Posted in Outrageous Lies and Tales

Forty Feet Below

Image result for wooden block and tackle outside

Forty Feet Below

He had been both lucky and cursed the day of the crash.  The ship had buried itself so deep on this small remote island that none of the natives noticed it.  It had taken him a long time to dig his own way out from the wreckage, luck because he should have been dead.  Cursed because with each clump of dirt he moved the certainty that the ship would never leave this planet grew. His wonderful organic ship was dead but the prisoner it was transporting was not.  The prisoner he left exactly where it was, deep in the ground secure in the stasis chamber.

He looked toward the sky knowing that is where rescue should have come from, but after a hundred or so revolutions  around  this star he knew it would  not be coming.  He still had an oath to live up to and keeping the prisoner secure thus keeping this planet safe and by extension the rest of the galaxy from the monster’s rampage was how he would fulfill his oath.

This place was cold and strange and if he disliked it then the prisoner would hate it.  Of course the prisoner hated everything.  That hate had fueled  a wide swath of killing and destruction across the galaxy before he had been captured.  After it had been determined that the creature could not be reasoned with or changed a prison had been constructed for this prisoner, balanced on the event horizon of a collapsing star making escape impossible.  It was on the way to this specially constructed prison that the crash has happened.

He had worked hard to blend in with the new local population and bought supplies and materials with scavenged parts of his ship and with those crude tools he had further entombed the prisoner, even harnessing the ocean in this simple one person penal institution. He patted the bare earth one more time with his shovel, the prisoner was as secure as he could make it.  The monster was so deep now no sane creature would ever dig here without a good reason.  He had even harnessed the cold, salty ocean in a manner to keep the prisoner deep underground.

He looked up at the final tool that was to be removed to erase all evidence of his efforts here.  A primitive block and tackle that he had been using to place the final barriers in place, obstructing access to the vault he had constructed below.  He had to make one more trip back to the mainland to retrieve the beacon he would place high in the tree.  The last remnant of his ship, would be a safeguard to warn other travelers what was buried below, in addition it would send out a harmless tone that would make this weirdly uncomfortable to the local sentient life forms.  Once the organic beacon was in place he would take the pulley system down.  The beacon would be come part of the tree and eventually part of the island itself, giving a steady warning to stay away from this place.

 

“Did you hear about the accident in Chester?” Daniel McGinnis said pulling on the oars.

“You mean the one with that old man getting killed when that freight wagon broke loose.”

“Yeah they said he was crushed flat and there is not enough left to bury.”  Vaughn said jumping into the conversation.

“Didn’t he live out this way somewhere?”

“No one seemed to know much about him, he was crazy hermit.”  Smith added.

The three boys stopped their conversation as they landed on the shore and McGinnis lead them to what he wanted to show them.  He had convinced them to bring along the shovels but he had not told them why.  “There it is.”  He said pointing to the branch.

“Strange place for a block and tackle.”  Vaughn stated and Smith nodded in agreement.

“And look underneath it.” McGinnis said excitedly standing directly underneath the block and tackle.

Vaughn and Smith looked down to where their friend was standing.  The soil was soft as though the ground had recently been filled in.   “I think we have found Captain Kidd’s buried treasure.” McGinnis said pointing down with his shovel.

Smith and Vaughn looked around as if saying the pirate’s name would make him appear.

McGinnis looked at his friends.  “Can you think of another reason anyone would be out here digging on Oak Island.”

 

A story I wrote a couple of months ago and submitted to a writing contest.  Today I was notified it was not chosen, so I can release it to my dear readers.  

 

 

Posted in My Views On The Real World, Outrageous Lies and Tales

Straw Smuggler

 

“Wait let me stop you right there, yes I am smuggler, and yes I am old, but I am not an old smuggler.”  The young person across the table looked at him with a blank stare.  Garak shook his head when he realized I would have to explain this.  “An old smuggler implies that I have been doing this a long time, and while I have been smuggling for a couple of years now, which might seem like a long time to you, it is not to me, and while I am an old guy that does not make me an old smuggler.”  He decided to stop when he saw the light go off.

“I am sorry for the confusion Mr. Garak.”

“Hey drop the Mr. part, it is just Garak and you know that is an alias right?”  The youth nodded his head. “Okay what was the question again.”

“You are a smuggler.” The young person looked at him. “And you are kind of advanced in age to be one, most people your age are retired and leaving comfortable lives.”

Garak shook his head. “Life is not about comfort son, it is about grabbing as much experiences as you can, it is about making a difference as you see fit and hopefully helping people along the way make as much as they can with their dash.”

The interviewer looked up at the last part. “Their dash?”

Garak nodded. “Their dash, the time between their birth and death, signified on their headstone with a dash.”

The reporter made a face of recognition and then continued. “So why are you a smuggler?”

“That is a good question.”  He paused.  “I guess you can say my personal convictions.”

“Can you please explain that.”

“Of course, you see when they started passing more and more laws infringing on personal liberty, with California leading the charge, then Utah.  It happened when the church got a new prophet and with the boys in DC losing control that joker started exercising more and more wacko based control in his home territory. All of it disgusted me, and since I had time on my hands and the ability, meaning the freedom to do something about it I decided to get into the smuggling business, moving objects from one place to another making things available to people that they should be allowed to have.”

“So you do this because you hate the system?”

“Well that is an oversimplification, I love people, I respect people and believe they are born with the natural right to pursue their own happiness as long as it hurts no one else.”

“But aren’t some of the things you smuggle hurting people?”

“I thought you did your research on me fella”  Garak said looking at the reporter. “I guess you did not do a good job.”  The kids face flushed.

“I did you are a two way smuggler, you smuggle straws, guns, slingshots, red meat, and paint into California and you then turn around and smuggle weed and booze into Utah back and forth, back and forth.”

“Don’t forget the lingerie, those holy rollers polygamist wives in Utah really love that Fredrick’s of Hollywood stuff, pretty tame stuff, no leather or pvc, they typically keep it to lace and silk.  I guess that is a way to keep the husband interested.  So what is hurting people bub?”  Garak said lighting a cigar with a match. The kid leaned back away from Garak as the smoke drifted towards him.  Garak chuckled.

“You are going to claim the guns don’t hurt people, the straws and the paint hurt the environment and the slingshots well that could easily hurt people.”

Garak shook his head beginning to regret doing this interview. “The guns are bb guns,” The blank look came back on the kids face. “Pellet guns, using compressed air, not gun powder and while there is some danger inherent with all projectile weapons, the most the could happen is you’ll shoot your eye out kid.”  Garak waited for a laugh, maybe even a chuckle or at the least slight smile, nothing.

“Okay but what about the paint and the straws, surely you see how that is hurting the environment.”

Garak shook his head and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I know all about the straws and them hurting the sea turtles, I was fifty when that ban started, you were what ten?”

“Actually eight.”

” Mean while everything and anything was wrapped in plastic. Instead of rewarding business who reduced, recycled and reused with tax breaks or something sane. They outlawed straws making it a criminal offense to give them out throwing the a caterer in jail, for three years.”

“But he won on appeal Garak.”

“Tell that to his family that went three years without a father because he made straws available at a kid’s birthday party he was catering.  They destroyed his business and bankrupted the family. Luckily they got help and are now living in Colorado I actually met him nice guy.”

“So you don’t believe you are hurting anyone with your smuggling?”

Garak shook his head.  “I don’t move addictive substances across state lines, and most of these things were legal until someone made an emotional filled video which was then seen by some meddling politician who held his finger up to the wind and then decided he knew what was best for everyone and wrote at law that the news media covered with the same emotional video that started the whole thing.  Then they sent people with guns to enforce those law.  Most of the time there was no reasoned debate, no scientific study, no search for an alternative answer. Not even a debate about personal freedom and personal responsibility.  Just a rush to make something ‘illegal’ as though that made it bad and it would solve the bigger problem.”

“So you do all this out of the goodness of your heart and just to say ‘screw the system’?”

Garak shook his head slightly.  “Heck no kiddo, I get paid on both ends of my run, and very well thank you very much.”  He said smiling as a brief look of disgust crossed the teenagers face, Garak decided to twist the knife a bit more.  “I am a capitalist after all.”  The undisguised look of disgust now came on the face full force.

“So you do this for the money then?”

“No, kid like I told you I did this because I am idealist.  I don’t need the money except to cover my expenses, you have no idea how much I spend in gas and maintence for my vehicle driving back and forth between those two states, not to mention the gifts I have to give some people to operate.”

“You mean bribes.”

“You say tomatoes I say tomatoes.”  Garak said waving his cigar in the air.

“But you make a profit from the smuggling?”

“I would not be a very good capitalist if I didn’t.”

The kid took a deep breath and regained his composer. “So what makes you such a good smuggler, according to all my sources you have never been caught, let alone arrested and charged in either state or by the federal authorities?”

Garak chuckled.  “First I am an old man, no one thinks old people, especially in the youth culture of California think old people can do anything, except maybe be experts on the early bird special. Secondly I spent all of my adult life in either military intelligence, law enforcement or private security, I can read signal and communications traffic like a road map, so I can avoid spot searches and other ‘imperial entanglements’.  Garak looked for a bit of recognition, none. “You are not a movie buff are you son?”

The kid shook his head no.

“So why interview me kid, it is obvious you don’t like me and are working on this interview with your own bias fully intact.”

“I am not biased I am a reporter.”

“Saying you are a reporter does not automatically eliminate your bias boyyo.  Like I said kid I used to read people for a living. It is obvious you don’t like me for several reason,”  Garak held up a finger. “I am a money grubbing capitalist.”  He held up a second finger.  “You disapprove of the things I smuggle into California but not the things I smuggle into Utah and thirdly you wince ever so slightly every time I call you ‘son’, ‘fella’ or ‘bud’ but not ‘kid’.  Are you one of those new eunuchs I have been reading about?”

“The term is ‘new person’ if you must call us anything.”  The young person said defiantly.

“Hey that is cool pal.  You are not hurting anyone but yourself, and you don’t even see it that way, I guess, so the more power to you and all.”  Garak said shrugging his shoulders.  “I just assumed you were a guy, no offense meant, I am old and all and I don’t speak this new language. I mean it is kinda like when you get senorita and senora mixed up down south, nobody really gets bent out of shape because at least you are saying por favor when asking for a cervesa which means you are trying to be polite.  Now that I know I can just call you…”  Garak faded out the last part looking for an answer.  Then he heard the whine of a hovercraft approaching the building.

There was silence in the dusty barn as Garak stared in shock at the kid who was smiling broadly.  “Just call me Special Investigator Tinsome and you Garak are under arrest.”  There was a loud crash as several armed officers crashed in the doors of the dusty barn.  Garak look of fright faded away as he reached down to the table and grabbed his matches and relight his cigar.  “You are under arrest for bringing illegal substances into the Three Sovereign States of California and in addition subjecting a citizen to second hand smoke.”  Special Investigator Tinsome said waving his had at the smoke that was coming towards him.

“Two questions before you take me away.”

Tinsome nodded as he was flanked by two heavily armed officers who had Tasers and handcuffs out.

“Why do you guys still have three states in your name, I mean you became three states, then you all succeed from the Union, why not just go back to one state, why keep the full title, The Three Sovereign States of California, just go back to being California, a lot simpler that way.”

“We are trying to be inclusive, is that really your question Garak.” Tinsome said.

Garak nodded. “You are right more of an observation.  Okay here are my questions.  How dumb do you think I am, and you guys know there are other ways to transmit information over long distances other than just wireless?”  Garak said smiling, then blinked out of existence.  Tinsome and the other officers faces showed a look of surprise, they were even more surprised when Garak reappeared a full fifteen seconds later.  This time wearing a yellow t-shirt with the phrase ‘don’t tread on me’ on it.  “Kinda of figured that this ‘interview’ was a set up so I ran a fiber optic cable into this place, I only buried about five hundred yards or so, the rest is just lying on top of the sand. So while you boys were scanning for a transmission coming in to this place we sent the signal to the projector via cable. I  have been sitting outside of your scanning area thanks to some friends.  I was surprised you did not pick that up, I mean you waved at my cigar smoke and it did not move, let alone that you could not smell it, pity it is a good one, nice and robust.”

Officer Tinsome muttered something under his breath.

“Well time for me to retire, catch you on the other side Mr. Tinsome, oh and I was streaming this to the internet so your cover as a ‘reporter’ has been blown, you guys are going to have to think of another scheme to entrap people.”

Tinsome looked at the man as he faded from view.

“Oh and one more thing, you guys can go to hell I am going to Texas.”


 

For more pop culture references see this story  The Place to Go for Answers. 

For another short piece on my Libertarian views read We Need A Monster

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Tending the Stones for the Lock

Tending the Stones for the Lock, XXXI

The conclusion of Tending the Stones for the Lock.  (1st Part)   The inspiration for this came from an off hand comment I made on Facebook, and since people seemed interested I decided to follow through.  Happy Reading. 

(1st Part) (2nd Part)  (3rd Part) (4th Part) (5th Part) (6th Part) (7th Part) (8th Part) (9th Part)(Part 10) (Part 11)(Part 12)(Part 13)(Part 14)(Part 15)(Part 16)(Part 17)(Part 18) (Part 19) (Part 20) (Part 21) (Part 22)  (Part 23) (Part 24) (Part 25) (Part 26) (Part 27) (Part 28) (Part 29) (Part 30)

Emily took a deep breath immediately after she triggered the device.  The device was magical in nature and developed centuries ago, she did not know it how it worked she just knew it did.  The device made a cloud of darkness, not smoke, not fog or something to block the light out, the device created darkness.  Emily did not like to use it, she felt her life was about preserving the light, but in this instance she understood the need.  Emily then found the zipper on the bottom of the bag and pulled it and she felt the contents of the bag spill out onto the ground of the compound.  She knew the darkness would only last a few more seconds so she heaved the bag as far as she could towards the Opposition hoping someone would trip over it, then she tipped the walker over and slowly began to shuffle backwards towards where the High Pilgrim was supposed to be.  The wind from the helicopters down wash disappeared a few seconds later and she knew that Meredith and Brodie were safe.  Emily stopped shuffling backwards and grounded herself where she stood and smiled she felt the pure green energy flow up from the ground, then she felt around her into the masonry work of the courtyard feeling the energy of all the people who had built this marvelous place and all the joy and solace it had brought the visitors here for centuries.  This was a good place to make a her stand.

 

Brodie felt the strap digging into his armpit as though it was twisted or biting into his skin as his feet left the ground  Brodie looked down and immediate regretted it.  Sally had told him the flight would only last a few minutes but it was beginning to be a long few minutes.  He looked at Meredith who he could tell was shouting at him but due to the engine and wind noise of the helicopter.  She also looked very angry.  Meredith continued to yell only inches away from his face and he just motioned with his hands that he could not hear her.  The sound of the helicopter changed and the ground  was starting to get closer.  A few seconds later Brodie looked down and saw they were crossing over the fence and entering the parking lot where the plan called for them to be let off.  The drop to the pavement was gentle and slow and the two of them touched down as if they were stepping off a curb.

Unfortunately the curb was into traffic and a little old Korean lady in a red Kia was driving slowly in the empty parking lot.  She honked at the two of them standing together and just as she let off the horn the connecting cable was detached from the helicopter and the heavy hook landed on the ladies hood creating a very impressive dent.

With the tension of the cable gone the straps surrounding the two of them lessen and the straps fell off them.  The helicopter moved a little way always and a rope dropped down and sliding down the rope was Sally in a green army nomex flight suit. Then the helicopter engine changed again and disappeared out of the valley.

“What is going on, where is my mother?”  Meredith said while arranging her hairs which gotten only slightly mussed it being a short sporty style.

“Your mother is still back in they courtyard but we have to get to the airport.”  Brodie said taking a few steps back and looking for the van they came in.

“I am not going anywhere until someone explains to me what is going on.”   Meredith said putting her hands on her hips.

Crack.

Up the valley blue lightning flashed in the sky followed by a green strobing glow flared on the mountainsides.

“You mother is a little busy right now and she is the only one who will explain things to you.”  Sally said as she came up and kissed Brodie on the cheek.  “You did great with the lift.”  Then she turned towards Meredith.  “Mrs. Wallace we need to move now.”   Another flash of blue light illuminated the sky centering a short way up the valley.

 

Emily stood her ground and unleashed the Blue Lightning of Mountains of Peace.  The Opposition leader was barely standing after hitting the wall but Emily was never one for playing nice when having to deal with the Opposition.

The man was wearing something that protected him the full extent of the lightning and he rose to his feet untangling himself from Howard once the lightning stopped he retaliated with a green wave of energy that emanated from his little fingers.  Luckily for Emily the High Pilgrim was putting a protection spell over her.

Emily was very impressed the man might have a concussion or a possibly some broken ribs but he was still able to produce this much energy and with just his pinky fingers.   Of course he had probably stored a lot up in preparation for this fight.

“My name is Tenvena and I want that book.”  He said standing up straight and unleashing a blue beam of hate towards Emily.

Emily held up her hand and blocked the blast and it was deflected into both the ground and skywards. She countered with the strongest thing she knew hoping to end this battle soon and get Meredith back to the U.S.  Blue light emerged from her hands and engulfed the area.   She heard metallic weapons hit the ground first and then and soft thuds as bodies hit the ground.

“You did really good Emily.”  The High Pilgrim said as he caught her before she hit the ground.

 

Hans pushed the wheelchair as Dante walked ahead of him and ensured that there were no left over opposition members lurking about.  The High Pilgrim struggled to keep up as he had sprained both his ankle avoiding a thrown axe.  Luckily right afterwards Emily had unleashed the last incantation he had seen her fall and caught her in time, but then he also sprained his knee, but his friend was not harmed while passing out from exhaustion.  The made their way down the winding path and then heard yelling behind them.

“We need to move a little quicker.”  Dante said looking back at his struggling comrades.

“Can we move this blade from my leg to yours and then I could move a little quicker .”  Hans said limping along while pushing the wheelchair.

“Younger travelers our emotions are high due to the battle, but remember be kind to one another.”

The two younger men responded in unison. “Of course High Pilgrim.”

Yells and shouts were getting louder and more violent but luckily they turned the corner and found themselves face to face with Sally who was leaning out of the window of the van.  “What took you guys so long?”

“Mom what happened to you?”

“She is fine just a little exhausted.”  The High Pilgrim said as Meredith exited the vehicle and ran to her mother.  Brodie ran to Mrs. Emily as well and immediate felt for a pulse and was relieved to determine it was only about seventy beats per minute.

“We must be going people.”  The High Pilgrim said leaning against the van.

Meredith turned towards the older man. “I am not going anywhere except with my mother to the Camp Casey Medical Clinic.” She said this while getting within a few feet of the High Pilgrim.  The older man looked very tired and casually reached out and a small blue spark leaped towards Meredith and she slumped down into the van.

“Forgive me Mrs. Wallace but we don’t have time to argue.”

 

 

24 Hours later

 

“Landing in San Francisco in twenty minutes.”  Sally’s voice came over the intercom.

“I still don’t see why we did not land in Los Angles it would be so much easier.”  Brodie said as he sat on the floor of the small galley next to Sally and handed her a cold can of Coca Cola.

“Sally can’t land in LA because of a problem with the Sheriff, if he finds her in LA.”

“Which Sheriff?”

“Sheriff Lamposa I think.”

“Lamposa that was two sheriff’s ago.”  Brodie said.

Sally thought about it for a second.  “You mean a Sheriff is not appointed for life?”

“Ah no.”  Brodie said.

 

“So our trip to Alaska, where you wandered out into the bear area?”  Meredith asked.

“Yeah that was me arranging some stones.”

Meredith nodded.  “That makes a lot of sense now.”  Meredith smiled at her mother.  “So this the book they wanted?”  She flipped thru the book casually.

“Yes that is what they wanted, luckily I was able to have a duplicate bowling ball bag made and fill it with some tricks and that is how we got you away from the Opposition.”

Meredith shook her head.  “I am still having a hard time believing all this.”

“You should talk to Brodie, he was where you are now a few weeks ago.”  Emily said patting her daughters hand.

 

(1st Part) (2nd Part)  (3rd Part) (4th Part) (5th Part) (6th Part) (7th Part) (8th Part) (9th Part)(Part 10) (Part 11)(Part 12)(Part 13)(Part 14)(Part 15)(Part 16)(Part 17)(Part 18) (Part 19) (Part 20) (Part 21) (Part 22)  (Part 23) (Part 24) (Part 25) (Part 26) (Part 27) (Part 28) (Part 29) (Part 30)

 

Hope you all enjoyed it.   I will probably rework this story someday into a full fledged book, add some details, revamp somethings and add some details.  I liked these characters and this world, it was fun writing this story and that is rewarding all by itself.  Now to kick into high gear and finish the fourth book in the Outfitters Universe Primary Collision.  

Posted in Tending the Stones for the Lock

Tending the Stones for the Lock, XXX

30th part of the new weekly story.  (1st Part)   The inspiration for this came from an off hand comment I made on Facebook, and since people seemed interested I decided to follow through.  Happy Reading. 

(1st Part) (2nd Part)  (3rd Part) (4th Part) (5th Part) (6th Part) (7th Part) (8th Part) (9th Part)(Part 10) (Part 11)(Part 12)(Part 13)(Part 14)(Part 15)(Part 16)(Part 17)(Part 18) (Part 19) (Part 20) (Part 21) (Part 22)  (Part 23) (Part 24) (Part 25) (Part 26) (Part 27) (Part 28) (Part 29) (Part 30)

“A beautiful morning.”

“The Land of the Morning Calm.”

The two of them stood for a few minutes waiting for the car to come around.  Meredith looked at Nutter he was dressed as always in a very expensive looking suit, today it was charcoal grey, with a very expensive looking white shirt and a black silk tie.  Meredith did not like this man,  and had found anything to like about him since she had met him in Russia.  She had to admit he was a sharp dresser.

“If all goes according to my plan you should be on a plane heading back to California tonight, maybe even late this afternoon.”

“Do your plans always go according to plan?”

“Usually.”  Nutter said.

“Are they usually in direct opposition to anyone else’s plans.”

Nutter turned towards her just as the limousine came into the courtyard. “Always.”  He smiled a reptilian smile when he said that word.  The car door was opened and he motioned for her to enter the car.

 

“Brodie will you carry my bag today?”

Brodie nodded and took the blue leather bowling ball bag.  He noted that the bag seemed to feel heavier than he remembered.  He was about to ask Mrs. Emily about it when the older lady started to walk briskly towards the elevator.  A few minutes later they were at the lobby and the large passenger van pulled up and they climbed aboard. The High Pilgrim smiled at his dear friend and then tapped on Han’s shoulder and the man began to drive.

Dante spoke. “Sally called she had to get a bigger craft then originally planned, if anything it works out better for us.”

This information was addressed towards everyone but Brodie knew he should ask some sort of question but he was not sure what so he did what everyone else did he simply nodded. The ride was uneventful but Brodie saw they were passing a US military base, and he realized that is why there were so many helicopter flying overhead.  Fifteen minutes later they turned off the main road towards the mountain park and the acid in his stomach made a noise.  Brodie looked back towards Mrs. Emily and the High Pilgrim who were sitting in the seat behind him.  The two of them had their foreheads touching and they were reciting some sort of prayer simultaneously;  or maybe it was a spell, incantation or maybe it was the lines from a Rocky movie.  Brodie smiled to himself, it was probably not a Rocky movie.  Not that Brodie had ever watched a Rocky movie of his own violation but Mrs. Emily was very fond of them and played them a lot a home.

“We are here.”   Hans announced pulling the vehicle into a handicapped parking spot.

Brodie exited the vehicle and again carried the bag for his boss.  Hans came around the vehicle and with a flourish opened a folding walker which Mrs. Emily position herself behind it.  Brodie checked to make sure that the device was locked into place properly and when he was satisfied he nodded up at her.  The High Pilgrim placed his hands into his robes and nodded towards Dante and Hans. The five of them made their way slowly into the park area.  The progress was slow with Mrs. Emily using the walker and Brodie had plenty of time to look out his surroundings, they were in a valley walking up hill into a steep mountain valley on paved paths, there were a few buildings along the walkway and occasionally out of the corner of his eye he would catch movement but it seemed more like shadows or tricks of the light.  Brodie had seen enough on this trip to be suspicious and the acid in his stomach rumbled and not just because of his lack of breakfast this morning.

The others might have seen the man before Brodie but he was the only one who reacted to his presence by motioning towards him with a head nod.

“Yes Brodie it is one of the Opposition.”  Mrs. Emily said pointedly ignoring the man who had come out from between two buildings and was now walking behind them.  Brodie tried to ignore the man but then another joined him from the opposite side of the sidewalk leading up the valley.  This one was dressed almost exactly like the first, military style shirt and pants all black with black leather lace up boots, they kept their distance just staying about ten meters behind the last person in the group.

Brodie caught a glint of metal and focused on the shadowy man who had just stepped from behind a building without thinking he blurted out.  “Why is that guy carrying an ax?”

Hans and Dante sighed at his statement but the group continued to walk with the two pulled from their robes a series of tube and started to screw them together as the group continued at the pace of Mrs. Emily with her walker.  While Brodie had been distracted by the two monks putting together their staffs two more darkly clothed men had added themselves to their tail.  Brodie was so distracted by everything going on around him he missed the fact that Mrs. Emily had stopped and Brodie took about ten steps when he relieved he was alone and halfway across a courtyard he looked back and the four in the group were staring across the space towards an arched doorway.  Two men dressed similarly to the others that had been following them took up positions flanking the doorway and then a tall man entered filling the doorway.  He was dressed in a perfectly tailored grey suit with black silk tie.

“Brodie could you come back here?”  Mrs. Emily said in a normal conversational tone.

Brodie felt his face turning red and backed slowly till he was between Mrs. Emily and the High Pilgrim.  Hans and Dante were on the flanks of the little group with their staffs fully assembled.

The tall man stepped away from the archway and nodded and thru the archway stepped Meredith, followed closely buy a hulking figure who was also dressed in a suit, and while his was black it was offset by a red shirt, a red tie and a red handkerchief in his pocket.

Mrs. Emily said very quietly.  “Told you he would bring Howard.”

“I thought he would leave Howard at home.”  The High Pilgrim replied.

“He thinks this is for the whole bag of marbles of course he brought Howard with him.”  Mrs. Emily countered.   “You owe me five dollars.”

“I will pay for your lunch.”  The High Pilgrim said.

“Oh no I want cold hard cash.”  Mrs. Emily stated.

“You know I can hear you.”  The Tall Man said across the courtyard.

Mrs. Emily turned toward the speaker.  “I am not cutting you in on my winning.”

“Hello Mother.”  Meredith’s voice sounded across the courtyard, the anger coming across as well.

“I am so sorry to drag you into all this my darling but you will be on your way home soon.”

“So you are going to give me the book.”

“Of course Mr.?”   Emily responded and inquired at the same time.

“I am surprised you do not know my name, I know all of yours, Mrs. Emily Bartloski, High Pilgrim Jon Orujov,  Hans Santiago, Dante Smith and last but defiantly not least Brodie Quint.  Brodie Quint a registered home health care worker, if I might make an observation Mr. Quint you are not anywhere near home.

When the tall man said the word ‘home’ Brodie felt a wave of emotion pass over him, the feeling was one of missing home, the kind of feeling you get when you are a long way from home and it is getting dark and cold and you don’t know how you are going to get home.  Brodie felt as though he was about to begin crying like a child when Mrs. Emily reached out and put her hand on Brodie and the feeling dissipated in the warm Korean sunshine.

Mrs. Emily shook her head towards the man.  “Yes very impressive you can research up and come up with our names but do you know why we don’t know your name?”

“I am curious about that, you people seem to care very little studying your enemies.”

Mrs. Emily waved her hand dismissively.  “That is because you are not our enemies you make yourselves enemies of the universe by promoting chaos, discord and hatred.  I was asking your name to be polite not to start a dossier on you.”

“I think you lie.”

Mrs. Emily chuckled. “Not at all.”

“Mother can you give this man whatever it is he wants I want to go home.”  Meredith said impatiently.

Mrs. Emily looked at her daughter. “Patience my dear, we will be on our way soon enough.”  She turned her attention back towards the tall man. “Now what is this nonsense about me lying.”

“The tall man chuckled.  “Your earlier conversation gave you away, you made a bet about weather or not my man Howard would be with me or at my home, and you Mrs. Emily deduced correctly that he would be here.”

Mrs. Emily and the High Pilgrim chuckled then looked at each other and then stifled their laughter a bit more.

“What is so funny, why are you two laughing?”

Mrs. Emily chuckled one last time.  “It is because we know Howard, we have run into him before, in fact we were there when he got his first dragon’s tooth.”  Mrs. Emily nodded towards the man.  “Howard how long did it take for the hearing to come back in your ear?”

The tall man turned towards the short man in black and red. “You know them?”  The short man nodded simply.  “We will have a long discussion when this is over.”

Mrs. Emily spoke up now getting the man’s attention again.  “Never mind we don’t really need to know you name.  Let us get this over with.  Myself and Brodie will meet you in the middle of the courtyard, you get to look into the bag and then you walk away with the bag and we walk away with Meredith.”

“Mother this man is crazy he thinks you can do magic.”  Meredith said.

“Meredith do you trust me.”  Mrs. Emily asked looking to make eye contact with her daughter.

Meredith looked back at her mother and their eyes met and at first she nodded then spoke.  “Yes Mom I trust you.”

“Well then trust me and know that I will explain everything in a little while.”

“Okay mom.”  Then she nodded back at her mother.

The tall man began walking towards the center of the courtyard and Meredith was motioned forward by the man she called Mrs. Red.  And she began to walk.  She noted that her mother was using a walker and her aid Brodie was shuffling along beside her with a blue leather bowling bag in his outside hand.  The three with Meredith reached the center of the courtyard first and they stood there waiting.

Mrs. Emily heard the helicopter but did not look up, this next part was all about surprise and she hoped Brodie remembered that as well.

A few steps more and the two met the three in the center of the courtyard.

The tall man spoke.  “How does it feel to be the last Chosen One?”

“Are you sure I am?”  Mrs. Emily said looking up at the tall man.

“Once I get that book the locks will be destroyed and my Master will be unleashed destroying all who opposed him.”

“Are you sure that is what will happen?”  Mrs. Emily asked.

“As it was prophesied so shall it be.”  The tall man said with surety.

Mrs. Emily motioned for Brodie to give her the bag and he brought it up and balanced it on the front bar of her walker.  She reached for the zipper but rested it Brodie’s hand which was steadying the bag.  Mrs. Emily looked past the tall man, and then past Meredith to Howard who was standing behind her daughter.  “Howard do you know that Brodie here talked to a dragon less than a fortnight ago?”

The shock on Howards face was so extreme it looked like it hurt then Meredith heard the first words out of his mouth.  “Oh No.”

Mrs. Emily smiled in response. “Oh Yes.”  When the words were out of her mouth she guided Brodie’s hand in a very specific pattern and then Howard suddenly levitated off the ground and covered the ground between him and the tall man, crashing into him, then they were both crashed into one of the interior walls of the courtyard.

As soon as Brodie felt Mrs. Emily let go of his hand he jumped to Meredith’s side.  “Sorry don’t mean to be so rude but hold on tight and with that he hugged the woman he barely tightly.  The courtyard was encased in darkness as soon as Mrs. Emily saw the two people embrace.  That  is when Brodie looked up and saw the helicopter overhead, he reached into the sleeve of his jacket and pulled the flare out and light it with one hand.  Three long seconds later something hit him in the head and then went around his body.  Now that the straps were around them he did not need to hold on so tight but adjusted the straps around both of them  Brodie then pulled twice on the straps signaling that there were in place and suddenly the two of them shot into the air.

(1st Part) (2nd Part)  (3rd Part) (4th Part) (5th Part) (6th Part) (7th Part) (8th Part) (9th Part)(Part 10) (Part 11)(Part 12)(Part 13)(Part 14)(Part 15)(Part 16)(Part 17)(Part 18) (Part 19) (Part 20) (Part 21) (Part 22)  (Part 23) (Part 24) (Part 25) (Part 26) (Part 27) (Part 28) (Part 29) (Part 30)

 

For anyone that saw this post earlier in the day it was posted I apologize it was meant to be filled in with the story but I did not get it completed till 8 hours after posting.   It is a long post, but if you read this then you know there are still a few things to wrap up, so tune in next week for the exciting conclusion Tending the Stones for the Lock.  

Posted in Tending the Stones for the Lock

Tending the Stones for the Lock, XXIX

29th part of the new weekly story.  (1st Part)   The inspiration for this came from an off hand comment I made on Facebook, and since people seemed interested I decided to follow through.  Happy Reading. 

(1st Part) (2nd Part)  (3rd Part) (4th Part) (5th Part) (6th Part) (7th Part) (8th Part) (9th Part)(Part 10) (Part 11)(Part 12)(Part 13)(Part 14)(Part 15)(Part 16)(Part 17)(Part 18) (Part 19) (Part 20) (Part 21) (Part 22)  (Part 23) (Part 24) (Part 25) (Part 26)

 

Meredith put her feet up on the ottoman and looked around the lavish home.  She saw that the owner was rich and glancing out the window she saw Soysan from a different angle then she was used to so that placed her somewhere north and east of Camp Casey. Like most larger Korean homes this place was more like a walled compound, but unlike most this one had the added feature of men and women guards armed with automatic weapons.  She had counted at least five different guards in addition to the seven that had been on the plane from Japan.  For the thousandth time she wondered what her mother had gotten involved in.

No time for a pity party Meredith told herself.  Work the problem, she was in Korea under armed guards by people that may be crazy believing in magic but they were not stupid and they were well funded.  She decided to label her assets.  One, she was in a country she knew, as opposed to Japan where she did not even know what part of the country she was in.  Two, her mother knew she was in trouble, so some sort of help was coming.  Three, she was healthy and could run if she had to.  She did not delude herself that she could overpower any of these guards, even the women who all looked to be in great shape and were armed.  Meredith looked around the room again, Mr. Red was sitting in the room with her, she did not know his real name but he always seemed to have something red on his person;  a red tie, a red handkerchief, a red shirt. He was also the most serious of the guards, where the others would play cards or at least nod hello Mr. Red said nothing and while he we did not look at her in a menacing way, he did not look at her at all, he just continually scanned the room, left to right, wall to wall, up to down, floor to ceiling always scanning.  Meredith had been very bored one time and watched him, for the first half hour he scanned with only his eyes, then the second half of the hour he scanned by turning his head.  The man was more machine like than human, she wondered what had made the way turn out this way.

 

“They are here.”

Mrs. Emily nodded.

“They are at a private residence about a ten minute car ride away from the temple.”

Mrs. Emily nodded again.

“Your daughter was seen safe and well as of last night, one of our people saw her sitting down reading a book.”

Mrs. Emily perked up at this.  “How?”

Hans smiled.  “A child’s toy, a drone with a camera. Unlikely that we will be able to use that method again as they knocked if from the sky with a spell.”

“In broad daylight.”  Mrs. Emily said a bit startled.

“Actually it was twilight and they camouflaged it with some fireworks.”  Hans replied.

“They are evil but they are not stupid.”  The High Pilgrim said refreshing his tea

Mrs. Emily nodded and looked around the room. She smiled at Hans at he took his place at the table.  The group was sitting around a large round table in a friendly restaurant they had set up shop in.  They were only a few miles from Soyosan and word had been sent that they would meet at the holy site tomorrow.  “Is everyone sure of the plan now that we know that Meredith is safe?”

There were enthusiastic nods and affirmative answers around the table.  All positives responses except for Brodie who did not nod very enthusiastically but as if to go along with the crowd.  Mrs. Emily noted that and had already planned on talking to him alone.

The High Pilgrim spoke.   “Very good, very good.”  He smiled.  “I will be meditating most of the night if anyone would like a blessing in the morning I will be in small park across the street before we leave.”   There were a few nods around the table as the older man rose and then his two monks followed him out the door.

The group began to rise as well and Brodie came over to Mrs. Emily side.  “I would like to get you back to the room and take our readings for the day.”  Mrs. Emily smiled and was escorted out of the restaurant and next door to the hotel they were staying in.

The two of them walked to thru the lobby and to the elevator.  Mrs. Emily spoke once the doors were closed.  “Nervous about tomorrow?”

Brodie simply nodded his head.

“Well you being the only one Meredith knows on the peninsula I thought you were the most logical choice to do it.”

Brodie nodded again. “I understand the logic but I am still nervous.”

The doors opened and they exited towards their rooms.  “That is very understandable but once we get Meredith back we are going to fly back to California.”

They reached Mrs. Emily’s room and Brodie opened the door.  “But we have, I mean you have more work to do, more sites to visit.”

Mrs. Emily sat down at at the desk chair. “Oh I will get back to them eventually but I have to take care of my daughter and you to.”  She said and patted the man’s hand.  Brodie continued with his checks of her health and shook his head.  “Something wrong?”

Brodie shook his head again.  “No your are as healthy as the day I met you, pulse, blood pressure even your temperature is normal, that is not right.”

“Oh Brodie dear Brodie I have been living with this stress for so long it has become my normal.”

Brodie sat down on the bed and put away his instruments, Mrs. Emily watched him.  “Something else is bothering, not just what is going to happen tomorrow, not my health, something else.”

Brodie nodded.

“What is it Brodie?”

“When we started to travel around.”  He trailed off.

“Yes Finland, then the Ferry when you started to understand what was going on around you with magic being real.”

Brodie paused and Mrs. Emily let the silence stand.  The silence lasted a little while and Brodie spoke up.  “I started to keep my own stats, Blood pressure and all that.”

“A smart thing to do.”  Mrs. Emily stated.

“Well my pressure was always high, but then a funny thing started to happen.”

Mrs. Emily nodded.

“It started to come down in Mongolia.”

Mrs. Emily nodded.

“And since we landed here in Korea my pressure has been almost normal.”

The words lingered there for a few minutes and then Mrs. Emily spoke. “And this bothers you?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Because I am getting use to all this.”  Brodie said motioning around the room but Mrs. Emily knew he meant the travel, the stolen CIA plane, meeting a dragon and learning that magic was real.

Mrs. Emily smiled tenderly and walked over to the bed and sat down next to him and put an arm around him in a motherly way.  “It is going to be all right my boy.  It is going to be alright.”

Brodie sighed and leaned on the older woman who seemed so strong.  A couple of weeks ago he might have cried, but her words comforted him.  Brodie sighed again.

Mrs. Emily stood up.  “Holly, Austin and Sally are waiting for you downstairs, they want to explore Tongducheon maybe do some shopping, to see what there is to see.”

“I was just going to go to my room and turn in early.”  Brodie said standing knowing he was being dismissed for the night.

Mrs. Emily lead him to the door. “You were going to your room and read Chaucer, and not sleep.  Go out get some air and keep those three out of trouble, and tell Sally she is not to have any rice wine, remind her she has to fly in the morning.”

And with that Brodie found himself in the hallway and he heard the dead bolt get thrown on the door.

Brodie shook his head in his normal disbelief in Korea the night before this show down with the Opposition, well when in Tongucheon when the going gets tough the tough go shopping.

Tune in next week for THE SHOWDOWN.

Coming up on the end folks, hope you liked this, someday I may turn it into a complete book, a few things I will changes, but a nice little story that I have enjoyed writing.

Posted in Tending the Stones for the Lock

Tending the Stones for the Lock, XXVIII

28th part of the new weekly story.  (1st Part)   The inspiration for this came from an off hand comment I made on Facebook, and since people seemed interested I decided to follow through.  Happy Reading. 

(1st Part) (2nd Part)  (3rd Part) (4th Part) (5th Part) (6th Part) (7th Part) (8th Part) (9th Part)(Part 10) (Part 11)(Part 12)(Part 13)(Part 14)(Part 15)(Part 16)(Part 17)(Part 18) (Part 19) (Part 20) (Part 21) (Part 22)  (Part 23) (Part 24) (Part 25) (Part 26) (Part 27)

 

“Young people are so excitable.”  The High Pilgrim said as Holly went running past.

“Yes, well it is both a blessing and a curse.”  Mrs. Emily said as she dunked her tea bag. Brodie did not run but quickly walked past the two sitting elders.

“What is your plan for Soysan?”

“Well John I thought maybe start with a parely and go from there.”

“Should I reach out to the shamans in the area, maybe provide a little additional intell and a heads up on anything unforeseen.”

“If you would be so kind of you John and I think very wise.”  Mrs. Emily said.  She motioned for the sugar bowl which the High Pilgrim passed to her. “Isn’t Bom still living near Tongducheon.

The High Pilgrim did not answer her but dunked his tea bag somewhat more enthusatically and then checked the kettle of hot water.

“You”  Mrs. Emily dragged out the u. “not answering a question John?”

“To answer your question yes Bom is still in the area and most of the shamans in the area talk to her on a regular basis.”

“On a regular basis and how do you know that.”  Mrs. Emily said in a teasing tone.

The High Pilgrim rolled his eyes after a few moments of stirring his teas he spoke. “Bom is Han’s cousin.”

Mrs. Emily looked over at Hans who looked up at the mention of his name. “He does not look Korean.”

“Second cousin on my mother’s side.”

“How very wonderful Hans, do you see her much?”

“Not as much as I would like.”  Hans replied.

“Well then this will be a family reunion then.”

Hans simply nodded.

“Well I should go and meditate and give Bom a heads up as to the situation.”

“Thank heaven for the astral plain.”  Mrs. Emily said.

“Sort of a mixed metaphor on that one Emily.”  The High Pilgrim said gathering up his robes and passing by her with a hand on her shoulder.

“Life is like a box of chocolates garbage in, garbage out.”

The High Pilgrim moaned at the bad joke of his old friend.

 

“Why is there a Mig tailing us.”  Holly said climbing back into the co-pilots seat.

“I do not know, but that one out there keeps getting closer and closer.”  Sally said tossing her towards her side of the plane.

“How close?”  Sally did not reply right away so Holly looked past her friend and out the window.  There about a wingspan away was a Chinese Mig fighter plane.   “Oh that close.”

Brodie entered the cockpit.  “Are we in some sort of trouble?”

“Good question Brodie.  My answer I don’t know.” Sally said.

“Incoming call.”  Holly said noteing the light on the communications panel. “You want me to answer it.”

“Ah yeah.”

Brodie watched as Holly placed the headset on her head and adjusted the microphone.

“Hotel, Charlie, Tango two fiver, responding to calling station.

“Holly wonderful to hear from you dear is the lovely Sally there.”

“Ah yes General Wu she is, but your planes are giving her a bit of concern.”

“Oh well sorry but if you would direct her to look out the window and just as soon as she does the planes will return home.”  The general’s voice changed and a clear and distinct order was spoken in Mandarain.

Sally looked over towards the plane.  “What the heck?”

Brodie leaned over and looked out the window and saw the pilot holding up a boquet of red roses lite by a flashlight.  “What the heck?”

“Tell the General thank you.”

Holly activated the microphone. “She really likes the roses General and she cannot wait to have dinner with you”

“There will be more on our date, it will be a night to remember.”

Sally rolled her eyes in response but just as she did the Chinese fighter veered away from the larger jet.

Sally reached out and toggled the switch to speak.  “I am counting the moments General.”

“Until we meet in person sweet sweet Sally.”

Holly terminated the connection.

“I hate a man that trys too hard.”

“Not to mention how much fuel he had to burn to get those birds up here and fly alongside us.”

Brodie shook his head and wondered what he had done to deserve the circus that his life had become.

(Part 1 ) (2nd Part)  (3rd Part) (4th Part) (5th Part) (6th Part) (7th Part) (8th Part) (9th Part)(Part 10) (Part 11)(Part 12)(Part 13)(Part 14)(Part 15)(Part 16)   (Part 17)(Part 18) (Part 19) (Part 20) (Part 21) (Part 22)  (Part 23) (Part 24) (Part 25) (Part 26) (Part 27) (Part 28)

Posted in Outrageous Lies and Tales

My Personal Heaven

A.J woke gradually, easily and without that gummy taste you usually had in your mouth after waking from a nap.  When he realized he was on the monorail at Walt Disney World he rubbed his chin and he was happy he had not been drooling .  It had been years since he had been to the Magic Kingdom and he was glad he was back.  The monorail car was in was empty and laughed, people were so polite here, at the last stop people saw him sleeping and most likely got on another car.  The monorail began to slow and he saw they were pulling into a station the Magic Kingdom station. The doors opened and AJ got to his feet feeling fresh and happy.  Stepping out onto the platform he did notice that it was only a one car Monorail but for some reason this did not bother him neither did the fact that as he realized there there only one person at the gate area.

“Hi AJ how was your ride?”

“Good, good.”  AJ replied automatically to the tall thin man standing next to the gate.  He did double take and then spoke. “Excuse me has anyone ever told you that you are the spitting image of Jimmy Stewart?”

Then from countless movie he heard the man reply in the very imitated ‘aw shucks’ stammer.  “I have heard that before.” He said smiling.  “Now then do you have your ticket?”

“Yeah I think so.”  AJ replied searching his pockets of his shorts came up empty handed.  The Jimmy Stewart look motioned towards the shirt pocket of his favorite Hawaiian shirt.  AJ felt the pocket then he looked down and saw the gold ticket sticking up.  He reached and presented it to the tall man in the suit and tie.

“Oh no, you keep that, just wave it in front of that reader do-hickey there and go right in, I will be right behind you.”  The Jimmy Stewart said motioning towards the gate.

AJ smiled and approached the nearest gate and waved it by the reader and then pushed on the turnstile and entered into the park, the flowers in front of the park looked fantastic their colors almost hurt.  He heard the Jimmy Stewart impersonator walk up behind him.  “So what should I call you?”  AJ asked as the man placed his hands on his hips and looked up at the train leaving the station.

“Well oddly enough my name is Jimmy.”  He continued with the voice sounding remarkably like the beloved actor. “So I understand you lived in my hometown for a while.”

AJ nodded. “Yeah  years  ago while I was attending IUP, in fact I had some classes in Wilson Hall where Jimmy Stewart went to grade school.”

“Good old Wilson Hall, sat near the window upstairs, a bit of a draft sometimes in that old building,” He stammered like the original. “well it was new when I went there.”  Jimmy said shivering.  “It was called the Model School when I went there, and I got my education from a lot of student teachers.”

AJ nodded, this guy was good, he never broke character he must have studied Jimmy a lot for this role.

“Shall we go into the park.”

“Sure Jimmy.”  AJ said smiling.

They walked thru the tunnel underneath the train station and AJ noted that the park was not empty at all but most of the people moving around did not look like tourists but Cast Members performing some functions like watering the plants or sweeping the streets and other custodial duties.   Jimmy guided him to the steps of city hall and then sat down on a bench outside, AJ joined him easily and happily, they sat for a few minutes and a young lady came up and offered them a ice cold cokes in real glass bottles.

“Thank you darling.”

“Thanks.”  AJ said as the girl smiled at him.

They enjoyed the drinks in silence as they watched the Cast Members move around the square, they watched and drank their Cokes with not a word passing between them.  It was peaceful and serene.  AJ finished his drink and Jimmy took the empty bottle from his hand.

“I am going to walk these empties up the street a bit, can you wait here a few minutes?”

“Sure Jimmy,  I can think of far worse places to kill a few minutes.”

“Right you are, right you are.”

AJ leaned back on the bench watching a gardener pick apples from a nearby tree and when the man walked away with a full basket AJ realized he was not alone on the bench anymore.  He said “Hi” before he even looked at the man.

“Hello AJ are you enjoying yourself?”

AJ knew the voice but could not believe the company would be so bold, he turned and looked at the newcomer.  The blue suit, the pressed white shirt with matching white handkerchief in the breast pocket and the dark tie, it was him.  AJ shook his head. “No.”

“Well yes and no.”  The kindly voice said coming out of the man.

“You are Walt Disney.”  AJ said.

“Well you can call me Walt, but I am not really him.”

“You are not?  Well you sure look and sound like him.”  AJ said looking down at his finely polished shoes.

“Well he is someone you admire greatly, another creative personality like yourself.”

“I am nothing like Walt Disney, the man built this place.”  AJ said motioning around.

“Again yes and no.”   The Walt Disney who was not Walt Disney stated. “You see this is your version of Heaven, granted this part you borrowed from Walt Disney World, one of your favorite places on Earth, but with some added features of your own design. Some people’s Heaven looks like their childhood home, some looks like a hotel room, one person’s looks like a bowling alley.”

AJ laughed “That’s funny if this was Heaven I would have to be dead.”

Walt Disney put a hand on his shoulder.  “I am sorry to have to be the one to tell you this but you are dead.”

AJ looked at  and chuckled, not feeling any fear or even much concern, just really inquisitive.  “I feel fine.”

“Of course you do, this is Heaven.”  He said chuckling.  “Your earthly concerns, worries, fears and weaknesses are gone.”

“I don’t believe it.”  AJ countered, but without much conviction.

“Look down at your legs, any psoriasis there, how about anything else you did not like about yourself?”

AJ looked down at his legs showing from his shorts down to his sandals, not a bit of the scaly patches of the condition that had been there most of his adult life.  He was amazed also that flabby gut he had carried with him for most of his adult life was gone, instead he had a flat tight stomach. Then he looked at his shoes, he always wore tennis shoes to the Walt Disney World, never sandals because of blisters. That convinced him more than anything that this was not a normal setting.  AJ looked back at Walt Disney.  “Who are you?”

“I think you know who I am.”

AJ thought about it for a second.  “God?”

“Well to your understanding, yes.”

AJ looked up and down at the figure sitting next to him, then leaned back and squinted his eyes and then opened them really wide.  “So should I be kneeling or something?”

“If it makes you feel better, but that is not really your idea of God, someone you have to kneel before.”

AJ shook his head.  “No, I always thought God was just a really great Creator but not one that did not really need worship, maybe some appreciation for the good job putting it all together.”

“Sort of like when people appreciated your stories, you liked to hear good things and were happy when people enjoyed them, but you mostly did the writing for yourself.”

“Well yeah.”  AJ said turning over the idea in his head.  They sat on the bench together for a few minutes and AJ thought of the most logical question and for the first time since waking up on the Monorail he got uneasy.  It was then that he noticed the sky was darkening and it looked like rain.

“You are thinking about asking the first Big Question, which is why the sky is getting dark and it might rain.”  Walt said looking up a the sky.  “It is about the only time bad weather comes, so go ahead and ask and lets get this over with.”  He said folding his hands on his knees.

AJ nodded, he had never been one to not ask a hard question. “How did I die?”

Walt put his hand on his shoulder.  “It was quick and mostly painless, auto accident, no one else was hurt.”

AJ nodded.  “Anything I can do about it?”

Walt shook his head.  “No, but they were able to harvest your eyes and a nice young man in Kentucky will be able to see thanks to you.”

AJ blinked a couple of times realizing his eyes were still in his head, then remembered this was heaven, no need for the decaying body here.  “Well I am glad that my death did some good.”

“That is a very positive way to look at it, but then again you always looked on the bright side of things, that is partially why your Heaven is so delightful.”

There was a long pause as AJ digested the fact of his death then he spoke choking up slightly.  “How is Marie doing?”

“You raised a very strong, very positive very caring young woman and she is surrounded by good people who care very much for her.”  Walt’s hand rested on his shoulder. “She will be fine.”

AJ got a little choked up thinking about his daughter then took a deep breath.  He nodded because he knew that Walt was speaking the truth.  “And the rest of my family, my mom and dad, my brothers John and Robert?”

“They are taking it hard but they are strong and will carry on.”

The silence between them was longer this time but AJ was again the one to break it.  “Are you sure there is nothing I can do, to comfort them, to reassure them?”

Walt slowly shook his head.  “Anything to be done on that side of the grave should be done before you die.  You did leave some great and positive memories, stories that people will enjoy for a long time.  You were a positive influence on the world AJ not something everyone can say that.”

AJ wiped a tear from his eye.

“Just one more question, will I ever be able to see Marie again?”

“Most assuredly.”  Walt said.  There was a long pause between them as AJ composed himself and it was Walt who broke the silence first.  “in the meantime would you like to look around Heaven it is quite the place.”

AJ wiped his tear and blew his nose with a bandana he found in his pocket. “Well I would like to see Heaven now.”

Walt chuckled and then he looked out at the sky, the dark clouds were gone and the brilliant blue was back.  “Lets walk and talk a bit, I have somethings to show you.”

They got off the bench and Walt lead them down Main Street, there was a bakery with the most enticing smells coming from it, then a candy shop displaying all of AJ’s favorite indulgences. Walt slowed and let him look in the window of each shop.

“Wow, this is great.”

“I knew you would like it.”

AJ sighed contentedly as they strolled along, then they came to a street off to the left leading to what appeared to be a residential area. AJ looked up at the street sign, it said one simple word ‘Family’.

“Not the most original street name.”  Walt said in a kidding manner.

“This from the name that wanted to call Mickey, Mortimer Mouse.”

“Touché”.

Then it dawned on AJ what he was seeing down the side street. “Is that Grandma’s house?”

“Yes.”  Walt smiled.

AJ looked at the house across the street from the two story white and gray house.  “Is that Grandma Clark’s house across the street.”

“One and the same.”  Walt nodded knowingly.

“They are here?”  AJ said big fat tears sliding down his face.

“Oh course.”

“Can I go see them?”  AJ said wiping the tears off his face unashamedly.

“Of course, when you want to see more of Heaven come back to Main Street and someone will be here to give you more of a guided tour.”

AJ nodded and ran toward the porch of his grandmother’s house.

He spent time with all his relatives that he seen pass away. He went down to the river with his Uncle Melvin, he helped his grandfather fix a flat on his Scotty trailer, he ate fresh buns from the oven with his grandma Clark and spent long slow summer afternoons playing cards with his grandma Mabel, horseshoes with his uncles and baseball with his cousins.  He even got to know his Grandpa Clark who he had heard stories about but never met, he learned all about his time in France during World War One and the difficulties of building damns on the Allegheny river.  After some time spent with his Uncle Jim hearing crazy stories about running his gas station he realized he had not seen the rest of Main Street.  As he walked Family street towards Main Street he noticed a figure sitting on the bench leaning back, his fingers interlocked behind his head with a fedora pulled over his eyes and coming from under the brim was the tune to New York, New York.

“Hello.”  AJ said.

“Hey kid, you have a good time with the family.”

“The best.”  AJ said smiling.

The man titled his hat back and AJ was not surprised to see he was talking to Frank Sinatra.   “Ready to see the rest of this one horse town?”

“I take it you don’t like it?”

“Oh it is fine as it goes, I can sort of see the attraction of it, but my idea of Heaven is more of a New York Vegas combo.”

“So what are you doing here?”  AJ said curious.

“Well as a favor to you, but I am not really here, I mean I am and I am not.”

AJ was confused now.  “Walt said the same thing, I think I am missing something.”

Frank Sinatra patted the bench and AJ joined him, then he began to talk in a serious tone.  “Okay, this being Heaven we are not really restricted to the regular rules of time and space.”

AJ nodded.

“So I can be here in your Heaven, at least an exact copy of me is here, and the”  and he made finger quotes “real me is in my idea of heaven, singing with Ella, or playing cards, drinking Jack will Jilly and Jimmy.”

“So this is true of everyone in heaven?”

“Sure, your grandmother down there.”  Frank Sinatra said motioning down the street. “This is not her idea of heaven,  her idea of heaven is different then yours, but now that you have died you, or at least an exact copy of you can now be in her heaven.”

“Huh.”  AJ said thinking about it.  “So I am in her idea of heaven at this exact moment.”

“You got it baby.” Frank said snapping his fingers.  “Hey do you want a drink because I sure could use one, walking you tourists around is thirsty work and there is this bar you have got to see to believe.”

The both got to their feet and Frank led them back to Main Street.

The walked back onto Main Street past a book store and a barber shop, AJ saw that the Mr. Dean was reading the paper and he looked up and waved and motioned for him to come in.  AJ pointed to Frank Sinatra and yelled. “Later sir.”

“Take your time, I am ready when your are.”  The barber yelled back and went back to reading his paper.

“The Big A.”  Frank said pointing the sign above the door to the bar.  “Real place or something you dreamed up kid?”

AJ stopped and looked at the exterior of the bar.  “The name is a bar that was only a hundred and ten steps from my front door in Philadelphia, but it never looked like this.”

“Wait till you get a load of the interior.”  Frank said pulling on the brass handle opening the door wide and ushering AJ inside.

The interior of the bar was perfect properly dimmed lights that were on the edge of cozy, bar stools and tables that were perfectly situated and the bar lining the one wall  was warm and inviting. Standing behind it was a figure stocking the shelves as AJ and Frank crossed the room the figure turned around.

“Jamie?”

“AJ glad you finally made it, MGD or maybe a Rum and Coke?”

AJ looked both ways and found the opening to the bar he ran around and gave his old friend a huge bear hug lifting him off his feet.  “You’re here.”  AJ said big tears again flowing down his face.

Jamie answered once he put him down. “Where else are you going to find your favorite bartender?” Jamie threw him a dry bar towel which AJ used to wipe off his face.

“Now get on the right side of the bar so I can do some work.”

AJ complied and called for a Rum and Coke.  Jamie poured a strong one and then looked at Frank Sinatra.  “Jack Daniels on Ice with splash or water?”

“You got it bub.” Frank leaned against the bar.  “One of the great things about Heaven the bartender never gets your drink wrong.”

As Jamie got the drinks Frank wandered over to the stage and looked around.

“Who is playing tonight?”

Jamie finished the drinks and then stroked his chin.  Well Buddy Holly and his guys are coming over to do a set, of course Elvis will stop in for a bit.  Are you going to sing something Mr. Sinatra?”

“Maybe, maybe.”

It was at that point the door opened two new people entered the bar.

“What will it be gents?”  Jamie said as the two sat down a stool away from AJ.

“Two Budweiser’s and one for the good Sergeant here.”

AJ looked at the two young men, they seemed familiar  and then he was surprised a few seconds later.

“Martian and Houston?”

Martian leaned over to Houston.  “Time?”

Houston looked at his wrist which did not have a watch on it. “About thirty seconds.”

“You owe me a beer.”  Martian said.

Houston nodded.

AJ was confused.  “Thirty seconds?”

“I said you would recognize us in under a minute, he said it would take you longer as you did not know us very well.  I defended you Sergeant, you were always pretty sharp when teaching.”

“Are you guys here all the time?”

Houston spoke up at the point. “No we just stop in to meet Golden Dragons and other guys we served with, have a beer or two and then go back to our personal little slice of heaven.  You can join us when any other Golden Dragons show up, if you want to.”

AJ nodded, sure just call me or whatever you do to get a hold of people around here. ”

Martian and Houston finished their beers.  Martian burped.  “You Sargent will get a telegram, delivered by a big breasted blonde.”

“Really?”  AJ said surprised.

The two soldier laughed, the Houston spoke.  “How should we know this is your heaven.”

AJ gave both of them a big old hug and the two waved to Jamie and walked out of the bar.

Jamie refilled the Rum and Coke and motioned to the two.  “Old comrades of yours?”

“Yeah we served in Somalia together, I did not know them well, I taught security and counter intel classes to the battalion so more people knew me then I knew them. Nice of them to stop by though.”

While they were talking more people had come into the bar, a few of AJ’s uncles, some friends from high school that had passed away.  They said hello and welcomed him to the neighborhood.  Jamie got everyone drinks but never seemed to be rushed or unable to talk to AJ about his writing or anything else.  He was even able to throw a couple rounds of darts with him and still keep all the drinks topped off.

“So when is your shift over?”  AJ said after one particularly rousing game of darts.

Jamie laughed.  “Whenever I want it to be.”

“Huh?”  AJ responded.  When he said that Frank Sinatra happened to be walking by.

“Confused by something kiddo?”

AJ stopped for a second then he realized it might have been for more then a second. “A yeah.”  AJ said looking around the room looking for something.

“Can’t find a clock, or a wrist watch or any other time pieces right baby?”

AJ simply shook his head.

“Let’s step outside I have something else to show you.”  Frank Sinatra lead him and Jamie outside where AJ discovered the streetlights were on.

“Its dark.”  AJ stated.

“Yeah its called night.”  Jamie said laughing.  “Mr. Sinatra do you got this I have a few drinks that need refilled inside.”  Jamie said snapping a bar towel at AJ then he grabbed him and hugged him tight.

“Why is it night now Mr. Sinatra and how long have I been here?”

The legendary singer directed him to a bench across the street and the two sat down.  “You finally noticed the time thing, pretty observant really it usually takes people a long time to notice it, but you have not even completed the grand tour yet.”  Sinatra paused.  “This is Heaven, no time, no need to hurry, no need to have clocks because we have time to do everything we want, everything we desire and everything we enjoy.”

AJ thought about it.  “So time does not exist here.”

Sinatra shook his head.  “No time exists but there is no need for us to count it because it is eternity.  You will be as happy in a thousand years from now as you are right now.”

AJ still felt confused.

“If time did not progress in a linear fashion here then everything would be happening at once.  While you were sitting down in Grandma Clarks kitchen eating homemade buns, you would also be drinking with Jamie but you could probably not fully enjoy either, so no clocks here, but time does pass,” Mr. Sinatra motioned around them.  “thus after hours of being in the bar with your friends it is now night because that is what time you think it should be.”

AJ nodded now beginning to grasp the concept.

“Are you tired or even a little bit drunk?”

AJ took stock. “No not even a little, but I do feel just as good as when I first got here.”

“I am guessing you have not slept since you got here.”

AJ thought about it, no he had not even taken a small nap while sitting on the swing reading at his grandparents.

“You might want to, taking a nap in heaven is a novel experience.”   Frank said, then he stood up.  “Well kid you think about it for a bit I am going to go back in an sing a bit.”

“Okay thanks Mr. Sinatra.”  AJ said waving at the singer.  Mr. Sinatra waved back and then passed thru the swinging bar doors.  AJ laughed a bit as he thought about it.  All the time to do whatever he wanted, no rushing, no hurrying, no deadlines.   AJ laughed again at a thought. “No editors or bosses in heaven.”

“No editors this truly is Heaven.”

“Mr. Twain?”  AJ said as the man in the white suit sat down next to him.

“Actually up here I just go by Samuel Clemens.”  The legendary author said extending his hand. “But you can call me Sam seeing as how you are a fellow wordsmith.”

AJ shook his hand in shock.

“When I was asked to come walk you around I looked up your stuff, I was not fond of the science fictions but I really liked your one short piece titled ‘The Invention of the Boat.'”

AJ just nodded shocked.

“Close your mouth son, unless you are trying to catch flies.” Sam looked at him. “You are not part frog are you?”  Sam said with a twinkle in his eye.  “I can still see you are in a bit of shock, tell you what lets walk around and I can talk and you can listen.”

AJ nodded again, but luckily his mouth was closed.

“So we are back on your Main Street, he said walking.  “I can see you were never really vain about clothes.”  He said motioning to the single clothing store on Main Street. “I have been in some women’s heaven where it was clothes and shoe stores for as far as the eye could see.  How I ended up in their heaven is beyond me, but I am something of an American Icon or something and one lady in particular was enamored with riverboats so I get to Captain a boat in the antebellum South, but I digress.”

AJ smiled and nodded.

“Ah here is something you should enjoy.”  He said motioning to a movie theater.   “Here you can watch ever single movie, television show, play or musical you have ever heard of, in fact you can watch things you have never heard in their original language with complete understanding as though you were a member of that time period.  I have enjoyed the original Shakespeare on a stage like it was the third night it was performed.  I have watch Mr. Kipling read his poetry with complete understanding of his slang and culture references as though I traveled with him to ‘India’s sunny clime.'”  Sam said smiling.

“Wow.”  AJ said staring up at the marquee which was blank at this particular moment.

“Well give it a try, what would you like to see.”  Sam said motioning towards the sign.

AJ thought about it and as soon as he did he saw the words pop onto the marquee ‘The complete Dr. Who, with updated special effects’.  AJ looked at Sam confused.

“Oh yeah in this case, instead of the cheap and easy effects that kept the show under budget everything is updated to what you consider the modern era, including it being in color.”

“So I can go in and watch it?”

“Anytime you want?”

“Will you join me?”

Sam shrugged.  “Sure I will give it a try.”

Coming out later AJ saw Sam sitting on a bench across the street.

“I did not see you leave.”  AJ stated.  Sam simply shrugged

“Did you enjoy that?”

AJ nodded enthusiastically, then he thought about it. “How long have you been waiting, I watched every episode, every Christmas Special back to back which should take a little over a month, you waited all this time Mr. Clements?”

Sam laughed and motioned around.  “Heaven AJ, no impatience, no hurries, time enough for everything even sitting while waiting for a friend.”

AJ nodded. “So if I sat here waiting for my friend Austin I would not notice the passage of time, I would just be happy waiting.”

“Well yes and no, you see a mind needs to be active and it would seem to you like no time passed until you fried showed up, but most people do not like to waste time, which is a hold over from their time on Earth.”

AJ nodded beginning to grasp the idea. “So you have it on good authority that Austin will be coming?

Sam nodded. “The Methodist pastor who quotes comic books in sermons, most assuredly.”  Sam paused. “We could sit here and wait for your friend or we could continue with the tour.”

“Lead on River Boat Pilot.”

They walked a past a few shops some containing games and toys, another was filled with with comic books and then they came upon a small park area.  Sam sat and AJ took a place beside him.  AJ looked around did not notice anything that grabbed his attention.  “What is it you are going to show me now?”

Sam smiled and then put his fingers up to his mouth and let out a whistle.  Rounding the corner came five very happy canines running side by side.  AJ let out a surprised noise somewhere between a laugh and a scream and got off the bench and got down on his knees.   The next then he knew he was engulfed in doggy tongues and jumping fur.

“Girls, girls, girls.”   AJ said laughing and trying to look at his dogs.

“Tell them to sit.”  Sam stated over his shoulder.

“Sit.”   AJ said laughing as two of the dogs had positioned themselves and were licking his ears.  Immediately the dogs sat down in a line in front of him, going from smallest to biggest.

“Trina, Taffy, Toby, Tiny and Tabby.” AJ said as he reached out and patted and scratched their heads in turn.

“All your dogs start with T.”  Sam observed.

“Just a thing that happened initially and then it got to be a habit.”  AJ said playing with his dogs.  “Toby and Tater are not here.”

“Nope they are still on the other side.”  Sam said motioning down towards main street where AJ had entered Heaven.   AJ played with his dogs for a while at least the dogs that likes to play, Toby just sat beside him and watched the other dogs.  Toby had been the most messed up dog he ever owned, unsocialized and unhappy most of the time but AJ loved that broken dog more than an other creature he had ever come across and now that dog was back by his side and she had both her eyes again.

“AJ there is more I have to show you.”  Sam said placing a hand on AJ’s shoulder and petting Toby with the other.

“You like dogs Sam?”

“More of a cat person, but the merit of a good dog has never escaped me.”

“Sit.”  AJ said calmly and happily and the dogs lined up again and posed as if they were on the cover of a magazine.   “What about them?”

“They can follow along or you can send them home.”

“Home?”  AJ paused ruffling Trina’s ears and looked over at Sam.

“You have a home, right down the road from your grandparents.”  Sam stated. “Oh you did not see it yet,  Frank was supposed to show it to you.  But anyways it is your dream house, ranch style three bedrooms, pool table in the basement with two poker tables and large swimming pool out back.”  Sam said reading from a notebook he pulled out.

“You have my house details in a notebook.”

“Special notebook, anything I need to know pops up here.”

“Pretty cool.”

“Yep.”  Sam said smiling.  “So do you want the dogs to come along or wait for you at home?”

AJ thought about for a second.  “I guess they can wait for me at home while I finish the tour.”

“All you need to do is tell them to go home and that is where they shall go.”  Sam explained.

AJ faced the dogs.  “Go home girls.”  They jumped up and ran down the street towards the residential area playing with each other as they went.

AJ smiled at Sam.  “Lead on.”

They walked further down Main Street and they came to a building that had drapes covering windows and wood door with gold lettering that simply said ‘Supplies and Provisions’.

“Are we going on a trip Sam.”

“Not necessarily.  But if and you want to go on a trip you come here.”

“A trip?” AJ asked.

“Go on in and they can explain it to you it to you.”

AJ point his hand on the handle of the double wooden doors.  “You ending the tour here?”

“For now, someone else will be along once you are done here.”  Sam said reaching out his hand which AJ shook warmly.

“Will I see you again.”

Sam Clements smiled and motioned around.  “This is Heaven everything and anything is possible, but to answer your question yes we will meet again.”

“Thanks Sam.”

Sam tipped a non-existent hat and nodded.

AJ pulled on the brass handle of the door and walked in thru the doors  approaching the counter.  He looked around and saw no one but noted there was a bell on the counter.  He reached out to hit the bell when he heard a voice from behind curtained doorway behind the counter.  “Okay I am going I am going.”  A large hand moved the curtain aside and out stepped John Wayne.

“Howdy Pilgrim.”

“Howdy.”  AJ said back.  The big man was dressed in his very recognizable cowboy gear minus the hat but carrying a large ham sandwich in one hand. “Sorry you caught me at lunch.”

“I can come back later Mr. Wayne.”

“Nonsense, lets get the show on the road,  he snapped his fingers. “I know you want to be a Deputy U.S. Marshall chasing a bank robber, ending with a shoot out with a corrupt cattle baron.”  John Wayne said pulling out a western belt with a six shooter in a holster from behind the counter.

“I don’t get it what is it you do here?

“You have never been here before?”  The Duke asked surprised.

AJ shook his head.

John Wayne slammed the leather belt down, then yelled over his shoulder.  “You guys lied to me, you said he had been here before.”  There was laughter from behind the curtain.

The legendary actor turned back towards AJ with a quick glance over his shoulder he started to talk. “You can’t lie in heaven, it is pointless, unless.”  And John Wayne held up a finger. “it is for a joke.”

“Good to know.”  AJ said nodding and smiling.

“It’s not that I hate wearing the cowboy gear but I am much more comfortable in this, with that the Duke’s clothes changed into khakis pants and a blue pullover golf shirt in the blink of an eye.  “Let me get one of the other guys out here to explain things to you.” John Wayne said taking a bite out of his sandwich, then around mouthful he yelled “Leo you are up.”  Then he vanished behind the curtain.  AJ leaned against the counter and wondered who was coming out next.

The curtain moved again and out stepped Leonard Nimoy smiling and chuckling.  “It is so rare we get to play a joke on anyone here thanks for being patient with us.”

“No problem Mr. Nimoy but I am a little curious what it is you do here at Provisions.”

“Well do you like everything you have seen in Heaven so far, your family, your friends, your dogs, the movie theater.”

“Oh yeah it is all great.”

“You were a reader were you not?”

“Yes.”

“And you also loved movies, television shows and the like, most of them fictional.”

“Yeah, almost every story is some sort of fiction whether it is science, historical, whatever.”

“And you were also a writer?”  Leonard Nimoy said reading from the clipboard he had brought with him.

“Yes, not read by many people but I enjoyed writing.”  Shrugging as he said it.  He looked at Leonard Nimoy who nodded sagely.

“Well we are here to prep you, to equip you and then to send you off.”  He then pointed to the right wall which shimmered and then changed into a double door, wood, painted green with brass trim and carved with an intricate geometric design.

AJ looked at the door and processed his emotions, no fear, just curiosity an overwhelming sense of curiously.  “What is behind that door?”  AJ asked without taking his eyes off the door.

“The question you should be asking yourself.”  Leonard Nimoy paused and AJ turned to look at him.  The actor had lifted with both hands a large old fashion control panel with large mechanical knobs and buttons on it and placed it on the counter top he pushed a few buttons with heavy clicks and then changed a few switches. “Is what is behind all these doors?”

AJ turned back towards the door and watched it change from the green wooden door to a metal door that would fit in perfectly with the original set of Star Trek, then he heard some more switches being thrown and the it changed into a animated cartoon door that would fit into a Looney Tune feature , then the door changed again to a wooden drawbridge.   AJ’s curiosity was just as strong with every change.   “Okay what is behind all of these doors?”

Leonard Nimoy threw two switches and two buttons and the drawbridge disappeared and the plain blank wall returned.  “Those were doorways into worlds, worlds where you can go on adventures, save the universe, fight the bad guys and return children to their parents from evil pirates.”

“You mean those are doorways into fictional worlds, like Narnia or Middle Earth or”

Leonard Nimoy interrupted him. “A galaxy far, far away, over the rainbow or the Oregon Trail, or even live and fight alongside  your own creations like Leo Grant and the crew of the Arrogant Lion or Mrs. Emily against the Opposition.”

“No way.”

“Way.”  Mr. Nimoy replied chuckling.

AJ thought about it for a little bit but then asked.  “But won’t it seem kind of pointless, the point of the stories are struggles, the possibility of losing it all in the fight that makes those stories seem so important.”

“When you walk through those doors you will forget about Heaven, it will be as if you are whatever character you are portraying, be it a Halfling in your story of the Four Kingdoms, or a crew member on Deep Space Nine or a Time Scout in a Robert Asprin story.  You will be uncomfortable and get bitten by bugs and fight with the possibility of losing but when the story is over you can return here and have the memory of the adventure.”  Mr. Nimoy said smiling.

AJ stared at the wall that contained the doors he must have stared at it for a good five minutes turning over all the possibilities  thinking of all the chances to do things he had dreamed of, fighting dragons, slaying vampires, flying spacecraft, exploring the surface of Mars, the list was well maybe not endless but very, very, very long.

“Did you want to try it out, maybe a short adventure somewhere, you decide the parameters and the extent of the adventure, long or short, hard or easy, it is all up to you.”

“Just like a library the stories are limitless.”  AJ mumbled to himself.

“Just like a library.”  Leonard Nimoy said smiling.

“I would like to go.” AJ paused for a few moments. “I am not really sure.”

“Totally alright, I can understand it is a bit overwhelming, take your time.”

AJ rubbed his chin. “Can I go outside and think this over.”

“Come back any time.”  Leonard Nimoy said waving as AJ left the building.

AJ turned towards the left where he had not been yet and saw that the Main Street ended in Cinderella’s Castle, just like Walt Disney World.  He sat down on a park bench and watched some people milling around Main Street, friends and family members going in out of shops and stores.  He found a bench and soaked in the sunshine on his face by closing his eyes.

“You were never really totally at peace on the other side were you?”

AJ knew the voice, Walt Disney’s voice, but here he was something more Creator, God, the Almighty, the Alpha and the Omega.  “I have a question for you.”  AJ said opening his eyes and facing the kindly older man.

“Not everyone gets to ‘It’ but most do, eventually.”

“So you have an answer?”

“You will have to ask the question to find out.”  Walt said pulling out a bag of popcorn from somewhere and offering it to AJ.

AJ took a small amount of popcorn and munched on it thoughtfully. “I always heard that you should never ask a question that you did not want to know the answer to.”

“That is wise.”  Walt said chewing some popcorn.

“Will it change how I view heaven if the question I ask is answered.”

“You have to ask the question to find out.” Walt Disney replied.

“Maybe I will ask it later.”  AJ said haltingly.

“You can ask anytime you want and I will answer.”

“I believe you.”  AJ said.  The two of them sat on the bench munching on popcorn until the bag was empty then Walt gave him a bottle of Coco Cola and the icy cold beverage hit the spot.

“Would you like to look over the lands.” Walt Disney said motioning towards the castle at the end of the street.

“You mean I get to take a tour of Walt Disney World with Walt Disney himself.”

The man smiled at him.  “This is not just the Magic Kingdom, this is every ride, attraction and amusement that has ever been or we wanted to put into a park.”

“You mean the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse and Tarzans Treehouse are both here.”

“Yes, and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is right alongside the Winnie the Pooh Ride.”

AJ decided to tease the Creator. “What about 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea surely you don’t have that.”

“That and the Journey to the Center of the Earth along with some other Jules Verne inspired attractions that never made it off the drawing board.”  Walt said motioning around. “But here there is no budget and no need to show a profit with ticket sales. Or even needs for tickets at all.”

“How about sore feet?”  AJ asked teasingly.

“Not possible here in heaven and very, very short lines.”

Well Mr. Disney I would love to see your park.” AJ said standing up suddenly with the same energy that he felt when he got here, days or maybe it was weeks or months ago.  Heaven was a place of no pain, no worries, and time enough for everything.  The question of Why? What was the reason for all of creation could wait.