THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 31

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 31

Was one of your fares a beautiful woman and two little girls perhaps?…

escape2-001

Aldona Afridi continues his defection to save Space Colony 1

“We must cross the Golden Horn to get reach Galata.”

The Golden Horn is an inlet of the Bosporus, the narrow band of water separating them from the mosque. The main bridge that connects Galata to Stamboul is choked with evening traffic and in the waters below is Image result for the bosporus waterwaynearly as busy, with floating forms of alternative transportation. Boatmen take their fares in the same dinghies driven by a hundred generations, bobbing side-by-side with a number of larger commuter boats.

A certain ferry commands Aldona’s attention. He scans each bow for the name Mother of the Black Sea, the ship of escape for (his wife) Fatima and the girls. It may be either under-sail or moored, are they aboard or are they ashore, in the safe confines of the mosque?

“There are many a ferry tonight, Saied,” the driver notices his passenger’s keen interest.

“Is the Mother of the Black Sea one of them?”

“Oh yes Saied, the largest of them, with the many lights no doubt. It is docked for the night.” He smiles fondly at the thought; the daily visits by the Black Sea ferryboat are a boon to the taxis.

“Docked this afternoon you say? Did you have any fares from that boat?”

“Oh my yes Saied, every docking brings many fares.”

“Was one of your fares a beautiful woman and two little girls perhaps?”

“No, but I may have seen such a group coming down the ramp, more baggage than my humble cab can carry. I think poor Muhammad XXVII may have gotten them, not good for his bad back.

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Turkish traffic

“Can we go faster; I need to get to the mosque yesterday?”

“We will kill more than pecking chickens…The world has gone mad for haste….”

“I don’t care; get us out of this stagnant mess.”

Never let it be said that a good taxi driver does not enjoy a challenge, especially if it involves driving obnoxiously; foot to pedal, hand on horn.

And the race is on!! The resourceful combination of a jet ski and a golf cart squirts through gaps barely wider than a bicycle, prompting Afridi to scrunch his shoulders and close his eyes. But as in old movie sight-gag, they magically appear on the other side, clear of the bottleneck.

So, leaving the trail of tangled auto, with their fist-shaking drivers behind, the Sultan Ahmet Mosque is mere minutes away in Galata, the commercial hub of Old Constantinople.

All in all, Afridi has time to loosen the noose around his neck, having left the hardest roads behind. That he lives to tell the tale is testimony to his firm resolve and evidence of his good fortune. When he was back in that cold river, bullets splashing like rain around him, his long-term welfare was undecided at best. Hopefully there will be sympathetic ears to hear his story, at the end of his cross-continental campaign, ending here in the land of the Great Crusades.

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THE RETURN TRIP

mother-of-the-black-sea-001

Episode 31


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Things That Kill, Not All from China – WIF Lists

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Urban Hazards

That Could

Kill You

The urban environment can be scary. While the dangers of the outdoors and wilderness survival are well publicized, city planners, businesses and the public alike struggle with how to mitigate the dangers with which the urban environment is fraught. Let us now explore the chilling survival dangers that may face us vulnerable humans in the wild, wild world that is the city. Eerily, some of the worst hazards come from attempts at charity, efficiency, or green innovation.

10. Monster Icicles

It is less well known than it should be that urban environments juxtapose walking areas for pedestrians with perfect places for icicles to drop from great heights. This can be deadly. In cities with cold winter climates, sufficient precipitation and the presence of tall buildings, such as St. Petersburg, Russia or New York, USA, a perfect storm exists that has, tragically, caused numerous injuries and in some cities, repeated fatalities. Environmental sustainability measures centered on making buildings more energy efficient have perversely created increased danger to the public in certain cases.

A 2010 article in the International Journal on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat describes how buildings built to be energy efficient (or renovated to be energy efficient) release less heat, saving energy but dramatically increasing the accumulation of potentially dangerous ice formations on the outside of skyscrapers. When temperatures rise, ice chunks fall to the city streets below. Icicles forming as water drips down the edges of buildings has caused tragic deaths, most notably in St. Petersburg, Russia where in a single year (2010) a shocking five people died and 150 were injured after being hit by huge falling icicles or ice chunks. Senseless carnage! Novosibirsk, the third most populated city in Russia, also saw a cold tragedy toward winter’s end in 2015 when a 20-year-old woman was killed by ice falling 14 stories from a canopy. Blame has been placed on officials for failing to ensure dangerous ice was removed.

9. Killer Dumpsters

Dumpster diving is a popular activity for the homeless, those trying to save a few dollars, or certain “freegans” trying to make a political or economic statement about thrown away food. Yet another kind of dumpster diving (for dumpster contents that are not garbage) have claimed several lives, prompting calls for a ban. These are the clothing donation bins that have caused seven deaths Canada-wide since 2015. The complicated mechanism of these bins, designed to prevent theft can crush people between metal plates aided by their own body weight as they reach into the bins in an attempt to retrieve clothing.

The problem is worst in Canada, for reasons still in question, but deaths have occurred elsewhere globally but in fewer numbers. People have been found dead in clothing donation bins, while in other cases, screams were heard but the victim died of crushing and suffocation before they could be helped. For example, help came too late to save one woman whose vehicle was still running beside a bin that she entered at night, only to get caught up and be left hanging from broken limbs. Efforts to curb the deaths include outright bans or voluntary removals of bins in certain jurisdictions, along with engineering team efforts to design a safer system.

8. Stray Bullet Strikes

Stray bullets can arise from surprising sources and travel in the strangest trajectories, killing people in cities who had nothing to do with either celebrations, gang violence, or warfare. Bullets travel farther than people commonly understand, less accurately than often believed, and can ricochet or achieve a lethal potential falling in an arc after being fired into the air. A growing number of people in the United States have lost their lives when a bullet entered their home or hit them in the street. Just one Baltimore street saw a three-year-old killed and then a nine-year-old girl injured by stray bullets in two separate incidents. These cases of accidental urban shootings are examples of a growing problem. Between March 2008 and February 2009, over 300 people were hit by stray bullets in the United States.

A variety of demographics were represented in an analysis of those hit, and those who were identified as responsible in stray bullet cases. Shockingly, children formed 30 percent of the victims. The urban threat is not primarily a street issue, as 68 percent of victims were struck indoors, including 40 percent being accidentally shot in their own homes. There is also an urgent need to stop the celebratory firing of live rounds at events such as New Years around the world. Senseless fatalities, such as the 2014 deaths of two children in the Philippines when bullets fired to celebrate New Years struck them in their home, serve as an example.

7. Airplane Crashes

Urban airplane crashes kill more people than you would think. Look out: the sky is not falling, but its contents just might. We might think of aircraft travel as safe, but when accidents happen, they are notably catastrophic a lot of the time. Furthermore, those on the ground are at risk, especially in cities. Tall buildings present easily struck obstacles, while lower buildings and roads may be hit if a runway is missed. Global aviation disaster records show around 200 crashes that caused fatalities on the ground. The single worst ground fatality event in aviation history resulting from an accident was the crash of an Air Africa Antonov-An-32B into a street market in the Democratic Republic of Congo that killed at least 225 and injured.

In 1992, a notable disaster took place when approximately 100 people in an apartment building in Amsterdam lost their lives as an airliner flew into the building, causing an immense fireball. Terrorism caused the most serious incidents, the 9/11 terrorist attacks killing more than 2,500 people on the ground. Large aircraft are also known to shed heavy parts, but a more common danger comes from small planes crashing in suburbs, such as one recent case in Southern California where four people in a house died when an 8-seater Cessna broke up in mid-air and caused the house to explode into a fiery mass upon impact.

6. Accidental Drug Exposures

The use of illegal “recreational” drugs presents significant risks to users. However, as prohibited street drugs get more potent and deadly, the potential for collateral damage in urban areas to non-users rises. The appearance of fentanyl as an illegal substance often used to cut less potent drugs poses an extreme threat to law enforcement and the public. An increasingly abused substance on the streets that is of medical origin, fentanyl often comes in a fine powder. If inhaled, even a tiny amount of this drug (that is around 50 times stronger than most forms of heroin) may dangerously inhibit respiratory function, easily causing death. In one case, first responders assisting an overdose victim themselves experienced symptoms of an overdose, prompting emergency management authorities to highlight the risks of accidental exposure.

If this was not enough, another substance originating from fentanyl, carfentanil, is around 100 times more potent than regular fentanyl. Terrifying! In addition to the growing threat caused by these rogue opioids proliferating in world cities, drug use poses other threats. Discarded needles are becoming ubiquitous, showing up in garbage cans, at bus stops, and in playgrounds, parks, and even townhouse common grounds. Accidental sticking with discarded needles may lead to exposure to bloodborne diseases if accidentally touched in a way that the skin of the unwitting handler is broken. Means of exposure include handling garbage, walking in grass, or picking up clothing in which a needle is present.

5. Extreme Smog

Major urban centres like Los Angeles, Beijing, and London continue to provoke health conditions and contain significant quantities of toxic smog. Extreme incidents involving smog have marked some of the low points of urban history, the London Killer Fog of 1952 being one of the most notorious examples.  The fog only lasted five days, but the chemical reaction between sulfur dioxide, natural fog, and nitrogen dioxide, creating highly corrosive sulfuric acid fumes in the city. Poisoned badly, 12,000 people died, while 150,000 were so sick they required hospitalization. By 1956, the Clean Air Act was passed to get control of the deadly risks of urban coal burning.

Despite the improvements, London today still has air that has become comparable to New Delhi or Beijing, two large cities known for their frequent air quality advisories. London’s problem with nitrogen dioxide continues, exacerbated by sunlight, which produces ozone pollution. Cities such as New Delhi, however, suffer from worse particulate pollution, yet the levels of potentially life-shortening nitrogen dioxide in London are significantly worse than conditions in a city as large as New York, putting a strain on health services. Air pollution in China causes around 1.1 million premature deaths annually, part of a constellation of problems that prompted Premier of the State Council Li Keqiang to declare “war on pollution” in China, with the intention of “making our skies blue again.” Efforts are focused on reducing steel production and coal-fired energy generation, which are key polluters.

4. Freak Urban Floods

Cities are often built in low-lying areas, while the removal of vegetation and construction beside watercourses in urban areas exacerbates flooding. Urban floods are especially dangerous due to the presence of electrical wires, with electrocution a noteworthy result of certain urban floods. Even in areas that might be thought of as being more dry, flash floods can pose an extraordinary risk in urban locales. In the large Saudi Arabian city Jeddah, 2009 and 2011 saw floods roar through the desert city, killing over 100 people. A lack of proper drainage and flood absorbing vegetation presents a challenge that must be addressed through better installation of natural infrastructure such as constructed wetlands and drains to slow and absorb floodwaters.

Furthermore, urban industry poses the threat of some very strange floods. Eight deaths resulted when thousands of gallons of beer were accidentally released into the streets in the “London Beer Flood” of 1814, while the “Great Boston Molasses Flood” in the United States in 1919 killed 21 people and injured 150, when a huge tank full of molasses broke and let out a wave of molasses 15 feet tall that rushed through streets and buildings, creating a half mile long swathe of destruction and death as people were trapped and drowned in the sticky substance.

3. Infrastructure Failures

We typically trust bridges, power pylons, overpasses, and roads to be well constructed. But a surprising number of deaths take place in cities around the world when the stress of everyday use does not match up to engineering projections and design provisions. Infrastructure collapses in developing countries or political jurisdictions without sufficient engineering codes are expected, but it may surprise people how many disasters have occurred in jurisdictions where infrastructure is thought to be quality and safe.

Between 1989 and 2000, more than 500 bridge failure disasters occurred in the United States! It is often not the result of an earthquakes, but floods or the negligence of a single motorist colliding with critical bridge support structures that sets off a collapse. Other times, engineering mistakes fail to take into account the enormous cumulative load from traffic, settling, and torsion or settling forces, leading to gradual failure or a sudden, catastrophic collapse. Collapses of overpasses above traffic are also some of the worst types of infrastructure collapse risks in cities. So, when you are traveling on a bridge, or below underpasses, you might want to think about the merits of not getting stuck under an overpass or on a bridge that possibly leads nowhere.

2. Asbestos Exposure

Urban exploring, where enthusiasts often illicitly traverse old factories, office towers, and tunnels, enjoys popularity but it can be very risky due to the chance of encountering asbestos. Asbestos, once welcomed as a problem solving “wonder material” with its fireproof insulator properties, is proof that the worst hazards are not always man-made, but natural in origin. Massive quantities of asbestos were once incorporated into urban structures of all kinds. Asbestos formed of minute, dangerous fibers can get into the lungs, where they cause serious inflammation and, eventually, lung cancer.

In the urban environment, almost any older building could be a dangerous storehouse of asbestos fibers. Even careful acts of urban exploration may cause ceilings, walls, stairwells, or old insulation panels to give way, releasing asbestos. No wonder asbestos exposure constitutes the number one threat to the urban explorer, according to Jason Robinson, who founded the Ohio Exploration Society. Not only urban explorers, but renovators and construction workers are confounded by the asbestos threat. Many urban construction projects have the potential to unleash massive quantities of asbestos when past construction work is disturbed. Dealing with asbestos is a liability but also a significant business activity, with workers suiting up until they resemble astronauts in a bid to get rid of the danger.

1. Gas Leaks & Carbon Monoxide

Colorless, odorless, and hard to notice, carbon monoxide remains an insidious and quick killer responsible for numerous deaths from small and large scale equipment failures and also installation mistakes. The substance is a dangerous, but formed of two completely harmless substances that make up your food, your body, and the air around you, albeit in a different molecular order. One molecule of carbon binds to one molecule of oxygen in a byproduct of certain combustion reactions, but the danger is much greater than the sum of the parts. Carbon monoxide is capable of physically replacing the oxygen in your bloodstream.

While taking the place of oxygen, this impostor chemical fails to provide the life sustaining support that oxygen lends. Eerily, the chemical has no taste, smell or color and is often not detected until death results, particularly if the victim is asleep. Many deaths have resulted from blocked chimneys, use of fuel burning machines indoors, or leaving a car running in an enclosed space. A number of deaths result every year, while lower levels of poisoning that cause headaches, nausea, and dizziness — or even seizures — may be misdiagnosed. Maintenance of equipment and avoidance of unsafe practices, followed by installation of monitors, are key ways to avoid fatal incidents.


Things That Kill,

Not All from China

WIF Lists

50 National Parks on a Dime – WIF 10 Cent Travel

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National Park

Road Trip

The road trip Olson designed is 14,498 miles long and it would take you about two months to complete the loop if you’re going “at a breakneck speed.” In other words, you’d better take a few months off work before getting on the road.

Here’s a list of all the national parks Olson included in his itinerary. Note that you can start the trip at any stop in the loop.

Click to Enlarge

Sadly, Alaska is too far out-of-the-way, thereby busting our budget.

 

 

By chance, or maybe not, we are beginning our journey at perhaps the single most breathtaking sight in these United States of America, the Grand Canyon. Keep in mind that the first hints of winter are creeping their way into the Northern tier of our country (and our origin is far from the circus that is our nation’s Capital).

So it is: From desert to desert, the American West to East and back again, the unparalleled vision of Theodore Roosevelt unfolds behind every rise, hill and mountain.

Keep in mind that it took passion and foresight for   to preserve and protect these wilderness and forested areas, by and through the office of the President. Without such sanctions, this trip may never have left the garage… just one more thing to be thankful for as we approach **Thanksgiving… but that is a story for another day.

So…

“What a place to run out of gas!”

** Special credit is due to the Creator, without which none of this would be possible.


National Park Road Trip –

WIF 10 Cent Travel

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #218

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #218

…Upon leaving Orange County California Judith is faced with one big uphill named the Rocky Mountains; sea level to fifteen thousand feet in a matter of 200 miles…

Rocky Mountain Railroad Excursion by Howard Fogg

The three day return trip is doubly melancholy for Judith Eastman; she leaves something behind and she doesn’t know what to expect when she gets home, having been gone over three weeks. She stares blankly out her window during the day, tosses and turns in her Pullman at night. Reality has indeed settled in.

If she were in a taxicab, she could tell the driver to step on it, but a train has its own plodding pace, 60 mph, downhill, full throttle. And sure as there is a downhill, there is an uphill to match. Upon leaving Orange County California you discover one big uphill named the Rocky Mountains; sea level to fifteen thousand feet in a matter of 200 miles. At the highest elevations, snow has taken over the mountain peaks, very pretty indeed, but two months from now, passage over the mountains is touch and go. Even a thousand horsepower has trouble with four feet of fresh fallen snow.

But once you have passed the Nevada Territory, the leeward deserts and wasteland, the locomotive is faced with a thousand miles of seemingly level terrain. Of course the quality of sight-seeing goes downhill with the land, with nothing but endless waves of windblown prairie grasses. Throw in the occasional bison and a rodent hunting hawk for every acre, you have the American heartland in a nutshell.

Judith just stares past it all, homesick and alone.

Rocky Mountain Steam Train by Max Jacquiard

What she finds at home will not comfort her.

“Harv is very sick,” tells brother, George Eastman, wearing a surgeon’s mask who greets her along with her old dog.

“Hello, Frisky,” she acknowledges her faithful pet. “Sick? Where? Paris?”

“No, he came home four days after you left, seemed fine and sorely happy to be back, even worked at the office for a couple of weeks.” George gathers the courage he will need. “Then that damned flu hit him from out of nowhere. I found him in bed, after the magazine called me wondering if I had seen him.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #218


page 203

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #186

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #186

…Don’t be givin’ me credit, James, I’m just going to be a simple country doctor…

Morning Rounds by Terry Redlin

At the reception following the commencement, thankfully in a tent cooled by large fans, the rest of Tallahassee gang gets the chance to congratulate the recognized star of said proceedings. A.O. Campbell is by no means totally comfortable with his celebrity. He has been merely singled out, by a President no less, but it took every fiber of his brain to make it to this point. Brain surgery is not in his future, though many men, women and children will come to him for what ails them and he will do his best not to fail them.

People like John and Martha Ferrell are just plain overjoyed, especially John, having seen his metamorphosis first hand.

James Ferrell has witnessed the severe prejudice that Negroes must endure, knowing that a Negroes lot may be one small step from imprisonment or death. Whether it be North or South, he is rightly impressed with the new professional and tells him so. “Put it there, buddy,” he extends his hand. “Not your ordinary commencement. Mine was so boring that half of the entire gymnasium fell asleep. Some guy named Robert Wynne, the then Postmaster General with a sedative speaking voice and speech to match. But you, my friend, have a flair for the dramatic and Teddy Roosevelt.”

“Don’t be givin’ me credit, James, I’m just going to be a simple country doctor.”

Country Lawyer-001  “Well, that makes me a country lawyer and if that country doctor ever needs my services, please do not hesitate to knock on my door; like if you amputate the wrong leg, or try to deliver a baby out a woman who’s not with child?”

“Pay no mind to him, Alpha, the world of law warps the mind, like a day old pine board on a hot day like today,” chides Abbey, uncomfortable when he is so flippant about such things.

Harv Pearson is not far away, catching the tail end of the conversation concerning his P-E J attorney. “You best take him up on his offer, Alpha. It’s better to have him with you, than against you. Anyone who can stare down a man like Hank Blount is all right in my book.”

“Not to mention keeping you from sailing on the Titanic,” James adds, taking any color from the involved faces, paled by the eeriness of a near miss. Harv and Judith were supposed to be aboard the fated ocean liner, but…

 (…“I believe you neglected to get us a press-pass from the White Star Line. ‘I’ll get you an exclusive’, is what you told us, ‘One of the Beacon Hill partners is the brother-in-law of Guggenheim’s sister’ or some such thing.”) At the time Harv and Judith were put out, stuck in dirty old London without a story they had counted on to boost sagging subscriptions. But in four days all is forgiven; a night in frigid Atlantic waters is transformed into a holiday in Scotland.


Alpha Omega M.D.

by RB McGrath

Episode #186


page 174

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #173

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #173

…The Calhoun County Sheriff applies handcuffs to Willy, without bothering to find out who was driving….

Protocol for accident situations is in its infancy, but one commonality involves involving the law.

“How come you dint tell him I was doin’ the drivin’, Willy? I ain’t goin’ to let you take a fall for me.”

Driver Licence (old)-001 “You ain’t got a license ta drive dis truck, Clete, justa car. They may throw you in jail.”

In the midst of noble intent, there comes a faint groan from the smashed auto, the first sign that it contains a driver. Willy leaps into action without hesitation, running to fetch a tire iron from its popped trunk.

“Get the bar from out the truck seat, quick like, I think we can free this door (grunting) pry on the bottom?”

“I think it’s workin’ Willy! Try a skinch lower–here she comes–pull with your hands.”

Car accident (old) That last effort finally swings the blood stained driver side door open. The painful moans are coming from the female passenger, not the driver, witnessed by his crushed skull. Between them, they pull him out, carefully placing his lifeless body to the side of the road. They are even more careful with the woman, who is suffering from unknown injuries; Willy had learned triage during his stint rescuing hurricane victims.

Shortly after completing the extrication, the police sedan peels onto the scene, a Calhoun County insignia painted on the door, closely followed by the salesman, who was true to his word. The first thing they see is Willy looking inside the expensive auto.

  “What do you think you are doing, boy?” The sheriff looks sideways at what he thinks are questionable motives.

   “The lady over there is askin’ for her bag,” he explains.

   “Are you sure you weren’t stealing it?” He is wary.

    “Please take her to a doctor. She says she is with child.”

        “Not before I take you in for killing Charlie Blount.” What a cruel coincidence.

          He applies handcuffs to Willy, without bothering to find out who was driving. “I hereby deputize you,” he pulls out a star from his pocket, handing it to the salesman. “Take both of them to the Calhoun County Jail. I’ll take care of Charlie’s girlfriend.”

          “Willy wasn’t drivin’, sheriff!” Clete is distraught.

          “Don’t be lying for that nigger, son. I have a witness who tells me different.”

 “He was tryin’ to move the truck off the wreck. I got us in this mess, when…”

 “I don’t want to hear it! Take both of them away.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

by Holly Crabapple

Episode #173


page 161

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #172

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #172

…The once speedy roadster goes no further. Its top is cut off like a can of vacuum packed food and there is no chance that whoever is under the rear deck of the Mack could have survived…

The sign had read “ROCK BLUFF 3 miles”. Had it not been for the narrowing of theOld Road sign-001 roadbed, he may not have noticed their wayward path.

“I’m sorry, Willy, I weren’t doin’ good though, eh?”

“You was, Clete.” Willy scouts for solid enough ground to make a Y-turn. If they put the truck on sand, they would be soon be on foot. “There! Puller in befo’ the bend……and give that horn a good pull.”

If there were a cemetery nearby, the occupants would think the gates of heaven were being opened, so loud the report.

Pulling off the road is easy, but Clete has yet to configure the gears to reverse and gropes unsuccessfully for the R slot in the H shift pattern. Willy has to help.

Driver School-001“It’s right… there!” One gets a “feel” for gears, which comes with repetition.

Flush with success, Clete causes the truck to lurch backward, without the recommended pull on the air horn and before Willy can confirm a previously empty roadway. It had been… ten seconds before.

From out of the roar of the 100 horsepower comes the screeching crunch of metal, the same novel chorus of sounds being repeated throughout the country. The only difference is that the Mack is an immovable object.

     The once speedy roadster goes no further. Its top is cut off like a can of vacuum packed food and there is no chance that whoever is under the rear deck of the Mack could have survived. There is equally little chance that they can pull forward, but they try anyway, with Willy at the wheel. The truck will not loosen its grip; they can only drag the Chadwick Six along and under.

Clete waves off any further attempts to free the shiny white auto, when a Model T headed for Rock Bluff stops to help.

“My God, is anyone alive in there?” asks what appears to be a traveling salesman, peering into a slight opening spewing smoke and steam.

“Ain’t heard nothin’ since they run into us, goin’ faster than Casey Jones’ train.” Clete describes what he did not see.

 “When did this happen?”

  “Ain’t been ten minutes – we’re tryin’ to get away from the car.” (fearing an explosion)

  “You were going to cut and run?” accuses the confused man.

   “Oh, nosir, nosir, we hada see ifin anybody is livin,” pleads Willy, already flustered and distraught.

   “Well, I am going back to Bristol to locate the proper authorities. I believe it is the Liberty County seat. So I recommend you wait here for us to return.” It is a stern warning by a concerned citizen, just a little bit suspicious of a Negro driving a new truck. For better or worse, he is mistaken.

Episode-001


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #172


page 160

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #171

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #171

… Willy Campbell no sooner wants to revisit those days at Fort Sumter South than modern-day Israelites have interest in building pyramids in Egypt…

Willy and Clete have a good two hours work unloading Love material and loading Blount goods, with Clete having to shoulder much of the work. It seems that because of Willy’s parentage, he is not allowed inside any building, except the outhouse. Come to think about it, they have not seen a single dark skinned person since they got here, unheard of in the South.

Welcone to-001

“Let’s get out of this place, Willy, it gives me the creeps.” Not only is Clete exhausted, he is perplexed. In Quincy, Willy is a respected member of the community. Hank Blount makes it clear that he or any other Negro would not be welcome in the future.

Fort Sumter-001The best sight for Willy, in the past three hours, is Blountstown in the rear view mirrors. Memories from his days at Fort Sumter South had been confined to unpleasant late night dreams… until he meets Hank Blount. The icy stare that pretends Willy is not there, speaking to a third party to communicate, being refereed to as “those people”, are reminiscent of the management skills of Jefferson Smythwick.

  He no sooner wants to revisit those days than modern-day Israelites have interest in building pyramids in Egypt.

He is so disturbed, in fact, those five miles out of Hell Town, he pulls over to give Clete his big chance at navigating the Mack. It’s his lack of concentration, not confidence in Clete that prompts him to do so. No matter why, Clete is like a kid in at a candy jar. If he can drive his brother’s Peerless (auto), this should be easy.

But there is a difference between the manual driving of the machine and knowing where you are going. Willy is so busy watching Clete’s shifting mechanics that he doesn’t see him veer to the left (north) at the first fork in the road. The sign had read “ROCK BLUFF 3 miles”. Had it not been for the narrowing of the roadbed, he may not have noticed their wayward path.

“We ain’t headed fo Quincy, Clete, musta zigged when we shoulda zagged. We’ll hafta git this beast turned ‘round.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Barn at the Fork in the Road by Betty Sue

Barn at the Fork in the Road by Betty Sue

Episode #171


page 159

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #170

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #170

… The Blountstown General Store is considering Love Dairies as sole supplier of milk and associated products, as well as growing demand for Savannah Cigar tobacco products…

Driver School-001

Willy can tell the difference in power and handling from the 1906 model that he drives, mostly on hills where, even fully loaded, they do not bog down.

“I be puttin’ her in a lower gear, Clete, like this,” he pumps his left leg twice on the left peddle, while shifting a stick back towards him. The sound of the engine becomes more earnest, but their speed of 15 miles per hour is maintained.

“That looks easy ‘nough, Willy. When are you goin’ to let me take the wheel?”

“Somewhere on the way back, likely on that open stretch we passed a ways ago.” He would rather do all the driving, but that defeats the purpose of training.

Welcone to-001This day they have Road 12 to themselves. The route begins to wind close to Blountstown, calling for caution, especially on the inside of corners. On roads designed for wagons and autos, there is not room for anything but the Mack truck. Whenever Willy cannot see around a corner, he pulls on the air horn cord. That usually keeps the way clear.

Once safely within the Blountstown village limits, they locate the new center for directions in towns across the country; the gas/service station replaces the local diner. There is usually one per town, as is the case in this one on the Apalachicola River. With a grunt and a mumble, a grease smeared hand points to Blountstown General Store, which is next to the Blountstown Barber Shop on one side and the Blountstown Saloon on the other. One wonders who either founded or owns the town. You are right.

The general store is considering Love Dairies as sole supplier of milk and associated products, as well as growing demand for Savannah Cigars-001Savannah Cigar tobacco products. Both are important staples to this typical mill town, but mill owner, Hank (you guessed it) Blount, wishes this fair priced and prompt company could supply a third staple Love Dairies2-001for his workers: whiskey.

If it were not for the profitable backhaul, which is the avoidance of running an empty truck back to warehouse, bartered quantities of lumber and flour; produced in Blountstown with the aid of rushing river water, channeled through paddle wheel and electric generator (Blountstown Power & Light), dealing with Hank Blount would have been out of the question. Herb Love has heard disturbing rumblings from the city, 25 mile southwest of Quincy, but images of a thousand families in need of nourishment tilts his better judgment.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Company Town-001

Episode #170


page 158

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #169

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #169

…Now, this is how you drive a truck: this is the throttle, that the brake and always look in both directions when you come to a place where another road meets the one you’re on…

WIF Travel-001

Ten Cents on the Dollar

Willy Campbell is pretty darn good at most of the things he does. He is best at leading by example; watch me and you will see how to do it. Wrapping those pungent Loyal Campbells is an example; this is how you do it: pick a leaf from the premium drying rack, place 2 ounces of blend 23, fold it into a cylinder, etc… and you get a perfect cigar. Now, this is how you drive a truck: this is the throttle, that the brake and always look in both directions when you come to a place where another road meets the one you’re on. What? Well, whoever gets to that point first can go through first, unless you are turning left, then the person to the right does, if he is going straight. What? Polite drivers always signal which direction they are going, with their left arm. What if they don’t? Then you guess and hope you are right.

The preceding instructions are not the words of Willy Campbell, who makes a mean cigar, but could not describe the rules of the road if he wanted to; there are no official rules, although there is certainly the right way and the wrong way. He will show Clete Wilsup the right way, on the way out to Blountstown. There should not be many motorcars on the road on a Saturday morning, maybe just enough to get the feel for sharing the road.

Map-001 It is late summer and the roadbeds are good and dry, as opposed to wet and muddy when travel will build character or fray your nerves. You do not get a choice of which one you end up with. Today is a good day for a novice.

The new Mack truck was delivered last week and has not been running more than five hours since. It has that “new” smell, a smell that defies description; it just smells “new”. The relatively veteran Willy can tell the difference in power and handling from the 1906 model that he drives, mostly on hills where, even fully loaded, they do not bog down.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #169


page 157