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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

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UP WITH THE SUN

…her long dark tresses, spraying the sand with her seductive “rain”.

Rob Caruso had given up all hope. He was far removed from the shipping lanes. No chance of rescue remained. He had been gone for three years. He was REALLY late for his last appointment. As a matter of fact, that’s how most people referred to their friend now. He was the late Rob Caruso.

But hope has a second face. When you give up hope, you actually open yourself up for any possibility. As he emerged from the thatched hut he caught a glimpse of all that was possible.

There she stood, a curvacious silhouette in all her natural beauty. She was Toostana. The name means Tuesday which Rob saw as ironic, since he found Toostana on a Friday. The native cleansed herself in the teal blue lagoon waters tossing her long dark tresses, spraying the sand with her seductive “rain”.

Rob scratched a hand through his disheveled hair and sighed. The thought of being alone becomes less depressing when shared with one as ravishing as Toostana. The thought of clothing also becomes less relevant when all that tanned flesh is the most stunning outfit one could “don”.

The sun crept slowly over the cliff…

The sun crept slowly over the cliff, illuminating more of the shore and bringing every trace of Toostana’s beauty to bare. But Rob’s paradise held this one fact. Who needed the sun to creep slowly over a cliff when Toostana was baring her beauty quite nicely on her own? All he could do was pray for midday!

FROM HELEN BACH…

“One may very well start with Helen’s letters to her sister.”

The last three pieces of correspondence had gone unanswered. That was unusual for Sylvia. She loved to hear her thoughts spring to life and her skill in letter writing was indeed poetic and heart fulfilling.

But Helen Bach, was worried. Sylvia had remained in the family home long after their parents had parted this earthly plain. The neighborhood had become decrepit, and the old homestead reflected as such. And Sylvie could no longer care for the house, or herself for that matter.

Helen had planned to visit her sister. Two of those letters that were returned unopened, stated so much. She had been prepared to change her plans on a moments notice, and stay with Sylvia until she could get back on her feet. But sadly, Sylvia had lost the use of her legs in a fall from the second landing of the staircase.

Her taxicab turned down Mallory Road and as it approached the driveway, Helen noticed something strange. A scarecrow adorned their front yard. It was dressed in Sylvia’s favorite frock, it’s arms draped over the wooden crossbar dangling in the wind. Helen could swear it moved its head. There was no wind of which to speak, so Sylvia ruled that out completely.

The visiting sister gasped in horror when she realized the effigy had indeed moved under its own volition. And it did wear Sylvia’s clothes, being that it was Sylvia that hung in the front yard. A cruel prank by the area thugs who had broken in and ransacked the home.

The officers who had responded to Helen’s enraged call were disgusted in kind as the poor woman was gingerly removed from her perch.

The detective was handed pages of a letter that they found on Sylvia’s kitchen table. It was in Helen’s hand.

“One may very well start with Helen’s letters to her sister.” the investigator posed.

She spoke of coming back home to “hang out” with Sylvia. She had given the scumbags the idea. Helen felt pangs of guilt for leaving her sister to fend for her own independence. Her decision was made for her; she decided to stay.

GIVE A DAMN!

“…if Bonnie Blue could weather the storm of war to remain standing, then Scarlett and Rhett could find the ground upon which to rebuilt their foundation!”

Rhett Butler had left Tara. He was fed up with all that the South had become. Atlanta lays in ruin, and it seems the heart of Georgia had ceased to beat. But Rhett had come to the point where he just didn’t care any longer. He worried about getting through the rest of the day. Tomorrow had to care for itself for a while.

The smoke was affecting his breathing, and his cough had turned raspy and painful. Rhett Butler had gone a mile down the road before he even turned back toward the plantation. He did indeed love Scarlett O’Hara. He just didn’t know why the lady needed to be so headstrong and confident.

He walked on down the trail passing hulled out houses and shacks unfit for habitation. He saw the servants and house staff of one of the mansions standing outside of its smoldering shell, not knowing what to do, or more correctly, where to go. They didn’t want to suffer the fate of their escaped brethren in lieu of these circumstances.

Along the way he stopped in his tracks. Rhett had come to stand at the gate of the cemetery where he and Scarlett had buried their daughter, Bonnie Blue. The wall was crumbled and many of the headstones were flattened to the ground. But one stood above the rest. Bonnie’s marker was crooked, but still upright.

Rhett thought that this was a sign from beyond the grave; Bonnie Blue was speaking to him. He figured it said that if Bonnie Blue could weather the storm of war to remain standing, then Scarlett and Rhett could find the ground upon which to rebuilt their foundation and re-establish Tara.

Scarlett at upon the top step of her grand staircase when she heard the strong rapping on the door. She rushed down the steps to the bottom and then stopped to compose herself. She discerned the shadow at the door through the glass. Scarlett knew it was Rhett.

“Who is it?” She called coyly.

“You know damn well who it is! Scarlett, open the door!”

“Why should I open the door when you were ready to leave me on my own?” Scarlett demanded an answer. “Maybe I’ll feel differently tomorrow. Come back then!”

“But Scarlett, I love you! Why not let me in now?” Rhett reasoned.

“Because tomorrow… is another day! You say you love me, but right at the moment, I don’t give a damn!” she finalized.

“Damn, damn, damn!” she heard Rhett mutter as his footsteps faded down the cobblestone.

DECEMBER 22, 2012

Amazing Images

The Dark Rift they called it. We all waited for it, but we didn’t anticipate it. It was a freight train looking to leap the track and level what we had come to know. Yesterday seemed to be the longest day of any in our lives.

Blame it on a dead civilization, the Maya (or were they a band of ancient extra-terrestrials?), whatever they were, what was supposed to happen, happened. The Rift.

More correctly, The Galactic Alignment. It was the positioning of the December solstice sun with the Galactic equator. Occurring only once every 26,000 years, it was what the ancient Maya were pointing to with the 2012 end-date of their Long Count calendar.

The Grand Eclipse; the mother of all.

There was a small band of people left from the “Pact”. I mean, let’s be real. I wasn’t about strapping on the Nikes and guzzling grape Kool-aid. If God wanted me that quickly, He was going to have to reach down and pluck me from this treadmill of life upon which He had placed me.

Eight of us here. Me, three women, a teenage boy, two young girls, and Jenkins. Well, OK, it was Seven of us and the robot.

The events of the past 24 hours were a whirlwind. Everything happened in a flash of eternity. The tides swelled. Electricity ceased to be. None of the habitation sectors were livable any more. Radio waves provided static, nothing more. We wandered in the darkness until the world ended.

There was just one problem. We woke up this morning and things seemed very familiar. The earth continued to rotate. Sure it had a slight wobble, but it turned. The moon resumed its orbit and the sunlight flooded the open spaces. The world had ceased to exist. Or at least the world we knew.

It was a revival; a renewal. The New Era had begun with high tides and no bells and whistles. Now we could do nothing but finally get it right this time. Jenkins agreed. We were getting too old for this shit!

DAY THIRTY-SEVEN

Caruso was a desperate man and his only hope rested in this clear glass bottle.

Coconuts!

“I’ve eaten every last one on this island. If I EVER see another, it won’t be too soon!” Rob Caruso lamented.

His boat had run aground on the south end of this island. If it had been a storm that wreaked havoc upon him and his dinghy, he’d be more OK with it. But taking that dare in his drunken stupor was… well, it was stupid. Set adrift with no cell phone, no compass, no shoes (?), and a half empty bottle of Jack. Oh, he owed those guys big time! It he would ever get out of here!

It was on this thirty-seventh day that Rob felt as if he’s never see civilization again. Even if one of the local natives came along to help him along, he’d be better off. But, here it was, another Friday had passed and he was alone.

“Are those assholes even looking for me?” Caruso wondered as he chewed on what was left of his right sock.

It was starting to get to him, all this isolation. Mirages popped up all over the place, but no oasis awaited Rob. He freaked out when that battered volleyball washed up on shore and tried to engage him in conversation. He ended up kicking him in the face, sending him floating off with the current.

Caruso was a desperate man and his only hope rested in this clear glass bottle. The amber liquid had long since been consumed, so it served him no other purpose. He scribbled a note on a torn piece of cloth from his shirt. He had cut his foot on the coral off-shore so Rob Caruso used his blood to mark the swatch.

“HELP!
I am stranded on an island in the middle of nowhere. There is a big tree in the center of it and I can faintly make out a land mass way off in the distance to my right. I’m out of sustenance; no more Jack and down to my boxer briefs. I can’t go on like this. Please, bring me another bottle and some ice, otherwise this party will remain a dud!

Signed,
Rob Caruso”

He dipped his crew sock into the water sucking on its nectar, and waited.