Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!



In this new year, 
may you have a deep understanding of your true value and worth, 
an absolute faith in your unlimited potential, 
peace of mind in the midst of uncertainty, 
the confidence to let go when you need to, 
acceptance to replace your resistance, 
gratitude to open your heart, the strength to meet your challenges, 
great love to replace your fear, 
forgiveness and compassion for those who offend you, 
clear sight to see your best and true path, 
hope to dispel obscurity, 
the conviction to make your dreams come true, 
meaningful and rewarding synchronicities, 
dear friends who truly know and love you, 
a childlike trust in the benevolence of the universe, 
the humility to remain teachable, 
the wisdom to fully embrace your life exactly as it is, 
the understanding that every soul has its own course to follow, 
the discernment to recognize your own unique inner voice of truth, 
and the courage to learn to be still. 

Janet Rebhan

~ May you find the courage, the strength and the wisdom to lead an extraordinary life. 
Wishing you a Happy New Year 2014 ~ Dominique Allmon ~

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Fragrance of Christmas



 Christmas
that magic blanket 
that wraps itself about us, 
that something so intangible 
that it is like a fragrance. 
It may weave a spell of nostalgia. 

Christmas 
may be a day of feasting, 
or of prayer, 
but always it will be 
a day of remembrance  
a day in which we think 
of everything we have ever loved. 

By Augusta E. Rundel

Wishing everyone happy, peaceful and very fragrant Christmas 
~ Dominique Allmon

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Old Pickle Jar



The pickle jar as far back as I can remember sat on the floor beside the dresser in my parents' bedroom. When he got ready for bed, Dad would empty his pockets and toss his coins into the jar. As a small boy I was always fascinated at the sounds the coins made as they were dropped into the jar. They landed with a merry jingle when the jar was almost empty. Then the tones gradually muted to a dull thud as the jar was filled. 

I used to squat on the floor in front of the jar and admire the copper and silver circles that glinted like a pirate's treasure when the sun poured through the bedroom window. When the jar was filled, Dad would sit at the kitchen table and roll the coins before taking them to the bank. 

Taking the coins to the bank was always a big production. Stacked neatly in a small cardboard box, the coins were placed between Dad and me on the seat of his old truck. Each and every time, as we drove to the bank, Dad would look at me hopefully. "Those coins are going to keep you out of the textile mill, son.You're going to do better than me. This old mill town's not going to hold you back." 

Also, each and every time, as he slid the box of rolled coins across the counter at the bank toward the cashier, he would grin proudly. "These are for my son's college fund. He'll never work at the mill all his life like me." 

We would always celebrate each deposit by stopping for an ice cream cone. I always got chocolate. Dad always got vanilla.  When the clerk at the ice cream parlor handed Dad his change, he would show me the few coins nestled in his palm. "When we get home, we'll start filling the jar again." He always let me drop the first coins into the empty jar. As they rattled around with a brief, happy jingle, we grinned at each other. "You won't get to college on pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters," he said. "But you'll get there. I'll see to that." 

The years passed, and I finished college and took a job in another town. Once, while visiting my parents, I used the phone in their bedroom, and noticed that the pickle jar was gone.  It had served its purpose and had been removed. A lump rose in my throat as I stared at the spot beside the dresser where the jar had always stood. My dad was a man of few words, and never lectured me on the values of determination, perseverance, and faith. The pickle jar had taught me all these virtues far more eloquently than the most flowery of words could have done. 

When I married, I told my wife Susan about the significant part the lowly pickle jar had played in my life as a boy. In my mind, it defined, more than anything else, how much my dad had loved me. No matter how rough things got at home, Dad continued to doggedly drop his coins into the jar. 

Even the summer when Dad got laid off from the mill, and Mama had to serve dried beans several times a week, not a single dime was taken from the jar.  To the contrary, as Dad looked across the table at me, pouring catsup over my beans to make them more palatable, he became more determined than ever to make a way out for me. "When you finish college, Son," he told me, his eyes glistening, "You'll never have to eat beans again ... unless you want to." 

The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica was born, we spent the holiday with my parents. After dinner, Mom and Dad sat next to each other on the sofa, taking turns cuddling their first grandchild. Jessica began to whimper softly and Susan took her from Dad's arms. "She probably needs to be changed." she said, carrying the baby into my parents' bedroom to diaper her. When Susan came back into the living room, there was a strange mist in her eyes. 

She handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my hand and leading me into the room. "Look," she said softly, her eyes directing me to a spot on the floor beside the dresser. To my amazement, there, as if it had never been removed, stood the old pickle jar, the bottom already covered with coins. I walked over to the pickle jar, dug down into my pocket, and pulled out a fistful of coins. With a gamut of emotions choking me, I dropped the coins into the jar. 

I looked up and saw that Dad, carrying Jessica, had slipped quietly into the room. Our eyes locked, and I knew he was feeling the same emotions I felt. Neither one of us could speak. 

Author Anonymous but greatly appreciated

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Brief History of Snow



By Charlie English
 
The early 20th-century Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson relates a salutory technique used by the Inuit to deal with a blizzard, a common phenomenon in the Canadian north. When an Inuit becomes lost, he will make himself comfortable and conserve energy, perhaps building an igloo, perhaps sitting with his back to the wind, moving around only occasionally to keep himself from freezing, sleeping if possible. Then, when the storm has passed and he can see again, he will carry on to his destination.

A European, by contrast, will instinctively thrash on, building up a sweat with his exertions. As he exhausts himself, the sweat generated will turn to ice, which in all likelihood will kill him.

I like Stefansson's story for what it says about the Inuit, but also because the blizzard reveals something of the nature of the person stuck within it. I think of it often when a snowstorm strikes Britain, when there is chaos on the railways and the roads, a shortage of salt and grit and gas, and a lack of foresight by whomever it was. As schools shut, the recriminations begin about slack attitudes, the cost to society and things not being what they were.

In the long history in which humans have been getting caught in snowstorms, the way we have reacted to snow and interpreted it has shifted radically from place to place and era to era. For the Impressionists and the Japanese ukiyo-e artists, it was a force for beauty and contemplation. For the inhabitants of the Alps in the middle ages and after, it was associated with evil and witchcraft. Each society has interpreted the unusual and often spectacular event of a snowfall in a different way.

Perhaps the best way to track the cultural significance of snow is through art. Until the 16th century, artists showed little interest except where it had a religious context. Then came the shocking winter of 1564-5, the longest and most severe for more than a hundred years, and the first great winter of the intensely cold period in northern Europe that we now call the Little Ice Age.

For the next 150 years, the winters in Europe were extremely cold. It was the most sustained period of low temperatures in Europe since the last major ice age: crops failed, winter snowfall increased and Alpine glaciers advanced down the mountain sides, swallowing pastures, eradicating communities and gouging ever deeper features in the landscape.

 The inhabitants of the Alpine Chamonix valley petitioned their lords to do something to alleviate the effects of the climate: "We are terrified of the glaciers . . . which are moving forward all the time and have just buried two of our villages and destroyed a third." The talk in the inns and the pulpits and the government would have been of the changing climate.

It was early in this exceptional winter of 1565 that Pieter Bruegel the Elder created what is regarded as the first winter landscape painting, The Hunters in the Snow. What did he see in this, the earliest detailed account of people's reaction to snow?

He saw the pleasure of snow as much as the pain. These are lean days, as the huntsmen's meagre bag attests, but they are also days of fun and leisure. Apart from the business of hunting and gathering wood, work has largely stopped. People have come out to enjoy themselves on this clear, special day, when snowfall has made the landscape new; they are skating and playing a precursor of ice hockey. It is also a time for children, for innocence and play, romance and games.

Once Bruegel had found snow as a subject, he couldn't stop. Among a number of paintings of ice and snow that survive, he created the first scene with falling snow and the first nativity scene to include snow, The Adoration of the Magi. He also started a vogue for Netherlandish snow painting that endured for a century and a half.

But the largely benign manifestation of snow was not to last. In the growing romantic tradition of the late 18th century, in which nature was employed to dramatise and heighten human emotions, snow was assigned a range of sinister and dangerous roles. No longer suitable for children to be seen playing with, it was more likely to be shown freezing people to death, crushing them under its weight, or drowning horse-drawn carriages in its hungry depths.

In part, this reinterpretation of snow was the result of a new period of extremely cold weather. After a relatively warm period that coincided with the end of the Dutch Golden Age, the temperature began to dip after 1775, heading for a trough that bottomed out in the second decade of the 19th century. In 1809, a series of major volcanic eruptions heralded the arrival of a particularly cold period as the clouds of ash partially blocked out the sun. The decade from 1810 to 1819 was the coldest in England since the 17th century. In 1812, the French Grand Arm̩e was chased from Moscow by the advancing winter Рknown to the Russians as General Snow.

The new coldness seeped into literature and music as well as art. Dickens experienced six white Christmases in the first nine years of his life (he was born in 1812), which may account for the vivid snowscapes in Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol. The snow in Franz Schubert's Winterreise is the symbol of misery and heartbreak. For the painter Caspar David Friedrich, snow symbolized death. JMW Turner, meanwhile, painted some of snow's most terrifying images. He had witnessed the full violence of snow and ice in his journeys to the Alps: at least twice his carriage was overturned by snow. In 1810, he painted The Fall of an Avalanche in the Grisons, in which a chalet is obliterated by a white wave of snow.

Avalanches are the most extreme manifestations of terrifying snow, but in the early 19th century they were little understood even in the Alps. A mythology had grown up around them: they were widely believed to be the result of witchcraft. A Swiss legend told of an old woman dressed in black who was seen riding the first wave of an avalanche while quietly turning her spinning wheel. She was grabbed by four men and burned alive.

Alpine residents would protect themselves by burying eggs marked with the sign of a cross at the foot of known avalanche slopes. The avalanche historian Colin Fraser recounts an Alpine adage that sums up the mountain-dwellers' fear of snow: "What flies without wings, strikes without hand and sees without eyes? The avalanche beast!"

Britain's most disastrous avalanche occurred in 1836 in the unlikely town of Lewes in East Sussex, after a phenomenal Christmas storm. It is recounted in a painting by Thomas Henwood now held by the Lewes museum; the Snowdrop Inn stands at the scene of the tragedy.

A violent gale on Christmas night blew the snowfall into a cornice on a cliff's edge 100m above Boulder Row, which had been built for the families of poor workers. The heavy snow and strong winds left the streets 10ft deep, with drifts up to 20ft deep. However, even when a portion of the snow fell from the clifftop into a nearby timber yard, the cottages' transfixed residents refused to leave their homes, and on 27 December, the cornice dropped.

One eyewitness said the snow appeared to hit the houses at the base, heaving them upwards, then breaking over them like a gigantic wave to dash them bodily into the road. When the mist cleared off, there was nothing to see but an enormous mound of pure white. Eight people were killed.

The lesson of the Lewes snow drop, and of other great snowstorms in history, is that the human desire to carry on is foolish. As urban societies grew increasingly complex during the 19th century, they became more vulnerable to snow. Nowhere was this more evident than in New York in March 1888.

The Blizzard of 1888 ranks among the most notorious snowstorms in history. It struck on a Monday – crucially, as cities are always most vulnerable during the working week. The storm dropped 50in in all, but instead of staying at home and sitting out the storm, New Yorkers jumped out of their windows into the drifts in order to get to work. This was later interpreted as hubris.

The result is the stuff of New York folklore. The elevated railways, a new innovation, became blocked with snow and the telegraph cables that kept the stations in contact with controllers broke down. The trains crashed into one another and passengers were stranded. Despite the strong winds, some tried to crawl along the tracks.

The railroads leading into the city were blocked by drifts that were sometimes deeper than the trains were high. Commuters, who were trapped for days, were forced to chop up the train seats and tables to use as firewood while the wind whistled through the cracks in the coachwork. Those who abandoned the trains to walk home found themselves struggling for hours through drifts up to their armpits and suffered frostbite.

In the city center, the horse-cars found the drifts impassable, and many were abandoned by their drivers. People came across horses that had frozen solid in their harnesses and whose heads stuck up out of the drifting snow. The wind was so strong that unlucky pedestrians were blown into the drifts and found they couldn't dig themselves out. Women, in billowing dresses and high heels, were particularly susceptible. The bodies of men and women who had been pushed by the wind into drifts were discovered hours or days later by an arm or leg protruding from the snow.

At the end of the week 400 people had been killed, 198 ships sunk or damaged in or around New York harbor, and 800 bodies were waiting to be buried in the city's cemeteries.

The newspapers blamed late 19th-century New York's advances in infrastructure and engineering for the city's catastrophic exposure to the weather: the city's transport system simply hadn't been designed to function in the extreme conditions of the storm. One newspaper, the Hartford Courant, ran an editorial that captured the public mood: "It is the boasting and progressive 19th century that is paralyzed, while the slow-going 18th would have taken such an experience without a ruffle . . . There comes a snowstorm – there is no railroad, no telegraph, no horse-car, no milk, no delivery of food at the door. We starve in the midst of plenty . . . it is only a snowstorm, but it has downed us."

Britain has had its deep-frozen winters in the last 100 years – 1940, 1947, 1963 and 1979 among them. In 1979, I recall being driven through the Scottish borders and seeing the drifts left by the snow plough stretch way above our heads. At the start of the 21st century, however, the principal meaning of the succession of paltry British snowfalls has been as an indicator of the warming climate.

Not long ago, in early summer, I walked deep into the Cairngorm mountains on the shoulder of Braeriach to see the last patches of perennial snow in the country. Here, in a secluded gully, lie two very special snow patches, known by the rock formations above them: Pinnacles and Sphinx. These patches contain the longest-lasting snow in Britain, with the Sphinx patch having melted completely just five times since the mid-1800s. Three of those occasions were after 1995: in 1996, 2003 and 2006. Perhaps this year we will be lucky, and the Sphinx patch will last through to next winter – as it used to.

But this week, with Basingstoke cut off and our motorways turning into car parks, it is perhaps worth reflecting on New York's experience in 1888 – as it is on Stefansson's story about the Inuit in the blizzard. We have become accustomed, in our millions, to traveling long distances each day in cars and trains and planes, come rain or shine or snow. It is only a snowstorm, but we should not be surprised that it has downed us again.


Article published by Guardian on January 7, 2010


         


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Best Gift Ever!


Frederic Leighton - Study at a Reading Desk, 1877
Frederic Leighton - Study at a Reading Desk, 1877

Books! I don't know if I have ever told you, but books are the greatest gift one person can give another. - Paul David Hewson, known by his stage name as Bono
 
A few weeks ago I met a colleague who had no idea what to give her twelve years old daughter for her birthday. She said her daughter had "everything" and did not want anything at all. She spent few hours in a large mall looking for a gift and worried that her daughter might not even like what she bought her. 

How about a book? I thought. I did not ask my colleague whether she considered buying a book. I figured out that books were not on her shopping list because if they were she would not worry so much. Every month new books are published and readers of all ages can find something that will grasp their attention and offer unforgettable moments of mystery or adventure, knowledge or profound wisdom, consolation, joy or a quiet reflection. 

Portrait of a Woman (1881) by Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi (1837–1887)
Portrait of a Woman (1881) by Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi (1837–1887)


For as long as books are published in print they make the best gift you can give your children, but you have to start early. If you teach your children to read the printed word they will forever be grateful to you. And you will never have to worry that you disappoint your child when all he wanted was a pair of new snickers. 

Even though books have price tags, they often are priceless. They are priceless, but we seem to have forgotten that. In our fast-paced, highly digitized world reading a printed word is a dying habit. Maybe we should reconsider our choices. A little less mind-numbing television and a little bit more of mind-expanding literature would be a good beginning. And if there is no tradition of reading in your home, create one. Spend more time reading yourself. Read to others. And of course, give the best gift ever: instill love of reading. Buy a book.

Dominique Allmon

         

Monday, December 9, 2013

Delicious Coconut Cake Recipe



The days are getting shorter and colder. It is time to indulge! I found this recipe on the Country Living website. Although the website suggested this cake as a wonderful Christmas dinner dessert, I believe that it can be enjoyed on any cold day, especially when it is cold, dark and raining. The cake is very rich and contains alcohol. 

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pink Himalaya salt
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 5 large egg yolks, (in addition to the above)
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, (combine with above sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1  vanilla bean, seeds scraped, pod reserved
  • 2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, well chilled

Method

Make the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9- by 3-inch spring form cake pan. Fit a circle of parchment paper into the bottom of the pan, coat with butter, and dust with flour. Set aside. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. Beat 5 yolks and 1/2 cup cold water together with an electric mixer set on medium for 1 minute. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups sugar. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, increase mixer speed to high, and beat until thick and pale - about 4 minutes. Beat the egg whites in a large bowl with a mixer set at high speed until soft peaks form - about 2 minutes. Sift the flour mixture over egg yolks and fold to combine. Fold in the egg whites; pour batter into the prepared pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean - about 45 minutes. Avoid opening oven door for first 30 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.

Make the custard: Whisk the all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup milk together in a small bowl. Warm the remaining milk, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla bean seeds and pod in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the flour mixture and cook until thickened - about 3 minutes. Whisk egg yolks together in a large bowl. Slowly pour half of the hot-milk mixture into the bowl while whisking continuously, and return the mixture to the saucepan. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble and thickens - about 3 minutes. Strain into a bowl and fold in 1 cup of coconut. Cool completely. Wrap and keep chilled until ready to use.

Assemble the cake: Lightly toast the remaining coconut and set aside. Bring 1/2 cup sugar, the rum, and 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Split the cake into 3 layers using a serrated knife, and brush each layer generously with the rum syrup. Place the bottom layer on a serving plate and top with half the custard, repeat with the next layer, and place the top layer. Brush cake with remaining syrup, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 10 hours or up to 24. Whip the cream, vanilla, and remaining sugar to soft peaks. Coat the cake with whipped cream and sprinkle the toasted coconut over the top and gently press onto the sides. Chill for up to 2 hours. 

Enjoy without guilt! - Dominique Allmon

Recipe source here

         

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Nelson Mandela Dies at 95


 Mandiba - Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela   18 July 1918 - 5 December 2013
 Mandiba - Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela 
18 July 1918 - 5 December 2013

 I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself. - Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela, who became one of the world's most beloved statesmen and an icon of the 20th century when he emerged on a political stage after having spent twenty seven years in prison on Robben Island to negotiate an end to white minority rule in South Africa, has died in Johannesburg on December 5, 2013 after prolonged illness. He was 95.

His death closed the final chapter in South Africa's struggle to cast off apartheid, leaving the world with indelible memories of a man of astonishing grace and good humor. Rock concerts celebrated his birthday. Hollywood stars glorified him on screen. And his regal bearing, graying hair and raspy voice made him instantly recognizable across the globe.

As South Africa's first black president, the ex-boxer, lawyer and prisoner No. 46664, he paved the way to racial reconciliation with well-chosen gestures of forgiveness. He lunched with the prosecutor who sent him to jail, sang the apartheid-era Afrikaans anthem at his inauguration, and traveled hundreds of miles to have tea with the widow of Hendrik Verwoerd, the prime minister at the time he was imprisoned.

In 1993 Nelson Mandela received the Nobel Peace Prize which he shared together with the South African president Frederik Willem de Klerk. Both men received the prize for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa. 

Currently cinemas in South Africa are showing a movie based on Mandela's memoirs "Long Walk to Freedom."


         
To read more about Nelson Mandela please click here and here

Winter Caress



I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again. -  Lewis Carroll in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland 


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Out of the X-Files



 For James

Sheriff Jones was nervously chewing on his pencil. He took another look at the crime scene photos and put them back into a cold case folder. He could not believe his very eyes. 

He reclined in his armchair and closed his eyes. It was getting late and Linda was waiting home with her special Friday dinner. 

Things were supposed to be different here and they were until last week, that is, when two mutilated corpses were found in his county on the side of a small back road. The bodies were covered with markings that looked like the crop circles from the last year's issue of the Roswell UFO Museum's Bulletin which he still received on each anniversary of the famous UFO crash.

As if this were not enough, the local news station aired a late night interview with five UFO abductees who seemed to have popped up like mushrooms after the rain as soon as the local paper run a story about the gruesome discovery.

Yes, things were supposed to be better here. Maybe they really were better, but right now he wasn't sure anymore. He took a sip of his Raven's Brew coffee and called his wife. She wasn't mad. Not anymore. She would bring him his dinner over to his office if that was OK with him. He could concentrate on his job while she could go to play bridge with her new friends.

They moved here from Roswell, NM about three years ago when his wife inherited a bookstore from her mother. And believe me, they were ready for a change. Roswell became uninhabitable. The crime rate quadrupled every six months or so and he did not feel like he wanted to lose his life in a gang fight. Besides, Linda's UFO bookstore went bankrupt short before they decided to move away. Who wold have thought? Of all places, Roswell was dying like a tree that was rotting from inside out.

Now that he looked back he could not recall a single mutilated human corpse or a single UFO abductee during his twenty years in Chaves County. Some ranchers found mutilated cow carcasses, but this crime could safely be blamed on the coyotes. The bodies that were found there on a side of the road usually had a bullet hole in them, and the only markings on them were the badly done tattoos. If aliens ever arrived in Roswell it was a long time ago and they must have forgotten about that place as soon as they crashed. 

But here in Pennsylvania? UFO? And yet, the corpses did not look like anything he had ever seen. Worse even, three old unsolved murder cases indicated that this has happened here before. Two locals and one Jane Doe. The cases were never solved. There was not enough evidence to prove anything. 



He needed to see the crime scene photos again. Something was not quite right. The bodies were missing most of their vital organs. In his opinion, there was nothing "alien" about this crime. Everything indicated that someone meticulously planned to deceive. They captured these people and harvested their organs in order to sell them on the black market. Any surviving victims would be dismissed as wackos. But behind the "hoax" was a horrendous crime that looked more like something he remembered from his honeymoon trip to Rio de Janeiro years ago than an alien abduction. Back then tourists were warned not to visit the beaches after dark. There were many kidnappings and the unfortunate victims, if they survived at all, woke up on the beach with a missing kidney. 

He interviewed every single person who believed to be a victim of alien abduction in the area. All the abductees reported that they were driving late at night and were stopped on a small land road by an incredibly bright and blinding light. They were unable to see anything at all, but all of them heard a strange sound. Then the car door opened and someone or something grabbed them out of their vehicle and carried them over to a spacecraft. They all remembered being stripped naked by someone and then, placed face down on an ice cold surface. The last thing they could recall was an incredible pain they experienced somewhere in their bodies, but were unable to determine where exactly the pain was coming from. When they woke up they were lying in a ditch next to their own cars, naked, cold and full of unbearable pain. The worse thing was that no one has taken them seriously when they reported what had happened to them.

Sheriff Jones found out that all the alleged victims of alien abduction had some health issues. One was a diabetic, two others recently recovered from cancer, one was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and one was a chain smoking alcoholic. They definitely were unfit organ donors. No wonder they were damped back on the side of the road. But why were they left alive? Was it to mislead any investigation? 

Yes! This was it. Stories of alien abductions and the mutilated corpses were like something out of the X-Files. Who would ever believe anything like that? Without sufficient evidence the case would be closed and whoever was doing this would move out of this area to harvest organs somewhere else. Such a cleverly devised plan! He had to contact Bob on Monday. 

Bob was his buddy from the time they both served on the USS Saratoga off the north coast of Vietnam. When the war ended they both retired from the US Marine Corps. Bob landed a job with the FBI, while Sheriff Jones tried his luck in California politics before moving into law enforcement about twenty years ago. 

Bob helped him solve drug-cartels' related cases back in New Mexico. He could lend him a hand one more time. If there were more cases like that in other parts of Pennsylvania or maybe even in other states, they would be able to catch the criminals before more harm is done. There must be a market for criminally obtained human organs, but without any help form Bob he alone could only tap in the dark. 


*

It was getting late. Petrovsky, his young deputy, came in to report for the night duty. Everything seemed very quiet. There was only one minor accident on the Lincoln Highway, but that has been taken care of. Sheriff Jones could finally go home and get some sleep.

If it weren't so late he would have taken the scenic drive, but since it was already past 10 p.m. and he decided to take the short cut through the Twin Lakes Park. He turned on the radio. Randy Newman Twas singing his favorite song. He had to laugh. Randy Newman was responsible for the names of his two dogs. "Mr Short" was a Husky he got from a breeder in Roswell. "People" was a Jack Russell puppy that came from the shelter. Linda drove all the way to Philly to get this little guy.

Whistling happily on his way home Sheriff Jones almost forgot about the violent crimes he was supposed to solve when he suddenly saw an incredibly bright light and, unable to see anything before him, was forced to stop his car. "What the hell?!"

Before he even realized what was going on, two strong metal-clad arms dragged him out of his car. The blow to his head came the very moment he had his hand on the gun. Everything went dark. Somewhere far away he could still hear Randy Newman hitting the keys. Then nothing.

*


Hours if not days must have past since that unfortunate moment in the Twin Lakes Park. He opened his eyes and began screaming. It was cold and he could not see anything. The pain was unbearable. The bright light and voices around him almost drove him crazy. Someone touched his forehead. "Be quiet, Sheriff Jones" a woman's voice said. "All is well now, all is well. They found you in a ditch, but you are gonna be all right." 

The next thing he felt was a sharp pain in his arm. Someone has given him an injection. What was this place? Where was Linda? But before he could say anything the world melted away, again...

By Dominique Allmon


    

Creative Commons License
Out of the X-Files by Dominique Allmon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.