One Less Good Man: In Memory of tWitch
A lonely cry above a silent bush, a yelp above the trees. A weeping heart, a mental push, a slow buckle at the knees. A strength to pick up a million men, a weakness undefined. A beauty in a family made of his own, a loss seen by the blind. A conversation may have changed it all, to catch the angel before his fall. A slow and mental silence dwells. As we watch this angel as he fell. Now he's gone no reason or whelm. Was there anything here that could've saved him? Was there a reason for him to show a smile that was filled with tears of misery. I offer my condolences and a mental hug for his wife, children, and family.
hands at the park.
Feed the pigeons
yet I was
in deep passion.
At the back sit...
I sucked your
Feed them my love.
sawed my breath.
I rested my nose
on your string
in the fabric
dipped the bun
in an honey jar...
as I ate
I want some more...
“Lenny, if you’ll quit blubbering, I’ll tell you why.
“It was late, so you said. You said you were tired, that work that day had really been horrendous, so that put you under the gun, or pressure, if you prefer.
“At the end of the day, in this case night, you get in your car to drive home, but your body and your head is exhausted. All you could think of was finally being free of a dismal day.
“You said you felt tired, stressed, and wanted to unwind. This can cause people to not pay attention so much when driving, and that’s what happened with you.
“You said you thought you hit an animal, but dude, you never stopped to check. You just kept driving as if the ‘animal’, you thought you hit, didn’t matter. In this case, it mattered a great deal.
“If you had stopped, got out of the car, and looked, you might not be sitting here in prison as my cell mate. You might have been home on probation, maybe. Can’t swear to that. But not checking and continuing to drive home just didn’t look good for you.
“Seven years is a long time, but it’ll fly by.
“But, you want to know something? That why me, you are always crying about? If it weren’t you, it would have been someone else. You were just unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. So get over it and just do your time.
“You don’t hear me whining about my sentence do you? And why is that? Because the bottom line is, you do the crime, get caught; you do the time, There isn’t any escaping that. Hell, man, I thought I was doing the right thing when this dude starting messing with some woman in a bar. She didn’t want to be bothered, so I walk up and tell him to back off. He gets angry with me, we fight, and I hit him one too many times. He dies. I get ten years. Any justice in that? Hell no, but it is what it is and there’s no going back to change what happened.
“Now just shut up about it, and go to sleep.”
Book One: Part III: Deadly Evil - Chapter Five
The Twenty-Second -8:05 a.m.
Thursday – May 15th
As with every morning, ten dozen doughnuts, cereal, milk, and orange juice were delivered to the Twenty-Second, via the van printed ‘Do-Nuts R Us’.
The driver, Eddie, a basically non-descript male, always had a kind word for everyone. He always split the order delivered, half for the first floor, the remainder for the second floor.
Eddie was about as plain looking as it gets. Middle age, maybe forty, with one of those faces you either can’t remember, or want to forget. He walked bent over and had a leg brace attached to his left leg. Eddie was far from dangerous.
Every day when he went upstairs to the Detective’s break room, just as with this morning; he saw the light of his life. She always noticed him. Secretly, he wanted her.
Of course she never saw him in the same way, but that was okay as far as Eddie was concerned.
His fantasy was already working overtime.
“Morning, Mithy Baker. You have a goot day?”
“I’ve had better. What about you?”
“Is early. Ask me later. I know more then.”
Their conversation every morning was practically the same, and both usually had a bit of a smile on their faces. Not so much this time for Baker.
“Mithy Baker, you otay?”
“I’m all right. Listen, Eddie. No doughnuts tomorrow. We won’t be here. You can still bring the same amount for downstairs though.”
“Oh, otay. I will bring no doughnuts to you tomorrow.”
Eddie broke out a piece of paper and a half-used pencil and printed: know do nuts 2 morrow. Will bring do nots tirstday.
He handed her his note.
“That right, Mithy Baker? I want to make sure my boss unnerstands.”
She looked at his printed note and a smile, ever so slight, formed.
“That’s perfect, Eddie.”
“Goot. Mithy Baker, you have a goot day.”
“You too, and be safe out there, Eddie.”
Baker turned to prepare for her meeting with her team.
Eddie, limping as he does, trudged down the steps, out the front door, and back to his van.
No one ever noticed him, except for Baker.
No one ever does, and that’s how he likes it.
The Squad Room – 8:30 a.m.
“You all know the situation. There is still no change in Captain Todd’s condition.
“The viewings will be held this evening at Klegwell’s from six to nine. The actual burial will happen at Klegwell’s, Bellamy, and Morningside. There will be three separate viewing rooms at Klegwell’s. The procession starts at ten-thirty tomorrow morning.
“Make sure your cars are spit-shined and that your dress uniforms are immaculate. We have dozens of other police units throughout the state coming here to pay their respects; so look sharp.
“Otherwise, run your routes as assigned. Andrews, I’m assigning Jack Powers with you. As to Southie, Dill and Carver, it’s all yours on this shift.
Ed raised his hand.
“A few of us talked late into the night, and we decided seven of us will give the salute.”
“I don’t see a problem with that. Quite fitting, actually.”
A small, tight-lipped smile came to her face.
“I am honored by your offer. And I accept.”
As. with all the meetings, she ended it by saying, “Be safe out there, and keep our streets safe.”
The First Call - 1:45 p.m.
Baker’s landline on her desk rang twice before she picked up.
“Hey, kiddo. Sanderson here.”
“Hi, Sandy. Were you able to find out anything good for me?”
“I don’t think so. Through the computer data base, I scanned for a u-r-i and a u-r-e and came up with two u-r-e’s, and seven u-r-i’s. The two u-r-i’s are deceased. Four of the seven u-r-i’s; also deceased. Of the other three; one’s serving time in Chino since 2006. Another lives in California, and on parole for auto theft. The last one lives in St. Louis. Clean seven years. Works for the county sewage system.
“To be honest, I don’t think it’s going to get much better than that. I can still check the micro-fiche data, but you might not hear back from me in about twenty years or so.”
Sandy let out a chortle.
“Thanks, Sandy. Don’t bother on the other. It was worth a shot. Appreciate you.
The Second Call – 2:12 p.m.
“This is Bishop Ekerson, Lieutenant. I wanted to call to ask if you received the information you requested.”
“Yes, I did. Thank you. Although it would have helped if there were more names than what I have on my desk right now.”
“I had my secretary of those members we have on file. I’m sorry we can’t help you any further, but if you think of anything else, anything at all, do not hesitate to call.”
“Thank you, Father Ekerson. If something does come up, I will.”
Hanging up the phone, she started in on the names and addresses listed in front of her. The church has over 2,500 members, yet the list only shows eighty-eight.
Perusing the list, she did spot sixteen that are, or were, very prominent citizens of Montie, as well as all of Johnson County.
The rest of her day was spent in front of her computer searching each and every person to see if they may have ever been any skeletons in their closets that could come back to haunt them.
“You do know; you are allowed to leave the building like normal people.”
Baker looked up and smiled a tired smile at Ed.
“I’ve heard there was a rumor going around to that effect. How did it go out there for you and Hinkle?”
“Wasn’t bad. We responded to two traffic accidents, no one injured, just fender benders. Then there was a disturbance call at Piccoli’s Deli, over on Bismark and Seventh. Other than that, one citation for a busted tail light; that was it.
“What about you? You find anything useful?”
“So far I have two retired judges. One near ninety, the other one damn near dead. Neither one appears to have a hidden past. A former city councilman who use to live in Breckridge, moved here about six years ago, and is running his own one-man law firm.
Only thing on him was back in 1990; a hit and run while drinking. He turned himself in, got two years reduced to probation and a thousand hours of community service. Lucky guy.”
“If you say so. What kind of lawyer is he?”
“Now that is criminal.”
“Overall, I have eleven people that were at one time or another in public office, or prominent in the community. Other than Danvers, our lawyer, everyone else appears to be clean as a whistle.”
“Maybe, just saying, maybe our boy has run out of people to kill.”
“If that’s true, there’s still one more he hasn’t gotten around to yet, Ed.”
“Don’t let him get to you, Jan. Besides, we won’t let him.”
He came over and sat on the edge of her desk, reached out and put his left hand on her shoulder.
“I won’t let him,” he paused for a moment, then smiled.
“Hungry? I’m buying.”
“Last time you said that, if I remember right, we ended up in bed.”
“No strings, Jan. Just dinner. You need to get away from here and just clear your mind for a while. Tonight, just dinner. Nothing more. Nothing less.”
“And you’re buying?”
“Can do. Will do.”
She reached up and covered his hand on her shoulder.
“You’re on. And maybe, just maybe, we can have dessert later. Let’s go.”
Freddy’s Apartment – 10:19 p.m.
That dirty bastard. He certainly fucked up my plans.
I waited for hours for her to come home. And what happened? He follows her home and goes inside with her.
That just pisses me off. I wanted to savor her flesh. Taste it. Chew on it. Swallow part of it into my being. But that asshole cop, Manning, got in my damn way.
He isn’t part of my plan, but she is. And she will be before too long. I just have to wait a bit longer. There will be other times.
I have this urge to strike out at someone tonight. I have to control myself. Breathe in. Breathe out.
I will have her soon enough.
The Strangest Love of All - The Sequel - Part Four
“Dinner was great, mom. I haven’t had a meal like this since…”
“Since you left for college and took that job. Seven years, Bobby. Really, seven years? You should come home more often without me prodding you.”
“Oh, Helen, leave the boy be. He’s a grown man and has a life of his own. Besides, he knows where we live and knows he is always welcome here.”
She stood, clearing away the plates and shook her head. “Men! You always have to be so—so macho about everything.”
Bobby and his father laughed.
“I don’t think it’s that funny at all, Clifford. Mark my words, one day, there will come a time when you will want to see him and then it may be too late.” With that, plates in hand, she turned and went to the kitchen to put the plates in the dishwasher.
“Tell me, Bobby, this project you’re working on, are you making any headway? Getting results?”
“Actually, I am, dad. There is something I have to explain to you and mom. And it isn’t going to be easy, either.”
“What isn’t going to be easy,” said his mom returning. “You sound as if the end of the world is coming to a halt or something.” She sat down at the table, picked up her coffee and took a sip. “So what is this dire secret you are going to share with us?”
And that was where Bobby brought back the meeting with Elyse fourteen years ago.
About that day and how his clothes looked so dirty. How he fell in love. How he was going to be with her. And how they would never see him again.
“This is something I have longed for all this time, and now the chance is finally here. If I don’t do this, I will never be at peace with myself. I hope you two can understand this.”
There was a minute of silence after he finished before his father spoke up.
“Well, hell’s bells and puppy dog tails. If you weren’t my son, I would say you are crazy as hell or on drugs. But you are my son and I have watched you grow up to be smart and honest. Truth be told, and this may sound weird to you Helen, but I believe him.”
“It all sounds like fantasy to me. What with you working on so many secret things you can never tell us about. And now this? So, you would have me believe this Elyse comes from another world and you kissed each other through a piece of glass and bingo-bango, you had a child together? Unless I am missing something here, to have a baby, that requires sex, not a piece of glass.”
“Mom, it’s called a Glass Shading, and according to Elyse, it holds some sort of mystical power even I can’t explain. By Elyse’s words it only appears when two people are destined to be together, and I’m going to follow my destiny.”
Helen started to cry.
“I know, Bobby. Sorry,” she sniffled and wiped away the tears. “It’s—just that if this is true and you go away, I will never see you again or ever see this Elyse or our grandbaby. This is frightening to me. I hope you can understand that.”
“I’m sure he does, Helen. But he’s a man that has to do what’s right in his heart.” Turning to Bobby, he said, “What if it doesn’t work out for you? I don’t mean her, but the getting there? What happens then? Do you try again or give up on the idea?”
“Dad, ah— there is the possibility the atoms in my body would dissolve if caught in a loop continuum.”
“What’s that?” asked his mom.
“It’s like a portal within a portal within a portal. My atoms would be caught up in something sort of like a fan. They would spin out of control, separate and without oxygen, they would simply dissolve. It would be quick, too. I would maybe feel a sudden sharpness of acute pain but in less than a second it would be over.”
“And you are willing to risk your life for a girl you haven’t seen since you were fourteen? That isn’t risky, that’s foolish.”
“Then I’m foolish, mom. I love her, I always have. I never dated going through school because I love her.”
His mother stood away from the table and went to Bobby’s side and gave him a deep hug and a kiss on the cheek. “You know, I often wondered about that. Your father and I had thought that maybe you might have been gay or something.”
Bobby shot a surprised glance at both his parents.
“But, whatever you do, when you get there, you call us to make sure you are okay.”
“I don’t think I’ll be able to do that, mom.”
“Like your dad said, you are a smart man. You’ll figure out something. And if they have Facebook, we can definitely stay in touch.”
This caused all three to break into laughter.
When the night ended and Bobby headed to his car to drive back to his place, Helen had her arm around Clifford’s waist.
“We won’t see him again, will we Cliff?”
She turned her head into his chest and sobbed.
Clifford couldn’t offer any words to ease back her tears.
shadows lead or follow.
shadows stalk your every move.
a reflected image is looked upon.
it becomes an eerie, frightening existence.
lovers profess joys of life.
they are shadows touching shadows.
Long Shadows in the Day
Heat covers me from the bright daylight star;
below my feet,
the blacktop’s tar of the freeway,
radiates distorted heat waves,
but I continue to walk.
I am a hitcher.
Looking to go somewhere from nowhere,
to where, who knows.
One foot in front of the other,
admiring natural wonders surrounding my sojourn.
Hillsides to the left, running rivers to the right,
as metal machines roar by;
and every now and then luck is with me,
hitching a ride for an hour, maybe two,
then back to the long walk
until another metal monster screeches to a halt,
and I’m off again.
From a distant view,
mountains capped in white give off a sense of pureness,
Whippoorwill’s can be heard serenading nature;
occasionally a herd of cattle grazing,
will stop and stare at this two-legged intruder,
until their curiosity wears away.
Being a road-walker all my life
can be a lonely affair for one heart,
but I am never really alone.
I have my thoughts,
and in the heat of day,
behind me is my best friend.
Though he never speaks,
I know he is there,
He is the shadow of my adventure.
The Strangest Love of All – The Sequel - Part One
He studied physics, science, the elements of weather patterns, black holes, different forms of anomalies. He studied dark matter, solar flares. He amassed every book he could find on inter-dimensional space travel. He so wanted this to work.
Countless hours zipped by over the next fifteen years of his life since he met and fell in love with the only girl, now a woman that ever mattered to him. And that woman bore his child. Boy or girl? He had no way of knowing and would never know if his planned idea didn’t work.
He spent the last eight years devising a method to cross over in to a parallel world, but would it actually work? He had done testing, sending various objects through the portal but when he tried to reverse the mechanism, the items such as an apple, a plastic bottle, a cardboard box—never came back. But that proved one thing—it went somewhere, but where?
He was running out of time though. His research project was given one last funding grant for ten-million from private investors in hopes he would … could, devise a way to transport a human being like they did on the show Star Trek. Logic says it can never happen. Science says it is probable. If this actually worked, his investors would be angry at him, but he didn’t care. He was defrauding them, but if this worked, he would never be arrested. His primary goal was to unite with the only woman he ever loved. Elyse.
When he first graduated from college, he went to work for the Allied Institute. They did various projects of a scientific nature for the space program. In his second year with them, he found a way where astronauts would no longer float in their ships simply by wearing what he called a “shift belt” designed to balance the weightlessness with a normal person’s weight. That not only gave him recognition but a huge raise, a title, and some prestige.
His colleagues called him Robert (no one has called him Bobby since he entered college, with the exception of his parents). It was shortly after that when a few investors offered him money to come up with a way to transport humans from one planet to another to repopulate, providing the planet could sustain human life, such as earth.
But after many long hours studying the density of many of the known and not quite so known planets, he found there wasn’t a planet in our universe that could do that, nor would human life survive without protective gear, and actual breathing air. Most planets hadn’t the compounds, or for that matter any of earth’s properties to reconstruct homes, businesses, cities and so on.
Well there is one. A rocky planet in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to Earth (not counting the Sun). Another possible candidate is Alpha Centauri, Earth’s nearest Sun-like star system 4.37 light-years away. The problem with that; it would take a hundred and thirty-seven-thousand years to get there.
As far as he knew, there was only one place and it wasn’t seen through any powerful telescope on earth.
Elyse’s home world.
Preparing the next test, he grabbed a white mouse and placed it in the teleporter-transporter. Bending down, carefully placing him on the flooring, he said, “Zach, I hope you come back. If you do, you’ll make history come alive.”
Closing the door, he went to the instrument panel and pressed a few buttons and then hit enter.
A few lights brightened in the machine, the white mouse scurried about not knowing where to go, and a whirring sound emanated from within. Thirty seconds later, Zach was gone.
The Strangest Love of All - Part One of Two
You may be asking why I am putting this story back up so soon.
The reason is simple to answer.
I first wrote this in 1989, and then ten years ago, I did one revision,
but I always felt I could come up with a sequel,
but for ten years it alluded me.
About 8 days ago, I had an explosion in head and started
writing like crazy, per se. Yesterday (meaning Friday night),
I finally—finally finished the sequel!
I feel like a kid all alone in a candy store!
After this initial posting and over the course of the next 15 days,
I will post one chapter a day. They are small,
so they won’t take that long to read.
The entire combined two parts is 11,437 words.
Technically, it is a two-parter;
just the second half is in chapter form.
And … I want to take this space for a minute
to thank everyone who has read my work. Sometimes you comment,
sometimes you don’t, but I feel that I have entertained you
in some small way, and that tells me I am doing my job
as a writer, for without you, there would
be no one to read the words put forth.
For the record: Elyse is pronounced like: E-lease-e
And as I often say, “Thank ye kindly.”
Bobby was sitting on a large rock facing west out onto the blue water of Culver Point. Bobby’s fourteen. He’s also trying to sort out his young life.
Bobby is in love.
Well, he was.
Earlier, while at school, Bobby watched as he spotted Barbara Williams for the millionth time. She walked right past him during lunchtime in the school cafeteria, and never so much as cast him a second glance, yet alone a first one. Bobby had a crush on her all year and had been planning for the right time to tell her; he just didn’t know when, where, or how. The only ones who knew he was in love with her was himself and his mother. And for just because, his mother didn’t count.
But all that went out the window when he saw Barbara sit with Tommy Baxter, star quarterback, all-around hotshot, and good-looking too. Bobby knew it was over in two ways. They held hands. She kissed him on the lips, even!
Bobby wished it could have been him sharing the table with her instead of Tommy, holding her hand, kissing her back; but Bobby’s private love affair with Barbara was over.
Bobby crossed his arms over his knees, bent his head down and did what any fourteen-year-old would do when his heart’s been crushed for the very first time, and with no one around; he cried.
Elyse was walking through Balstar Grove, one of the many popular valley areas surrounding her city. Elyse is fourteen with a normal teenage problem; she’s coming of age.
So far, not one boy in her category had noticed her. Fourteen is the age of enlightenment and awareness. It is also the age to look for a mate, a partner; someone to love beyond life, other than children of course.
There had been her initial favorite, Bandar, but he had chosen Gengivia instead.
Elyse couldn’t understand what could possibly be wrong with her. She is bright, pretty, well-shaped, and is prepared for a life with another.
None of the boys in her age category wanted anything to do with her; at least that’s how it appeared to her.
Stopping next to a snow tree, Elyse sat near its edge on a soft tuft of summer grass and did what any fourteen-year-old girl in her predicament would do; she bent her head into her hands and cried.
On a day filled with tears and unanswered questions neither could hear; both Bobby and Elyse made a wish.
Bobby wished he would find a girl that would love him for who he is, just plain old Bobby. A bright and funny kid with a big heart.
Elyse wished to find a mate before it became too late in her life. She only wanted someone good that would love her throughout time.
That same afternoon, in two different places, at the same time, thunder and lightning roared their strength and power across the heaven’s, sending crackling bolts of energy streaking across the sky, hell-bent on striking something below, without mercy.
Before either noticed, a once blue sky became suddenly pitch black and ominous.
Mother Nature is coming, and she cares not what you think.
Or does she?
Bobby and Elyse both jumped up at the unexpected rumblings coming from a now darkened ceiling; the roar of lightning striking and thunder bellowing, had snapped both of them out of their sad state of affairs for the moment.
Sporadic light from the lightning did little to ease their panic as they became frightened of being caught in a downpour. Both started running for some form of shelter, their tears and frustrations readily forgotten.
One ran east, the other, west.
The clouds broke open and a heavy deluge came crashing to the ground, rain so thick you could almost cut it with a knife.
As both Bobby and Elyse ran, they could just make out an object that was large and almost the color gray, as strangely enough, the closer they ran toward it, blue skies spread open the dark clouds ahead of them. The object almost seemed to quake or quiver, take your pick.
As they came closer, they could see each other, and when both were in a foot of this strange object, the rain even with blue skies overhead, continued to pelt the ground around them, but the rain never attached itself to Bobby and Elyse.
At first, Bobby thought it must be some sort of tinted glass, but in the middle of nowhere? To Elyse, it took on more of a look of a thin paper shading, but like Bobby; out here?
What seemed forever was only seconds before Bobby spoke first.
“Hi. Where’d you come from?”
“I came from over there,” she pointed. “Balstar Grove. Everyone knows where Balstar Grove is.”
“I don’t. Never heard of the place before.”
“You must be kidding. Balstar Grove is the most well-known place in the world.”
“Okay, whatever you say, but around here, Culver Point is what’s really going on. That’s where I was when all this lightning and junk started. Speaking about that, how come neither of us got soaked?”
“Well, I never heard of Culver Point, so that makes us even I guess. And I don’t know why we aren’t getting wet either, but I, for one, am glad I’m not. Maybe it has something to do with this thing.”
Elyse reached out and touched it, and felt a small tingling warmth run through her fingers. She also felt the object give a little, but not very much when she pressed on it.
“So, what’s your name? I’m Bobby.”
Elyse smiled. He asks a lot of questions which is good. She liked the way he looked, too.
“My name is Elyse. I like the sound of your name. Bobby, have you a mate?”
“Do I have a what! A mate?” Cute girl, but she asks some dopey questions.
“Yes, silly. You know; a friend, a partner, a lover.”
Bobby backed away from the gray object a few feet. Elyse had taken him by surprise with that statement. He had never been approached by a girl this abrupt before (but then again, he was only in love once and never talked to a girl about stuff before).
“I’m sorry, Bobby. Did I say something to offend you? If I did, I’m sorry.”
“Uh, not exactly. It’s just that I never had a girl ask me that before.”
Elyse started walking forward when she again met resistance with the gray object. That was then she remembered what she had learned in class. Could this be true? Would Bobby believe her?
“Hey, you okay?” Bobby asked. He thought she was sort of stupid for trying to walk through this gray whatever it’s called thingy; but what the heck, she’s pretty.
“Hold on a minute and let me see if I can find a way to get around to the other side.”
Bobby started to run to his left when Elyse called out loudly to him.
“Bobby! Don’t! You won’t be able to come over here.”
“Huh? Why not? This thing has to end someplace, doesn’t it?”
“Please try to understand what I’m about to tell you, Bobby. There is a story, practically legend about this; it is called the Shading Stream. Every thousand years, a storm would pass between two worlds, and were two people close by, they would meet and fall in love.”
“What do you mean, pass through worlds? I don’t know about you, but it looks to me like we are on earth, and that’s the only world I know about.”
“I understand. That’s one reason why neither of us recognize where we are both from, and don’t have any recollection of your Culver Point or you, my Balstar Grove.
“I am from Alpha-Earth One. It is a parallel world to yours. Our world has long ago discontinued acts of war, sickness, and disease. No one goes hungry. There are homes for everyone. We have no need for currency as our government provides all our supplies through a ‘Work for Mankind Program’. This way everyone is well taken care of and no one goes hungry. The only thing the government can’t provide, is pairing two people together to unite in preparation for a family. That is still the one thing a male and female have to do on their own. That, and make babies of course.”
When she finally stopped talking, Bobby’s eyes were big around as saucers.
“This is some sort of science-fiction story, right? This is a put on, has to be. I should be dreaming all this but I’m not. This is real. I see you. I hear you, and that makes this even weirder. So this, this stream thing makes people fall in love?”
“Yes. It has been told in our classes when it appears in front of a male and female like us. A new love is born.”
“Now that’s weird, too. Gosh, Elyse, I wonder what it would be like if our government did what yours does. We have a lot of crime, people out of work, and not nearly enough homes to go around for everyone. My dad says too many people have no choice but to live on the streets. Dad says until we get a strong government that’s really ready to take on the hard issues here instead of the rest of the world’s problems; then life can get better. But also said that until then, we are just gonna see harder and harder times.
“But, I’m not allowed, I mean we aren’t allowed to, to … well at least kids my age, to just up and get a girlfriend just to make babies. First off, I’m too young! Second, it’s just not right, and third; my dad would skin me alive! Mom and Dad were like in their twenties when I was born. The twenties is the best time to get married and do that, that … stuff!”
Elyse was a bit surprised and exasperated with what Bobby said. She knew she had to convince him strongly of the power of the Shading Stream.
“Bobby, on my world, if a person is twenty or beyond, and has not yet found a suitable mate, or at least have two children by them; then that persons entire life will have been wasted. It is at my age to age nineteen that mating, and children are to be experienced.
“I like you, Bobby, but the Shading Stream prevents us from touching and doing any of the adult stuff as you put it. I would really love to touch you, kiss you, and have your child, but we cannot touch. If it were only possible.” Her voice trailed off into sadness.
Bobby rolled his eyes around in his sockets.
“You’re darn right we can’t! I told you before, we’re too young for that kind of stuff!”
Bobby watched Elyse as his high-pitched voice caught her off guard, and now it was her turn to back away a few steps.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to get so excited. I mean, you are pretty and all that, but it isn’t right. It just isn’t.”
“Bobby, please listen to me. We haven’t much time left before the Shading Stream will disappear. When it does, we will never see each other again, but we will never forget each other.
“Listen, I know this may sound silly to you, even strange, but walk up to the Stream, and press your lips against it. I will do the same. Even if we cannot touch, at least when our worlds separate, I can say I’ve been kissed by someone I like.”
“Yeah, that was weird, but, ah … oh, okay. I think you’re really pretty too, and it’s a darn shame we can’t be together. I’d like to take you to a movie.”
Elyse cocked her head to the right in a confused manner. “A movie?”
“Yeah, you know, like a date.”
“That I understand. You would make me feel special were you to take me somewhere. But Bobby, we must hurry. There are only moments left before it, and I, are gone!’
Bobby could see she was right. The Shading Stream was beginning to quiver and was shaking harder than before.
He walked up to his side of the Stream as Elyse did on her side. Both pressed their lips against it as if actually kissing. The kiss lasted but mere seconds before Bobby felt a jolting sensation coarse through him. Like a warm chill; and that quickly it was gone.
Elyse had the same reaction. When they stepped back, Elyse knew the legend of the Shading Stream was true.
It held a magical moment for both of them, especially Elyse.
She raised her right hand to wave goodbye. Bobby raised his left. Briefly both hands pressed tightly against the Shading Stream. Tears came to both of them once more, but this time because they truly found love. A very special love.
“I love you, Bobby!”
The Shading Stream began to shake and rumble, wavering left and right, fading with each passing second.
“I love you, Elyse! One day I will find you again, I promise!”
Bobby watched as the Shading Stream quivered even stronger, rattled, and groaned as Elyse’s form began to fade away, then vanish completely.
Where she once stood, where the Shading Stream stood tall, they were no longer there, almost like waking from a dream.
Bobby stood in the middle of the outer fields of Culver Point. He knew he had just experienced the strangest yet most incredible moment of his young life. He also experienced what a unique love between two people feels like for the very first time. It would be a love he would never relinquish.
As far as he was concerned, Tommy Baxter could keep Barbara Wilson. She couldn’t hold a candle to Elyse.
Heading for home at a faster pace than normal, Bobby noticed the rain had stopped and the skies were clear blue again. His clothes were dirty, but he was bone dry.
Bobby had a secret as he whistled all the way home with a smile.
After Bobby came home, his mother could sense he was acting differently from before. She knew he was heartbroken because some girl he liked was dating another boy. She tried to explain he was too young to get serious with girls right now. She also explained that when he became older, things would become much clearer, and that he would understand the older he became.
“Bobby,” she called out while fixing dinner, “you’re acting like you’re in a better mood.”
“Yeah, mom, a lot better. I met this girl today and I like her a whole bunch.”
Here we go again, she thought. So much for the mom-son conversation. At least he’s over what’s-her-name.
“Oh? Pray tell, what girl is this?”
“Elyse. She’s about the prettiest girl on two worlds.”
“Excuse me. Two worlds?”
Bobby told her what happened.
She shook her head listening to him while fixing dinner at the same time. What an imagination. She knew she should say something, but she thought to wait until after his father came home and talk to him first. For now, it was probably best just to let Bobby think he has a girlfriend for the moment.
After Bobby finished his story, his mother said, “Wonderful, honey. Now go upstairs and take a bath and make sure those clothes you have on go in the laundry basket. You have some sort of gray dirt or something on them from God knows where.”
While Bobby was in the bathroom, he looked in the mirror over the sink. All he could see was Elyse’s face.
Just before he took his bath, he giggled.
There was one part of the story he didn’t tell his mom.
Elyse was back at Balstar Grove, sitting on a small knoll in the direction where she had the greatest moment of her life; meeting Bobby.
She clutched at her stomach and cradled the warmth she already felt there. She would raise their child as was fitting. At least she wouldn’t be an old maid. She laughed aloud at the thought.
The legend of the Shading Stream is true, and she is the proof.
When two people meet, accept one another, are both pure and clean, then a new life is created by pressing virgin lips upon the Shade.
She felt it happen, and she knew Bobby did as well. Wow, a thousand years she reflected, and Bobby and I were the chosen ones.
She remembered his last words to her, but she knew she would never see him again. The odds of them coming together were against them. Neither would be alive a thousand years from now. What happened between them was a blessing. To be remembered, yes, but to see each again, sadly, no. Warping from planet to planet cannot be done.
Elyse decided if their child is a boy, she would name him Bobby, after his father. He would grow into the man Bobby would be proud of; she would see to that.
Elyse stood and faced north, heading for home. Once there, she would tell her parents what happened. They would be amazed but extremely happy. They would believe her story. Lies aren’t allowed, and before the year ended, the truth would be alive.
Just as she would keep her love for Bobby alive.
“Perhaps I may see him again. Father says all things are possible. Who is to know what the future brings us.”
Behind her stood a snow tree. As she walked away, she could see the twin suns of Alpha and Eartha One cross over into each other as they always did, as if kissing as she and Bobby had kissed.
Clutching her belly, she hummed a happy tune, smiling all the way home.
That same night, before sleep overtook Bobby, he too smiled.
He had heard his parents discussing things earlier about his tale of meeting Elyse. Mom didn’t win this one. Hi-five’s for dad!
“Just let him act it out for a few days. He’ll be fine. He’s young and still growing. Besides, all boys get a broken heart now and then just like girls do. One day, he’ll be gone from our nest and then it’ll be too quiet around here. Just let him take his time growing up,” his father said.
Whispering in his darkened bedroom, “It’ll be more than a few days, dad, but don’t worry, I’m cool about it.”
Visions of Elyse danced before him.
“One day, I swear to you, Elyse, I will find you again.”
He rolled over on his side, his face facing an open window, and he could see a billion-trillion-gazillion stars, and somewhere, before he drifted off to sleep, to find Elyse in his dreams, he too, knew the legend of the Shading Stream was true.
The one part he didn’t tell when he came home was that he was going to be a father.
A Chat With Life
Life: Here are some lemons for you.
Me: You can keep your lemons.
Life: But... but, don't you want to make lemonade?
Me: Not especially. Besides I don't like it when my lips pucker.
Life: So then, you don't want to kiss me?
Me: What! Kiss you? You have got to be joking!
Life: But you just said your lips pucker.
Me: Yeah, but not in a good way. They make my face wrinkly and weird looking.
Life: That's a shame. You do know lemons are healthy for you.
Me: See, that's the problem. Healthy things will kill me.
Life: I don't understand. Please explain.
Me: I've been eating all the wrong foods for years, drink four gallons of Pepsi a week.
Life: Wow! That much?
Me: Yes, and I never felt better. Why don't you just keep the lemons for yourself?
Life: I couldn't do that.
Me: Why not?
Life: They make life look ugly and wrinkly.
Me: (Just rolls my eyes.)