Posted in A Miles Mitchell Story, Outrageous Lies and Tales

The Case of the Missing Mementos, A Miles Mitchell Mystery

1" x 2" Blank Roll Tickets


My 1996 station wagon squeaked to a stop in front of the house. It really needed a lube job, and I suspected a brake job, and I did not even dream about my AC fixed this year. I looked down at my phone then up at the pony express box and confirmed I was in the right place. These people had some real money, this was both one of the oldest and most expensive neighborhoods in Orlando and somehow, I had been asked to come and investigate a theft. Walking up the sidewalk I automatically added another zero to my retainer cost and hoped it would not sour the deal.

The lady of the house opened the door before I could ring the bell which I was sorry about because I really wanted to hear the doorbell, I bet it was one of those big gonging things like the Adaams Family.
I followed Mrs. Lafluer into the house, from the short tour of the digs the inside matched the outside, highbrow and expensive.

“I do not believe I have ever met a Private Investigator before” the very distinguished looking grey-haired man said rising from the sofa and extending his hand.

“And I am sure I have never met a brain surgeon before.” I said shaking his hand it was warm and firm and I wondered how many brains these fingers had touched.

“We prefer Neurosurgeons, it shows you have an open mind.”

I heard his wife groan at his joke, it was one I am sure she had heard couple thousand times. I supposed old married couples do that, I did not have any personal experience with that, my mother’s longest relationship was with a couch she had for fifteen years. They motioned for me to sit we got right down to the case.

“We had a break in last month.”

My face must have shown some shock and Mrs. Lafluer noticed. “Oh, it was an organized ring, they broke into a series of house around here, but they were caught last week.”

“I had not heard anything about it.”

Doctor Lafluer. “It was kept quiet they are still trying to recover some property.”


“No all of ours was recovered waiting to be sold.” Confusion must have shown on my face. “Everything except one item.” The doctor added.

“And what was the one item?” I asked.

“It was a collectable, a family memento really.” I nodded and then volunteered. “Something connected to Disney?”

The couple nodded then Mrs. Lafluer spoke up, “It would probably be easier to show you.” The three of us rose and I followed them to an upstairs hallway. I noted several framed collages of what appeared to be Disney ticket stubs, park maps and small souvenirs, all mounted tastefully behind glass.

“One is missing.” I noted motioning to a spot on the wall that was slightly discolored, the void had once held a similarly large sized collection I guessed.

“Yes, that one had opening day memorabilia from Hollywood Studios.”

I nodded and Dr. Lafluer continued. “My daughter was working there opening day as was our future son in law Justin.

“They each received opening day pins and assorted things that they both saved. When they got married, we framed it all and gave it to them as a wedding present.”

“I see.” I replied. “And it was taken in the burglary but was not recovered with your other things.”


“And you want me to see if I can find the collection.”

They both nodded eagerly.

“Well folks, this is kind of a tricky thing, if those pieces are valuable to a collector the collage might have been broken up already. If I take the case, there is no guarantee I will be able to recover any of the pieces.”

Dr. Lafluer nodded and spoke in a serious tone. “Son there are no guarantees in life, the only thing we can do is try. We are just asking you to try.”

I nodded back. I quoted my price and they agreed to it easily enough and then gave me a check for my retainer along with a folder containing detailed descriptions and pictures of all the framed items. I left the house promising to update them daily. Halfway to my car I was kicking myself for not asking for more, but a deal was a deal. Rich clients someday I was going ask for too much and be thrown out on my ear. But not today.

My first stop was the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Property Crimes Division. I caught up with a buddy and told him I was working the case, he moaned about the paperwork of the recovery, tagging and categorizing all the recovered property.

I usually don’t have much sympathy for flat foots when they complain about shuffling papers, they knew it was in the job when they took it, but I humored him and listened. It was about a half an hour of his belly aching before I got to the crux of the matter of the missing keepsakes. He said there were two problems with that case, one the LaFleurs did not discover the missing frame until a day after the initial report and in the other burglaries nothing like the memorabilia had been taken.

The crew that had done the burglaries only took cash, jewelry, some easily stolen high end appliances but no paintings, collectables or things of that nature. My buddy had interviewed the guy that turned on his co-conspirators, there is no honor among thieves, and he had told them the deal, fast cash, easily sold things that were hard to trace.

I drove away from the Sheriff’s office with more questions than before.

Why the collection? Why the delay in reporting? If it was the 2nd story crew had one of them taken a personal fancy to the piece?

I needed to know more about the items stolen, maybe I was missing something, maybe those pieces were more valuable then any of us knew. Time to consult an expert.

Tuesday, that meant I had to go to Epcot.

Epcot, a park that was utterly different than Walt’s vision for his world. The name itself stood for Experimental Prototype of Community of Tomorrow, and it was meant to be a planned community with underground roads, incredible public transportation and beautiful landscaping.

Now Epcot was simply a theme park, a thrilling and educational one, but when boiled down, a theme park. One of the biggest ‘what ifs” in Disney history, mostly because it was Walt’s last big proposed project.

Personally, I had my own ideas, and they were just as valid as anyone else’s, meaning pure malarkey.

My expert was at Epcot so that is where I went. He was a man of strict habits, looking at my watch I knew he would be somewhere in the International region of the park, either Germany or Italy.

After walking past China, which was the closest, I would ever get to the real place, I kept my peepers open, my expert would most likely be sitting at a table with his laptop.

Predictably I found him in the sit-down restaurant in Italy a few empty dishes around him at this which I am sure he had instructed the staff not to take away. He was a great tipper and so for him to monopolize a table while annoying was made up for with cold hard cash, he was also my oldest friend.

I had met Danny Deww a long time ago when we were both kids, his relatives did not know what to do with a 12 year old genius who loved Disney, so they dumped him off in the park with a credit card and annual pass. My mom would do the same thing, but with no credit card and never enough cash in my pocket to feed me. So, one day when borrowing snacks off people’s parked strollers I met Danny. We literally ran into one another. There were other kids like me who ran in packs around property and somehow, he had run afoul of them and they were chasing him. I hate bullies, I dealt with them and me and Danny have been friends ever since. Disney has since cracked down on those hooligans, but it gave me my best friend.

I picked up his old beat up backpack which occupied a chair and moved it to the next seat. He looked up from his laptop and frowned at the intrusion, but I saw a very brief smile, which turned back to a frown, a total put on I knew.

“Daniel.” I said in greeting.

“Miles.” He said making some notation on his ever-present notepad.

“How is business?”

He responded with a so-so hand gesture without looking up. Daniel’s business was information. He was the unknown research man for a variety of publications, blogs and even some business interests, people that wanted to know what was happening at the House of Mouse that were not in the press releases. Daniel knew more people that worked behind the scenes at Disney than anyone else, he gathered information and dispersed it to numerous contacts around the world. Not that Daniel needed to work, he was a trust fund baby and if he stayed healthy and living with his aunt and uncle he was set for life.

“How are the Ganders?”

Daniel answered. “Good enough, they took up yoga, they have some young chippy come to the house everyday and help them get into downward dog. Aunty says it helps fight her arthritis, I think Unc goes along with it just so he can see this hot blonde in his house every day.”

I shrugged, rich people problems. “Eh, whatever gets you through the day.” I responded.

“What can I do for you?” Danny asked, glancing at the screen. “I have a conference call with someone from Saudi Arabia in ten minutes.”

“Anything to give me the brush me off, so I don’t bring up the money you owe me.” I added.

“No one can pull a straight flush without cheating.” Daniel said.

“People can and I did,” He was about to interrupt when I held up a finger. “I did not come for my money you old miser, in fact you help me out with this case, and I will call us even.”

His eyes narrowed. “What do you need?”

I pulled the folder out. “I need to locate these items, stolen in a burglary the thieves were not targeting memorabilia, this was just a whim, so if they are trying to sell them I do not think they would have any connections so I am thinking the public sites or maybe private sites that you would know about.”

Danny looked over the file for a few minutes. “Have these ever been sold before.” The confused look on my face must have answered his question. “Original owners huh.”

“As far as I know, they got them on opening day.”

He nodded then he closed the file. “Well I will do some research, but this is not really rare stuff, in fact except for how pristine the pieces are there is nothing really remarkable about them. There is some value to them, but any good thief would be disappointed in the price he got for them.” He said handing the file back to me. “The frame and glass were not left behind; the burglars took everything together?”

That was not something I had really considered, I looked at the main list of things stolen, most of the items could be easily stashed in a large duffle bag, but this framed thing was not easily moved, it was bulky and fragile. A new question and no answers yet. I looked over at my friend who had his headset on, and I bid a silent goodbye to Danny.

I continued to my trip and found myself at the Living Seas. I ran over the questions I had in my mind. Why did the thieves steal the memento when they had not done so before or after? Had they broken their own rules and taken the whole framed piece from the house. Why did the Lafleur’s add the item to the stolen list a day after the initial report? The LaFleurs where not someone I would peg for padding an insurance claim.

And lastly, where were the items now?

After turning the problem over many times in my head I realized I needed more information, or at least a second look at the crime scene. I called the LaFleur’s and set up an appointment.

This time I vowed to arrive a little earlier to ring the doorbell, I wanted to know if it was a big gong like I hoped.

I arrived ten minutes early for my appointment with the LaFleurs, but as my finger was less than an inch from hitting the button and appeasing my decidedly over developed curiosity the door opened wide by the hand of the good doctor. A small voice like Snidely Whiplash in my head said, ‘Curses foiled again’.

I got down to the heart of the matter sitting on the same chair with the good doctor and his wife on the couch. “I have a question, on the initial police report you did not list the memorabilia as missing, then added it the next day.”

The Doctor looked a little embarrassed. “That was my fault, she was out of town and all I saw was the missing appliances, when she got home, she noted it was missing right away.”

Mrs. Lafluer patted him on the knee. “It was easy to overlook with everything else missing.”

“You weren’t home when the burglary occurred?” I said puzzled.

“No, I was at my daughter and sons-in-law house.”

“The same ones the had the memorabilia from opening day at Studios?”

“Yes.” Mrs. LaFleur answered but I caught a glimpse of discomfort on the doctor’s face.

I recalled something from the first interview. “Didn’t you say the piece was a wedding present to them when they got married? I hate to be indelicate folks but if it was a wedding present, what was it doing in your home?”

The married couple exchanged chapters of information in just a short glance at each other. “A couple of years ago, they started to have trouble, our daughter and her son moved back in here for a while, she brought the piece with her, recently they have been repairing the relationship, in fact they are in the process of moving back in together.” The doctor stated.

I nodded. Then without pausing to think ahead my mouth formed the words. “Where is their son now?”

“Tommy is staying with us for the summer.”

“Was he here at the time of the break in?”

“No, he was at a day camp, he came home just as the police were taking the last of my statement.” The doctor answered.

“Yes, that is when I called with the good news that Tommy and his mom would be moving back in with Justin, that is how I found out about the break in.” Volunteered Mrs. LaFleur.

“Is he here now?”

“Yes, I believe he is up in his room. Why are you asking about Tommy?” Mrs. LaFleur asked with the hint of protective mama bear coming out.

“Just a hunch nothing more, can we talk to him?”

A glance again and then he nodded.

Tommy’s door was directly across from where the framed memorabilia had been hanging. The grandmother knocked on the door. A muffled ‘come in’ was heard and we entered the room of what I pictured a normal ten-year old’s room looked like. Legos, sport posters and a rumpled bed. Tommy was sitting in a chair playing a handheld game. He stopped when he saw both his grandparents and a stranger. “Hi.”

“Hi.” I said back taking command of the conversation. “I am a private investigator your grandparents hired me to look into the burglary.”

“You mean like Magnum P.I?”

“Sort of but without the cool car.” I looked around the room. “You know about the missing keepsakes.”

I watched him closely, his eyes went to the bed and not the closet.

“Yeah.” He said but not as casually as before.

“Do you know anything about the stuff?”

Again, his eyes went to his bed and he simply shrugged.

“It was right across from your room; you must have seen it every day.”

I saw the tear start to form at his eye, at the same time the lower lip started to quiver. “I am sorry, I thought if they didn’t have the keepsakes they would not fight anymore. They always seemed to fight around it, I thought if it was gone, they could start over again and not fight so much.”


He really did not say all that at once, there was a lot of crying, blubbering and nose wiping before we got the whole story out of the kid. The burglary just coincided with the news they were moving back in with his father. No grand conspiracy, no higher malice, just a kid who did not want his parents to fight anymore. The framed stuff was under the bed, and the LaFleurs stated the keepsakes would stay in their house and not go back to Tommy’s house.

The important part, I got paid a big bonus for getting it back in one piece. I did not tell them they would have eventually found it when someone vacuumed under the bed.

I do sometimes know when to shut up.


The 1st Miles Mitchell Mystery, The Missing Heir

Posted in A Miles Mitchell Story

The Case of the Missing Heir, A Miles Mitchell Mystery

See the source imageRain pounded against my window, but it would clear up in a minute then the humidity would be higher than Russian sauna.  I was on my second glass of whiskey and contemplating how long I could sleep at my office before the landlord got wise that my office was now a residence.  I could not make my apartment rent for the third month in row and there was a suspicious red envelop on my front door which I had avoided like a sinner avoiding church. That is when she walked thru my door. She was brunette with long legs and a face that would have would make John Smith question his love for the beautiful Disney Pocahontas.  My front door was open, and she sauntered in like she owned the place, and for an hour of staring into those big brown eyes I might have given her the keys.

“Are you Miles Mitchell the Private Investigator?” She asked in voice that could easily be confused for an angel but gave the hint of knowledge that would make a demon blush.

“That’s what it says on the door, but my friends just call me Mitch” She smiled with ruby red lips but not with her eyes. “Have a seat Mrs.?”

She sat down in the seat in front of my desk with the smooth motion of a ballet dancer. I envied the arms of the chair as she placed her dainty hands on them.

“It’s Miss Fowler. Miss Felicity Fowler. I understand you specialize in cases concerning people involved with Disney World.”

I chuckled. “Specialize might be too strong a word, but I have had some success in Walt’s back yard.”

She nodded thoughtfully.  “I want you to find someone, my younger sister, Fiona.”

I nodded and she continued. “She came down here for an Internship, but she had been talking about taking a job with Disney afterward.”

“And now?”

“The internship was over five weeks ago and she has not called or communicated with anyone in the family since.  It is very important that I contact her soon, our mother is a very sick woman and wants to see her.” Her voice had the telltale quiver that comes right before a crying jag, so I grabbed a box of tissues from my drawer walked around the desk and offered her one.  I did not return to my seat but leaned against the leading edge of my desk till she got herself under control.

“You say she has not communicated with anyone in your family, how about her friends, have they heard from her?”

Felicity looked up with a sad look on her face. “Fiona and I are not what you call close, she was away at school for the last four years and we have drifted even further apart, I don’t know any of her friends and she has not used any of her credit cards, I had our accountant check.”

I nodded knowingly. Not that I ever had an accountant, I had taken my tax returns to H&R Block last year and they felt such pity for me they took up a collection in their local office.

“The police, Orange County Sheriff’s Department?”  I asked but knowing the answer before she gave it.

She waved her finely manicured hand dismissively. “They said that since no foul play was suspected, and it was not a crime for a girl to not call her family it was not their concern.”

“Do you have her local address, where she was staying?”

Felicity pulled out a small notebook from her purse and handed it too me, I gently brushed up against her fingers when the exchange took place and her fingers were warm to the touch.  “Your hands are very cold Mitch.”  She said.

“Well you know what the say cold hands, warm heart.” I said smiling. I took a few minutes looking over the notebook, it was all laid out for me there, Fiona’s information, the accountants name and number, it even listed the kid’s shoe size, a narrow size five.  I was not sure how that would help but you never knew I looked up from the notebook. I quoted my billing price and my initial retainer, and she agreed to it without batting a pretty little eyelash taking five crisp one hundred dollars out of her purse.  She got up to leave and I saw her to the door of my meager little office. 

“I am staying at the Gaylord Hotel; do you know it?” 

I nodded. I knew it. I had been in there a couple of months ago simply to use the bathroom and I swear security followed me around like they knew I was up to no good. Which was true I was a looking for a boss who was stepping out with his secretary but the staff at that fancy hotel had no way of knowing that.  “Please if you have any questions or you make any progress, please do not hesitate to drop by.”

I informed her I would be by with regular updates.  She shook my hand it that fantastic ladylike way where I was unsure if I should shake her hand or kiss it.  I stuck with the shake and she turned walking away in that red dress making me glad I was a man.

After the elevator door was closed, I walked to the hallway window that looked out onto the parking lot just in time to see a large flunky shut the door to a black town car, undoubtedly with Miss Felicity Fowler in the back.


An hour later I was on the case, after a quick trip downstairs for some Indian food. The smell had been tantalizing me for a couple of days and having my office above it was torture when all I had was two lonely George Washingtons in my money clip. But now fortified with savory Mango Chicken Curry I dug into the case. I did the easy stuff first, phone calls and computer checks.  Miss Fowler was correct Fiona had not been active on social media in about four weeks though, that is when she stopped posting on twitter and Instagram. I made a few phones calls to the boys in blue, old friends whom I owed a thousand favors to, no cases involving her, no reports filed with her name in them either.  I thought about that, no reports, Felicity had said she talked to someone, usually they at least put the name in their database.  Maybe it was nothing, slow paperwork, lazy civil servants. 

Nothing I did was ever easy, and this case was not turning into the exception to the rule. I knew checking out her housing when she was a Disney Intern was pointless. That place had both tight security and high turnover, even if I was able to get in all they would tell me is she had moved out and I already knew that. So, I decided to head to a place I thought someone might have a personal relationship with her.

The Magic Kingdom, Walt’s bigger version of Disneyland copied and expanded in a Florida swamp. I had a lifetime pass, through no effort of my own, unless you call being born an accomplishment and where I was born was my mother’s call.  Mom as far as I can tell was always a bit strange, doing crazy things and not caring what anyone thought. She had been pregnant with me, her one an only child and she decided she wanted to give birth at the Happiest Place on Earth, so when her contractions started she hoped in her car and even though it was closing time she somehow snuck down into the tunnels till the park was empty of guests.  She then emerged and by the time maintenance heard her giving birth it was too late and I was born in Fantasyland right in the Teacups Ride.  Which teacup I am not sure of because she tells me a different color every time. 

My story might have just been an interesting side note in the history books, but Disney had a new CEO who was visiting the parks for the first time and he made a big deal of it and bequeathed to me a permanent lifetime pass. Not many people recalled the story any longer and for that I was grateful. There had only been on media reprisal of the story, and that is when I turned ten and there was a lavish birthday party at Pirates of the Caribbean, my favorite ride, with accompanying pictures. 

I can’t give it away and I sure as heck can’t sell it, so I use it when I am working, like today.  I arrived at the Ticketing and Transportation Center, parked my car in Hook and walked with the rest of the guests to the screening area.  I went thru the no bag line, did not see anyone in blues that I knew so I took the ferry across the Seven Seas Lagoon to the Happiest Place on Earth. 

I walked Main Street USA to the last place Ms. Fowler had worked. I surveilled the store for a while occasionally looking at the faces of the cast members. When she was active on social media Ms. Fowler had taken pictures and posted them online of her friends working in the Emporium.  It was then that I got a shock, there was Ms. Fiona Fowler, helping restock a display of stuffed animals.  I watched her for a bit, made a pass checking out her name tag.  The name tag read Chris from Orlando.  I chuckled, it was Cast joke, if you forgot your name tag managers had a bunch of spares in their desk drawer, all Chris, a nice non gender specific name, and everyone that worked here at Disney technically lived in the Orlando area. 

Despite the name tag I was sure that this was the younger Ms. Fowler, she matched the photographs perfectly right down to the costume she was wearing. 

I looked at my watch and hoped she would take her lunch soon or maybe she would get work so we could talk.

“Hi Ms. Fowler, you don’t know me but.”

In that split second I said her name I saw several looks cross her young face, the first shock, then anger, and finally resignation, as if she knew this was something unpleasant, she was going to have to deal with. She held up a hand to stop me. “My stepsister sent you, didn’t she?”

“Stepsister? Yes, she is worried about you?”

This was met with a quick snort, one that I am sure she had used before when talking about her sister. “No what dear stepsister Felicity,” She said the words stepsister like it was a curse word, “wants is my money and my approval for the sale of my father’s company.”

“She also said your mother is sick.”

Again, a quick snort. “What my stepmother is sick about is not taking the company jet to Paris but having to fly first class commercial. Do you want to see her protesting texts from her where she pled with me to be irresponsible with the company funds and use the jet for her personal travel?”  

I was about to ask her if we could talk somewhere when Fiona beat me to the punch. “I get off in thirty minutes, Gaston’s at two?” 

I agreed and killed the next thirty minutes navigating around the castle and crowds via Liberty Square, I avoided the Teacups whenever I could, not for the reason you would think though.  I was walking by the ride one time and a queasy teenager came off the ride and created a code V right on my shoes. The stain on my shoes showed he had been eating a lot of cotton candy.

I grabbed a very expensive Coke and took a booth in the back and waited. With ten minutes to spare the younger Ms. Fowler showed up, sans costume and in street clothes.  We talked for the next fifteen minutes, she told me of her father, his company, his 2nd marriage which came with a new stepsister, Felicity.  She explained that her control of both the company and the family fortune was not contested and she had no intention of turning control of the company over to either her gold-digging stepmother or her minion Felicity.  Fiona did not beg, she did not attempt to pay me off, she simply asked that I do not report my findings to her sister.  When I was non-committal about what I was going to do Fiona gave me a phone number to text and tell her my decision.  I promised her I would. 

I got back to my car via the ferry boat, walking to the top deck for the most air flow to clear my head.  By the time I got back to my 1996 Buick station wagon I had come to a decision, I had taken Felicity’s coin to do a job, I had done the job and she would get her information at least what I had gathered so far.

I navigated to the Gaylord Hotel and smirked at the on-duty security manager when he pointedly asked what my business was. When I mentioned my client was waiting for a report in a suite upstairs, he nodded curtly and with his eyes pointed towards the elevator.  I was not happy that the job was over so soon, but hey maybe something else would pop up to keep the wolves at bay. 

Knocking on the door I heard a bit of shuffling in the room and then the beautiful Ms. Fowler answered the door. I followed her into the room glad she was still wearing the red dress.  She sat in the living area of the suite and asked me to do the same. 

“I did not expect you so soon Mr. Mitchell.”

“Remember you can call me Mitch.”

“Of course, Mitch. I hope you have good news.” 

I looked into those beautiful brown eyes and realized that hopeful look she had in her eyes currently might be greed and wondered if they would be so beautiful when I told her I was dropping the case. “I found your stepsister.”  At the words stepsister the eyes opened a little wider, I was not sure if it was anger or surprise, but I continued.  “She is fine, she is now working full time for Disney in retail but.” That one word ‘but’ confirmed my earlier suspicion she it was greed. “she does not want to have any contact with you except thru her attorney’s.”  Felicity’s lips said a word that would never be said in a Disney movie and she stood.  I stood as well.

“I am taking it you no longer wish to work for me.” She said in hostile tone.

“No nothing more to report.” I was about to turn when I saw her eyes flick to something over my shoulder and that is when the lights went out.

If you have ever woken up after being knocked unconscious let me tell you I do not recommend it, but it is better than not waking up at all.  Luckily, I had some experience with it and wisely stayed very still and kept my eyes closed. There were two voices in the room with me.  The one was Felicity and the other was a man with a heavy New Jersey accent with the warmness of a gravel truck barreling down a mountain road with bad brakes. He sounded like the kind of a guy who would cold cock a guy from behind.

“That was stupid.’ Felicity.

“He knows where she is and now, and now she knows we are looking for her.” Gravel truck said.

“And how was clubbing him in the head going to fix our situation?”

“I can make him tell us what else he knows.” Gravel truck said and I heard his voice coming from somewhere over of me. I decided at that point to remain ‘unconscious’ because it was hard to question a sleeping person. 

“And when we get what we want from him?” 

“I get him out of the hotel, the security manager is one of my guys from back in the day and this private eye becomes gator food.” There was some movement around the room. “Time to wake this bum up.”

I thought quickly about my options and moaned when I had made my plan.

“I think he is coming around.”  Felicity said.

I risked opening my eyes knowing the pain it was going to cause. Sure enough, pain shot thru my eyes directly into my skull and I let out a moan, but I was rewarded with seeing the legs of the man coming towards me.  I know my next move would have to work otherwise I was going to end up in the belly of a gator, so I did what came naturally and something I had been suppressing since I came to.  I created my own code V all over the man’s shoes.

“Son of a.” 

“That is gross.” Felicity said from across the room.

I agreed with her my lunch of curry and now digestive juices was now all over this guy dress shoes.  Luckily this distracted him and I moved quickly but painfully, desperately kicking and knocking him down. I got extremely lucky and he fell, head hitting the edge of the coffee table.  I hoped he would get a concussion and a headache like the one I was going to be fighting.  I stood over him, waiting for him to get up, but he did not but he was breathing. Felicity was running out the door, I was in no shape to give chase but found my phone and dialed 911.

Six hours later I was back in my office with a bottle of aspirin and an ice pack. Felicity had gotten away and the cops were looking for her. It seems there was a warrant out her and Gravel truck up north, something about counterfeit Disney memorabilia. Gravel Truck was now sitting in the Orange County Jail but Felicity had gotten away.  There was talk of a reward, but I was not counting on it.

The phone began ringing and I began cursing the noise, but I picked it up anyways. 

“Hello Mr. Mitchell?”

“This is Miles.” 

“This is Fiona. I understand that my sister is on the run again?”

“Yeah but her partner was arrested.”

“I also heard you were injured was that because you did not tell them where I was?”

“Just a little but no big deal in the greater scheme of things.”

“Thank you anyways.”  There was a pause. “The real reason I called was I wanted to know if you were available to work for a friend of mine, they want to hire you to find something that was stolen from them are you available?”

My ears perked up. “A job, sure I am available.”  I smiled even though it hurt.  Maybe I would be able to afford another bag of ice. 


The 2nd Miles Mitchell Mystery, The Case of the Missing Mementos

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.


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?”



“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.