Monday, September 19, 2011

The River Whispers

You sang your siren song 
tumbled over the ringing rocks
"come in and play", you whispered
your gentle laughter 
dancing under green leaves

But I am tender, old,  in my decline
I have no use for silly water slides
"come in and play", you whispered
splashing gaily at the butterflies

Then I desired you
young buck in love, 
hard and ready, 
ramming for desire,
 ideal man of action, 
"jump in and play" I shouted, overcome
invincible,  the bold power of youth
in my present condition.

The raft was too tiny and small, 
the water too fast
to chance it at all. I relapsed,
floating bean in the shallow end
"come in and play", you danced, your
sunlight prisms trapping the water ripples

A larger boat might suffice
I shall try again, said my youth returning that night
pushed my blow-up kayak into her moat
"Here to play now!"  said the young man goat

She tore at me, razor water flowing down
tossed me over,  a foolish clowning drowned
"come out and play", her words assaulted my ears
violent water whips pulling me beneath her

One more breath,  I shall die from
Rocks of giants, hidden under the river ride
knees and arms flail, racing to escape her wicked course
"come in and play" she taunts me, 
as I lay battered on her stony shore.

Nevermore and never mind, Id rather walk a desert mile,
tame the mountain spine, or perhaps, 
take a lovely summer drive
In that respect, I'd even find wings to fly.

"Come and play with me"  whispered a grinning sky.

Written by Rick Fisher  2nd Revision  Copyright 9/19/11 
The 1st draft can be found here

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Diffle County Report: Murder and Deer Sausage - 2nd in a Series

Part 1:
In Pennsylvania We Eat Our State Animal

Written By Rick Fisher

Aunt Carol was stirring the crockpot when Big Don arrived home.  "Honey, the phone has been ringing off the hook for the past hour."  The phone rang as she spoke.

Big Don picked up the receiver and barked "Hello!"  After 10 minutes of answering “Yes”, “No”, and “No, thank you”, Big Don hung up the phone.  "Well, that was a producer for The Nancy Grace Show on CNN. Nancy wants me to be on her show tomorrow night.  Told them,  Thanks but no thanks."   Don shook his head as he sat down for dinner. "I'm thinking we might have to barricade the highway by tomorrow morning."

"NANCY GRACE?!  YOU WERE ON THE TELEPHONE WITH NANCY GRACE?!?!?!  Aunt Carol dropped a spoon, then she dropped the bowl of Deer Sausage Soup. Then she ran out of the room. Don didn't have to worry about the phone ringing the rest of the night.  Aunt Carol took care of that. By midnight, every living person ( and a few near-dead ones) in Diffle County knew about Linda Malone being found dead in Fletcher's Pond.

After cleaning up Aunt Carol’s mess, Big Don helped himself to three bowlfuls of her world famous Deer Sausage Soup (which is a variation on a Dutch recipe created by the Women's Auxiliary of the Friendship Hook and Ladder Company of East Greenville). The meat was perfectly smoked and the soup tasted delicious- “Never better!”, Big Don said out loud, a happy old grin on his face.

“Hey Auntie, is this Father Figure’s sausage?” Big Don hollered to the living room, then murmured to himself “I doubt it is, this is much sweeter and juicier.” Aunt Carol hollered back from the living room.  “Squirrel brought it over. Such a sweet, yet odd little man!’  Don was too busy chomping down soup to offer his affirmative reply.

Aunt Carol kept the phone lines humming half the night. Some folks swear they saw phone lines smoking on the telephone poles.  Big Don finished dinner and then headed upstairs for an early bedtime.  Tomorrow was going to be a long day.  “I don’t know how I do it!” Don chuckled to himself a short while later, just before falling asleep.

The next morning, Big Don had to drive across Bernie Sharp’s sheep farm to get to Maruice Candelharp’s driveway. From there he crossed Beaver Dam Rd. to enter Creek Lane, which is really nothing more than a dirt trail. He then drove his truck through a thicket of blackberry bushes that had overgrown the trail’s end, his truck climbing up the shoulder and onto the pavement of N Fletcher Road which led directly to the rear of the Grinold Township Municipal building.

The State Police had closed the main highway one mile North of Creek Lane, and one mile South of the Township building after 75+ news vans, satellite trucks, and thousands of rubbernecked lookie-loos in cars and trucks of all sizes descended on the pond. Big Don pulled into the township building, having avoided all the congestion.

When he got out of his truck, he was immediately surrounded by reporters.  “Are you in charge here?  Do you have any comment on the Malone murder?  Are you going to provide us with regular updates?  Is it possible to get an interview with you live on our news program? 

Big Don kept walking, a blank look on his face.  “Sorry folks, I’m just here to pick up a permit.”   The reporters melted away, realizing they had the wrong man.  Big Don walked inside and greeted the makeshift police department assembled in the meeting room, then walked out back to the township garage.  The big trucks were lined up, snow plows firmly attached, ready for the coming winter.

At the back of the garage, four worn-out lazy-boy chairs were waiting, though three were already occupied.  Larry, Squirrel, and The Kid were lounging and talking about Linda Malone, each one arguing the merits of the case.

“Thanks for the deer sausage, Squirrel. Aunt Carol made her world class sausage soup. I’m still feeling it.”  Big Don burped.  

Squirrel smiled.  “No problem, Big Don. I had plenty extra.  Tell her to save me a bowl of that soup.  Never had it before.” 

State Police Captain Jonathan Jenkins walked back into the garage. He had been up all night managing the media circus while searching for evidence.  His usually crisp uniform was wrinkled and his tie was stained with tomato sauce, his salt and pepper hair disheveled from a 3 A.M. attempt to nap in one of the lazy boys.

Big Don leaned against a work counter and greeted Captain Jenkins, "Hi John. You look a little tired. Are you close to catching the killer?  I will want my township building back eventually.”

Captain John managed a grin.  “We have some evidence, found some ATV tracks on the lake path. The path leads back to State Game Lands and the parking lot on Carter Hill Road.  We found more evidence in the parking lot. We made a cast of the ire tracks and I have men walking every square inch of the woods in between. We have no idea why someone would have chosen this location to dump her body.  It’s a missing piece in the puzzle, the mot-.”

Captain John paused, realizing he didn’t know everyone in the room. He turned to Squirrel and, without smiling said, “I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Captain Jonathan Jenkins, Barracks Commander of the Pennsylvania State Police.”  

“Nice to you, Captain.” Squirrel managed to say.  They did not shake hands.

Captain John looked at Squirrel and frowned. “Everything I just said is confidential, understood?  My words never leave this room.  I’ve known these boys a long time.  It only takes one screw-up to get yourself kicked off the need-to-know list.”  Captain John turned to Big Don.  “Don, we are holding a press conference in about 30 minutes.

"Need to Know List," Larry repeated, like a parrot.

"Don, we’d like a local official to answer a few general questions about Grinold Township,”  said Captain John.

"Local Official", Larry repeated.

Big Don smiled and nodded.  “I think we can find someone for that.”   Captain John thanked him gave a general wave, and a longer than normal stare at Squirrel before walking back to the office area.   

Big Don sat down, yawned and stretched. “Well kid, we can do it with you or without you. Squirrel, looks like you made a lifelong friend at the State Police barracks. Better not drink and drive.”   Squirrel shrugged, his gray-blue eyes slightly larger than normal.

"Do it with or without you", repeated Larry

The Kid shook his head repeatedly. 
“I’m not going up there, Don. No way.  I’m just a Township employee.”  The kid squirmed in his chair, adjusting the John Deere cap on his head.

“I will tell you what to say.  Remember that time you needed a gift for your girlfriend and we helped you pick it out?  Don was smiling so hard, his face was about to crack.

“HELP ME OUT?  You told me to buy new equipment for bow hunting.  That she would appreciate the fresh meat.  She was furious!”   The Kid kicked at some dirt on the floor.

"Help you out.," said Larry, as he read the Diffle County Daily Reporter.

“We didn’t think you’d actually go through with it.”  Big Don laughed out loud.  “OK, here is what you’ll say.  Grinold Township has been around longer than most can remember.  We have clean water, beautiful lakes and streams, plenty of hunting and fishing.  Now, if you need more information than that, Diffle County has elected officials who need votes. Go talk to them.”

The kid shook his head.  “I ain’t goin’ up in front of those cameras, Big Don.”

Thirty minutes later, The Kid, also known as Timothy Westin, Grinold Township Public Relations Director, talked for 30 minutes about hunting and fishing in Grinold Township.  Most of the reporters had already left by the time The Kid was finished with his speech.

Afterwards, Captain and Big Don had a private talk in Don’s office.  The only unusual thing in the woods that the police observed was a deer had been killed and gutted not far off the ATV Trail. Hunting season was at least two months away. Big Don didn’t think much of that until he burped.

Smoking Deer Sausage

All characters are fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental, incidental, and not meant to hurt, harm, nor offend your tender sensibilities.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

Diffle County Update: Aunt Carol's Deer Sausage Soup Recipe

This writer has had a busy week after our perfect vacation. Because of that, my characters in Diffle County have been less than cooperative.  While I almost have the entire murder story figured out, I still have to talk to the Reilly clan and maybe Big Don one more time to make certain I have all the facts straight. In the meantime, why not take a look at Aunt Carol's recipe for Deer Sausage Soup!  

And remember, if Deer sausage is out of season (not likely in Diffle County), you can use regular, boring smoked sausage.  If you do, try to use one of the local butchers like John Hemstattler & Sons, over in East Greenville, just past the traffic light on the left.  Look for the cow in the window.

Aunt Carol's Deer Sausage Soup

4 lg. potatoes, peeled and diced (like for potato salad)
1 lg. onion, diced
1 lg. green pepper, diced
1 lb. smoked deer sausage, cut into small pieces
Cover with water, add salt and pepper to taste, cook until potatoes are
done, then add: 1 can red kidney beans (don't drain)
2-3 Tablespoons of sugar
Heat to boiling point and thicken with flour water (just thicken slightly)
**sausage can be browned before cooking, if desired)

Diffle County is a work of fiction, however the recipe is true.  All characters reside in the mind of the author. Any resemblance to persons now living or already gone to meet their maker is purely coincidental, incidental, and not worthy of your frivolous lawsuit.  Spend your money on something worthwhile like a vacation. Go somewhere nice, like Washington State, or perhaps, Diffle County, where you thought you were in the first place.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's About Time...

...for another Diffle County story!  Coming Soon.."Murder and Deer Sausage"  the surprisingly conclusion to our murder mystery.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rafting the Skykomish River - 1st Attempt

I was excited and ready to raft the stretch of rapids in front of our vacation rental. Our neighbor calls it Cabin Run and nothing sounds dangerous about a cabin running so I began to make preparations.  I stopped by the local mini-mart that had rafts hanging from the roof.  Thirty-two dollars later, I owned my own raft.

When I took it out of the box, I realized I would need a pump to inflate it.  We drove to a neighboring town and found a Fred Meyers Store. Another thirteen dollars spent and finally- I was raring to go.

After pumping up the raft, I walked to the river and began rock-jumping my way upstream.  I would like to point out that rock-jumping while holding a large raft is extremely difficult.   I nearly broke my neck.

So now you are wondering where Waterbunny was all this time?  Was she standing on the deck, cheering me on?  No. She was taking a nap. Smart girl.    You'll see why.

Diffle County Report: Aliens Spotted on Spoot Mountain

Story by Rick Fisher Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved. All Characters are fictional. Any resemblance to folks living or dead is purely coincidental and not intended to reflect poorly upon the good non-fictional people we know.

A bad storm came through Diffle County last week.  I always know when a summer storm is a bad one by my telephone.  Since I live in Nother County, the boys don't call me in to help out unless they are desperate.  I can accept that.  Big Don likes to say, "Ricky, we can do it with you or without you."  Mostly they do it without me.

But eventually, being the back-up to the alternate to the part-timer to the full-timer gets you called on the phone after a nasty storm.

Big Don on the phone:
"Ricky, what are you doing today?  A bad storm came through.  Ol' John is down with a bad knee,  Arthur is in Florida, and Father Figure, well..he's on a aren't on the need to know list so we will leave it at that."

"What about Larry Lohman?  Isn't he available?"  I was trying to think of an excuse.  It was 5 a.m.

"Larry has a lawn maintenance seminar to attend . Ricky, we know you aren't busy at five in the morning.  You might as well come in."  Big Don believes that sleeping doesn't count as doing something.

There were a good number of trees down over roads, and large branches too. As soon as I got into the office, Big Don and I grabbed chainsaws and hopped in the Township truck.  He drove and I rode.  He knew where he was going. Here is how the system works: All night long, trees fall down. All night long folks who should stay home in a bad storm but don't dial up 911.  All night long the State Police call Big Don.

"Is Walt (our esteemed zoning officer originally from Long Island) out helping too?  I asked, as we bumped along on the back roads.

"Ricky, how many New Yorkers do you know who can handle a chainsaw?"  Big Don replied with feigned irritation.  After that we kept our conversations to the business of cutting limbs and clearing roads.

We were cutting a large Oak limb on Weldon Drive when Big Don's cell phone started playing "Made in America" by Toby Keith.  "Ah, it's Melissa."  (All women are named Melissa to Big Don. It's kind of catchy,  you should try it at home.)  He spoke with a couple of "uhuhs" and "okays" and a "whew" and then a "thank you Melissa" before hanging up the phone.  We finished carving up the branch and tossing it into the woods at the road's edge.

"Ricky, Melissa says we'll have to go rescue Marcus Spoot."

Marcus Spoot is a  true mountain man. He owns seventy-six acres of woods on a small rise surrounded by gentle valleys.  This is the same seventy-six acres that his daddy owned, his Pappy owned, and his great Granddaddy owned.  Before that, there is a missing deed (Chief Running Bear's deed, according to Native Americans and their casino backers), then a John Becker, and back even further, and not surprisingly, the property (along with half of Pennsylvania) was owned by the Honorable William Penn.

Marcus  Spoot had a driveway made of legend. Only 4-wheel drive vehicles could easily ascend to the top. Once the mountain snow and ice arrived, the Spoot homestead was only accessible by snowmobile and ATV's.  In the winter, Marcus Spoot parked  his old Dodge truck next to the mailbox down by the main road.

If he needed to go somewhere, Spoot ditched the snowmobile in Clawney's old barn, across the highway, hopped in his truck and drove. During the warmer seasons, the Dodge carried junk, tons of junk, picked up every trash night throughout the county, then carted up the mountain and tossed on the ground- new treasures every week.

Spoot's daddy was a junk collector.  Spoot's grand-pappy was a junk collector.  Spoot's Great grandfather collected metal and wood. The first pile is still there, rusting an decaying.  On top of Spoot mountain, there are over 5 acres of  Spoot-declared treasure- from half a piper cub to a 39 foot sailboat jacked up on cinder blocks with paint peeling faster than a drunken pee. Four generations of junk sure can add up.

Over the years, Spoot Mountain has also accumulated 55-gallon plastic barrels and Marcus has put them to good use fermenting peaches, sugar pears, apples, grapes, and more. It is the most unsanitary winery known to man. Fly strips full of winged insects hang from the ceiling of his makeshift garage, and a thousand more circle the barrels.  If you saw it, you wouldn't want to drink it.

Yet the wine is 150 proof and an absolute delight as long as you only sip half a glass or pour down more than two glasses. You don't want to drink enough to remember your reaction, friend. Or you want to drink enough to forget your reaction, babydoll.

Spoot had fancy names for his wine.  "Applenesia"  "Sugarpear Snare", "Grape Sinner" and "Peach Plowed" are some of the names Spoot has used in the past.  "Hey Marcus, what kind of wine is this?", I asked one day when he dropped off a couple of jars for the boys.  "That red one is "Strawberry Snatch".  They be snatching your children away from you after you drink some of that.   The yellow one is Daffodil Dyke.  Drink a few glassfuls and you be hitting on all the wrong girls in the bar. A few more glasses, and you be dancin' in the wrong bar, and a few more, you be shaving your head and marching in the parade."

He once invited the State Auditor, a lovely, professional accountant, over to his "winery" for a tasting.  A connoisseur of fine wines, she naturally agreed.  They found her 2 days later in Stopton, 40 miles away, wandering down the middle of Main Street in search of her car.  Spoot says he warned her.  "I told her, this one is Elderberry Eraser- erase your mind as fast as you drink it down.

It was hard for us to believe that Spoot needed our help. But when we arrived we saw there were dozens of trees down over his driveway, which was mostly washed out.  And Spoot was feeling poorly, fightin off some serious chest pains. An ambulance and crew waited at the driveway entrance to take him in, while we went to work at clearing those trees.

Dave got on cellular and called George Watkins, who lived nearby. "George, we need the big machine. Over at Spoots. Yep. Okay. Send the bill to the Township. Yep. Melissa says Howdy. Bye now."  We stood around chatting with the ambulance crew for a few minutes when the sound of thunder started rolling our way.

Within minutes, the thunder became a clanking roar of yellow iron and rust- George Watkins had arrived on top of his 1957 D8 and, without so much as a wave, attacked the trees on Spoot's driveway- breaking trees and pushing them aside like little twigs, then scraping the dirt and pushing it forward, filling the ruts in nice and tight.

We followed with our chainsaws, cutting back a limb here, tossing minor branches aside there- while Watkins and his mighty D8 carved a new driveway to Spoot's front door.  Within an hour we reached the old man, and there he was sitting on a half-finished deck, feet hanging over the edge, naked down to his tighty-whiteys, a half-empty jar of Mighty Melon Masher in one hand.

"Howdy boys! Took ya long enough!  I thought I was gonna die and so I thought I'd better get to drinkin' and not remember my ending...then the aliens came and they took me up in their spaceship and poked at me with funny white sticks.  I shared a jar of my Masher with them..whooee, they was happy after that..knocked down all them trees in the driveway trying to get back to the sky...then a cat and an otter showed up looking for some armor.   I found them a couple of nice oven doors from a couple of stoves my pappy picked up on the Johnston farm a few years back..."

Marcus Spoots vitals were checked out by the EMT and he politely refused a ride to the hospital, "..and don't even think about charging me for a house call!"   George turned his dozer around and  gave a sweep back down the mountain for a final grade, and Big Don and I declined a glass of Melon Mash, but Big Don did remind Spoot that we fixed his driveway and to stop by for hot dogs next Tuesday, oh and don't forget to get those aliens registered to vote, election's coming up and Big Don sure could use a few extra votes.

The next morning, the Diffle County Reporter ran the front page headline:

"Wobbling U.F.O. Spotted Hovering Over Spoot Mountain"
State Police Confirm Sighting of Leaf-Covered Disc in Sky

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mighty Katia Has Fallen - Now a Tropical Storm

These things happen.  The models predict light shear, favorable conditions, and a major hurricane in the making. Then the Sea answers back, the Wind and the Sky answer back, and a cutting gale blows against the storm, decimating its core, stealing its energy.  The analysts avert their eyes from the Atlantic, look towards the Gulf and run the models again.  There will be something new, something powerful and dangerous that will make landfall.  The continuous waves of reporting will ratchet up the warning flags for the next storm to come.

But among themselves they talk of a new Katia, rising stronger than before, bringing a new fear into the hearts of all who live within distance of her powerful lungs, her sheets of endless water, and her surging ocean waves.  Probably happen within a few days, folks.

TERM...HOWEVER IT STILL BRINGS KATIA TO A MAJOR HURRICANE IN A FEW DAYS."  - NWS National  Hurricane Center, Advisory No. 15  9/1/11  5:00 p.m.

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