Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Quietly, methodically I unfriended some people on Facebook. I did this to remove those who ‘collect’ but never ‘respond’ to anything I may post.

Somehow, I managed to delete my entire friend’s list, save for family. They are listed separately.

FB says I am at fault because rather than ‘unfriending,’ I ‘deleted. Okay, I accept the blame.

Sadly, I have gone to several people’s pages to find that they do not have their ‘friend’ button activated. So, if you want to participate with me via FB, ‘refriend’ me…if not, don’t, and we’ll leave it at that, no hard feelings.

Poeville, Nevada is “Nevermore”

A blogging friend of mine from South Africa, Robbie Eaton Cheadle, recently posted a video of herself reading Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, “The Sleeper.” It was the line…”upon the quiet mountain top, ” that triggered a memory in me.

Summer of 1990, I was a newscaster, announcer, and contract engineer for 780 AM KROW in Reno. Late one afternoon, we had to go up Peavine Mountain, north of Reno, Nev., to check on a piece of remote equipment that was not working right.

As we drove the six miles of rough road to the mountain top, I could see the crumbles of foundations and ruins of stone walls. On our way back down the same road, we stopped to investigate.

Though not macabre as an Edgar Allan story, it was an honest-to-goodness ghost town!

Records show that during the 1860s, prospectors poked around Peavine Mountain. Several mining camps were established on the mountainside.

The largest of these was Poeville. The place was named after John Poe, a cousin of Edgar Allan Poe.

Poe discovered gold and copper veins in the area in 1862, and within two years, a settlement of about 200 people had blossomed. At first, the ore was difficult to process because of a lack of water.

This changed in 1866 when a freight system began transporting the ore to Cisco, Calif., for processing. It was made even easier to get the ore to mill after the transcontinental railroad was completed.

By 1874, the community was large enough to support a post office, which operated for about four years. Poeville had a few saloons, a small hotel, livery stables, a large dry goods store, a Chinese laundry, a stamp mill, and a wagon repair shop.

When first discovered, Poe thought the site was rich with gold, but soon it became clear there was more copper than anything else. In fact, the copper was of sufficient quality that specimens were exhibited in 1864 at the Nevada State Fair, held in Carson City that year.

However, lower copper prices, coupled with more lucrative opportunities in other mining camps, caused residents to begin to drift away. Mining ceased in the late 1870s, and by 1880, only 15 residents still lived in Poeville.

Today, mostly because of wildfires, sadly, nothing remains.

Stampede at Axehandle Road

Traffic had come to a halt in both directions as a small herd of mustangs crossed the roadway. Rarely are wild horses ever in a hurry to get from one side of a street to the other, and they were no exception.

Three vehicles ahead of me was a sedan, pulling a short-sided trailer and hauling a pair of Llama. One of the pair slipped its tie-down and hopped from the hauler, racing to the herd of Mustang.

Mustangs being mustangs, they wanted nothing to do with the domesticated ‘wild’un’ and quickly shooed it away and back into the road. However, the Llama was not through having some fun while exploiting its newfound freedom.

It refused to be corralled and trailered, dashing back and forth from one side of the road to the other. I watched as it crop-hopped, sunfished, and cycloned to its left.

Quietly, I got out of my truck, my lariat in hand and building a loop. I waited for the thing to begin spinning again.

As it did, I made a couple of overhead twists and dropped the rope neatly over its head and down the long neck. Unlike a real horse bent on freedom, the Llama came to a stop as I gently hand-over-handed my way to it.

In complete surrender mode, it walked passively back to the trailer and got on. While the woman, whose Llama they were, tied the animal to the railing, I took the time to hobble it by tying a piece of heavy bailing string from its on-right foreleg to the off-left hindleg.

The woman shook my hand, said thank you, while the Llama spit in my left ear.

Scott Bruhy, 1960-2021

Lost another classmate over the weekend…

Scott was born in Salinas, Calif., to Betty and Jim Bruhy on June 4, 1960. He passed away on May 23, 2021, at his home in Springfield, Ore.

Scott graduated from Del Norte High on June 9, 1978. He played basketball for both the Klamath Golden Bears and the Del Norte High Warriors, lettering all four years of high school. Scott also played Little League Baseball with the Klamath Cubs and was involved in scouting when he was a youngster.

Scott is preceded in death by his parents Betty and Jim, a daughter, his stepmother Colleen Bruhy, and is survived by his wife Kim, two daughters, and siblings Dean and Kathy.

All Elbows and Knees

For my wife and me, it started with a light rapping at our front door. It was Chase and Landon, both seven.

One child is small for his age, while the other is rather large for his. They wanted to ask my wife if they each could have one of her painted garden rocks.

“Of course,” Mary said.

They each selected one and quickly raced from our porch.

It was less than half an hour later when we heard two blood-curdling screams, “Wwwaaaaaahhhhh!”

Then we saw Landon, head all the way back, mouth open, screaming in terror and crying as he sprinted across our porch. A couple of seconds later, Chase followed.

“What in the hell was that all about?” I asked.

“I hope they didn’t hit each other with those rocks,” Mary said.

The boys disappeared inside their home next door before I could find out. A while later, my wife saw them standing on the sidewalk.

She asked what had happened. They explained, leaving out one small detail.

“Are you going back over there?” Mary asked.

“Yeah,” Chase laughed.

“Are you kidding,” Landon said, “No way!”

She came in laughing and explained the situation to me. I laughed as well.

Still laughing, I went next door to the neighbor on the other side of our home and asked what happened. Instead of telling me, Mike showed me.

He donned a rubber ‘hobo’ mask. I laughed even harder.

Then he explained that the two boys had been ‘doorbell ditching,’ their home for the past few days.

“I saw them coming around the corner and sneaking up the walkway,” Mike said. “And I decided to scare them.”

Boy, did he. And I’m still chuckling.

Going to School by Tractor

At five, I was frightened of the school bus. I don’t know why.

My mother even watched me duck down behind a large log in the field we kids would cross, hiding from the yellow thing. Yes, I got a butt-whipping for that, but it didn’t stop me from being afraid or hiding again.

This time, Pa Sanders was working in his field and saw what I’d done. He was digging up the earth for planting.

He dropped the tines or perhaps the discs from the tractor and drove straight for me. I thought I had another licking coming, but instead, he had me get on the green and yellow John Deere and drove me to school.

On the way, he talked about how he never rode a school and how he and his sister walked to school. The two following days, he escorted me to the bus stop and saw that I got on.

The third day, he met me in the field near the log that I had hidden behind and told me that he’d watch me get on the bus. I did.

The following day, I got on the bus without any problem and never hid, needed escorting, or watched again. This doesn’t mean my anxiety about riding the school bus went away.

It means I was taught how to deal with it.

Last Friday, I saw a man with three children on his red Kabota, turning first into the middle school where two of the children got off, and then he crossed the roadway to the high school, where the last child got down. The sight left me beaming with a smile from ear to ear.

COVID Blues

A friend recently held an Internet session where she sang an old ballad by Jimmie Rodgers in which he wrote about his losing battle with Tuberculosis. I altered the lyrics to fit today’s ‘ongoing plague.’ Many apologies to Mr. Rodgers…

Ol’ Doc Fauci’s trying
To make a fool out of me
Lord, that doc’s trying
To make a fool out of me

Trying to make me believe
I ain’t got that old COVID.
I’ve got the COVID blues

When it coughed down sorrow
It coughed all over me
When it coughed down sorrow
It coughed all over me

‘Cause my body rattles
Like a train on the V and T
I’ve got the COVID blues

I’ve got that old COVID
I can’t wear a mask
Got that old COVID
I can’t wear a mask

Got me worried so that
I can’t even sleep at night
I’ve got the COVID blues

I’ve been fightin’ like a small dog
Looks like I’m going to lose
I’m fightin’ like an old dog
Looks like I’m going to lose

‘Cause there ain’t no winnin’
Ever with the COVID blues
I’ve got the COVID blues

Gee but the graveyard
Is a lonesome place
Lord that graveyard
Is a lonesome place

Keep me masked when they
Throw that mud down in my face
I’ve got the COVID blues

Dark Water of Harvest

“It is at night, especially when the moon is gibbous and waning, that I see the thing.” — ‘Dagon,’ H.P. Lovecraft

Panic overtook the citizens of the tiny village the day following the night that the 14th-century clock tower became exposed. The town was hidden from prying eyes since the villager’s subjection to Nazi experiments before World War II ended.

(Pawtuxet Valley Gleaner) — Lake Resia, named Reschensee in German, borders Austria and Switzerland. The land was annexed to the Italians following the First World War. German remains the first language for many in the region.

For years the village people had worked the region clearing blockages that came from time to time, keeping the hydroelectric plant operating. Soon their secret would be exposed, and the world would learn that the villagers were the living form of a Great Old One and the final failed super-weapon of the Third Reich.

After the village went underwater, the lake engulfed around 160 homes. The residents were displaced, many of whom are living in villages nearby. After leaks were found, the lake was temporarily drained for repair work on the reservoir, exposing what is left of the village in South Tyrol bordering Austria and Switzerland.

And now their home was receding. Could villagers still breathe without water, their leathery wings carry them, and what of that waning gibbous moon?

White Hair, pt. 5

Once arrested, John Ramsey confessed to participation in the murder of Roan. He said that Hale had promised him five hundred dollars and a new car for the killing.

Ramsey said he met Roan outside of Fairfax, where they drank whiskey together. Then Ramsey shot Roan in the head, though he later claimed that the actual killer was Curly Johnson.

Johnson died before he could testify.

Ernest Burkhart was sentenced to life and sent to the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. He was released in 1959, receiving a pardon in 1966 from Governor Henry Bellmon.

Bryan Burkhart turned state’s evidence in state court and was never convicted.

Oklahoma Governor Jack C. Walton ordered an investigation into the deaths of Bigheart and Vaughan, assigning Herman Fox Davis to head the investigation. After being appointed, Davis was convicted of bribery and later pardoned by Walton.

The investigation was left incomplete.

Osage County officials sought revenge against Pyle for bringing attention to the murders. Fearing for his life, Pyle and his wife fled to Arizona.

In 1925, to prevent further criminal activity and protect the Osage, Congress passed a law prohibiting non-Osage from inheriting rights. The government continued to manage the leases and royalties from assets.

White Hair, pt. 4

In 1925, Police officer James Pyle asked the Bureau of Investigation (BOI,) the agency preceding the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI,) for help. They sent Tom White to lead an investigation.

Because of the perception that the police were corrupt, White decided the agents would work undercover. After two years, agents uncovered Hale’s scheme.

Hale persuaded Ernest to marry Mollie Kyle, a full-blooded Osage. He then arranged for the murders of Mollie’s family for insurance policies and the rights of each family member.

Investigators learned Ernest was poisoning Mollie. She recovered, and after the trial, divorced Ernest, dying on June 16, 1937.

In the case of the Smith murders, Ernest turned state’s evidence, naming Hale as responsible for the murder conspiracy. He said that he had used Henry Grammer as a go-between to hire a professional criminal named Ace Kirby to perform the killings.

Grammer and Kirby were both killed before they could testify.

Hale was convicted in 1929 for the shooting death of Roan and sent to Leavenworth Prison in Kansas. He was sentenced to life but paroled on July 31, 1947.

After being paroled, he spent time in Montana, working as a ranch hand for Benny Binion (of Las Vegas casino fame,) dying in Arizona in 1962.

The Two Lab Rats

Two lab rats were conversing with one another by their water bottle.

“So, have you taken the COVID-19 shots yet?” the one asked the other.

“No,” the second one answered. “Have you?”

“Not yet,” the first one stated, “I don’t think the human trials are over.”

“Well, better them than us,” the second one said.

“You got that right,” the first said.

Somewhere deep in their cages another rat squeaked, “Look busy, here come’s a White Coat.”

Rat’s scrambled everywhere.

White Hair, pt. 3

Charles Whitehorn, Brown’s cousin, was discovered shot to death near Pawhuska the same day. Two months later, Lizzie Q. Kyle, who had rights for herself and had inherited the rights from her late husband and two daughters, was murdered.

On February 6, 1923, Henry Roan, another cousin of Brown, was found in his car on the Osage Reservation, dead from a shot in the head. Hale fraudulently arranged to make himself the beneficiary of Roan’s $25,000 life insurance policy.

On March 10, 1923, a bomb destroyed the Fairfax home of Brown’s sister Rita Smith, killing her and Nettie Brookshire. Smith’s husband, Bill, died four days later from injuries sustained in the blast.

On June 28, 1923, George Bigheart went to an Oklahoma City hospital after drinking poisoned whiskey. He called attorney William “W.W.” Watkins Vaughan of Pawhuska, asking him to come to the hospital as soon as possible for an urgent meeting, which he did.

Bigheart said he knew who was behind the murders and had incriminating documents proving his claim.

After the meeting, Vaughan boarded a train that night to return to Pawhuska and vanished. Found with his skull crushed, he lay beside the railroad tracks south of Pawhuska.

Bigheart died that same morning.

White Hair, pt. 2

Some background before going any further…

On the first page of Chapter 1, “The Vanishing,” in Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, author David Gann explains the story behind the title of the book:

“In April, millions of tiny flowers spread over the blackjack hills and vast prairies in the Osage territory of Oklahoma. There are Johnny-jump-ups and spring beauties and little bluets.”

“The Osage writer John Joseph Mathews observed that the galaxy of petals makes it look as if the “gods had left confetti.” In May, when coyotes howl beneath an unnervingly large moon, taller plants, such as spiderworts and black-eyed Susans, begin to creep over the tinier blooms, stealing their light and water.”

“The necks of the smaller flowers break and their petals flutter away, and before long they are buried underground. This is why the Osage Indians refer to May as the time of the flower-killing moon.”

As for Pawhuska, it is the county seat of Osage County, Oklahoma. It was named after the 19th-century Osage chief, Paw-Hiu-Skah, which means “White Hair” in English.

The town, originally known as Deep Ford, was established in 1872. The Osage Indian Agency was located along Bird Creek. 

Traders followed, building stores during 1872 and 1873. The Midland Valley Railroad reached the town in September 1905. 

White Hair, pt. 1

I began my newspaper article with, “It was midmorning, Wednesday, May 5, when Virginia & Truckee Engine 29, better known as the “Robt. C. Gray” pulled out of Virginia City with four 1920-era Pullman cars in tow.”

“The train, the cars, and her crew headed for Pawhuska, Oklahoma, and the movie set of “Killers of the Flower Moon,” directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Robert De Niro. The movie is about the murders of Osage Indians following the discovery of oil on their reservation.”

The story was supposed to be about a local steam train film appearance, I fell down the rabbit hole, saving what I’d written before rewriting the newspaper article…

On May 27, 1921, local hunters discovered the decomposing body of 36-year-old Anna Brown in a remote ravine of Osage County. Brown was divorced, so probate awarded her estate to her mother, Lizzie Q. Kyle.

Kelsie Morrison, a petty criminal, later admitted to murdering Brown and testified that William Hale, a prominent local cattleman, had asked him to do so. He also implicated Bryan Burkhart in her murder, testifying that they had taken Brown to Three Mile Creek, where Morrison shot her.

Burkhart was Hale’s nephew and Brown’s former boyfriend.

Boys Shall Be…

Sometime one’s timing is jus’ right. One of the neighbors’ boys out in a storm floating a paper boat in the gutter.

To top it off, I jus’ learned that my cellphone will allow me to video-tape in black and white, or edit color shots into monochrome. Makes me think of my childhood memories.

The Trick that Wasn’t

The evening Bill learned his wife Jana had cancer, he dropped to his knees and begged God, knowing it was wrong. God heard his cries, and Jana was cured.

Satan complained, “That is not how it works.”

“I saw into his heart, his motives were pure,” God countered. “You can see only his mind.”

“Well, he broke the rules,” Satan continued. “Now, he’s mine.”

“Don’t you touch him,” God commanded.

In a huff, Satan answered, “Fine.”

A month later, as Bill lay sleeping in bed next to Jana, Satan slipped into their room and whispered in Bill’s ear. That morning Bill did not awaken, having died of a heart attack.

Bill didn’t mind because he went to Heaven believing that God had answered his prayer.

God and Satan attended Bill’s funeral, where God whispered in Satan’s ear, “You lose again.”

Got Money on My Mind

The inflation rate in the U.S. between 1956 and today is 872.36 percent meaning that 100 dollars in 1956 are equivalent to $972.36 in 2021.

We’ve been taught wrongly into believing that inflation is part of a natural cycle in a healthy economy. The keywording is ‘healthy,’ and we haven’t had a healthy economy in decades.

What we have had since 1956 is over-inflation, an economic killer.

Think of it this way: you are at your favorite beach when the tide suddenly drains, rushing out to sea, you can expect a Tsunami. When the ocean floor settles, that tide will become a wall of water, drowning everything from the shoreline to the deeper inland.

Within this last year, we’ve seen a 1.41 percent increase in the inflation rate. Soon, we’ll reach three percent or more, especially if the latest rounds of Congressional money talk, which includes a $220 billion stimulus package, become a reality.

Remember all those stimulus dollars the Fed pumped into the banking system? Those dollars aren’t being used for loans but invested in the stock market.

Once the stimulus monies run dry, we’ll see a financial crash and the U.S. dollar disappear. No country, not even Allied nations, will be willing to trade on our currency.

A Little Past Three

He sat at the table, holding his coffee cup and watching his wife as she ate her breakfast and scrolled through her device. Something was slightly off this morning, but Hank could not put his finger on what it might be.

Instead, he watched, and he thought.

As he finally took a gulp of coffee, it occurred to him that the answer might be within himself. He had awakened a little past three that morning, extremely dizzy.

“Could that be when it happened?” he questioned.

Hank quickly finished his coffee, kissed his wife on the forehead, and went out the door. He knew he’d have time to think as much as he wanted, but the corn would not harvest itself.

Thinking Too Much

I got to thinking about everything I miss in my life and the number of times I’ve reinvented my work self.

I miss being in the Air Force, the Marine Corps, a reserve sheriff deputy, a stuntman, stand-in, paramedic, firefighter, teacher, instructor, cowboy, security officer, radio announcer, disc jockey, presenter, host, and photo lab manager.

These are things I have enjoyed doing to earn a living.

I have been a road manager, auto detailer, nurse tech, gyppo-logger, fisherman, keno writer, house painter, window washer, car salesman, cashier, car wash jockey, and photo lab manager.

Not all jobs are fun, but they do get the bills paid.

All have provided me with experience and experiences.

They are in my past to make room for my future.

The adventure continues…

The Three-in-One, pt. 7

As I rush to write this narrative, I am also busy researching. The man mentioned a “madman named Mel,” “1978,” and “Venus.”

These three clues lead to a person who was a writer, a musician, and what many people consider a cult leader who developed a following in New England. In 1974, he had predicted that he would “ascend to Venus,” which did not happen.

Four years later, he reportedly died, though no one has ever produced a death certificate or a place of burial discovered.

Even odder, I know a person with the same last name and who hails from the same place as Mad Mel. To further the strangeness, Mad Mel was born in the same hospital as my mother and not far from where I was raise.

Such knowledge leaves me paranoid. Buddy continues to growl and stare off into the distance when we are outside as if he can hear or see something I cannot.

As this happens, I continue searching the Internet, looking for the names “Johanna” and “John.” I worry that I will find their obituaries.

On edge, I feel as if that I am being watched. It is why I wrote this story so quickly and published it in the most public way possible.

The Three-in-One, pt. 6

It has been nearly 84-hours since my visitation. My sleep, which has never been great, has been further disrupted with dreams bordering on nightmares of his coming and going.

Did I meet a man, a demon, an angel? I don’t know because of my confusion in this matter.

After analyzing and reanalyzing much of what he told me, I have drawn a startling conclusion that I find hard to wrap my head around. This man, if that is what he was, was also his own mother, father, and sibling.

Crazy. I know, but let me explain.

As a time traveler, he somehow manifested a loop in which he somehow created two other and separate self-entities. These entities found each other, procreated, and had a child that carried both male and female reproductive capabilities.

Doctors decided that this child would be a girl. She was named Johanna.

Here is where it grows increasingly confusing.

John appeared in a separate timeline and came into Johanna’s timeline when the two lines crossed. Since John and Johanna shared the same lineage, it stands to reason he to had both reproductive organs of the two sexes.

Since the mystery man could do nothing about Johanna, who was pregnant at the time, he was assigned to alter John’s timeline. Thinking a jump would end John’s heartache and fulfill his duties, he discovered the opposite, accidentally bringing the pair together.

The Three-in-One, pt. 5

He grew more and more agitated as he talked. His pacing back-and-forth heightened my nervousness beyond what it had first been when he suddenly showed up.

His increased distress also caused Buddy to grow restless. The dog’s low growls had become louder, and I found it impossible to keep him quiet by then.

“So, what now?” I asked.

“First, I destroy Johanna and John,” he answered.

“Don’t you mean murder?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “You cannot murder what is replicated, only destroy.”

“I don’t understand,” I said.

“You will,” he said. “Right now, I must go. They are tracking me.”

“Where will you go?” I asked.

“A mad man named Mel, who disappeared in 1978 your time, went to Venus,” he said. “I shall join him.”

Suddenly, he began to vibrate and glow before evaporating into nothingness.

Buddy sprang to his paws, his white and brown hair hackled from neck to tail, and barking in confused terror. His fading from sight left me disoriented and with a deep sense of nausea, leaving me wanting to vomit.

I found it hard to keep my balance as I tried standing, and in the end, I sat, remaining there until I came back to my senses.

The Three-in-One, pt. 4

“Our jump was perfect,” he said. “But it was only after I saw the woman did I realize the mistake I had made. I suddenly became imperative that I correct the error before the time-lines became irreparably tangled and distorted.”

He paused for some time before continuing.

“As I approached him, he could see the look of fear in my eyes,” he offered. “I grabbed him and tried to drag him away, but she withdrew a can of hair spray from her purse and, with a lighter, turned the spray into a small flame thrower, melting the flesh from my face.”

“Severely injured, panicked, and in pain, I ran away and then transported myself to the agency seeking medical help,” he concluded.

“So you had to have plastic surgery,” I said.

“It was during my recovery that I told a councellor what I had done, what I had discovered and how I needed to correct the mistake,” he said.

“Later, I overheard their plans to erase my memory and retire me from service,” he said. “I escaped before they had the chance to do so.”

“And now, you’re on the run, right?” I asked.

“Correct,” he said.

“So why are you telling me this?” I asked.

“Because I am my only family, and I have no one to share it with or grieve for me when I’m gone, and I want my history to be told,” He said.

The Three-in-One, pt. 3

As he spoke, I took the time to look at him.

His skin was nearly flawless, with no hair on his head, brows, and eyelids. He wore a black dress suit, black dress shoes, a white button-down shirt, and a narrow black tie.

While talking, he continued to look at a device on his left wrist, tucked under his jacket sleeve, and which seemed to be communicating with him. I wanted to ask if I might look at it, but it did not seem to be the appropriate time at the moment.

He told me that his next assignment, in what he called “your year of 1990,” found him in a jail cell waiting to meet a man that he was to befriend and help guide from a life of violence. This man’s name was John, and he was in jail for being drunk and disorderly in San Francisco.

“I soon learned that his anger and pain had to do with a female he had met, fell in love with, and lost all in a years time,” he said.

“What did you do?” I heard myself ask.

“I broke a founding rule,” he said. “I took him back to the point where he had decided to leave this woman named Johanna behind, and I did it without permission.”

“It has had profound consequences for all three of us,” he added.

The Three-in-One, pt. 2

So, the guy might be crazy, and I even crazier for sitting and listen to him ramble on. And yes, I did think about what he said happened to Poe and a psychotic break, but what he first said had to be true for the second half to be authentic as well.

He said his name was John and that while there were hundreds of travelers, he was the last traveler. He claimed that the Clinton Administration had disbanded the program and that he was operating without authorization.

I asked, “How do you know me?”

“In another place in time, you are a big deal,” he said, “But you were never my first choice for this period of time. I don’t mean to sound insulting, but Stephen King nearly had me arrested.”

Next, he told me that in 1975, he had left a child he had kidnapped on the steps of an orphanage. That child, a girl, now grown, was living nearby after being raised by a family on the East Coast.

“This girl had a birth defect,” he said. “She was born with female and male reproductive organs. I was sent to steal her back so she could have corrective surgery. But I was too late. She was already pregnant.”

Upon his return to the agency, which he called ‘The Plumbers,” he said he was assigned a new case.

The Three-in-One, pt. 1

What to do with the strange situation I find myself in this evening.

Earlier today, I took my dog, Buddy, for a walk to a nearby park. And while sitting in the shade, resting, a man suddenly appeared out of nowhere and asked me if I like to write stories.

Alarmed, I wanted to rush home, but there was something about him that made me stop. The way he spoke and was dressed seemed out of place.

He claimed to be a dimensional traveler whose job it had been to fix errors in different timelines after riffs collide, creating out-of-place effects. I know it sounds crazy, but he told me a few things that kind of make sense.

For instance, he explained that Edgar Allen Poe was one of the first dimensional travelers and had suffered a psychotic break after one too many jumps. He also said that Ambrose Bierce didn’t disappear in Mexico but was “sanctioned by the federal government for sharing his experiences through his writings.”

There is so much more, and my head is swimming with everything he told me, and at this moment, I am trying to figure out how to write all that he told me. So please bear with me…

Gassing Up

It is a “rather quirky thing,” as my wife calls it, that I do when I fuel up our vehicles, I write down what the price of a gallon of gas costs that day. I keep these figures in a small notebook on my desk.

Yesterday, May 2, 2021, I fueled up my wife’s car, where I noted the price of a gallon of regular gas as $3.37. The day before, I did the same thing for my truck when gas was three cents less per gallon.

This caused me to go back and look at what the price of gasoline was a year ago. I was not the least bit surprised.

On May 8, 2020, gas was $1.84 a gallon.

Texting Out of Tune

April 21

“Hey Tom. Are you there?”

“Yes.”

“There are a bunch of free pianos on FB. Do you still have your truck and the offer to help me get one?”

“Yes.”

“I will inquire and get back to you! You are a lifesaver…for real.”

“Okay.”

“I’m curious about how far you’re willing to drive? Like South Lake Tahoe? I’ll pay for the gas. Just think about it. Please!”

“I can do that.”

“There’s one in Fallon also. You’re saving my life, Tom. Thank you. As soon as I hear something I will let ya know. Is there a good time or a bad time to text you?”

“Text me anytime. I might not answer right away, but go ahead anyway.”

“Okay. Thank you so much. I just got a reply from the one in Tahoe. It’s still available. There is one is in Sparks, too.”

“Make the arrangements. Good night.”

“Tom, are you there? Well…let me know if you still want to help. Did you desert me?”

April 22

“I went to bed.”

“She said the weekend would be good for her. We need strong young backs to help. I don’t know anyone that can help.”

“I can do it on Sunday. I’ll see if my son is available to help me.”

“I know your back is messed up. I love you, my friend! Again, you’re saving my life. She’s trying to make sure everyone is safe. She will hold the piano no matter what.”

“Jus’ need a time and address.”

“Will Sunday work at around 10 am?”

“Yes.”

April 23

“She wants you to give her a call.”

“Will do.”

“Thank you so so so so much, Tom. Were you able to call her? She just said you haven’t called her. Do you not want to do this or not? Tom, are you there? WTF! Tom, please answer me. OMG! Are you flaking on me?”

April 24

“OMG! Okay, you haven’t said a word.”

“I’m still waiting for an address.”

“She’s waiting for you to call her.”

“I already did. She said she’d give you the address.”

“I just got home from getting a new cell phone so I had no idea what had gone down! Sorry if I’m a bitch. Hang on. Here’s the address…”

“It’s okay. Jus’ chill a little it is working out. My son and I will get it tomorrow. Get some rest. It’s all good.”

April 25

“One thing, I want you to please use your best judgment on the condition of it. If you think it’s going to be too costly for me to have it tuned and whatnot. I know it has a little damage on the top side and needs to be tuned and tender loving care, which I’m more than willing to do. I just don’t want it to be so far out of tune that there’s no hope for it. An I making any sense? I can’t fucking sleep…lol! Good morning. Okay, maybe not.”

“It a great instrument! Heavier than all hell. We have the music bench with the books.”

“Sorry, I was in the shower. Thanks for dropping that off.”

“You’re welcome. I know it is disappointing not getting the piano today, but my son and are getting a few more bodies to help lift it.”

“Thank you. Any idea when it might happen? I have gas money for you. It’s right here. I didn’t expect to be in the shower when you got here. You can come by and get it whenever.”

“No idea yet. And keep your money.”

April 27

No communication

April 26

“Is there a reason that you’re not talking to me?”

“I’ve been busy trying to meet my deadline for the paper. I’m not ignoring you, jus’ working.”

“Okay, cool. Thanks. I’ll wait to hear from you about the piano. Thanks again for everything.”

“We are working to get a couple, okay four other guys, together to lift the piano. It has wooden casters and we don’t want to roll it over cement or asphalt. It does need cleaning and tuning, but all-in-all it is a fine instrument — jus’ very heavy. The late 40s, early 50s.”

“Wow. I may have a big burly young man that can help. I’ll check. Thanks, Tom. I’m not trying to burden you.”

“All is okay.”

April 28

“No news other than the two other people that my son asked to help is suddenly quarantining.”

“Oh, crap. I think I may be able to find two…maybe.”

“Good. Lemme know.”

“I’m sorry this is becoming a pain in the ass. I need to know what day is good for you so I can ask the others? Ok. I have one guy. Anytime after 1 pm is good for him. He works graveyard at Walmart. He will help. Tom?”

“That’s good news about getting help. Sorry about the delay in responding. Internet would not come up. I’ll ask Kyle about what day.”

“Awesome. Thanks, Tom. Please let me know how soon we can do this.”

April 29

“Hey Tom, did your son give you any info yet?”

“Have not heard from him. He’s at work right now.”

“Can you contact him after he’s off, please? She says she’s in no hurry, but you know. I don’t want to overstay my welcome. Thank you. sir. Just remember you’re saving my soul…love ya, my friend.”

“Will do.”

April 30

“Did you speak with your son, Tom? Hello. Is there anybody in there. Okay. Please tell me what’s going on. If you don’t want to do it, it’s okay.”

“Jus’ got home. Been working.”

“Okay. So…”

May 1

“So I have a dialog going with a city councilman. Do you think I should ask him for help moving the piano? I’m sure he has some kind of contacts that could help make it easier?”

“That is a good idea. I have to replace a paper box and do an interview today. My son hasn’t been able to get anyone to help either. Gonna be on the road for about an hour. Chat later.”

“Wow, you shot off-line in a fucking hurry. I just asked the councilman. Waiting for response. He is getting a whole crew of guys and a truck to move my piano. So in conclusion, you’re off the hook. It’s obvious you don’t want to do it so I took the burden back and now you are free and clear of me forever. I’m sure that works for you. After all, I was never much to you anyway.”

BLOCKED

Downed but not Out

Sometimes rough days make the best days.

Up early, I had to take care of a broken newspaper box. While unloading it, the thing, being lighter than I thought, came off the bed of my truck faster than I could move and fell on my left leg, knocking me to the ground.

With no one around to help me get the damn thing off me, I ended up using my right foot and rolling it off me. At that point, the pain was pretty sharp, and I thought I had snapped my ankle.

Turns out that I simply gashed my leg, ripped a sock, and tore my bib overalls. As for the ankle, bruised and swollen but not broken.

I toughed it out by putting the paper box where it was intended to be.

Tomorrow, I plan to sit down and stitch the rip in my pants. The sock is going in the trash as soon as I get ready for bed.

Then I went into Virginia City, taking some copies of a newspaper story to a woman whose father passed away a couple of months ago. She was recuperating from surgery at the time and never got to see the article written about the funeral.

I thought she was going to cry, she said she was so happy.

Next, I attended an intimate concert at a local cafe. The singer, who I got to interview, was great.

I found it hard not to feel a bit of a kinship with her when she sang a song about swimming in the Eel River, which is near where I grew up, and having the “smell of the river in my hair.”

Hours later, I still have that one line hanging around in my head.

Then, of course, I got to see a couple of friends and meet a couple of strangers that I can now call friends. I’m ready now for the next journey in my life of story-telling and photo-taking, which will be about the V&T Railroad.

And to think, it all started with a newspaper box falling on me.