Friday, January 29, 2016

Live Alien Abduction on the Evening News

Hello All:
I had a bizarre dream on Wednesday night about a family alien abduction. It was so bizarre that I though I should make a story about it. And so, today's featured writing is a detailed account of that strange dream. Enjoy!
Have a great weekend! And if you see a bright light outside your front door, don't open it.

Live Alien Abduction on the Evening News
It was supposed to be the night of a special, never-seen-before meteor shower. Astronomers theorized that two colliding asteroids in Earth's usual path of orbit (when Earth wasn't in that location, of course!) had resulted in countless fragments of shattered space matter.
And this is what the weather anchor, Steve Sodaman, reported to the much-intrigued city and surrounding suburbs after presenting the nightly weather forecast.  It was the 10:00 edition. "Now astronomers say that this will be an absolutely fantastic meteor shower.” he explained. “It's supposed to be unlike anything people have seen before! The sky will be lit up for hours..."
Just then, one of the news anchors interrupted, "Steve, you might want us to click over to the other screen. We've got a caller who claims to have some amazing, live video footage of the meteor shower."
"Let's see it!" agreed the weather anchor.
The entire city and surrounding suburbs watched as the screen switched over from the weather anchor's presentation, to what appeared to be the broadcasted web cam from someone's cell phone. But it wasn't a view of the sky. Rather, it was simply the view of someone's front door—taken from inside a home—with a brilliant, red light shining through the plate glass from above.
"And we have them on the phone, too." informed the news anchor. "You can talk to them."
"Hello?" called out Steve Sodaman.
The caller's voice (a woman) could be heard through the broadcasted receiver of a phone. "Yes, I thought I should share this video with you. It's live. It's a terribly bright, red light that is shining through our front door. See the large plate glass, above?"
"Yes, we see that." confirmed the weather anchor. "From what we see on the screen, it looks like enormous lava light. The red color has swirling, globs of color to it."
"Exactly!" agreed the caller. "We're wondering if this is what we are supposed to be seeing."
"Well are you sure that's actually from the meteor shower?" asked the weather anchor. "That looks like a decorative light outside on your front porch."
One of the news anchors interrupted and asked the caller, "Did you go outside to see what it is?"
"We can't!" answered the caller. "We're afraid to go out there."
"Afraid to go out there?" exclaimed the weather anchor, Steve Sodaman. "Just open your door so we can see what it is. I'm curious."
"Yeah, I think we all are." chimed in one of the news anchors, Laurie Sandcastle. "And the same goes for everyone else watching in this city."
"We're actually afraid that something is out there with it." informed the caller. "We think there is some intelligent presence beyond our comprehension that is trying to get our attention."
"Wow!" exclaimed the other news anchors. "Like what?"
"Well don't be afraid." reassured weather anchor, Steve Sodaman. "You've got the whole city with you right now. We are broadcasting your live video."
The caller sighed and then spoke to another person who was apparently her husband. "They want us to open door and see what it is." Some arguing could be heard before she returned to speaking to the newscast. "Okay, we're going to open the door."
The phone was set on a nearby table in the family room with camera lense facing the foyer so that the whole world could watch the family—a husband, wife and three kids—approach and open the front door.
As the front door opened, a blinding red light nearly exploded through the foyer and family room. It was so bright, that it flooded the phone's light detectors. This triggered the automated light adjust so that video could still be detected. While this occurred, all those who watched the news broadcast that evening heard bloodcurdling screams from the family.
"Good Heavens!" exclaimed the weather anchor, Steve Sodaman. "What could possibly be happening?"
The phone's camera gradually adjusted the light exposure so that identifiable video footage returned. The whole city watched as the trailing bodies of family members ran for dear life to some other area of the home. Seconds later, a mysterious cable (or hose) floated its way through the front door. It was apparently very long and stretched to the outside world from wherever it had come.
"This is very bizarre." commented news anchors, Laurie Sandcastle. The camera switched over to her as she announced to the city's millions of viewers. "Ladies and Gentleman, we originally accepted live video footage of the meteor shower from a caller. But the live video has evolved into something bizarre. It would appear that a mysterious force has penetrated a home and has the family terrified. We'll continue broadcasting this video as time permits."
The whole world continued to watch as the bright light from outside the door continued to shine through the home. Additional wires and hoses floated inside and towards the area where the family was presumed to be.
"Hello?" called out the voice of a little girl.
"Yes who is this?" answered weather anchor, Steve Meteor.
"This is Allison. I live here with my Mommy and Daddy."
"What's going on right now?" asked the Steve Sodaman. "Is someone in your home?"
"We can't see them." answered little Allison. "There's a big, floating house outside with bright lights on it."
"Like a space ship?" suggested one of the news anchors.
"Yeah..." answered little Allison.
"And did the people on this space ship come in your home?" further probed the news anchor.
"We can't see them. They move too fast" explained little Allison.
Suddenly, bloodcurdling screaming could be heard from one of the rooms. "Stop it! Go away! Leave us alone!"
"Who is that?" asked the news anchor.
Allison sounded so sad, "It's my Mommy. She wants them to go away."
"Awe..."
"Awe..."
"Awe..."
The news and weather anchors all exclaimed sadness together.
Just then, a lighted object with peculiar writing that was attached to one of the hoses floated in through the door. It was difficult to make out what is said. Most people watching the video assumed that it was too fuzzy to be seen clearly.
"Something just floated in through the family home." announced weather anchor, Steve Meteor. Like Laurie said a few minutes ago, we were watching what was supposed to be live video footage of tonight's meteor shower, but it's turned into what appears to be a family alien abduction."
Steve Meteor then asked the little Allison, "Do you know what that thing is that just floated in with the hoses."
"It's a sign, "answered Allison. "It has writing on it."
"Do you know what the sign says?" asked the weather anchor.
"No, it has strange writing on it." answered Allison. "I think it says that medicine is going to be used for the surgery. It's the name of the medicine, and it's inside the sign.
"Surgery???" shouted news anchor, Laurie Sandcastle. "They're doing surgery on all of you?"
"Yeah..." answered little Allison. "That's why Mommy was so upset. The surgery hurts and makes all of us sick."
Screams from the other end of the house suddenly turned softer and softer. Whatever the aliens were doing to the family, it caused them to grow weak—maybe unconscious.
"I have to go now." informed little Allison. "It's my turn for surgery."
***
And that's what was reported during the 10:00 news on a night of a meteor shower.



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Death Warmed Over Series (Story two)

Hello All:
Recall from our last story in the Death Warmed Over Series that Samantha had awoken in the funeral home, just before being embalmed. But the evil Mr. Grossenbury, sole mortician and funeral director of the Grossenbury funeral home, didn't want to lose business. It was his aim to re-kill Samantha and proceed with embalming her. But then a customer entered the funeral parlor. It was necessary for Mr. Grossenbury to quickly lock Samantha up in a closet and deal with her later.
Do read the initial story in this series if you haven't done so already. READ STORY ONE
Death Warmed Over Series (Story two)
An undetermined amount of time passed as Samantha continued to lie on the cold, concrete floor of that storage closet. She lay there so long that eventually she was turning stir crazy. Samantha had a sudden motivation and ability to sit up; soon to stand up and begin walking about the small area. This length of time, alone, provided Samantha a chance to gauge her injuries. From what she could determine, there were no broken bones or open cuts. Her chest, however, was tender; probably the impact received upon hitting the steering wheel. It might have been the blow that killed Samantha. But now by some fortunate (or unfortunate!) luck of fate, she had come back from the dead. And her only purpose in this rebirth was to wait for a long time for Mr. Grossenbury to return and re-kill her. Eventually he would have to do it and proceed with preparing her body. One can't do a funeral, after all, without presenting the body to family.
Then again, maybe Mr. Grossenbury had a change of heart. Maybe he was thinking of a plan to make the news of Samantha's coming back to life known to family. The delay? Maybe Mr. Grossenbury worried that his almost-victim would inform family and the police of what almost happened.
Suddenly, a sound could be heard from the other side of the door. Something was being rolled across the concrete floor in the hallway. And then Samantha heard Mr. Grossenbury's shoe scuff across the floor before the sound of keys was heard. The door was opened and in walked the smiling face of evil Mr. Grossenbury. His look of delight was most sickening as he rolled a coffin in with him; the door soon to shut.
A surge of adrenaline rushed through Samantha's veins. She had to muster every bit of strength to fight off the evil mortician, and escape the Grossenbury funeral home. At the very least, Samantha wasn't going to go down without a fight.
"Relax Samantha!" reassured Mr. Grossenbury. "I'm not going to kill you! This sort of thing happened to me once before, and I regret re-killing that person. I realized that I could have put that person to work for me and help my business grow. And that's what I have in store for you. You and I can be business partners."
Samantha wasn't sure what Mr. Grossenbury meant by being partners and helping his business grow. But she couldn't help but wonder if the phenomenon of people coming back to life in a funeral home, only to be killed again, was a regular occurrence. Seeing that her life would be spared for now, Samantha was soon interested in her children and husband. "How is my family?" she asked.
"Rest-assured, they are deeply saddened about their tragic loss." answered Mr. Grossenbury. "It looked like your little ones were crying." Then Mr. Grossenbury opened the casket while informing, "They stopped in, yesterday, to drop off your burial dress. You're wake is later this afternoon. What do you think?"
In the casket lay a synthetic, life-sized doll that, although was ridiculous, didn't look too far from a "dead Samantha". It was wearing the dress Samantha wore at her husband's, company Christmas party. "I picked it up at one of those sex shops that are about an hour away." explained Mr. Grossenbury. "I had to buy on credit because business hasn't been so great ever since the Zimmerman funeral home opened up on the other side of town. But your funeral will help pay it off."
"Go ahead!" invited Mr. Grossenbury. "Touch it! The doll is made with high-tech, life like skin. It feels like a real person. And I keep it in the cooler so that it stays cold like a real dead person."
Reluctantly, Samantha touched the hand of the "dead Samantha" doll. Sure enough, it felt like a real person—and so cold to the touch like a real corpse."
Mr. Grossenbury appeared very proud of his work, "Not bad, eh?"
Not that it should have taken Samantha that long to realize, but she finally saw as to just how demented and twisted Mr. Grossenbury was. No one would believe that the doll in that casket was her! But Samantha figured it was best to let him try to present it as the deceased Samantha. Her family would realize that something was not right, which might provide a chance of being saved if the police were called in to investigate.
Mr. Grossenbury rolled the coffin out of her room and rolled in a tray of food for her to eat. "Here, you better eat something. We need to make sure you are well so you can be my partner."
Samantha realized that there had to be an elevator that went to the subbasement. Carrying a casket and a tray of food down the flight of stairs would be impossible for anyone.
Before eating, Samantha asked, "How long have I been down here?"
Mr. Grossenbury answered, "About one-and-a-half days. It is Friday morning at 10:20am. You're wake is from 4:00 to 9:00 this evening; and you're Funeral is 9:00 tomorrow morning."
Samantha hadn't eaten since lunch on Wednesday. Apparent that she didn't have any serious injuries, she figured it was best to eat something and stay alive. All that could be done for now was to wait patiently for someone to discover that the life-sized, synthetic doll in her coffin really wasn't her.
***
At 3:30 that afternoon, Mr. Grossenbury met with the immediate members of Samantha's grieving family at the entrance of the funeral home. It was Samantha's husband, John; her three children, Mikey, Sherry and Joey—ages four, six, and nine, respectfully; Samantha's mother, Carol—widowed; Samantha's brother and sister, Steve and Anne; and John's parents Patrick and Karen. John's two brothers would arrive an hour or so later.
The grieving family was carefully escorted into the chapel by the seemingly kind and sympathetic Mr. Grossenbury. "If you need anything, I will be in the main office." he said before motioning the family to enter.
Family members cried while slowly approaching the casket. When finally near, they embraced one another and provided reassuring caresses to shoulders and backs.
"She looks so beautiful..." finally whispered Samantha's mother, Carol."
"Yes she does." agreed Samantha's mother-in-law, Karen.
Then Samantha's mother silently broke down. "She's too young to be in that coffin. It should be me in there, not her."
Additional hugs were given to Carol. Another wave of crying followed.
There's an age-old, morbid joke about how a deceased person looks in a coffin. Many times at a wake or funeral, people comment on how good the deceased person looks. But just how good can a dead person look? Who are they kidding? That person doesn't look good; that person looks dead!
Even still are the cases of a mortician who doesn't make the deceased person look the way family and friends would like. In private, one or two mourners might mention, "Did you see the way they made her hair? That makeup job was awful! You think they could have done a better job."
It was this age-old, morbid joke that Mr. Grossenbury was banking on. And little did the family know in their private moment that a hidden camera with microphone intruded on their time with the dearly departed. Mr. Grossenbury sat in his office before a monitor with headphones on. He carefully observed the family while listening to their discussions. From what Mr. Grossenbury could determine; when it came to the doll that lay in Samantha's coffin, people just assumed that a dead person shouldn't look all that great—despite how family members commented on how "beautiful Samantha looked".
After a few minutes while Samantha's husband, John, did his best to comfort the kids; six-year-old Sherry finally asked, "Is that really Mommy in there?"
"Well, honey..." began Father. "I like to think that it isn't really Mommy in there. That's just an empty shell, a reminder of who Mommy used to be. Mommy is actually someplace else..."
From the office, Mr. Grossenbury quickly hid his face and mouth while trying to hide the laughter. It was necessary to immediately stand up and walk over to the door to close it. When finally safe, Mr. Grossenbury released all of his uncontrollable laughter. "That isn't really Mommy in their...” he jokingly repeated with himself. “She's someplace else..." Mr. Grossenbury roared with laughter.
At that very moment, additional family members and friends began to enter the Grossenbury funeral home. They were greeted by the sounds of morbid and hysterical laughter off in the distance.
"I heard that this place isn't doing so well." commented one of the family members.
"Yeah, I wonder why." commented another.
In the distance, the morbid laughter continued to be heard.

To be continued...

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Carlos Castaneda Controversy—was Juan Matus real?

Hello All:
About a year or so ago, my youngest daughter came home from Saturday orchestra practice a bit upset. Nothing particularly bad happened to her on that morning. She was simply frustrated with a piece that was being learned. And the piece wasn't really all that complicated for a musician at her level.
What was this musical piece?—you might ask?
It was the Indiana Jones Theme that the orchestra was excited to perform come next concert.
The problem for my daughter?
Well, you see; where-as everyone else was familiar with the theme song and the movie, Indiana Jones, my daughter had never seen it—much less heard the theme song. This offered somewhat of a challenge for her to initially keep up with everyone else who was familiar with the music. My poor daughter; we never watched Indiana Jones with our kids. The same could be said of many other great masterpieces; ET, Poltergeist, Jurassic Park, Back to the Future and the likes. Not sure why; but the TV at home only plays reality shows or documentaries—boring if you ask me!
So, I made it my duty to sit down with my daughter on Saturday nights and watch these great masterpieces. She's definitely been enjoying them.—me too. This Saturday night we watched the sequel to Poltergeist, Poltergeist 2 (the other side). She was so impressed with the first movie that she naturally wanted to see more.
Keep in mind that I saw Poltergeist 2 over thirty years ago. Now older with a different perception from teenage years, I immediately noticed the heavy influence of Native American Shamanism throughout the movie. In fact, I was delighted by it. If you recall the movie, there was a shaman by the name of Taylor who was assigned to guard and help the family. Played by Will Sampson, he was an actual medicine man in real life.
The opening scene to the movie immediately reminded me of some chapter that might have appeared in the series of books written by late author, Carlos Castaneda. I felt like I was reading Journey to Ixtlan during some desert magick ceremony. And if that weren't enough to make me recall the writings of Carlos Castaneda, I was suddenly startled at about midway in the movie to hear lines taken
straight out of Journey to Ixtlan—the chapter titled, The Mood of a Warrior. Yes; if you are a fan of Carlos Castaneda’s writings, are you aware that Poltergeist 2 took lines straight out Journey to Ixtlan?
At first I didn't believe it. I thought it was only my imagination. So the following afternoon, I dug out my old copy of Journey to Ixtlan—the third book from Carlos Castaneda—and confirmed my suspicion.
In Poltergeist 2, Taylor (the Native American Shaman) suddenly tells Steven Freeling (husband/father)
"You feel like a leaf at the mercy of the wind, don't you?” This is the exact thing that Juan Matus in Journey to Ixtlan suggested to his apprentice, Carlos.
But Taylor goes on, almost as-if he is reading directly from the book, "Since the day you were born, one way or another, someone has been doing something to you... And they have been doing something to you against your will... And by now you're helpless, like a leaf in the wind."
I might take it so far as to say that the character, Taylor, was taken straight out of Journey to Ixtlan. If you want more of this lovable shaman/medicine man who was assigned to guard and protect the Freeling family in Poltergeist 2, then I would suggest reading the books of Carlos Castaneda. His master, Juan Matus (nicknamed don Juan throughout the collection of books) is the "star" throughout the books.
The Carlos Castaneda Controversy—was Juan Matus real?
So are you convinced? Are you thinking of picking up the books by Carlos Castaneda and diving into the shamanistic world that fictional character, Taylor, from Poltergeist 2 portrays? If so; before we discuss anything further about these so-called teachings of "don Juan Matus", it needs to be mentioned that there are some problems with his credibility. You see, there has been a decades-old argument between die-hard believers and skeptical historians/anthropologists. Where-as die-hard followers and believers in the supposed accounts of Carlos Castaneda’s books assert that Juan Matus truly existed; many historians/anthropologists say that Castaneda’s books are fiction with the intention of discussing a philosophical lifestyle. It’s been claimed that there are many inconsistencies with the archeological and historical accounts. Many skeptics who have studied Carlos' work also point out contradictions. It is vastly concluded by skeptics that the so-called don Juan Matus was nothing more than a product of Castaneda’s imagination. Even Carlos himself stated at some point in his writing career, "The experiences will never be verifiable or even real as we would experience it" It's unclear if he was implying his accounts to be made up, or if his sessions of non-ordinary reality gained through the mentoring of his teacher could never be verified.
So is the so-called don Juan Matus real or not? And are his teachings from the shamanistic world real, or fabricated from the mind of Carlos Castaneda? It's a question we may never have an answer for, considering that Castaneda has been dead for some years.
Ramon Medina Silva
What we do know is that in 1960, the young Castaneda was an anthropologist who had been commissioned with the study of indigenous people in rural areas of Central America and Mexico—particularly in their use and understanding of medicinal plants. Upon diligent inquiry during his travels in Central America, Castaneda received suggestions from people who knew of man named Ramon Medina Silva. The picture being shared is the only one that the world has ever seen. And it could quite possibly be the very man who inspired the creation of don Juan Matus (assuming that he is a product of Castaneda’s imagination)
Ramon Medina Silva was an artist, traveled much, and was well versed in the numerous tribes and cultures of the area. The man would have been best suited to answer any questions that the young anthropologist might have had. In a public place, perhaps a bus terminal in Central America, an initial encounter involved badgering questions that may, very well, have annoyed the artist and visionary. One might speculate that he was tired and anxious to return home. But in an unexpected, kind gesture; Castaneda was invited to seek the home of Ramon where further questions could be answered.
A peculiar thing was noticed about the young man who had finally tracked the residence of the well-known Houichol artist. When invited to find a seat and make himself feel at home; the task was seemingly impossible for Castaneda. He did not know how to find a seat (at least one suitable to absorb enough energy and feel "balanced"). Through eventual conversations and hikes out in the desert wilderness, Ramon gained a thorough assessment of the strange visitor who simply wanted information pertaining to medicinal plants. The young anthropologist was in serious need of guidance into a deeper world of understanding and self-awareness.
Perhaps the knowledge acquired from the artist during his lifetime's travels, the stories heard, and the art experienced would enable the young anthropologist, Castaneda, to break free of his own personal confines and finally experience moments of enlightenment. Through many years of friendship, Ramon had shown Carlos a world where desert creatures spoke, never-seen-before landscapes of beauty unfolded, and the possibility that we as humans can become so much more if we slow down and embrace all that this universe has to offer.
Some say that Ramon Medina Silva (the speculated inspiration for Castaneda’s fictional don Juan Matus) had been killed in a brothel, fighting over a girl. Another legend claims that without warning, he suddenly burst into a cascade-column of light and vanished into infinity. Whatever the reason for his death, the man was the same as you and I; an ordinary human who simply found a way to step outside himself and experience an entire world that is very much different from our own. That mysterious world of Ramon's was both energizing and rejuvenating, and often experienced in brief moments like quick flashes of light. And with this gift, he probably used it to simply inspire his art.
Yes, the question is often raised of the existence and credibility of the so-called don Juan Matus and whether or not Carlos had actually spent time in the remote regions of Mexico. Through investigation, however, it was confirmed that Carlos Castaneda actually did spend time in the Huichol region with a shamanistic culture as evidenced through an interview with the widow of Ramon Medina Silva. She reported that Carlos had spent much time with her husband which strongly suggests that the supposed don Juan Matus may have actually been Ramon Medina Silva. Changing his teacher's name is understandable. Carlos would have felt obligated to protect the shaman's identity, due to the knowledge that would be later divulged in his books.
Perhaps we should take into account something once referred to by don Juan Matus as "silent knowledge".  Might it be knowledge that comes like a flash of light; to be viewed, forgotten, and never deliberately sought after?  "Go home and think about the sorcery stories... better yet, don't think about them. Move your assemblage point towards the place of silent knowledge."

I give the writings of Carlos Castaneda five stars. The knowledge and experiences relayed in those years of his association with (assumedly) Houichol artist, Ramon Medina Silva, certainly gives readers something to think about. I think one of the best books in the collection is Journey to Ixtlan. I strongly suggest reading it.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Death Warmed Over Series (Story one)

Hello All:
No one knows for certain if the terms "dead ringer" or "wake" originated from fact that people were sometimes mistakenly buried alive. It is said that in old-times doctors would sometimes mispronounce an individual as being dead only to find that at some point that person would come back to life. Even more horrific were accounts of bodies that were exhumed for one reason or another, only to discover that the inside of the coffin contained scratch marks pointing to the possibility that whoever was in that coffin had been buried alive!
To solve this problem, a "wake" would be held for a recently deceased person before the funeral to see if he or she would come back to life. And to further prevent a person who was simply "deep asleep" from being buried alive, a rope was tied to the finger of the person buried and fed up a pipe to a bell near the headstone. If the buried person suddenly came back to life, then a bell would start ringing near the headstone, signaling night watchmen to dig that person back up. And that is where the term "dead ringer" is theorized to have originated from. I wonder if anyone ever cut the rope from a bell in case a hated, deceased person came back from the dead.
It sounds like something out of an Edgar Alan Poe story, and no one knows for certain if this truly was a phenomenon in old times. If this really is a true phenomenon, our solution to the problem today is more effective. We embalm the deceased person, leaving him or her no chance to come back to life!
What we do know is that there is a very small fraction-of-a-percentage of people who suffer from extreme narcolepsy combined with cataplexy. As you may know, narcolepsy is a condition in which a person suddenly falls asleep and has no way to control this. Cataplexy is defined as a sudden and transient episode of loss of muscle tone, often triggered by emotions. When these two conditions are combined, it looks as if the person under this unfortunate spell is dead. And yes, there are true accounts of sufferers of these combined conditions being sent to the morgue, only to wake up.
Sometimes these people end up in the funeral home and wake up just before being embalmed. This is quite a shock for the mortician and the now-alive person is sent to the hospital for evaluation.
But not all morticians are happy to see their customers come back to life!
***
Have a great weekend! If you suffer from regular spells of extreme narcolepsy combined with cataplexy; be sure to have yourself tagged with medical alert jewelry so that doctors, or even morticians, will realize and consider your unfortunate condition.
Death Warmed Over Series (story one)
The phenomenon of coma-induced cataplexy with ultra-abnormal, low heart rate is an extremely rare occurrence; often brought on by serious trauma such as a car accident. But occasionally it does happen which results in doctors who pronounce a victim dead at the hospital. Fortunate victims are able to pull out of this cataplexy, and sometimes do so at the funeral home, just before being embalmed. Needless to say, it's a frightful experience for the mortician and probably causes a near heart attack.
I wonder how often this phenomenon actually does take place. And I wonder if there has ever been a mortician who jabbed the jugular tube in the “back from the dead” customer's neck, just for the sake of making money from the funeral.
I can see it now: A young cadet who has begun the career in mortuary science is startled to see the customer resurrect. "Whoa, this one's alive!"
But the experienced mortician, who is training the young cadet, simply says, "Oh, that'll happen more than once in your career! Just puncture the jugular. We can't lose business."
***
Samantha never experienced a surgical operation; but upon awakening under the lights on a table, she soon remembered being slammed against her steering wheel while getting into her car. Samantha assumed she had just awoken from surgery.
There must have been serious injuries, perhaps life threatening, and she must have been rushed to the hospital where doctors saved her life. Samantha wondered how much damage had been done. Was she paralyzed, mutilated face or missing limbs?
She moved all her limbs to verify things were okay. Was it safe to sit up? Maybe if she called out to someone. "Hello...?"
Samantha was still weak and couldn't yell very loudly. Opting to slightly sit up in a forceful disregard of overpowering weakness, her objective was to determine where she was and what had been done to her. She could see sinks, operating tools, machinery and a corpse lying on a nearby embalming table! It didn't take Samantha long to figure out that she had come back from the dead, and was now waiting to be embalmed for a funeral!
It suddenly didn’t matter how injured or weak she was! She had to get off the table, fight dizziness across the room and head towards the door. While staggering towards the door, Samantha could see there was someone doing work in the other room; perhaps the mortician who was preparing to embalm her next.
If the shock of waking up in a funeral home while waiting to be embalmed was not enough, Samantha was next horrified to see the apparent mortician performing a shameful act on a young, female corpse in the other room! His pants were down to his ankles while he rocked his hips forward and backward. The young, female corpse was naked with stiff, cold breasts and nipples that hardly moved for the duration of the defilement.
Had the mortician done this to Samantha as well? Or maybe he was going to do it to her, next.
Samantha opened her mouth and proceeded to softly speak. "Uh... uh..."
The mortician quickly turned around to discover Samantha had come back to life.
"Don't mean to interrupt, but I'm alive. Please call an ambulance."
The mortician had been caught with his pants down and now in danger of losing his license if Samantha reported what she had seen. He was the sole embalmer and funeral director for the Grossenbury Funeral Home. His business wasn't doing so well as a result of the Zimmerman Funeral home that had opened on the other side of town. Mr. Grossenbury really needed to do Samantha's funeral!
He quickly pulled up his pants and declared. "Like hell you're alive!" He then grabbed a nearby surgical scalpel and rushed over to Samantha with it. All he needed to do was puncture her neck; drag her over to the machine and connect the jugular drain tube to start removing the blood. Everyone believed she was dead, and puncturing the jugular vein was the preliminary process of embalming a corpse.
Samantha turned to run, but was feeling very weak and dizzy. And just as Mr. Grossenbury grabbed her, the sound of a doorbell could be heard. Rather than kill Samantha, he quickly dragged her down a flight of stairs and threw her in a brick-enclosed storage room.
"No one will hear you down in this room.” informed Mr. Grossenbury. “I'll get to you later."
Samantha could hear Mr. Grossenbury lock the steel door behind him and then run up the stairs. Although she tried to open the door, it was locked. Why in the world was storage room locked from the outside? She tried screaming for help, but was so weak that everything turned black around her which forced Samantha to lay down in an effort to maintain consciousness. Desperate to save her life, she used whatever energy she had to kick the door.
Unfortunately, Samantha did not understand that her attempts were useless. She was in a subbasement, below a concrete floor which was two levels below the main level. Mr. Grossenbury could have cut someone alive on a table saw, and no one would have heard the screams or the noise of the saw from the room.
Samantha lay on the floor for what seemed like an eternity. Because of the combined shock of the accident, coming back from the dead, and now being confined to a storage room while waiting for her murder; it was very difficult to determine how much time had passed. How serious were her injuries? And what about her husband and children who were at home at the time of the accident? They must have been deeply saddened from believing that Mommy was dead. If only she could escape and get home.
More time had passed and Samantha began to believe she had been down in that room for at least two days. Was it Mr. Grossenbury’s plan to allow her to die from starvation and dehydration? Eventually her family would wonder where Samantha’s body was, and this would probably start an investigation. But would it be too late?

To be continued...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Gun in the House

Hello All:
Imagine sitting in your family room one night with your husband and suddenly getting a phone call, informing you that your father-in-law is on his way over with a shotgun to take care of you and your family! What might drive a man to do such a thing? And how might this be handled?
Today's featured writing could have been taken straight out of a cheesy 1970s prime time soap. And we're sure to give you an unbelievable, explosive ending! Why... there's even a cameo appearance by the Solid Gold Dancers! How can you beat that?
A Gun in the House
Keeping a gun in the home is not such a bad thing. In fact it's advisable to keep two or more. And be sure to have them loaded, ready to use during an unexpected visit from a father. If he's been making telephone calls and unwanted visits to the wife for purposes of extortion, he might become enraged at her sudden refusal to give money. He might even demand for a night of passion with your wife. Now that would be a horrible thing, wouldn't it?
***
Then again, life wasn't so horrible before Lawrence’s son, Andrew, came into the picture. (At least this is how Lawrence perceived it.) At a sporty middle-age, Lawrence had everything. He had the executive position with the company; more money than he knew what to do with; an enormous home, kids in the best colleges and a loving wife. But then he threw it all away by embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the company. He got caught and eventually sent away to prison.
Career ruined, home and possessions taken away and wife forced to return to work; life was very different for Lawrence upon getting out of prison. No one would hire him. So he sat at home and drunk himself into a rotten, old man with diffused, drunken thoughts and unquenchable thirst for money, lust and power—all of which were now unattainable.
And this is the sort of man who calls his daughter-in-law on an afternoon while his son is on business.
"What do you want, Lawrence?" asked Becky.
"Well, I have an investment I want to participate in. We can make a lot of money. But I need money to make this money."
Becky sighed. Shortly after Lawrence's release from prison, he found it suiting to extort money from her. The first time was merely a request for a little money to help put Lawrence back on his feet. But then he did it again, and again; each time reminding Becky of the dark secret shared between him and her. You see; Lawrence and Becky were once lovers. She was his secret mistress working as Lawrence's private secretary. But then Lawrence's son, Andrew, landed a job with the company. And about the time when Father was suddenly absorbed in defending himself in court for embezzlement was the time that Andrew and Becky started dating.
"Lawrence, we just bought this new house and we're a little tight on money." Explained Becky.
"Tight on money?" probed Lawrence. "Your husband has a good job. How can you be tight on money?"
"We're okay, Lawrence" reassured Becky. "But we kind of extended ourselves with the new home. How much do you need?"
"Well, here's the deal." began Lawrence. "In order to show how earnest I am in participating in this investment, I need to front ten thousand dollars in cash. There will be more in the future, but I'm a good guy. I'm certainly not going to take it away. I'll pay you back; even return it with handsome interest. What do you say?"
Again, Becky sighed. "Lawrence, I just can't. That's a lot of money. Andrew's going to find out, eventually."
"Well, if I know my own son, I can tell you that he would not be happy knowing what you and I did behind his back. You want him to find out?"
Becky was defeated. "Fine! You come over tomorrow and I'll give you a check for ten thousand dollars. But you have to pay it back this time."
You see; the last time Lawrence borrowed—more like extorted—money from his daughter-in-law, he fell back on his word.
***
Some weeks later, while her husband returned home from business, Becky's father-in-law called for more money.
Becky was accustomed to phone calls coming from Lawrence as being nothing more than extortion. "What do you want Lawrence?"
"Becky, why so cold?" challenged Lawrence. "You should be excited to be my partner in this business venture. I just need a little funding. Remember I told you that ten thousand dollars was needed to show my earnesty in that investment? Well it's time to contribute all our money. Are you ready to make that contribution?"
"Well how much do you need?" asked Becky.
"We're going to need one hundred thousand dollars."
Becky was outraged. "Lawrence, are you out of your mind? What makes you think I have the liberty to just give you that kind of money?"
"Well, you seemed in agreement with it last time." reminded Lawrence.
"Lawrence, I didn't know you would need that much." answered Becky. "I simply cannot give you that kind of money."
"Well, there are two other alternatives." informed Lawrence. "I know you wouldn't want Andrew to know about our little secret. And seeing that you're backing out of a contract with me, I can only assume you're willing to pay me in another way."
The very thought of the alternative nearly caused Becky to vomit. Just to know that this horrible, old man had been allowed at one time to see her naked, even have sex with her, was enough to cause deep shame.
"No, Lawrence!" rejected Becky. "And you know; you are truly sick. How can you do this to your own son and his family? What kind of father are you?"
"Oh, come-on, Becky." coaxed Lawrence. "We both know how much you enjoyed it with me. In fact, you once told me that I was better than Andrew. Remember that?"
Becky closed her eyes while at the same time gouging her nails into her wrist. Such a fool in those days; how she wished to go back into time and never speak those words, among other things.
"Think it over, Becky." urged Lawrence. "I'm giving you a chance. One hundred thousand dollars isn't much when considering the return. Not only will it put me back in business, but it'll fill your own bank account with the interest I give you. Then you can worry about explaining to your husband as to why you have so much money in the bank. But why share it with him? Hide the money and keep it for yourself. Of course if you have a longing for those days between you and me..."
Becky slammed the phone down and buried her head down on the desk. What was she going to do? How could she possibly remove a hundred thousand dollars from the bank account? Sleeping with Lawrence was completely out of the question. As for Andrew finally learning the truth, it would certainly change much in their marriage.
***
Hours later with Andrew finally home, husband and wife sat on the family room sofa, watching TV. Suddenly, the telephone rang.
With a surge of panic running through her veins, Becky sprung up to answer.
Andrew sensed Becky's anxiety. "What's wrong?"
"Oh nothing..."
Then Becky answered the phone, "Hello?"
There was a slight pause. "Have you reconsidered our little business investment?" It was Lawrence.
Becky sighed and did her best to control her trembling. She had to speak softly so that Andrew wouldn't hear in the other room. "Lawrence, I just can't. That's way too much money to remove from the bank."
"Well then by default you owe me an evening of passion, maybe on one of those lonely weekends when your husband has gone out of town on business."
"No Lawrence, I can't. Why can't you just leave us alone? That was years ago—you and I. I'm married now.”
Just then, Andrew entered the room. "Becky, who's on the phone? Who are you talking to?"
Hopefully Andrew didn't overhear her last statement. Becky had no other choice but to loudly declare over the phone, "Lawrence, we can't give you any money right now. I'm really sorry."
Andrew stood motionless with a confused look.
Lawrence made a final threat over the phone before hanging up. "Fine! Well I'm coming over there to take care of you both!"
Becky sighed with her face flushed while hanging up.
"What's wrong?" asked Andrew. "And why is my father asking for money?"
"He wants a hundred thousand dollars." answered Becky.
"What?" exclaimed Andrew.
"And he says he's coming over." added Becky.
Andrew shook his head in disbelief. "What does my old man want a hundred thousand dollars for? Well, we'll just have to wait for him to get here."
Now as you're quite aware, Becky didn't tell her husband the entire truth. I suppose she hoped that maybe Lawrence would have had a change of heart and simply tried to ask his son for a little help. But deep down inside, Becky was falling apart with unbearable anxiety! Heart racing and her throat dry, she played and replayed in her mind the numerous scenarios of Lawrence's announcement that he had something going on with Becky some years ago. And what if he mentioned all the successful extortion; maybe even lied that he continued to sleep with Becky? Why didn't Becky tell her husband early on? It's always best to go into a marriage with all truths known. But she feared it would have changed the way Andrew felt about her, possibly caused him not to want to marry her.
Suddenly, the phone rang again. Becky jumped up to answer it, this time nearly in dreadful tears. "Hello?"
It was Becky's mother-in-law, Lawrence's wife. "You're in trouble now." she warned. “I don't know what you told that man, but after he got off the phone with you he was so upset that he poured himself a few good, stiff drinks. Then he went into the gun cabinet and took out the shotgun with handfuls of ammunition to stick in his pockets. I asked him where he was going. He said that he was going over to Andrew's house to take care of you both. He's coming, Becky! He's coming with a shot gun to blow you, Andrew and the kids away!"
Fortunately the kids were staying at Becky's mom's house for the weekend. It was only her and Andrew home alone. But would they be able to protect themselves from the crazy, old man? Trembling, Becky ended the call and cried out. "Andrew! That was your mom. Your father is coming with a shot gun to take care of us!"
Andrew sprung up from his seat in terror. "She did? Oh, for cripes sake!" He immediately ran upstairs into the bedroom for his magnum .357 handgun, loaded and ready to protect him and the wife.
While this happened, Becky attempted the sensible thing and dialed 911. But at that very moment, a hand took hold of the phone line outside and cut it with a pair of diagonal cutters. It was Lawrence! He was already at his son's house with shotgun and a few drinks in him. And he was smart enough to know to cut the phone lines to prevent 911 from being called!
"Andrew, the phone won't work!" called out Becky.
"Oh no! It's my father! He's out there! It was probably him that cut the phone line!" Then he ordered his wife, "Get upstairs into the bedroom and hide! Don't come out until I say."
Becky did as her husband ordered.
While she did this, Andrew ran over to the circuit breaker box and turned off the main power so that all the lights in the house went out. Then he knocked over the family room sofa and kneeled behind it with the gun pointed at the front door.
Moments later, pounding could be heard on the door. "Open the door!" yelled Lawrence. "Open this door you son-of-a-bitch! You ruined my life!"
Of course Andrew wasn't going to open the door. But this only angered father all the more. "Open the door!" Then with every syllable spoken, he beat the shoulder end of the shotgun on the door. "Open this damned door, now!"
Any harder with the shot gun shoulder, the door would have busted open. To issue a warning, Andrew fired a shot at the door—towards the top to ensure that his father wouldn’t be hit.
There was an easier way in the house—Lawrence knew this. It was through the back entrance at the second level of the wooden deck. A sliding glass door would allow access to Andrew and Becky's master bedroom, the same bedroom where Becky now stood in the darkness, waiting to hear that it was safe to come out!
She didn't hear Lawrence quietly ascend the wooden staircase to the second level. And upon Lawrence seeing her silhouette, he quickly flashed open the door and grabbed Andrew's wife. She was trapped in a partial headlock with the barrel of a shotgun pointed at her head.
Andrew didn't hear the intrusion and remained downstairs with the handgun pointed to the door. It was a surprise to suddenly hear father announce from the overlooking second level loft, "It's over, Andrew! I've got her! You either meet my demands, or I'll pull the trigger."
Startled, Andrew stood up. I suppose anger and disappointment caused him to remain speechless.
Father did the talking for him. "Son, all you have to do is let me have one hundred thousand dollars. I said I would pay you back in interest. It's for a business investment. It's the least you can do, considering the way you ruined my life."
"Ruined your life?” shouted Andrew. “I never did anything!"
"She used to be mine, Andrew." With Becky in a partial headlock and gun pointed to her head, Lawrence dragged his son's wife from side to side.
"He's lying, Andrew!" called out Becky.
I suppose as a warning for Becky not to attempt any more communication, Lawrence pointed the shotgun at the sofa and fired. Keep in mind that this sort of decision making was made by a crazy, old drunken man.
Fearing for his life, Andrew immediately ran out the front door while formulating a new plan to save himself and his wife. What did Father mean by, "Used to be mine"? Did he have an affair with Becky some years ago? It didn't matter now. Andrew's wife now had a gun pointed to her head by a crazy man who demanded money.
Now it just so happened that Andrew had a tool shed in the backyard with plenty of gasoline. While running behind the house, he could see his father and Becky had returned to the master bedroom as evidenced by the frantic silhouettes of Father pointing the gun at Andrew's wife and demanding that she sit on the floor.
It was the perfect opportunity to carry five gallon containers of gasoline from the tool shed and into the front door of the house. If this were a cheesy 1970s prime-time action series, one would hear the action-packed music building up the intensity of the moment, letting us all know that a grand finale was about to take place. And Andrew didn't have a simple gallon or two of gasoline in the tool shed for lawn equipment. He had a dozen five gallon containers of the flammable material, enough to blow up the entire neighborhood! Why in the world anyone would need that much gasoline is anyone's guess. But Andrew had this much and was prepared to use it in an emergency situation like this.
Lawrence never heard the dozen containers being quietly carried into the middle of the house. With all them neatly stacked, Andrew dumped a large puddle of gasoline to surround the containers.
Again, if this were a cheesy 1970s prime-time action series, one would hear out-of-tune brass musical instruments scream as the splashes of gasoline landed on the floor. "Wah…! Wah…! Wah…! Wah…!" Each out of tune note would play at a higher octave to signify increasing danger.
Andrew leaked a trail of gasoline all the way outside to the front sidewalk. He certainly wasn't going to ignite the trail and blow up sweet Becky. Rather he lit a cigarette and placed the butt near the end of the trail of gasoline. This provided a window of time to save Becky before blowing up the house.
The timer had now been started!
Andrew ran for his life to save the woman he loved! Desperate orchestra music called out in the background. Becky was in terrible danger, not only from her crazy father-in-law who might snap and finally pull the shotgun trigger and kill her, but because a time bomb had been set and she was soon to be blown into smithereens! Perhaps this is what fueled Andrew with the strength to dash up the staircase of the wooden deck, dive head first through the glass patio door, and roll onto the floor before bouncing back onto his feet.
Lawrence was startled, of course; probably didn't know that his son had it in him. But he immediately used the shotgun as a weapon to attack his son with.
Andrew dodged all the vicious blows made with the barrel and shoulder end of the gun.
Becky screamed in the background like any fragile, helpless wife would—especially if she were out of a cheesy 1970s prime time action series. Then opportunity provided a chance for Andrew to give his father one, good sock to the jaw that launched the man out the out the bedroom door and into the hallway.
"Becky, come-on!” called out Andrew. “The house is about to blow!"
Husband and wife wasted not a moment to run though the already shattered patio glass door—hand in hand—darted across the deck and over the wooden fence.
At the very moment of jumping, the entire house exploded, "BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!" The dozen five-gallon containers of gasoline combusted. But Andrew and Becky were safe as they fell right into the deep end of the swimming pool, the water providing shelter from the destructive flames of explosion.
Once swimming to the other end of the pool, Andrew and Becky finally embraced one another, happy to be safe and still so much in love despite the stress to their marriage and the tragedy of losing their home. But they had each other, and that's all that mattered. With these realizations, it was certainly appropriate to passionately kiss in the swimming pool while the house burned in a fury, probably to the ground by the end of the night.
Way in the distance could be heard the sounds of police and fire sirens screaming to the scene. They were late, as usual. Only when the bad guy is finally taken down do the police come.
Just then, Lawrence emerged from the flames, standing on the second level wooden deck, body roaring with fire and screaming in horror. But his reign of terror was over.
Andrew and Becky didn't feel the least bit sorry for him. They watched as Lawrence went back into the home to continue burning like he deserved.
But what was this?
No explosive ending to a suspenseful evening likened to a cheesy 1970s prime time action series would be complete without a surprise, guest appearance by the Solid Gold Dancers! They now did their acrobats through the burning flames while the music played, "I want some hot, stuff, baby, tonight..."

In the pool, Andrew and Becky watched in delight at the performance. It wasn’t such a bad evening after all.
The End!

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Cableman vs. Superman -- a break dancing showdown, extravaganza!

Hello All:
Big news! The third book of the Mapleview series, Sex Magick, has been edited and re-released by Creativia Publishing with some wicked, new cover artwork. If you haven't done so already, be sure to get your copy. Make sure you read the previous books in the series, first (if you've never picked up a Mapleview book).
***
I mentioned the on-demand streaming audio music app, Spotify, some weeks ago and how happy I am with it. If you're a music lover, then I strongly recommend that you download this app and even get the premium subscription. But I wonder if people over forty (like me) have experienced the phenomenon of finding old songs that they remember from "back in the day" and realizing that they weren't all that great.
Case in point: 'jam on it' by Newcleus. Anyone who lived through the 1980s can remember this break dancing song. It definitely reached the top forty--probably even close to number one on the charts. You remember the song, I'm sure. And if you were a fan of the high tech dance genre from those days then you'll agree that the song was a masterpiece.
WAS...
The truth is if you listen to 'jam on it', today, you are not going to enjoy it. I was browsing the myriad of songs on Spotify and found 'jam on it' by Newcleus. "Yeah! I remember that song!" I hit play and listened for about thirty seconds.
But what was this?
As I found out, the song actually sucks! Sure, when I was thirteen years old the song might have been really cool. But now in my forties, I have an immediate problem with the vocalist who sounds like a total dork. He is obviously trying too hard, making himself sound like a bad ass, straining his voice and such. Keep in mind that the song, 'jam on it' predates the age of rap music. Back in those days you might have heard an artist tell a story through poetry which is what Newcleus did in 'jam on it'. But again, the voice is really stupid and overdone. I would be embarrassed if someone actually discovered me playing this song. For that matter, 'jam on it' is not in my collection of music. Such a disappointment.
All hope isn't lost for those who enjoyed the high tech dance era of the early 1980s. There still are songs that aren't all that bad. Here's a song that you might have forgotten. You might not even know the name of it. In fact, I didn't know the name of it until I discovered it on Spotify. It's called 'whole lotta of love' from an artist that went by the name of Fuzz Dance. Check it out:

Today's featured writing is a rework of a Cableman story that had been written a few years ago. I guess like 'jam on it' from Newcleus, it needed to be improved. And that's what I did . It also uses the song 'whole lotta love' from Fuzz Dance. You see, the Cableman digs in the back of the bedroom closet for all of his old WBMX mixes.

The Cableman vs. Superman -- a break dancing showdown, extravaganza!
Now don’t think for a second that the days of break dancing are long gone! Guys like the Cableman will argue that people still do it. As for the Cableman, he usually believes and insists this after having a few hits from his Kenneth Arnold flying saucer print water bong.
He sat outside on his private deck during a fine summer twilight. There was a refreshing coolness in the air. Robins sang outside. The next door neighbors had their sprinkler watering the lawn. And out of the clear blue the Cableman suddenly exclaimed in a cannabis-induced state of excitement, "WBMX mixes! Whatever happened to those? And whatever happened to Mickey Mixin' Oliver, Kenny Jammin' Jason, Ralphie Rosario, Farley Jack master Funk, and Scott Smokin' Sills?"
To answer the Cableman's question, they were probably boxed-up and shelved away in some long-forgotten storage closet once WBMX went off the air over thirty years ago. That music was big in the early 1980s, but then evolved into something different. Although the Cableman might want to believe that the days of break dancing never died, the truth is…
Ah, but the Cableman refuses to believe this! And to fight the unfavorable reality, he began singing out his favorite tunes that he remembered. Then it hit him! Once-upon-a-time he spent many a Saturday night recording all those mixes off the radio, and kept them all. They now sat in a box, buried somewhere in the back of his bedroom closet.
The Cableman nearly flew back into his apartment, and into his bedroom. Boxes and heaps of dirty clothes were thrown from the closet and onto the bedroom floor. He had plenty of laundry to do and could have probably benefited from organizing the closet. Instead, the priority was to find those WBMX mixes from the early 1980s. Experimental and electronic with perhaps a hint of psychedelic influence; WBMX mixes would have sounded perfect pounding out of a ghetto blaster at the street corner while crowds assembled for a break dancing war.
"There you are! There you are you bitches! I found you! HA HA HA HA HA HA!" The Cableman momentarily turned psychotic with maniacal laughter when the box of retro Maxell cassettes was finally found. It probably hadn't been opened since 1989. But now the Cableman would pop one of the cassettes into his outdated stereo and travel back into time to the early 1980s.
Contrary to modern-day dance music with its noteworthy overdriven bass, WBMX mixes where characterized as having snappy percussions and innovative high-tech (almost sci-fi) sound. If you are someone who is searching for your long, lost WBMX mixes; then you’ll definitely be a little envious of the Cableman. He popped a cassette into the stereo tape deck that would have been recorded from the early 1980s. The announcer called out over the mic, "102.7FM, WBMX: we're number one because of you and we're proud of that tradition. Thanks Chicago. It's 12:02am and you're in the mix with Ralphie Rosario."
And what song did the mix start with? It just so happened to be the mostly unheard of song, 'whole lotta love' by Fuzz Dance. Yeah, that's a real song! Check it out if you've never heard it.

And get this! In this particular recording that the Cableman had in his possession, the DJ played the same song on two record players. It was a technique in which two records were simultaneously played in such a way that the speed of one turntable was slightly reduced. The end result; one record would slightly fall out of phase which created a psychedelic, aerial effect that tricked the mind into feeling as-if doing loop-di-loops in midair.
The Cableman was in Heaven! So affected by the sorely-missed music, he began pop-locking in the family room; soon to whip out some backspins on the hardwood floor and finishing up with a very, nice helicopter. He hadn’t done that in years!
***
The following morning, the Cableman was sure to bring with to work his box of retro Maxell cassette mixes to play in the stereo of the cable van. But before heading out into the field, it was necessary to attend the weekly staff meeting.
The office manager stood at the front of the room while addressing cable installers, technicians, sales people and office clerks. "I'm not sure if any of you heard this story in the news; but there was an incident of an accountant at some marketing firm who thought it would be a good idea to do some break dancing during his lunch break."
"Break dancing?" immediately challenged one of the office clerks.
A cable technician jumped in with a comment of his own. "Yeah, didn't that go out with mall hair and leg warmers back in the 80s?"
That's when the Cableman spoke up and defended his rediscovered passion. "Break dancing comes back every now and then. There's nothing wrong with it."
"Good point, Cableman" answered the office manager. "Although break dancing might not be very popular anymore, people are still doing it. And apparently people are doing it during their lunch breaks. Which brings me back to my original point: The unfortunate accountant simply walked past a street corner where a break dancing crew challenged him to a showdown on the crash pad. The accountant was wearing business clothes—slacks, dress shirt and necktie. I suppose he would have been alright, but he decided to do the head spin. You've seen this before, right?—stand on your head and spin around like a top. Well, his necktie broke free from the tie clamp so that it draped on the ground next to him. This eventually snagged his head and caused the accountant to snap his neck! He died on the scene!"
"Whoa!"
"Eww!"
"Oh my gosh!"
Everyone at the staff meeting was horrified to hear such a thing.
The office manager continued. "Going forward, no one is permitted to break dance on company time. This includes your lunch break. From what I understand, family members of the accountant have a lawsuit against the marketing firm. And they might win because lunchtime is technically still company time."
***
It was midmorning, and the Cableman had some hours before his next job. During moments like this, he often reported to the local forest preserve to hide in his favorite spot where no one would find him. On such a gorgeous, summer midmorning; the Cableman played more of those treasured WBMX mixes in the company van. Of course this made him want to get out of the van and do some break dancing.
But the Cableman knew better! The boss dictated there to be no break dancing on company time. To help pacify those urges, the Cableman decided to make his own crash pad out of a large, cardboard box that housed a spool of cable. He removed the cable and then sliced the box open so that it lay flat, offering 64 square feet of slippery break dancing area.
"Now let's see... how did we used to design these things?" With the WBMX mixes pumping out of the van the Cableman used permanent marker to draw all sorts of strange artwork on his crash pad. He drew the little aliens from the 80s techno band, Newcleus, and was sure to include quotation bubbles that said, "Wikki! Wikki! Wikki!" He drew ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and wrote in capital letters underneath, "ELECTRIC KINGDOM!" Within twenty minutes the entire crash pad was filled with references to break dancing culture along with matching artwork. With the crash pad complete, the Cableman had a sudden urge to whip out a backspin!
Uh-oh! The Cableman wasn't supposed to be break dancing on company time! But he continued to disobey the boss’ orders and whipped out some more backspins before transitioning into some fantastic helicopters. Then he tried to do the knee spin, a maneuver he had the balance for in younger days. Having not done it in nearly thirty years, he wobbled a bit until finally performing it with perfect accuracy.
There was one trick that the Cableman could do in younger years that no one else in neighborhood could match. He wondered if he could still do it. He reached into the back of the van and pulled out a pair of work gloves. Then he cut the fingers so that only his hands and knuckles were covered. As you can surely predict, he next balanced his horizontal body on one hand and then spun himself around. Yes, the Cableman had the strength to do the hand spin!
But what about the knuckle spin? It was nearly impossible as a young lad. After another five minutes of practice, the Cableman perfected the nearly-impossible technique of spinning off his knuckle!
After a morning of practice and perfecting his moves, the Cableman was ready to seek out a crew in the streets for a little street-rivalry competition. But he had best look out! The Cableman was about to experience the showdown of his life!
Before taking the crash pad and high-energy WBMX mixes to the street corner, the Cableman stopped at the drive thru at Culvers for a Butter Burger, fries and Concrete Mixer shake. While pulling away from the drive thru and biting into his juicy Butter Burger; the WBMX mix tape flipped over to side B. Apparently the Cableman had made this recording during lunchtime some decades ago.
The announcer called over the mic, "WBMX FM, the originator of the hot mix! You’re in a lunchtime super-mini hot mix with Mickey Mixin' Oliver"
"Oh yeah!" yelled out the Cableman with a mouthful of burger. "Lunchtime super-mini hot mixes were always the best!" He was right. Usually twenty minutes long, the lunchtime mini-mix was perfect for getting a quick mix-fix during lunch break. The DJ played only the crème dela crème of mixes in those twenty minutes.
Cruising the streets; chowing down on lunch and jamming out to a recorded mini-mix from decades ago, the Cableman scoped out the streets for break dancing crews that might have been challenging him for a match. But no one could be found. Maybe there was word in the streets that the Cableman was back in town. This might have intimidated everyone.
With food devoured and half the Concrete Mixer sucked down, the Cableman was growing impatient with the absence of break dancing crews. That was when he decided to park his van at the edge of the street corner; activated the yellow flashing light on the roof, and lay out safety cones near the truck. With the space claimed as his own, the Cableman pulled out his crash pad and threw it on the sidewalk. WBMX mixes roared out of the van as the Cableman transitioned from backspin to helicopter. No one could do the worm like the Cableman! He arched and wiggled up and down the crash pad, then to balance on his knee and spin like a top.
Soon people began to surround the Cableman.
"Hey is the cable company doing a promotion?" asked a bystander.
"What’s this dude's trip?" asked another. "He thinks its 1983!"
"I don't know, but the Cableman can definitely move!" commented another.
People applauded while watching the amazing acrobats at the street corner. And wouldn't you know it? Some people began to join in with some moves of their own. You see; that's the fun with break dancing. Everybody gets a turn on the crash pad!
Across the streets and down the block, everyone watched as crews assembled on street corners for mesmerizing pop-locking and body spins on flattened cardboard boxes. Break dancing had returned after so many years, and the whole town was doing it during lunchtime.
It just so happened on that fine day that Superman flew through the skies with a ghetto blaster that was the size of Subaru station wagon on his shoulder. He, too, was looking for a break dancing showdown during lunchtime and finally discovered a town where people were doing it. Little did the Cableman know while dancing at his corner that the man of steel was paying visits to each block just to blow away every crew he faced with moves that were clearly out of this world.
Then he reached the Cableman's street corner! The Subaru station wagon sized ghetto blaster was dropped next to the Cableman's van. Now this ghetto blaster is certainly worth commenting on. Speakers that were the size of tractor tires; they included woofers and tweeters that were made of steel. The level of sound produced would have been comparable to speakers that were three stories high. Of course the enormous ghetto blaster had a phenomenal power source capable of fueling amps to drive such sound. And no fans were required to cool the equipment off. Superman just used his super breath when needed.
Seeing the impressive equipment, and the fact that Superman was about to challenge him to break dancing showdown, the Cableman started to get nervous.
Superman glanced over to his rival with an intimidating look and said, "You'll see that I'm faster than a speeding bullet when I'm on the set.” Then he turned the power of the enormous ghetto blaster on, and the ground beneath the Cableman's feet began to move. For miles around, all the buildings started swaying to the beat as the Superman literally floated on air while occasionally dropping on the crash pad for backspins that quite possibly broke the speed of sound.
If this weren't enough, the super human dance moves were taken to such an impossible extreme that he took off for the skies and flew three times around the world without missing a beat. In between, Superman would drop on the crash pad to execute some high-speed helicopters or even head spins.
Just as the Cableman started to believe that the man of steel came down from the skies to win yet another break dancing showdown, it was discovered that Superman had a weakness. You see, Superman has those x-ray eyes and hesitates not a moment in using them to check out what lies beneath the clothing of sexy women. This is what distracted Superman from executing mind-boggling dance moves of grace and finesse as three women walked past the street corner. Had it been the Cableman on the crash pad, he would have simply noticed the women and kept on dancing. But Superman beamed his x-ray eyes at the women in between moves and was delighted at what he saw. And just at the precise moment of gracefully drifting to the ground like a spinning top for another backspin, someone else had walked past and accidentally kicked a sharp stone onto the crash pad.
Superman wasn't paying attention and dropped his entire spinning body weight on the sharp stone. This created a twelve inch cut on Superman's butt—very painful! All he could do was quickly stand up and walk around while rubbing comfort to his torn buttocks.
It looked like the Cableman still had a chance to win this showdown!  He gloated while saying to Superman, "It looks like you rocked your butt with a twelve inch cut! I'm calling that move, disco kryptonite!"
The crowd laughed and applauded as the Cableman dove onto the crash pad to wiggle and arch like a worm. He was wearing his makeshift glove and did the impossible knuckle spin. At the songs completion, Superman had no choice but to look over at the Cableman and say, "You rock so naturally!"
Clearly the winner of the showdown, the Cableman answered, "Now that you've learned the deal, let me tell you why I'm so for real. I'm the Cableman. And some say that I'm from outer space, here to rock the human race. I do it right because I can't do it wrong. That's why the whole world is singing my song."
Crowds of people applauded as the Cableman finished his little rap and the next song played. The Cableman dove back onto the crash pad to celebrate his victory with the helicopter.
Just then, the Cableman's boss drove by and took notice of his employee break dancing. "Cableman! I thought I made it clear that there was to be no break dancing on company time!"
Uh-oh! Lunch was now over. And there would probably be a write-up waiting for the Cableman when he returned to the office later that day.

The End!

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Basement in the Woods

Hello All:
One of the things I like about my Dodge Dart is the fact that people are beginning to comment that it looks like a Stormtrooper. Why, just this week in the parking lot at church, someone approached me and said, “I like your Stormtrooper car!”
“Thank you!” I answered. I never would have imagined while purchasing my Dart that it would eventually look like something out of the Star Wars movie series.
***
I was suddenly hit with the realization that I haven’t produced any writings in nearly two weeks. Shame on me! Part of the reason might be due to the fact that I was on Christmas break and having too much fun to sit down with a notebook computer on my lap. I did return to work last Monday, but realized that I really enjoy sleeping. You have to admit that it feels good. Well, this rediscovered pleasure makes it impossible to rise out of bed an hour early to write like I usually do.
So here I am getting myself back into the swing of writing. Why don’t I tell you about one of my adventures while on Christmas break. It’s a place that my younger daughter and I visited that we call the Basement in the Woods. This report contains a combination of photos that had been taken in both autumn and winter, selected for the best view-able image.
The Basement in the Woods
So how did I discover the basement in the woods?
To answer this question you need to go back to Halloween week of 2015 when I featured the mini Mapleview novella, The Friendly Fort. If you've read this mini novella then you know that there is actually a real-life story behind the so-called Friendly Fort. The place truly exists—or did exist at one point. You see, it is now in ruins. But it was important for me to find this Friendly Fort so that I could include pictures for you during Halloween week. Be sure to read this particular blog post if you haven't done so already. READ POST THAT INCLUDES FRIENDLY FORT PICTURES WITH DISCUSSION.
But finding its location was not easy for me because I hadn't been there in over twenty years. What's more; my brother is the only person who remembers the place. It was he and I who ventured to this Friendly Fort on a regular basis some twenty years ago.
"I'm looking for the Friendly Fort." I told my brother. "I've been taking [my daughter] on these adventures, but we can't seem to find it."
Cement slab of where home once sat.
He explained to me the supposed route that he remembered, and swore that he visited the place a couple of years ago. "You take the off-beaten path from the main trail in the woods and follow it until you reach the creek. Once you reach the creek, you will see the rope hanging from an old tree. Turn right and follow the creek until you reach the Friendly Fort. But be careful! The Devil lives there!"
And so my daughter and I took the route that my brother suggested and followed it until it ended at a main highway. The Friendly Fort could not be found! I was beginning to lose hope and feared that the place had been dismantled by workers of the forest preserve district.
It was around this time when I began surveying the Cook County forest preserves with the use of Google Earth satellite imagery, and found what appeared to be a large, man-made square out in the middle of the woods. It was in a slightly different location from where I believed the Friendly Fort to be. So intriguing; I just had to check it out.
Like the other times before, I took my daughter with me on the adventure where we discovered the man made square as seen in the satellite imagery to be the foundation of an old house that might
Entry 1 to Basement in the Woods
have stood in that region a hundred years ago. And then I discovered what I believed to be a dried-up creek with surrounding flagstone embedded in it.
"Is this the Friendly Fort?" I asked out loud."Is this what's become of the strange place that I remembered from twenty years ago? The creek is now dried up?"
At that time I wasn't aware that the true Friendly Fort was in a different region of forest. And you don't know how close we came to offering photographs taken that day during Halloween week to present as the Friendly Fort.
Now at this point you certainly realize that I was not in the actual Friendly Fort. But
Entry 2 to Basement in the Woods: (Yes,
it is large enough to fit an average
sized person.
)
the place we discovered that day is equally fascinating. You see; upon further investigation, we discovered an entryway into a deep hole in the ground! Was it an entryway into a cave? I've been fascinated with the prospect of caves possibly existing throughout the Cook County Forest Preserve region, and have even found possible evidence in recent years. But this discovery could have blown the mystery wide open. I could have announced to the world that accessible caves are located in the Chicagoland area.
Or was it really the entrance to a cave...?
Upon further investigation we realized that the sunken-in ground with surrounding flagstone is actually the place of where two buildings had once sat. And the entryway to the supposed cave is actually the entry into an old basement or cellar.
Coyote Prints: the people who live
in the Basement in the Woods
feed and take care of the coyotes
to use as protection. They might
even live in the basement with
these animals.
As seen in the photo, this basement is deep! Make no mistake about it; that's a deep hole in the ground! My daughter and I were so tempted to at least poke our heads into the hole and see what is down there. And if it appeared safe, we might have even climbed down. But in this situation, I needed to "play the adult" and protect my daughter from any danger. I suppose the same should have been said for myself—protect myself from danger. After all, there is no guarantee that the ground wouldn't have collapsed around us and trapped us with no escape.
There is something else that is strange about
this area that we have nicknamed "the basement in the woods". The region appears to be occupied by inhabitants. It's a subculture of social outcasts who choose to reside in places where people can't find them. There isn't anything particularly wrong with them. It's just that these people are different. And they actually live in the holes in the ground—two holes—which provide entrance into the manmade caves. The first time we visited, we were asked to bring back keys. This was around late October of last year—just before the week of Halloween. I'm not sure what it is that they need with keys, but we brought keys back.
My daughter and I recently returned to the Basement in the Woods during the Christmas holiday. Through all the snow on the ground, we realized that large dogs regularly visit this area along with coyotes. If that weren't enough, we discovered empty dog dishes. The people who live in the Basement in the Woods actually feed the coyotes. You see; it's a prehistoric practice that our ancient ancestors followed to make friends with animals such as coyotes and wolves. These animals protect their territory. And where there are humans who care and feed for them, coyotes will protect the region from intruders.
Strange, skeletal enclosure made of old trees that stands
near the Basement in the Woods. Not
sure what it is used for.
The people who reside in this region were a bit perturbed by our visit during the Christmas holiday. It was explained to us that they hibernate during the winter months. But we were asked to come back in the spring. This time they want mirrors.
Strange...