Archives

HIS ROPE’S END

McGinty always found a way to keep his wits about him. An analytical mind was not something with which this cow poke had been blessed, and yet things worked out for him.

He was chosen ranch foreman because he had been at this for a long time. Add to that the fact that he could lasso better than anyone “the Boss” had seen, Mac was a shoe-in for the position.

Driving this beef had been arduous lately. The terrain seemed rougher and rougher, the cattle having grazed the old paths clean. There was space in the high country that was relatively untouched. McGinty thought if he could take them through Cherub’s Pass, he’d kill two birds with one stone.

The incline was rather gradual, so the strain wasn’t overtly terrible. But the ledge of the Pass seemed to narrow as they went further up. Mac thought of scrapping the idea, but he had too much time invested in it, plus he didn’t need some ambitious hand taking him down. On they went.

Near the rear of the pack, McGinty heard a rather raucous noise; his animals were in distress. One of them anyway, but the rest of the herd sounded the alert. A young calf, had strayed behind and had gotten too near the edge of the ravine. It was a minor drop, but it still had separated it from the rest of the herd.

McGinty secured his rope around a stump and then around his waist. The other hands lowered him to the calf. As he worked to calm the animal he felt something hit his back. It was the other end of his lasso. He needn’t worry about an ambitious hand; an unscrupulous one was just as dangerous.

“You babysit, Foreman! I’ll take ’em from here!’ shouted the villainous varmint.

He had been duped. And there McGinty sat, stroking the calf and trying to think his way out of trouble. Surely he had come to the end of his rope

IT IS WHAT IS IT

Tree_frog_amongst_Bluebells_by_AngiNelson

Tree frog amongst Bluebells by Angi Nelson

He was merely a frog.

Green. Wide eyed and slick. Throaty crackles within. Warts and all, he was merely a frog.

Oh, he had dreams. Every young frog does. Bigger adventures and capers were that to which he aspired. But everyday he sat in his tree, ingesting insects and watching the world pass him by.

His uncles had the best gig a few years back. All they did was sit in their lily pad and pitch malt beverages. The humans seemed to love their chant about Bud…, Bud Somebody or other. Now, he’d settle for being a lowly gecko. At least he’d have employment..

The swamp was his home and he never needed to roam. But he had a wanderer’s spirit. Dreams never died, they just sat on a branch and croaked. Until…

Mort Grinley, a Hollywood talent scout came venturing where Bruno Magli never intended to go. Mort came across the reptilian wonder.

“Nice swamp you have here” Mort began.

“Yup” countered the frog.

“I’m looking for the next big thing… and I believe it’s you!” Mort continued.

“Yup” countered the frog.

“How would you like to come to Hollywood and make films?” Mort offered.

The frog thought contemplatively, swiping an elongated tongue at a sedentary fly.

“Yup” countered the frog.

“I just want you to know… it won’t be easy!” Mort said finally.

“HAVE YOU EVER BEEN GREEN?” the frog shouted. “Now that…
that is not easy!”

Mort smiled.

He loved green. In large denominations. The frog was rubbing off on him. He knew there was no beating a frog. Mort didn’t give a lick what the pig said!

LA CUCARACHA!

"Bernie and Miguel lived under the flat top grill in La Hacienda del Fuego."

“Bernie and Miguel lived under the flat top grill in La Hacienda del Fuego.”

They survived. They always survived. The truth bears out time and again. There’s no killing a cockroach.

Not that there was anyone around to stomp on them any more. Man’s inhumanity to man went a bit too far, with the conflagration leaving nothing but these durable bugs, they pretty much had run of the world!

Bernie and Miguel lived under the flat top grill in La Hacienda del Fuego. They never saw the flash and were never bothered by the heat. They had their fill of grease and salsa that never made it onto the plate. Bernie steered clear of the jalapeno seeds which was okay by Miguel who always loved a little spice!

The darkness was unusual, Bernie thought, seeing that they hadn’t seen the sun or any other light source for four days. He had no problem getting around the restaurant though. He just liked seeing what he was eating.

“Que pasa, Amigo?” Miguel queried. “You look worried!”

Bernie glanced over at his friend and shook his head.

“Something is wrong, Miguel! Can’t you feel it?” Bernie asked. “It’s dead around here!”

“Si! So?”

“SO? This joint was the big time! The hoy-faloy!” Bernie reasoned. “What’s to become of us?”

Miguel thought for a second. Sure, in time the food would be scarce, but while it lasts, they’ll feast!

“Why is this a dilemma, my friend?” Miguel worried.

“I was proud of this place. It was like a badge of honor!” Bernie replied.

Miguel couldn’t let the line lie. He swiped a feeler across his thick black mustache. Then he smiled his smarmy smile.

“Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!”

The two insect laughed hysterically caught up in the humor of it all.

“Pass the qeuso fresco!” Bernie relented. “Tonight we fiesta!”

IF MAN WERE MEANT TO FLY…

Running now, flapping arms and spindly legs churning, burning energy and kicking up the granular path.

Running now, flapping arms and spindly legs churning, burning energy and kicking up the granular path.

Joshua sat on the ridge that overlooked the shoreline. The morning moved on trepidation’s feet; slow and lumbering as if afraid to awaken the slumbering surf. He watched the sun rise above the trees behind him, knowing full well that soon he would be bathed by her engulfing warmth. Joshua waited.

His legs were splayed out before him, propped up upon his elbows soaking up the sounds of the water lapping the sand. Joshua heard a murmur as well. A cooing, a trill of a sound, repeating in as much as the waves receded and returned. The gulls were welcoming the day as well.

Joshua was amazed by their multitude. As the morning painted the landscape in it’s light, it became more apparent. The sand was blanketed in shades of white and gray and black, moving in unison, a oscillation of avian beauty. One bird raises it wings and stretched. Others mimicked his motion. Here at the lake – it may as well had been an ocean, the day began.

Joshua drew a sip from his drink box, watching. Studying, noting the flex and sense of community these birds displayed. Another gull flaps its wings, affording him space; drawing others to its movements.The flapping continued as it lifted off of the surface, drifting to the right swooping over the masses. More followed. All aroused they took flight moving a bit closer on the beach to land and migrate again. Joshua came to his feet. He wanted a closer look.

Joshua was twelve, and his curiosity was his most endearing quality. There was so much he wanted to accomplish before he was poisoned by young adulthood. His innocence enhanced him; he was fearless and driven.

Slowly, he approached the swarm of birds. Some were spurned to take evasive actions, others just moved to allow the boy to pass by. When he reached the center of the congregation, he stopped completely surrounded by his feathered friends. The sound of the waves crashing was muted by the cooing that raised in volume; a crescendo that filled Joshua’s head. He closed his eyes and felt the surreal sensation that made his feel more like one of these weathered birds instead of a wide-eyed young boy.

Again the flapping commenced. Bird nudging neighbor, awakening to the activity. More birds lifted off the ground. Joshua followed suit, extending his arms and moving them up and down in sync with his “brothers”. The birds moved more rapidly, and Joshua aped their arc. Running now, flapping arms and spindly legs churning, burning energy and kicking up the granular path. Suddenly, Joshua lunged forward, leaving his feet and furiously undulating his appendages. He had achieved flight. Briefly. And just as suddenly, the boy came crashing down to earth.

The gulls laughed and cackled. A wave of birds dipped down toward the boy and then headed out over the water. Joshua pulled himself off of the sand, brushing the grains from his lap, spitting up as much as well. He had a mouthful of sand and a belly full of laughter, again mimicking the gulls. And he smiled. Joshua knew little boys couldn’t fly. But his imagination rose up to take him wherever his heart desired to go; even joining the birds over the water. He was okay with that. Joshua rationalized that maybe he’d learn to surf instead!

HOME SOON

A sleigh pulled by two strange horses and an old driver came alongside the dead snow tracker.

It was a strange twist of fate. All of his luggage made it home fine. But somehow, Andrew Worton never did. How the hell he ended up in the Yukon was beyond any stretch of imagining. Clad in a short sleeved Polo shirt and light khakis, Andrew looked out of place.

And here it was, a week before Thanksgiving and no means of getting out of there until Tuesday. He had resigned himself to missing the dinner. He would not get to sample his mother’s pie. Her health wasn’t what it used to be and his sister was lousy with Mom’s recipes.

Dad was another story. The picture of health and vitality. Golfed twice a week. Swam at the “Y”. Walked the treadmill with great regularity.
Working his way to better health. But something went off course. He had worked himself into a massive heart attack. Andrew wished there was another way.

Stewart Crossing sat mid-province and had been isolated just after Andrew’s flight had landed in Canada. Snows and wind whipping and the cold was stinging Worton’s bare arms. The constable at the landing strip had found Andrew something more suitable, which was a blessing, he thought.

“Don’t think you’ll make the States by  week’s end”, the officer informed, making Andrew more anxious to head on out. “If we can get you to Whitehorse, you can catch a flight there, but getting south looks treacherous.

Frustration had settled in and Andrew did a foolish thing. Bound and determined to get home com hell or high water, he rented some skis and headed southward.

He was making good time, considering, but his legs were tired and sore, and stray caribou mocked him with their trumpeting and snorting. In a clearing was a small village, a new destination.

Nothing spectacular. Some residences, a general store, a postal facility and a snowmobile dealership. Great luck for Andy!

The proprietor felt for the young man and traded an older machine and some gasoline for the cross country skis and the promise to pay him when he got back home. Andrew couldn’t say no.

The further south he went, it seemed the snows followed him. He ran adrift a couple of times. And ran out of gas near Champagne, slightly off course. He sat in the rigging despondent and sure he’d never see his family before he met his end.

Something in the distance. A ping? A tingle? A jingle! Louder and stronger it came. A sleigh pulled by two strange horses and an old driver came alongside the dead snowtracker.

“Ho-ho” the old man said. “Looks like you should’ve stayed put now, doesn’t it.”

Andrew was in no mood, but did agree. The man offered transportation. Andrew accepted and climbed in beside the gentle soul.

“Get on, Musher! Get on, Mudder!” he yelled.

His beasts sprung into a gallop and leaped over a fence rail. The rig rose skyward gaining altitude and Andrew held tightly to the side rail.

“Breaking in the new “guys”” the old man smiled. “A little over a month and I may need backup”.

Andrew stared at the driver and finally realized he had seen him before. The old man glanced a wink at Andrew.

“You know, they’re not going to believe you!” smiling so lively and quick.

“Just get me home, Nick. I’ll worry about that when I get a drumstick in my hand!”

THAT’S FRONKEN-STORM!

“THAT’S FRONKENSTORM!”


“Meteorology be damned!” Fredrick declared.

“My grandfather’s research into the migratory weather patterns was always missing one element!
It was very… mundane, very humdrum!” the lecture continued.

“But Professor Frankensteam, didn’t your grandfather summer in the south of France? His weather theories are just something I cannot wrap my brain around!” a student interjected.

“That’s Fronkensteam!” he laughed. “My grandfather was a nincompoop. What he knew of weather I could fit into this petri dish filled with formaldehyde! Trust me weather is an extremely fickle mistress!”

“Professor? But your theory lacks the legs to stand on!” the indignant pupil pondered!

“YOU STINKING, LOUSY SON-OF-A-BITCH! LEGS? You want legs? I can give it legs! I can attach arms as well. I can give it a pert little smile! I CAN MAKE THIS THING A MONSTROUS EVENT!” Fredrick ranted.

“You don’t scare me with your weird science and your ‘Frankenstorm’!” the young man blustered.

“THAT’S FRONKENSTORM! I’LL SHOW ALL OF YOU!” he shouted and the lightning flashed and the rains started to fall wildly. “IT IS ALIVE!”

HEADING TO GREENVILLE

“every shade of crimson and orange and umber filled her with wonder”

The trip had been planned for months, there was no turning back now. Even though the Weather Service has been predicting tornadoes throughout the Midwest, Hank and Emily were finally getting the opportunity to get away from things for a while. The farm had been left in capable hands, and this would be the honeymoon that they had never taken. Forty-three years in the making, there was no turning back now.

Emily loved to travel, always wanting to go where the four winds would take her. She wanted to be “a bluebird”; just sprout wings and fly. Across the plain, above the river; under bridges and over rainbows, she was finally getting the chance. Emily rationalized that this certainly wasn’t flying – Henry didn’t drive as fast as he used to.

The colors always intrigued Emily. The vibrancy of each tint and hue made life at home feel very monochromatic. It paled in comparison. But every shade of crimson and orange and umber filled her with wonder for One who could so create such beauty. She declared He was a wizard when it came to foliage! Henry smiled and drove on.

A few miles down the road, the skies started to take on an ominous cloak of darkness, muting the magnificent colorings. Henry followed the road, having a hard time keeping the car on the pavement on occasion. The pall of the storm gave a strange amber accent to the asphalt. Henry hadn’t noticed over Emily’s screaming.

The tail of a twister just seemed to lift out of the ground, sweeping across the road and levitating their automobile into the eye of the swirling behemoth. Emily’s screech was a continuous din now. Henry gripped the steering wheel tightly; his knuckles were ashy white. And then, just as suddenly, the storm released the vehicle and it spun to earth with a muted thud.

The road looked different, certainly not the route that Henry’s GPS had calculated. The car sat crosswise in the hub of an intersection of country roads bordered by cornfields. Henry rolled down his window and asked directions of a farmhand who stood in one of the fields waving away the crows from the lofty stalks.

The couple thanked the man and continued on their adventure. They were unaware of the little girl dressed in bloody gingham and her crushed dog who lay in the road where their car had landed!