blog photo 212 flyWHAT IT IS

A Caribbean vacation was exactly what Sapphire and Cricket needed after the shoot out captured the killer of their parents. With the trial over and the man locked away, it was time to put the whole experience behind them.

Nevis possessed the tranquil lifestyle and laid back vibe they were looking for, so with suitcases packed and flights booked Sapphire and Cricket soon found themselves walking along Pinney’s road, watching the soft waves push against the sandy shoreline. Bathed in the warm sun and sweet ocean breeze caused both to reflect on recent events and perhaps it was this susceptibility  that led the pair off the main road into a tiny cluster of brightly colored houses where children ran around at break-neck speed and adults lingered on the street side porches. One house in particular caught Sapphire’s eye with its deep marine blue wood shingles and brilliant yellow trim and its hand written sign in the front window….FORTUNES READ!

Aquena greeted the couple warmly, but instinctively knew it was Sapphire who believed in her gifts. Sapphire was ushered into a darkened back room and shown nine decks of cards, of which three had to be chosen. Three cards, one from each deck, must be selected and given to Aquena face down. She then left the room leaving Sapphire to complete her instructions.

It seemed like forever, but Aquena returned and held her hands over the three cards, explaining two cards were journey cards and the third and most important, was the destiny card. She turned them over slowly and with great purpose. The first a desolate, dry image; perhaps a desert. The second a bridge and the final card was an image of a pale, sickly man holding a child’s teddy bear in his arms, the teddy bear looking exactly like Ellie. The loud buzzing sound of a housefly and Aquena’s forceful voice urging Sapphire to heed the cards, caused her to stir from a thoughtful state and she walk slowly toward the front of the house where Cricket was waiting.


Adnan sank deep into the leather chair and although a tall man, it made him feel much smaller than the actually was. A businessman’s tactical advantage, he thought, as he waited for Slim to arrive, another tactical advantage…make them wait. The office was clean, quiet and professional, except for a small teddy bear perched on top of a file cabinet. Adnan believed it to be out of place with the rest of the office, but assumed it held a place of significance to Slim.

Inventorying the room for other oddities, Adnan noticed a housefly crawling around a window ledge and it immediately took him back to his boyhood in India. Before the visitors transformed into a human form, they looked eerily similar to this insect, large bulging eyes but with more hair and no wings… a look that took some getting use to. Most of them died off within weeks of their arrival, but Miles Hobbson did not, and he was the reason Adnan now sat in Slim’s office.

Hobbson was a Cringhig, a kind of maintenance man, aboard the ship from Mizar. Soon after the ship landed, the Mizarian who was selected to remain on earth was struck and killed by lightning and it was decided that a maintenance man could be spared for the return trip, thus Hobbson was left behind. He was given the J-Drive, a set of instructions and sent on his way. Unfortunately, the instructions were incinerated in his adoptive parent’s house fire on Nevis, and he was left with a device he knew almost nothing about. Adnan now waited for Slim with the intent of negotiating a fair price for the J-Drive.











blog photo 211 blackbirdWHAT IT IS

The stark red numbers of the cheap alarm clock had Graham entrenched in a staring contest he would not win. He rubbed the brows of his eyes in hope of victory, but 3:06 AM was the reply. As he did every time he woke early, his right hand grabbed his left and searched for his two missing fingers; still missing. Trying not to disturb the other sleeping agents, Graham snuck into the kitchen, sat down with a glass of orange juice and became bemused at a strange looking orange teddy bear perched on the refrigerator.

Like most sentient teddy bears, Babs could remain inert for hours or even days and when necessary weeks at a time. Sitting straight and stoic, Babs listened as Graham’s numerous tirades filled the kitchen. Chief among Graham’s rants was the fact INSECT just lost two thousand robotic nano bugs in a fight with No.1’s elite group of insects. Graham’s visceral reaction and obvious distain for No.1, made Babs relieved that he didn’t know it was her who advised No.1 to strike before the robots were fully ready.

While the morning light wrestled into visibility, Graham received a call from Rene Boudreaux in Louisiana. Rene found the missing four pales of 1,4 Dichloropropene and he and five CHAPS were personally delivering the cargo to Lake Springfield later that week. A beaming Graham left the kitchen and Babs slipped off the refrigerator, congratulated a blackbird on his singing prowess and returned to her cabin.


The conductor said it was a problem with the track, then he said a swarm of grasshoppers flew into the engine’s air intake and finally he admitted that for some unknown reason, the diesel engines just stopped working. An overnight layover just outside Indianapolis was good news for Justine Flagstaff and  her beloved teddy bear Leo. She gathered up Leo and her belongings and readied herself for a peaceful night at Mae’s B&B.

On a privately owned, left handed dirt track some eight and a half furlongs long, just outside Greensburg Indiana a teddy bear sat on top of a flagpole and was soon joined by a dragonfly. The tete-a-tete lasted long into the night with speculation being the only certainty as to what transpired. The night watchman claimed to have heard ticking sounds, reminiscent of the telegraph that then morphed into unfamiliar musical notes, then into syllables and finally words. The confused watchman related that the point that is infinity keeps shifting in this terrestrial world with the abstract rush into oblivion not born of conscious thought, but more of a stupor state of indifference and ignorance. The path stumbles along, gathering up essences for examination and dismissal, more examination and more dismissal until the whole exercise gets lost in political rhetoric, economic bravado and social voodooism. The i’s get dotted, the t’s crossed and the point that was infinity gets changed again. It is most likely that beyond infinity is some kind of paradise a dragonfly may wonder, why we didn’t take advantage of already, because we have it, we had it, but still alludes the clean grasp, the solid hit.

This world of abstractions didn’t touch the dragonfly or the teddy bear in a direct way as they sat on the flagpole, but like a tsunami, they, and the singing blackbirds, would be swept up in it and deposited in a place where paradise was scarce and the point of infinity would change again.


blog photo 210 mooseWHAT IT IS

Being alert, is being alive. If days existed when tranquility was morning coffee, roaming was afternoon utopia and contemplation of the minute and inconsequential rounded out the evening, then those days were gone forever. Not all of the seven and a half billion declared an almighty intervention of farms, interstates, chainsaws and rifles, all culminating in the self serving science of wildlife management and a dominion granted by us, for us and about us. When the gate keepers, awkward and ridiculous as they can be, roam the convenient habitats of the places they do not belong, their belief in virtuous destruction and the superiority of human kind will imprint and eventually destroy these habitats, as we have numerous incidents hidden and occasionally revealed in our own historical records.

The wash is; it will be unkind, it will be unkind forever, it will be unkind as we look around at the drained swamps, the gnarly clear cuts, the speed-kill highways and broken communities of chopped up biodiversity unable to sustain what bureaucrats and managers promised. It doesn’t take seven and a half billion, it will never take seven and a half billion.

The moose watched as a small Saw whet owl was shot out of a pine tree by a young man. After tumbling to the ground, the young man casually moved it around with his boot before walking away. Not in season. Not out of danger. The moose trudged silently into thicker bush.


It is said, a moose hasn’t been seen in the beautiful state of Illinois in over twenty-five thousand years when stag-moose roamed the mid west terrain of North America. But a citizen’s report is expected to be investigated, so with that in mind, Jill Deakins was meticulously scouring the backroads of Illinois looking for such a beast.

Mrs. B poked her head from beneath the truck’s hood just in time to see the police cruiser go by. It was the second time that morning, same cruiser, same cop; she wondered if she was being followed.

Jared Deakins bartered his way into possessing a perfect carrying case for his small plant from a blind woman staying at the same hostel as he had a few weeks prior. In exchange for the case, the woman wanted Jared to tell her how he and Little Mr. Deakins met.

Several years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Deakins, along with their two children, Jill and Jared, were vacationing in San Francisco. An evening stroll through Fisherman’s Wharf turned ugly when a live chicken kill demonstration being conducted by some culinary students went afoul. A head chef, holding a sizable meat cleaver, was about to lop off the head of a rooster when a massive swarm of insects invaded the area, throwing everything into chaos. The startled chef dropped the cleaver, cutting off two fingers of one of the students, the fingers unfortunately fell into a vat of superheated virgin olive oil originally intended for the rooster. As the havoc continued, the rooster escaped, flopping and running around the restaurant until seeing what looked like an opening to the outside then crashing his way through a large window into the arms of a passerby, Jared Deakins.

Jared looked at the small plant and told him it needed water, so off they went toward a small stream just off the road. The barking dog in the distance sounded like Jackson, the huge swarm of insects overhead reminded him of San Francisco and the sound of metal careening off cement made him go and investigate.

Looking down the road a police cruiser was flipped on its side, further down an epic struggle between  robotic nano bugs and insects darkened the sky and beyond that the translucent man staggered across the road, helped along by Mrs. B.


blog photo 209 knightWHAT IT IS

Mutt Jefferson’s eighteen wheeler was full, front to back, with pancake mix, pancake syrup and simulated blueberries destined for Boston Massachusetts for a grand Paul Revere celebration. Mutt left PEI in the late afternoon and was closing in on Portland Maine when the big rig’s drive wheels locked up, but Mutt managed to pull over to the side of the road and into a motel parking lot without incident.

Mutt had the entire rig meticulously examined a thousand miles ago and was perplexed that such an occurrence could happen now, but still he felt obliged to check out the problem in the unlikely event he could fix it. Mutt kind of pushed on the tires, tapped on the wheel nuts and pulled off the leaf springs before nearly jumping out of his skin when he turned around to walk to the motel office and found himself face to face with a knight in full regalia.

No.1, the next No.1, crawled out from behind the warm exhaust pipe and watched as Feather reached into her saddle bag and pulled out and opened a small chest-like box. No. 1 floated and dropped like he was descending stairs until he was suspended over the box. His head twisted in Mutt’s direction and he was soon centimeters from the truck driver’s eye.

Mutt was captivated by the thousands of ommatidia in No.1’s two compound eyes which reflected a chaotic newsreel-like account of what Mutt first believed was the insect’s life, but the scope and enormity of what he was seeing made him think the representations in front of him may well be of all insect life. Mutt both coaxed and rejected human emotions from these observations and stood firm in his belief that self awareness, purpose, agony and contentment could not belong to this creature in front of him. There was a message being conveyed but Mutt was ill equipped to answer the question that was the message. The dark elevator in No. 1’s eye was filled with the desperate being dragged down by the superpower of human achievement, and the swirl of the tornado inside would not let go of its grip on anyone within its reach. There was no end to the mayhem except for the paradise of the unaffected and that paradise was transient and uninspired. The generations accumulated into mountains of science and technology, education and entertainment, death and destruction and through it all the light of consequence randomly came on and off until it simply stayed on all the time.

No.1 disappeared into the box sitting on Feather’s lap, his story taking only seconds to reveal. When the horse reared to move, Mutt asked where they were going. Missouri was Feather’s brief reply.


Mary Sampson sat on a shiny metallic steel bench overlooking the Ohio River in Evansville Indiana trying to figure out exactly what the bench was made of. She allowed the palm of her hand to press hard against the seat then gently rub the smooth surface; copper she decided. Her sight was nearly gone but she could still make out the blue waters of the river and an interesting silhouette of what she believed was a knight sitting on a horse, but when the silhouette moved toward her, panic and fear quickly overtook her.

Hammer’s deep, reassuring voice eased Mary’s apprehension and the gentle approach of the Polacka further put Mary at ease. She stroked the Polacka’s white, curly locks and marvelled at the texture of the fur, a texture she had never felt before, owing to the fact that only one Polacka is known to exist.

Once Mary was calm and trusting of them, Hammer got down to business. He had been told by the translucent man that she had been chosen to Polacka-sit his pet while he was sent off to Missouri on a most urgent matter. For her part, Mary recalled the translucent man giving her a bouquet of lupins and telling her she had been chosen, but she hoped the event would be much more than pet sitting. Nevertheless, Mary agreed to take the Polacka to the nearby hostel where she was staying and await the knight’s return.



blog photo 208 swallowWHAT IT IS

The three hundred and twenty acre farm had been in the Hislop family for over five generations. Corn and soybeans were the mainstay crops, but tomatoes and cucumbers were planted some years with decent results. The land had been good to the Hislops, providing steady income and a modest hard working lifestyle the family had come to be known for. Proud as they were, the Morgan County Hislops spoke very little of Frank Hislop, the 1930’s patriarch of the family who ended up in a mental institution, having declared that spacemen had visited the farm on more than one occasion.

Frank was on Fay’s mind as she drove the John Deere around the edge of the partially harvested corn field and came to stop at the precise location where Frank’s contorted, quivering body was found by sheriff’s deputies. The shotgun across Fay’s lap was to make her feel better. In the very early morning hours of the same day, Fay saw a blue light at the edge of the corn field, eerily close to where she now sat on the tractor.

It was fall now, but the honeybees  still rummaged through the corn tassels, Japanese beetles enjoyed the banquet, click beetles roamed freely and tree swallows feasted on these and other delectable treats. Looking around, everything looked normal to Fay, except for the hysterical laughter coming from beyond the wood lot in front of her. Fay used the shotgun to knock aside the branches as she made her way through the woodlot. The laughter grew louder until she could see two men sitting beside a two car freight train, looking completely out of place in her neighbour’s field.



Jaden drove Mary Sampson to the greyhound bus stop in Mount Pulaski. Mary wanted to go on to Missouri, but Jaden needed to return to her police duties in New Orleans. Hugs and kisses went postal with Jaden leaving her cell number with Mary along with strict orders for the two to keep in touch.

Jaclyn and Jaden’s cruiser inched its way along a Louisiana back road, eyes peeled for a motorcycle reported to be in the ditch. Jaclyn gently slapped the dashboard, motioning Jaden to stop the car. A crude wooden box housed a clutch of tree swallows and the adults were kept busy feeding the hordes. Both women puzzled over what they were seeing, neither women had children or ever remembered wanting kids or ever remembered wanting the questioning looks of family and friends as they aged out of prime child bearing years into older adulthood. Some people were openly hostile, others crushingly condescending, but few exhibited genuine understanding, and all this was OK because no profound principle was at stake, just a path taken, consequence chosen and a quiet desire to live unjudged. In many ways this passage to the outside made them more resilient and better prepared for the irregularities that oppression, poverty and mental illness occupy in the policing world.

A knock on the window; two heads turned to see Samantha, Cathy and Leo Barnard  peering inside the cruiser.


blog photo 207 osprey on nestWHAT IT IS

Samantha Gallant looked at herself in the large mirror, then surveyed the other reflections in front of her, an eight pot Bun-o-matic coffee machine, a green milkshake mixer, thirty-six cup and saucer combinations ready for coffee, stacks of off white plates of various sizes and two grey caddies filled with forks, spoons and knives. From her stool at the counter, she could see the restaurant’s entrance and as noon approached the lunch crowd began to enter.

One of the first patrons through the door was a young couple with two small girls. Two teddy bears accompanied the girls, whose outstretched arms held up the bears and perused the restaurant looking for the best table. Once the teddy bears selected the booth in the far corner, the father sat down while the mother and daughters headed for the washroom. The single file procession saw one of the little girls drift away and amble toward the long row of stools at the counter. At first, she chose a stool far away from Samantha, but quickly bum-hopped up the row until she was sitting next to her. The little girl held up her teddy bear so Samantha could get a good look.

“This is Babs.” Her voice oozed confidence.

“Babs says go down the Cormier road, stop at the big bird nest, your friend is close by.”

The little girl jumped off her stool, “That’s what Babs says.” She ran off to the washroom, but not before adding, “We’re going to Lake Springfield tomorrow.”

The Cormier Road was a few hundred feet from the restaurant and when Samantha spotted the birds nest, Cathy, Leo and Tiny were just emerging from the swamp, planning their next move.


Mrs. B was told to check the oil every hundred miles because the  ’79 Chevy truck had a considerable thirst for 10W30 and if it didn’t get what it needed, Mrs. B would find herself walking to Missouri. As oddities do happen, Mrs. B noticed that the radio station she was listening to played an Elvis Presley song approximately every hundred miles, so when the rockabilly wonder Heartbreak Hotel soared out of the speaker, Mrs. B knew it was time to pull over.

Elvis was followed by some grim news; fires in California, Australia and Brazil seemed to show the planet on fire. Floods in Europe, earthquakes in Iran and entire islands in the South Pacific disappearing made Mrs. B’s world and troubles seem rather small. She wondered if things were getting that bad or were the microscopes just getting so much larger? With the dipstick registering full, Mrs. B slammed down the hood and climbed back into the truck. As the afternoon passed by her windshield, she glanced at the odometer, turned up Kentucky Rain and pulled over. Grabbing a quart of Valvoline from behind the seat, Mrs. B popped the hood and fueled the truck’s addiction while admiring the south western Illinois countryside.

Down a picturesque valley, near a stand of pine trees, Mrs. B watched an osprey feeding its young and because she had never seen this bird before, she decided to take a closer look. The distinctive rumblings of the old truck caused Jackson to sit upright, let out a loud yelp and bolt toward the road. Mrs. B’s journey ended well, with the waggy tailed dog now in her arms.  But now, the translucent man needed some serious attention.


0B2A3812_19-12-26_0714A short essay submitted by Ellie to the admissions board at the University of Indianapolis led the board to grant Ellie an admissions interview. Below is part of the essay.

There is a country wide epidemic gripping the United States of America, and indeed many parts of the democratic world, that if not stopped, will forever stain freedom loving individuals and cause irreparable harm to all democratic institutions that our free society has erected and embraced for hundreds of years.

This scourge plays out daily in baseball and football stadiums, hockey arenas and parades of all kinds. The depravity of this activity, once the purview of adults, now runs amok with the young, who’s moral compass has no ability to cease and desist. So, it is the grown-ups of this great nation that must lead by example and show everyone this behavior will no longer be tolerated: THE TEDDY BEAR TOSS MUST END!

Ellie sat at a wooden table, three hey boomers, all greying and staunchly entitled, sat around her taking notes on everything she was saying. Rapid fire questions shot out of their Gatling gun mouths, but Ellie was ready with swift responses, in depth analysis and detailed and succinct logic. Until she wasn’t!

“When was the American Revolution?”

Ellie was dazed and puzzled over the question, she eyed up her tormentors and cleared her throat. “1968, August, the great Beatles song Revolution first played on WABC FM in New York City!”

“Who were the Founding Fathers?” A bifocaled, red-checkered, shirt wearing professor pointed  his crooked finger in Ellie’s direction.

Ellie was stunned. “I wouldn’t know that, but one of the Fathers knew best.” Ellie slumped face down into one of the books in front of her and lost consciousness.

Ellie lost sentientism. The last hundred days had been hard on her and now she was a mere teddy bear heap on the table. The door to the interview room opened slowly and Slim walked in and scooped up Ellie in his massive arms and left.