THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 105

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 105

…“Hey look, this is the ending to Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony!” Only Cel would know that. It was underneath a brochure of the 1893 Columbian Exposition…

columbian-exposition

Sam & Cel discuss the antiquities room aboard the dormant NEWFOUNDLANDER.

“The pristine state of this stuff leads me to believe that they are the originals, not poached from a crypt. Whether Egypt or Mesopotamia, these have not seen the harsh exposure of the centuries since,” Celeste postulates.

Image result for plunder artwork

“Pirates” by Migy

“I guess that this explains which direction these pirates were heading?”

“Perhaps, but it seems that they have been going forth and back for a minimum of 5000 years.”

“Would you call these artifacts stolen goods?”

“They did not steal this stuff. If they had pilfering in mind, this hold would be filled with more and much of it would be gold.”

“What if gold is as common as sand is on Earth,” Sampson McKinney is skeptical as to the motives employed by such an advanced race.

”You’ve got me there, but if you really put this into the proper perspective, why would a superior civilization bother with plunder. They may be in the midst of determining if Earth is worth the bother.” She points out some other non-Earth items. “Look at this kaleidoscope thing; have you ever seen anything like it? Or this clay creature doesn’t look like any specie I know of.”

“Alright, I’ll cut them some slack, but they have some things that may have changed the course of history, or if our archaeologists had seen this stash, pieces of unrecorded history would be easier to decipher. “

Panning the circular room in review Celeste relents, “Yes these things would set some theories on their ear, but you have to view space travelers as benevolent, until they prove otherwise. The way they have cared for it, they had intended on putting them back where they found them.”

“Your compassionate side is why we make a good team. Me and say, Rick Stanley, would be treating these guys like petty thieves and they’d be lucky to be dead. You, on the other hand, always give people the benefit of the doubt and I have to make sure you don’t take any wooden nickels. How many nickels is that Khufu equal to?’

kill_devil_hills_banner“Nothing if their beaches are made of gold dust.”

“Wouldn’t the Golden Strand or Kill Devil Hills North Carolina  look mighty fine right about now?”

“Hey look, this is the ending to Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony!” Only Celeste would know that. It was underneath a brochure of the 1893 Columbian Exposition.

“The Newfoundlian equivalent to B minor probably starts up these rusty engines up… on the count of 3………” Is Sampson kidding?


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Episode 105


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 104

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 104

…“Khufu,” she singles out a solid gold bust!

“God bless you.”

“That would be Cheops to you Sam.”…

cheops

The Pyramids of Cheops at Giza by Moonlight By Duane Michals

“I just wonder, work with me here, that these Newfoundlians communicated through what we think as music?”

“TAPS is the only tune these guys were singing.”

“That is cruel Sam, after all we may be found someday, decomposed in each other’s’ arms, and LONG GONE LONESOME BLUES will be playing in the background.”

“So sorry my diminutive friends,” he backs down from his frivolous speak. “I don’t think they know what hit ‘em.”

mystery-room

Escape Games Mystery Rooms

The single most important thing that the McKinneys and the crew of the NEWFOUNDLANDER do not share, despite sharing presumably an identical environment, is Sam, Cel & bun-in-the-oven is alive and thankfully well. No killer virus present; the tried and true maxim of cause & effect has eluded the spaceship’s new tenants.

After gaining admittance to the mystery room, soft indirect lighting reveals the stowage function of the space, as Celeste had predicted. It possesses all the peculiarities of a storeroom, only without the dust that normally collects on legacy items, on a ship of this size, on a planet where dust is a staple.

Equally unique is its relative emptiness. Why is such a space on an interstellar vehicle so underutilized? The answer to that question may have to do with the muted lighting and filtered environment.

“Does this remind you of museum storage room, where incomplete dinosaur skeletons wait for missing pieces?”

fourth-dynastyAt the precise moment they near some items, mostly likely activated by a motion sensor, pre-focused shafts of light appear.

“Fourth Dynasty Egyptian.”

“Are you serious,” Sam asks?

Statue of Khufu in the Cairo Museum

Statue of Khufu

His versatile wife numbers Egyptology as an educational pursuit during her college career. “Khufu!” she single out a solid gold bust.

“God bless you.”

cheops-adventure“That would be Cheops to you Sam.” He was not making fun, merely his lack of similar expertise. “There are references to this bust, but no one has ever seen it… 4500 year old solid gold.”

Another shaft of light is cast upon, “And what is this?”

“Another piece of the Palermo Stone, I don’t think this one has been catalogued. Do you see the similarities between Egyptian writing and the Newfoundlian Scrpit?”

Image result for code of hammurabi drawing“English grammar is confusing enough.”

“That is the Code of Hammurabi,” she points to the writing on a Diorite stone tablet, nearby, “Cuneiform writing for damn sure!!!!!!”

And though he is not as versed in Egyptian antiquity, in the manner and scope of his encyclopedic partner, he is not completely devoid of ancient historical knowledge. “The Code of Hammurabi is from 21st Century B.C. Babylon, kind of a wage scale and social ranking for old-time Near East lawmakers.”

“Very good Sammy Mac and here I thought that space had vacated your unrelated memories; there is more than g-force and time travel up in that brain of yours.”

He is used to her deriding his seeming lack of culture, not that she is entirely wrong.


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Episode 104


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 103

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 103

…“Is that the last one?” It so happens that Sampson’s mother’s brother’s nephew was an undertaker back on Earth…

mortician_by_ezekielcrowe

The Mortician by Ezekiel Crowe deviantart.com

With Sampson obsessed by the microcosm/engine room, Celeste’s medical training has shouldered the grizzly task of logging/identifying the many vacuous uniforms that held the long-dead Newfoundlian  crew. She was determined to give them a proper burial outside the ship, if that was their custom or not. “We will not lose our humanity out here Sam. If Earth’s flag is to be planted here, we will have given a good account of our kind.”

grave-digger-by-karyn

Grave Digger by Karyn

Sammy Mac does not spend all his time tinkering with other civilizations high-tech machinations, lest he ignore his part in the burial process or his marital good fortune. He does the digging; he does the hauling he gathers rocks for marking the mass grave, made to hold the four score Newfoundlians in total.

“Is that the last one?” It so happens that Sampson’s mother’s brother’s nephew was an undertaker back on Earth and young Sam would help with the family business while visiting. That experience gave him the inspiration to do something else with his life, like join the Air Force & ultimately NASA.

“Yes and no,” she answers.

“Come on Celeste, my bad back is flaring up.”

“You don’t have a bad back and I saved back the one we deemed as Newfoundlian Commander for posterity, he is in their supposed infirmary.

“Also, there is one cabin I could not get into. From what I can tell, the door is jammed.”

“Let’s take a look at it; I don’t want to have to do this again.”

“You were so busy in the engine room, I didn’t tell you about a lower level I found,” she admits as she guides them down a hidden passage.

“But we are on ground level??????”watch-your-head

“I know…….watch your……..”

Thuddddddd!!!!

“…head. It’s pretty cramped down here.”

“Thanks for the warning pal,” he rubs his forehead.

“I figure this is life-support and storage, notice the ducting?”

“My head did.”

At the end of the narrow hall, they come to the jammed door. It was like every other one on the ship, but it does respond to Celeste’s black onyx decoder-scrambler-door-opener or even flinch at the pinging note A of the tuning fork.

“I’ve tried every code I know, or have guessed,” she demonstrates thumb movements she has used before.

A typically male reaction to a stuck door is to use the escalating force method, which his Biblical (minus the “p”) namesake exhibits time and again; this Sampson does not have long hair or the strength needed here.

“Just a second Honey,” Celeste pauses to clear her throat. From out of her voice box comes out an acceptable middle C.

Low and behold the utilitarian slide-by opens w-i-d-e.


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 103


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 102

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 102

…With each successive voyeuristic visual journey, the microcosm reveals more about its workings, in time-lapse speed…

Related image

stardust-acdemy.deviantart.com

“Mission Control, are you seeing what we’re seeing? It isn’t very big Braden but it’s matching our speed right down to a fraction,” Rick Stanley has been trying to outdistance New Mayflower from the object.

“Braden and Roy are out at the ranch, you’ll have to settle for me,” a NASA tech explains. “Can you send us a picture?”

“It is staying out of range, but it isn’t acting very natural, staying ten thousand meters back.”

“It sounds like you picked up an echo Rick. There shouldn’t be any reason for concern, but let us know if it starts acting funny.”

“The thing popped out of nowhere about 3 milldos out.”

Similar false echoes have been plaguing radar for most of its 120 year existence, proving that the human eye or camera lenses are more reliable.

The incident is logged but not prioritized; on to Mars.

meanwhile-caption-001

Sampson McKinney uses a recording of the musical (earth) tone of A to close the door to the NEWFOUNDLANDER’s power plant for the fifth time since stumbling on the wonders’ of its miniature Universe. With each successive voyeuristic visual journey, the microcosm reveals more about its workings, in time-lapse speed.

Image result for time lapse gif

The most profound discovery about this futuristic kinescope has to do with its duality. Not only is it the source of immense power, of which 1/1014  is being used, it also serves as a laboratory to further understand the mechanics of Universal development.

And though he has not mastered anything about it or conceives its technology, he is convinced that he is dealing with a four galaxy section in this quadrant of space that includes the Milky Way. He theorizes that the Newfoundlians navigate that very expanse both by ship {this} and out of body. There are markings herein, much like old-school pins on a mapRelated image and in other locations, figurinesstar-trek-50th-kirk-and-spock-vinyl-figurine-2 perhaps to indicate solar systems that have developed life.

Whether real or growing in this marvelous vessel, hey isn’t that Earth just East of Canis Major? —


THE RETURN TRIP

canis_major

Canis Major as depicted in Urania’s Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c.1825.

Episode 102


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 101

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 101

…”I don’t know what I love, been chasing after the brass ring so long, I have lost track of my North Star.”

Roy points to the early night sky and Polaris, the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor…

north-star

“I have been avoiding my fiancée, some boring media banquet he wanted me to go to. Sometimes he treats me like a station commodity, not a future wife.”

“It sounds like you don’t see things his way.” Roy dares to test her loyalty.

“We are speaking different languages these days” True feelings bubble to the surface. “I think I have become his pet project, but that’s why I have a talent agent wedding-invite-001and I have no need of two.”

“Have you set a wedding date,” he forces the issue?

“A date, we’ve had 4 June dates and counting; not in the same year and I have managed to tiptoe into July every time,” like it is a Girl Scout badge. “Aren’t you going to ask me if I love him? I don’t know what I love, been chasing after the brass ring so long, I have lost track of my North Star.”

Roy points to the early night sky and Polaris, the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor.

Francine nods and goes on,“He has done a lot for me, but we are losing touch, both kinds.”

“Sometimes that happens,” like Roy has ever been serious about a girl since his high school physics teacher.

interuptus

Deke and Gus choose this moment to settle a dispute, “Didn’t you choose Mom & Dad to go to Mars because they were the best astronauts for the job? Bobby says that his Dad told him that it was for advertising.publicity-stunt

“That would be a publicity stunt, Gus and no that is false. A husband/wife team was first put on the table years ago,” Roy directs his recollection at Bobby.

“My father said they flat-out screwed up,” another 15 year old’s blather.

Francine steps in, “I think your father should get his facts straight! Who is he to say something like that?”

talk-bubble-001Roy leans over to whisper in her ear. “His father is the chairman of the Senate Space Appropriation Committee.”

“Then he needs to get his facts straight, nobody screwed up here.”

“What Miss Bouchette means is that the Senator from Oklahoma needs to reconsider his position, pending the results of our internal investigation.” He puts his arm around Bobby’s scrawny neck. “The entire world is rallying in support of Gus’ Mom & Dad.”

“THE 1st people on Mars and we are damned proud of them!!!” punctuates Deke, who has been encouraged never to swear… but there are exceptions.

Endless Space Video Game

Adolescent squabbles are best settled over high-tech video consoles. Bobby apologizes to the adults and off they go to the house.

“Thank you for defending Sampson & Celeste with such vigor.”

“I hope to have the privilege of meeting them soon,” she is sincere.

“I’ll hold you to that.”


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Episode 101


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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.”


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Episode 99


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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.

Related image

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


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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


page 91

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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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