Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Darkening Sturgeons: Chapter Two

This is my continuing work of fiction, inspired by a wayward voice-activated Internet Search. 




Chapter Two

by  John L. Harmon

    Miss Miranda Whiffle perches pleasantly at her station, located behind the enormous front counter of the Sturgeons Police Headquarters.  She is the Sheriff’s office assistant and is generally the first person one sees when entering the predominately brown interior.

    At 50 years of age, Miss Whiffle is as buoyant and engaging as her creamy blond bouffant-esque hair.  She happily passes out forms, files paperwork, makes coffee, and performs other office chores.  Do not mistake this woman for a throwback to a bygone era; she is a giver, and more importantly, the oil which keeps the Sturgeons Police Headquarters running smoothly.  Also, quite inadvertently at times, she is an eavesdropper from being situated so near the Sheriff’s personal office.

    Behind that dark brown door, with the word SHERIFF painted on its frosted window, Ned Dobson has just finished telling of the terrifying ordeal on Lake Pontoon that ended with the apparent death of Bob Kinney.  A minute of intense silence follows, allowing for serious contemplation from the listeners, including Miss Whiffle.

    The kindly gravel voice of the Sheriff soon echoes through frosted glass, “If you’ll please excuse us, Ned, I must confer privately with the Chief Deputy.”

    Miss Whiffle, having been engrossed in Ned Dobson’s strange and horrifying tale, hurriedly makes herself busy as the Sheriff’s door swings open.  Sheriff Lawrence, grey-haired and attired in beige, steps out and immediately approaches his bubbly office assistant with a warm smile masking his massive confusion.

    “Miss Whiff, would you please bring Mr. Dobson a cup of tea?”

    “No problem-o, Sheriff Law,” Miss Whiffle favorably complies with the task of assisting the ruggedly handsome Ned Dobson.

    Sheriff Lester Lawrence thanks his assistant and then silently leads his Chief Deputy through the headquarters to the interrogation room.  Once safely inside the flat, grey, surprisingly not brown, room, the longtime Sheriff stares gravely at his trusted second-in-command.

    The 64-year-old man has been head keeper of law and order in Sturgeons for nigh onto twenty-five years, due in large part to his generally agreeable disposition.  Over the years Sheriff Lawrence has experienced many unusual crimes (one with a trombone) and strange incidents (sometimes involving bananas), but never—NEVER—quite as bizarre as the unbelievable tale just spewed out before him.

    “Give me your pad, Ben,” Sheriff Lawrence orders, holding out a hand.

    “Yes, Sir,” the young Chief Deputy Straker acquiesces, handing over his little black notebook, with pen, in which he had been taking notes on the extremely odd seeming death  of Bob Kinney.

    Flipping through the crisp white pages filled with shorthand the older man finally locates a fresh sheet.  He writes a quick note, rips out the page and hands the belongings back to their owner.

    With a steady, determined hand the Sheriff places the note on the bleak interrogation table, along with his gun and badge.  Before Chief Deputy Straker can react to the symbolic gesture, his mentor, his father-figure pats him on the shoulder with a farewell smile and abandons him in the desolate room.

    Chief Deputy Benjamin Straker, all of 27 with buzz cut brown hair, stands dumbfounded for a moment, but only a moment.  He grabs Sheriff Lawrence’s police possessions, along with the note, and gives a purposeful, yet pointless chase.  Reaching the unoccupied front counter he stops short at the sound of emotional suffering.

    Beyond the open door of the Sheriff’s office sits Ned Dobson bent over in a chair, hands covering his face, sobbing uncontrollably.  Beside him is Miranda Whiffle, holding a cup of tea with one hand while gently massaging his back with the other.

    Ben Straker glances at the note in his shaking hand.  It simply reads, I resign, accompanied by the sheriff’s loopy L’ed signature.  Focusing his attention back onto the tragic scene, choking down the tears, he perceives a coatrack positioned in the corner of the brown office.

    On top of this tall, slender structure is Sheriff Lawrence’s personal police hat.  Its rich wide brim calls the young man onward, like a deep beige beacon, to an uncertain and potentially dangerous future.


Click CHAPTER THREE to continue.

Until next time, Readers, be well and Freak Out,


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Darkening Sturgeons: Chapter One

The following is a work of fiction.  It was inspired by a wayward voice-activated Internet search.  Since some of my past scribblings started with one little mix-up, I thought this might be a fun little story to explore.  My goal, if I actually have one, is to write at least one chapter a week.  Sort of a free-wheeling, just sit back and see where the story takes me, creative endeavor to challenge me and entertain others.
Chapter One
by  John L. Harmon

    Ned Dobson, all plaid shirt and denim blue jeans, sits patiently on one of those ugly white and green vinyl-webbed lawn chairs.  This debatably comfortable piece of outdoor furniture sets on the rickety dock of Lake Pontoon, a mildly sizable body of calm, pristine water.

    He clutches a 20-year-old fishing rod in his 54-year-old hands, while light blue eyes focus on the motionless bobber resting on the water’s surface.  In such a mind numbing trance the fisherman fails to notice the boater lazily floating fifty feet away, until vocally interrupted.

    “Nothin’ biting, Ned?” Bob Kinney announces his presence with a flair for the obvious.

    “Nope,” Ned eloquently replies and then tilts his ballcap up to scratch his thinning fair-haired head.

    Bob emulates the gesture, except with thinning brown hair, and then follows it with a readjustment of his southern hemisphere.  Roughly the same age as Ned, and dressed extremely similar, Bob had decided to keep the oars inside the boat, allowing the water to dictate his relaxing Saturday summer morning.

    “Nice day, though,” Bob blindly continues.

    “Yup,” Ned responds out of general politeness, hoping this intrusion would just go away.

    Ned and Bob are not really friends, but not really enemies either.  They went to the same school, were in the same grade, but generally led separate lives.  Oddly enough, they hung out at the same pub in their 20’s and now see each other in the same weekday morning coffee group.

    Bob was married and widowed, without children.  Ned was also married but quickly divorced, with one child he rarely sees anymore.  Such is life, and now the two men find themselves sharing one final moment on Lake Pontoon.

    “Hey, Ned,” Bob calls out with edgy curiosity, “the water is growin’ dark.”

    “Reflection of a passing storm cloud,” Ned conjectures without taking his eyes off his unbobbing bobber.

    Bob casts brown eyes upward into a cloudless blue sky and then back down to the darkening mass under his sickly-green boat.  “That ain’t no storm cloud!”

    Ned, hearing the sheer panic, looks up to a most disturbing sight.  Bob, struggling to get the oars maneuvered into the water, begins screaming in vivid horror as the boat violently lurches.

    “Forget the damn boat, Bob, and swim for it!” Ned stands up, hollering his pointless advice.  At the same moment, the sickly-green rowboat and Bob Kinney are instantly pulled beneath the water into whatever darkness lurks therein.

    Stunned into silence, but not action, Ned drops his pole—just as the bobber commences a light jerking movement—and runs like hell to his beat-up old pick-up truck, losing his ballcap on the way.  The second he rumbles the engine to life he peels away, his voice returning with a stream of intensely colorful cussing that would cause a sailor’s mouth to be washed out with anti-bacterial soap.

    Ned Dobson’s dented, blood red truck soon roars past the city limit marker with the multi-colored sign hanging underneath:


Population: 4, 017

The Good Life Begins And Ends Here!
Click CHAPTER TWO to continue.

Until next time…be well, Readers, and Freak Out,



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Process...

Since I have been busy preparing “Dark Excursions: second set” for electronic publication, and goofing off on Twitter, I haven’t written anything new.  So, for your eyeball and mental enjoyment, here is a classic “tales from the freakboy zone…” that I originally e-mailed to my chosen cohorts back in 2006. 



I watch him from across the room as he stretches in preparation.  He then easily reaches and carefully grabs what he can.  His movements are slow and deliberate.  That is how it begins anyway.

A moment soon arrives when his pace quickens.  It's as if an auto pilot switch has been flipped in his mind.  His motions become borderline violent.  His eyes appear wild and without thought.

Suddenly he is finished.  He becomes as calm as he was before he started.  I sit in awkward silence while he stares upon the aftermath his actions produced...

Several clumps of white hair are strewn about, forming a half-circle around him.  He pulled the hair out.  Much of it from his legs and some from his lower back.  I find some comfort that his behavior is not from a skin irritation.

"Psychological problems," the veterinarian explained.  Snowball is going to be 17, so age may be a factor.  A change in his environment can also play a part.  If the problem worsens, medication is an option.

Thankfully Snowball does not indulge in his hair-pulling process often.  For now he will remain our drug-free, sporadically distressed kitty.


P.S.  Snowball has since passed away, but he lived a good long life.  He became part of my family way back in 1989 when my mom spotted him along a stretch of highway, scared stiff in the middle of the yellow center lane.  We stopped, saved his life, and in return he gave us years of crazy joy.