Category Archives: Once Upon a Time

Shroom Creatures (Photo art)

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This morning at light, I was allowed to find these Shroom creatures from Pandora/ Avatar. They had landed in Kenzie’s flowers which, if you know the movie, was apropos. They came to make contact with something of Kenzie’s.
So, I caught them before they flew away back to Pandora and the ‘tree of life’ with their discovery! rdd

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It’s Time To Go Home

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It’s Time to Go Home

By Ronald Douglas Drobeck

 

Yes, my favorite spot will take a little work!

A year ago, I would’ve had this tall grass stomped down to a straw mat. This flat spot was on an inside corner facing a wide spot at a bend in the creek. It was perfect for fishing, watching the clouds and thinking.

My dad would’ve been with me when he could find time from the farm work. Sometimes, he’d suddenly come over the hill, swishing through the grass, carrying his willow rod and a smile. So we’d fish, and soon we could hear mom swishing toward us, swinging a basket of food and a smile. This memory passed through my heart for the first time, and I felt a little empty as it lost hold and drifted away. I straightened myself and took a deep breath.

Today, I was up before the sun. I had my chores done by ten and then helped mom with the chickens, some harvesting from the garden, and picked some apples.

A consumption took my dad about a month ago. He coughed terribly for a couple of weeks, took to the bed for a couple of days and was gone. The traveling doctor arrived after he was buried. My mom and he talked for a while, and then he left in his buggy.

Almost everything was planted and growing on our little farm. Our two cows were healthy, and we had those chickens. My dad’s brother lived near, and they shared the work and the crops on both farms. I did what he told me, and we’ve got some extra help when harvest rolls around.

So today, I’ve got some emergency fishing to do. It’s the first time I’ve been able to go fishing since he passed on. It was a little strange and lonesome, but I’d fished before while he was doing the farming, so I just pretended he was out in the fields working.

I took my last year’s shoes off, put a worm on that hook I made from a nail, just like he taught me. Then I tied a little piece of stick on the line about two feet up from the hook and dropped the line in the water.

It was quiet. A ‘missing someone’ tear squeezed itself out of my eye. Just one! I snuffled and wiped it, then looked up at the clouds drifting. I ‘dreamed starred’ for a bit at the drifting, drifting clouds, and then I caught a couple of trout. More drifting clouds went by, and I caught another trout.

I leaned back on an old fallen tree to do some more of that cloud watching and fish catchin’ when suddenly I heard something or someone swishing through the tall grass. I thought it might be my mom, so I lifted up a little and turned my head. I could not see her, but I did see the top of an old wrinkled hat bouncing, barely visible over the three-foot tall grass.

I froze in place.

The bouncing hat was approaching from behind the log. It stopped for one moment, then through the air, and over the log flew a little man with a walking stick, and single strap bag slung over one shoulder.

I was startled but not scared. He was smiling too big for me to be scared. His broad rimmed hat was well worn and tipped to the one side a little. The top of the hat bent over proper, and there was a curved pheasant feather wiggling around the back. Everything from the bend at the top of that impressive hat to the bottom of his boots was wrinkled and earth colored.

“Good day to you!” he said.

I managed a nod, and I think made some sound. My surprise was turning to fascination.

“I’ve named myself ‘Onion’!” He said as if to answer a question I hadn’t asked yet.

“I try not to meet many of you, but when I do, I call myself ‘Onion’!” He exclaimed.

“I had to come up with a name for this side quickly one day, so I picked ‘Onion’ ‘cause I like ‘em,” He said, anticipating my asking, again. He was very quick!

While talking, he dropped down to a knee next to the tree stump from whence came the fallen log I was leaning on.

Without loss of motion, he pivoted on that knee and came to rest, as his wide bottom trousers landing at the base of the stump raised a poof of dust. It was a perfect pivot and sit down. His air expelled with an ‘oof’ sound as his rump hit, and the weight of those broad, traveled shoulders and massive head, was relieved from his wide leather tethered feet.

I sat and watched him in silence, ne’er missing a thing, thinking, “He is something quite familiar!”

His eyes sparkled as if lit by stars, and his suddenly rosy cheeks squeezed his eyes to slits in a smile of joy as he looked at me.

Still appearing to be in the middle of that long conversation with me, he exclaimed, “And now, after thousands of leagues, and many seasons of exploring under the ‘Sea of Stars,’ I go home!”

“Go home?” said I!

And, before my eyes, he began to settle back into the stump. I mean not just lean, but settle back into the stump as if it was a feather pillow. He casually lit his seasoned, stained, earthen, puffin’ pipe, which caused another pause in this one-sided conversation.

I blinked my eyes to make sure I saw what I thought I saw, and it happened again. His shoulders had receded into the stump another measure.

He saw and heard the surprise! I’m sure my eyes grew as big as a hoot owl’s eyes, and my mouth fell open as I did a startled inhale, quickly and four times as much as normal!

His belly laugh was the same as I’d heard the first time I saw him. I was remembering! It was Something that happened many years ago. While slapping one bent knee with his hand, he said, “Yes, I go home!” He said it as any traveler would sound if he’d been away for a long time.

“While you have gone home each night to your warm bed and kin, I explored and wandered, and made my bed wherever I happened to be when the sun arose. Now after all of these seasons, all of those moonlit beautiful and stormy nights of travel, I’m going home to be with my kin, in my own bed, and on the proper end of the trees.”

“This is the tree from where I came six summers ago (as he patted a root of the stump). Do you remember then, little ‘red-haired’ fisherman?” he said, eyeing me for my reaction.

“I do, I do!” I said in wonderment. “You are the reason my father thought that I am a dreamer. I ran to him that day, after you disappeared over the hill and told him that a little man with a walking stick and a bag on his back just stepped out of a tree!” I exclaimed.

I said he said, “Hello little red haired fisherman, I’d be finding my way beneath the ‘Sea of Stars!’ And, then you winked, turned and began to walk in the direction of yesterday!”

“And I have seen many tomorrows and learned about this side, the ‘Sea of Stars,’ the creatures on this side, and you! And, now I’m going home.” He said.

“I don’t have to go home through this tree, but it helps to go back where you came in or out! It’s also good luck to have the witness that was there when you came and when you left!”

And, as I watched, listened and blinked my eyes, he settled back farther into the stump up to his ears. The smoked from his pipe was rising as the steam from one of those new trains. Puff, puff, puff, puff, it went up with a little pfft, pfft, pfft, pfft sound as he tongued the hole to make it draw right. That sound he made from the pipe caused me wonder whether or not he was allowed to take that long-stemmed, puffin’ pipe with him to puff on the other side!

Was he was working to get the last out of it?

By now he’d been absorbed by the stump up to the wrinkles of his eyes.

“Will I see you again?” I managed to squeeze out during this sudden intake of sights, sounds, and swirling feelings.

The puffin’ stopped. There was no pfft. He leaned forward out of the stump, his eyes looking straight into my eyes.

With glee he said, “As you are my witness, I’ll be no more than two feet from you if you wish and should ever need me!

We are now joined at the ground. You being here now as I leave means this was meant to be! I’ll just be, to you, upside down.

I’ll put each of my feet on the bottom of each of your feet when I feel you need me. You will have the courage of the other side coursing through you when you need it. I’ll shake the roots of the trees, and the leaves will wave, and their breeze will assure you. The breeze will move you along so that you may run swiftly; I can charge you with the energies of nature to give you sharp eyes and clear thought. As long as you need me, I’ll be near.”

With that, he did his wink again, that same wink I saw six years ago. I could hear the pfft of the pipe, but there was no puff of smoke. It was done, and the pipe was gone too!

Within the next blink, I heard a joyful chuckle. As my eyes opened from the blink, the last of his foot trappings disappeared into the stump.

There were goose bumps and the hair stood straight up on the tops of my short-sleeved arms. A rustle of the leaves startled me straight in the fading light.

My fishing pole in hand, my twig bobber was nowhere in sight, so I lifted the willow pole up straight away and found a country creek Brownie attached to my line. Up out of the water he came in one motion to be added to the other three.

The leaves waved as if applauding! A little breeze from the leaves brushed the hair from my eyes to remind me that the light was changing.

It was late, and I needed to get these fish home for supper. I’m the man of the house now, and my mom will be pleased, I thought with a smile. It’s time to go home.

I tied the shoelaces of my old weathered shoes together and threw them over my shoulder. With my willow pole, my trout, my shoes, and my dreams, I effortlessly trotted up the path toward my house and my bed.

The ‘Sea of Stars’ at my back had just begun to twinkle from the direction of yesterday when I heard a rustling sound.

The leaves rustled as if applauding again so their breeze at my back could push me toward tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

The End

The Song of the Haberdasher (Short Story)

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The Song of the Haberdasher

by ronald drobeck

“I share this last memory from my little view of the world, as I dream from my childhood window for the last time.” Ruth

It’s dark outside, and I sit by the window staring across the way. A single, fat candle flickers from the breezethCAUV5DMZ that escapes through the leaded glass panes and into my small room. The draft makes me shiver although, I dress to sit here.

My view of the world is from this small third story window. My room is an attic really.  An afterthought room added for a child. I have long outgrown it and have to walk hunched over to get around. I do have an elementary writing table, my candle, and a cot in which to sleep, bent. To have this room, I am grateful for it costs but a few bits a week.

The windows on the other side of the street are all curtained. Each narrow building housed a business of some sort on the bottom floor. The second floor is an apartment originally designed for the store owner. Now, most business owners, having moved up in society with proper homes on residential streets, are renting the apartments to their employees as partial recompense.

When I’m not teaching, I help out downstairs in the bakery. The bakery, Called Lamb’s Daily Bread, was started by my father and mother, both devout Presbyterians, thus the name.

My name is Ruth Lamb, the only surviving child of Jeremiah and Beatrice Lamb.

Even though, I literally grew up in the bakery, I wanted to be a teacher, so upon the death of my parents during the blizzard of ’89, I sold the business. I could not run the bakery by myself and had no suitors hovering or interested.  I had planned the proper, father and mother approved courtship after I became a teacher, but, my parents passed before I could make it happen.

The overwhelming grief, the selling of the business and my appointment as the teacher in the town’s new school, were my priorities. Only now, alone in the evenings, do I begin to dream of a partner. The shadows projected on the apartment window curtains across the way are of couples, eating, enjoying each other’s company, and in one window, a child swirled by her father, dancing in front of the candlelight on the other side of their room. I share part of their life with them.

There is a young man that works at the bank down the street. I see him when he walks to work on the other side of the cobblestones, in his fashionable gray suit and brown hat. He tips his hat as he walks, attracting attention from all he meets, an up and comer, with a confident walk to match. I’ve seen him in the bank sitting at the third desk from the front. The first desk is as far as my kind of business takes me, I in my modest dark dress and proper “school Marm” hat.

This vision triggered a childhood game to rush uncontrollably through my mind.

I Ruth Lamb, by the flickering life of this candle, wish to be noticed by him. I, in his vision as a distant, moving shadow, need help to catch his eye in the light.” I chanted with my eyes squished shut.

In the moment, I was wishing so hard, I recited this twice to make sure that whatever powers grant such wishes heard and understood me.

What a silly thing to do!  A modern, Christian teacher should know better. It was but a “little girl moment” that has now passed.

*****

    The clip clop of a single horse and the rattle of a four-wheel wagon awaken me early on this, Saturday morning. I open the curtain of my view to the world and see the lamplighter making his snuffing rounds. The rising sun casts long shadows down Main Street. The moving horse and wagon, the movement of early risers and their exaggerated shadows in motion, animate the street. It’s the stretching awake of Main Street this early morning.

I opened the window a bit to freshen the air in my small room. It was brisk and invigorating. I prepared to go down to the bakery. They always need help setting up for the marketing day, and I need to eat.

Turning to leave my room, I hear this refrain through my room’s open window.

I have buttons and buckles,

 Candles and lotions,

Needles and pins,

 Ribbons and notions.

 

I can grant your wishes,

 Or sing you a tale,

I’m the haberdasher,

With a Whiffenpoof’s wail.

 

High, high, twiddle dee dee

I have things that are real, and

Things you can’t see

High, high, twiddle dee doh

Leave your wishes with me

Before I must go.

I’ve heard and seen him before, a red whiskered man with a green bowler hat and red bowtie stood at the end of the street holding the reins to steady his horse and cart. His head lay back, and mouth opened wide as the ditty was exhaled. That tenor voice flew down the street and echoed between the buildings that, by this time, had seduced someone to each doorway.

He came but once a year. Everyone knew him as Lucky O’Grady. There are stories from those who have bought his wares that say luck miraculously came their way. Some say, he only appears when someone is in need, or when someone worthy has made a wish for him to grant. Good things seem to happen when he is around.

I was happy to see him, as was everyone. This town could use a little cheering up. He was a promising start to the day.

I danced down the two flights of stairs to the lilt his voice planted in my mind. Now, into the bakery I lightly stepped, to find customers already lined up for their daily bread. The young owners looked relieved as I stepped into the room and immediately started serving people.

It was “good morning” and “thank you”, “good morning and thank you” continuously for twenty minutes.

The room suddenly stopped moving except for the stirred up flour dust that glowed in slices of sunlight from the windows and door. It’s as if some Royal Highness or something had walked in. In the doorway stood Lucky O’Grady, holding his bowler by the rim, close to his chest, looking left and right for the end of the line. Everyone else had been serviced, so there was a clear path to the whitewashed wooden counter. He glanced around as if surprised to find himself at the front of the line.

“May I have a loaf of that fine, fine bread?” He asked with a brogue.

Glancing into his sparkling eyes but not staring, I wrapped a fresh loaf in some baker’s paper and handed it to him.

As O’Grady paid me, he said, “Thank you Mum,” with a slight head nod and a light, half-step back, as if to bow to me!

“Would you be the Marm, Miss Ruth Lamb?” He asked.

“I would!” I answered with a question in my attitude.

“I have something special for you,” he said reaching in his side coat pocket.

Out came a beautiful yellow ribbon. “For your hair Mum,” he said.

All eyes of the people still in the store followed the yellow ribbon as it passed from his hand to my trembling hand.

“I have done nothing to deserve this; it’s not necessary to…..”

“Ah, but it ‘tis!” His brogue interrupted me. “’tis from the ones who appreciate you Miss Lamb!”

With that, he bowed, backed, and turned out of the bakery as applause broke out. The young wife of the new owner rushed behind me and took the ribbon from my hand. She tied that yellow ribbon to the “school marm” knot on the back of my head, as the applause grew louder.

Shyly embarrassed, I dusted the flour dust from my dress, straightened myself upright, and tried to make it look like I shook all of this nonsense off (all the while, playing with the new, yellow ribbon in my hair).  It was time to get back to the duties at hand. Everyone smiled at the great act I had just given them.

I took a step back toward my station, my shoulders and eyes swinging to greet the next customer.

As my eyes made contact with the eyes of the gentleman in line, my shoulders dropped at the defeat of the poise I had so painfully gathered up in front of everyone.

“Good mornin’ Miss Lamb,” the young banker smiled nonchalantly. “Could I get some of those sugar cookies to take to the bank? We’re working for a short time this morning, and I want to take them to my helpers.”

He knew who I was, and he knew my name!” I thought, surprised.

“By the way,” he said, “ my name is Thomas O’Hara and I would be wonderin’ if anyone has asked you to the cotillion at the fort tonight, or might there be a chance……”

My eyes focused on the yellow kerchief  in his suit coat pocket. ‘Twas as yellow as the yellow ribbon in my hair!

*****

I have buttons and buckles, candles and lotions,

Needles and pins, ribbons and notions.

I can grant your wishes, or sing you a tale,

I’m the haberdasher, with a Whiffenpoof’s wail.

 

‘Twas the Night Before Halloween

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“Twas a full moon that knifed through the leafless Elms. As I walked down the
sidewalk, the shadows quietly moved, practicing looking spooky for the next
evening. The sky was crystal clear even though you could feel the blanket of
cold descending.

Most residents, in this Midwest country town of fifty-six hundred, had gone to
bed, after a day that started with early church, and then munching through the
noon, afternoon, and evening football games. I had napped through the afternoon
game so I could see the Vikings play in the evening game, played on the west coast.
They lost, but it was a good game. We know we’ll beat that coast team when they
have to play in the freezing snow in the Twin Cities. West coast teams just
aren’t built for the cold.

I needed to take a walk to settle my nerves and digest before I went to bed so,
I put on a wool cap, wool jacket, and gloves to fight off the shivers, unlocked
the screen door and stepped out. The moon was so bright, it didn’t feel like
10:30. A fine coating of frost was just beginning to form on everything and it
reflected moon beams into a million billion little sparkles, quietly.

This was good because tomorrow not only brought Monday night football, but was
Halloween. The kids would be able to see as they fanned out across the whole
town to collect their treasure.

I thought a walk to the ice skating rink, that wasn’t frozen yet, and back
seemed about right.

Halfway to the rink, the silence was shattered by the sound of breaking tree
limbs, a screech and a thump. It wasn’t a sidewalk thump; it was an almost
frozen ground thump. I figured an old limb that had become brittle from the
cold and weakened from the weight of the frost, had crashed through other limbs
on its way down.

thCA7QDXZ8

I was partially right. As I approached a dark pile of something lying next to a
good size, shattered tree limb, the dark pile moaned and moved. I quickly
stopped my approach. I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into. A
chalky white face turned toward me out of the dark bundle.

“Hildi,” I exclaimed! “Did you get hit by that limb? Are you O.K.?” I then
approached quickly to help, and she offered up an arm.

“Do you need to go to the hospital? I’ll get my truck and be right back.”

“No, you can’t. I can’t. I’m all right, a little crooked but I’m all right.”
She said as she dusted herself off and put on her pointy hat. Then she picked
up a broom that was broken in two pieces. “I knew this was going to happen some
day! I’m gonna loose my license. I should have practiced out in the country a
little longer, before I came into town. I got started late.”

“What are you talking about Hildi? I can’t make one bit of sense out of
anything your saying. I better take you in!”

“John. Just stop for a second. If you don’t, I’ll have to stop you until you
realize what happened. What do you see?”

I was a little befuddled and confused but managed to spit out, “I see my
neighbor, Hildi the librarian, dressed in black, with a black cape, and a
pointy hat on her head, holding a broken broom.”

She didn’t say a word. She looked at the broom, then to the broken tree limb,
and then up into the tree about twenty feet up where the limb had come from.
Then she looked at me and waited.

I am a good ol’ country Christian widower. I live alone and don’t have to
converse or think fast if I don’t want to. I’d resigned myself to a life of
same ol’, same ol’. This was kind of a shock to my system. My thinker took a
second to get rolling but when it did, and I realized what she was trying to
tell me, my mouth went dry. My eyes must have told her it was time to speak.

She said, “Yes John, tomorrow is Halloween and I was practicing. I only ride
this thing once a year anymore. It’s my sworn duty. Somebody put a new
telephone wire across the street there and I swerved to miss it, misjudged my
speed, and ended up hitting that tree. The branch broke and I ended up here.
Then you came along. Promise me you won’t tell anyone what happened? Sorry
John, I’ve put you in a terrible position.”

I profoundly remarked, “I guess!” scratching the back of my neck and still
trying to digest everything.

She said, “I’ll make it up to you, I promise. What are you doing Tuesday
evening? I’ll be a little busy tomorrow.”

I am telling you, and you can believe it or not, she spun, snapped her fingers
and was gone. I was left standing next to a fallen limb at 10:45 on a Sunday
night, all by myself, and had been talking to …..no one. I did not finish my
walk and went straight home. My solid, predictable world was getting a little
weird.

When Tuesday evening rolled around, I bathed, shaved and put on my best flannel
shirt for no particular reason. I guess I just wanted to. I guess!

Then the doorbell rang and I opened the door. It was our local librarian,
Hildi, with dangly earrings hanging and her hair up. She offered her arm and
told me she was ready to go to the Lantern Inn for “Ribs Night”.
She’s buying!

The way I see it, I only had one choice. I could only say, “I’ll get the
pickup.”

A Child

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So, I sat down at my keyboard, but hesitated, “Ron, this is way too ambitious for you, a confirmed but quiet and reserved Christian. You don’t stand up and preach, make a spectacle of your beliefs or force yourself on anybody.” But, I ignored myself and did something I’d wanted to do for a long time, and I began.

This short story has been written over and over for the last three years. It’s been twice as long, half as long, and now, has settled here. I hope everyone remembers this is a fictional interpretation, yet I hope it accomplishes what I intended, the same story from a different point of view!

*****

At the moment of everything, I was the one. I grew to be so much more. It was expected the mountain below would remain the symbol of a god’s power over man longer. It was believed the thunder and lightning would continue to command the fear and respect of the humans and distract them from themselves. This fear would maintain peace and harmony. I watched the mountain crumble, as the fear disappeared and the people learned there was nothing to be afraid of.

The sight of the white beard and bowed shoulders of the last surviving mountain god to walk the high sanctuary’s crumbling temples, wells up sorrow from deep within me. These earthly icons served me well. It is the end of their time. It is the end of a time.

Below the clouds of the mountain, after eons of subordination to those earthbound Gods, some humans have decided to abandon the tradition of their Thunder God’s guidance and leadership. At some moment, some humans rallied, “The Gods of the mountain tops have seen their day!”

They believe ‘today’ belongs to the leadership, ingenuity, and creativity of man alone.

I am watching the emerging man gods tear one another apart, country by country, city by city, war after war. It seems as if they are going to run out of people before they figure out that they’ve lost their way.

Much time has passed since the beginning of it all. I alone, watch. I do have compassion, but all I can do right now is watch. I have to wait until they are ready for me. They must learn, so they are able go on. It’s the only way they will know.

Now, the new, insecure leaders are refuting my existence to strengthen themselves.

They say, “Where is he, do you see him, touch him, and does he speak to you as I do?”

It is the beginning of their end. It won’t be long; I do not want it to last a long time.

I need to let them know I am here, another chance to see that I am the Creator and Father of all.

I shall create a child as a sign of the new beginning.

He shall be my son but also of the people. They will be able to see him, watch him grow, hear him, touch him.

He will touch them, tell them, and then show them the way. Some will follow, and some will not.

Really………. It has always been up to them!

The Wonderful Whizzer of Og

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As told by Me, a Wandering Teller of Tales and Singer of Songs

In a world full of stories like a goose that lays golden eggs, frog princes, unicorns, and faeries, I’m going to tell of something you’ll find hard to believe, and to the best of my knowledge, is unquestionably true.

th6SO6I282 In a serene, and rarely spoken of, mountainous country in the interior of a vaguely known continent is a valley. From the bird’s eye view, this valley looks just like all of the many valleys on either side of it, except it’s quite a bit greener. The reason for the extra green is the part that you’ll find hard to believe.

One day, about two hundred years ago, a child was born to a, long thought barren, couple named Elle and Ferd. Their appearance was said to be Ogre-like but, to be sure, they weren’t Ogres. They did possess some of the lumpy characteristics and short, bent-over stature but; these were caused by centuries of manual labor in the fields and the isolation of their valley.

Elle and Ferd were members of a “kind” people that inhabited the middle valley of this mountain range’s series of valleys. Og valley people were rarely seen by anyone because a single two wheeled path passed by the entrance to each valley, which were like islands surrounded by mountains instead of water. All harvests were brought up the path to the only entrance of each island, and the harvests were picked up by sellers on their way the cities.
As far back as anyone could remember, the valley of Og out produced all of the other valleys both in size and the quality of the current harvest, whatever it might be. The reason for this anomaly was a closely guarded secret for decades.

Now that it is known, I can tell you, the Valley of Og’s bounty began a few years after the birth of a child.

Months before the birth of the boy, a dreaded Brown Tufted Honey Snatch, had entered the valley, made its way to the honey hives, ravaged them, and consumed the faeries’ entire winter cache’ of special honey.

Ferd discovered the destruction and quickly rebuilt the hives in time for the valley’s flowering season. The bees survived, the nectar was harvested, and turned into their special honey, averting a disaster for the faeries, and the people of Og.

The faeries were so grateful, they bestowed upon Elle and Ferd two gifts. One was the most precious gift the faeries could give. It was an enchanted child!

As the child grew, it was noticed where ever he whizzed, vegetation grew to enormous mass and height. Elle and Ferd, at first thought it was just their imagination, but as the boy grew up, so did their crops and trees. Enormously! The second gift from the Faeries.

Some of their neighbors noticed and remarked about the family’s continuous bountiful harvests. Elle and Ferd mentioned their discovery and what they suspected, to their neighbors.

It was decided “The Child”, would be loaned to the families that had land adjoining Elle and Ferd’s land, to see what would happen.

It worked! Each farm family produced the same amazing bounty. It didn’t seem to matter whether “The Child” whizzed directly on the specific plant or into the water supply for a whole crop. It worked! Everyone quietly celebrated the discovery. They wanted to keep their treasure a secret for as long as possible, for fear of exhausting the boy!

In the normal tradition of the valley, children were addressed as “Young Elle” or “Young Ferd” until their twelfth birthday. They were then named by making combinations of the name of their home, family, valley, or personality. It was decided to call the boy Wog to connect him with their valley. This is the name he would be known by, in the village and the valley, as long as the secret was kept. To the people, whose land connected to Elle and Ferd’s land, the boy would be known as ‘The Whizzer of Og’ (Wog)!

*****

The boy kept on growing and the amount of whizzing he could do in a day, increased. He was remarkable! Soon, the whole valley benefited from the lad’s ability. It became extremely difficult to hide the reason for the fortune of Valley of Og.

Alas, the tale of Wog’s abilities eventually leaked into the next valley. The Valley of Od heard the rumor about the whizzing boy wonder and decided they would like to be whizzed on too!
One day, accompanied by a wagon of his remarkable “Mead” supply drawn by a donkey (mead is a beverage made from honey, water, malt, and yeast), Wog by himself, as usual, was busy doing his business, and happily humming.

Now the Valley of Og rarely had troubles and did not know evil. Wog was a strong, young man, so no one ever thought he would need to be protected.

Wog had few friends. His whizzer, and the job it did, intimidated most people including the fairer Ogidites, so for the time being, Wog would just drink his Mead by himself, wait a few moments, hum and whiz on the crops. On a normal day, he would go home at dusk to get rested for the next day’s work, regular as clockwork.

In the twilight of this late afternoon, just before Wog normally would leave for home, was nabbed by several hooded beings that had snuck up on the humming Wog. They threw a blanket over him and whisked him to their valley in a two wheeled cart. He did not offer resistance, as he did not know how to resist. He lay, bouncing in the bottom of the cart wondering what was happening, and where he was going.

The next morning, Elle and Ferd, became frantic when they found Wog had not slept in his bed. His Mead wagon and donkey were not in their shed. Not quite knowing what to do, Ferd ran to his neighbors, and into the village, telling of his missing son. It was decided the first thing to do was to search the valley. Everyone turned out for the search. It wasn’t long before they came upon Wog’s Mead wagon and donkey, quietly standing where left, waiting for the return of Wog.

*****

In the next valley, that same day, Wog was introduced to the Od villagers. The leader of the hooded ones lied, and told his people that the “kind” people of The Valley of Og, had graciously loaned Wog to help them produce the greatest harvest they’d ever seen. The crowd cheered and set decorated tables for a feast and celebration.

Wog felt loved and wallowed in the attention. These Od people were throwing a party for Wog, something his village had never done.

The villagers in the Og valley had followed the two-wheeled cart tracks to the end of their valley, and found that the tracks turned left on the seller’s road. They left their valley and found it took another left into the next valley, the Valley of Od.

They went back to their own valley to plan. There were discussions by torchlight, meetings by candle light. They decided to enter the Valley of Od to recover their precious Wog.

Obviously, the secret of success, in the Valley of Og, was no longer a secret. They could call him his full name now. All of this uncustomary detective work and planning took time but, they managed to get ready for the retrieval attempt in a couple of days.

The morning after the celebration in the Village of Od, set out to see this miracle at work. The whole village followed “the hooded ones” and Wog to a field of strawberries close to town. Wog was supplied with all of their local mead he could drink.

There was stillness to the crowd, as the mead traveled. Wog began humming, and to energize the strawberry field, with a confident grin. At the sight and delivery pressure of his extraordinary whizzer, the crowd gasped at the wonder of it all. They had never seen such a thing!

Time after time, Wog went back to the supply of Mead, drank, waited and whizzed to the cheer of the crowd. When he felt his job was completed, with a little shake of his whizzer, and a nod of his head, to the hooded group’s leader, Wog and his entourage went back to the village to await the results. The villagers were stayed up all night excited and noisy. There wasn’t a celebration for Wog that night, but he was kept comfortable in a shed.

A young, handsome Od maiden, alone attended his needs. She brought warm blankets, food, and fresh straw for his bed. Not a word was spoken, but her attention was given in wide eyed wonder and admiration.

Wog could hear the celebration and wondered where the Od villager’s attention he’d received the night before was! He eventually reasoned they were waiting to see the results of his talent. Then, he would be their hero, and forever celebrated in this valley.

*****

Early in the morning of the next day, the people from the Valley of Og quietly shuffled into the Valley of Od, with their farm implements held high above their heads, silhouettes in the dawn. Fighting was not their nature, but this had to be done, as “The Whizzer” was needed back at home. New crops had been planted. Time was short. Bravely, they marched on!

A crowd gathered outside of the shed, and Wog was escorted out. In anticipation, there was controlled, nervous applause.

To the field of strawberries they went, the back of the crowd straining to see in the dawn light. As they approached the strawberry field, the throng slowed. Something was wrong! At the corner of the field, they came to a dead, silent stop and stood still.

The whole field of berry plants was wilted. Wog had never seen anything like it before.

The owner of the field yelled something, high pitched, with an attitude. The hooded ones and the gathering of Od valley people grumbled and began to mill about angrily.

Wog was approached several times by different groups looking for an answer. All Wog could do was look astonished, shrug his shoulders shift his eyes from the people to the field and back again.

Soon, the groups of villagers began to suspect the legend was untrue. Wog had failed and didn’t have any magical powers or answers. The disappointed gathering headed back toward their village mumbling, while the hooded ones gathered in a circle meeting. Wog was left standing, alone, again.

The “hooded ones” agreed, the legend of Wog was not true, for he had destroyed an entire strawberry field in one evening. It was then decided; the Valley of Od no longer had a need to keep him. They got their two wheeled cart and escorted Wog to the end of their valley. Well, almost to the end of their valley! On the way, they met the armed villagers from the Valley of Og.

Abandoning the cart and Wog, they ran for their lives toward their own village. The cart, Wog, and an unremarkable pile of straw in the corner of the cart were happily escorted home by the group of successful Og warriors.

The return of The Whizzer of Og, as Wog could now be known, was the second celebration Wog had seen in three days. This time it was his own kind, his own village, with people who knew his abilities. There was a lot of hugs and smiles between Wog, his parents, and amongst all in the Valley of Og.

Wog noticed the self-celebration by the farmers of Og. He also remembered that before he’d been kidnapped, few people talked to him, and he had made few friends. They were friendly of course, and smiled, but, other than having him whiz for them, most didn’t want to have much to do with Wog.

The leader of Og took Wog by the arm and helped him up into the cart that brought him back from his ordeal. The bundle of straw in the back corner exploded and out came the little Od girl. She ran into the crowd, a trail of straw drifting to the ground behind her.

The look of surprise on the leader’s face was quickly dismissed by an irritated shrug of his shoulders, as he was anxious to get back to his prepared speech.

He proudly raised Wog’s arms in the air as you would raise a trophy. Everyone cheered as he was displayed.

Then, Wog surprised them. With all of his courage, Wog spoke up. He never spoke up, but now, he finally had something important to say. The leader of Og stepped down to give Wog the audience.

He first thanked them for bringing him back home. He then told them about how the people of the Valley of Od held a party for him when they thought he would be able to make their crops as bountiful as Og’s crops. Then, when he failed, he told them how they quickly turned against him.

He told the silent crowd, that the Odidites did not love Wog for who he was, but only for what he could do for them.

Wog asked the people if this was how they felt?

There was complete silence while the people of Og measured themselves.

One person somewhere in the crowd started a chant. Overcoming their shame, two, and then three spoke up. Soon everyone was applauding, cheering, and chanting “Wog, Wog, Wog!”

The handsome little Odidite, with straw in her hair and an admiring smile, took one step out of the crowd toward the wagon. A surprised Whizzer smiled back at her then quickly regained his composure. While the crowd was cheering, Wog stepped down from the wagon to hold her hand. The Governor of Wog stepped back up in the wagon.

As the leader of the village and the Valley of Og, he declared a festival every year, on this day, from now on, to celebrate the gift of Wog. He shall be called fully “The Whizzer of Og” and, his name shall be proudly displayed on a sign at the entrance to their valley. It shall declare:

The Valley of Og

Home of The Whizzer of Og

Population 1103 +1 Great Whizzer

There was a secret kept by the Og Valley fairies!

Why did Wog’s talents fail in the Valley of Od? Why did his ability work so well in the Valley of Og?

The secret of course was the second gift from the faeries, I didn’t tell you about.

The Mead was made with the faerie honey from the hives that Ferd had repaired. That honey was enchanted. The more Wog whizzed on the flowers fueled by the mead made from the honey, made from the flowers he whizzed on, the more powerful his whizzing became.

This enchanted honey plus the extraordinary talents of the child, combined to create the magic for the Valley of Og, and one of the greatest stories ever told.

*****

That’s not the end of the story!

When The Whizzer introduced the little Odidite to the people of Og, she was accepted into the community. She was the first of another valley accepted by the Ogidites, as far back as memories could remember.

The Whizzer of Og and the brave little Odidite were inseparable. Elle and Ferd added a room for her, and in essence, she became their daughter.

Time passed.

There was a celebration in the Valley of Og. The pair of Wog and Mow (Mate of the Whizzer) were joined forever.

(More time passes.)

The sign at the entrance to the Valley of Og now reads:

The Valley of Og

Home of the Whizzers of Og

Population 1105 + 1 big whizzer and 4 little whizzers

All of this because of a kind man’s good deed and a thank you from the Faeries.

(I reserve the right to add a couple more of the little whizzers to the Valley of Od at a later date)

Near Death by Broccoli

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      For all of you that follow my life closely and worry about me, I’d like you to know that I’m O.K.!

       The stir-fry doggie bag that my wife brought from “girls night out” almost got me, but I saved myself. 

      She’d ordered stir fried Chicken and Scallops, knowing that I loved fried scallops, and she would not be able to eat it all. It was mixed with Chinese noodles, rice and several kinds of vegetables.

       Because it was late and I’d already eaten, I asked her to transfer the leftovers from the Styrofoam into a Ziploc container and put it in the refrigerator. I thought about them all through the next day while I was at work. Scallops are expensive and a real treat for me.

      That evening I decided to have the treasure for supper so, I cracked the lid a bit and put the container in the microwave for three and a half minutes. The dinger went off; I shook the container and put it back in the microwave for another one-half minute. There was a little steam coming from the cracked cover so I emptied the contents onto a plate, ready for the feast.

        That’s when I saw them. There were three pieces of broccoli half hidden and lurking beneath the noodles, carrots and zucchini. I screamed and quickly ran to the sink. So as to not waste time, I grabbed a used silicon spatula from a plate on the counter top and quickly flipped the largest piece into the disposal.

       The other two pieces were smaller and I flicked them with my right pointer finger into the sink and then hit them with the sprayer. They circled around the sink once and then washed into the disposal with the large piece. I hit the switch and heard the cry and gurgle of the disposal motor and its contents.

       I turned off the disposal and water, picked up my plate to examine it and saw in my vision off to the side of the plate, the large piece of broccoli was trying to crawl out of the hole. 

      I hit it with the spatula and ran the disposal again. I turned the disposal off, watched and listened. There was no movement, only silence. 

      After trying to see down the disposal through the rubber collar and satisfying myself it was empty, I re-examined my plate hoping that none of the juice from the broccoli had seeped into my scallops.

       At this time, I am reporting the stir fried scallops were delicious and I survived but, it was close. One must be on his toes at all times!

At this time, I’ve written forty seven short stories and poems. I’m going to rotate them through this web site to keep it fresh. Hopefully, I’ll have other forms of entertainment drift through as I learn to use this site. At least twelve of the short stories will be published in a future book called Ron’s Shorts! LOL…..couldn’t resist!

 

The Tale of Clyde, the Exhausted Rooster

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Part One

No one knows for sure where he came from. He appeared at dawn on a Monday, standing atop the tallest barnyard fence pole.

As the tip of the sun broke the horizon, he stood, a black shadow against the blazing sunrise. He stretched his neck twice it’s size and pointed his beak straight up; his bright red comb stood out like a warning flag. Never before was heard anything as magnificent as the sound that poured from this beast’s throat! The single, masterful crow caused the startled milk cow to scramble to her feet. The pigs snapped their heads up from the feeding trough and the piglets scrambled for their mom. The whole sun seemed to spring above the horizon as if it had been waiting for the sound.

Twenty-one prize laying hens tried to leave the chicken coop through one little hole, all at once, to see what could have created such a siren. Finally arriving, around the corner of the barn, wearily trotted Clyde, the yard rooster. He’d been resting in the loft after staying up all night in the chicken coop, guarding and maintaining his house.

One huge Red Rooster jumped down from the tallest fence post in the yard, strutted ten struts and then stopped, poised as if to give everyone a chance to see. His full name was Rojo Grande El Magnifico, but they just called him Rojo Grande for short. Rojo Grande stood dead still. He slowly inspected the twenty one plump, orange, champion laying hens all lined up as if waiting to be inspected. He brought one eyebrow up to widen the view in that eye. He l i k e d what he saw.

It was then Rojo Grande spotted the rather disheveled, yellow brown yard rooster. There was a quick turn of his head and a single strut. Nothing stirred. Two more struts and the hens started a low volume, slow, warning cluck. They could smell roosterosterone and feel the tension in the air.

This is where the sleepy, exhausted yard rooster made his mistake. He took a slow, cautious step toward Rojo Grande and looked him straight in the eye. As the Clyde’s foot touched the ground, there was a flash and a red blur. Taken by surprise, Clyde was in the air fighting desperately, his feathers flying loose everywhere. As Clyde touched the ground five feet from where he originally was, his instincts took over and he ran as fast as his wings and legs would take him in the opposite direction of the blur.

In the middle of the yard stood Rojo Grande El Magnifico, his chest held high and comb up, straight as an arrow. The hens were cackling excitedly.

As Clyde watched from his perch in the hayloft, Rojo Grande let one masterful cluck loose. Twenty-one prize layers immediately headed for the hen house to do their job.

Rojo Grande El Magnifico stood alone, master of the farmyard.

Part Two

One warm, lazy day late in the summer, it seemed as if the Earth had stopped breathing. The air was dead still. The clouds were not moving. There was a silence that almost never happened in the normally noisy farmyard.

The animals that had been napping felt something unusual and perked up their ears. They stood, eyes widened, and began to search. The hens, normally pecking, stopped and looked toward Rojo Grande and then upward toward the loft!

Clyde felt the vibration change. He jumped up on his long spurred legs and walked with curiosity to the loft door. As he did, some straw was accidentally kicked over the edge of the doorframe. It floated straight down. There was not even breeze enough to make it float in any direction other than down. This is very strange because windless days in this country were extremely rare.

From the top of a stand of Elm trees on the west side and just outside of the rail fence, the slight rattle of the driest leaves could be heard. The breeze that caused the leaves to move had jumped over the rail fence and into the farmyard. The tiniest of whirlwinds appeared and kicked up enough dust to define itself. The bottom of the tiny twister danced first left, then right and sometimes seemed to circle while the top remained steady and traveled in a straight line through the barnyard. Everything in the yard watched it as it exited through the gate on the east side of the yard. There was again, silence. One older hen took a tentative retreating step toward the chicken coop. She knew something was up!

As that hen’s foot came back to the ground, a terrifying screech ripped the silence and shattered any calm left in the farmyard. The sound came from behind and above that Elm stand. Nothing was seen immediately, but another screech tore through the air.

Then Demus appeared. His four-foot wide black wings were set in a swift and calculated dive. His talons extended to capture his reward. Demus had one of the prize-laying hens in his sights.

The animals in the farmyard knew Demus. His arrival terrified and sent every one of the animals scattering to whatever haven was near. The older hens tended to run toward the hen house in a straight line. The younger hens ran in a much more panicked, confused and indirect way. The newest even ran in circles. This was the effect Demus intended when he arrived with his screech and sudden appearance. Confusion and surprise are his friends and although he’d never succeeded getting his supper in this farm yard, his tactics had been successful many, many times in other yards on other farms.

Demus had never been successful on this farm because of his nemesis, Clyde the yard rooster.

Clyde was this farm’s guardian. He was there the first time Demus attacked and Clyde defended the farm animals with ferocity every time.

On this day, Demus had been observing the farm yard from very high. It was his habit to circle unseen in the sky to find his target. He didn’t see Clyde and probably would have by-passed this farm if he had. What he did see was a strutting Rojo Grande. This was a new addition to the farmyard and an opponent Demus had not tested. Maybe there would be a nice fat hen from this farm today. He would find out.

As Demus sped over the top of the Elms in his surprise attack, he located his target. Off to the side of his sight, Demus watched for Rojo Grande El Magnifico’s inevitable defense. The rooster was easy to spot. He was the largest red thing moving in the yard. Demus continued his attack dive.

Expecting a side attack from Rojo Grande, Demus braced himself as his talons closed upon the slowest and largest hen in the retreating flock. Surprised to actually make contact and grab the hen, he had to look up suddenly to judge his escape with such a heavy and undefended surprise. As he looked up, Demus saw a red flash going out of the yard gate ahead of him. Astonished at his success, Demus miscalculated the weight of his prize, the speed of his unimpeded attack, and his direction. Wings pulling hard and just missing the side of the barn, his escape path took him very close to the open loft door.

There was a yellow brown flash and the side attack he’d been expecting from the red rooster earlier, arrived. It was Clyde, the yard rooster with his long, three-inch leg spurs.

Demus dropped the hen at the tremendous blow and plummeted to the ground with the yard champion firmly attached. They hit the ground in a cloud of dust, mixed with the screaming sounds of defense and the furious sounds of attack. It was a blur of wings, feathers, beaks, talons and spurs. The dust ball of battle rolled gradually into the middle of the yard. From every corner of the farm yard, the other animals watched the melee.

Suddenly, they separated. The separation surprised both. Slowly backing, Demus turned with damaged wings and pride, flapped several tortured wing beats and rose, just clearing the Elms.
Clyde, watching the sudden departure of his opponent, could barely stand, wounded and exhausted. The animals left their hiding places and approached him. From the hen house paraded twenty-one prize-laying hens. Clyde counted and counted again. All of the hens were there, one more time. As Clyde straightened himself up, he took a step toward the stairway to the loft. The animals cleared a path for their protector. Up the stairs he went, wearily hopping up one step at a time, one step and a pause, one step and a pause. The animals watched as he appeared in the doorway of the loft. Compacting himself in a rooster ball, Clyde shortened his neck so his head rested on his body and he closed one eye. He was one exhausted rooster!

What ever happened to Rojo Grande El Magnifico? At the last sighting, Rojo Grande was seen running down the road in the opposite direction of the battle and would never be seen here again. Legend has it that he found another farm yard where he could strut his stuff and impress some unsuspecting hens. Then there was another farm and another. Hopefully, he found a place where he will never have to deal with the evil Demus or a Clyde, the Exhausted Rooster!

The End of Part Two

Stay tuned for more adventures of Clyde, the Exhausted Rooster! Coming soon to a Writing.com near you!