Thursday, May 25, 2006

Chapter 6 - Baltimore

"Uhhh...Yes sir, I said Penguin. P-E-N-G-U-I-N. Yes, the flightless bird. No, I don't know why it was staring at me, but I will tell you that it was quite unnerving. Yes, I did mention a taco. No, I don't know if they can truly digest the tortilla....Yes, I ended up in the Zoo. It was a tag off of a sofa. No sir, it wasn't my sofa. Really, it just came in the envelope! No, I have never nor would I ever tear the tag off of a sofa....OK, sir. Yes sir. Tomorrow morning? I guess that is good for me. What? No, I don't know if the taco had sauce on it. Alright, bye now..."

Bob hung up the phone and let out a big sigh.

"Didn't he believe you?" Lucy asked.

"I'm not sure, he seemed to be focusing on the taco. It was really strange."

"Yes, I noticed that. Do you have any idea why?"

"It seems as if this is not the first time this taco eating fowl showed up on their radar screen. I thought he would laugh me off of the phone, but he got real quiet when I mentioned the taco. Maybe that is a clue." Bob pulled his shirt over his head. "Man, I still smell like fish."

"Yes, I noticed that too." Said Lucy.

Bob changed his clothes while Lucy went to the kitchen to fix dinner. This ordeal had taken most of the day and Bob had not had anything to eat for quite some time. Lucy looked through the fridge for something to offer - there were old tacos, fish, "Ah, good. Macaroni!"

"Macaroni with hot dogs! My favorite." said Bob as Lucy pushed the plate in front of him. "So, I think I figured some of this out. Remember the map in the envelope? I was trying to remember why it was so familiar. It looks just like the inner harbor in Baltimore - I used to work in a gift shop in Baltimore."

"What kind of gift shop? I didn't know you lived in Baltimore?"

"Yes, I was there the year after college. Remember that girl I dated?"

"Sheila? I never liked her."

"Yeah, I never did either. Her father owned the gift shop and I needed a job. They sold trinkets made out of sea shells. Kind of hokey if you ask me, but it was a job."

"Good, she really had a big over-bite. She was a little cross-eyed too."

"Actually, she had a glass eye. It was really hard to date her. She had really bad breath...but I had to have that job. Actually, that was when I got on the global cooling bandwagon. I found a bookstore at the inner harbor...wait...Lucy!"

"What Bob?"

"We have to go to Baltimore! I think I just figured out the taco!!!"

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Chapter 5 - Hot and cold

Gosh, it sure is hot.

A dripping sound echoed in Bob's ears. What is that dripping? Did I leave on the faucet? Did I leave on something that would make a dripping sound that echoes in my ears like this? Are my ears just echoing?

Man, it is real hot.

Maybe I ought to get out of this jacket. What am I doing wearing this fur coat? I don't even remember putting it on? Maybe it is making a dripping sound. Maybe I am wearing a dripping fur coat. Maybe not - that is kind of strange, isn't it?

Hot. Yes, it sure is hot. So hot that it is dripping. It is dripping hot. Yeah, that is what it is.

Bob's eyes shot open. He sat up and looked around. No penguins, no pictures of penguins, no bright lights. Actually, it was really dark. He could not see a thing around him. He took his hand and moved it toward his face. Ouch!!! Something just hit me in the nose! Wait, that was my hand. It sure is dark...and hot.

Feeling the floor around him to make sure it was steady, he stood up. Thump! Ow!! My head! What is this? Rock? Ow, it sure is hard...and it is hot. I had better take this jacket off of me. This dripping fur coat. No, it isn't dripping, something else is.

Bob took his coat of, crouching, making sure that he didn't hit his head again. He then slid forward towards what felt like a cooler breeze. He moved for a few minutes and it seemed as if he moved into a larger room. There was a hint of light in the room, but he could not tell where it came from. Bob reached above his head and stood up slowly. No, no rocks. It still is pretty hot in here too, maybe a little less. But that dripping has gotten louder.

Bob took a step forward and lunged as his foot failed to touch any floor. Suddenly he was cold and very wet. He was in water thrashing to keep himself up. Man! This is wet water - not so hot, actually it is cold. Man, I wish I had a jacket.

He swam forward, not able to tell where he was headed. He thought he was headed toward where he fell off the edge into the water, but no, he was swimming too far for that. It seemed like he swam for at least a few minutes when he suddenly hit a wall with his hand. He grabbed the edge and pulled himself up to the floor. As he stood up, he noticed a very dim light coming from straight ahead of him. OK, now I am really cold - and dripping. His shoes sloshed as he walked forward carefully. He slowly made his way to a wall, and then to a door. He reached around for a latch - there it was. He twisted it and his eyes were blasted with light. A cold wind hit his face and he blinked. As things came into focus he knew where he was.

There were people behind a fence looking in. There was snow and ice, and a pool of water. There were penguins gathered around in a circle. One of them looked at him with an icy glance. Bob felt a chill. He was in the zoo.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Chapter 4 - A Dapper Fowl

The sound of slapping feet echoed through the room. The bird on the wall glared ever harder deep into Bob's psyche. He looked away and saw the visitor in the room - same expression, same piercing look. Chills came in waves that started at his crown and ended up at his toes. The footsteps came closer, closer.

Then the door opened again and a very tall man walked into the room. He wore a Stetson hat and had a button on his well-pressed suit that read "kiss me, I'm Irish." Bob did not feel in the kissing mood, nor did it appear that the stranger was in that mood.

"Eeeeka - oonka! Rrrraaaaaaaaaa! Aaarrrrrhaaaarrrh! Chhht, chht, chht, crrrraaaawww!" Said the bird as he glared at Bob.

The man cleared his throat and said, "The boss says he is not happy with things. He says that you have been nosing around in places you should not be sticking your schnozz."

"Bbbrrrrraaaaawwww! Caaaaarkkkkh, aruuuun, caaaarkkkkh blaaaaaaawwwwwwrrrrrr!"

"He says you don't look that smart, but you are starting to be dangerous. He thinks it may be time you .... made....some....copies....."


"Oh, yeah, sorry! He says he thinks it may be time you took a little...vacation, if you catch my drift."

"Braakkkkkkikkkikkkikkk, waaaaaaaaaaaaaakkkkiiiiiiii!"

"Um, I think he wants a Taco. Is that right, boss?"


"OK, I can do that. There's a Taco Bell Across the street. I'll be right back Boss!" The man made his way quickly out the door, wringing his hands as he scurried down the hall.


"Yeah, boss - a fish taco if they have them - I know! I'll see what I can do." He said as his voice faded down the hall.

Bob noticed that the bird now stood right in front of him. He came closer and stared. Bob tried to look away, but its eyes had a hypnotic quality to them. It started cackling, as if it was laughing, "Crah crah crah crah craaaaawwwh!"

"What do you want from me?" Bob shouted, as the cackling grew more intense. It seemed to echo in his head, pushing out all thoughts, all memories, all other things besides that terrible sound. "Please, tell me what I have to do. I'll do anything....anything....anything."

Suddenly the room was filled with the strong smell of fish. Bob felt a sharp, stabbing pain in his head. He slumped forward as a very large sturgeon fell again on the back of his skull. "I've been hit by a big fish" he thought as his thoughts lapsed out of consciousness. Then everything was dark.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Chapter 3 - A night in the slammer

"So what are you in here for, buddy"
There is no way I can tell this guy that I am in jail for being caught with the tag off of a piece of furniture, Thought Bob. "Destroying property...And being a public menace. But I was framed! I never did anything wrong!"
"Yeah, I never strangled those people either" said the stranger, "I swear I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Bob's thoughts raced as he considered the situation. He must had stumbled onto something big for this to have happened. Luckily, Lucy had kept the rest of the contents of the envelope safe and away from the police when they came in. Unluckily, she had also thrown the tag off of the furniture at Bob, making him appear to be the guilty party. When Bob had fumbled for words, explaining that the tag had come in an envelope given by a shady character on the street, the police man laughed, assuming this strange story was just a cover-up.

As he was thinking about this, the door of the cell rattled as someone put the keys into the lock. "Come vif me" said the stranger in a thick accent. He led Bob down a long corridor to a small room with a chair in the middle of it. He sat Bob down in the chair and put leather straps around his arms, securing them to the arms of the chair. "Ve have vays of making you talk!" Said the stranger as he broke out into an evil laugh.

He left Bob in the room alone. As his steps and laughter faded down the corridor, Bob looked around the room. Aside from the chair that he was in, was a bright light that was shining at his face. The room was fairly small, with no other exit besides the door he had entered through. The walls were decorated with strange pictures. One picture was of a fancy-looking French dinner being eaten by hamsters. Another picture was of dogs wearing martial arts outfits while kicking each other. The third picture Bob saw was of a very angry looking penguin. The penguin seemed to be looking straight at Bob and it made him feel very uncomfortable. As much as he tried to look only at the other pictures, Bob's eyes kept coming back to the penguin. Its eyes penetrated Bob. It made him feel cold inside. It made him want to run and scream and shake his head.

As he felt he could take no more, the door opened and into the room walked a very well-dressed bird.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Chapter 2 - Developments

They came to Lucy's appartment. As Lucy unlocked the door, Bob tore into the evelope to find out what was in it. Among the contents he empited onto the kitchen table were the following: 20 paper clips, 2 pieces of string - one yellow and one white, a Breathe-Right strip that appeared to be used, a worn-looking piece of notebook paper folded tightly with "32" written in pencil on the exposed paper, a tag from a sofa that read "Removal of this tag is punishable under the law...", an assortment of Tic-Tacs, and a weather map that had been cut out of the newspaper.
They stood and stared at the contents, trying to make sense. After a few seconds Lucy turned red and exclaimed, "Bob, they are trying to frame us with that tag! We need to hide it so we don't get caught by the police."
Bob felt it best to ignore this train of thought and focused on the folded piece of paper. He inspected the outside. "Why do you think it has '32' on the outside of it?" he asked. He then slowly opened it up, revealing a hand-drawn map. "I have no idea what this map is of," he said. "It kind of looks like this is the coastline, and this may be a mountain range - but I am not sure what this is over here..."
"Hey, I think I hear some sirens. We need to get out of here" Lucy continued.
Bob started taking the string and laying it on the map. He was trying to see if it fit into the lines of the map, maybe giving a clue to the location that the map was describing, when there was a knock at the door.
Lucy gasped and hid behind the sofa.
Bob went over to the door and and opened it up. There was a police officer looking at him, rhythmically patting his club on his hand.
"So, you must be Bob," he said.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Chapter 1 - A stranger appears

As people go, Bob was just like any other. He was of ordinary height, weight, body mass index, density, specific gravity and even would emit radiation in a normal fashion when exposed to unstable isotopes. In short, he was just like you or me.
But Bob's normal existence was about to be rocked with something so immensely radical that even his wildest imagination could not come close to it. None of the books he read so voraciously - books about knights going on quests, about explorers, about penguins eating tacos, about people who committed minor traffic infractions - could prepare him for what was about to happen.
Let it now be noted that I, the author of this story, also have no idea what will happen to Bob. I am just making this up as I go along. I am shooting from the proverbial hip. It is my hope that Bob will actually have something interesting happen to him. If not, then this will be a long, dull trip for all of us. Yet things to seem promising, so let's keep our fingers crossed (I won't do that while I am typing, however).
It was the 5th of November. There was a little chill in the air, but not so much as one would expect. It had been a fairly warm fall, and the predictions were that the winter would also be mild. Bob found this quite fascinating, as he was part of the small band of radicals to fight the effects of global cooling. This was a fairly small movement - really just Bob and his girlfriend Lucy - which started when Bob noticed that December was a particularly cool month. Lucy noted that January was also fairly cool. This seemed to them to be a pattern worth noting. What is all of this talk about global warming when we have these obviously cool months every year??? Perhaps the global warming movement was a cover-up of the more insidious problem of global cooling. Perhaps major industries were conspiring to cloud this issue of global cooling by making the opposite problem a national issue. Soon both Bob and Lucy were searching the web for any mention of global cooling - they found nothing. It seemed obvious to them that someone needed to stand up and point out that the king was wearing no clothes (although Lucy did not know what this had to do with the weather).
"A warm winter," said Bob, "just what the conspiracy needs to bolster that crazy global warming theory."
"Yes" retorted Lucy, "It's a good thing that good thinkers like you are on the prowl. Without you, the world would be destined to turn into barren Tundra while big business rakes in millions selling cold-weather gear."
"You aren't so bad yourself, little chickie" Bob responded, "Your theories on the power of the snowboarding cartel were a stroke of genius."
This back-patting barrage continued as they walked down a street in their hometown of Cleveland.
"I think they should make you Czar of Ohio. I can't think of any Despot I would rather grovel under than you, Bob."
Just as Bob was about to respond in kind, a strange man wearing a long black trench coat came up to them and put his hand to Bob's chest. "Here, take this. This is from the Boss," said the man in a voice that betrayed fairly large adenoids as he handed Bob a plain brown envelope. "Don't open it until you are sure you know who isn't looking," said the man as he disappeared down an alley.
"He sounded like Tom Brokaw," Lucy said dreamily. "Did you hear how nasally he said the word looking? I sure do miss Tom."
"Lucy, do you realize what just happened? A man who had the nasal voice inflections of a TV anchorman just handed me a plain brown envelope from The Boss!!"
"Who is the Boss?" asked Lucy. "Is it Mr. Zucherman at the fish market? You worked there last year, didn't you?"
"No, I think this is bigger than Zucherman. This is not just A boss, it is THE boss!"
"You mean..."
"Yes, I mean..."
"No, it couldn't be"
"I think it is, it has to be, must be, surely is."
"What would Regis want with us?"
"Let's get to a safe place and find out."

Antarctic National Anthem

In getting started on this Blog, I was asked to do a national anthem with an animal sound in it. I wrote the following, but it was too long. Besides, it just mentions an animal, but does not reference the sound it makes. Anyway, I kind of liked this one better than the other.

Oh Beautiful, For Penguin's Pride that waddle on the ice.The Southern lights so beautiful and all that snow is nice. Antarctica Antarctica, God looked away from thee and filled thy night with bad frostbite At least there are no fleas.