If you’ve read any of my posts so far in my thousand-mile journey as a blogger, you have probably already noticed that when I write, I am definitely a story-teller. I can’t go a day without telling somebody a story. I usually tell lies when I write because I tell fiction stories. The names of the characters are never the real names. Sometimes the events are not the real events. That’s what fiction writers do. We tell lies. It can’t be helped. But in the midst of those lies, the truth usually comes out. The characters and events are shadows of what is real. But the feelings, the understandings, the moments of revelation… those are essential truth… the truth that fuels the very mind of God.
One important revelation happened to me yesterday, a black day that added to a long list of very black days that buffet me…
I am once again needing to write an easy post because I am feeling quite ill. So let me talk about an artist thing that is totally boring for those who already know about this stuff and fascinating to anyone who always wanted to know art secrets from the secret tomes of drawing-wizards and painting-wizards. So here is some of the arcana gleaned from years of experimentation in the tippy-top of Mickey’s wizard’s tower.
Pen and Ink – When I first discovered I could make pencil pictures of naked girls, long about the magical-hormone-age of twelve, I began regretting the fact that pencil pictures easily smear. So, I had to find a further magical technique to make the pretties stay free of the dark clouds of graphite smudge. The magic wand I chose first was the ink pen with black ink.
I got hooked by hockey in 1969 and 1970, winter of my eighth grade year in school. It was the year we first started getting NBC on the old black-and-white Motorola TV. WHO in DesMoines had finally boosted their signal to the point where our TV antenna in Rowan, Iowa could pull a signal in.
The NHL was on every Sunday morning during football season and my friend Mark had one of those hockey game boards where you twirl players on metal rods to score goals in a plastic net defended by a metal or plastic goalie. We were 13 and deeply in love with a game we could only watch on TV and never play (No hockey rinks are generally available in rural Iowa).
Mark liked Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito and their Boston Bruins hockey team who battled through the division of six old teams that had been around forever and had all the good players.
I, like the fool I have always been, pledged undying loyalty to the underdog St. Louis Blues. The expansion division consisted of teams that had only played for three years, filled with young guys and old veterans nearing the end of great careers. Hall-of-Famer goalies Jaques Plante and Glenn Hall both played for the Blues. So did the Battling B-Brothers, Bill Plaeger, Barclay Plaeger, and Bob Plaeger. Along with Red Berensen, Frank St. Marseille, and Doug Harvey. I idolized those guys. In the 1970 Stanley Cup final, they lost every game except the last one, which they lost in spectacular fashion in sudden-death overtime.
I was a Blues Fan for life. I was disappointed every single year as they lost somewhere in the playoffs or in the regular season, never making it back to the Stanley Cup Series. Until 2019.
Young boys’ dreams can come true, even if it takes a lifetime to get there.
How do you make a difficult and consequential decision? Me? I often flip a coin. Heads, yes. Tails, no. So, that makes me as crazy as Two-Face, the Batman villain, who decides everything not in terms of good or evil, but rather, heads or tails. This is not normally a good method of decision-making. Unless, of course, you wish to become a Batman villain.
But flipping a coin never actually makes the decision. If I get a yes, I often think about the consequences of yes and flip again… best two of three, three of five, four of six, and on and on until I have given it a thorough thinking-through… or until I get the answer I wanted from the beginning. It is not really the decider, but rather, the think-about-er.
On Sunday I made a coin-flip decision to not go out Uber driving in the afternoon. A half hour after making the decision, the damaging high winds hit the city. So, the coin flip kept me from being caught out in the storm.
Life is not random. It is merely ordered in really weird ways.
“This is a very strange story,” said Pidney, blushing
“It’s practically pornography,” said Mary softly.
“I think the interesting part is where it tells about the
juju man,” said Valerie. “It tells us
how to make it work.”
“Yeah, it does kinda, doesn’t it?” said Pid.
“It doesn’t say the order to tap them in,” said Mary,
looking at the ugly wooden man with the even uglier wooden mask on his face.
“It doesn’t say they have to be tapped in order,” reminded
Valerie. “It just says to tap them each
one time and say the magic words.” She
reached out her hand and tapped each of the twenty-eight tattoos only one time.
“Good gawd, Val, don’t do it!” whimpered Pidney.
“You mean say the magic words?” asked Mary.
“Yes!” said Pidney.
“Juju do dah goodah!” sang Valerie as if on cue. Nothing happened.
“Don’t !” screeched Pidney.
“You must also have to say oojie-magoober,” said Mary.
“Oh, Mary! No!”
cried Pid. At that moment a cloudy
stream of purple smoke boiled out of the top of the wooden juju man. The idol began to glow with an eerie greenish-blue
neon light. The smoke was sweet
smelling, like burning sugar.
The little wooden man began to shake himself as if he was
trying to wake himself up.
“Who are you?” Valerie asked him with a Cheshire Cat’s grin.
“Juju do dah! Yaya!”
cried the little wooden man. “I am Oojie
Magoober. You have summoned me!”
“What?” said Mary.
“It was an accident. Go back to
sleep or something.”
“I cannot sleep again until my task is complete,”
“What’s your task, then?” asked Pidney. “We will help you do it if we have to.”
“I must take a virgin back to my master, Mangkukulan!”
“Which virgin do you mean?” asked Valerie.
“You will do nicely, but my master asked for the other one.”
“No!” said Pidney.
“Not that! You may not do
that!” The football hero drew himself up
to his full height and towered over the little wooden man.
“Very well. Be
warned. I shall cheat and use
magic. Oojie Magoober squirrelly doo
The little wooden man twitched his stubby wooden fingers at
Pidney, and suddenly the football hero shrank down into his clothes, until
nothing was left but a twitching pile of empty boy’s clothing piled upon empty
“What have you done!” cried Mary. “Pidney!”
From out of the collar of the empty shirt, a reddish-brown
squirrel popped his squirming, chittering body free.
“You turned him into a squirrel?” cried Valerie, distraught.
“Smaller and easier to deal with.”
“But there are still two of us against one of you,” said
Mary menacingly. “Both of us are bigger
“Oojie Magoober squirrelly doo dah, two dah, yaya!” The fingers waggled at Valerie and Mary both.
Valerie felt a wave of nausea pass through her tummy and
then the room swirled around her.
Everything went dark. Except, it
was a colored darkness. Roughly the same
color as the pink blouse Val had been wearing.
She pushed at the darkness around her and felt that it was cloth. Her hands felt funny. Not the kind of funny that makes you
laugh. It was a funny tingly feeling in
the finger nails as she clawed at the cloth around her. Then she found an opening.
As she freed her head and eyes from the darkness, she saw
one of Mary’s saddle shoes. In it sat a
confused and forlorn-looking squirrel covered in about the same shade of auburn
fur as Mary’s hair. Then, horrified, she
looked at her own two hands. Squirrel
paws. Her arms and body were covered
with a golden-blond fur that was not far from Val’s own hair color.
“We’ve been turned into squirrels!” she tried to say to the
chit-it-it-it!” was what actually came out.
“No one understands squirrel talk,” said Oojie. “Now get into my sack.”
Valerie-squirrel rushed to the side of the saddle shoe where
Pidney-squirrel had joined Mary-squirrel.
“Chit-it-it-it Chree-eek!” cried the Pidney-squirrel, leaping
onto the wooden-head’s mask and sinking gnawing buck teeth into it.
“You can’t hurt me,” said the wooden man. “You are just squirrels. And I don’t even have to get you into the
sack by myself. That is the very
reason I asked the cats to help.”
at the top of cellar stairs, five cats appeared. Valerie shuddered as she recognized
flat-headed old Skaggs. And he was
leering evilly at her.