the sight of you and that stick.”

Please tell me what it was like to be knighted by the Queen.” John tries his best to get his cousin to be the least immodest, bringing up a subject of great pride to a loyal subject, when a carriage comes barreling up the winding trail leading to the Barrie country home. “That will be Harv Pearson and his bride, the publishers of that magazine I brought you.”

“Good work… with stories that match the finest photographs I have ever seen,” high praise from an accomplished judge of word and people.

     “That is Sir James Barrie,” Judith nudges her husband, who may not know, “saw his first production in London, now he is one of the most prolific playwrights – ever.”

“Welcome to bonnie ol’ Scotland set a spell and let’s talk about the generosity of America!”

Judith, who almost never drinks alcohol, accepts a spot from the host. She is smart enough to sip, yet unable to prevent the inevitable shiver, as it burns a path down her esophagus.

“Thank you, Mister Barrie. My wife has been following your career from the beginning, as she will surely tell you later.” Harv speaks, Judith is recovering. “And it is good to see you, John. We were surprised at your cable, quite an undertaking in these troubling times.” He does not recall extreme bravery as one of this man’s character.

“Matthew, that’s what his friends call him, told us of the terrible suffering in the Isles and I was moved to gather the excess bounty that God has blessed us with and share them.”

Neither does Harv remember him as an excessively Godly man.

 “I am so inspired by John’s kindness that I myself feel twinges of guilt. I see the suffering, yet continue on with my flights of fancy.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #198


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #197

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #197

…Each sip of whiskey makes it easier to repress the bad memories, not forget them…

J.M. Barrie

J.M. Barrie by James Quinn

There is a rejoicing noise coming from out the Central Lowlands, not yet audible to the men and women of the P-E J, just loud enough to echo through the Tay River valley, all the way to Dundee. Sir James Barrie, of literary fame, shares gallons of tales and scotch whiskey with John Ferrell, who has become a local hero; the man who has loosed a wealth of necessities on people who may well have remained distant memories. Now John is having regrets having to leave this festive gathering, away from the new world he created.

“I so wish that it hadn’t been a war to bring us together. We could have brought Martha’s Gaskells from merry ol’ England and had a reunion that would put the Queen to shame. Can you imagine the Scots and the Gaskells here in Perth? Come to think of it, we are all apt to be related… in a cousin sort of way.”

“In the American South, relation is a way of life,” admits John, speaking as if it is a foreign practice, without revealing the exact extent of his contribution to an even more sensitive subject. Each sip of whiskey makes it easier to repress the bad memories, not forget them. “Martha would have loved a holiday in Scotland, we rarely get out of Florida, don’t know why.” He silently rues the day he sacrificed a normal life for the lust of his flesh.

James Ferrell Lawyer

“So your James is a barrister? I am proud that he bears my name, me a lowly bard from the Lowlands. I myself never could get past the fantasy world, one which I have complete control. Fiction can far surpass reality.”

“My husband is not a borin’ you with his fancies, is he?” Madame Barrie brings them a tray of smoked kippers to snack on. “I am surprised he has not talked the bunch of us into rehearsing his new play… what is it again?”    

A Kiss for Cinderella, just a modest production in London, but I’d rather be playing golf than staging theater.”

“Oh, that silly game: A waste of good grazing land, if you ask me!”

“We did not!” ask you.

“Pasture billiards!”

“It is a gentleman’s pastime.”

“It is a poor excuse to catch a death of a cold.”


        Alpha Omega M.D.

“Golfers” by Charles Lees

Episode #197


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 216

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 216

…I forgot what I was going to say….

Attorney Moore is ankle deep in horse apples, knee deep in hay and up to his neck in angst.

“Not to worry Worth old boy, Rex has everything under control. I remember when we were kids and I was out visiting his pop’s farm…

PLENTY OF TIME FOR WORTH’S MIND TO WANDER: ____IS THE MILKMAN COMING TODAY?____ I DO LIKE THAT NEW  CARTOON “DENNIS THE MENACE”____HARRY TRUMAN IS DOING A BANG-UP JOB____

... But we went over to the General Store and bought him a carton of Camels and a Baby Ruth and he was happy.”

I forgot what I was going to say,” Worth decries.

Eddie is a sidebar waiting to happen.

“Didn’t we have something else to tell him Fanny?”

“That Baby Ruth is your favorite candy?” Funny Fanny.

“I favor the maple variety Bun Bar…” Now Worth remembers… “Oh yes, you’ll need a police escort to get into Comiskey Park. It’s over 4 miles on busy streets.”

“Got it covered Worth, my third Cousin Elston from my mother’s side works all the ballgames, he still sneaks me in after the first inning starts. I haven’t been to a game this year, I don’t like cold baseball, but last September I saw them sweep the Bronx Bombers all the way back east.”

“How many cousins do you have Eddie?” Fanny steps in to change the subject.

“Let’s just say the Dombroskis and Baxters got busy after Armistice Day.”

Even with a 12 word sentence, Eddie D. can deliver excess information.

***For those keeping score, Eddie has injected 8 cousins to support his many and varied stories. Here in a list in review:

  1. Eddie's Cousins-001Jimmy – from Berwyn with 3 mentions>
  2. Wilfred  – who invented the rubber band ball board>
  3. Harold  – owner of White Castle stock>
  4. Johnnie’s  – son had polio>
  5. Georgie  – has a car repair shop on Western Ave.>
  6. Hilbert  – the farmer from Sandwich>
  7. Elston  – works White Sox games at Comiskey Park>
  8. Rex –  is one of the drivers & co-owner of C-14>

Now that’s a list!


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 181

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 112

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 112

…After some wheeling, dealing, begging and other “general groveling”…

General Grovel

At times you pick the flight, but when Uncle Sam picks you, it’s his right to throw you a curve.

After flying into a general aviation airstrip outside Mobile, they cab over to Brookley Air Force Base, only to find that they’ve been bumped from this Monday’s flight.

Following a high level pow-wow, he is ready to face the music, aka the Boss, i.e. Constance.

“What’s the deal AB? I was under the impression that you were calling the shots.”

“I forgot that a certain Army Air Force general is in charge of this base,” he is uncharacteristically sheepish.

“Okay, let me see, did you have an affair with the man’s wife?” she aims below the belt.

p51_mustang

“No I’m not talking woman trouble,” he comes clean about a serious transgression. “I borrowed a P-51 for a few days.”

“I take it a P-51 has wings?” Good guess, bad news, “Is that a no-no?”

“That would be a court martial… were I an active service member.”

“So I am in league with a fugitive?”

“No, he wanted to extract a different type of penalty. He would drop any charges if would take his step-daughter to the base’s New Year’s Eve dance. Unfortunately this Three-Star has a good memory.”

“That is strike two, so now what? I do not have a week to waste and we don’t have time to book a Pan Am or TWA transatlantic, which would cost us beaucoup bucks by the way.”

After some wheeling, dealing, begging and other “general” groveling…….

“We’re back on the plane CC.”

“He swings at a 0-2 fastball… it’s a single to left field.”

AB “At least I’ve finally made it to 1st base with you.”

CC “Oh you mean who.”

AB “What do you mean?”

CC “No, what’s on 2nd.”

AB “I don’t know!”

CC “He’s on 3rd

CC “You saw Abbott and Costello on TV too?”

AB “Yes, yesterday.”

CC “He’s in right field. Then you know that nobody scored.”

AB “That’s me. I am nobody!”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 224

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 224

…If it is possible to reverse immortality, I am positive that you have knocked at least a few years off of Ekcello’s life…

Mortality And Immortality by William Michael Harnett

Like it or not, the McKinneys were there to stay and now interest in that little blue dot nearer the middle of this galaxy has renewed, by necessity, if not their preoccupation. Akin to their more physical predecessors from eons past, they have renewed their consuming quest to understand that planet known as them as ĞŁŒŠ {Earth}.

“Sam, you have to realize that at one time these people traveled to all parts of the Universe,” explains Celeste, who through osmosis gathered the reasoning behind the Eridanus’ distracted abstractness. “Of all the worlds they may have encountered, the endless variety of life forms thereabout, we of Earth may well be as close to blood relatives that they have. I think that we are so much like the Eridanians of 4000 years ago that it scared the voice right out of them.”

“You mean we are a mirror image?” asks Sampson.

“Yes and when it is YOUR reflection they see, oh my…”

“It’s not my fault we do not exactly see eye-to-eye.”

You have hit it on the head Sam! If it is possible to reverse immortality, I am positive that you have knocked at least a few years off of Ekcello’s life!

 

Sampson laughs loudly at that notion, to the point of tears and side ache. He is quite aware that he has singlehandedly reintroduced some long-dead emotions to Eridanian culture. And he is in no small way very proud of it.

“Do you know that I think that the youngsters, you know the 300-400 year-olds, can understand me? I told them about opening day at the new Yankee Stadium in 2017, 70,000 screaming fans watching a ball being pitched-and-hit on manicured green grass. I even showed them that Mickey Mantle Topps rookie card I carry. They love it!”

“Somewhere, deep in their youthful existentiality, they must have a basal need for an outlet for buried emotion.” Celeste attempts to explain any possible fascination with her husband.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 224


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 223

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 223

…The staggering ramifications of Ekcello explaining the McKinney’s fate are lost, overshadowed by the immediate; will a hundred tomorrows erase the memories of the day we/they first met…?

… Indeed that first day on Eridanus was memorable, nothing that the passage of the intervening ten years can erase, though they can only guess how many Earth years have fallen by the wayside. For a man playing catch-up, Sampson will, to this day, swear it was only three, but then again aging does not seem to be a factor here.

And as much as things change, sometimes they do not. Celeste’s propensity for the parapsychological has firmly entrenched her as a favorite of most of the dwellers on this thought-heavy planet. The music she produced in the guise of deep-space computer communications from the bridge of the NEWFOUNDLANDER Explorer has become all the rage.

Deimostra, whose physical development should match her 16 year Earthly age, is lagging behind by ½, while her intellect races to 16².

Sammy Mac is a different story. It is not that he personally feels out of place, but the bravado mannerisms that are irretrievably stamped into his personality are an acquired taste on Eridanus. To be sure, one of the concepts these cerebral people have

the hardest time comprehending is his need for competition, as it applies to gamesmanship or one-upmanship. In Celeste they see refinement and culture / In Sampson they find football, baseball, horse racing, and a burning yearning to win and be the best.

“You must have had some form of sports somewhere along the line,” he would tell them, ignoring the telepathy that they insist he master. “We saw your ancestors on Mars you know and they seemed to be regular guys—no floating or mind-games. In fact, the recreation room on the NEWFOUNDLANDER was filled with one particular weird game… like they were gambling.”

His contention falls on deaf ears, no matter which, they ignore his primitive rants. It was as though they have erased the memory of their ancient forebears, wiped them away and started with a clean slate. What they used to be has been placed in the pay-no-mind column of the collective memory.

These days, they have been forced back in time, in the form of a clunky spaceship and three creatures whose muddling civilization has been mostly forgotten about. Sampson’s stubborn reluctance, or wrongly hardwired brain, most assuredly will remind them to avoid such impulsiveness in the future.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 223


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