Dark and Stormy

“Never begin a story with, ‘It was a dark and stormy night…'” the teacher instructed. She was talking about the often-mocked and parodied opening sentence written by English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton from his 1830 novel ‘Paul Clifford.’

The student raised his hand and quietly waited to be called on before asking, “But what if it was a dark and stormy night?”

That student spent the rest of that period sitting in his desk, facing a blank corner. Now a professional writer, he has never started a story with, “It was a dark and stormy night…”

But secretly — he’s always wanted too.


Flash in the Pan

The photographer led the willowy politician down the hall to a darkened room holding only a table, two books and a column. He placed the man’s hand atop the volumes in a casual pose, having him look into the camera instead of away.

Standing behind a three-legged contraption, the photographer flung a black sheet over his head and leaned forward. In his right hand he held a flat pan on a stick.

The politician stood still, breath held. Suddenly, the pan flashed brightly, billowing acrid smoke into the air.

The future President was nearly blinded and almost choked to death.

Lani Crockett, 1956-2018

Yet another friend has passed away and I find myself, sitting quietly, in a numbed state of mind. Double-tough and yet double-tender, Lani Crockett died on March 16, 2018.

She graduated from Del Norte High School in 1974, receiving her degree (I think in ‘Women’s Studies,’) from Humboldt State University in Arcata, finding employment as a social worker at the Del Norte County Department of Health and Human Services. Lani was there for about 12 or 13 years before her passing.

But what I remember about her best is her working as a bartender at Rowland’s Restaurant in Crescent City. My brother, Adam worked in the kitchen for Pete Kaufman at the time and so I’d go in and sit at the bar while waiting for him to finish up.

Lani often talked about horses as she loved riding and chasing the ‘south bound end of north bound’ cattle across the Smith River. I’ve often thought her excitement must have been contagious as I eventually moved to Northern Nevada and took up ‘cowboying’ to make ends meet.

A warm glow falls over me and tears fill my eyes as I think about Lani and that oh-so-lonely period in my life. Yeah, I had a bit of crush on her back then (I’m sure I wasn’t the only one though) and I’ll always remember her vibrant laughter, sweet smile and kind words — forever.

The Games Afoot

“There appears to be an altering of our reality taking place,” the tall lanky man standing at the window stated.

“What do you mean?” his shorter, heavier friend asked.

The first man turned slightly, “Come. See for yourself.”

The second man at the window agreed, “But what is that running along Baker, Holmes?”

“It appears to be a ‘Scarecrow,’” he answered. “Quick Watson, the games afoot and don’t forget your Bulldog!”

The two rushed from the flat and into the nearly silent street. By then the figure had disappeared, but it didn’t deter them from heading in the same direction.

The ‘Scarecrow’ ran far enough ahead as to stay in sight, but not close enough as to get caught. Holmes had deduced from this that the person – if indeed that’s what it was – wanted them to follow, but he didn’t know where.

Outside of London, the pair raced along a footpath and down a hill and back over another hill only to come to the entrance of a large tunnel. Knowing every inch of London and it’s rural out-layings, Holmes knew the tunnel, which was more like a cave, had never existed before.

He paused and using his keen sense of detection, looked the gaping wound in the earth over. Unable to assess whether it was safe or not, he rushed head long into it’s darkness with Watson close on his heel.

Once inside, Watson commented, “I don’t think we’re in London anymore.”

“Quite right, my dear Doctor.”

From out of the blackness a figure could be seen moving. Both the detective and doctor saw it and gave chase.

Without proper torches, neither man could see well enough to make out details of the figure they were following. Without warning, they heard a scuffle, punching, kicking and then silence.

Then the cave came to life with bright lights and a sophistication that the two 19th century men had never seen before. The cave opened up into a cavern that held not only a laboratory, a bank of machines that clicked-and-whirred, but items that men only dreamed of including a black massive and powerful looking horseless carriage.

“Are you looking for him, Mr. Holmes?” came a booming voice, instilling fear and filled with confidence.

Surprised, both men turned to see a man dressed all in black, with a cape and cowling. Behind was the unconscious body of the ‘Scarecrow’ they’d been chasing, being unceremoniously dragged by one leg.

“Gentlemen,” he said in a gravelly whisper, “I’m the Batman. Welcome to my not so-secret anymore Bat Cave.”

“Thank you, Mr. Batman,” Holmes replied. “Put the Bulldog away, Dr. Watson. He’s more friend than foe despite his appearence”

“Doctor, eh?” Batman asked. “Meet Dr. Jonathan Crane.” The Batman rolled the limp body before his two uninvited guests.

“How is it you know this ‘Scarecrow’ fellow?’” Watson wanted to know.

“After he received his brain from the Almighty Oz “the Batman replied, “The ‘Scarecrow’ realized he could live the life of comfort by stealing the one item everyone in Wonderland held dear – a pair of red ruby slippers.”

“Wonderland? Ruby slippers?” Holmes questioned in quiet susurration.

“Yes,” the Batman said, “And once he had them, he began his one man crime spree, spreading terror by altering reality within whatever reality he happened to be in at the time. And thus, gentlemen, here we stand.”

Off in the distance came the gentle groan of an electric motor. Soon, Alfred stepped from the service lift, “Ahem, Master Bruce, now that I see that you’ve all met, tea is served.”

“Thank you, Alfred. Please join me,” he commanded the other two men more than asked. The fine bone china quietly chattered as Alfred placed the serving set on a nearby counter.

Slowly, Sherlock batted his eyes as he awakened from what he assumed was a drug induced coma. John, his medical doctor and colleague, stood slightly bent over him, with a look of great concern, “You gave me quite the start old man. Best you lay off the cocaine, or was it the heroin this time?”

Cold Romance

My husband got out of bed and shuffled into the bathroom, when…FLASH. As I started to get up to check on him, he crawled back under the covers, where I snuggled up next to his chilled body.

“What was that bright light?” No answer.

Instead he excitedly climbed on me and spreading my legs, I let him in. We hadn’t been passionate in a while, so I enjoyed the sensation as I climaxed.

Finished, he rolled off me and headed towards the kitchen. Annoyed, I got up to go pee, where I surprised my husband, still sitting on the toilet.

When Jesus and the Easter Bunny Met

Jesus was walking through the woods one morning, shortly after returning from Heaven. He needed to take a shit, but couldn’t find a place.

Finally, unable to hold it any more, he grabbed a few leaves and squatted behind a fallen log. Much to his surprise, he discovered the Easter Bunny doing the same thing.

The bunny finished first and started on his way when Jesus asked him, “Do you mind if your fur gets dirty?”

“Not really,” the rabbit answered.

“Great,” Jesus replied as he grabbed the bunny by the ears and proceeded to wipe his ass with him.