Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Back in the Game


A large eagle glided silently over my path as I crossed the bridge, spanning the Arkansas River near Jenks, Oklahoma. It was going to be a good day.

On the third day of August 2017, I rolled out of bed with a different agenda in mind. I had unfinished business. The email I’d received the previous day was sent as a reminder, but I had not forgotten. I was, in fact, looking forward to it.

I backed the BMW from the garage and set a course for Woodward, Oklahoma, not the office as usual. The decision was neither spontaneous nor poorly thought out, though somewhere west of Enid I began to question the integrity of the satellite feeding information to my phone. I halfway expected the face of Rod Serling to appear in my rearview mirror. A signpost just ahead came into view.

Thankfully, the signpost made no mention of the Twilight Zone but indicated instead that Woodward was eighteen miles away. A few months earlier, the Woodward Library System had contacted me and asked me to be a part of their Summer Adult reading program. I am happy that I accepted the request, and thankful that I was able to make the trip. I truly hope all of the wonderful people, who attended the event, enjoyed the experience as much as I did.

Okay, let’s try this again:

About a month ago, I was sitting in a hospital lab, waiting to get… well, you know, stabbed or jabbed in one way or the other. I’ve been doing way too much of that lately.  Thankfully it has been on an outpatient basis. Anyway, I’d showed up two days earlier, like the endocrinologist had instructed me to do, only to be sent home, after having fasted – that means skipping midnight snacks, breakfast, and coffee – to return a few days later. It seems the doctor had requested the test, but had not scheduled it.

Am I missing something here? If a doctor requests a test be done on a certain day, isn’t that technically the same as scheduling it? And I used to think the accounting profession was convoluted.

To cut to the chase, while I was sitting in the waiting room, a young lady dressed in hospital attire came into the room, dragged up a chair, and sat beside the other young lady, who was already behind the desk and also dressed for the occasion. The young lady, who had already been behind the desk, acknowledged the presence of the later arrival with a curt nod, but for a few minutes, neither of them spoke, neither to me nor to each other. Yeah I’m liking neither, nor today. To compound the puzzle, the second young lady did absolutely nothing constructive or otherwise that I could ascertain, but simply sat there, perhaps conducting mind over matter exercises. The silence was finally broken when the later arrival began to complain about her hours. 

From the conversation that I could not help but overhear, I determined that the second young lady was there as some sort of disciplinary action. I didn’t pick up on what she might have done to earn the detainment, but what cruel form of punishment would give you a twenty minute break from work while still being paid for it?

It gets worse. Her complaining amounted to protests for having had to take off an extra half hour for lunch due to her working  a half hour overtime. I’m no Einstein but, relatively speaking, a negative half hour coupled with a positive one equals zero. And I’d be willing to bet she was paid for the overtime. No wonder the cost of medical care is soaring at a rate nearing the speed of light.

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Twisted Perception is now out in audiobook. Please click the link below:

 


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This article was written by Bob Avey, author of Twisted Perception, Beneath a Buried House, and Footprints of a Dancer. http://www.bobavey.com

 

 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Just Have a Little Faith


In the past – of which I must admit recalling the defining moments has become more difficult lately – I would always dread the thought of putting together a newsletter. However, without fail, once I started to write, the words would just happen, as if I had some sort of hidden well of thoughts that was only accessible when I wasn’t really aware that I was trying to. The well seems to be hidden. I guess I’m trying too hard.

Anyway, in searching for the light side of things, which used to come quite naturally to me, I now seem to struggle. It’s been a rough couple of years, but I won’t go into that. Instead, if I can’t find lighthearted, I’ll reach for something else.

A few years ago, quite a few actually, I was near a schoolyard during the summer when the school was closed, swinging a metal detector over the ground to see what I could find beneath the soil. I used to do that as much as time would permit. It’s a highly misunderstood hobby.

Curious passersby would often ask me, “Hey does that thing actually work?”

No, I would think but not say. I just enjoy waving a metal rod over the ground. You should try it sometime.

Or, “Hey, have you found enough to pay for that thing yet?”

Oh, I don’t know. Have you won enough tournaments to pay for your golf clubs? Perhaps you’ve caught enough fish to pay for your bass boat?

Just as it is with golf and fishing, the hobby of metal detecting isn’t about the money. It’s about relaxing and having a good time. But I stray from the point. While I was lost in thought, intently listening for the subtly different nuances of sound the detector was putting out, a boy of about twelve years of age walked over and got my attention. I nodded and removed my headphones.

He dug into his pocket, pulled out a handful of coins, and held them out for me.

The more I tried to explain that I didn’t really need the coins, the more insistent he became. I finally told him to scatter the coins across the schoolyard so I could find them with the detector. He was a good kid who thought he was helping me out. I often wonder what happened to the kindhearted lad. Good things I hope.  

On another occasion, I was walking across the parking lot of a local convenience store when a teenager with dirty, scraggly hair approached a lady. “Could you loan me some money for cigarettes?” He asked.

The lady explained that she would not give him any money, but instead would go into the store and purchase the cigarettes for him. To my surprise, the dirty, young man was overcome with thankfulness. He asked her what he could do to repay her. She told him to do something nice for someone else, if he got the chance.

In a world permeated with negativity and violence, random, selfless acts of love and kindness are not overshadowed, but instead shine their light into the darkness. We should all strive not only to become aware of such behavior, but to also act as conduits through which the light of Jesus can shine.
This article was written by Bob Avey
http://www.bobavey.com

You have permission to use or republish all or a part of the article. The only requirements are to include my name as the author, and provide my contact information.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bob's 1st Quarter Newsletter 2017





Bob’s 1st Quarter Newsletter
2017
First off, I extend a sincere and heartfelt greeting to all my friends and loyal readers. You haven’t heard from me in a while, and I apologize for that. 2016 was not a good year for me. I’ve been ill.

It started almost a year ago when I began to have problems swallowing. That turned out to be caused by acid reflux, which the doctors finally got under control. However, somewhere along the line, I began to feel weak, with flu-like symptoms. I’d lost a lot of weight, and I figured the acid reflux was to blame. That was probably part of it, but I suspected something else might be going on. I asked the doctor about it several times who kept prescribing different medicines, most of it aimed at treating symptoms related to the acid reflux. Nothing seemed to help. I finally asked the Gastroenterologist about it and he said he hadn’t seen anything during his two endoscope exams that would cause flu-like symptoms. I passed this information on to my general practitioner (regular doctor) and suggested maybe something else was going on. Since then I’ve been through various tests. The only thing the tests have revealed is that I might have mononucleosis. I know that sounds funny and not serious, but I assure you I’ve been quite ill. I’m still not convinced that is the only problem. Another recent test indicated possible thyroid problems. 

Anyway, the illness has left me weak and without much drive or ambition. I am trying to overcome that. During all of this many other things have happened. I’m not one to go on about such things so I won’t, except for one: I just learned that my longtime friend and publisher, Dan Case, has decided to close AWOC, his publishing business.  So now I’m scrambling, trying to get help with republishing my books to keep them out there and available. 

All of this, coupled with my preexisting propensity for procrastination, has rendered my already snail-like writing pace to the realm of exceeding the speed of light, which, theoretically, would cause one to go backward. 

Has he gone mad, you might ask?

It’s a debatable question. However, my 4th Elliot novel is caught somewhere in the Space-Time Continuum, and I hope to find the strength and energy to rescue the amalgamation of words, sprinkled with hints of brilliance and hopefully laced with enough cohesiveness to carry a sense of story, from this Twilight Zone that I, and Mr. Elliot, have found ourselves in.
I ask for your prayers and continued support.     

Please check out my writing by clicking the link below:


I want to thank everyone who signed up for my Reader List. We’ve already given away a nice prize. I have a lot more good stuff planned. If you haven’t signed up, I’ve placed the link below.

Twisted Perception is now out in audiobook. Please click the link below:
Please follow the link and check it out. Once you’re at the site, there’s a button you can click to hear a free sample. Charles Bice, the reader we chose, did an excellent job of portraying the characters as he tells the story. I believe you can even get the audiobook of Twisted Perception for free, if you join Audible.com. And who wouldn’t want to do that?

 I want to thank everyone who has signed up for my newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it. If you know of someone who might enjoy it, too, please email it to them.

I also give programs for writing groups, reading groups, or any group that’s interested. If you belong to a club, which needs program speakers, keep me in mind.

You have permission to reprint, forward, or use the contents of this newsletter in your newsletter or e-zine. The only requirement is the inclusion of the following footer:
This article was written by Bob Avey, author of, Twisted Perception, Beneath a Buried House, and Footprints of a Dancer. http://www.bobavey.com.

Thursday, June 09, 2016



Bob’s 2nd Quarter Newsletter
2016

First a bit of business: Amazon, doing the promotional magic they’re famous for, has a bit of a deal for my books. With Twisted Perception, if you’ve purchased the e-book, you can also get the Audible version for just a $1.99. With Twisted Perception, Beneath a Buried House, and Footprints of a Dancer, if you’ve purchased the paperback, you can get the e-book for 99 cents.    

Reflective moods have come upon me lately, overcoming my thoughts on an increasing basis.
Have you ever considered that we, or at least a majority of us, might be misusing our gifts?
The content of a recent radio program caused me to think about this. The host of the show proposed, and I paraphrase, that the very thing that sets us apart from the crowd, gives us our edge, is also quite often the source of many of our problems.

A few days ago, my wife, Kathi, and I were enjoying lunch in the park as we often do. We’re fortunate enough to work for the same company and the building is close to the park. It should have been a day much like the others, but it was not. 

I pulled into a shady spot, shut off the car and rolled down the windows, but instead of fresh air we received a dose of surrealism. The first thing we noticed was the abundance of birds hopping about in the grassy areas, many more than usual, but no other people were around, no other cars took up parking spaces. A cool breeze blew through the park, causing an empty aluminum can to bump and bounce across the asphalt, the action causing the only discernable sound. For a few moments, the scenario reminded me of a Stephen King movie. 

Suddenly the silence was blasted away when a pickup truck pulled into the parking lot, its radio playing some type of weird music, a type I’d never heard before.

 I glanced at Kathi, communicating without words that perhaps we should go for a walk.
She nodded her approval and we locked up the car then crossed the lot and stepped onto the gravel path, which winds around the park. We followed the path to the large pond that dominates the west end of the park, and once there we slowed our pace to enjoy the scenery.

Canadian geese and a few ducks floated on the water, some of them paddling along, leaving small wakes behind. Turtles sunned themselves on logs that protruded from the pond. Occasionally a fish or two would swim to the surface then again disappear back into the depths. At the edge of the water, a mama and daddy duck swam with babies. 

The geese, the ducks, the turtles, and the fish all seemed to be at peace within their environment. I imagined they had no worries, held no grudges, clung to no political affiliations, or harbored any ambitions. They simply went about the business of being what they were.

That evening, while on our way home from work we saw a dogsled, being mushed alongside the road with a team of Huskies. Instead of runners, the sled had wheels. How weird is that?

Not far from the dogsled incident, an elderly lady slowly made her way along the sidewalk with a cane. She carried a sack of groceries.

The oddness of the day reached its apex when I pulled into a convenience store to get some gasoline for the car. At the pump in front of me, putting gas into a black convertible with loud music spewing from the speakers, a man, who looked as if he’d stepped off a movie set, dominated my attention. He wore black slacks and a starched, white shirt with a black tie. Cocked upon his head was a black, Indiana Jones hat, but the crowning touch was a black, leather shoulder holster complete with sidearm. He looked like a mixture of Dan Aykroyd in The Blues Brothers, Stacy Keach in Mike Hammer, and Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black.

I’m continually reminded that this is not the world I grew up in.

God created us in his image and gave us dominion over the earth and the non-human life upon it. I don’t think we’re doing a very good job of managing either the earth or ourselves.

Perhaps we should give more thought to the animals, not so much in taking better care of them – which we should do when necessary – but in living more peaceful lives by striving to be more like them, letting go of the unnecessary, non-productive thoughts we carry around with us.

 At this point, you might be wondering: What’s happened to Bob and his whimsical newsletters?
We will both be back.

Please check out my writing by clicking the link below:
I want to thank everyone who signed up for my Reader List. We’ve already given away a nice prize. I have a lot more good stuff planned. If you haven’t signed up, I’ve placed the link below.

Twisted Perception is now out in audiobook. Please click the link below:
Please follow the link and check it out. Once you’re at the site, there’s a button you can click to hear a free sample. Charles Bice, the reader we chose, did an excellent job of portraying the characters as he tells the story. I believe you can even get the audiobook of Twisted Perception for free, if you join Audible.com. And who wouldn’t want to do that?

 I want to thank everyone who has signed up for my newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it. If you know of someone who might enjoy it, too, please email it to them.

I also give programs for writing groups, reading groups, or any group that’s interested. If you belong to a club, which needs program speakers, keep me in mind.

You have permission to reprint, forward, or use the contents of this newsletter in your newsletter or e-zine. The only requirement is the inclusion of the following footer:
This article was written by Bob Avey, author of, Twisted Perception, Beneath a Buried House, and Footprints of a Dancer. http://www.bobavey.com.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Two Tickets to Heidelberg - The Conclusion



Two Tickets to Heidelberg
Part V
The Conclusion
In the last episode (Part IV), I’d suggested we leave the safety of the tent and do a little exploring.

“What could possibly go wrong?” I asked.

“You’re kidding, right?”

I buttoned my field jacket and positioned the matching, army-green, ball cap on my head. “Suit yourself then. Anyway, I’ll be back before you realize I’ve gone.”

I stepped outside, walked around the tent, and began walking in a southerly direction. About five minutes into the hike, I paused at the precipice to the valley, the same one where we’d encountered the boars, but about 500 yards south of that location. The rolling landscape, beautiful even in the winter months, captured my thoughts and I wondered what might be beyond the valley.

I heard footsteps and turned to see Billy approaching. “I thought I’d better come along and keep an eye on you,” he said. “Who knows what you might do without someone to hold you back.”

Billy was joking but he was more right than he knew. My curiosity had gotten me into plenty of trouble through the years, including my current situation of being in the Army, but that same insatiable desire to understand things on a personal level had also enriched my life with luxurious experiences I would have missed out on otherwise.

“It’s beautiful out here,” I said.

“Yeah, I’d think we might be somewhere in the States if I didn’t know better.”

“That’s what makes it interesting,” I said, “something different than what we’re used to, not knowing exactly what to expect.”

“Why am I getting a bad feeling about this?”

“You’re way too nervous, that’s your problem. Come on, let’s walk a little farther.”

“It’s getting dark.”

“I know, but there’s something up the trail that I want to check out. It’s where I was headed when you caught up with me.”

We walked another fifty yards in a southeasterly direction, stopping when we reached a trail, which meandered down the slope, disappearing into the darkness of the valley. 

“Yeah,” I said, “this is it.”

I’d just gotten the words out when the form of a person emerged from the depths. Seeing us as well, he waved and came toward us.

“I wonder who that could be?” Billy asked.

Billy’s words indicated he’d found the experience every bit as surrealistic as I did. Who, indeed, would be out here? Guessing that our visitor was most likely a local, I called out, “Guten abend (Good evening).”

The man cheerfully returned my greeting, adding a long discourse, some of which I understood and some of which I did not. During the conversation, I learned the mysterious traveler, a hearty looking forty year old, was from the village at the bottom of the hill. Just a short walk, he’d said. 

A few minutes later, my new friend shook my hand then turned away and started back down the hill. It almost seemed as if he’d made the hike for the sole purpose of talking with me. “Frohe Weihnachten (Merry Christmas),” I called out.

“Und einen gutes neue jahr (and a happy New Year),” he replied.

A rustling in the brush drew my attention and when I glanced toward the sound two soldiers came out of hiding. It was Allen G and Charles A.

“Bob Avey,” Charles said.

He made the declaration as if he’d just stumbled upon the answer to an elusive problem.

“What on earth are you doing out here, and who was that guy you were talking to?”

Charles and Allen were a couple of passive rebel rousers – if indeed there can be such a thing – that I’d had no quandaries with but had avoided just the same.

Looking back now, I’m reminded of a scene in The Fellowship of The Ring, where Merry and Pippin come upon Frodo Baggins in the woods outside the Shire.

“Just taking a walk,” I said. “What about you?”

Charles and Allen glanced at each other but said nothing.

I stepped onto the pathway and started down the hill. I didn’t know, but I suspected Charles and Allen had been up to something and were now on their way back to the camp. They stood at the top of the hill, the expressions on their faces seeming to be a complicated mixture of fear and excitement.

“Say,” Charles asked, where you going?”

“Hopefully somewhere away from you guys.”

I heard footsteps and soon discovered that the source was whom I’d expected. Billy had scrambled down the hill. He caught up and stepped in front of me. “Yoncas, what are you doing?”

“I need to see what’s at the bottom of the hill.”

“Are you nuts? By the time you get there, it’ll be too dark to see anything.”

“It’s the twentieth century, Billy. They’ll have lights.”

Billy’s expression said it all.

“Didn’t it occur to you that the stranger I just talked with had to have come from somewhere?”
 
He shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess so.”

“He said he was out for a walk, and that he’d come from the village just down the hill. The guy had looked pretty fresh, hadn’t he? It can’t be that far.”

“Then why can’t we see those lights you were talking about?”

“Hey, wait up, guys. We’re coming with you.”

“I sure wish the Bobbsey Twins hadn’t of showed up.”

“Yeah,” Billy said, “and all the more reason we should call this off. And let’s not forget about the razorbacks. If we run into them again in a place where they can see and we can’t, it’s not going to be pretty.”

“You’re probably right, but how do we shake the Bobbsey Twins? I don’t know about you but I don’t want those two knowing about our tent.”

Billy rolled his eyes. “Okay, good point. Now what’ll we do?”

“Neither of them has ever struck me as having an abundance of courage. My guess is, once they realize how dark it is in the valley, they’ll turn back.”

“That would make them smarter than us. I don’t like the sound of that.”

“You worry too much, Billy. The two of them together couldn’t reason half as good as you.”

“Based on the decisions I’ve made lately, I’m not so sure.”

Then, as feared, Charles and Allen started to follow us.

Billy and I turned to face them.

“We’re coming with you,” Allen said.

“If not,” Charles piped in, “we’ll tell Lieutenant S. about the whole thing, finding you out here and all.”

I had to think fast. Both Charles and Allen reeked of hashish, not uncommon among the soldiers, sadly enough, but it was all I had. “You might want to reconsider that,” I said. “You weren’t hiding in the shrubs earlier, hoping to gain information about my travel plans. If I had to guess, I’d say you just smoked a bowl.” 

Smoking a bowl was a slang term used to refer to stuffing a common tobacco pipe with hashish.

 Charles and Allen exchanged nervous glances. “Yeah, well everybody does it. And it ain’t like they don’t know.”

The Bobbsey Twins had pointed out another sad truth. There were times, most evenings in fact, when the atmosphere inside the barracks would have given a thick, London fog a run for its money. The use of the drug was so rampant and widespread that there was no way the officers didn’t know about it.

“Not everybody,” I said. “Anyway I’ve talked with Lieutenant S. a few times and I happen to know he’s not happy about the situation. He’s looking for ways to slow it down, namely identifying and stopping the dealers.”

“Hey, don’t jump to conclusions, buddy. We scored a few grams that’s all. We ain’t dealing.”

I turned and started back down the trail. “All I’m saying is that if we decide to trade stories with the lieutenant, you and your buddy, Allen might not fare so well.”

“All right I catch your drift. We won’t say anything if you don’t.”

“Fair enough,” I said. “See you guys later.”

“What do you mean later? I thought you said we could come along.”

I paused and turned back. “That’s not a good idea, guys. I’m trying to be straight with you. We’re not sure of what we’re getting ourselves into. Maybe next time, okay?”

Charles and Allen nodded and they didn’t follow us, but they didn’t leave either.

I turned and resumed my trek down the hill.

“I don’t know about you, Yoncas. I’m starting to think you could talk your way out of anything. What do you think the twins will do?”

“I’m hoping they go back to the camp.” 

“That’s precisely what we should do. We could walk a few more yards until we’re out of sight then turn west, follow the valley, and come up near the outhouse. Nobody would see us.”

“That’s an excellent plan,” I said.

 A short time later, Billy said, “Don’t you think I know you’re still leading us down the hill? When were you planning on turning back?”

I slowed my pace then stopped. “I thought about it, Billy. But take a look around.
Darkness surrounded us, and on both sides of the trail a thick growth of trees rose from the forest floor.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m not crazy about the idea of trying to navigate through that mess.”

“Are you telling me we’re lost?”

“Not in the least. All we have to do is follow the trail.”

“I can’t even see my feet, much less the trail.”

“Yeah, I know. The trick is to look up instead of down.”

It was an overcast and moonless night, and yet, since no trees grew on the trail, the sky was visible where the vegetation parted, marking the path.

“You’re right,” Billy said. “And now that we know this, why don’t we go up the hill instead of continuing down it?”

“We should be getting close,” I said. 

“Close to what, the Black Forest, Frankenstein’s castle?”

“Perish the thought. Anyway, you saw the guy. He wasn’t tired, not even winded. He couldn’t have walked very far.”

“Yeah, well maybe he’s just an old hermit who lives out here in the woods somewhere.”

“Come to think about it, he did mention something about turning into a werewolf at night.”

“That’s not funny, Yoncas.”

“Just kidding. Come here, I want to show you something. Get your bearings on the trail then look straight down the hill. It’s faint, but it’s there.”

Moments later Billy said, “It’s probably a hallucination. I’ve heard that being immersed in total darkness for an extended period of time can do that to you.”

“That’s not the result of abnormal activity in your brain, Billy. It’s the glow from the lights of the village. Come on, let’s go.”

About an hour later, we emerged from the woods and stood on the outskirts of the traveler’s village, a town about twice the size of Cowtown, which wasn’t saying much. The total distance of the village from the camp turned out to be about five miles, a long way when you’re stumbling around in the darkness. 

I motioned toward the town then took a bow. “Your wish is my command.”

“My wish is to be back at the camp, relaxing in the tent.”

At the edge of the forest, a narrow road wound into the village, leading to several shops, one of which was a gasthaus, its sign like a beacon to weary travelers. It seemed the proprietors of the establishment had known visitors would be coming down the hill.

“All in good time my friend. Since we’ve come this far, let’s allow ourselves the small advantage of a good, German brew before embarking on the return journey.”

“I knew you were going to say that. It does sound good, though.”

We walked into town then strolled up to the gasthaus, a popular place from the sound of it. A soft but discernable buzz of voices filtered into the area near the establishment.

All of that stopped when I opened the door, the action initiating the ringing of a bell, the old kind that business owners would install to alert them to the presence of customers, if they happened to be in another part of the shop. The music stopped, the conversation ended, the clinking of dishes ceased, and every head of each customer pivoted around to stare at Billy and me. It was as if a switch had been thrown, the tiny bell being much more than it seemed had stopped everything, even the spinning of the Earth on its axis.

And there we stood in a doorway perhaps created by Doctor Who, weary soldiers from another dimension, dressed in olive drab clothing complete with field jackets and fury parkas.

Billy grabbed my arm and shook his head, but the bizarre invitation was more than I could resist. I stepped inside, walked a few feet then paused and announced, “Guten abend.”

As expected, the mere utterance of the magic phrase brought everything back to where it had been before our arrival: The Earth once again orbited the Sun. I found an empty table and sat down.

Seconds later, Billy found his way through the crowd and pulled out a chair opposite mine. “That was totally weird.”

A waitress appeared and I ordered a bratwurst and a bier. Billy took it a step further and ordered a dinner of jagerschnitzel (a veal cutlet) with mushroom gravy.

“Having to walk twenty miles in total darkness tends to make me hungry,” he said. “But I have to hand it to you, Yoncas. This just might be the best schnitzel I’ve ever had. I’m dreading that hike back up the hill, though.”

“It’s only about five miles,” I said. “It seemed further because of the circumstances.”

“Yeah, but it’ll all be uphill. There’s no getting around that.”

“Never say never, Billy.”

Billy took a moment to consider my words. “Don’t you go getting any crazy ideas. As soon as we finish our dinner, we’re heading back to the camp, on foot the same we got here.”

Once again, the door creaked open, the bell rang, and this time Billy and I became a part of the silent, staring continuum. 

“Don’t look now,” Billy said, “but Abbot and Costello just showed up."

It was Charles and Allen. It didn’t take them long to spot us. We were the only ones who looked like Grizzly Adams.

Billy shook his head. “I can’t believe they had the courage much less the brainpower to make it here.”

“You’re giving them too much credit. My guess is they started following us from the start. Once they realized what they’d gotten themselves into, they didn’t know what else to do but try and stick with us.”

The misfits made their way to the table and sat down. “Hey, this is pretty cool.”

“Well, it was until you guys showed up. I thought we had an understanding?”

“Hey we got just as much right to be here as you do.”

As if on cue, Billy and I simultaneously pushed away from the table and stood. The waitress had already left our tickets and we started toward the register to pay.

“Say, where are you guys going now?”

“It’s been a long and interesting journey,” I said, “but alas time has come to set out for the base camp.”

“Say what?”

Billy rolled his eyes. “Their behavior doesn’t say much for the Army’s screening process, does it?” 

Billy and I paid our bills then left the restaurant, followed the narrow road to the trail, and began our journey back to the camp.

Billy kept glancing over his shoulder. “I hate to admit it but I’m kind of worried about Charles and Allen. Maybe we should go back and get them.”

“I suspect they’ll be coming up behind us any time now,” I said.

“I don’t know how you do it, Yoncas. The twins just stepped onto the trail at the bottom of the hill.”

I paused and looked back. The Bobbsey Twins had brought along provisions for the trip. Each of them carried a liter (quart) of wine, and they were already turning the jugs up at intermittent intervals.

“At the rate their going,” I said, “they’ll have those bottles finished off by the time we reach the camp. It should make for an interesting trip.”

“Aw, don’t be too hard on them. We were in the same shape a few days ago.”

“Yeah, you’re right. Some people learn from their mistakes and some don’t. Time will tell, my friend.”

Sure enough, by the time we got back to the camp, Charles and Allen were pretty wasted. It was dark and late. We took them to their sleeping bags then told them to go to bed.

Billy and I would go on to have many more adventures. When our wives arrived, they too became friends.

I got out of the service about a year before Billy and we lost contact.

Here’s to you Billy and Lisa, wherever you are.

The blog entries might be slow to nonexistent for a while. I’m going to concentrate on finishing the fourth novel in the Detective Elliot series. 

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