Monday, December 17, 2012


Sandy rolled ashore.
Lifelong treasures turned to trash.
Nature humbles us.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Installment #5 of, A Walk in the Park....
                                                                                              
Meanwhile as Ranger Jim and Tina were falling in love and planning their futures, the real action was taking place somewhere in a secret subterranean facility in the George Washington National Forest, Virginia……..

“State your name?”

“Stochnia Kobitjin.”

“Place of birth?”

“Junik, Kosovo.”

“Profession?”

“… Security Consultant.”

“Security Consultant my ass Stochnia.  You want to try that question again?”

“You call yourself Special Agent, you are Gangster, you try again.”

“Oh Stochnia, you were doing so well.  Were you consulting with Jed Smith up in the Okanogan National Forest?”

“Jeb-ed Smit’ You so funny Special Agent.  Everybody in dis country wants be clown.”

Special Agent Karlson decided to get up close and personnel with Stochnia Kobitjin. He leaned over Kobitjin and made a fist.

 EH! Eh, not in face. If you mean to say Joseph Stalac, den I know who you mean. Yes, we there together in forest for few days to talk.”

“What did you talk about? And don’t be a wise-ass.” 

“He has large quantity Semtex explosive coming to drop-off points in USA.  He wanted me to set up training for people.  American people. Your own people looking to do some Jihad on your ass. But of course I refuse to do this terrible thing.”

The intercom crackled ~~ Special Agent Karlson.  Come out here. ~~

Karlson walked back to the observation area overlooking the interrogation room.

His boss was standing there alongside of a handful of dark 3-piece suits. Men-in-Black who, true to form, were wearing sunglasses in the poorly lit room.  “Agent Karlson, these folks are going to be taking over for us.  Kobitjin will be getting some … special attention.”

Karlson looked into the sunglasses of one of the 3-piece suits. “Cut his face.  He doesn’t want his face messed up.  Cut his face.  He’ll talk.  You’ll get your list of bad-guys.”

The 3-piece suit barely moved his lips; “Thanks for the tip.”

The suits marched single file out of the observation area and into the interrogation room as Karlson’s boss led him out in the opposite direction. 

Before he left, Karlson turned his head just enough to see Kobitjin greeting the 3 –piece suits like it was old home week.  All of Karlson’s instincts told him that the Suits were going to get their list of would-be domestic terrorists, and Kobitjin was going to get a free ride home. 

 ********
2 months later.  Special Agents Quarterly Security Briefing. 

The Director of the Threat Analysis and Capabilities Section was talking about foreign agitators in the Middle-East.  In particular, those identified as having been killed in the latest round of Israeli retaliatory air strikes in Lebanon.  Number 3 on the list: Stochnia Kobitjin.

The End

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Installment 4 of, A Walk in the Park

Tina wasn’t under surveillance, by anyone other than her x-boyfriend that is.  Still she was careful to be cryptic in her communications with Jim, just in case she was wrong about being monitored.

She was on Limited Duty until her appointment with the State’s Doctor later in the week.  She felt fine, but she had to wait for the doctor to sign-off on the paperwork. She was eager to get back into the field, but being in the office gave her access to some interesting information.

The two hikers who had the misfortune to be in the field near Hadley Ridge at the wrong time were both identified.  After exhaustive interviews and background checks they were found to be just that, two innocent nature-loving hikers, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

The FBI had called the crime lab.  They wanted to take another look at the evidence from the Park shooting incident.  Scratches found on three of the shell cases recovered from the shooters position in the Park incident were thought to have come from contamination of the rifles chamber during the shooting.  A later, more thorough examination by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms concluded that such scratching was inconsistent with the condition of the chamber of the recovered weapon. 

Two days ago an empty .30-06 shell casing, with the same scratches on the case, was recovered by an undercover agent working at a right-wing sniper training facility in the woodlands of Georgia.  The FBI was now working a new theory in the Park shooting incident, a theory centered on two shooters.  One of whom was still alive, and apparently getting some target practice down in Georgia.

Tina was afraid for Jim.  She wanted to get a message to him, but this new information was confidential.  At first she thought her idea of the picture of two shooters was clever, then she thought it was too transparent.  She waffled back and forth between feeling it was too cryptic, and not cryptic enough.  In the end she realized it did not matter.  She had hit send, and the deed was done.  Tina rationalized that it was not the means, but the simple fact that she had tried to get warning to her new boyfriend, that made her feel better.

Her feeling better didn’t last more than a day.  Interpol finally identified the body of the Park incident sniper as one Joseph Stalac, a.k.a. Jed Smith.  A Bosnian Serb who had been recruited by international gunrunners after his talents were no longer needed at home.  He was thought to be in Canada.  His appearance in the USA was drawing some major resources from Homeland Security.  Resources that were up on Hadley Ridge checking every blade of grass, and every stone for a clue as to what was going on.  From the amount of trash, and buried human excrement they found, the FBI believed that Stalac had indeed been in the area for months, hiding, waiting for his trail to get cold.  They were still working the issue of who was this other shooter, and why was he meeting Stalac?

********

John was totally pissed when he logged into Tina’s e-mail account and read her e-mails to Jim.  He saw the pictures.  He recognized the bar, it was Flatheads, and it was a Friday.  He recognized Mike the bartender, and Mike only worked the bar at Flatheads on Friday.

As John looked at the pictures he thought he knew what they meant.  Tina wanted this new guy to join her at the bar.  She had a shooter waiting for him.  John was itching for a confrontation so he figured he’d hang out at Flatheads on Friday nights and wait for them to show up.  Weeks went bye and they never did show, but even if they had John would have been too drunk to do anything but fall down and hurt himself in a confrontation.

********

The FBI’s undercover agent working at the sniper school in Georgia spent a week secretly taking pictures of all the “Students.”  He sent the pictures to the Bureau’s Facial Recognition Lab who compared them to the security video from the Park's Visitor Center.  They got a match, and an arrest was made. 

The case was officially closed, and no one with any information was talking.  Not a word.  Not even to all the local authorities back in Washington State who had been involved in the case from the start.  The details of the case were strictly on a “Need to Know” basis, and the Fed’s didn’t think the Locals had a need.

********

As for Jim and Tina, they wondered what the answers were to this mystery, but after a few months those cares became secondary as they worried about the more important things in life.  Things like; where are we going to live, who’s church are we going to get married in, and where are we going on the honeymoon?

Friday, November 9, 2012


Where Have I Been?                                                                            

I apologize for not posting lately; the main level of my home was destroyed in hurricane Sandy.  Online time is quite limited, and my time in general is involved in the most rudimentary tasks of survival in the modern world.  My wife Helene and I … and our cat Smokie are all OK.

Bare with me … The excitement shall continue!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Modern Traveler Blues                                                         

Sitting in the airport, the view just can't be beat.
Watching people strip down to the waist, from my gate F seat.

Oh my here comes a Grandma, they're going to touch her where?
Gee Granny is starting to smile, I guess she does not care.

Now here come two businessmen, they look a little bit mad.
TSA took away their laptops, after wiping them with a pad.

Good news! TSA is handing them back, but they sure did annoy.
How dare they ever come between, a techie and his toy.

Those two guys had better lighten up, they really have the blues.
The one guy is still so friggin’ mad, he just forgot his shoes!


Still sitting in the airport, still waiting for our plane.
I think we are in Philly, they’re all starting to look the same.

We’re on our way to Knoxville, then driving to the sticks,
We're going to change our lifestyle, just call us two old hicks.

There’s limited Internet access, and no cell towers do you see.
It's just like here in terminal F
 , with my I-pad on my knee.

I cannot get to Facebook, no updates from CNN
There is no internet at all, do you remember when? 

They're making an announcement. What the heck did she just say?
Oh wonderful, wouldn't you know it, another 2 hour delay.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


ENCINITAS 81                                                                                                                      

No you Road Atlas addict.
I’m not referring to a highway.
It’s a special place at a special time.
Back in the bye-gone past called yesterday.


A Spanish mission on a hill.
Split into apartments I think three or four.
With its terracotta roof and bleached white walls,
And a huge, arched, heavy wooden door.


One was my Brother-in-laws apartment.
He shared this Alamo with three ladies I recall.
He swears there was no funny business,
Yeah right, I’m sure he had a ball.


We slept on a waterbed there for the first time.
Just once, my back was killing me in the morning.
“I told you things were different out here.”
I should have heeded my wife’s warning.


Walking down the hill towards the beach
Past the Classic Movie Theater, past the Jesus Pizza place.
They would make any kind of pie you wanted,
but be sure to give thanks … and say grace.


We walked down the narrow path
Along a cliff face to the stony beach.
There were people 60 and 70 years old
Chasing Frisbees that were tossed out of reach.


Listening to Beach Boys music.  Wearing wet suits
and doing tumble salts into the waves.
Young and old were intent on having a ball
Until the day they awoke in their graves.


On the last night we went to a 5 star restaurant
in the place called Cardiff by the sea.
I thought I looked fine in my three-piece suit,
but everyone just stared at me. 


Our Maitre-de in his flip-flops,
our waitress in her terrycloth shorts.
On the beach the guests were playing “Over the line.”
It was a game like “beach softball” of sorts.


We toasted our host and thanked him
For his hospitality by the sea.
But we yearned to get back to old New York.
            And our life of normalcy.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Who cut Jack O’Lantern?
                                                                     
           
Oh he was a plump one
Jack O’Lantern my dear old friend.
I knew him back when we were seeds
Now it’s left to me to speak of his end.

We begged farmer Jones, as we grew in the field
Please keep turning us as we grow fat.
Farmer Jones made us all a nice bed of hay
He didn’t want our side to go flat.

Oh no! Jack, they are coming to pick you.
Quick, hide over there in a rut.
Jack cover yourself with leaves and mud
Or you will wind up getting your stem cut!

Dozens of pickers wearing straw hats
Walking behind wagons these pickers came on.
I looked back towards Jack to make sure he’s OK
To my horror I discovered he was gone.

Who cut Jack O’Lantern?
I’m afraid we may never know.
But I saw him last night on farmer Jones’ porch.
His face was all-aglow. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Installment 3 of, A Walk in the Park                                                   

“Good morning Ranger.”

I looked up from the pile of paperwork on the desk that Mike had left for me to sort through and file away.  I saw four men in suits.  Men who just did not belong anywhere in these parts.

“May I help you gentlemen?”

“I’m agent Dawson, this is Agent Krug, FBI.”

“I’m Agent Wanser, this is Agent Zykerjoksi, from the State Bureau of Investigation… Just call him Agent Z, that’s what we all do.”

Dawson was obviously in charge of this fashion conscious gathering of law enforcement.  My phone rang, Dawson looked at his watch and said, “That would be under Secretary of Interior Templeton.” 

I answered it.

“Hello. … Yes Ma’am. … Yes Ma’am.  They are in my office right now.  Yes Ma’am, certainly Ma’am. … Ya’ll have a good day too.”

“Well now, it seems my name is known in Washington D.C.  I hope in a good way.  So, once again, how may I help you gentlemen?”

“You will be returning with us to the scene of the crime.”

Any further conversation was drowned out by the sound of at least 4 choppers passing overhead.  The last one circled and landed on the pad usually occupied by my chopper.

The 5 of us walked out back towards the landing pad.

“You know if my bird was back from repairs I’d fly us all in there myself?”

“Sit in the back with us.”  Dawson was as dry as a mouth full of cinnamon.  If he ever cracked a smile it would crack his face. Agent Z gave me a look and a raised eyebrow that said without spoken words … Yep, Dawson’s a dick.

We got to Hadley Ridge and set the chopper down along side of the three that had already landed.  FBI Agent Krug asked the questions while the dozens of other business suit clad underlings scrambled about their choppers pulling out and assembling all kinds of gizmos under the direction of Agent Dawson.

Krug had me recount every detail of what happened that day; every shot, every movement.  He could have read all that in the official report, but he was asking again.  It was soon apparent that they were waiting for me to screw up, to say something that didn’t match.  We were in for a long day.  I had told the truth then, and I was telling the truth now.  I wasn’t about to screw up, and the more they leaned on me trying to make me sweat, the cooler and more collected I got.  Krug and Dawson took turns, compared notes, and tried to trip me up again.  I had been through all this before with the local authorities and an internal investigation by the Forest Service.  Bureaucrats, wasting taxpayer money so they can buy their expensive suits.

When the Feds were finished, State Agents Wanser and Z came over.  Wanser spoke, Z just smiled.

“How you holding up Jim?”  Wow, first suit to call me Jim.

“I’m just fine.  I have a pile of paperwork back in HQ that isn’t getting any smaller.”

“You can head back with us.  We just need the FBI to concur.”

“So what’s going on here?”

“That’s Wanser’s call.  Wish I could tell ya, but it’s up to Wanser.” 

In other words I wasn’t about to be told a thing.

***

I got back to my office just in time to lock up, and head over to my mom’s place to see if she had gotten her medicine in the mail yet.

Mom was real happy to see me.  She had a hot meal on the table, and when I had finished eating she casually mentioned that a picture upstairs had fallen off the wall and needed re-hanging.  When I got to the top of the stairs my phone started to beep telling me that I had entered an area of good reception and had just received several e-mails. 

Three of them were from Tina.  The first two were the kind I liked to get, real nice, sexy, playful e-mails.  They made my mouth water in anticipation of the third e-mail.  It had attachments.  Oh Baby, are you sexting me or what?

The first picture was a little odd.  It was of a sign behind a bar. “Happy Hour 5 till 7.  Free round of shooters with every pitcher of beer.” 

The second picture was of a Bar Keep shaking a shaker full of shooters over his head.  Well now I wondered, is she an Alabama Slammer drinking girl or what? 

The third and final attachment was strangest of all.  In that picture Tina had a dead serious look in her eye, and with both index fingers, she was pointing at two shooters on the bar.

A light bulb went on over my head, figuratively and literally.

“Son, I don’t want you to be poking around up there in the dark.  Be careful.”

“Oh I’m going to be careful Mom, real careful.”

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Death of Summer                                                                                                                          

Dark clouds spread across the morning sky as if the great author of the world has dropped his ink well onto the atmosphere below.

There is a chill in the air. The South wind with it’s equatorial warmth is gone, and the North wind sails over great fields of ice, and it permeates every bone in my body.

I descend from my bedroom.  The steps of the staircase creak with friction, wood on wood, or are those the creaks of my joints, bone on bone?

I sit on my assigned half of the loveseat in the living room.  It no longer surrounds me with the warmth of a friend, but with the unfamiliar cold of a stranger. 

I cuddle under a colorful crocheted throw, and click on the TV remote.  A news anchor and his foil banter endlessly about last night’s sadness, as the weatherman starts to lie.

Sadder, and darker still is my uncertainty about what the season of sleep will bring.  The first rumble of the oil fueled heating system plays bass to the funeral dirge of the season. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012


A Walk in the Park, Chapter 2

This is a continuation of “The Original 6 Page Work Called A Walk in the Park,"  Posted on this Blog on  9/24/12   Be sure to read that one first……….

I watched Special Agent Mills as she walked from the edge of my bed to the kitchen wearing nothing but my dress shirt.  She still had a slight limp, and she should be using her crutches, but after last night I might be the one who needs crutches this morning.  You never would have known that she had been shot in the hip less than two months ago.

She started opening cupboard doors looking for the coffee.

“It’s in the middle one, on the right-hand side.”

“Got it.”

It was instant, but I live alone.  I go to the local coffee shop on the corner if I want something special.

I was mesmerized by her figure as she bent over and searched the contents of my refrigerator for something eatable.

“Not much of a foodie are you Jim?”

“I’m only here one week out of any given month Tina.  You should see my spread up on the mountain, beats the pants off of this apartment hands down.”

Tina returned to the bedroom, and sat on her knees at the end of my bed.  “Now if you have no ham and eggs, what are we gonna do all morning?”  She leaned forward, straddled my legs, and started to crawl up the bed.

 I love the mountains.  I’ve always been a mountain man.  With the top half of my dress shirt hanging open, I had a perfect view of Tina’s mountains.  When she was face to face with me she kissed me.

“That place of yours in the park belongs to the Federal Government, Ranger Jim.” 

With that she tossed off the bed sheet and slowly settled herself down on top of me.  Yippie-ki-yay, the cowgirl rides again.

**********

“Call me?”

“Hell yes darlin’. My momma didn’t raise no fool.”

We smiled, we laughed, we kissed, and we said good-bye.  I watched her 2-door sedan pull out of town headed north.  I straddled the gas tank of my motorcycle and kicked it over, then I left a trail of dust heading west to the Ranger station.

On that long lonely ride I had plenty to think about.  I was close to 10 years older than her.  She was smart.  She was pretty, and she was in my head after just one night.  I started an in depth discussion with myself as to when would be the best time to call her.  Tonight? No way, too soon.  Tomorrow? Maybe, that would be cool, yet caring.

As I turned up the road to the National Park Welcome Center my cell phone started to vibrate.  I nervously pulled over and answered it on the first ring.

“Hello.”

“Yo Jim-bo this is Mike.”  My disappointment at hearing it was Mike, my Supervisor, and not Tina was immediate and deep.

“What’s up Mike?”

“Jim-bo I got a call.  They want me down in Tahoe to supervise a forest fire fuel reduction effort.  I only expect to be gone for two weeks.  If you haven’t guessed son, you will be acting Supervisor while I’m gone.  I left a rotation schedule for the Fire Watchtower assignments on my desk.  Anybody gives you any crap about an assignment, kick ass and take names.”

“Two weeks Mike?”

“More than likely son.  I am sure you can handle it, any problems radio dispatch should be able to get me.”

“OK Mike.  Just make sure you run the other way when those lumberjacks yell TIMBER!”

“Will do Jim-bo, will do.  Bye.”

“Bye Mike.” Crap.  Two weeks of playing boss.  Two weeks of not daring to take any time off.  Two weeks of not being able to see Tina.


************

Tina had a long drive back to her place.  Her place?  Not really.  She had been living with John for three years, one happy, one sad, and one miserable as all Hell.  In the past year John had turned into a controlling and manipulative ogre. She didn't want to move back home, but that would be the only option available in her immediate future. 

One night with Jim had been the catalyst to her courage.  The final straw, the missing piece to the puzzle, now found, the picture of what she had to do was complete.  Even if it was not Jim tomorrow, it was Jim last night, and that was good enough. She was finally certain that there would be life after John, maybe even love. She just hoped that John would not be there when she got back.

It wouldn't be like she would just show up on her mother’s doorstep.  They had been talking regularly for the past year, ever since Tina’s father had passed away.  Her mother was lonely, and would welcome her back, or so Tina reasoned.

Tina filled the back seat of her car with her clothes, and took those things she had brought into the relationship back out with her.  She took her CDs, and left his, and so on through the apartment, except for the TV remote.  The big-screen TV was Johns, but she took the remote control because she knew that would piss John off the most.

Tina drove up to her mother’s house and parked by the white picket fence.  Her mother was outside picking weeds in the flower garden.  Tears started to drip down Tina’s cheek as she opened the gate and slowly walked up the path to her mother.  Tina’s mom looked at her daughter’s face, and the pile of clothing in the back seat of the car.  She knew.  She opened her arms and embraced her daughter.  They walked quietly inside and had a cup of tea and a good cry.  Tina’s room was waiting for her, just the way she left it 3 years ago.

Mom’s house did not have internet service.  Personal phone calls and internet usage were taboo at work, and Jim spent most of his time in a dead zone.  Tina started stopping by the internet-cafĂ© after work and wrote long love letter E-mails to Jim, and he reciprocated in kind whenever he could.  Tina was thrilled that this handsome hunk had such a romantic spirit. 

There was one problem they were not aware of.  Tina had no idea that John had hacked her e-mail logon and password years before.  John was not impressed with Jim’s romantic ways, or his woman’s desires to be with this other man.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Presented to honor those who served.

Those Who Served Their Country

 By D. E. Allen

We were those who went while others stayed behind.  They may have been afraid, in truth, so were we, but we went where others dared not go, and did what others … failed to do. We asked nothing from those who gave nothing of themselves, perhaps a bit of respect or common courtesy be shown, to those who served their country.

I have seen the look of terror on the faces of my comrades; I am sure that I have worn terror on my own face as well.  I have been so afraid that my body shivered with cold, in the 100 degree heat.  I have been so relieved in victory that I laughed until I cried; while sitting in the midst of the battlefields post apocalyptic veil of smoke and blanket of blood. Such is often the communion cup that is passed around, to those who served their country.

When I add up all the emotions and memories together, and look back so many years ago, I recall times that many would say are better to be left undisturbed; but there is a risk in letting these memories rest in convenient silence.  Relating the lessons learned to future generations is the awesome responsibility of, those who served their country.

We must remember the tears, the sacrifice, and the pain, least the fools be allowed to preach that war is somehow glorious, and that freedom is somehow free.  What have I gained over those who did not go?  Today and always, I am proud to say, I am one of those who served their country.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Ignatian Inspiration                                                                   
               
Dear St. Ignatius
Teach us the way of patience.
Let us know your faith.

Spanish Knight from Basque
Champion of Pamplona
His Son brought you peace.

Praying in a cave.
Seeing the light in darkness
Jesuits emerge.

Daily Examen
A guidepost along my way.
Look toward tomorrow.

Teach us to pray twice.
Once to see what lies ahead.
Once in reflection.

Dear St. Ignatius
Teach us the way of patience.
Let us know your faith.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Halloween at Sunbrick   By D. E. Allen                                                                                                                                                                                                        


A friend in the UK takes her writing class on photographic field trips to give them writing prompts.  She recently took her class to the Quaker Burial Mound in Sunbrick.  The burial mound is surrounded by a high fieldstone wall with a single gate.  Her black and white photo of the place was eerie to say the least.  Here is the poem it inspired.

Halloween at Sunbrick

By the stone circle wall at Sunbrick, gather ye sons and mothers too.
On the eve of All Hallows, when the night mist is thick as dew.

Come and see the shadows move, stay past midnight if you dare.
But if the shadows turn to look at you, beware their deadly stare.

With fog-like feet they glide past you, and on to their ancient sacred well.
This is where the restive souls of the Quakers wander, or so the bards do tell.

Like the waves upon the open sea, they are here, then there, then gone.
Up from the mound, and through the gate, they roam all night till dawn.

Oh why do the specters wonder, are the spirits still troubled and in pain?
Well now, why don’t you just go ask one, and have the ghost explain?

Monday, September 24, 2012


The Original 6 Page Work Called 

A Walk in the Park

The "A Walk in the Park" story posted a few weeks ago on this blog is a 1 page re-write done for a writing workshop about a year ago.  This is the original 6 page version of "A Walk in the Park" that is a much different story, as you will discover after the first two paragraphs.  I think you will like both of these stories, born of the same seed.... Enjoy.

I had finally escaped the office for 3 days of hiking in the Okanogan National Forest in my home state of Washington.  Just me, my sleeping bag, and a 50-pound backpack filled with all the comforts of, well, maybe not home, but close enough.  Half way up the side of the ridge I decided to take the path least traveled, picking my way between loose gravel and broken rocks, I was sure going to give my new hiking boots a good workout.

Once up over the ridge, and down into a hollow I saw a huge field of beautiful wildflowers.  I could not resist.  I dropped my pack and grabbed my new 7 mega-pixel camera and tripod.  I framed the shot in the picture viewer, and set camera to “Trap Focus” so it would capture every movement once I was on my mark.  Like a little girl I bounded to the spot I figured to be center frame and I started mugging for the camera.

CLICK… I looked to my right, and there in the tall grass I thought I saw something. 

CLICK… I jumped up to get a better view.
 
CLICK…  It was an injured hiker.  I started to tremble.  He was bleeding profusely from a large cut on his neck. 

CLICK… As I approached him I could see he was blinking so I knew he was alive.

CLICK…  I took out my phone to call 911 and …CLICK.

********

Two months later.

“Ranger base, this is Ranger 2 over.”

“Go ahead Ranger 2, over.”

“Mike, I’m circling the Northwest side of Hadley ridge. I’m observing what looks like a discarded backpack in a field, and some matted grass not far off, I’m going to set it down and take a closer look. Over.”

“Copy that Ranger 2, and Jim-bo, report your progress to base every 15 minutes, over.”

“Affirmative Ranger Base, Ranger 2, over and out.”

Jim Maguire was an experienced pilot.  The landing was a piece of cake.  He put his chopper down right between the backpack and the matted patch of grass.  He mumbled to himself as he surveyed the scene.

What do we have we here … a camera on a tripod… the backpack is intact … Oh OK this must have been where the camera was packed away.  Camera’s dead.  Kind of pointing at that patch of tall grass and the matted patch over there.  Where the heck is our photographer friend at?

I started walking to the patch of matted grass that I had seen from the air.

What the heck was he filming …. Whoa, what’s this? Oh Crap.  I ran back to my chopper as quick as I could.

“Ranger base, Ranger Base, this is Ranger 2. Do you copy?”

“Ranger 2, this is Ranger Base, why so excited Jim-bo?”

“Looks like a lot of blood, but I don’t think it was a deer hunter.  Maybe was, maybe not.  I can’t find signs of a gut pile anywhere.  That abandoned equipment is giving me a bad feeling. I think we better get the State Troopers up here with a test kit to check it out. Over.”

“Roger Jim-bo, I’ll get a hold of State and see what they want to do, but don’t hold your breath, the State Fair in Calhoun has them stretched pretty thin. Over.”

“Ranger 2 standing by. Over”

******


“Ranger 2 this is Ranger Base, over.”

“Ranger Base, go ahead Mike, over.”

“Yeah Jim-bo State is real interested, they think every runaway kid and escaped nut heads for our pretty little park.  They’re gonna chopper in a team to your coordinates, ETA 2 hours.”

“Crap, Mike call my mom and tell her not to hold dinner.”

“Roger Jim-bo,  Ranger Base standing by.”

“Ranger 2 standing by.”

State was interested all right; they had their team on site in an hour and a half.  It took them all of 5 minutes after touching down to prove the dried blood I discovered was not only human, but also that it was from 2 different people.

Well, past experience told me that at this point the State folks would ignore me like a piece of crap so I went back to my chopper and sat comfortably in the pilots seat while they went about their business.  Surprisingly, after about an hour the head of the crime scene team came over and sat in my co-pilots position.

“How much daylight we have left up here Ranger?”

“Dusk in .. oh… half an hour … dark as a witch’s cape in two.”

The lead CSI stepped out of my chopper and yelled to his crew, “OK People, lets wrap it up, pack it up, and move this investigation indoors.”

CRACK.  The unmistakable sound of a rifle shot tore through the crisp mountain air and the lead CSI’s head exploded in a spray red mist.  Instinctively I grabbed my rifle and dove out the door of my chopper as two more shots were fired and the windscreen directly in front of my Pilots position was shattered.

Crack-Clang, Crack-Clang, Crack-Clang, he put 3 rounds into the State chopper.  CRACK, and a streak of red, a tracer round shattered against the engine compartment of the State chopper.  CRACK-Streak, a second tracer round smashed into the State bird, and that was it. Black smoke and a little bit of flame signaled the end of the State choppers flight log, and the shooter had inadvertently told me what part of the woods he was shooting from.  The shooter had forgotten a cardinal rule; tracers work both ways.

I settled into a safe position, and got ready to return fire. Then heroics took charge of the situation, or stupidity interfered.  It depends on how you look at it.  A young female CSI ran to the burning State chopper to retrieve some evidence she had already stowed on board, and CRACK, she caught one in the hip. Their Pilot reacted by getting up on his knees and ineffectively returning fire with his .38 caliber service revolver. CRACK, he caught a bullet in his chest, and paid the ultimate price.

Crack-Clang, Crack-Clang, the shooter was putting armor piercing rounds into my chopper’s engine compartment now.  I settled in over my sight and waited for the tracers.  Crack-Clang, the third armor piercing round, now if he were a creature of habit, he would sign his death warrant with tracers.

CRACK-Streak … POP-POP-POP-POP-POP-POP, I fired half my clip at his position.  The resulting dead silence was only broken by the moans of the wounded CSI who was lying dangerously close to the State chopper, now fully engulfed in flame.

I had to do something.  I jumped to my feet, and dropped to the ground quickly to see if I would draw any fire.  Nothing. Good.  I got into a low crawl position and darted a few yards, and dropped to the ground again.  Still, no more gunfire coming from the tree line.  The shooter was dead, wounded, gone, or playing possum. 

I made for the state bird and pulled the wounded CSI clear of the burning hulk.  Once I was sure she was OK I made my way back to my bird and got on the radio.

“Mayday, mayday, mayday.  Ranger Base, this is Ranger 2. 

“Ranger Base, what is your emergency Ranger 2? Over.”

“Shots fired, 3 officers down. Choppers disabled, no egress available. Need medevac stat. Over.”

“Jim-bo, stay down boy, I’m gonna call the cavalry.  Mayday Mayday, Shots fired, Officers down, all stations respond.”

“Ranger Base, Ranger 1 available, and standing by.”

“Ranger Base, this is County Air Rescue. We are on the pad at Memorial, and available. Over.”

“Ranger 1 this is Ranger Base.  Get in the ATV and make your way along the firebreak to the Northwest side of Hadley ridge.  Wear your night vision equipment and report anything hot.  We got us a shooter out there.  Do not approach, just report.  You got that son?”

“Affirmative Base.  Ranger 1, on my way, ETA 3 hours.  Ranger 1 out.”

 “County Air Rescue, this is Ranger Base.”

“C.A.R. is by, Go ahead Ranger Base.”

“CAR, we have not yet ascertained if the area is safe.  I can’t expect you to go in there, but we got Officers Down.”

 “Ranger Base, I have 2 Sheriffs Department Deputies on board with me and my EMT.  We are in route.  ETA 30 minutes”

“God bless ya CAR. Stand by for Comm. instructions.”

CAR, this is Ranger Base.  Tune to Ranger Frequency 191.7 Repeat, 191.7, and radio check when you get there. Over.”

“Copy that Ranger Base, One Nine-er One, dot Seven.  Ranger Base this is County Air Rescue on One Nine-er One, dot Seven, do you copy?”

“Ranger Base has you 5 by 5 CAR. Over”

“County Air Rescue, this is Ranger 2, that you Shaky?”

“Ranger 2, Damn Jim-bo, what’s goin’ on down there? Over.”

“CAR I’ve got 2 KIA and one Whiskey-IA.  The Whiskey needs immediate evac, she’s lost a lot of blood.  Be careful. We had a shooter in the tree line.  He’s been quiet since I unloaded a half clip of .308 at him. He’s either dead, dieing, or boogying out. Over.”

“Yeah Jim-bo, I have visual on a fire up on the ridge.”

“Affirmative Shaky, that’s the State's bird.  Come in from due South of it.  My chopper is disabled and will be 20 yards to the 8 o’clock position of the fire.  The area to the 4 o’clock of the fire is open flat field.  Clear for landing.”

“Roger that Ranger 2.  I’m going to make a pass over the landing zone with my Infra Red before putting her down. Over”

******

“All Rangers on frequency, this is CAR.  I have one heat signature next to the creek, just inside the tree line on the north end of the field.  I have one possible weapon, and no movement.  I’m coming round to the South to put her down.  How’s our Whiskey –I-A doing Jim-bo? Over.”

“She’s hanging in there CAR. Ranger 2 out.”

Shaky put his bird down right where we needed it.  There was no gunfire from the tree line.  Shaky got to my position next to the wounded CSI with a stretcher and a field dressing kit.  He patched her up and we carried her back to the Rescue Bird while the EMT checked over the two other CSI and confirmed what I already knew.  The two Sheriffs Deputies split left and right and leapfrogged each other as they made their way to the tree line at the north end of the field.

The EMT joined us at the chopper and tended to the wounded CSI.  Shaky jumped into his pilots seat, and I stepped off the Rescue chopper and yelled at Shaky.

“Shaky.  This is my park, I’ll catch the next ride.”

We gave each other a “thumbs up” as Shaky hit the throttle and took our surviving casualty to the hospital.

I stood around for 20 minutes or so in the cool mountain air with only two silent corpses to keep me company.  They lay there in the flickering shadows of the field illuminated by the State choppers slowly dying firelight, and the half moon rising in the night.

“Hello the camp!”

“Come on in Deputy.”  One of the Sheriff’s men joined me back at my chopper.

“How do Ranger, I’m Paul.  Ronny is back with the shooter.  Bastard’s breathing, but he ain’t gonna make it till morning.  He’s just about all bled out.  You got him good in the thigh.  Let’s get County Rescue back here quick.”

I ran the few steps to my cockpit and grabbed the radio microphone. 

“CAR this is Ranger 2.  CAR, Ranger 2, over.  CAR this is Ranger 2.  Come in CAR this is Ranger 2, over.”

“Ranger 2, this is CAR.  I’m on final approach to the hospital.  What’s up Jim-bo? Over.”

“Shaky.  Turn it around as quick as you can, the shooter is still alive. Over”

“Affirmative good buddy.  You might want to know; Doc gave our Whiskey CSI an I.V. and she has a big ol’ smile on her face.  I’m on my way back to you just as soon as they roll her into emergency.  Over.”

There was silence on the radio.

“Ranger 2, this is CAR.  You copy?  Ranger 2?  Ranger 2 do you copy. Over?”

“Yeah I got ya Shaky.  Cancel that return trip.  Nothing left to do up here but a morgue run.  We'll have Ranger 1 take care of it. Over.”

While Shaky was giving me the good news about the CSI with the slug in her hip, Deputy Ronny had joined us at camp, carrying the scoped hunting rifle used by the shooter.

“You sure Ronny?”

“Yes Sir.  He started to rattle in his chest right before he stopped breathing. Sure enough he peed and crapped his pants.  He’s done, put a fork in ‘em.”

“Now Ronny you get back up there and make sure the critters don’t mess up the body.  I’ll be down here with the Ranger and the two victims.”

“Yes Sir.”

******


Three weeks later I was instructed to report to State Police Headquarters wearing my dress uniform for “a Little Something Special.”  When I got there I met a number of Police Officials, and a very pretty young CSI on crutches.  Shaky was right, she had quite a nice smile.  This was not going to be a ceremony in the usual sense of the word.  I wasn’t going to get a medal or even a citation.  What I was going to get was a special showing of the digital pictures on that camera I had found in the field back when this all started.

I took a seat next to my attractive young CSI lady friend. Lights out. 

Click, a Turkey Buzzard flying high. 
Click, a duck in a creek. 
Click, wild flowers. 
Click, the back of a young girl in shorts, tank top and a bandana, running. 
Click, same girl sitting near the flowers. 
Click, she is standing up, looking at something. 
Click, she is moving almost completely out of frame. 
Click, she is kneeling, but only her boots are in frame. 
Click, oh no, from the other side of the frame, is it a bear? 
Click, no, it’s a man in camouflage, holding a huge knife. 
Click, I can’t watch the screen.  I turn my head and I watch the young CSI’s eyes instead. 
Click, her eyes flinch just a bit. 
Click, she turns her head just for a second, then returns her professional gaze back to the screen.  
Click, her eyes start to get wet. 
Click … 
Click … a single tear runs from her eye and down her soft young cheek. 
Click… 
Click... she turns to look at me, both our faces wet with tears. I help her to her feet, and we leave the room together.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Reunion                                                                   

By D. E. Allen

 I just learned that Cliff Bleidner, respected Poet and Chairmen of the Performance Poets Association, lost his mother yesterday.  I wrote this poem some time ago while reflecting on experiences I had after losses in my life.  So here is; Reunion, for Cliff, and all of us who have suffered loss.


I thought I saw you again today.
But it was just a glint of sunlight where the shadow of a tree should be.
My eyes playing tricks on my mind, and for a moment, it brought you back to me.

The feeling was so different.
For that fleeting moment the empty spot in my heart was full once more.
Then again in a moment, the emptiness returns, for you have gone to the other shore.

The days drag on and on.
I know that soon enough it will be my turn to cross over to eternity.
Even though I can feel you all around me, I still question if reunion is a certainty.

I must stay strong in faith.
I must believe that reunion is assured for if I believe otherwise…. You’re gone.
Oh no, if I dare to think otherwise you’d be lost forever, and my heart could not go on.

I thought I saw you again today.
And in a moment of perfect clarity I realize that I did see you, I did, I did I say.
Because you knew that if I saw you, even if only in a flash, it would help me, to find my way.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Creation

                                                   
God thought and I was.
In His image He made me.
We are eternal.





Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Your Most Precious Possessions, One Shelf Limit                                                                  


Genesis 1:1   In the Beginning…
           
            My Kindergarten class picture, there’s old Mrs. Krumpman.  Oh, the thin girl in the front row. I remember her, how sad, she died in third grade.  Something to do with her kidneys as I recall; she was so young; what a shame.

Numbers 11:27   And there ran a young man…

Once again my fingers touch what remains of a pink carnation pressed between sheets of wax paper.  I wonder what’s worse for ware, the carnation, the wax paper, or me?  That’s easy, me.  I sure looked good with that pink carnation on my white sports coat… Oh what a night that was!

 Ecclesiastes 3:8    A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war…                      

Oh wow, my squad, Ramirez, what a piece of work he was. He must have 20 great-grand kids by now.  Ramirez, you were a nut, but when the bullets were flying, I wanted you more than anyone else, close at hand.

Matthew 22:9    Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Smith are proud to announce the marriage of their daughter Greta Ann Smith …..  Standing before the alter in St. Paul’s, when you raised her veil, and kissed her cheek, then gave her hand to me, you turned the page to open the greatest chapter of my life.  Thank you again Poppa Smith.

“What the hell is taking you so long in there?”
“I’ll be with you in just a minute, keep your shorts on!”

John 11:25  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life…

            A rose, just one dried rose from not so long ago. The wax paper that enfolds it is still in pretty good shape.  My dear, dear Greta; Once the petals of this rose were soft and moist … You know when I used to tell you that your lips were as soft and as tender as the petals of a red rose from the garden? I meant every word of it.  Every word of it, every time I said it, all through the years.

“Come on Dad, it’s time to go.  We have to sign you in by 2. “

I closed the family bible and slipped it into the canvas tote bag slung over the side bar of my walker.  Personal items are limited to what can fit on one shelf in my, semi-private room.  That room, that semi-private room, will be my new home, where all I will have for company, for the rest of my life, will be a roommate named Jack, and my precious memories… of a life that was once full.

Friday, September 7, 2012


They, Pray, Payday, Replay                                       

By D. E. Allen


Luck won’t you be a lady, and come with me today.
Come dance around my roulette wheel, add magic to my play.
As long as I come out ahead, a few thousand would be okay.
I yearn to see you cast your spell and send good fortune without delay.


Dear Lady play my slot machine a while, and tell me you will stay.
Please bring a thrill to this old man, with his hair of gray.
If you could simply smile at me, it would make my heart so gay.
Yet I know that in the morning, you must be on your way.


Oh you fickle Lady Luck, don’t let my gambler’s bankroll decay.
Must I beg you to come back to me, what Pythian words must I say?
When you come, will you stand by me, or will once again you stray?
Please come and play with me a while longer, and keep poverty at bay.

If I could but put you in a bottle, and squirrel you away
I know that I could face the world, each crisis, come what may.
Like Knights defending Damsels, life’s dragons I would slay.
With you at my side, the world would be mine, served on a silver tray.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Walk in the Park                                                

I had finally escaped the office for 3 days of hiking in the Okanogan National Forest in my home state of Washington. Just me, my sleeping bag, and a 50-pound backpack filled with all the comforts of, well, maybe not home, but close enough. Half way up the side of the ridge I decided to take the path least traveled, picking my way between loose gravel and broken rocks, I was sure going to give my new hiking boots a good workout.

Once up over the ridge, and down into a hollow I saw a beautiful field of wild flowers. I could not resist. I dropped my pack and grabbed my new 7 mega-pixel camera and tripod. I framed the shot in the picture viewer, and set the delay timer for 30 seconds. Like a little girl I bounded to the spot I figured to be center frame and I stood there counting. Once I was sure 30 seconds had passed I bounced happily back to my camera to look at the picture.

Oh Crap, was that dirt on the lens? No the lens is clean. I looked back at the field and sure enough, about 50 feet behind where I had been standing a Turkey Buzzard had landed to feast on some dead rabbit or something. Oh well, no shot of cute little me in my field of flowers, but maybe some nice nature shots of a feasting buzzard.

I took the camera off the tripod and snapped, and walked, ever so slowly and cautiously doing my best impersonation of a nature photographer. I was about 10 feet away when I could see that the buzzard was perched on a rock … Oh my God, it was looking down on an injured hiker, and getting ready to bite him! I reached down and grabbed a rock and hit the buzzard square in the side, causing it to take off with a loud squawk. I ran over to the hiker, he was still alive, but bleeding profusely from a deep cut on his neck.

Instinctively I called 911. I was told that a Park Ranger helicopter was in the immediate vicinity and I should apply pressure to the neck wound to slow the flow of blood, but to be careful not to cut off the victim’s airway. No sooner had I pushed my clean-enough bandana against the wound, that I heard the unmistakable sound of the helicopter. Mere seconds later the dust and dry grass storm of the landing chopper washed over me, and my unknown friend.

“Miss, I’m EMS, let me get to him.” I pulled back and the EMS tech took over. I caught myself nervously talking a mile a minute about what had happened, but the EMS guy only said, “Get your gear together, we have to move quickly.” So I scurried back for my pack and tri-pod while the Rangers loaded the poor guy into the chopper.

The Park Ranger Pilot was on the radio with the police as I was put into the front seat next to him, and the EMS trained Ranger got into the back to care for the injured hiker. Just 10 minutes by air and we were at the Hospital landing pad where the chopper was met by a pack of scurrying medical professionals, and I was met by the Police.

“Miss, please come with us, we need you to make a statement.” It was creepy as all Hell to be in the back seat of a police cruiser for the first time, and I almost wet myself when they put me into an interrogation room complete with that one-way mirror you always see on TV. My mind was blank and numb at the same time when Sergeant Perci asked me if he could look at the pictures in my camera.

“Yes, go right ahead.” I had nothing to hide, but still should I be asking for a lawyer or should I just be cooperative? Sergeant Perci left the room and returned a few minutes later.

“So, Miss Cooper, correct?”

“Yes.”

“What happened out there?”

I opened my mouth to speak, but a buzzer sounded and a voice on an intercom said, “Sergeant, one moment, right now.” Sgt. Perci left the room for an eternity, or so it seemed. When he returned, he was still wearing the same medium gray suit, but he was not wearing the friendly expression on his face that he had left with.

“Miss Cooper … our John Doe Hiker … didn’t make it. Do you care to tell me for the record what happened out there?”

“Do I need a Lawyer?”

“Depends on what you have to say.”

I put my faith in the power of truth, and I told Sgt. Perci my entire story. Then the damn buzzer went off again. “Sergeant, we have something you better look at on the camera.”

Not long after leaving for a second time, Sgt. Perci came back and escorted me to a viewing room where the picture of me in the flower field was blown up on a large movie screen. With a series of mouse clicks the police technician zoomed in on the corner of the picture. There in the tree line on the far side of the flower field, was a man dressed in camouflage, with a big knife in his hand, watching me.

“Miss Cooper, you are one lucky lady. That man is an escaped murderer. Here’s my card. If you plan to leave the state you must contact me. You may also be contacted by a police officer or an officer of the court in a few days. This Patrolman will take you back to your vehicle, and escort you home. Goodnight Miss Cooper.” That was it. My bizarre adventure was over.

I got to ride in the front seat of the police cruiser on the way back to my car.  The Patrolman was kind of cute, and single.  He gave me his number and said “If there’s anything I can do, or if you just need to talk…”  Maybe I’ll give him a call and we’ll chat over coffee in a few days.

Monday, August 27, 2012


August Harvest                                                                                   

Picking, grab and pluck
Tomatoes ripe and juicy
Dream of B.L.T.s

Playing hide and seek
My green beans seem camouflaged
Obscured by their leaves

Cucumber salad
How much can one person eat?
Did I plant all these?

Zucchini man comes
Dropping off green baseball bats
Here he comes again!

Mosquitoes and weeds
Join together to fight me
I must acquiesce

What a drudgery
I’d rather write haiku
Well now, wouldn’t you?

Oppressively hot
Stifling humidity
Good for tomatoes!

Cool wind starts blowing
Flag tearing at its lanyard
Ominous dark clouds

Thunder booms above
Nimbostratus darkened sky
Rain suspends my plans

Bring my cup of tea
As I watch natures power
Lightening flashes

Cat jumps on the table
A green squash is her pillow
How cute is that?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Thank you all.                                                                                                                            

I have been reviewing my Blog Audience Tracking Statistics.  I’d like to thank my North American and United Kingdom audience for their fantastic level of support. 

Now for a most welcome surprise.  I extend a special thank you to my foreign readers who have embraced me and have been reading my English Language Blog.  A Special Shout Out to my many readers in TAIWAN, FRANCE, VENEZUELA, GERMANY, SOUTH KOREA, NORWAY, UKRAINE, NETHERLANDS, IRELAND, RUSSIA, JAPAN, AUSTRALIA, and PAKISTAN.

Please share my blog with all your friends.

Thank you world.
Sincerely, 
Donald E. Allen

Monday, August 20, 2012


A Handful of Wildflowers                                   

By Donald E. Allen

I saw you in the park one day, and lost my heart in your blue, blue eyes. 
I asked you to a dance, and when you said yes, I knew I’d love you … evermore.

I had no box of chocolates, no roses could I afford, but I had for you a handful of wildflowers, as I knocked upon your door.



Our courtship was mostly innocent, long talks, quiet moonlight strolls, shared dreams about tomorrow, and yet, dare I say at times, our courtship was spiked with lust.

We kept our romantic dining simple, some cheese and bread, some wine, oh, and wildflowers on the table were a must.



Your mom and three sisters sewed and sewed for months.  Never had there been a more beautiful dress, never had there been a more beautiful bride. 

You had no expensive brides bouquet, just a handful of wildflowers; a symbol of our love as we stood there in the presents of God, side by side.


Our babies all grew to call you Mother Dear.  Johnny, Eric, and Paulette; she has my eyes and her mothers sweet, wonderful smile.

Paulette made it so very clear how much she loved us both when she carried a bouquet of wildflowers on her wedding day, as I walked her down the aisle.



Johnny went to Princeton, Eric … died in the war.  We saved for years, and went to see that far away field where Eric left this earth. There in an endless rolling sea of green grass, a small patch of wildflowers grew.

We were drawn to them, across that hollowed ground, and when we reached those wildflowers we stood in silence and prayed.  Don’t ask how we were so sure this was the exact spot where Eric had died, Mother and I, just knew.



Now alone I climb the grassy knoll behind the church, as I have done so many times before. I’m much older now but I must go on; to your love I’m still a slave.

I’m out of breath while I seek your name among the silent stones.  Of course, I carry a handful of wildflowers, to place upon your grave.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


The Life of Thomas Nickerson                                                                                                                                                                                             

A Biographical Sketch By D. E. Allen


Thomas was born in 1805 in Cape Cod Massachusetts. His family soon moved to Nantucket Island, the heart of the whaling industry.  At the age of 14, young Thomas went to work aboard a whaling ship.  He signed on as a Cabin Boy aboard the whaler Essex. Thomas would play his part in supplying America with whale oil. 

Whale oil was used as lamp oil, as an ingredient in candles, and in soap; Whales also supplied baleen a.k.a. whalebone, used for corset stays, umbrella ribs, skirt hoops and even as carriage springs. Thomas had to sign on for the entire 2 and a half to 3 year voyage.  His compensation would be a negotiated share of the voyages profit.  The cabin boy on the Essex’ last voyage made the tidy sum of $150 for his efforts.  Thomas’ future looked bright.  He would return home to Nantucket aboard the Essex as a 17 year-old with $150 or more in his pocket.

The Essex was 87 feet long.  She was captained by a 28 year old named George Pollard Jr., before he would return home, Capt. Pollard would wish he had a bigger boat. There were 21 on board when she sailed out of Nantucket on August 12, 1819.  She would lose her first crewmember when an escaped slave serving as a deck hand jumped ship in the Azores.

There was no Panama Canal in 1819. Napoleon Bonaparte, the ruler of continental Europe when Thomas was born, was now living in exile on St. Helena, as Thomas was sailing South, past the Cape Verde Islands, past St. Helena, past the Falklands, and through the dreaded Drakes Passage to get around Cape Horn, and out to the rich whaling grounds of the South Pacific… God willing.

God did so will it. On November 20, 1820, while whaling almost 3 thousand miles off the coast of present day Chile, the Whales took their revenge.  A Sperm Whale estimated to be 80 feet long and weighing 80 tons or more, rammed the Essex broadside, then repeatedly smashed into her bow pushing the ship backwards.  The Essex sunk slowly, alone, 3,000 miles out to sea.  Capt. Pollard had enough time to load stores and fresh water on 3 whaleboats, plenty of supplies for the men to row and sail their tiny whaleboats back to South America, or so he thought.

Almost a week after abandoning Essex, Pollard’s whaleboat was attacked and damaged by a Killer Whale.  Pollard was able to get all 3 whaleboats to Henderson Island, part of the Pitcairn Islands, to make repairs and restock his water.  3 crewmen decided to remain behind to try to live off the sparse vegetation of Henderson Island.  17, including Thomas, set out again for South America in their restocked and repaired whaleboats.  Thomas was assigned to the whaleboat commanded by the First Mate, Owen Chase.  Thomas would be on that whaleboat for 80 more torturous days.

The food ran out after a few weeks at sea. The first to die, were buried at sea with dignity.  But after months of starvation, those who lived on… ate those who died.  Over on the Captains whaleboat they drew lots, and shot the unlucky crewmen who drew the Black Spot. The Captains own cousin was one of those shot so that others would live.  

The ships drifted apart. One was never found. 89 days after abandoning the Essex, Thomas, Owen, and one other crewmen were found alive in their derelict whaleboat. 5 days later, Capt. Pollard and one other surviving seaman were rescued by another ship 300 miles to the south. The 3 men who remained behind on Henderson Island were also found, barely alive.  First Mate Owen Chase, and Cabin Boy Thomas Nickerson lived to write their stories.  Captain Pollard was chastised by the people of Nantucket, but never charged with a crime.

Thomas Nickerson went back to sea.  In time he worked his way through the ranks to become the captain of a merchant vessel. When he grew too old for the demands of the sea, he ran a boarding house on Nantucket Island, where he died in 1883, and was there laid to his eternal rest.