blog photo 167 waterfallWHAT IT IS

Justine Flagstaff took many months to recover from her encounter with No. 1, and although she  would not admit to mourning his death, the five days under his hypnotic influence left her drained and anxious. No. 1 instilled in Flagstaff the belief that a genocide was in its initial stages and as humans demonstrated an ever increasing appetite for using lethal chemicals against all insects, No. 1 encouraged sympathetic  people to help in this monumental battle. No. 1 had no illusions of victory; insects would be wiped off the face of the planet, replaced by robotic drone pollinators and mechanical microbes would be utilized in the soil to replicate bacteria and viruses. All song birds would be gone in a decade, most other animals shortly thereafter. It was No. 1’s hope that Flagstaff and others like her would record the devastation and keep the events archived for future generations to study.

Flagstaff returned several times to the place where she and No. 1 met, walking around the gazebo, hiking the nearby trails and visiting a cascading waterfall where she could get lost in her thoughts while the water’s song shielded her from distractions. Was No. 1 right? Was this enormous biomass on the edge of extinction? Would his predictions of the other species vanishing also come true? Left feeling empty and confused, Flagstaff would rely on her training as a journalist and tackle this story as she had many other stories, using the five double u’s to guide her conclusions.


Anything can be doctored; photos altered, text manipulated, eye witness testimony debunked or video aggrandized. Cinder Willoughby needed proof and anything less than witnessing a six foot bearded dragon in front of him, would not convince him such creatures existed. His work with Beaver County was complete and he had a couple of free days before his next gig, so he was driving around the area visiting sites where the dragons were allegedly spotted. Finding himself up near Fombell Rd, Willoughby found Ned Doucet and his nephew Davey Doucet sitting in Ned’s cruiser having a quiet lunch and making bold trade predictions about the Pirates upcoming baseball season. When the topic got around to the dragons, Ned said he’d swear on a stack of bibles that a dragon lived behind a small waterfall a half a mile away.

Ned was on duty, so the two old friends hiked to the falls to see for themselves, catching up on some news and gossip they may have missed out on since last seeing one another. Among other things, the pair dissected what they knew about Miles Hobbson but their walking was fast and soon they could hear the sound of the falling water. After an hour of exploring around the falls they found no signs of a dragon and headed back to the road when Doucet suddenly stopped, pointed skyward at a seagull riding the warm currents and floating effortlessly with a key in its bill.


blog photo 166 seagullWHAT IT IS

It is a well documented fact that ducks like geese, they also like herons, bitterns, terns and are said to be especially fond of flycatchers and in particular kingbirds. It is also said that ducks do not fancy seagulls, shearwaters or petrels. The reason for this animosity stems from numerous  incidents where seagulls devoured ducklings while the parent duck attempted to protect the brood. These acts of carnivorism have been going on for millennia, as has the dislike and distrust between the Families.

So, it was with great surprise when Mildred Duck received a message from a passing great blue heron that a seagull along the Georgian Bay wanted to see her. Mildred cleared her busy schedule, convincing herself she needed a break from rehearsals and other production related duties, and began the flight to Lion’s Head to see what the seagull wanted. Mildred loved the Bruce Peninsula, in fact she was shot along its waters as a yearling, and often returns on the crisp autumn days of October.

She found the loud, obnoxious gull standing on a telephone pole, pontificating about human over fishing, polluted gasoline-filled waters and toxic heavy metal run off filling the bay. She also mentioned that the canine who saved Mildred’s life all those years ago could be found living  near Tobermory.


The raccoon was probably hit by a mining truck; they move fast along this stretch of road, spewing up so much summer dust everything disappears in their wake. Cricket and Sapphire quickly closed up the car windows when three of these mining behemoths appeared, recklessly taking over the center of the road, forcing anyone and anything to the side. After the dust settled, a seagull was a mangled heap in the center of the road, its mate standing atop an electrical pole mourning his fate.

Seeing these gulls created a moment between brother and sister that extracted an emotion from both, it flooded into their consciousness, and they looked expressionless at one another, at the dead seagull, at the wailing seagull.

It was a near certainty that their parents had been murdered and the only suspect was the driver of the black SUV police found a few kilometers away. As their dazed eyes cleared and they focused on one another, the intent of what just transpired became obvious to both; they would find out who killed their parents and bring them to justice.















Ellie's Story ContinuesHe had a PhD in mathematics from the University of Texas and she a PhD in American History from Boston University. Finding work in academia was difficult so when Slim Clemons offered both a generous salary for a six month tutoring gig at his private lake in Illinois, there was no reason to say no and plenty of reasons to say yes. Tutoring Ellie was supposed to be a dream job, but her constant telekinesing out of class to spend time on the beach and her refusal to do her homework, made their work untenable. Ultimately, both prepared letters of resignation and were now waiting transportation to take them away from Slim’s enclave. It seems the little teddy bear got wind of the fact that Feather and Hammer were on the way with a knowledge key, a key purportedly so rich in it’s comprehension of the universe that Ellie’s scholastic achievements were guaranteed. Knowing this, Ellie spent the summer entertaining her many indulgences; smelling the enormous barbecues staged at the main cottage, lying on the beach in the hot sun and mischievously telekinesing in and out of other guests’ rooms.

Summer turned to fall and fall into winter when Ellie got word that the seagull carrying the key had lost it and it was now in the possession of  a porcupine who took it upon himself to deliver it to Ellie. Porcupines are slow land creatures who do not like to swim, so when she finally got to the lake she had to wait until the water froze over before delivering the precious key.

The key in the hand of the chosen teddy bear would miraculously produce a small locked box said to be from the fairy on Ellesmere Island, and the key now in Ellie’s possession would open the box revealing the knowledge key. It was an exciting day for Ellie, a day she had waited for these last six months. She placed the box in front of her, sat down in that most usual of teddy bear ways, held the key up to the sunlight, then slid it into the lock chamber and turned it.

Inside the box she found the knowledge key, a hand written note:




blog photo 165 flowerWHAT IT IS

They could disagree about anything. Jaden insisted the red fire hydrants flowed the slowest and it was the blue ones that gushed like volcanoes, while Jaclyn informed her partner it was the green ones that were slow and the orange dudes that meant business. They discussed this while watching a torrent of water beneath a wee little SMART car that had collided somehow with an orange hydrant and now sat atop the spewing water. The force of the water would lift the car slightly off the ground at random intervals, then a pressure change, and the car settled back to the ground. The car’s doing push-ups declared Jaden! More like pull-ups was Jaclyn’s response.

When the city maintenance crew arrived, the hydrant escapades ended and the two J’s cruised toward the rising sun to check out some biker activity their sergeant had asked them to keep an eye on. The Chaps favored a couple of bars in the French quarter but it was an abandoned landscaping garage that was the focus of police interest.  The J’s first pass in front of the building saw no one on the property, so they decided to park the cruiser down the block and wait to see if anyone showed.

Jaden looked out her side window and saw a deserted building lot covered in weeds, coffee cups, broken glass and thousands of wildflowers. Her soul mate would love a bunch of these wild beauties, so she opened her door, found a thermos in the back seat that could double as a vase, and started picking.

They looked like two sleuths, tip-toeing from the scene of a crime, their hair messy, tangled and cascading over their grey faces. Attempts to sweep it from their eyes resulted in fingers getting entangled in the frizzy mess with quiet moans of frustration drifting across the lot. Jaden watched these two unkept souls for a couple of minutes then cleared her throat to get their attention. Margaret immediately collapsed, a startled Samantha tripped over Margaret and ended up on the ground beside her. “You ladies lost?”


One munk paced in his tiny cage twenty four hours a day, stopping only to devour a few nuts and sip some water. Another munk slept for twelve hours, then ate incessantly for the other twelve. The third munk devised a way to open his cage, crawl along a copper water pipe to an outside wall and peer through a tiny hole in the foam insulation to the forest outside. His view of the world was extremely limited, a couple of trees, some timothy grass, blue wild flowers and a small piece of ever changing sky.

The munks were on the edge of Algonquin Park, in an underground bunker built by INSECT and awaited a fate they were sure would be most unpleasant. INSECT’s chief biologist was laid up with a severe case of gastroenteritis, so an outside biologist was contracted to subject the munks to a battery of psychological tests, some routine torture techniques and finally, dissection of their bodies.

Security at the bunker was tight, with credential verification, identification and background checks, finger printing and even retinal scanning was performed to make sure the right person was allowed access to the bunker. In the end, Stacks McDonald, backed by Slim Clemons’ flawless forgeries, was led down a dark hallway and into the munks’ holding cell.


blog photo 164 two white horseWHAT IT IS

On a privately owned left handed dirt track some eight and a half furlongs long, just outside Greensburg Indiana was where the magic happened for a second time in as many races. On a hazy, lazy Sunday morning in August, eight thoroughbreds lined up at the starting gate, their owners mulling around the infield in nervous anticipation. As soon as the last horse was gated, the starting pistol sounded, the gates flew open and five stallions, two geldings and one mare bolted down the track.

Molly’s Turn was by far and away the favorite. The previous year she ran the Indiana Derby, coming in second behind the state champion by a quarter length and she had only grown stronger since then. The three year old’s forte was to break early, run hard and let the other horses eat her dust. On this day the pattern did not deviate, but when the pack was coming out of the back stretch, the two nearly identical grey/white geldings made their move. Molly’s Turn pounded the track hard, her head dropped slightly and she dug deep, but as the home stretch loomed before them she could see the pair inching steadily toward her, one on the inside, the other a couple of feet to the outside. Down the home stretch the three warriors battled hard and with a furlong to go, no distance separated the three. Cheers and laughter erupted among the owners as the finish line revealed the geldings’ neck and neck with one another and Molly’s Turn a close second. It would be the second neck and neck finish by the pair in the last two weeks.

Slim Clemons walked up to the two winners and stroked each under the chin while congratulating the jockeys. He could see the potential in these two and was formulating big plans to get them on the larger horse racing circuit in Indianapolis and perhaps even on to Kentucky. As he mused out loud to the jockeys, he was approached by the man who gave him the horses, Miles Hobbson dropped by to see how the geldings made out.


Basil McCormik drove from Charlottetown to Panmure Island in a couple of hours, with a tedious stop in Cardigan to perform some dental work on Silly, Mrs. Henry’s prize winning Maine Coon. The purpose of McCormik’s trip was to pick up two horses, whose elderly owners could no longer take care of them, and bring the horses back to the stable where he worked.

Trailering the geldings went smoothly and McCormik couldn’t help but admire their shinny coats and strong, muscular legs; he would see to it they found a good home. McCormik had a quick stop at Murry River to visit his cousin who worked at the general store and was hell bent on getting McCormik to supply the store with a line of veterinarian products so folks didn’t have to travel all the way to Charlottetown whenever a minor ailment befell an animal.

McCormik left the general store with a commitment to further look into his cousin’s plans and when he climbed into his truck, saw the doors to the horse trailer flung open. An old man, his voice weak and hands shaking, pointed at McCormik and mumbled inaudibly in his direction. He tried to stand, but immediately fell back into his cream colored wicker chair. McCormik starred into the empty trailer, then approached the old man. “ Never seen such a thing, two women and two little teddy bears…rode off on those horses!” He pointed down a red dirt ATV trail.

McCormik, a bit dazed by the events, slowly walked back to the truck and this time when he climbed back inside, noticed a note on the driver’s seat.






blog photo 163 Tree & SnowWHAT IT IS

Tension was high among the various police agencies , only made worse by the finger pointing and malicious accusations of incompetence uttered by the head of the task force. Caught flat footed and ill prepared, the small army of officers could only watch as Schulz and Lehman roared away at breakneck speed. When CO Micheals heard the commotion over his radio, he jumped on his Skidoo Renegade and pursued the pair. With speeds in excess of one hundred kilometers an hour Micheals caught sight of them crossing a large lake.

It may have been the gusty seventy kilometer winds or the bone chilling minus fifty degree wind chill, but whatever the reason, a blinding snow engulfed Micheals as he achieved full throttle on the frozen lake and his hopes of catching the pair was dashed when he struck a small island and he and his machine parted ways.



Patrons came by bus, truck, car, rail, snow machine and the odd one even skied or snowshoed into the Moose Lodge on the Sturgeon River for a day or a week or even a month of relaxing winter activities. Most liked to ice fish, some hit the snow machine trails, others cross country skied from dawn to dusk but few, like Rene Boudreaux, just came and stared out their cabin window.

The man with the big truck from Louisiana rented out cabin number seven on a Friday and had not been seen much except looking out his window at the other tourists as they came and went in front of his window. Although this struck Morley, the lodge owner, as a bit peculiar, he was a paying customer and he could do with his time as he wished.

Morley was up at 3:30 AM on Sunday morning to oversee the preparation of pancakes, bacon and sausages for the start of the 6 AM breakfast. Out of the kitchen window he could see Rene haul a large plastic toboggan from his truck, put on a pair of snowshoes and head into the forest.

Stomping along Junction Lake, Rene came to a small, wind swept tree, took a bearing of N 75 E and started out in that direction until reaching the shoreline where a tarped wooden crate lay a few feet beneath the snow.

Morley was doing the after dinner clean up when he glanced out the kitchen window and saw Rene load four steel pales into the back of his truck.  Rene checked out the following day.


blog photo 162 LakeWHAT IT IS

For a myriad of reasons, Jones and Brown were recalled to INSECT headquarters and the responsibility of capturing a sentient teddy bear fell into the dubious hands of Miller and Davis. Fresh out of INSECT’s rigorous training program, the pair was anxious to make a lasting impression on their managerial masters, so they decided to chase down the leads of Jones and Brown and take off to the Killarney area of Northern Ontario and pick up where the two agents had left off.

After a couple of days of snooping around the back country, Miller’s parabolic dish, specifically designed by INSECT researchers to pick up chickadee and downy woodpecker sounds, began to receive loud noises emanating from a nearby lake. Chickadee chatter was prominent, but woodpecker babble indicated that Leo, the teddy bear that had slipped between Jones and Brown’s fingers, was in the area. Miller and Davis split up, each patrolling a side of the small lake. Through the thick underbrush Miller could see a clearing up ahead where a dense layer of amber tamarack needles had fallen off the nearby trees and where a teddy bear, quickly losing his sentientism, lay resting on the ground. With his black velvet hood tightly grasped in both hands, the unsuspecting Leo was hooded by Miller without incident and hustled back to the agent’s car.


The fixed wing float plane made two passes, in the first the plane was a couple hundred feet above the trees flying to the south end of the lake as if trying to determine if the lake was of sufficient size to perform a safe landing. The second pass saw the plane drop sharply at the water’s edge, the pilot killed the engine and the aircraft drifted silently above the water but in a deliberate decent.

Slim Clemons was not a seasoned aviator, but his brash style and impetuous nature drove him to occasionally frighten his passengers with such stunts. Today was Stacks McDonald’s turn, and when the aircraft finally drifted to a sandy beach, a grey faced Stacks slid out of the passenger seat into the water, while boisterous laughter and thigh slapping came from the pilot’s seat. Slim and Stacks were calling on Sofia to see if she could shed any light on what may have happened to the three chipmunks. Sofia got word that the munks were being held at a new secure facility near Mattawa Ontario and as the plane’s engines roared back to life a reluctant Stacks McDonald returned to his seat.