Adventures for the Average Woman A MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF SERIAL FICTION AND FACTBASED ADVENTURE TALES PRINTED WITH EARTH-FRIENDLY RECYCLED MATERIALS
Most Powerful Woman In the World by P. K. Ghosh
At this very moment if I were asked, “Who is the most powerful women in the world?” you would most probably think that I would name Condoleezza Rice. No. How about Hillary Clinton? No-op! How about Sonia Gandhi, the Italian descendent daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi, who is practically running India currently? No, she is not it. Then Who? A four-and-a-half-foot-tall women, who is running a 4-bed hospital on the outskirts of Calcutta is the most powerful woman in the world. Well…at least in my eyes. Her name is Subhashini Devi. And here is her story. Her husband died and left her with two young children and no money to support the family. She did not have any schoolcollege degree to ask for a job. So she started selling vegetables and encouraged her children to continue school. She made them promise to her self that at least one child would become a doctor so that she could start a hospital for poor people. She bore the pain of her husband not getting treatment because they did not have any money. So she did just that: she sold vegetables, bought some land, saw her son became a doctor then built a small hospital. The son and some of his colleagues volunteered for the hospital while maintaining a regular schedule. They ran a free hospital for the poor people in the village – exactly as their mother had wanted! Every now and then, some people driving big vans look at the earth three feet below their feet and feel like they
Subhashini Devi in her clinic © 2005
are on the top of the world! If I tell those people this story and ask them to define self-esteem, what would they say? I wonder! This past January I met Subhashini Devi and asked her, “Mother, where did you get this much courage to do all that?” She said, “God, mighty God helped me!” “Even God should be jealous of you Mother”, I wanted to tell her, but I did not. Now, she needs money to finish the emergency section in the hospital. If anyone of you would care to help -- no matter how little you may think you can -- it would be very, very big effort for her. Even a little bit can be stretched a long way for a small hospital in India. For more information, please contact P.K. Ghosh at email@example.com -- Prasanta K.Ghosh is a Maryland-based author, M.B.A., and Micro-financier of women’s education and economic development in India.
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Share in our bountiful cornucopia of fresh talent combined with our staple literary fare! See how women and men who support women cultivate their dreams by tilling the fertile soils of minds and hearts. Join them in breaking free from the yolk of fear and selfdoubt to freely explore deepseeded desires and talents and build IdeaGems’ fields of dreams! Eleven months ago, the first tiny dream seeds were planted with the 8-page debut of Adventures for the Average Woman to provide a platform for creative women (and men) to show their work, share their dreams, and sow their talents. And now, the gathering clouds of creativity are really raining down on our parcel of parchment to make it grow! Why are we so ding-blasted blessed? Because AFTAW is all about the labor of love. It is a fertile crescent for planting fresh ideas and reaping the harvest of a published poem or story – the fruits of imagination we share with the world. This month, we feature the stories of women fulfilling their dreams through poetry and dance, art and romance. Thanks to all our old and new contributing writers and artists for putting together this fine dream feast. Kudos to our faithful readers, subscribers and sponsors without whose faith and support we could never achieve our goals. We ask for their continued efforts in spreading the word about AFTAW and encourage new subscribers, advertizers, and investors. Otherwise, our fields would fall fallow with nary a hand to till them. -- Cyhteria Howell, Author, Editor, & Incurable Romantic.
September 2006 Volume 1, Issue 11
Inside this issue Most Powerful Woman in the World
And the Winner Is….
Poetry & Painting
Dancing into Consciousness
How Do You Take Your Music?
The HIStory of MAMOgraphy
Pretty Blonde Girls
The Elusive Force
Mystery of the Majestic
The Cardiff Grandma
Katie and the Errant Knight
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Adventures for the Average Woman
And the Winner Is…
2006 Twister Champion As for our other contest for our story, Natalie and the Blue Dragon, we haven’t received one submission short of an offer to do a graphic rendition for our tale. So we’ve decided to mothball that one for a while. However, we do have a BRAND NEW
CONTEST up and running – one that should get a lot more of you sending in your women-centered tales of adventure! Help us raise money to keep this publication alive and receive a chance to win $250 plus a top-featured a story in our 2007 book, Adventures for the Average Woman where we will run the 20 best true-life adventure stories with women as the main characters. Rules and guidelines are posted on our Web site: www.ideagems. com, but in brief they are as follow: 1) There’s a $25 initial entry fee with your first submission, $10 for each additional submission, which you can submit by check or money order made out to IDEAGEMS PUBLICATIONS to be enclosed along with a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope (if you want your materials returned) with your mailed in submission to: IdeaGems Publications, P. O. Box 4748, Portland, ME 04112-4748 or by PayPal (www.paypal.com) (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your electronic submission sent to email@example.com. Volume 1, Issue 11
Cassie Chen of Beltsville, MD for coming up with this clever caption for our giraffe photo: 2006 Twister Champion! Ms. Chen has opted for a year’s subscription in lieu of a cash prize. Thank you, Cassie!
Be sure to indicate that your story is for the AFTAW BOOK CONTEST and include all contact information. 2) Stories must be TRUE although you may want to change the names of all persons involved to protect the innocent, not to mention the guilty. Be our guest and embellish a bit to make your tale taller, and if there’s a lesson to be learned, relate it but without being heavy-handed. We want this collection to be both fun and enlightening. 3) Stories should be short (from 500 to 2,500 words) and extremely well written with proper syntax, grammar, and punctuation. (And if you should go over the limit a bit, no worries. we’ll still take a good long gander.) You might even be talented enough to illustrate your tale comic-book style! Hey! We’re fairly flexible! 4) Stories can be about a dramatic event incurred during a trip or a life-threatening situation or a major life change or even a really bad blind date. Just be sure that your heroine (which might even be you) is totally kick-ass when it comes to facing risk and extricating herself from danger. No passive Patties or boring Betsies here! 5) Send in your written or illustrated materials along with your respective fee(s) no later than December 31, 2006. Our editing staff will then pour through each and every submission and decide on the top twenty picks to be published in an anthology for summer 2007. 6) Out of the 20 stories chosen, three will be selected for prizes. First Prize will be $250 with a free copy of the book; Second Prize will be $100 and a free copy of the book (due out by Fall 2007 if not sooner); Third Prize will be $50 and a free copy of the book. The rest get the glory of having their claim to literary fame by getting their name in print. 7) The winners will be notified by March 31, 2007. 8) The contest is open to anyone over the age of 18 and who is NOT an employee or member of the editing staff at IdeaGems Publications -- which means pretty much anyone on the planet. DISCLAIMER: In order for us to make good on our promises of the above-listed prizes, we require a minimum of 200 entries. All entry fees are final. There are no refunds. In the event we fall short of our goal (heaven forbid) we will still come up with a viable option to honor our contest winners.
ANNOUNCING…. An Interdisciplinary Library Exhibit and related events at Proteus Gowanus Exhibition reception: Friday, October 13, 6-9 pm The topic of “library” is captivating the minds of people in many disciplines today, from the history of libraries and their elaborate cataloging systems, to the challenges facing libraries as they confront the web. The visual, conceptual, and metaphorical implications of the theme has inspired work in the arts, and a flowering of small alternative libraries has appeared around the country as the role of library, and the book itself, is questioned. We invite you to visit the gallery, and to consult our website in the coming months for a schedule of events and links to interesting libraries around the world. Proteus Gowanus 543 Union Street @ Nevins Street Brooklyn, NY 11217 www.proteusgowanus.com 718-243-1572
Maddy Rosenberg 63 Tiffany Pl. #407 Brooklyn, NY 11231 718-797-1005 www.maddyrosenberg.com http://www.haberarts.com/maddyr.htm
Poetry & Painting WERE YOU INVITED TO THE GALA TOO? The smell is sweet, pungent and earthy, but most of all Intoxicating and soothing, caressing you to stay, seducing you To never leave. Pine sap mingles and effuses its essence with Fallen needles which cushion the ground and entertain the Nymphs to run and roll and fly and flitter. The aroma Drunkens them in this earthly heaven. Sitting deep in the forest among the pines, a blanket of magic Hangs on the air filled with activity so quiet, goose bumps Raise your hair for you to know with surety you are not alone, yet With silence so profound, for one brief moment you could be the Only one alive. You rise and leave their gala as they play around you And frighten you with ‘other worldly’ fare.
You walk, and the muffle of peace follows, but you sense a Parade accompanying at a distance, and even the crackle of Dead sticks snapped under your feet make no impression on the quiet. You walk with resolution and in time hear sounds of cars and voices, And the world of pines and forest and tip-toeing noisy nymphs Are left behind, could even seem they never were, until the time once again, In deep forest, where pine sap makes a sticky pillow of fallen needles, For dark and happy spirits flying low, and skipping on the fragrant ground. -- Gemma Forest © June 28, 2006
by Im Sook Kim © 2004
TOGETHER NEVER AGAIN slowly whorling writhing in a sensuous dance around and up melting, dissolving, becoming a part of what I am white, cloudy, filmy one curve reaching, grasping for another then, in full embrace, they hug and dissolve
ABANDONED IN PARADISE it is their end In this paradise, this garden of Eden The trunks are so thick and strong They mesmerize. Every muscle so smooth and supple, I crave passion. I want leaves to whisper Intimately to each other And limbs to intertwine. I want the breath of a soft breeze To fan my cheek and caress my thighs. But you move farther and farther away, Until the scent of you is gone And I lose perception. Too many rings between us, The circles of age and time, Have thickened us. You have lost the desire To move toward me. Your roots run toward shallow waters And your leaves turn to sunnier skies, And I am lost, abandoned in paradise. But even in the darkness of this night, The blind moths transform themselves Become ethereal fireflies When they venture under the light. -- Guadalupe Garcia McCall’s poetry has appeared in the literary magazines, The Sage, Entre Nous, Bueno; In One Ear Publications, Borderlands, The Concho River Review, The Dirty Goat, Leapings, Borderlands, and The Bilingual Review. Page 4
ghostly curls waltzing gently, calmly, serenely ascending spread hither, thither where no one thinks of their travels never to be seen again together Spin a Yarn © 2005
by Im Sook Kim
Im Sook Kim is an internationally renowned artist living in Kyung-ju, South Korea. You can see her work at: http://blog.naver.com/rameau1.do
TAP INTO THE UNIVERSAL FORCE TO REALIZE YOUR DREAMS OF HEALTH, WEALTH, LOVE, AND SUCCESS. CONTACT MS. NADIA JACKSON FOR YOUR POWER ALTAR TODAY. CALL: 207-773-5779
they go miss? would you refill my coffee, please? ah, yes new spirals of steam rising from my cup slowly whorling -- Lisa Clark is a freelance writer who lives with her husband in Bulgaria. Her other publications include articles and various short stories. She is also coauthor of a non-fiction book.
34 Vannah Ave. Portland, ME 207-228-2048 www.portlandspice.com
Adventures for the Average Woman
Poetry & Painting A SECOND CLASS CITIZEN (or: upon learning the University of Michigan’s study found men prefer subordinate, vulnerable-looking females who are younger and earn less money)
by Im Sook Kim © 2004
PAYBACK The fortune from the cookie you gave me on our first date: Torn bit by bit with the tweezers you used to pluck the hair between your eyes. The restaurant credit card receipts with the poetry written on them: Torched using the flame from the mango scented candle we owned. The diamond encrusted non-engagement ring you gave me: Pounded flat with the picture-hanging hammer we once used. It was too easy; you told me the band was platinum. The autographed book by my favorite author you found in an antiquarian bookstore: Sold online for ten times what you paid for it. Your dead grandmother’s secret recipe for Christmas marinara sauce: Licensed to an Italian food brand--it’s now a gravy train for me. The Labrador Retriever you wanted and then abandoned: He’s receiving sedatives for anxiety. The townhouse owned by the blonde you wanted: The mortgage coupons have oddly vanished, it’s in foreclosure. That puts a stop to this. -- Tina Koenig www.tinakoenig.comwrites poetry, flash fiction and short stories from two locations in South Florida--a hurricane shelter and her regular home (depending on the season). Additionally, she mentors emerging writers through guided writing workshops held at the Broward Country Library in Fort Lauderdale. Volume 1, Issue 11
I am a second class citizen Without adequate representation 52% of the population 5% of the representation Undervalued, underutilized No dreams to be realized Nothin’ but an appendage To the first class citizen The only value, on the outside Strength within, on the inside But I can’t show it Or I’ll blow it Chances of finding a mate Only being a subordinate Science has found a reason To stop me from being The person I truly am Earn less, look better Nothin’ else matters For, who am I without a man? -- Joan Dawson is an editor residing in Seoul, South Korea. She's active in human rights, especially the issue of violence against women.
late night Sometimes sleep is a nasty word. The mind doesn't want the silence or to surrender to dreams. ~ Jo Pelletier
THE POWER OF GLUCOSE INVERTED It seems so crucial, so critical, so god awful urgent and then She...lets you and then She...gives you Every... Little... Thing... And in that moment immediately after the only thing In the world that matters is Art and poetry is again The most important and crucial of things Then… After… Half an hour… The invert sugars in the blood start to again feed the brain And slowly but surely all that She has Every... Little... Thing... Starts to again become of inordinate and monumental importance Never underestimate the power of glucose inverted © Porcupine Smith 2001 (This poem received honorable mention at the InterBoard Poetry Competition last September.) Page 5
Dancing into Consciousness by Laurie Notch
And because the rhythm wave follows the natural flow of energy, I have found it to be a very useful tool in understanding my life, where I am, where I am going and how to move myself more consciously through my day.
Gail explains the program and its purpose in this interview which she most graciously granted for the benefit of our readers. When did you start the 5Rhythms™ Movement program? Gail Edgerly: I took my first class 11 years ago and have danced on a regular basis ever since.
While searching for stories on how women empower themselves, I met a bright and energetic woman, Gail Edgerly. Gail practices the 5Rhythms™ Movement Practice, a free-style dance practice designed for women and men to flex their bodies, release their tensions, and reach deep inside themselves to get in touch with their core consciousness. In spite of my very hectic schedule of sorting through tons of submissions for putting this issue together, teaching, and hustling for a local nonprofit’s fundraising activities (yes, it is that time of year), I miraculously managed a free morning to attend one of Gail’s sessions in Portland, Maine – and boy, did I need it! We were five women in all at the West End Dance and Yoga Studio. We began by doing stretching exercises to a mix of new age, rock, and reggae. As the tempo changed, we moved into flow where we focused on different part of the body, starting with the feet then moving up the legs to the spine and the neck, head, and hands – all the while being aware of our breathing. From the flow of our bodies, we move to staccato where the stomping of feet connects us to the energies of the Earth. Then the beat picks up to a hard hip-hop where the cyrobantics churn into chaos. Arms flail, legs fly, torsos twirl wildly. Dancers “do-see-do” around each other in a free spinning form without rules of form or movement. Then the music slows to a steady Native American chant where our bodies slow down. Once again we focus on different parts of ourselves, finishing with coming together in a state of stillness, much akin to the tranquility of prayer. After and hour and a half of being put through the paces, I did notice better balance, sharper focus, and increased energy to get me through an insanely heavy-duty day – well worth the $12 participation fee! Page 6
Where did you learn about it and develop it? Gail Edgerly: My first and primary teacher has been Sarah Wilde from Damariscotta. I have also studied with Gabrielle Roth, the woman who started the 5Rhythms™ Movement Practice, as well as other teachers from the Moving Center Schools in NY, California and England. I completed the teacher-training program in April of 2005. What inspired you to do it? Gail Edgerly: I have always loved to dance, but never felt satisfied with choreographed dance. I am drawn toward expressive art in any form. Expressive art, be it painting, sculpture, singing, or dance is a relief to me. I experience what is really going on inside of me. To dance my deepest truth feels like coming home. When I dance I discover parts of myself that are not as obvious in my every day life. My dance has revealed to me deep teachings and aspects of myself that make my life more full and real.
What was the music used today? Why this music? Gail Edgerly: I used all sorts of music today. I draw from many sources. I use music that carries the rhythm I am working with. Do only women attend the classes? If so, why, in your opinion? Gail Edgerly: Both women and men do this dance. I just happen to have all women in my classes right now. What is your personal philosophy about dance, movement, and well-being? Gail Edgerly: It is my opinion and experience that anything we do that connects us with the truth of who we are is healing for both oneself and the planet. It is a very deep form of prayer. Our bodies speak and move and teach us the truth of who we are. Movement is the expression of life. The more authentic our dance, the more connected we feel to life. What is your background? Gail Edgerly: I am an RN, Certified Trager® Practitioner and teacher of the 5Rhythms™ Movement Practice. I have been drawn toward the movement as a way to experience authenticity for the past 20 years when I started as a Trager® Practitioner. To learn more about the 5 Rhythms™ Movement into Consciousness go to: www.5rhythms.co.uk
What are the stages again and what are they supposed to do for body and soul? Gail Edgerly: The rhythms are flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness. This wave of rhythms is a map of the creative process. Each rhythm has its own shape, fulcrum, feeling, archetypes, ego characters, aspects, elements, life stages, and more. There is much to learn by simply moving through these rhythms. They wake up in our body and soul all that is fed by the energy of each rhythm. And you don’t need to know in your head what each rhythm “represents”. Simply moving through the rhythms liberates the energy each rhythm holds. And the journey through the rhythms naturally brings you into a place of deeper self-knowledge, connection and peace. Movement awakens us, connects us, and brings us to a place of peace. And because the rhythm wave follows the natural flow of energy, I have found it to be a very useful tool in understanding my life, where I am, where I am going and how to move myself more consciously through my day. Adventures for the Average Woman
How Do You Take Your Music? JUDITH OWEN – MUSICAL ARCHER by Dandrum Mesnik What do the Welsh, the Simpsons, Spinal Tap, and Harry Shearer have in common? Why, sultry singer-songwriter chanteuse Judith Owen, that’s what! The Welsh-born, British-accented, now-Californian was an animated figure on The Simpsons playing her jazzy Celtish self, and is married to actor and satirist Harry Shearer of Spinal Tap and Simpsons fame. She is often compared to Tori Amos because both are women who gyrate while playing the piano, but Owen’s music is less “drama-queenish” than is Amos but no less theatrical. Another difference: Judith is a Brit living in the US, whilst Tori is an American living in the UK. The New York Press characterizes Owen as “a brutally sardonic, keenly observational jazzier, chanteused-out version of Tori Amos without the suicidal tendencies. . . Owen cuts like a knife in every way, using her sharp-edged humor, animated intellectualized lyricism, darkly expressive unethereal voice and engaging TinPan pianissimos for music most seductive.” That is pretty accurate, I’d say, though to me, her voice could be described as “sassily ethereal.” I have two of her five albums: “Twelve Arrows” (2003) and “Lost and Found” (2005). I only recently got “Lost and Found,” but since I have not heard enough of it, I will focus this review on “Twelve Arrows,” saving the other to review another time. Judith Owen is a musical archer aiming directly at her listeners’ hearts, targeting her victims deep and hard in their most vulnerable areas, which are also her most vulnerable areas. Her aim is sharp. For example, in her opening song “On Me,” she targets a lover with “You would not know Christ/if you met in Paradise/So darling don’t put the blame on me.” On “Walking the Dog,” she inspects gender differences and perspectives in a humorous way. First, she sings that “We’re like two types of monkeys/from two types of worlds/It’s alpha, it’s beta, and sex is the sweetener” but sometimes she’s “rather be walking the dog.” However, it’s also that “women and men/again and again/Look for love and laughter/When it’s really sex they’re really after,” so “if you don’t want to maul me/Darling, don’t call me,.” In “That Scares Me,” Owen sings, with guest vocalist Julie Fordham, of a relationship wherein one partner faces her imperfections and thanks the other for “having the kind of love that Volume 1, Issue 11
Judith Owen is a musical archer aiming directly at her listeners’ hearts, targeting her victims deep and hard in their most vulnerable areas, which are also her most vulnerable areas.
scares me” in its total completeness. Her vulnerabilities are revealed in “Some Arrows Go In Deep,” in which pain and heartbreak always underlies the good times. “The only thing I can tell you,” she sings, “is some arrows go in deep,” and they stay there. Owen has, like many a jazzer, the uncanny ability to take a pop song and make it all her own, in this case, she remakes Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” playing it in 5/4 time. “I love arranging,” she says. I love taking rock anthems that live in our heads and take them in a direction from the furthest part of where they started. Soundgarden reportedly loved my version and more Soundgarden fans are buying my CD just because of that song.” And members of Deep Purple reportedly dug her bluesyjazzy rendition of “Smoke on the Water” on the “Lost and Found” album. In “The Heydays,” Owen tells of someone she knows named Elizabeth who regales her with stories of old Hollywood “with tears of her father.” We’re never given the full identity of this Elizabeth or of her father, but the song is a poignant one of happy nostalgia of show business icons past. In “Nothing Lasts Forever,” Owen shows her lust for life, knowing that every day, despite life’s travails, is a blessing: “Get into your clothes/You can sleep when you’re dead.” The album ends with a duet with her great British compatriot Richard Thomson in “Poseidon,” a song written by Owen in a somewhat traditional Welsh folkish mode, perhaps with Thompson, no stranger to lostlove songs himself, in mind. It sounds like one he would have composed, and both “own” the song with sad affection. All photos on the 12 Arrows CD package were taken by actress and friend Jamie Lee Curtis, and they portray the songs’ sparseness and intimacy. I understand that Curtis has directed a new music video for Owen’s brand new album, “Here,” which conjures up childhood memories of Owen’s mother whose premature death greatly affected Owen’s sense of strength and spirit. This is the directorial debut of a music video for Curtis. Judith Owens crafts wonderfully written Judith Owens crafts wonderfully written songs, and her voice, often sung staccato, is both sultry and seductive, charming and altogether irresistible, as is her presence in performance. Of her approach to songwriting, she says, “I knew I had to make a CD that was under-produced, recorded live, energetic, raw, and honest. That became Twelve Arrows. It was me experiencing being an artist again. That’s why it’s so
important to play all the time, and to write constantly. Otherwise you’re languishing. Never let your craft and your talent down. I know my job is to be the best artist I can be, to play as much as I can, and most importantly, to reach people. That’s really it. That’s what music is all about. It’s about a person sitting down to play and sing for you. And there’s nothing in the way, nothing between you and that music. . . I don’t know how I managed to get away with this,” she confides, “but on a radio interview the other day, I compared songwriting to a particular bodily function. But what I actually meant is that songwriting is such an urge for me. There’s nothing else about it, no planning ahead, no ‘I must think about this’ or ‘I should try this approach.’ If something touches me and moves me, and it gets in my emotions, then I get an urge. It’s a feeling I get in the top of my skull. I have to walk to the piano right then, and it’s out in about ten minutes. The lyric is usually there right from the start. It’s like being in the zone. It’s when you’re the most beautiful and unselfconscious that you can be. Everything that exists in you unconsciously comes out in such a sublime way. I try to find ways to describe what it’s like, but I don’t know any other way than to say there’s an urgency to it, a need, and I have to get to a piano immediately. I always use a little hand-held cassette recorder to get it down. Then I go back and work on that initial idea. I work it and rework it until it’s finally its own little self. This is where my love of jazz comes in. I love chords. I’m crazy for interesting voicings and progressions that go in unexpected directions, things that surprise and excite me. I love having the freedom to go wherever the song is the most exciting. I think that’s a jazz idea, and that’s what makes me a hybrid. ” Visit Judith’s website at http://www.judith owen.net. Both Google-Video and YouTube have videos, including the Jamie Lee Curtisproduced video. And is that husband Harry Shearer playing upright bass in the video for her song “Train Out of Hollywood” that is on her website as of this writing? Check it out and see for yourself. — Dandrum Mesnik is a freelance writer, researcher, music fanatic, and percussionist residing in the DC area. He will periodically write music reviews and articles on various genres and personalities in this little rag you’re now beholding, usually of obscure, lesser-known talents deserving wider recognition. Page 7
A HIStory of MAMMOgraphy by Porcupine Smith I once knew of a woman that got her breast caught in a revolving door -- a true story. It happened many years ago at the old Harris hotel in Los Angeles, which has since been torn down along. As with a lot of other buildings of that vintage, it had a large old revolving door in need of repair. The woman you see had large, elongated, pendulous, sagging sort of breasts. Yes, she was a prostitute, but don't ask me how I know that and don't ask me how I know that her name was Angel. As per Angel’s job description, she often wore clothing that did not contain or conceal a great deal; consequently, if she had to move quickly or abruptly sometimes a breast would just plum flop right out of her blouse. She was leaving the Harris hotel that morning, hurrying through the revolving door when she saw a prospective client passing by on the street outside. Needless to say, she abruptly threw her arm up in the air to signal him, and when she did her large, elongated, pendulous, sagging sort of breast flopped out of her shirt. To this day I don't know exactly how. It's sort of a "mammary mystery" so to speak, but her breast got caught in the revolving door. It just sort of got jammed between the door frame and the door jam, which was not a pretty sight, and I'm sure there was ample pain and discomfort involved. Now in those days there was a doorman working at the hotel named Neil, and Neil was a young man who was studying to be a doctor, an oncologist, and when young Neil -- the future physician -- heard the commotion in the doorway he looked up through the plate glass and saw Angel in one compartment and her breast in another. He started shouting; “That's it - that's it that's it.” I said, “What's it?” He said, “That tit - that tit - that tit! That's it! That's how we're going to screen for foreboding, fibrous masses in the future. You put the women in one room and her breast in another and squeeze the hell out of it, surely then we will be able to detect and preclude cancerous tumors at an early stage, and if not at least we'll satisfy a certain sadomasochistic, misogynistic proclivity of our society.”
To this day I don't know exactly how. It's sort of a "mammary mystery" so to speak, but her breast got caught in the revolving door.
And I said, “Help her, you idiot. You’re the doorman and a medical student for Christ’s sake!” He said, “No, you help her. You’re the... uh… uh… uh… what are you?” And I started to go into this little introduction that I had at the time. “Well, I'm Porcupine Smith. I'm an aspiring poet, comedian and philosopher.” But then I remembered! Angel’s breast was still stuck in the door! I turned to go to her aid. Neil put a hand on my shoulder and said, “Porcupine, wait… look…” Since I had been taught to always listen to doctors, I waited, and I looked, and at that moment I saw what he saw, and he saw that I saw what he saw, and what I saw was… …the bright morning sun, streaming into the revolving door, refracted by the thick plate glass, the ultra-violet rays magnified and illuminating Angel’s pinched, protruding breast where you could see every vein, every capillary -- even the blood corpuscles themselves appeared frenzied, rushing the areola and nipple, turning them a paler shade of purple. Just at that moment, the feisty Angel, desperate to preserve the integrity of her large, now slightly more elongated, pendulous, sort of sagging but still viable breast, kicked with the ferocity of a wild horse at the heavy, revolving door. It moved and suddenly, she was free. She quickly put her bruised but intact and relatively uninjured breast, back in her blouse and proceeded to, with a modicum of dignity, exit the Harris hotel, completely oblivious of the far-reaching, altruistic implications of her inadvertent and unfortunate act. Yes, Angel was a giver. She had sacrificed her breast for the good of all women subsequent to her and thus spurred the development of the modern medical science, we now know as “mammography.”
Study Spanish in the Caribbean City of Santiago in the Dominican Republic!
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© Porcupine Smith 2001 -- Porcupine Smith is a philosopher, writer and stand-up comedian from Flagstaff,
Longfellow books One Monument Way, Portland, Me 04101 (207) 772-4045 www.longfellowbooks.com
Adventures for the Average Woman
Pretty Blonde Girls by Penelope Davidson
If she won her friends had to cover her checks at the restaurant for the next month. If she lost however, she was going to have to dye her beautiful, long red hair to blonde.
Ms. Davidson is a crime novelist from Boston, MA who now resides in Long Beach , CA
One “Come on Maggie!” Jon yelled from across the crowed bar, “Just one more.” Maggie waved off the invitation and pushed open the French paned double doors. She had already had enough to drink and had said her goodbyes. She was the only one with an early morning meeting and knew that because of the night’s outing she would be accompanied with a killer hangover. She was also assured of the fact that she would have to contend with a number of inquiries from colleagues regarding the new color of her hair. Maggie was grateful that she only lived two blocks away from the restaurant. She could leave her car safely in the garage and if she were too tired or too drunk, she would ask one of her friends to drive her the short distance. Tonight she could make it on her own and as she walked back along the highly trafficked street, she admonished herself for staying out as long as she had. Maggie’s roommate Jill had begged and pleaded for Maggie to stay just long enough for Jill to close out their tab, but knowing Jill the way Maggie did, that could take at least another half hour, and possibly longer before Jill would be ready to leave. But Maggie didn’t mind going home alone from the Bar & Grille. She had done it many times before, usually because she couldn’t keep up with her friends. She never thought tonight would be any different from the countless other evenings. The people of Massachusetts were considered avid sports “fans”, which leaned more towards the fanatical side of the term. Keeping with tradition, Maggie and her friends were no exception. However, the Boston Celtics had lost the glory they previous earned and had once again neglected to make the playoffs. It was Sunday night and one of the last games of the season for the Boston Celtics. They were playing the Philadelphia 76ers, and Maggie believed that this would just be a quick win for the opposing team. After stating this out loud, her friends dared her to bet on the outcome. If she won her friends had to cover her checks at the restaurant for the next month. If she lost however, she was going to have to dye her beautiful, long red hair to blonde. That night the City of Boston cheered as their team pulled off an amazing upset and Maggie was faced with the dreaded task of choosing a hair colorant. Three days later she would have to stop at a Volume 1, Issue 11
pharmacy, and after work she would purchase the dye. She hated the idea of changing her hair color and all of her friends knew this. She loved her curly red locks, though as a child she constantly whined to her mother about how she was the only girl she knew with red hair and how much boys didn’t like girls with red hair. April the 12th was Wednesday, and Maggie, who was always true to her word, stopped at the pharmacy and picked out the most popular selling brand. She reached out her arm and her hand grabbed a box with a picture of a young model sporting platinum blonde tresses. “Might as well go all the way”, Maggie thought as she gave the box to the teenage cashier behind the register. She opened the front door to the apartment, kicked off her heels, and started to undress as she made her way up the stairs to the bathroom. The instructions told Maggie that with regular washing the color would only last up to six weeks. She quickly decided that she would be able to cut that time considerably by tripling her washing habits. “Three times a day, gone in two weeks,” Maggie said as she applied the color. Aside from the smell the ordeal was painless, and within 20 minutes, Maggie was pulling on the favorite of her faded and stylishly torn jeans. With a white tank top, a light jacket, and a few added accessories, Maggie was out the door headed for her rendezvous. By the time Maggie got to Joe’s Bar & Grille it was almost 6:30. She entered the restaurant and headed for the far end of the bar were she and her friends always congregated. As she approached them, she was greeted by clapping, whistles and laughter from her best friends. Thankfully, the bartender already had her favorite drink ready for her, along with a shot of tequila, and a nod of approval when she reached her destination. Still giggling, Jill said to her already embarrassed and blushing friend, “You’re late”. “Haven’t you heard of traffic?” “I have, you tell me to go play in it often, but there isn’t any in Massachusetts. That’s why I moved here.” “No, you moved here because you read somewhere that Massachusetts has the most single men in the country next to Norfolk, Virginia.” “Yes, but they have traffic, so that’s why I moved here, NO traffic.” This was their little joke. Maggie loved to tease Jill about her motives for moving
to Massachusetts. In truth it was a job offer. Jill had her pick of offices, but she chose the one in Boston. Maggie and Jill had met when Maggie placed an ad for a roommate. Maggie’s previous one had run off with a man bound for Los Angeles. As the girl packed, she touted that soon everyone would see her in movies and would one day become a household name. Maggie wasn’t about to hold her breath and quickly placed an ad in the Boston Herald for two reasons. One, Maggie had grown accustomed to living with someone, and two, she wanted to be able to tell the girl, who would undoubtedly return, that she had already filled the vacancy and that it would be unfair of Maggie to ask the new roommate to leave. Maggie hadn’t realized what a prime piece of real estate she owned. Her twostory townhouse was next to the four major highways in the area, within walking distance to the local Mall, Movie Theater and a supermarket, but it was hidden in a neighborhood filled with trees that kept out the sound. It was also large. It had a living room, dining room, eat-in kitchen and there were private balconies off the bedrooms. Maggie had interviewed dozens of prospects -- many of which were without a steady income, a few that were so boring that Maggie kept daydreaming about living alone while they were speaking, and one woman with a penchant for praising Jesus after every other sentence. Maggie had no problem with religion or people’s preferences towards them, but she wasn’t sure what to expect on a daily basis and came to the conclusion that, as nice as the woman seemed to be, their lifestyles were just too different. After a very long week of interviews, Maggie heard a knock on the door. She had forgotten that she had scheduled a perspective roommate and as she approached the door, she decided this was to be the last. Living alone didn’t seem so bad after all. Outside was a young woman that looked about the same age as Maggie, was dressed casually chic, and introduced herself as Jill. Maggie asked her to come in and have a seat. Jill told Maggie that she had just moved up from Florida and was an accountant (continued on page 10) Page 9
Pretty Blonde Girls (continued from page 9)
with a large, world-wide firm. Jill told Maggie how she preferred the quiet of the suburbs to the noisy nights sleeping in the heart of a city. Maggie’s townhouse was in the sleepy town of Danvers, just twenty minutes north of Boston. By the end of the interview, they had become fast friends and agreed that it was fate. Jill found the perfect spot and Maggie found someone that could do her taxes. They decided that Jill would move in on the following Saturday. Four years later they had become inseparable, and they loved it. Jill was checking out Maggie’s new hair color. “Why are you still laughing? Hasn’t the shock factor worn off yet?” Maggie was surprised and slightly annoyed that Jill was still staring after two minutes. Maggie hadn’t thought that there had been a big difference in her appearance. Jill pulled Maggie back around the side of the bar and turned her so she could look into the mirror that was behind the rows of liquor bottles. With a big smile Jill announced, “Look, we’re twins.” Maggie’s jaw fell open. Her thick hair absorbed the colorant so much so that there was no trace of red left behind. Maggie didn’t bother to do a “test sample” as the instructions suggested. She also didn’t know the color her hair had been while wet, would not be the same color when dry. “Oh my good God.” The expression on Maggie’s face had changed from one of distress to one of horror in a matter of seconds, and through tears of laughter, Jill tried to console her friend and tell her that it really wasn’t that bad. Maggie tore her eyes from the picture of the strange new woman in the mirror and once again took her seat at the bar. Not wanting to continue looking bewildered in the mirror, Maggie moved her chair sideways so when she looked up she would see a crowed restaurant instead of catching an unwanted glimpse of herself. Happy with her position, Maggie soon felt two strong, muscular arms wrap their way around her. She recognized his scent. A scent that, at one time, filled her with excitement and would send her reeling. “I haven’t had a blonde in a long, long time.” The sound came from a smooth voice that whispered in her ear and his breath rippled down her neck. “I’ll bet”, Maggie retorted with a decisive laugh. “You’ll bet what?” “That you’re lying, but for this one, I’ll Page 10
When Maggie would return home, she would dazzle her friends with stories, pictures of people she would meet, and the places they would go.
forgive you.” Jon was Maggie’s last boyfriend. They had dated for six months, but earlier the previous summer, Maggie called it quits. As it turned out, Jon wasn’t good at monogamy, and when Maggie discovered that Jon was professing love not only to her, but to nearly every woman he encountered, she ended it. Despite Maggie’s affection for Jon, she never had the strong feelings for him that she expected in a relationship. She also had never truly believed his love for her ran as deeply as he stated, and when she was informed about his secret she wasn’t heartbroken by any means. She and Jon agreed that their friendship mattered more and not only would tempestuous flirting be allowed, it was to be expected. Jill slinked up behind them, “Have you two worked up an appetite yet?” She looked from one to the other, “Shall we eat”? “Yeah, let’s,” Maggie cut her eyes, smiled at them both and picked up the menu she didn’t need to read. For the rest of the night, the not so small, but incredibly tightly knit group of friends ate, drank, joked and laughed. Maggie thought, as she watched them, about how much she loved them all and how she never felt so at home as she did when she was with them. When it finally came time to say goodnight she hated the thought of leaving, but she was comforted in the knowledge that she would soon enough see them again. Two Maggie Norman had grown up in the same small town that she now lived in. When Maggie was only a baby, her father deserted her and her mother, Elaine. He was a musician and informed Maggie’s mother that she never should have expected someone like him to follow her around the world. Elaine Norman was already a well established and widely renowned food critic. As part of her job, Elaine was required to travel abroad for long periods of time. She would then return home for only a brief period of time. This life was not conducive for a relationship where both people traveled so often, and in separate directions. From that point on, Elaine decided that friends would suffice for family. A feeling that was deeply instilled in Maggie. After he had left, Elaine brought Maggie everywhere. From a young age Maggie would eat at the most upscale restaurants. By the time Maggie was four years old she already had cravings for deserts such as
Crème Brûlée and Tiramisu. Even though they were extremely difficult for a child of that age to say, Maggie always managed to get her meaning across. When she was five and was supposed to start school, Elaine decided on another course. She would home-school Maggie and take Maggie on her journeys until the start of high school. That’s when she would send Maggie back home and enter her into school. She wanted her daughter to experience all the wonders of the world. Elaine believed that Maggie could learn so much more from traveling than by sitting in a classroom and only seeing pictures on a slide reel. Maggie and her mother would often trek through the countryside’s of old European towns before heading off to the next restaurant Elaine had been commissioned to write about. Maggie’s education was further enriched by learning about the cultures of other people, and of course the exotic cuisine they would find inside tiny bistros and handsome restaurants. When Maggie would return home, she would dazzle her friends with stories, pictures of people she would meet, and the places they would go. Elaine would prepare the latest dish for Maggie and her friends. Then they would retire to Maggie’s room where she would regale the girls with tales of their recent adventures. During their excursions, Maggie would convince her mother to spend as much of their free time as they possibly could in local artisan shops or art museums. It was easy, there seemed to be one, or the other, in every town. Maggie loved to sketch and draw. Often while the two were seated at a previously unvisited restaurant, Maggie would take out her sketch book and draw the expressions on her mother’s face when she was sampling a new creation. Maggie would study her mother, and with skillful precision she would transform the blank page into beautifully portrayed emotions, but not always enthusiastic ones. At night the two would sit together and compare Elaine’s notes with Maggie’s drawings. With delight they would often laugh about the dreaded dishes and reminisce about the scrumptious ones. When Elaine knew she had enjoyed a particular dish or meal and then saw the emotions captured by her young daughter, Elaine would be so moved that Maggie would see her mother’s eyes (continued on page 11) Adventures for the Average Woman
Pretty Blonde Girls (continued from page 10)
swell and water with great pride. From there, Elaine would write her review. As the years past, Maggie frequently reiterated to her mother that she couldn’t possibly learn anything in a formal classroom that she couldn’t learn while exploring with her mother. Since Maggie decided she wanted to study Art History, being in Europe was going to be the best education possible. One evening while Elaine was editing her latest review, Maggie walked into the living area where Elaine was working. It was summer. The time for Maggie to end her traveling had finally arrived and in September Maggie knew she was to be sent home to begin her freshman year of high school. Maggie decided to try and convince her mother not to send her home and instead allow her to continue to be home schooled. Elaine worried that by dragging her daughter around the world with her, she had perhaps given Maggie the impression that a formal education wasn’t important. After a long and heated argument, Maggie’s efforts to sway Elaine proved to be unsuccessful. Maggie had conceded, and in late August the two of them prepared to head back to America. Eventually, Maggie enjoyed the setting of an actual school. In the four years Maggie attended the local high school, Elaine spent as much time as she could at home with her daughter. When she did have to travel, Elaine would leave Maggie in the care of her oldest and dearest friend who also had children. During the argument four years ago that determined Maggie’s education; Maggie stuck a deal with her mother. If Maggie could graduate with honors, she could pick the art school of her choosing and also a car to go along with her degree. Maggie succeeded and graduated in the top two percent of her class. Immediately after the ceremony, Maggie requested that before she and her mother went to the party Elaine had planned for her; they stop at a particular car dealership that was close by. She had not forgotten her mother’s end of the bargain, and Maggie picked out a shiny black sports car. At the party, it was Elaine’s turn to make an announcement. She would be moving to Paris in the fall. She assured Maggie that they would visit often and for a period of time they did. A top art school had accepted Maggie and she majored in art and minored in business. After her second year, her visits with her Volume 1, Issue 11
The final thing Maggie felt was the last of the air escaping her, and as she drifted away, she did not hear the door open. However, the stranger had.
mother lessened, but with email, it was easy to keep in touch. Interning at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in the summers and impressing the senior staff, Maggie was quickly offered a job upon completion of her schooling. Maggie took the job of restoring artwork. Some of which were done by the Master’s themselves. She was looking forward to her morning meeting to discuss a recently acquired and very valuable piece that Maggie desperately wanted to work on. It was by her favorite painter, Paul Cezanne. She had no way of knowing that she would never make the meeting. As Maggie turned the corner to the entryway of the apartment complex, she thought she heard movement behind her. Maggie was normally very alert. She took a few more steps and gripped the keys in her hand. She heard the sound again and this time it was closer. She turned abruptly and saw her love. Jeffery was a fat, yellow and orange tabby cat. He had been out all day and was rubbing against her legs as she unlocked the door. Maggie went right to her bathroom. The stairs were a hard climb when she was drunk. Many times she just wanted to forget about them and sleep on the couch. She never did though. The thought of pajamas were so enticing in her current state, so was the thought of getting into bed. First however, she had to try and brush away the margarita breath from her mouth. She hurried to finish in the bathroom. “Done, finally.” She turned the light off and headed towards her bedroom. She didn't hear the downstairs glass slider in the living room open when the water was running in the bathroom. She didn't notice someone on the stairs when she walked to her room from the bathroom. It was dark and she knew her way around her own place. There had never been a need for the light before. The intruder had a strong grip. Maggie wasn't able to pull the hand away from her mouth. She felt the black cotton gloves cover her face. There was a thick, sweet smell which made her dizzy. The gloves had enough chloroform on them to make her weak. Maggie grabbed at the hands, scratching them with her nails. She reached in back of her head to try and force them off her. Losing balance, the two bodies landed against the bed. She didn't see the gloved hand hitting her face, she only felt it. Maggie hit the floor. The force of the fall scraped her cheek on the cream colored carpet, which was now stained red. She tried to crawl to the doorway. She was stopped by the touch of a boot. She could barely make out the color because her vision was cloudy. They were
black, just like the rest of the apparel. She was on her side as she felt a crushing pain in her ribs. She was struck numerous times. Her back felt broken as did her hand and one of her legs though she could not tell which. The blood from her cheek mixed with the blood from her lip. The combination of the two obscured the striking features of her face. Maggie had never felt helpless until now. But Maggie was no longer feeling anything, not even the pain, and she was unaware of the piece of leather being wrapped around her neck. The final thing Maggie felt was the last of the air escaping her, and as she drifted away, she did not hear the door open. However, the stranger had. Jill ran upstairs to tell Maggie about one of the men she had met. "Maggie! Wake up woman. I have to tell you something!” Jill pushed to open the door like she always did. She never knocked before, and why should tonight be any different. Except that tonight, there was something different, something was blocking Jill’s entry. “Hey, you haven’t locked me out have you?” Jill asked with a mild hint of laughter in her voice. She was quietly amused from too much tequila. She fell slightly against the door which gave way an inch or two. “What the hell? Geeze, Maggie, I didn’t think you had that much to drink.” Jill’s words were slightly slurred. She pushed harder on the door and looking down she saw Maggie’s bloody hand behind the door. Jill’s senses came flooding back to her and she pushed even harder on the door. She opened it just enough for her to squeeze inside. Jill was yelling Maggie’s name as she turned her friend onto her back. “Oh my God”, Jill gasped in a low voice when she saw Maggie’s face. She checked for a pulse. Relief crashed upon Jill as she found a weak one. She bent over Maggie and sent air rushing back into her lungs. Jill ran over to Maggie’s bed. On the night stand was Maggie’s phone. She dialed the numbers while rushing back to her friend’s side. Jill stared once more at Maggie. She was lying so still on the floor. When the 911 operator’s voice finally came on the line, Jill, with a clear edge in her voice, barked orders into the receiver. The ambulance arrived within two minutes. This gripping thriller continues in our next issue. SUBSCRIBE TODAY!
The Elusive Force, Part V By Ana Ostrzycka and marek Rymuszko Trnslated by Joel Stern
“I believe that just as Einstein and his colleagues expected that a ‘link’ would be found between all potential fields, perhaps the phenomena we are studying will lead to the discovery of new, interesting physical laws.”
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We continue with researcher, Dr. Franek’s interview about the paranormal phenomena associated with 14-year-old Joasia Gajewski as it was studied and documented under laboratory conditions. * * * Q. How strong could these forces have been? A. We don’t have data that would allow us to give a precise answer, but we estimate they are quite powerful. Q. Did you repeat those experiments later on? I mean the attempts to produce the phenomenon by artificial means. A. Of course. We made several other attempts, generally with positive results. I would like to emphasize, however, that we did not want to abuse this method out of consideration for Joasia, who feels ill and complains of sever headaches after her room is irradiated with ultraviolet rays. The matter thus has a serious ethical aspect. One mustn’t lose sight of that. Q. Has the team managed to tape the spontaneous movement of objects? A. Not yet. The reason is the definite technical obstacles. We would need in particular an apparatus sensitive to infrared. But since several of us observed those effects numerous times, it is safe to assume they can be recorded objectively on film. Q. What are the general findings of your biophysical research? A. It is still too early fro specifics. The findings of all the research must be evaluated together after the project is completed. Right now I can say only that at the present stage we see certain interesting correlations between disparate types of electromagnetic and electrostatic fields, and that such correlations do not occur in a person with normal reactions. We wish to present our ideas on this subject in scientific journals. Q. Does that mean you are close to solving the mystery? A. Studies of psychokinetic phenomena are being conducted in many laboratories throughout the world. Everyone expects a straightforward explanation, and that is the most difficult problem. I would suggest that we Page 12
Coverpage featuring Joasia bending metal © 1989
place the emphasis on something else. Ludwik Hirshfeld, the discoverer of blood groups, and at the same time on of the “fathers” of Polish immunology, once told his students that if we are dealing with a very difficult scientific problem, the most important thing is to formulate the question properly. Only then can you proceed step by step to the answer. We would be delighted after the several months’ work we have done, if we could formulate the right question. Q. Do you believe it will be possible to explain this phenomenon on the basis of known physical laws? A. The problem is more philosophical than physical in nature. I believe that just as Einstein and his colleagues expected that a “link” would be found between all potential fields, perhaps the phenomena we are studying will lead to the discovery of new, interesting physical laws. Dr. Franek’s statement can be corroborated with additional information. During the studies and experiments conducted with Joasia in the biophysics section, she affected magnetic needles, closed circuits, and radio waves of various frequencies. Other experiments involved attempts to discharge (by touch) electroscopes and condensers. Most of these experiments failed, which means only that they did not enable the researchers to detect any distinct, verifiable physical phenomena (although there were some amazing results here too, such as Joasia’s discharging an electroscope). Dr. Franek’s conclusion regarding the existence, in the girl’s case, of “interesting correlations between disparate types of electromagnetic and electrostatic fields,” which do not occur in a person with normal reactions, represents the synthesis of months of diligent research. The honesty and candor with which the Silesian biophysicist reported his findings cannot be emphasized enough. For it is no
secret that Dr. Franek, when accepting Dr. Gadula’s offer to join the scientific team and direct the biophysics section, did not conceal his skepticism about the existence of the phenomenon (as he admitted later in a conversation with us, he felt sure that trickery was involved). This even caused some difficulties, for Joasia, as if sensing Dr. Franek’s reserve, would “freeze up” mentally during the experiments. As a result, the two of them did not work together very well at first. But the encouraging results of certain experiments designed by Dr. Franek, and especially his direct observations of phenomena that he as a physicist had every right to doubt, enabled him to break through this impasse and formualte conclusions far removed from those suggested to him by his conventional scientific background. One of the most eminent figures in Polish medicine today, Professor Julian Aleksandrowicz, said in a converation with us in December 1985 that there is a fundamental difference between the scientist and the scholar. In the professor’s opinion, only soemone who has the courage to pursue and uphold the truth regardless of his colleagues’ reactions, the etiquette of his profession, and conventional wisdom deserves to be called a scholer. The psychological studies directed by Dr. Miroslaw Karciarek of the Institute of Psychology at the University of Silesia are discussed elsewhere (see the chapter “Hypotheses”), for we concluded that the results of the experiments as well as his reflections on them were so important that it would be best to present them in the form of an extensive, authorized interview. Now, however, we wish to discuss the most interesting findings of the studies conducted in the medical section under the supervision of Dr. Eustachiusz Gadula. In view of their very broad scope and complexity, the assistance of many specialists was required. This is quite understandable considering that the research program covered psychiatry, internal medicine, neurology, and surgery, and included a whole series of special examinations such as electrocardiography, electroencephalography, CT scans of the brain, thermography, and study of the deep structure of the eye. In view of the obligation to respect medical confidentiality, we must confine ourselves to presenting just some of the observations and conclusions that resulted from all these endeavors. The most important (continued on page 13)
Adventures for the Average Woman
The Elusive Force (continued from page 12)
A moment later, these three fully conscious adults witnessed a phenomenon that violated every canon of physics. As a result of the increasing vibrations and shaking, the couch on which the girl was sitting with the two nurses and the doctor suddenly rose several inches off the floor then came back down with a crash.
finding is this: from the medical point of view Joasia Gajewski is a generally healthy person. We write “generally,” for surely there is no one who does not have some ailment to complain of. In Joasia’s case, this ailment was and still is her fairly frequent colds. From the medical point of view, however, nothing was found that would lead one to assume the presence of clearcut anomalies affecting the functioning of the girl’s organism and her state of health. The strongest evidence for this conclusion comes from the results of the encephalographic examinations. They were within the normal range, although the doctors believe that Joasia’s encephalogram shows certain “characteristic features.” The thermographic studies proved to be particularly interesting in this context. In the course of them, photographs were taken, which revealed puzzling “thermal spots” in certain areas of the girl’s body (particularly around the fingers, toes, head, and slightly above the solar plexus). Their cause has not been definitely established, but it is possible that they are foci of highly condensed energy accompanied by the elevated temperature recorded by instruments and photographs. The fluctuations in Joasia’s temperature are also a mystery. There are days, for example, when the mercury column on a thermometer placed in her armpit registers at 41° C (105.8 ° F) then plunges after a while to 35.8 ° C (96.4 ° F), far below normal. This happeend on April 10 – 11, 1986, when a first aid team was summoned to the girl (the doctors, however, could not find anything wrong with her). For variety, Professor Lech J. Radwanowski, who witnessed a similar occurrence in May 1983, used a sepcial probe for so-called instantaneous measurement of temperature in order to register the parameters. This happened at a moment when the mercury column on a bath thermometer (an ordinary one proved inadequate) reached 43 ° C (109.4 ° F). Yet the readings on the probe indicated that the girl’s body temperature was approximately 37 ° C (98.6 ° F). This observation on the lack of correlation between the readings of the thermometer and the body probe is confirmed indirectly by Dr. Gadula (who claims that he as a physician may be two or three tenths of a d egree off when estimating a patient’s temperature, but not more). He too is convinced that Joasia’s body temperature at the critical moment is usually normal or only slightly elevated. This would mean that the girl affects the mercury column itself in some inexplicable way. Thus far no one Volume 1, Issue 11
has been able to determine just how this happens. There are more surprises. For example, during the research the electrostatic charges on the surface of Joasia’s body were measured repeatedly. They turned out to be very high. This in itself would not be significant, for we live in an environment where we constantly “collect” charges from our surroundings, and before they are discharged (probably everyone is familiar with the “kicking effect” at autopsies) they can become quite high. The problem in the girl’s case is that they are not disspated by grounding, i.e., not discahrged when she touches metal objects. A control group underwent analogous measurements. Three persons’ charges proved to be considerably lower or close to zero. The sole exception was a nurse whose charges were higher than Joasia’s. After publishing this information in an article, we received a letter from Mr. Grsegorz Zapalski, a staff member at the Nuclear Research Institute in Krakow with whom we had been in contact previously. He expressed skepticism regarding the connection between the static charges discovered on the surface of Joasia’s body and the kinetic effects occurring around her. Zapalski considers this a secondary effect to which no importance should be attached. As he wrote: “If the girl wears a wool sweater, a nylon blouse, and rubber or plastic-soled shoes, that will be enough for her to accumulate thirty or forty thousand volts of static electricity and to emit sparks several centimeters out. This may also apply to the deflection of the magnetic needle of a compass (even through a glass pane) when an electrostatically chraged finger comes near it. What is really operating here is coulombic forces, which are responsible for electrostatic attraction and repulsion, and which we have known about for over a hundred years.” We accept this line of reasoning, but with one reservation. As we mentioned before, shortly after the first experiments, which gave rise to the suspicion that excessively high electrostatic charges were accumulating on Joasia’s body, special care was taken that she not wear any clothes made of nylon, wool, or other easily electrified materials (similar precautions were taken in regard to her shoes as well). Nevertheless, the charges measured later on were scarcely different from the earlier ones and (it must be emphasized again) could not be “grounded.”
Or is it possible – and this is our only conjecture – that in Joasia’s case they are generated by the living organism more quickly than they are discharged through “grounding?” But this matter seems to belong more to physics than to medicine. What Dr. Gadula terms “very strange muscular activity,” however, should be considered a strictly medical phenomenon. It is manifested (while the girl is asleep or resting in a recumbent position) in periodic strong, frequent muscular twitching or rather contractions, which cause peculiar microvibrations. This occurs most often when Joasia has a headache or complains of feeling ill. At times her atypical muscular activity becomes so intense that it produces kinetic effects. That is exactly what happened one night during the teenager’s stay at the rehabilitation center in Slaskie Repty. Two nurses on duty noticed odd sounds coming from the office where she was sleeping (she had been placed there so as not to disturb the patients’ area). Alarmed, they immediately summoned the ward head, Dr. Gadula. A moment later, these three fully conscious adults witnessed a phenomenon that violated every canon of physics. As a result of the increasing vibrations and shaking, the couch on which the girl was sitting with the two nurses and the doctor suddenly rose several inches off the floor then came back down with a crash. During Joasia’s several stays at the hospital in Repty, other amazing phenomena occurred. Too many persons saw them for these observations to be ascribed to solely optical illusions. One of these incidents deserves special mention. In the autumn of 1985, Joasia began complaining of pain in the abdominal area. A medical examination revealed she had chronic appendicitis; what is more, it turned out that the appendix itself was wrongly positioned. Her condition being serious, the decision was made to operate. Dr. Gadula, who was in charge of the girl’s treatment, decided to perform the operation himself after obtaining permission from his superiors (which was necessary because the paraplegic ward did not as a rule accept patients with acute illnesses, i.e., those requiring surgical intervention). Dr. Gadula, of course, not only knew Joasia’s organism best; he had to be present in case there were any “surprises” of a non-medical nature. The research continues in our next issue Page 13
Mystery of the Majestic, Part XI
RUNNING WOLF Marque felt the slippery rock wall for the tiniest relief. His fingers caught onto a wafer thin ledge. He stretched his right leg high to catch his heel in a fissure. He reached up with his left hand to a lip of rock. In a gymnastic feat, he swung his body over the top. He leaned over and reached down to. “Grab my arm.” “I cain’t,” Arna whimpered. “If’n I let go, I’ll drop.” His fingers hooked into the wet leather of her jacket arm. “I got you, now grab onto my arm.” Arna looked up at him and clung to the rock like a crab in a rushing tide. “Arna, I’m losing my grip. You have to push up and latch on. On the count of three. One… two….” She didn’t wait for three. She clamped onto his forearm. Suddenly she found herself dangling. Her feet scraped in a frantic dance on the smooth vertical surface. “Arna, don’t kick. Reach up and grab the edge.” Her right hand hooked onto the rim while Marque’s other hand grabbed her by the back of the jacket and pulled her over onto high ground. She embraced the horizontal and muttered prayers of thanks with the fervor of an Imam. The panic snake slowly receded back into its dark corner. “Get up. We gotta move.” Marque snatched her up by the wrist, lifted her from her rocky altar and dragged her under the canopy of spring snow. Arna could hardly stand for the cold biting into her wet feet and legs. “Where are we going?” “I know a place nearby, Come on.” Marque towed her at a kinetic clip into the thick brush of the Gallatin forest. Branches snagged hair and clothing. Bramble tripped her up. “Goddamit, I cain’t run that fast,” she kvetched through the shooting pain in her gamey leg. Marque pulled her to her feet and urged. “This storm is going to bury us. We have to find cover.” They ran from the ensuing blizzard and the mysterious shooter * * * “All right, all right. I’ll do the best I can. Page 14
“May as well hurl an elephant over a skyscraper,” she grumbled. Arna latched onto the fence as Marque pushed her up. At the top, she teetered then lost her balance to come crashing down on the other side.
Just don’t get ass grabby, OK?” Arna forced her bad leg to keep up with the other. They ran with the chill wind braying at their backs. Arna gasped at a distant howling. “Wolves?” “They’re the least of our worries,” Marque affirmed without breaking stride. “How do you know where you’re going? You cain’t see a damned thaing out here.” In reply, Marque tugged harder and faster. Without warning, he slammed to a dead stop. Arna slapped into his backside. “Hey!” she yelled. Marque coiled his fingers into the links of a cyclone fence. “We’re here.” Arna squinted in the snowy dark to make out the big print on a sign, “Posted. No Trespassing. All violators will be prosecuted.” “We have to climb over. I’ll give you a boost.” “What? I ain’t gonna climb that thaing. Look, there’s barbed wire at the top. No way can I make that.” Marque moved toward her menacingly. “You are going over that fence even if I have to pick you up and toss you over. Now, up you go.” He held his hands out palms up and fingers locked as a foot hold. “May as well hurl an elephant over a skyscraper,” she grumbled. Arna latched onto the fence as Marque pushed her up. At the top, she teetered then lost her balance to come crashing down on the other side. She couldn’t tell if the snap she heard was that of breaking brush or anklebones. Marque landed like a jungle cat and crouched by her side. “Arna, you OK?” She held onto her injured leg to keep it from falling off at the joint. “Shee-it!” she bellowed, “Now you’ve done it. Now I cain’t walk. Are you happy, you mean-minded creep?” “Try to stand.” He drew her right arm over his shoulder and set her on her feet, but the left foot wouldn’t tolerate any weight. Arna groaned through gritted teeth as the storm pummeled the forest with wind and sleet. Marque picked her up and slung her over his shoulder with his right hand planted firmly on her rump. The snow topped his boots as he carried her down an overgrown trail to an abandoned log house. The wet wind stung his face and hands. He pushed through the old boards and cobwebs covering the door. It was dark and stale inside. The horsy wind whistled and whinnied through the rafters. He navigated the entryway past a staircase and into a spacious living room. In the gloom, he could
make out the black maw of a fireplace. “Sit here.” He plopped her on the stone hearth then disappeared into the dark “Where are you going? Don’t leave me.” She found herself whispering either for the cold sapping her energy or the fear of being caught trespassing by the unseen owner of the place. Her eyes peered through the chill darkness to spot Marque or anyone else who might be there. She heard grunting and scraping, the effort of moving something heavy. “Man, what I would give for a cigarette about now,” she said with quivering lips. “Pay dirt,” Marque announced. A flare of light set fear scurrying back into the shadows. Marque was standing on the other side of the fireplace with a lit candle in his trembling hand and crinkled strip of paper in his mouth. He set the candle between a round stone pried from the wall and a tarnished metal box on the ledge and rubbed the stiffness from his hands. He hoped the dope would stop the shakes. He leaned into the flame to ignite the spliff.” “Where in the samhill did you--?” He wagged a bloodied finger for her to hold her words until after the first drag had pushed the tetrahydrocannabinol into his bloodstream. A relief of smoke sighed from his nostrils. He offered it to her. “I don’t do drugs,” she refused. “Not even for medicinal purposes? This will help your leg and your other aches, believe me,” he tried to convince. He rasped and coughed with the next toke. “You don’t know what you’re missing.” Marque put the joint to her lips and insisted, “This is just what the doctor ordered. Take it.” “I don’t know...” “Just take a deep breath.” “Why are you so determined to corrupt me with your evil ways?” She inhaled. “Now hold it in. That’s it.” She held her breath. Her cheeks puffed from a suppressed cough. “You hang on to it, OK?” He placed it in her fingers then set to building a fire. He stooped down to a pile of dust-covered magazines lying on the raised hearth. “Oh, man, does this bring back memories.” He held one up to the candlelight and thumbed through the crumbling pages. Arna squinted to make out what was written on the cover. “‘Blackie’s Magic’ what?” “‘World.’” He picked up the candle and sat down by her. He took the joint and a deep (continued on page 15)
Adventures for the Average Woman
Mystery of the Majestic (continued from page 14)
draft. “These were how I began learning the craft.” He showed Arna faded pictures of card and other tricks. The pages quivered in his battered and shaky hands. He passed the reefer to Arna then shredded Blackie along with a few others among his abandoned reading collection. He piled the strips in the firebox and set them ablaze. There were four halfburnt logs to one side. Marque introduced them to the burning magazines and let go a long sigh. “What is it?” Arna asked. For a moment, Marque was lost in the light. “Nothing.” He got up and went to her. “Just glad I don’t have to go out and chop wood.” He pulled the rusted metal fire screen in front of the popping timber. “Here, take off that wet jacket. You’ll warm up faster.” He pulled the water-laden buckskin from her arms and hung it on the corner of the mantle. His eyes strayed across her nipples poking through her bra and tee-shirt. She wrapped her arms tight about her and took in the features of their shelter. Above her loomed a high ceiling below which ran the splintered balustrade for a second-floor walkway. Boarded-up French doors with broken panes bordered the right with the staircase and entry way on the left. A vast wall of logs scarred from the framed hangings of yore stood directly across from where she sat. A gust of wind kicked up a shiver in her. “Looks right haunted.” “It is,” he affirmed while putting back the stone he’d removed to retrieve the hidden box. A line of candles had spilled their wax over the mantelpiece. He moved around the side to pull more loose stones from the fireplace wall. He reached inside and pulled out two dusty black plastic garbage bags. “Nothing up my sleeve. Presto,” he jested. One after another, he pulled out a variety of crumpled and musty animal skins – some with their heads and paws still attached -- a moldy sleeping bag, a canteen, a flattened roll of toilet paper, and a tattered backpack that clinked. “This stuff,” Arna said chokingly through chattering teeth, “How’d you know it was here?” “I put it here,” Marque spread the larger furs out on the dusty wooden floor, “nearly twenty years ago.” “And it’s still here?” “Yup. It’s a friggin’ miracle.” He unfurled the sleeping bag and covered it with furs. He rolled up two rabbit pelts for pillows. “So, why would you have this stuff up here? This your place then?” Volume 1, Issue 11
A gust of wind kicked up a shiver in her. “Looks right haunted.” “It is,” he affirmed while putting back the stone he’d removed to retrieve the hidden box. “Nope.” He walked over, crouched down beside her. “May I?” “If’n this ain’t your place then whose is it, and why is your junk in it?” Arna passed him the joint then pulled her arms tighter about her to fight the chill. Her skin puckered in a rash of goose pimples. He smoked the joint down in size and offered her what remained. “Here, finish it off.” Arna shook her head. Her eyes had turned to glass. “Think I’ve had all I dare.” The tip flared red with Marque’s intake of breath. He closed his eyes to sustain the pleasure. He flicked the roach into the fire then began wrestling with Arna’s boot on her good leg. “It’s a long story, but first we gotta get out of these wet things, get under the covers and keep warm and dry.” The boot slurped her foot and sucked the sock off. He dumped water from it onto the stonework and set it to the side with the sock dangling over the side. “Now for the other one. Brace yourself.” Arna wailed. Tears ran from the corners of her eyes. Not even the nullifying powers of marijuana could stop the hurt. As gently as he could, Marque pried it from her swollen foot. He peeled the wet sock off and examined the bruised and bloated appendage. “Can’t tell if it’s broken. Probably just a bad sprain. We’ll have a better look tomorrow.” He drained the boot of water and set alongside its companion. “Unhitch your jeans.” Like a firebrand, realization blazed through Arna’s stoned brain. “Whoa, now wait a minute. You don’t expect me to strip down to my bare hide to lie with you on those… those… bear hides?” She pointed accusingly at the pile of furs. Marque crawled toward her on all fours. “You mean buck naked on buckskin?” He got no appreciation for his repartee. “I mean, as long as we’re tossing up bad puns.” His cough took a more serious tone. “Given the cold and clammy state of our affairs, I think it to be our best plan of action for staying alive.” He hovered a mere inch from her face and eyed her like a puma would a fawn. “Besides, what are you worried about? I’m gay remember?” Arna eyed him warily through the strings of wet hair plastered to her face. “You sure about that?” “I’m sure you want to be convinced of it.” Arna slowly worked the buckle to her belt and unzipped her fly. Marque wrested the heavy soaked denim from her fleshy thighs and pulled them off
with their inside seams turned out. He hung them from the mantlepeice and weighted them down with one of the loose stones. “Let’s have the rest.” He held out his right hand. Arna looked away form him for her shame as she handed him her tee-shirt and bra. She was shy about her physical appearance as was expected of a good Christian woman, especially one with flab and scars to hide. The dope and fatigue over-running her system registered her denuding a notch below unbearable. She squeezed her eyes shut and crossed her arms tight across her breasts. “Panties too.” She opened her eyes and glared. “No way. I’m keepin’ those on.” Marque straddled her. “They’re soaking wet and coming off.” With the deftness of his illusionist’s hands, he snatched the band of cloth from her hips like a tablecloth out from under a complete dinner setting without upsetting the plates or spilling a drop from a wine glass. Arna reddened and drew herself up into a quivering ball. “You bastard.” “That’s gay bastard to you. Now, move that nice round rump of yours and get under those covers.” He threw her togs over the fire screen. Like a dog due for a whipping, Arna looked out for her rear and crawled to the bedroll. She bared her teeth for the pain shooting up her left leg. “Let’s elevate that leg.” He rubbed the chill from his damp arms and scanned their limited supplies. He picked up the weighty backpack. “What’s in that thaing?” “My guess, your remedy of choice.” He reached in and pulled out a bottle of cheap but well aged Scotch. “Lord I must’ve died and gone to the Paradise Bar on Biloxi Beach.” Arna’s eyes widened with anticipation as her hands took the bottle from his hands. Marque closed up the pack and nestled it under her foot. “Try not to move it.” Water dripped from his hair onto her arm. “What is it with you? If you ain’t slobberin’, you’re drippin’ all over me. Here, help with this. My hands are a mess.” Marque saw how swollen and cracked her hands were and noted how his weren’t much better. He took the bottle and twisted off the cap then handed it to her. (continued on page 16)
Mystery of the Majestic (continued from page 15)
She hesitated, “Don’t you want none?” He shook his head, stripped the damp clothing from his body, and hung each item over the fireplace like Christmas stockings. “Suit yersef then.” A bitter grimace chased her swill. “Gawd, that’s downright sublime. Now, all I need me is some Drambuie.” Marque tried but failed to remove the red ball strapped around his neck. He cursed and hunted for a knife in his treasure trove. He stood naked and shivering from exposure. In spite of the fire, he could still see his breath. The old house was full of holes where wind, snow, and rain could make an uninvited entry. He plucked out a glinting silver blade from the tin box and sliced through the thick leather strap. He threw the restraint into the flames and watched it burn. He set the blade back in the box and blew out the candle. Quaking from the cold, he crawled into the sleeping bag with Arna and wrapped himself around her warm body. She took another swig. “You thaink that fella that was shootin’ at us like picture ducks in a gallery is gonna find us?” “I think we’re safe because of the storm.” He shuddered. “Thaink he was the same guy that shut us up in the trunk of yer car and shoved us off the cliff?” “Probably.” “Any idea who?” Marque shook his head. “All I know is that I was running late after my appointment in Billings. On the drive back, I got a call from Carl about an emergency situation with the Apparatus. It was already 3:30 but I figured I’d have enough time to check out the situation then make Columbus by the time the tax office closed. As soon as I got to the stage door, some guy cold-cocked me, cleaned me out, trussed me up, and threw me in the trunk. I came to not long before you arrived on the scene.” “So, he got the money n’ everythaing?” “The money, my wallet, my cell, my keys, my lock picks.” He cozied up tight to her. “Hey, watch where you put those hands o’ yourn or I’m liable to bite ‘em off at the wrists.” Her threat was a weary-worn hound dog growling through a fangless muzzle. Marque’s hands behaved liked kids in Sunday school. Only his soft snores caressed her neck. The wind raced around the hollow rooms of the abandoned home; ice and snow pelted its battered shell. The fire cackled at the abuse. Bottle in hand, Arna fell under the spell of the elements and exhaustion to enter the trance of sleep. Page 16
Fear held her down and squeezed her throat as she watched him float off into the darkness. Outside, the wind ranted. * * * Her nose crinkled to the twitching of her brow; her hand rose to wipe away the offensive tickling to her face. “I tol’ y’all to quit drippin’ on me,” she chided Marque. The veil of sleep fell from her eyes to reveal long white braids dangling in her face. Above her hovered an old man clad in the togs of a Plains Indian. The red glow of the dying embers filled his deep-set eyes. He cocked his head and cast a curious gaze. Fear held her down and squeezed her throat as she watched him float off into the darkness. Outside, the wind ranted. Snow sifted through the slats into piles along the French doors. Marque’s name fell like dust from her sere throat and parched lips. She reached behind her to jostle him awake, but her hand fell into empty space. Her low rasp rose into shrill alarm. “Marque! There’s someone in the house!” No one replied. She draped the sleeping bag over her head and wrapped it tight. Reaching up, she caught onto the edge of the mantlepeice and pulled herself up. She cried from the shooting pain in her mangled foot and hobbled toward the entryway. “Marque?” she called. The wind howled through the empty cabin. From around the corner appeared a great hairy beast. Arna screamed and fell backwards. She tripped over the fire screen and knocked their drying clothes into the flames. She grabbed for the mantle’s edge to keep from falling and turned to see the glowing eyes of a great toothy beast facing her. Arna shrieked in terror. “What the hell are you doing?” Marque yelled from under the wolf skin. He stared wide-eyed from under the pointed snout of the animal’s skull at his expensive suit going up in flames. He dropped the scraps of wood he had scavenged from the porch. He placed his cold hands on her shoulders and pulled her away from the fire then reached in to try and save his shirt, slacks, and her jeans and undies from conflagration. Flecks of snow glittered like sequence on his hair and arms. “Dammit!” He licked his scorched fingers after dropping the smoldering rags onto the hearth. “What the hell’s wrong with you, Arna?” he growled. Arna tottered on her bad leg and gripped the sleeping bag tight. “What do you mean, what the hell’s wrong with me? What the hell’s wrong with you? Scaring me half to death. Didn’t you hear me call?” “I was outside in that raging blizzard trying to get wood. I couldn’t hear anything except for the wind.”
“Well, I woke up to see some old Indian guy leerin’ at me.” She whispered the ethnic appellation as though it were a soiled expression. “He was standing right there.” She thrust out a shaky finger. Marque approached. “Sit.” He propped her down against the mantle wall then stoked the fire with the frozen logs. He clenched his jaw and said nothing. “Well?” she prodded. “Well what?” “Ain’t you gonna check it out?” Marque wrapped the fur tighter about his body and squatted next to her. The flames licked at his face. Satisfied the fire would eat its frozen meal he sat down next to Arna and yawned. “Sure you weren’t just waking from a bad dream?” He glanced over at the half empty bottle nestled in the fur matting. Arna shoved a fist into his gut to knock the air from his lungs and sense into his head. “’Tweren’t no dream. That Injun was there big as life and eyin’ me funny. Maybe he was the guy out to shoot us.” He grabbed her offending fist. “Why didn’t he just shoot you then?” She jerked her hand away. “I don’t know.” Marque rankled. “And how do you know he was Indian?” “Well, he had those features, you know, and he was wearin’ Injun clothes.” Marque raised an eyebrow under his dark forelock and chuckled. “This ain’t no laughin’’ matter. He had long white hair hanging down in two braids right in my face. I thought it was you drippin’ on me again.” “Maybe it was the Red-headed Stranger.” The chill draft seemed to blow the reference right over her head. “I done tol’ you his hair was white. And… and he wore moccasins and some sort of beaded shirt. It had the image of a wolf on it.” Both of Marque’s eyebrows peaked. He let go her hand and leaned over her. His eyes looked deeply into hers. “You saw Running Wolf?” “Is there someone else in this house that you know about? Is this one o’ your mean ol’ magic tricks?” He took her firmly by the shoulders. “Nobody is in this house except for us. No one has been in this house for over twenty years. What you saw was...,” he paused and scoped her with his dark eyes. The thrill & chills continue next month.
Adventures for the Average Woman
The Cardiff Grandma Or “How to Write a Hilariously Bad Detective Novel” By Lady Benjamin Desktile The Remains of the Day and Chapter 19 One thousand square miles and growing. Growing by the day. Growing outwards and growing upwards. The sheer indignity of losing all that land to Belgium (Belgium!) in 1839, even if it was in return for greater autonomy, had never fully been resolved. Secretly, or at least as secretly as it is possible to do such a thing, Luxembourg had been importing prime ‘Grade A’ Welsh soil for several months. Under the cover of an overly elaborate network of systems and utilizing a system of networks, the cunning plan had been put in place. Then, once all those who needed to know were told, and on a strictly need-to-tell basis, the plan was buried; buried beneath the ever increasing amounts of soil being shipped in each day. All of this under the watchful, if wandering eye of an aged Bangladeshi immigrant. While the old figure clearly had an eye for the ladies he fortunately also had an eye for detail. He liked little more than to combine both eyes and focus his attentions on lady’s details. But there was work to be overseen too. Time enough for the other stuff. Luxembourg had been desperate to raise its international profile for many years. So it was the only Grand Duchy in the world. What good did that do it? It hadn’t been taken seriously for far too long and so decisions were decided and actions acted. But shipping in the soil deemed necessary was too obvious and someone would probably notice such a blatant ploy. Things had to be done in a more subtle way. Using a complex of complexes in the remote isolation of the Southern Belgian forests, and combining series of staging posts radiating towards those points from the channel ports of Calais and Oostende, the large lorries of soil would shed their loads on to smaller and smaller vehicles. With each step the amount of mud being conveyed would decline in direct proportion to the increasing umber of vehicles employed. At the border, who was going to question a long line of small family cars entering Luxembourg? After all some 80,000 people commuted into Luxembourg each day as it was. Gradually, with great skill and precision, Luxembourg was growing. The lowly Buurgplaatz peak had already been raised from just under five hundred and sixty metres to well over six hundred and forty. With equal landscaping proficiency the contours of the undulating uplands, the shallow, but broad, valleys had also been increased in height. Meanwhile, in what passed off as general maintenance, Luxembourg had progressively been redefining its borders too. It had slowly
While the old figure clearly had an eye for the ladies he fortunately also had an eye for detail. He liked little more than to combine both eyes and focus his attentions on lady’s details.
eaten into neighbouring France and Germany, they didn’t even notice; besides it wasn’t like they’d actually miss the land. But the biggest advances had been directed at Belgium (Belgium!). It was Belgians who swallowed up almost half of the Grand Duchy after all. And the aging figure, what of his place in all this. …all this…whatever it is? His place is at the dock, watching the clay vessels decant their cargos of the fine-grained, all those years ago material consisting mainly of hydrated aluminum silicates. In another ingenious ploy to avoid detection, this stuff was cunningly formed to look like tea sets, yes, tea sets, but soon they would be pulverized and rehydrated, and by Friday they’d be in Luxembourg. Shortly after 5:46 pm. the last clay vessel had been unladed and sailed back down the river that must surely exist. Just then a smartly dressed young lady, a man struggling to rest a large video camera on his shoulder as he moved and another man weighed down with a rectangular shoulder bag and what initially looked like a grey, limbless ferret on the end of a metal pole, all piled out of a rickshaw. Clearly, they’d just arrived from China. The news team and its mascot had arrived too late. They’d literally missed the boat. The Bangladeshi patted himself on his inner back – his ruse had worked. He’d gambled that somewhere in the former UK rumour-mill, mysterious earthen tea cups would become china. The rest would be inevitable: the search for some preposterous connection between Wales and China, the disappointing Beijing trip –’Tianenmen Square isn’t half so big as it looks on the telly!’ – the long ride back to Cymru with its scheduled 5:47 pm layover in Luxembourg. He’d timed it to the minute and the gamble had paid off. He was going to meet the beautiful Samantha Panther. Chapter 20 ‘Colleagues, lady, gentlemen… it has come to my attention that My…sorry, I mean The… University is not maximizing itself to the maximum,’ the Vice Chancellor was a clumsy public speaker at the best of times. He continued, ‘This is not good enough!’ he demanded, pounding his fist on the hardwood table as he spoke. ‘This institution was founded on lies, deceit, double-dealing and intimidation.’ There was a murmuring of agreement from the assembled individuals gathered at the assembly. This was nothing new. The Vice-chancellor was a formidable figure at the worst of times. To actively disagree with anything that he said would undoubtedly lead to what would, in some circles, be described be described as ‘consequences’. In
other circles, such as legal or medical ones, the same thing was more often described as ‘violent assault against the person’. ‘Far too long now we have not been exploiting the full range of European grants, funds and bursaries available. At the same time we have failed to exploit of most pliable asset – the students!’ This was news to all present – they’d been working hard at exploiting students for years now. What use a postgraduate if not to do all your academic leg-work only for you to steal all the glory and acclaim? The Vice-chancellor had called the extremely extraordinary extra special general meeting to discuss a few key matters with his staff. This was a semiregular state of affairs and tended to happen two or five times a month above average. ‘The students don’t come here for an education. They don’t come to learn things and acquire knowledge. We should not be wasting the time we spend wasting their time by trying to teach them things!’ For a Vice-chancellor he often lamented his generally poor vocabulary. If only he knew other ways of saying ‘wasting time’ he’d not sound such a twit – he thought to himself. His mind then began, as it prone to do at times, to wander: Just what other ways are there of saying ‘paraphrase’? His daydreaming was terminated by the barking of a dog in the street outside the luxurious, paneled university boardroom. ‘Where was I?’ he demanded in his strictest schoolmaster voice. ‘WELL?’ ‘Err… ‘wasting time’ Vice-chancellor’ offered one of the seated, suited attendees. ‘Exploiting students’ offered another. ‘Yes! Of course. Students come here for one thing and one thing only…’ his mind had wandered again. This time it had wandered out of the room, through the foyer and down to the staff canteen where it enjoyed a quick coffee and flipped through the papers before sauntering back to the boardroom once more. The gathered assorted departmental heads, school directors and faculty chiefs were all used to this sort of thing. They waited patiently. ‘Now, is there any other business?’ Nobody dared speak… almost nobody anyway. ‘Goo…’ began the Vice-chancellor and then stopped mid-word when he caught sight of a tentatively raised arm. The unvoiced, alveolar plosive ‘d’ was halted before it could complete the word. (continued on page 18)
Volume 1, Issue 11
The Cardiff Grandma (continued from page 17)
A grey-haired person at the far left end of the unfeasibly long table had cleared his or her throat and slowly raised his or her right arm. ‘I, I...’ ‘YES?’ bellowed the vice-chancellor. ‘Err, I’m Dr Smithy,’ the person forged on, ‘…from the department of experimental quadology – in the school of Physics, Planning and Modern Foreign Languages(?)’ Smithy offered, ending with a rising intonation that could easily have been mistaken for a question. The Vice-chancellor stared at him. Offended at the lack of response to his statement? Smithy added ironically, ‘Department of Language, Art, Design and Dentistry?’ ‘Yes, man! Or woman! Well… what is it?’ ‘An adverb of manner indicating a positive appraisal of – but never mind that now.’ Tempering the audacity of the question with ellipses, Smithy went on. ‘It was just…just the issue of mergers. I mean… I mean can you tell me…tell us, err, whether there is likely to be further departmental mergers … only, it’s just that…you see we…uh…well I…as senior lecturer of the Gecko-Roman Foreign Dentistry programme, I –’ ‘– Greco-Roman’ the Vice interjected in ringing tones. ‘No, Gecko-Roman. Gecko is very hot now in Italian design. Gecko handbags, Gecko belts, Gecko shoes… And who buys most of these?’ In his or her mind’s eye, Dr Smithy was pulling a laser pointer out of his or her suit pocket, aiming at a chart ⁄ ‘Roman dentists. Foreigners, in fact.’ Did Dr Smithy imagine it or did the Vice stiffen imperceptibly? He or she must have imagined it because it was imperceptible. Therefore, the Vice had not stiffened. Stiffening perceptibly would have been out of the question. ‘I certainly hope that is not TRUE Doctor!’ Sparks flew from the Vice’s eyes as he hammered his fist down in front of Smithy, shooing a horsefly that had been in the vicinity. ‘Of course not, no, never, Vice-chancellor. It’s all founded on forged data.’ ‘It had better be. And next time – ‘ the Vice’s eyes glittered like tongs – ‘don’t bother with data.’ He whirled round to face the other so-called professionals. ‘Any other questions? Baker? Wainwright? Fletcher? Taylor? Sawyer? Mason? Miller? Thatcher? Pinesniffer? No? This meeting is now closed. You may all go back to your work. Except for you, Schumacher.’ The Vice glowered unwaveringly at the gimlet-eyed man in the fancy double-breasted Page 18
Grandma never should have taken him on board, should have let him race after them, nipping at the tyres as they sped away with the siren blaring. sleeves, but Schumacher outlasted him. . The Vice-chancellor blinked, but what did that matter? He was still the Vice-chancellor. And if he had his way, he’d soon be The King. The only thing standing in his way were two future corpses, that liar Smithy who’d lied about lying and Schumacher, the jumped up ambulance-chaser with his shiny leather briefs. Schumacher…Grandma never should have taken him on board, should have let him race after them, nipping at the tyres as they sped away with the siren blaring. There was no place in that Awful Business‚ for lawyers and their weakness for fancy footworks… Schumacher… Schumacher… Schumacher, weary of waiting for his name to be spoken aloud, turned on his heel and left, then right, then right again. It wouldn’t be wise to leave by the main entrance. He leapt into a maintenance closet, fortuitously knocking a sleeping maintenance worker unconscious in the process. Thinking quickly, Schumacher switched his conspicuous garb for the uniform of the worker, and somewhat reluctantly trading in his shiny black leather briefcase for the worker’s accessories he went out, opening the door carefully before him. No one noticed the gimlet-eyed woman with the twelve o’ clock shadow and crooked seams sticking out of her apron climbing the elevator up to the main exit+ on the third floor. Like all maintenance workers, she was invisible with her mop and her battered suitcase. A short time later, stopping at the Dog and Sledgehammer on the way home, Schumacher allowed himself a small smirk. Bringing it to his lips, Schumacher polished it off in a single gulp and leaving the mop and the battered suitcase behind him, their purpose served, he departed through the open door. Once back at home, Schumacher divested himself of the uniform, flinging it over a chair. He noticed for the first time the nametag pinned on it. It said Mrs. Ddwwchllyff. Schumacher froze: that had been the Vicechancellor’s voice. Chapter 21 for the Most Part ‘So you see Miss Cassleberry…’ ‘Please, call me Laytah’ ‘So you see,’ he began again, ‘Laytah, that’s how I came to big a big star in Rangoon. Cigar?’ Ddwwchyllff concluded, placing additional emphasis on her name. ‘No, thanks. I’ll stick with the pipe. That’s a fascinating tale though Mr. Dddwwchyllff, truly fascinating’ she lied, stifling another yawn and blowing another cloud of smoke.
Next time she’d do it the other way round. ‘Err, that’s Ddwwchyllff… But, oh come now, call me Elvis’ he grinned, pronouncing it clearly to rhyme with ‘pelvis’. ‘I never knew your name was Elvis?’ came a genuinely surprised reply from her pipe toting cherry red lips. ‘It isn’t’ he blushed. He’d misjudged the mood. He hated it when he did that. He still barely knew himself, after all these years. There was a brief passage of time when neither person spoke out-loud. One of them was thinking how on Earth they could extradite themselves from such a sticky situation. The other one was thinking almost exactly the same thing, at the same time. He eventually spoke first, ‘So, what do you think about microchip technology?’ Yes, that was how he was actually feeling he was in more of polltaking mood. An awkward, some might even say clumsy, silence once more filled the already substantial client / employee void that was inevitable in such a circumstance as this. For a moment she was lost in contemplation: How had she allowed herself to get into such a position? It was very unprofessional of her. What had lead her into the client’s bedroom? Was it some sort of unspoken yearning? Was it a desire, born of her lonely existence, for some, any, kind of meaningful human contact? Or was it just three flights of stairs and a short corridor? She wrenched herself back from the silent brooding and blew a perfectly executed yawn ring into his face and looked at him with bulging eyes as smoke billowed from her ears. He reached from the bed and stretched to grab a hold of the large Hamilton’s © gin and tonic perched on the Steinercroft™ grand piano. At times he regretted having a grand piano in every room. He felt maybe he ought to have just been satisfied with having a drum kit, bassoon and double bass and left it at that? ‘You need to work on that,’ Ddwwchyllff advised, in a sudden mood swing. He suddenly found himself feeling tired. He’d been finding himself a lot lately. Like just the other day, for example, when he’d found himself at the front door. To be ridiculously continued in up-andcoming issues of the future!
Adventures for the Average Woman
Neomodern Nosferatu, Part XI
Endless Knot by J. Studebaker © 2006
“Her name os Gina Caravelli, and she is an HME-64 carrier. If the O underground should get ahold of her blood to replicate her DNA then our future existence is in grave question.” The dour vampiress switched slides on her Power Point presentation to graphically illustrate the rising number of humans to the falling number of vampires. “I thought the treaty of oh-twenty made it clear how we need to keep population numbers of Os and Vs in check. Haven’t measures been taken? How could this get so out of control?” asked a gentleman vampire representative serving on the Congressional committee. “Things have been off balance since the crash of oh-twelve. Ever since, harpoon vigilantes have been striking us down without discrimination as though in jungle warfare. By the same token, many among our ranks have decimated entire O communities with unregulated voracious feeding. Then there’s the drug raves where humans get high from V bites. The situation has gotten out of contol,” explained the female vampire with short-cropped hair and in male attire. “What’s Jake Harwick got to say about all this? I thought he had it handled.” It was Senator Brewer. He pounded his soft pulpy fist on the spit-polished table for emphasis. The female vampire cleared her throat as if to apologize. “Lord Harwick is, uh, working on the problem.” She didn’t offer any more on Harwick’s near demise while fighting with his former lover and vampire convert from half a century before, Clive Dreyfus. Harwick had to transmutate into mist particles in order to save the remaining essence of his being. He was laid up with weeks of special and highly illegal feedings to reconstitute his vampire vitality. It’s one thing when a vampire bites and drains a human of his life force; it’s quite another when a vampire drains another vampire – especially one that’s been around for over five hundred years. The vampiress in charge shut down the projector, and the meeting disbanded in a noisy Volume 1, Issue 11
“Her name os Gina Caravelli, and she is an HME-64 carrier. If the O underground should get ahold of her blood to replicate her DNA then our future existence is in grave question.” hubbub of yeas and nays and general discord over what to do to stop the inevitable. Only the figure of focus, young-and-on-the-run Gina Caravelli, was excluded from the short list of need-to-knows. * * * “You okay?” Gina asked as she wiped Clive’s sallow brow. The sun had gone down and his normal pallor returned. “I can’t fathom how I survived that,” by which he meant the full blaze of daylight. Streaks of street light stroked his face through the slats of the empty cattle car he and Gina were clandestinely stowed. Gina redirected her fretting to the puncture marks on her neck where Harwick had sunk in his razor-sharp teeth. “Don’t worry,” Clive weakly assured, “if you haven’t changed by now you won’t.” “How can that be? All humans change when a vampire bites them.” Clive adjusted into a more comfortable position next to Gina on the hard hay-anddung-strewn floor of the tractor trailer. He pulled a piece of straw from Gina’s knotty hair. “As with other principles of nature, there are always exceptions to the rule, and you, my dearest, must be one of them. Harwick is very powerful. Why you didn’t succumb to his rapacious infection is beyond me.” Gina put her arm around his neck to give him more support. She noted how weak Clive was after battling with Harwick then running from the processing plant in full daylight. Whether or not the talk about vampires and sunlight not mixing was myth or truth, she saw how it had taken its toll on him. Perhaps it was only psychological; still he suffered. “How long until Iowa?” he asked with a shallow chuckle. Gina strained to look through the slats for a road sign. She yelped when the truck hit a bump on the highway. “You all right?” Clive asked. “I think my coccyx just shattered into a thousand splinters!” She rubbed her rump then turned to squint through the narrow field of vision for a sign – a highway sign. “Anything?” “Well, judging from the plates on the passing cars, we seem to be in Illinois. Iowa’s the next state over. I’m just not sure if this truck intends on heading west, south, or north.” She turned to set her back against the grating. Hell, we might wind up in Chicago for all I know.” Clive mustered up what was left of his masculine vampire forces to bolster his beleaguered human companion. “Well, just be
thankful that we got this far. If it hadn’t have been for our stumbling into that slaughterhouse yard… well… we wouldn’t be anywhere near our goal.” “Yeah, if you don’t mind the stink of cow crap in your clothes. So much for traveling in style.” She blew a puff of air at a straggle of hair hanging over her nose. “God, I am hungry, tired, thirsty, and sore. How in God’s name does this happen to people?” “You’d be surprised how many people, ordinaries and vampires alike, move around like this. It’s been done for centuries. You have simply led a very sheltered life so far.” He nuzzled close and murmured in her ear. Like most American girls, Gina melted into mush for the sound of his age-old and ageless British accent. She hated it when he’d put on his New York drag queen front but understood that that was how he had survived for many years. Now, like him, she’d have to learn to take on a new guise to survive. “Guess I need to appreciate the life of a tramp.” The passing lights streamed over them as they rolled across the Midwest along I-90. Gina’s head bobbed on Clive’s shoulder with the rhythm of the road. She suddenly snapped to when she noticed the thrum of rubber on cement had ceased. “Where are we?” “I don’t know, but by the looks of it, we’d better jump out here or be buried in livestock.” The two clambered out from the truck, but with the dawning light, the driver spotted them and called out, “Hey! You there. Stop!” Clive whisked Gina along in the speed of shadow he had mastered over the centuries. Gina could not get over the nausea-inducing blur this movement incurred. Within minutes they were whisked away to a far-off distance – much like pulling a reverse zoom shot on camera. The problem was Clive could only maintain the energy levels needed to accomplish the rapid movement for a brief span of time. Then he would stop and be totally out of breath. At least he managed to get them onto a nearby hilltop overlooking the trucking station where the cattle car was to receive its new charge. He caught his breath and watched the drama of dumb beasts being herded into the container carrying them to their karmic destiny. “Kind of creepy to think that we humans aren’t much different,” Gina cynically observed. “I’m just as shocked as you are about (continued on page 20)
Neomodern Nosferatu (continued from page 19)
Harwick’s revelation that he and his corporate cohorts are running feed mills stocked with human flesh and blood. I mean, over the centuries we have preyed and feasted on you, but not en masse. The idea that he is turning an ancient ritual into regulated factory work is utterly appalling!” Gina threw him a cranky glare. “Appalling because he’s actually doing it or appalling because of how he’s doing it?” Clive cupped her heart-shaped face in his hands. “Gina, I am not appalled by the fact vampires feed on himans. It is after all a fact of nature no different from that of humans turning cows into hamburger. I am disgusted by the fact that he and others like him have had the audacity to create the systemized farming of humans for mere convenience and lassitude on their parts to go out and hunt as we always have done.” Gina pulled away from his gentle grasp. “And how is that supposed to make me feel better?” Clive leaned back against a tree and rubbed the fatigue and blood-hunger from his face. “I guess it’s not. Look, we both need to rest. I think it best we look around for a grotto or other concelaed place to lie down for awhile. I really don’t know if I can stand another full day in sunlight.” He looked around the forested area and let his preternatural sense guide him. He took Gina by the hand and dragged her through the bramble into the deep brush. The sun’s rays poked through the trees to rosily highlight a dark crevasse among an outcropping of granite. The slit was just wide enough for Clive and Gina to squeeze through. “We’re not going to have to wrestle a badger for this place, are we?” Gina’s voice reverberated warily inside the stony chamber. “Never fear. Your badger eater is here. Badger, bear, coyote, puma… I’d actually welcome such a sumptuous feast of predators right about now.” He pulled her down next to him with backs propped against the cool dark rock. “And snakes? What about snakes?” He coddled her close and said with a yawn, “They’re equally delicious. Now go to sleep.” With deft vampiric prestidigitation, he passed his hand over her eyes and drew her into slumber. Gina awoke riddled with damp and cold. She found herself alone with the rocks in the small cave. “Clive, where are you?” she groped through the darkenss for his form. The blinding pitch brought her to the brink of panic. Page 20
“Never fear. Your badger eater is here. Badger, bear, coyote, puma… I’d actually welcome such a sumptuous feast of predators right about now.”
“Clive!” she shouted. “I’m here,” he said softly and added, “Here, change into these.” Gina felt warm woolly fabric in her fingers. She brought the clothing to her face for a whiff. They smelt clothes-line fresh. “Where did you get these?” “I nicked them from a nearby farmhouse. They had been hung out to dry.” The shuffle of cloth underlined his speech. “I suggest you change so that we can appear more presentable and approachable.” Gina pulled off the silk kimono and nightgown leant her by the drag queen vampires. She welcomed warm, substantial clothing. She felt the comfort of flannel cover her chest and the crisp hug of dungarees over he legs and hips. “What about footwear?” she ventured to ask. A mild clomp sounded at her feet. She reached down to feel a pair of loafers. She slipepd them on to find them worn and loose on her tiny feet. “A little big for me, but better than nothing.” “Come on, then.” He took her by the hand and led her out from the cave into the moonlit night. Gina sighed for the relief of seeing shapes, forms, dimension, and depth. Her stomach growled loudly for its emptiness. “I’m starving. I need to eat to keep up. How are you holding up?” Clive paused guiltily for having killed a farm dog to replenish his strength. “I’m fine. Come on. We’ll get you something.” They tripped down the hill toward the highway. Clive remembered seeing a truckstop not a half mile down the road opposite the cattle depot. Hopefully no one would notice who they were or how strange they looked. “Look, a place where we can get you some food and drink.” “How are we going to pay for it? I don’t have a dime.” That was a concern he’d deal with at the site. For now, he needed to get the dehydrated and undernourished human named Gina to the place of convenience. Scraping along in the oversized loafers, Gina trailed Clive down the black asphalt. The neon and fluorescent glow of the truckstop made her feet and her load seem lighter. She beelined it to the restroom to heed Nature’s call and cleanse away the cow funk. When she finished freshening up, she found Clive outside with a bag full of granola bars and big bottle of iced water. “Faster than a speeding bullet,” he explained, “like a gust of prairie wind.”
Let’s go over behind that far truck.” Gina chowed down while Clive strategized. He had seen a map posted inside the store and noted that they were very near the Iowa border. “I don’t think we have too far to go. It’s just finding transport to make it the rest of the way.” Gina looked at him and for the first time noticed how he was dresed in a pair of jeans, pointy-toed shit-covered boots, a camouflage jacket and baseball cap. She spit out crackles of granola as she giggled. “What?” he asked then realized, “Yeah, well you look equally on the order of ripe trailer trash, but I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself.” Gina calmed down and followed him to the 18-wheeler parked at the far end of the lot. It’s engine was rrunning. Without hesitation, Clive opened the door to the cab. “What are you doing?” Before she could totally freak she found herself being hoisted up into the cab. She heard the gears grind and felt the leviathan machine lurch forward. “You can’t take this. It’s grand theft auto!” “Do you want to get to Des Moines or not?” He shifted into second and tooled down the ramp toward the freeway. “Do you even know how to drive this thing?” “Just watch me, honey.” “Clive, how far do you think we’re going to get before the driver reports his missing rig and the highway patrol lays down spike strips?” He shifted into high gear and cruised smoothly in the right lane. “By the time he comes to, his precious semi will be safely stalled along some lone two-laner on the outskirts of Des Moines, and we’ll be safely tucked away at your loving family’s residence, right my sweet?.” He turned to give her a salacious grin. Thin trails of blood ran from his fangs down the corners of his mouth. “You didn’t!” “Oh, I did.” “And when he gives your description to the authorites your buddy Harwick will certainly know how far we’ve gotten and where we’re heading! Brilliant work, Sherlock.” The biting drama continues in our next issue.
Adventures for the Average Woman
The Spoiler, Part XI
The masked kidnapper dressed in 18thcentury silk and lace made his intentions known to his captive authoress: “Let us work with what is viable. You will write, madam. You will write about our lives, what each of us is destined be and where we are fated to go. You will never leave that chair or this chamber until you have completed your mission.” He paused to glower at her. “Do you understand?” Marsha’s seething coiled up into an acquiescing smile. “Is that all you want? Why didn’t you tell me? I can do that.” She turned to the desktop, rolled up the flared sleeve, took up the quill and dipped it in the inkwell. She posed as though in the throes of creative ideation. “Hmmm, let’s see. Whom should I start with? How about whatserface? Prucilla was it? OK.” Raeph leaned over her shoulder and studied with amazement at the feat being performed before him. His eyes traveled with the irregular lines of the quill from Marsha’s untried hand. Under slow and deliberate pressure, the name ‘Prucilla’ appeared in a backward slant across the page, followed by the small letter ‘d’ and then a letter ‘i' whose dot came out as a messy glob. “Oops, sorry.” Marsha blew on the glossy bubble to get it to dry before it smeared. The third letter of the second word began to take shape with a loop from the left up and over and back to the right. A tail flared out from the side edge of the quill. She had lifted the pen to replenish the ink when Raeph snatched the paper from off the blotter. The unfinished scrawl read, “Prucilla die.” Raeph crumpled the sheaf then pulled out a tinderbox from the left bottom drawer. He struck the flint, lit the wood shavings then set the offensive parchment ablaze. He dropped the burning page onto one of the empty plates that sat on the food cart and used a lid to smother the flames. “How could you be such a callous vixen?” He swiped at the sweat streaming from his brow. Marsha smugly played her trump. “What? I Volume 1, Issue 11
Raeph leaned over her shoulder and studied with amazement at the feat being performed before him. His eyes traveled with the irregular lines of the quill from Marsha’s untried hand.
only did as you asked and sealed her fate.” She set the pen to another sheaf that she’d pulled from the pile. “Here, let me do it for Parfrey and save you all he trouble at that nasty duel tomorrow.” The ink streaked off the page as he grabbed her hand. “Stop this butchery!” He relieved her of the weapon that would destroy him. “You can’t be serious!” Marsha guffawed. “I have never been so serious in my life, madam.” He looked as though he would swoon. “I see the heat of the afternoon is affecting our comportment. I suggest we repose awhile.” Raeph took her forcibly by the arm. “What diabolic forces push us to this madness then?” He pulled her to his breast and held her tight. “Madam, what are we to do? I only want you to save us from certain oblivion. You want your freedom. How then shall we both arrive at our goals in a mutual and beneficent conciliation? Canst thou say, madam?” Marsha called forth her tears to convey compliance. She spoke between sobs, “I think we are both exhausted and in need of rest. If you don’t mind, I can go back to the dressing room and lie on the sofa. You can lock the doors and window is you want just don’t... just don’t...,” the sobs engulfed her words. “Madam, you auger my intent with astounding accuracy. I don’t see why you dissemble so with your fears. If anything, I should indeed be wary of your intent to undo what you have created through the power of pen and parchment.” He took her by the elbow over to the desk where he opened the right-side bottom drawer and brought out a clear bottle filled with tawny liquid and a small glass vial filled with brown. He pulled the stoppers off with his teeth then mixed contents into one of the cups used for their morning coffee. He handed her the potion. “Drink it, madam.” “What is it?” “A soporific to subdue your unpredictable and potentially harmful acts.” “Made of what?” “Rum and laudanum.” She took the cup and sniffed. The overpowering efflux of ethanol knocked her back. “Drink it down, madam, every drop.” Her top lip gingerly slid over the rim to test the potent pool. A high-pitched keen shattered the air.
Raeph took the cup from her and set it on the food cart after which he grabbed her by the hand and pulled her behind him into the hall. Abrouhaha rose up from the foyer. Raeph dragged Marsha along like a trunk on a wobbling dolly. She found it hard to remain upright on her high heels. They rolled to a teetering halt at the top of the stairs. “Please, Massah Parfrey, no mo’, please!” Carmelia shrieked. She clambered up the steps to escape the bite of his belt. She reached up to Raeph. “Please make him stop. I didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean to say what I said.” Milo came up from behind and grabbed the hand flailing the belt. “Get your filthy hands off of me, savage!” He struggled with Milo on the stairs. The tall dark man gripped him by the throat and began to squeeze the life out. “Milo, release him!” Raeph bellowed. The manservant did as requested and backed off but not before Parfrey got his licks in. He slapped Milo furiously with the belt. Like a tiger protecting his territory from an interloper, Raeph released his grip on Marsha and lunged for Parfrey. The two men tumbled in a barreling bale of fisticuffs. They landed at the feet of the hoi polloi at the bottom of the staircase. Reverend Fogarty and young Nathaniel Ames braved swinging fists and gnashing teeth to pry the rivals apart. The man of pacific ways seized Parfrey in a chokehold. While the wiry young Indian fighter pounced on Raeph’s chest to keep him down. The dust slowly drifted in the sunbeams down onto the floor. “Gentlemen, please, enough of this tantrum!” the gentle pastor roared. “Let us act in all civility!” He loosened his hold on Parfrey. Prucilla ran to her brother’s side and feel to her knees. She held a hankie to her swollen nose and turned her wigless head up to the two servants. “Foul helots! See what has befallen my dear brother because of your wickedness!” She ran a loving hand over his balding pate of black stringy hair. Parfrey swatted her away like an annoying gnat. He got to his feet and snatched the wig retrieved by Reverend Fogarty from the floor. For his part, Raeph got to his feet and brushed himself off. His waistcoat was torn at the shoulder and his hair in disarray. He adjusted the mask on his face. (continued on page 22)
The Spoiler (continued from page 21)
Marsha turned to look down the shadowy corridor. Out of the adumbration floated the wispy form of the red-headed boy. He looked as though suspended by strings. He clawed the air like an animal trying to get out of a cage.
“Sir, thou hast no right to whip a freeman let alone a pregnant slave.” Raeph censured. “That loathsome black spider deserved every lash for the evil web of lies she’s spun! And as for your freed man, sir, let him at me again and I shall run him through.” Parfrey slapped his powdered wig on his pant leg. “With what skill, sir?” Raeph moved toward him but was held back by Nathaniel and his mother. “I could have skewered you years ago aboard the Lexington,” he snarled. “You handle your cutlass like you handle your lovers. Somehow they both wind up escaping your grasp.” Parfrey feigned a lurch from the arms of his sister and the parson. “I shall see you pierced through your blackguard’s heart on the field tomorrow. Until then, I suggest you interrogate that woman of yours to dispel the calumnies being perpetuated by that heathen crow in a petticoat about the fairest of the fair, Abigail Fletcher, or else prove that they are no despicable exaggerations!” The veins throbbed on his forehead. “What are you insinuating, sir?” Raeph demanded. Parfrey pointed up the staircase. “Ask her. Ask your omniscient author of us all if it is not true that fair Abigail is frolicking among the angelic hosts as we continue to sweat and toil in our mortal coils. For this is what that dissembling whelp, Carmelia, has told to your writer, sir, on the good account of my most sincere sister.” He glowered up at her. “God take thy guileful tongue like he has done that insolent rogue.” He raised a finger at Milo. Raeph ran up the stairs. “Does he speak the truth, madam? Did you impart to Carmelia the fate of our precious Abigail?” Marsha replied for the cowering girl. “We never talked about Abigail, except that she once worked for her.” “Carmelia!” Raeph barked prompting a flinch. “From what wild and wooly source do you spin this yarn of lies?” As the sole defense for the terrified Carmelia, Marsha objected, “Leave her alone. She didn’t do or say anything that would merit such brutality!” With clenched jaw and fists, she stood up to his six-foot-two stature. “When I get out of here, I’ll see to it you’re locked up in the deepest nastiest hole on the planet where you can rot!” “Until that time, madam, you will have to endure your own time in gaol.” Page 22
A hue and cry echoed hollowly down the darkening hallway. “Look!” cried out the widow Ames. “She… she’s gone! She was here and now she’s disappeared!” “Prucilla! Prucilla!” Parfrey’s heels drummed the alarm that something was a miss. “She was standing right next to me!” claimed the reverend. He spun around like a top to check the area. The widow Ames dropped to her knees. “I saw her standing there but moments before. I blinked and she just vanished!” Nathaniel consoled his mother and confirmed her sighting. “’Tis true. I saw it with me own eyes! She was next to the reverend and then she wasn’t.” Parfrey skidded on his soles and reeled. The tails of his waistcoat whipped from one direction to the other. He dropped to his knees and wailed. “Prucilla!” Raeph tore down the steps and looked furtively into the descending gloom. “Micah! Where’s Micah?” The others shook their heads out of nescience. Raeph grabbed Nathaniel by the shoulders. “When was the last you saw him?” “Why, when he was upstairs in the study, when that woman frightened him away.” He shook the lad. “Did you see him leave? Do you know where he went?” “No, sir. I wasn’t watching him as we came out. I—“ “Help me! Help me, please!” echoed the shrill cry of a young child. Raeph noted it coming from upstairs. He dashed to the top. Marsha turned to look down the shadowy corridor. Out of the adumbration floated the wispy form of the red-headed boy. He looked as though suspended by strings. He clawed the air like an animal trying to get out of a cage. Raeph bolted toward him but was blocked by the iron musculature of Milo. The mute shook his large bony head. The others had climbed to the top of the stairs. “Look!” cried the Widow Ames. From behind Micah’s struggling body appeared a sinister white face framed in dark curls and the brim of a stovepipe hat that could be see as it leaned a long chin over the boy’s right shoulder. It grinned with a mouthful of knurly teeth and growled,
“Come with me, boy.” Micah’s cries faded into nothingness along with the rest of him. Everyone stood stalk still, not daring to disturb the air for fear it would swallow them whole like an ethereal behemoth. The reverend made the first move by opening the Good Book and reading a passage. He turned and calmly strode down the stairs. The others quickly queued behind. Marsha found herself being held back by the arm. “Now do you see, madam?” “Sure. I see more parlor tricks. Very clever.” “Parlor tricks! Why, Prucilla vanished into thin air!” “Hell, it ain’t that hard for a man to make a woman disappear. Why I, myself, was involved with one who managed to make my entire life go up in smoke. Poof!” “And what about Micah and that abominable figure?” “Shoots and ladders. Stage stuff.” “Well, let us see this stage stuff.” He dragged her down toward the shadows that had engulfed Micah. The end of the hall came to a cloture. “Feast your eyes, madam. There is no way in or out. No trap doors. No sliding panels.” He pounded on the plastered walls and stomped on the floorboards. “You beheld that mysterious figure step out from the shadows and take Micah! Why won’t you believe?” Marsha cast a critical eye. “I believe. You deceive. Isn’t that how it works? Been up and down that pike and got many a tacky souvenir to remind me of the bad trips: worthless free gifts from credit card companies that always wind up costing me for some required purchase of some piece of junk I don’t even need, a chance to win a million dollars as long as I buy ten thousand dollars worth of magazines, and the promise of fame and fortune from writing a best-seller. Now that was one I really believed in. Schlook!” “Schlook?” “Yeah, schlook. Like getting sucked into a vacuum cleaner.” Raeph wasn’t grasping the gist. “Madam, I fail to—“ “No, wait. Let me finish. You see in those instances where I’ve been a sucker born and reborn every minute, it was perfectly practicable not to mention legal. Hell, the corporate world always gets away with slightof-hand switcheroo, petty theft and even highway robbery because of the lawyers who (continued on page 23)
Adventures for the Average Woman
The Spoiler (continued from page 22)
“You and I work for a new woman’s literary magazine,” she explained in a tone so low and sultry it made him sweat.
construe the writ of the law for their advantage. What thief needs a pistol to rob and pillage anymore? Just hire a good lawyer and pay off members of congress to pass bills in your mercenary favor! As a highway man, yourself, I could see how you could go far. I won’t even go into the endless possibilities of cyber crime!” She poked a finger into his shoulder. “You just need to get with the times, dude.” “What is the point to this tedious circumlocution?” Raeph groused. “The point is I can accept those ruses because when you actually read the fine print you can actually understand the sense of it whether or not you agree with the principle. The problem with your proposal that I accept you all as characters of my conjuring who are in peril of extinction because I refuse to write is that there is no sense to it at all. It is utterly preposterous! You might as well ask me to believe in little green men from Mars or my vote actually counting in the presidential election.” He took her by the shoulders. “This is no time for levity. We are in dire need of your rectifying account. Because you have not written us down we are blowing away like crumbling parchment.” Marsha’s thoughts begged the question: What is wrong with this man? He can’t seriously think I’m going to fall for this elaborate delusion. She told him, “I can see how you’ve gone through an awful lot of effort and expense to make this seem real, but really.” Look at him, she told herself. He’s absolutely crushed and God only knows how mentally stable he is or any of them are. His hands are on my shoulders now but in a split second they could be at my throat. Better placate this delirious maniac with some hokey line. Buy some time then find a way to get out of this nightmare. She softened to quell both their apprehensions. “Even though I find this whole experience hard to fathom, even if this paranormal prestidigitation were actually happening, I honestly don’t see how I can stop it. I mean, what difference would it make whether or not I...,” her words traveled far off carrying with them all his hope. Raeph hung his head a moment then quietly escorted her to the dressing room. He pushed her inside and closed the door. His parting comment was the turn of the key in the lock. * * * The long tawny legs of Detective Renee Savage swung out from the open door of the Yellow Cab that had pulled up to the curb on Volume 1, Issue 11
Lexington Avenue in Midtown. A male passerby nearly tripped for ogling them. With briefcase in one hand and a sheaf of printed Yahoo directions in the other, the stately Creole woman from the New Orleans Police Department cross-checked the address of the sky scraping building before her. She walked into the marble-floored lobby through the artdeco style glass-and-steel doors. The din of the streets ceded to the quiet shuffles of people in suits waiting for elevators. She walked over to the signboard hanging high on the wall next to the security station and ran down the lists of names under T: Terrace Industries… Tower Construction… Trane Systems… until her almond eyes settled on TruHart Publishing. “Suite 1152, Gotchya.” “Got what?” came a stealthy tenor from behind her right ear. Suppressing a gasp, she turned to see rookie N.O.P.D. officer, Caleb Ross. He was dressed not in his street-beat blues, but in a sharp gray suit with powder blue shirt and sepia tie. “Sorry, didn’t mean to sneak up on you like that.” “Sure you did.” She socked him playfully in the left shoulder. “Ready?” “Ready.” He followed her to the elevators designated fro the tenth through twentieth floors. Only a handful of dour-faced office workers accompanied them on the ride up. Renee watched the row of numbers above the door light up while Caleb watched the back of her taught figure trimmed in tweed. At the eleventh floor, the doors hissed open and the two undercover cops visiting the Big Apple on unofficial business stepped out. Renee’s shiny black pumps and Caleb’s brown oxfords padded in time down the plush blue carpet leading to suite 1152. “So, what’s the game plan, Chief?” Caleb cajoled while adjusting the tight knot of his tie. “You and I work for a new woman’s literary magazine,” she explained in a tone so low and sultry it made him sweat. “We are here researching an article on Gwynyvere and the success of her romance novels, which means we need to ask questions like research writers – not cops.” He took out a handkerchief to wipe the moisture from his brow. “What’s our publication and where’s it from again?” “From?” “I mean, we never got a chance to get our stories straight.” She strode two paces ahead of him, stopped and turned to block him. “Didn’t you print out and study the email instructions I sent you along with the itinerary?”
Caleb reached inside his breast pocket and pulled out a folded sheet of coffee-stained paper. “Yeah, but I really wished we had traveled together to rehearse our lines.” His playful baby blues shyly tagged her big angry browns. By virtue of her high heels, Renee met his six-foot tall glance with her glower. “Officer Ross, you know perfectly well we could not travel on the same scheduled transport due to the fact that this investigation is unsanctioned. If there was any hint of us being cohorts in this—” She sighed for her wasted breath. “Look, you’re Randy Morse and I’m Shayleen Bonaventure with the magazine “My Words” out of Pensacola, Florida. We are here to find out about Marsha Tucker, a.k.a. Gwynyvere, creator of “The Spoiler” series. The idea is that I get this Wolf, I mean, Rolfe Lafferty guy drooling over my sexy legs while you work your charms on the female element to get a peak at the personnel files. Hell, tell ‘em you’re just a poor ol’ Florida boy new to the big city and ask ‘em out on a date.” She jumped to another track. “Now did you do as I asked and read at least one o the novels on the flight up here?” Caleb shook his short and thick dark mane. Renee’s ruby-lined lips expanded into an incredulous “What?” She slapped the papers in her hand against her tight mini-skirt. “I don’t know why I even included you on this mission.” “No, no. I read it – the first one anyway,” He screwed up his face in commentary to his reading experience. “It’s just that…” He looked back down the hall toward the elevators. “It’s just that what? You’re afraid they’ll ask you to define the word, ‘termagant?’” “These New Yorkers are pretty wise. They’ll never believe it.” “Believe what? That you’re a journalist with a woman’s literary magazine? Look. Just use that little-boy-lost look you’re giving me now and explain you’re young and fresh at this reporting thing. I’m sure the gals will gush all over for you.” “No, not that I’m a journalist on an interview. I can easily fake my way through that.” “Then what? What won’t they believe?” “That I’m from Florida. What if they ask Spring Break questions? I don’t even sound like I’m from Florida!” Caleb continued to fret as she pushed him down the hallway. The hunt goes on in our next issue. Page 23
Cutlass Moon, Part IX
In a fraction of time that seemed suspended for eternity, the butt of Sawalémé’s M-16 came down with a resounding crack onto the tortoise shell mask she was wearing. Down she went into a rag doll heap on the sand.
CATALYST OF CHAOS The ominous shadow of a large man creeps over the figures of the two young girls wading in the tide pools along the shimmering coral reef. Unwittingly, they each take him by a hand and follow him to his dinghy. Their teeth beam whiter than bream as the saline air rushes their faces and tousles their thick strands of hair. The large boat gleams with polished wood and brass. The girls are served tasty refreshing ices and juices in flavors never experienced before: strawberry swirl, cookies and cream, chocolate mint, Seagrams coolers, Kahlua, Cuba Libré. The youngest one feels dizzy and sick; the oldest one giddy and numb. Large hands guide them into a cabin and onto a bed, rip off their t-shirts and brightly dyed wrap-around suru’u cloth. Sugar cane-sized fingers probe their tiny anuses and vaginas. Fingers transition to penises. There’s more than one body involved in their violation. Day to night into nights and days of yelling, whipping, crying, drugging, rape after rape – until all innocence was obliterated. * * * “Ahem,” Nick cleared his throat. Milovisc grunted an acknowledgement as he glared through bifocals at reams of spreadsheets with columns streaked in red. “You know how much over budget we are? That damned woman and her shamanic antics are costing us thousands in shooting delays. Did you hear about Doolie’s snakebite? He claimed he was reaching down to check out a cable when the damned thing turned into a snake! I think she planted the thing there to mess with my crew’s heads.” “Well, after yesterday’s encounter with the Guard, I don’t think she’ll be bothering us anymore.” Nick was referring to the weird white woman’s showing up during a shoot in total regalia. She began chanting loudly then raced around blowing a gray powder on the actors and cameramen, causing them to scramble. Milovisc started from his director’s chair and charged her in his bull-like fashion, but it was the commander of the Royal Guard unit, Sawalémé, that had finally put a stop to her insanity. He sent two of his troops to grab her by the arms. When they Page 24
tried to drag her off the beach, she said something to the commander and spat at him. All the village locals serving as the film crew’s aides and extras froze right where they stood, jaws agape. In a fraction of time that seemed suspended for eternity, the butt of Sawalémé’s M-16 came down with a resounding crack onto the tortoise shell mask she was wearing. Down she went into a rag doll heap on the sand. The dashing lead, Peter Brett, broke the stand-still ranks and rushed to her aid, but he was stopped in his tracks at the point of another guardsman’s gun. He and the others watched helplessly as villagers carried her off the beach. Nick suffered a wicked dog-willy at the memory. “Speaking of bother,” the director’s sarcastic tone broke up the reverie. “Why are you here?” “Well,” Nick’s voiced wavered. I’m afraid I have more costly news.” He handed Milovisc a rage-provoking news report hot off of A.P.I. Nick summarized, “Two island girls, aged 12 and 14, have gone missing. It’s rumored they were abducted by one of our Australian producers. He sailed his yacht here two days ago to check up on how the production was going.” Milovisc scowled and muttered, “Meddling prick. Yes, I recall. And…?” Nick looked perplexed. “And what?” “Did he take the girls? Do we have proof? Or is this tabloid caca?” Nick cleared his throat again. “Witnesses from the local village say that Sawalémé, the commander of the Guard, had approached the two girls and enticed them into the dinghy and out to the man’s private yacht. No one protested given who this Sawalémé character is.” “Yes,” Milovisc confirmed. “I saw how he took down the witch woman. Not one horrified onlooker dared step up to the plate and take a swing at him, now, did they?” “No one, except for your leading beefcake, Brett.” “Brett better learn to keep his nose out of these people’s affairs. He almost got himself shot.” Milovisc resented the fact Peter would often try to chat with the local extras the crew had hired –especially the man they’d met on the beach with the crazy boar’s-head-wearing white woman. “What’s that guy’s name?” Milovisc’s thoughts suddenly transformed into words. “What guy?” Nick queried. “That black guy who was with that crazy bitch. He’s been translating for us.” “I… I can never pronounce his name. I think it’s ‘Lemu… Lumu… something like that.” “Limu, that’s it. Short for something else.
Seems to be a good translator. Where did he learn his English?” “He said he went to medical school in the States somewhere, but I’m not sure.” “I’d keep my eye on him anyway,” Milovisc admonished. “He’s affiliated with that woman.” The last word spat out as though it tasted vile. “At any rate, sir, Limu is no where to be found at the moment, and this release is causing more panic among the villagers. Many walked off the shoot today and won’t come back.” “What’s that Sawalémé fellow doing about it?” “Denying all rumors and scaring the villagers half to death with his menacing air. I don’t think he’s very effective for our side.” Nick’s voice took on a critical note. “Well, get him a message to come and see me. I’ll set him straight about what his duties are, or else I’ll go over his head.” Those were meant as final words cuing Nick to get out and hop to it. * * * As soon as he learned of the news of his daughters going off with a holue'ii stranger, the father grabbed a few village men and together they paddled out to the yacht to loudly petition their return. At that point, Sawalémé barged up in an imposing military craft and using his glib tongue, tried to smooth back the distraught father’s bristling hackles by explaining the girls’ offering to help out the rich white man made a nice gesture. This would mean their family would be in good stead with all the honorable holue'ii. Sawalémé went a step further in this cross-cultural brokering and assured the investor he would clear it with the girls’ family. After much haranguing, he convinced the father to allow his daughters to “work” for the man, saying that they would be serving as emissaries to the movie people aboard their vessels. Escorted by Sawalémé’s armed men back to shore, the father begrudgingly gave up the fight. Early next morning, the yacht bearing the producer and the girls was nowhere to be seen. Kamilikawe, the girls’ mother could not hold back the tears of rage that wrenched her womb whose memory of the two (continued on page 25)
Adventures for the Average Woman
Cutlass Moon (continued from page 24)
The loss to Kamilikawe and her family had the impact of a shark's cruel bite of flesh from the body. It didn't necessarily kill you, but you would always bear the hideous scar.
births had suddenly kicked back to life with the same excruciating pain as when she had carried each one to term. She ranted at her husband and the ancestors, insisting that something be done to get them back. Her cries were met with the sullen shrug of his shoulders and the vacuous sloughing of palm fronds in the breeze. The bereaved mother’s incessant braying must have drifted along the trades and landed in the ear of a faraway god, as Mi'ana, the 12-year old daughter suddenly and miraculously showed up at the gate. She was unkempt, hungry and despondent. Black smudges of days-old mascara rimmed her eyes. Traces of rouge and smears of red lipstick besmirched her young face. She wore the tatters of a fancy frilly dress whose original color may have been flame-flower red but now looked a dingy mud with black stains at the seat and lap. Kamilikawe was reluctant to read the signs and hurriedly got her cleaned up and fed. With the limpness of a rag doll, Mi’ana let her mother and aunts undress, bathe, and re-clothe her. After hours of feeding her the sweet tapioca and avocado pudding she loved and gently prodding her to tell them what happened, she blurted out how she and her sister had been raped by the producer and several of his crew. After becoming unresponsive to her rapists, they passed her off to a nearby fishing boat. Fortunately, one of the men on board had asked where she came from and one of the crew aboard the yacht, a Royal Guardsman, told him where to bring her. When Kamilikawe asked about where her sister was, Mi’ana could only shake her head and cry. The family had to find the other daughter and seek out the violators. To add insult to injury, when the men marched up to Sawalémé to demand justice or even some form of restitution for the loss of his daughters' purity and honor, Sawalémé tried to cut a deal by buying Mi'ana from him for other men on the film crew to "rent" for the time being. He argued that the white men were lonely and could not resist the beauty of the island women. Better that they have one that’s been tainted than take another virgin. Mi’ana was still young and fresh enough. This outraged Mi’ana’s male relatives beyond control. The father, himself, hauled off and socked Sawalémé right in the kisser. Sawalémé's goons were on the man in a flat second, pummeling him to a bloody pulp. They then loaded him in one of their military transport skiffs and shunted him off to the hoosegau in Calabishi. People sent queries from fishing rigs to the very streets of the capital: Had anyone seen Tuomielli, the 14-year old? Even some of Volume 1, Issue 11
the film crew buzzed rumors that the girl was probably in Hong Kong by now where the British producer resided. Sawalémé tried to make it sound as though she had chosen of her own free will to stay on board, continue her service to the wealthy man, and live a much richer life than she could ever obtain by remaining on the island of Pe’i Pi’i. Kinfolk were reluctant to accept the possibility but couldn’t imagine it being any other way. They tossed offal into their fires at night and prayed for the best. It took days for the smoke of burning chicken and pork fat to tickle the nostrils of the gods and ancestors to prompt a resolution to the mystery. On the night of the Cutlass Moon, when the moon is a thin crescent and a harbinger of bloodshed, Tuomielli’s body washed up on the south-side rocks. She had been severely battered. Pe’i Pi’i had no forensics expert to tell if the bruisings occurred from being pounded on sharp crags or as a result of being savagely attacked. Worst of all, everyone knew the Archipelago Royal Guardsmen would do little to determine the cause of her death, for they were complicit. Since the Bunu’au people could not live with impossible hope, they did not want to be reminded of the tragedy. More so, they feared repercussions from Sawalémé and his army of goons if they should demand accountability. Therefore, the residents of Hue'ili Pei'i Pi'i silently buried the girl and never more spoke of her fate. The loss to Kamilikawe and her family had the impact of a shark's cruel bite of flesh from the body. It didn't necessarily kill you, but you would always bear the hideous scar. Kamilikawe could do little else but pack up some things and along with the broken Mi'ana and trudge off to hitch a ride with the next boat leaving for Calabishi. The appeals she would have to make for the release of her husband would be endless. She would have to camp out in front of the Minister of Justice's office every day, pleading for her case to be heard. She would have to borrow bribe money from relatives. Even if she could get her husband released, he would not be the same caring, loving man he had been. His dignity would be stripped and his manhood shattered. As for poor shatter Mi’ana, she would be put into one of the church charities damaged and unwanted children. Mi’ana would have no semblance of a normal life on her island home ever again. For all intents and purposes, the idyllic life the family had lead on Pe’i Pi’i had been ravaged by the white hurricane from the West -- the seedling for a raging typhoon to come.
CAPTURED OFF CAMERA "Whaddya mean you weren't rolling," Lionel Milovicz bellowed from the hospital bed. He had been medevacced by chopper to the Adventist Hosptial in Calibishi the morning after the island men had rushed their film camp. Lionel’s face was swollen and bruised with the lower lip split like an overripe tomato. Bandages covered the many scrapes and bruises he’d suffered. His sprained left leg was suspended in a sling. Fortunately, his heart fibrillating caused him to collapse. Not wanting to tarry long enough to get caught, his would-be abductors abandoned him on the spot. "I mean we got very little of it on tape,” Nick explained. “We were in the process of troubleshooting a wiring problem when those native men attacked the camp." "Come on! You mean to tell me out of five goddam units, not one was operational?" “Take it easy, Mr. Milovicz,” the bedside nurse admonished, “unless you want to provoke another heart attack.” She adjusted his I.V. drip to allow more morphine to flow freely. "We may have something, from the backup video unit. It ain't primo quality due to a sequence of blackouts but you can see enough that's newsworthy." "Play the fricker. Let's see if we got something to sell to the networks." “Excuse me, sir.” It was a young Calibishi police officer who’d peered into the room.” “Yes?” Milovicz barked. The young officer stepped in. he was wearing a uniform of khaki short sleeves and shorts. He held his soft cap in his hands along with a clipboard for taking notes. “I’m here to take down your statements so that we might begin to investigate this incident.” He had a very polished British-sounding accent. “Watch the tape,” Milovicz sorely invited. “Then we’ll make statements.” Nick punched the tape into a portable TV/VCR combo player that had been brought in the room. The tape began to roll revealing dark figures rushing in a blur. Glints of metal flashed in torchlight. Shouts in island tongue clashed with voices in English yelling out: "Oh, dear God!” “What's going on?” “Hey, is this part of the script?" It took awhile for anyone to recognize just how real the scene was. A man’s voice was heard pleading, "Please, Mary, Mother of God, don't let them kill me!” It was Milovicz. The camera jogged away from the scene in chaotic steps; then the picture went blank. (continued on page 26)
Cutlass Moon (continued from page 25)
Lost in its sweet pungent aroma, Peter didn’t at first perceive the sharp glint of a cutlass blade hovering above his left ear.
“That’s it,” said Nick. The increased dope from the I.V. seemed to mellow the mood of the rancorous director. Miltonic’s contorted face revealed the trauma he had undergone. A thin tear streamed from the outside corner of his right eye. “Any… any word on the others?” Nick hung his long narrow face low to his chest. “No sir. They were carried off into the forest.” “Ho… how many in all?” “All of our main players.” “Shit,” Milovicz mouthed the word more than stated it. “Get that film to broadcast. We gotta let the world know.” * * * BBC World Service. Tensions mount on this tiny island nation lost in the vastness of the South Pacific as local armed forces gather to launch a search and rescue campaign to retrieve the remaining American and Australian hostages taken four days ago by a radical group of island aborigines. One of the hostages, Director Lionel Milovisc, was found collapsed on the trail where the armed rebels tried to drag him off. Ironically, it was a mild heart attack that may have saved his life. Chris Binion has more: Binion: It was in the middle of the night when the terrorists invaded the film production camp, seizing several sleepy-eyed actors, violently rousting them up from their beds on the beach. George Franks, camera operator: Yeah, they just came in, dozens of 'em. They had swords and guns. There was screaming and yelling. It was pandemonium. Binion: Lionel Milovisc, the film's American director, was also grabbed from his chair during the late night shooting of the film when, according to Mr. Milovisc, they ran into technical difficulties. It was at this time the armed intruders descended. Milovisc: It was out of our worst nightmares. They beat us and bound us. I'm just thankful to be alive and sincerely hope the others will be returned safely. Binion: Director Lionel Milovisc was discovered shortly after the middle of the night raid. He was medevaccced to the Adventist Hospital in Calibishi city where he is being treated for a heart condition. Although Mr. Milovisc sounded weak in his response to interviewers' questions, doctors have him labeled in fair and stable condition. This is Chris Binion. BBC International News. * * * The midnight raid proved swift and effective. Peter had been lying on a straw mat he had Page 26
made as part of the survival gimmicks the film demanded. All the players had to make their own “creature comforts” and tools of survival to make the program look real. Peter found it difficult to sleep in the heat with all the sand fleas biting into his flesh. The others were suffering just as much; some didn’t even have mats to sleep on. Rule-ofplot in this faux survivor show was losers had to forfeit what they’d made as spoils to the winners. None of the crew had been paying much attention to where everyone was settled for the night as they were consumed with fixing yet another a technical glitch. The director was having a grand mal of a tantrum, as he wanted everything filmed, even sleeping. Tempers flared as Marjorie, the female lead, and other members of her group lamented over their lack of rest after long hard days of physical labor. The piss-poor ration of food further failed to sate everyone’s growling but fashionably flat bellies. Peter tried to get some rest and set his mind on the next day’s performance. He was playing the role of a square-jawed aircraft pilot and leader who has to keep his fellow team members alive and their scavenged goods and equipment safe from the others who also survived the plane crash. Everyone was out to take control by stealing supplies and destroying alliances. Corporate takeover mentality stuff. As there was no script to speak of, Peter had to come up with clever strategies for the next set of tasks in order to outthink the members of the other team headed by a conniving female counterpart, played by Marjorie Gyldwyn, the Australian blonde brick house. At least Peter had been smart about choosing the right wardrobe for the role: a pair of tattered khaki shorts and a white tank top with the logo "Windsurf Maui" on it. Thank God he hadn't fallen victim to fashion and product endorse-ment like a couple of the other bodies-beautiful who preferred suffocating in black spandex and or something equally constricting. From watching interviews with survivor players from other shows, he had made sure of taking on a few pounds before joining the cast and crew on this venture. Peter’s last thoughts before slipping off into a light doze under the big tree with the rubbery leaves concerned how much his feet itched. He wanted to remove the expensive orthopedic sandals so generously provided by one of my many commercial sponsors, but
kept them on at night for fear someone from the other team would nick them. That would be very bad. No one would last long with their feet exposed to the hot white sand and sharp coral of the reef. Fatigue battled discomfort as Peter fell into a fitful sleep. Suddenly, there appeared before him the figure of a child -- an island boy with a big friendly grin, holding what looked to be a fresh scrumptious papaya and motioning for him to come and share some of the succulent fruit. Peter shot a smile back and shook his head. But the boy said something, insisting. Peter found himself standing up and moving toward the boy and the papaya. Then another child appeared -- a girl. She seemed distressed. She was crying, pleading to the boy as though an emergency was going on. She approached Peter and motioned with her arms in slow motion for him to come to her. It was an incongruity that she should be moving so slowly considering her panic. Peter looked around and pointed a finger at his chest and voicelessly mouthing the word, "Me?" to make sure they weren't motioning to anyone else. Peter approached the two children and took each one by the hand. They pulled him, seemingly drifting, under the palms and banana tress. He still couldn't make out what the children wanted but sensed they needed help. He heard muted screams and crying but couldn't make out from where. Maybe one of their pet monkeys was stuck high in a coconut tree? The children drew him deeper into the bush along a very narrow trail, one that had evidently not been used a lot. They coaxed him to a thick clump of fronds, and then quick as a cobra being pursued by a mongoose, they disappeared into it, leaving him alone in a strange empty place. On a waist-high stump to his right sat a luscious round orange and green papaya. Peter found himself salivating for a taste. His hand reached out to caress the cool smooth skin of the fruit. He frowned. He had no way of opening it up. Feeling lost and bewildered , he called out for the children, "Hello? Where'djya go?" Maybe they went to fetch something to cut it open. His hunger urged him to lean close enough to lick the leathery skin of the fruit. Lost in its sweet pungent aroma, Peter didn’t at first perceive the sharp glint of a cutlass blade hovering above his left ear. The terror continues in our next issue. Adventures for the Average Woman
The Adventures of Katie Madigan: Katie & the Errant Knight
Fed up with work and a lackluster life, Katie longs to escape. In a series of graphic stories, she descends into one grueling adventure after another. Katie, be careful what you wish for.
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