Featured

REDWING

 

 

blog photo 99 Red wing 2WHAT IT IS

In a small motel a few miles off Highway 61 Wagner and Lehman sat outside their crummy little room watching the redwings snap up insects in the Louisiana dusk. Wagner was sipping a Sazerac and playing with his cigar when Lehman jumped up off his stiff plastic chair, pointing across the road. Someone was watching them!

A few will placed billboards and road signs was all the cover twelve state troopers needed to pounce on the unsuspecting pair. Wagner shrugged off Lehman’s paranoia, deciding instead on another Sazerac. Just as he was pushing the motel door open, a black Chevy van peeled into the parking lot burning  rubber off the nearly bald tires. A pale dishevelled Tiny LeBlanc yelled at them to get in and within seconds the trio was gone.

WHAT IT IS NOT

Among the many oddities surrounding the kidnapping of Cricket and Sapphire, none more interested Cinder Willoughby than what happened back in Wanapitei. A note written on the side of Slim Clemons’ motorhome somehow led Davy Doucet to form a search party to a nearby railyard where evidence suggested the kidnapped pair may be in Beaver County, Pennsylvania.

Well…Willoughby got his answer from Doucet as the makeshift search headquarters was disbanded. It seems some months ago Doucet was strolling along a rail line near Amherst, Nova Scotia and as he walked the line through a swampy area,  a throng of red winged black birds took to the skies after being disturbed by Dizzy and Bella Barnhart monotonously repeating the motorhome message as they walked along the railroad tracks.

 

 

 

MONARCH

 

 

 

 

 

blog photo 116 MonarchWHAT IT IS

Miles Hobbson watched the monarch touch down briefly on each car, first an Audi, then a Lexus , a Mercedes, another Mercedes, a Jaguar and finally a BMW. The DOCTOR’S ONLY parking lot was full of high end cars and it was odd seeing an old lady struggle across the lot weighed down by several dollar store bags with the bold words REUSE/RECYCLE written on them, REDUCE apparently dropped from the formula. Both ends of hyper-consumerism Hobbson thought.

Hobbson’s political career was about to get a fierce dose of reality when at the next Beaver Falls council meeting he would introduce several sweeping reforms. Lower municipal taxes, a reduced work week for municipal workers, measures to stabilize or decrease the community’s population and business tax incentives for companies implementing a shorter work week. Also high on Hobbson’s agenda would be the establishment of the Beaver Falls League, an army of volunteers to promote continuing education, environmental clean-up, and all manner of innovative social activism. Hobbson already had a strong ally in Slim Clemons who agreed to offer his entire work force at the new solar panel factory flexible work hours where they were given the choice to work a week consisting of 16, 24 or 32 hours.

Hobbson watched as the monarch touched down on a Maserati, hovered awkwardly, got blown around uncontrollably by the wind, righted itself, landed on a Lincoln, then flew haphazardly down a nearby street…Hobbson hoped this was not a blueprint for his political career.

WHAT IT IS NOT

It took Mark Malloch a few days to come out of the coma and when he did he seemed surprising lucid to the nurses and doctors watching over him. His lucidity didn’t last long however, a strange occurrence outside his hospital window sent Malloch into a downward spiral.

Malloch’s doctors and nurses were Pratt and Whitney doctors and nurses who were directed to protect valuable company assets like Mr. Malloch. During his initial examination after coming to, Malloch showed signs of some disorientation but his condition elevated when a monarch butterfly landed on the ledge outside his window. Malloch insisted the monarch spoke to him…in English with a Spanish accent, most likely Mexican. DON’T DO IT, the monarch repeated twice before flying off, returned briefly, JUST DON’T DO IT. The psychiatric ward was notified and Malloch wheeled down the hallway.

 

BAD HAIR DAY

 

 

 

 

 

blog photo 115 Bad Hair DayWHAT IT IS

We all have bad hair days: this is Margaret’s.

Margaret Brookside tried to tough it out with her new boss, Miles Hobbson, but the two just didn’t have the chemistry required to operate a smooth office environment. To Margaret’s eye, Hobbson didn’t need just an administrative assistant, but it was vital for him to have an ideological partner, someone who saw the world through the same pair of glasses, and who offered undying loyalty to his plans and ideas. Besides, he seemed a rather mysterious man who’d show up in the strangest of places.

It was a Monday, mid morning, Margaret was once again day dreaming about taking the Amtrak to New Orleans, an obsession she indulged in ever since Ellie and the girls had a run in with Tiny LeBlanc. The tranquil office was interrupted by a screaming match between Hobbson and a Beaver Falls municipal engineer. The mayor wanted smaller sewer pipes for an upcoming infrastructure project, the engineer disagreed and the two battled it out for twenty minutes.

Margaret knew it was time. She got up from her desk, checked her look in the mirror…acceptable hair…took the letter of resignation from her desk and slipped it under the mayor’s door.

WHAT IT IS NOT

This is Sofia Zuniga’s bad hair day.

Bokamoso Jacobs disappeared from the Chapleau Game Preserve a few months ago, leaving Sofia to operate the community as best she could. The enormity of running the day to day affairs was starting to wear Sofia down and this was made much worse with the recent discovery of the Three Chipmunk Ridge and all the publicity and notoriety that it brought to the community.

It was a Monday, mid morning, the chipmunks were strutting around the compound, spitting sunflower seed husks all over Sofia’s well manicured garden and telling off colored red squirrel jokes. A helicopter, the fourth this week, was due to land within the hour and that is when Sofia decided she had enough.

It took several hours, but with help of most of the community Sofia had managed to pack up the basic necessities and they all vanished deeper into the forest, leaving only the three chipmunks behind scratching their little chipmunk heads.

ELLIE’S STORY CONTINUES

 

 

 

 

 

 

0B2A3965AEllie learned the hard way her telekinesis abilities, though remarkable, were not limitless. Standing on top of the main tower on the Anges L Macdonald bridge, it was Ellie’s intention to transport herself to the Shetland Islands, some four thousand kilometers away. A soggy and nearly frozen Ellie was picked up by a passing tugboat twenty kilometers outside of Halifax harbour and dropped off at the very same pier her adventures began several years ago.

The fairy gave Ellie instructions to acquire thirty seven strands of chin whiskers from Alban, a wise and noble goat living near Setter on the main island. A miniscule piece of his whisker sewn into a black velvet hood would neutralize the hoods powers and allow teddy bears to continue using telepathy and telekinesis.

Ellie needed to get across the Atlantic and her old friend Slim Clemons came through in spades as one of his container ships was leaving Halifax in a few days bound for Oslo, Norway. The captain told Ellie he could come within ten nautical miles of the Shetland Islands but Ellie would have to find her own way ashore.

Having never seen a teddy bear before, Alban was a bit bewildered, but he turned out to be a fine goat, an empathetic goat with a sincere desire to help Ellie. He gladly donated his chin whiskers and wished Ellie all the best.

Ellie grabbed the same freighter back to Halifax and made her way to Flat Rock Indiana where a small  manufacturer, Black Velvet Garments, had the sole contract with INSECT to supply them with hoods. Slim, who owner the company, promised Ellie a tour of the facility upon her arrival.

 

DAMSELS & DRAGONS

 

 

 

 

 

blog photo 114 Cool InsectWHAT IT IS

The nurse at the small outpatient clinic said he’d be fine, a few more minutes with the doctor and they could see one another. The morning started out pretty much like any other, but quickly went from worse to…well…worser!

Williams kept looking up the driveway, waiting for Johnson to appear and by the time the clock struck 8 AM, a black mini-van appeared through the drizzle and was soon parked beside the cabin. Williams recently bought the cabin from his brother-in-law, who specialized in restoring houses destroyed or nearly destroyed by fire.

Johnson arrived to a beaming Williams who was extremely anxious to show him around his property. As Johnson retrieved his cabin-warming gift from the back of the van, Williams rushed him a steaming cup of coffee.

Once inside, Johnson revealed a John MacWhirter print to Williams’ enthusiastic approval and the two placed the print in various locations around the cabin to best determine its final resting place. This is about the time the first damselfly showed up, then a second, a third and so on. With fly swatters in hand, the fight was on: Williams and Johnson flung themselves about the cabin with great abandon in an effort to squish these annoyances, but they killed not one. In a fit of frustration, Williams pick up a cast iron frying pan, hurled it across the kitchen at a petite blue/green damselfly but instead hit Johnson on the side of the head…fortunately the clinic was only a few minutes away.

WHAT IT IS NOT

Jamie McCormik, Basil McCormik’s second cousin twice removed…whatever that means…said he could wait until Saturday morning, noon at the latest, before he’d fill in the sinkhole Basil had fallen into some weeks before. Basil would be up Friday, right after work, he only needed an hour down in the hole and Jamie could take it from there.

When Basil arrived, two gravel trucks and three farm tractors surrounded the sinkhole. The machinery bellowed thick black smoke into the air, eager to start the job at hand while their operators stood in circle smoking cigarettes and enjoying coffee. On Basil’s earlier, abrupt decent down the sinkhole, he discovered an odd sheet of metal, it was not real metal, more like a metal-like substance with mathematical symbols etched into it. Twenty petrified damsel and dragon flies were affixed to it and formed a circle surrounding the symbols.

Basil made his way to where he stowed his treasure, but the insects had been removed leaving only the sheet of symbols for him to retrieve.

 

 

CAMERA BIRD

 

 

 

 

 

blog photo 113 Bird on CameraWHAT IT IS

It took awhile for the apprehension to dissipate. An innocent walk down their country road would often led Cricket and Sapphire to lean into one another as they ventured further from their home until they abruptly cut the walk short and hastily retreated to the house. The days and weeks marched on and as they did, the siblings found themselves in a familiar, comfortable state of mind, to the point of accepting a neighbour’s invitation to drop by and photograph some song birds visiting the feeders. It was with great amusement when this little song sparrow landed on Sapphire’s camera, waiting for the chance to get her photo taken.

WHAT IT IS NOT

Frank James was going it alone on Cape Breton Island; Basil McCormik had to get back to work on PEI and Mutt Jefferson was rolling down Hwy. 401, but not before leaving James a valuable asset to help in his search for Dizzy and Bella. James tracked down the pair to a rural area near Lennox Passage. The local authorities believed they were headed to Canso Nova Scotia when they were spotted in a field on the Horseshoe Road off Hwy. 206. Therein lied James’ dilemma, he could not stakeout both ends of the horseshoe because he was by himself, so he rigged up Jefferson’s trained song sparrow and camera. Mutt had trained the little dude to stomp on the camera’s shutter whenever he saw something unusual. So, with James at one end of the horseshoe and the sparrow at the other, they patiently laid in wait.

 

THE ROCK

 

 

 

 

 

blog photo 112 Rock (2)WHAT IT IS

Down a dusty little road in Copenhagen Township beside a trickle of a stream is where the modest ceremony unfolded. Graham and a handful of other INSECT agents stood in a circle around an innocuous igneous hunk of rock with a bald nervous looking fella leaning uncomfortably against the rock. After all the assembled guests were accounted for, the nervous dude motioned Graham to step forward where he donned an electronic helmet and began swearing an oath of allegiance. The oath was long and rambling, finally ending when Graham was handed a glass vile of sweet water, which he took in his left hand and smashed it against the rock. INSECT now had its new interim leader.

WHAT IT IS NOT

The photographer wanted to see it all: where the chipmunks slept, where they ate, where they stomped their little chipmunk feet and especially where they found the deposits of rare earth minerals. The prestigious magazine, Business Today, was doing a detailed feature on the Three Chipmunk Ridge and the amigos who discovered the deposits.

As the story goes, the munks and their human partner had just broke camp in the morning and as munk No.1 was slamming a white pine cone against this rock, the scattering seeds led No.2 munk to chase down his breakfast into the unusual rock formation holding the deposits. The celebrations were on…the munks well on their was to becoming world famous…at least in geological circles.

 

BLACK SQUIRREL

 

 

 

 

 

blog photo 111 Black SquirrelWHAT IT IS

Like many accomplished artists Mildred Duck was not satisfied resting on her laurels. Although she had been wooed by several producers with deep pockets to stage another musical, Mildred was hell bent on spreading her wings into the uncertain genre of the drama. Settling on a script from the unknown immigrant writer, Fernandez Rodriguez who settled in Pogamasing Ontario, Mildred was once again forging ahead on constructing a suitable cast and crew for her production. The Crane Hill Massacre tells the story of the struggles between mine developers and the natural world at the turn of the century in Northern Ontario. Pictured here is the black squirrel Mildred chose to be the narrator of this gripping tale.

WHAT IT IS NOT

They really didn’t want to hurt the little fella, they just wanted him to stop raiding the store’s basement and making off with all the sunflower seeds. They tried everything…nothing worked…not the live trap, not the scary music or uncle Tim sleeping in the basement…he was a smart one. This all landed on Miles Hobbson’s lap because he was visiting the store one Sunday afternoon in a campaign-style swing through the county and the owners gave him an earful. Hobbson enlisted the help of his old friend Cinder Willoughby, who often boasted he never met a black squirrel he couldn’t corral.

Willoughby was true to his word and on the first day a cheeky black squirrel was angrily pacing up and down in a small cat cage. Willoughby brought along Mutt Jefferson’s trained red squirrel and because the two species rarely see eye to eye, it was a simple job to get the black one to chase the red one into a two door cage and presto…one captured black squirrel.