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Wild People are beyond our control. They live out in the woods. Wishing only to be left alone. If you get too close to them. They might end you.

Jeffery McCormack University of Hawaii. Professor of Anthropology, Explainer of The Unexplained 1982.


March 19, 2015. The Big Island of Hawaii.

One day you’ll see someone for the very first time.

People and Animals were disappearing in the Sleepy Coastal Village of Hawi on the northern most point of da Island.

Park Rangers and Residents have reported weird loud screams in the middle of the night. waking to find livestock mutilated from nearby farms scattered about. Trees uprooted. Large piles of rocks stacked neatly on beaches. where the prior day, there were none. Dogs walking backwards. Cats climbing trees and not coming down for weeks on end. Strange lights reported in the woods. lotta of ugly finger pointing going on. nobody ever uses their turn signal anymore? everybody’s scared.

The Pololu Valley is carved into the Kohala Mountains. Steep Terrain, Switchbacks and Trails lead to the valley floor, Some of those Trails can be treacherous. once you reach the bottom it opens to a secluded black sand beach. water from rain in the hills runs off out to sea by way of a stream that meanders through the valley.

Its Heavenly. Peaceful, Secluded.

Paradise in the Pacific.

These days. The mood is wrong. Locals are Maka’u.

Sundown to Sunrise, not many peoples outside ya?

Locked doors, Blinds drawn, No one goes out after dark no more. Not many people hike the Trail head, Uh Uh, No more.

Sightings have increased dramatically.

Something is out there. Deep in the forested valley. Lurking.

Late at Night, Howls, Growls and Screams emanate from the valley.

Around midnight, Driving home from his shift in Waikaloa. Dino Castino 23 year old Hawi resident hit the brakes, skidding to a stop on the wet mountain road.

What in the hell was that?

Something large had run out of the brush and slammed into his cars passenger door. It looked like a man? a large hairy man.

Frightened he got out, Dino looked down the hillside to see what he hit.

Unable to see a gosh darn thing. Clouds hid the moon from view on this night.

Darkness on the island is a darkness only those who live here understand.

What ever it was? was gone. just the sound of water below breaking on the rocky shoreline.

Walking round the front of the car he moved past its headlights to find a huge impression in his passenger side door.

Ahhh C’Mon Man!

Covered in a coat of what looked like a mix of skin and grease, the dents impression was deep into the door.

Maybe it was an animal? didn’t get a good enough look, couldn’t be? it was too big and on two feet, not down on all fours? It had to be injured.

He stopped to listen, nothing. but quiet.


Nothing…..Wait, Was that? Naw, just the wind.

Dino realized he wasn’t going to find anything but trouble out here, deciding to head home to report the accident. back behind the wheel, he pulled on to the road from the shoulder.

Out of the corner of his eye, The boulder flew through the air towards the car.

Landing violently on the pavement directly in his path, forcing him through the guardrail over the embankment. slamming violently into a ditch with the edge of the pali mere feet away.

Loud howling shook the steep slope down to the water. Forehead bleeding after bouncing his noggin on the windshield, slightly stunned. He squinted out the side window. unable to see squat.

Instinctually, Grabbed his flashlight from his glove compartment. got out, walked over to the brush, Makai side. directed the lights beam into the bushes. Something smelled funky in there. Not good funky, naw, this was bold, nasty hold your nose bad funked up stank.

Approaching the edge, Peering downward, Dino spotted movement, climbing his way.

Dis ting was big, wit long arms, wide shoulders, making noise dat give you da creepies and da willies.

It was growling and moving fast.

Suddenly the brush exploded forward.

Darkness had come for him.

Scrambling and slipping in the gravel, Dino sprinted around the car down the path sloped towards the water.

Running through the trees, it ferociously pursued.

This Massive Growling shadowy figure right on his heels.

A large hairy arm reached for his neck.

Dino found himself airborne.

Early the next day, Authorities found his body on the rocky shoreline below.

Investigators finding two distinctively different sets of footprints leading right up to the edge of da pali. one matching the deceased, Dino Castino 23 years old from Hawi.

While this investigation continued…..miles away in upcountry.

OOOee looked up from his plate of Loco Moco at the Hawaiian Style Cafe in Waimea. best damn breakfast on da island. Standing, adjusting his waistband. The Massive Iocal glided out the screened front door into the street.

Ohhh Brah……Broke da mouth.

An enormous forearm reaches up towards his mouth to revel the smiling face of Da Man himself.

Six foot Two, Two hundred eighty nine pound OOOee Mano. wipes his face, rubbing the remains of his breakfast onto his shorts. never once stopping his movement.

Plenty Good Grindz. Plenty Good Ya.

Exhaling loudly, OOOee slides behind the wheel of his Chevy Pickup. His cell phone rings.


Storms coming in later OOOee. Were you at?

OOOee had to make a run up to Hawi to drop off an order of Koa wood to his Aunty Beattie. materials for a new lanai.

Trip from upcountry to Aunty Beattie house on da coast, bout thirty five minutes. give or take.

Wood hadn’t been hard to find, down in da Valley plenty ya, cut da wood himself. dragged it up, out, limb by limb, planning it by hand. earning every penny of dat two large.

Get your business done, then move outta da way.

Aunty had agreed to pay him, couple thousand bucks. chose the wood, long as its no more than two thousand bucks. uh-uh, no more.

Rain ended late afternoon. Sun was out, birds were singing, cool breezes.

Headed home to load the wood in his truck, once done, on the road, 237 Kohola Mountain Highway to his Aunty’s on the northern tip of the Island.

OOOee was headed into madness.

Only he didn’t know it yet.

Bout 7:37 in the pm, pulling into Aunty Bea’s.

Only noise was the wind in the trees and the sound of the surf coming ashore.

They don’t call it paradise for nuthin.

Stepping out her front door stood an Elderly Hawaiian Woman late 60’s early 70’s. smiling, nodding, excitedly clapping her hands together.

The pair settled into chairs in da back. Aunty had outlined the location of where she wanted the lanai. work was scheduled to begin in the morning.

Something troubling you Aunty?

What do you know about Da You Know Who, OOOee?

Local legend had it a creature prowled da beaches and forest at night.

Miss no opportunities ya? Never know, what tomorrow gonna bring.

Maybe tomorrow? Your hair stand on end. maybe fall out on da ground

Just last month, two hikers had disappeared. vanished.

How you not know dat it some haole hippies from Waiks? out there in da valley growing pakalolo? maybe chase outta Hilo by da hui huh?!?

Scratching her chin, Aunty Bea pointed at OOOee.

Found da rental car parked on side of the road. no peoples nowhere.

Hui would’ve take, sold car.

Sides? You no let me finish. Couple days later, Searchers find one of hikers in shock, walking in forest, tell crazy story.

Say he got chased by Christmas tree.

Please Aunty…No More.

Taking a break he and his friend reported seeing something just off trail.

Pointing his flashlight towards the trees he smelled something rotten.

The light shone into da trees eyes. which stretched out its arms towards him.

Chee Hoo!

Brah dropped the light hauling ass down the trail into da tree line. he make it, his friend?… make it.

One minute he and his friend were taking a leak, Whistling theme to Andy Griffith, when tree started to move.

When they found him walking in the woods near the highway, he was in shock, wouldn’t speak to nobody, until they led him out to the trail head. then he wouldn’t shut up.

Kept Screaming. We Have To Warn Everybody! We Have To Warn Everybody!

Aunty you saying its Hukai’po?

Shush OOOee.

To speak of it, was thought to curse you.

Tourism board tried to keep a lid on it. Bad for business.

Da truth of it is….Hukai’po were The Night Marchers.

Whistling was said to summon them. Island Spirits that mess you up. maybe forever ya?

Most Locals refused to speak of it. Bring you ‘Ino loa.

Why is it no real proof exists?

Some say they live in tunnels or caves beneath da ground.

The reason no one is able to catch one is…it can disappear.

They’re smarter than us, our mistake is underestimating them. It will be our ultimate undoing.

You either believe strange beasts live among us or you don’t.

After enjoying a nice meal together.

They sat for a while talking. OOOee doing his best to reassure his beloved Aunty.

After they spoke, she went to do the dishes, while he went outside, to break some wind.

OOOee was out back in da dark framing the new lanai when he heard her screams.

Rushing in the backdoor, he saw his Aunty ducking down behind da couch.

Motioning for him to get down, he did just that. scrambling low next to her on da floor.

What’s wrong Aunty?

He’s Here! Out Da Window, I Saw His Eyes, His Hairy Face. Remind me of Uncle LOLO after da fire when dey had to use da skin graph to try to fix da scarring. Remember? grew hair all over his face. look like da woof-man. He’s Here!

Who? Uncle LOLO?

Naw! You Know Who! Biggie Foot, Da Hairy Scary Man! Fuuuuuck. He Real, I Saw Him Wit My Own Eyes.

Calm down Aunty.

Rising and crossing to the window. OOOee cupped his hands on the glass, peering out into the front yard.

His eyes widened, as he dove for cover, the large rock exploding through the picture window, narrowly missing Aunty Bea.

OOOee fell over da couch on da floor smashing the coffee table. he wasn’t sure if, in fact he saw, what he saw.

It had to be at least Eight feet tall, Covered from head to toe in hair. Lobbed that heavy boulder Like It Was Nothing!

Makin noise you don’t want to hear twice in your lifetime.

Deez were sounds, made you close your windows, lock your doors. hide in icebox.

It sounded angry. OOOee didn’t want to ask why. learned long time ago to stay from angry peoples.

Crawling on the floor to da window, he peeked out, in time to see Da Hairy Scary Man tear da mailbox off its post, tucking it under his arm an walking into the woods across da road.

Wait? What? It was real? Aunty was right, saw it wit his own eyes. the things nightmares are made of.

Give you da chicken skin, an da heebie-jeebies. OOOee needed this like a coconut full of bees.

Stepping out the front door of his Aunty’s hale, first looking left and right, then moving slowly into the yard.

Without warning. a large man had come out of a clump of trees. about 50 yards away, sniffing the air like a dog.

I swear he smelled me, Cause it slowly backed into the woods. until I couldn’t see him no more.

OOOee had to know, is this really happening?

Where is dat buggah?

Scanning the tree line across the street, he couldn’t see a thing. so dark you would never know for sure.

He cautiously crossed the road into the woods to look around.

Then he heard it, it was still close.

Only now, Da Howling, Growling and Screaming seemed to be headed in his direction.

OOOee turned and while scrambling back up the trail. glanced over his shoulder.

Something was headed his way, a shape, this shadow…you know who.

Thirty yards away, a pair of yellow glowing eyes in the brush was moving closer.

OOOee stopped, trying to focus on what was coming after him.

Then he smelled it again. Chee Hoo! You Know Who!

The mailbox hit the tree next to where OOOee stood. frozen, unable to move, the terror now only yards away.

He was trapped. heart pounding hard.

The basketball sized rock landed 5 feet to his right, taking out a tree limb sheltering the trails drop-off.

Can’t stay here, RUN!

Reaching the switchback, OOOee skidded to a stop, falling on the ground. another rock sailed overhead narrowly missing its target.

Down the trail, He could see him, still moving in his direction. arms reaching out in front of him.

Those eyes, Those eyes…..What is it?

He ducked for cover, Leaning into a massive boulder in front of him, it began to give way. rolling back down the trails slope, gaining speed on its way downhill. unaware, the shape headed up hill growling. long arms waving, as the rock impacted it, a bright flash enveloped the dark path. once the flash subsided, the shape was gone, disappearing into a flash of light. only the rock continuing downward through the brush on the trail into the valley below.

Hand painted sign stuck in the ground next to the trail read, Kapu. to the locals it means, Forbidden.

Down the embankment OOOee was sliding on the loose ground. surfing it downward out of control to the water below.

As he slide downward he spotted the signage, reaching out with his mighty left hand, grabbing a hold of it to slow his mo. it was no use. full on rock slide is a one way trip ya. non stop.

He came to rest on the valley floor below with various scrapes and cuts. a broken arm, three cracked ribs and a large bump on da noggin.

Grateful to be alive.

Thankfully Aunty had called da police. who, when they showed up, found OOOee on da rocks.

Ambulance took him to the Kohala Hospital in Kapaau. after his injuries were treated, police took his statement down. Once completed. They also spoke with Aunty. The events weighed heavy on them both.

Upon his release. Aunty Bea drove him home to rest, try to piece things together.

She stayed to make sure he was ok. keep her eye on him. Spirit of Ohana is strong here.

Same afternoon, Strange men showed up at his house wearing black suits and sun glasses they wouldn’t take off. refused to show any identification. say they were from the government. also asked questions. like, a lot of questions. telling them, be best if they both keep quiet, to not tell a soul what they saw?

Why? they don’t live here…. who are they to tell us what to do?

Hey Nice Suit Eliot Ness…..phhffft!

Not sure they believed a word of it anyway. doesn’t matter, I guess? if someone tell me a tale like dat, Well, more questions than answers ya?

What was it? Why did it attack? And Where did it go?

Maybe? Dis ting only wants to scare us away, to protect the land, I get that.

Malama Aina.

People are afraid of the unknown, ya know. from the beginning of time. we’ve felt threatened by outsiders.

There are those who say it’s just a myth. Who refuse to believe. Baloney sandwiches they say.

Seen a lot of weird things living on this island. Heard some strange stories too. Not sure what I believe anymore.

What’s out there? Honestly, I don’t really know.

There’s a lot of theory, Island spirits, Interdimensional beings, biggie foot himself?

Don’t want to sound tinfoil hat here, I’m keeping an eye on it, I’ve a feeling something bad is going to happen again.

Will it come back? I better not say.

I believe OOOee.

He doesn’t understand….but he knows.

Monsters live here. He’s seen them, with his own eyes.

Big Island Hairy Scary Man.

Here in the middle of da Pacific Ocean. Its no joke brah.

You come to see what you want to see, You come to see, But you never come to know.

One day you’ll see someone for the very last time.

Better that way, then the other way around.

Jimmy Healy

Dark winter evening, fierce windy outside the pubs door. Two men sit across from each other engaged in lively banter. Empty Pint Glasses fill the table. A warm fire cast a glow in the room. 

Jimmy: If Jimmy Healy was dead, he’d be turning in his grave. but he’s not dead, so he isn’t.

Tommy: Don’t start Jimmy Healying me now.

Jimmy: Was tha 40 year ago?

Tommy: Thief! Sold him a bag of the herb in secondary school.

Jimmy: Here we go…

Tommy: ….Said he’d pay me tomorrow. Bastard! avoiding me ever since.

Jimmy: Oh he’s not avoiding ya on the count of tha.

Tommy: Ya mean that business with his sister?

Jimmy: Your business with his sister is your own business.

Tommy: Who has the better life the town crow or the country crow?

Jimmy: Careful now, crows hold grudges and never forget a face.

Tommy: I’ll not say anything bad about crows.

Jimmy: Treat crows well.

Tommy: Yer man Jimmy Healy reminds me of a crow, the shite.

Jimmy: Looks at ya like a crow lookin inta a bag a crisps.

Tommy: Tha Bastard.

Jimmy: Grab that crow, grab it wit both of yer hands, like a burglar, Hold it above yer head and Run!

Tommy: Think I’m going mad. 

Jimmy: Going?

Tommy: And Charles Manson is gone.

Jimmy: Wasn’t he in The Great Escape?

Tommy: Wha? No….killed all those people in California in the 60’s.

Jimmy: Charles Bronson killed people in California?

Tommy: No, in the fillums.

Jimmy: You ar going mad.

Tommy: Look around, Feels like it sometimes.

Jimmy: Wha bout Kelly? Since his stroke, hows he been eh? poor bastard.

Tommy: Don’t know how he does it. Bad hand, bad fookin hand,

Jimmy: Not shar wha I’d do.

Tommy: Pray ya never do lad, pray. All he does is sleep an sit in front of the Telly.

Jimmy: Telly? Tha mans eyes an hearing are shite.

Tommy: That’s why he sits in front of it.

Jimmy: Sits in front of wha?

Tommy: Have ya been listening to anything I’ve said?

Jimmy: Wha?

Tommy: Have ya heard about Mulligans Mrs Sleep walking?

Jimmy: Wha’s Happened? Is there trouble?

Tommy: She wakes him up constantly, her screaming in her sleep every night. Very unsettling, says he.

Jimmy: Screaming is it? Sound asleep then?

Tommy: Screaming.

Jimmy: Unsettling.

Tommy: That’s what I said.

Jimmy: What’s Tha?

Tommy: Ran around with Jimmy Healy for a time. Mulligan never knew.

Jimmy: Sneaky Bastard, herself no good either, no wonder she’s walking the house at night screaming.

Tommy: Can ya imagine what’d Mulligan do to him if he finds out?

Jimmy: Good thing she’s not talking in her sleep too.

Tommy: Wha? no no no. sleep walking, not talking.

Jimmy: Bastard, Does she even know what she’s getting herself into?

Tommy: Do any of us really truly know?

Jimmy: I know enough to not get involved with a married woman.

Tommy: Ah so you’re the one.

Jimmy: I am

Tommy: He’s got another Molly I hear, Face like a cats hole.

Jimmy: Who?

Tommy: Who?!? Jimmy Healy!

Jimmy: Once the two of them sober up, it’ll sort itself out I’m thinking.

Tommy: Last one was gone before she had time to move in.

Jimmy: Hasn’t he been married 4 times?

Tommy: Impetuous

Jimmy: That wild look in their eyes is there for a reason. 

Tommy: Maybe get to know her a little first?

Jimmy: Tha how they put it these days?

Tommy: You got to know several in yer day….didn’t cha lad?

Jimmy: Many have vouched for the veracity…of, of, of….lets just call it my character.

Tommy: Voracity? Heard people give it a name before, Usually….Mickey, The Manky One or Willy.

Jimmy: Manky?

Tommy: Tha Jimmy Healy is a Manky Bastard.

Jimmy: Himself, married 4 times? 4 times! wha is tha hurry? 

Tommy: Don’t have to commit to anything before yer ready. Sleep on it. Make yer decision with a clear head, and a full eh….? eh?….stomach.

Jimmy: May you marry in haste and repent at leisure.

Tommy: May you marry a woman who blows wind like a stone from a sling.

Jimmy: An himself? Naw, no prize there. 

Tommy: The sea wouldn’t give him a wave.

Jimmy: Himself and his ways. 

Tommy: There’ll be heat to your arse yet Jimmy Healy.

Jimmy: Wish him a quick trip to hell.

Tommy: That you may die roaring like Doran’s ass.

Jimmy: May the lamb of god stir his hoof through the roof of heaven and kick you in the arse down to hell.

Tommy: The crows’ curse on you. Blast You to Hell!


Setting: Exterior of a pub in the Irish Countryside. above the door, a wooden sign that reads,

The Chipped Tooth.

Today is a Fierce Hot Late Summer Afternoon.

An imposing Figure approaches it’s door. as he reaches for it’s handle, it opens to revel a smaller man.

Tommy: Gwan git yerself into dis here queue lad.

Jimmy: Aiye Tom.

Tommy: Ya Big Footed Galute. Where is it ya been keeping yer self? How ar yas?

Jimmy: Puttin out fires at home Tom, putting da out fires.

Tommy: As we all are lad, as we all are. Heard ya took some stitches last week, how’s the mouth?

Jimmy: She’s home with the young wans.

Tommy: Sit down, you have the look of a man that needs a pint.

Tommy rises from his seat at the table, heads to the bar to order for his friend.

Jimmy drops into the snug. Tommy returns with Two pints of plain.

Tommy: Ya look terrible. tell me yer troubles lad. What’s happened?

Jimmy: Don’t know where to start.

Tommy: Don’t make me drag it out of ya.

Jimmy: I’m not a well man Tom.

Tommy: What’s wrong?

Jimmy: High Blood Pressure, Thyroid Problems, Stomach Turning. I’m Not Sleeping Well. Headaches, My Feet, My Back, My Left Shoulder is a Fookin Mess.

Tommy: I’m so sorry.

Jimmy: Ya haven’t even heard the worst of it.

Tommy: Jaysus, not the worst of it is it? I know I’m gonna regret this, what worse than tha?

Jimmy: I’m seeing things Tommy.

Tommy: Things? Wha things?

Jimmy: Banshees.

Tommy: Wha?! Banshees?!?

Jimmy: Last Friday night. Scared the bejesus out of me. Haven’t slept right since. Keeping me up ta all hours.

Tommy: You can’t be serious.

Jimmy: This is No laughing matter Tom.

Tommy: Slow down lad, slow yerself down. Now, Did ya see it….or hear it?

Jimmy: What does it matter?

Tommy: Matters greatly, if in ya only heard you’re better off. Now if ya saw it? Well then that’s a different matter altogether. Pack yer bags man.

Jimmy: Banshee is a Banshee Tom.

Tommy: True, True. Don’t get me wrong, Hear a Banshee? Is unsettling to be sure. Though ya see one? Well then….one who sees one is doomed.

Jimmy: Shite.

Tommy: Ar ya sure ya wasn’t hearing tha young couple next door having a go?

Jimmy: Sure it wasn’t them. Heard a commotion coming from the closet in da bedroom.

Tommy: What did it sound like?

Jimmy: A Wailing.

Tommy: Was it Screaming or Moaning?

Jimmy: I already told yas….Ya Eejit! Wailing sound, Wha in the hell is da difference? Ar ya not listening to me?

Tommy: Calm down. Screaming or Wailing is something to fear. Moaning? maybe she’s in some kind of distress?

Jimmy: Dats all I need, a moaning banshee tha needs help. For fucks sake, I got enough problems.

Tommy: Sounds like ya got a barrow full.

Jimmy: Big help you are. What am I gonna do?

Tommy: Move da fuck outta da house. Sell it. Just go.

Jimmy: How do you suggest I tell me Mrs and The Children?

Tommy: Ah they don’t know yet?

Jimmy: Course not, They’d never believe me.

Tommy: I see what ya mean. Not sure I believe ya neither.

Jimmy: I’m not lying, on me mothers grave , I saw it, pointed right at me. Threw her hairbrush at me.

Tommy: That’s a curse lad.

Jimmy: Don’t I know it.

Tommy: Jaysus, Mary and Joseph. Yer health problems are the least of your worries. Banshees.

Jimmy: What do I do, no one will believe it.

Tommy: Calm yourself, and listen carefully lad. Everything we hear is an opinion. Not a fact. Everything we see is perspective. Not the truth.

Jimmy: Where’d ya hear tha?

Tommy: Tha fella use to predict the future….Nosferatu.

Jimmy: Have ya ever seen one?

Tommy: Seen a share of shite in my day. Never a banshee.

Jimmy: Is it possible the best days ar over and done with. That what’s left for me is only this, The banshee is here for a reason.

Tommy: Have ya ever thought that maybe, just maybe, your best days right now are The best days? You’ve six brilliant kids, Lovely wife, What if These are The Best Days of Our Lives?

Jimmy: Have ya not been listening?

Tommy: I have. You’re sick, Ya got a banshee up in the closet of your bedroom who’s throwing hairbrushes at ya. I’m only trying to point out tha maybe. You’re not seeing the big picture.

Jimmy: Picture Wha? I’ll be lucky to make it through the weekend.

Tommy: Stop it, time is short, no one gets outta here alive. Make the best of it. Drink up, Inhale deeply, Go home and confront that fookin banshee. Give the Mrs a good ride. Open that closet door and let that banshee have a good look at the two of yas. If in she can’t see she’s made a mistake. Then face it right square in the face. Make your peace, You’ve done the best ya can. Remember all you’ve done. Be thankful you’re not poor Ol Muldoon. Ya remember what happened ta him, haven’t ya?

Jimmy: I have, Poor bastard.

Tommy: You’ve been dealt a bad hand, and have to play it. It’s just one hand. They’ll be others.

Jimmy: Ahh Tom, Sure ya know yerself, I’m late in da game, not sure how many hands I have left. on top of it all these medicines I’m taking, can’t remember which ones I took and which I haven’t? Five different pills, Five. Seven if ya count da vitamins. can’t keep up with it all. been a stretch since I’ve had a happy day, I know, I know it’s a choice they say. not so sure anymore. All these medications, numbing people so they can keep producing, keep working, at what cost Tom? at what cost? people so jacked up they don’t sleep anymore, can’t sleep. what if these medications are making me see things? 

Tommy: That’s it then, all these medications combined are making ya see things. stop taking em, talk to your doctor. 

Jimmy reaches into his pocket and pulls out a pair of woman’s knickers placing it on the table in front of them.

Jimmy: How do you explain this then?

Tommy: Don’t tell me….

Jimmy nods

Tommy: Jaysus, The Banshees knickers is it?

Jimmy silently lowers his head in his hands,

Tommy: We’re gonna need another couple of pints here.

I was as My Parents use to like to say, A Lucky Little Boy.

Early in 1965 My Father purchased a Baltimore & Ohio Private Railroad Car.

Made aware of it being up for sale after reading of it in The Chicago American Newspaper one morning.

Maggie Daly had an item that day in her column “Daly Diary.”

It read,

“For Sale…We have learned that the elegant 1917 private railroad car that the new Wind disc jockey, Kassidy, used for a press luncheon yesterday, is for sale. It belongs to Ralph Atlass Jr. and is equipped with two bedrooms and adjoining baths, observation lounge, wood paneled dining room, office, kitchen, and chef’s quarters. For the ultimate in transportation, write to Mr. A c/o WIND.”

March 8th 1965….My Father sent a letter to Mr Atlass expressing his interest in purchasing the private car.

March 13th an offer of certified check in the amount $12,000.00 was made to Mr Atlass. following a conversation they had on the telephone. Requested was the bill of sale Mr. Atlass received from The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad for their office car No. 98.

March 18th The bill was received by My Father. Atlass had purchased the Car on November 8th, 1962 for the amount of $10,000.00 As Is.

The sale of the car was completed.

The Office on board was converted to a bedroom. now giving the car three bedrooms.

Shortly thereafter,

In The Daly Diary newspaper Column the following appeared.

“On The Track…Insurance executive Robert T. Hogan tells us as the result of our column item on Ralph Atlass Jr.’s private railroad car being for sale, Hogan bought the car. But the kicker is that because he found out about it thru this column, he is going to name the car “Maggie.”

In a letter penned to Ms. Maggie Daly of The Chicago American. My Father did indeed notify Maggie Daly of his purchase and added that…

“He has had the car adequately insured so that if it strikes some farmers cow whilst en route, you will be protected from claim conscious people in the claim conscious land of ours, which due to this trend, enables me to make a living.”

The Specifications of The Railroad Car were.

Length 81′ 11/12″

Height 14′ 10 1/4″ ATR

Width 10′ 6″ over permanent markers

Weight 189,000 lbs

The first trip the car made with My Father as it’s owner took place on Saturday March 20th. Destination Saint Louis Missouri. Returning to Chicago on March 21st.

This was the first of many trips across the country.

In 1965 alone, The following trips were made by our family. Easter brought us to Los Angeles California on The Santa Fe “Super Chief.” along the way, we made stops in Las Vegas and San Diego. The Kentucky Derby in late April, The Indianapolis 500 in May. The Northern Woods of Wisconsin for The Fourth of July, Glacier National Park in August, Sun Valley Idaho, Seattle down thru Oregon to San Fransisco then homeward through The Rocky Mountains. In The Fall Notre Dame Football games in South Bend on Saturdays. Late December we travelled South first to New Orleans Louisiana then to Miami Beach Florida for Christmas and To Ring in the New Year.

Little did we know what awaited us on our return trip.

Early Morning January 3rd 1966, Franklin Kentucky.

Two Cars of The Miami-to Chicago South Wind Derailed.

One of those cars was ours. Seven of the nine people traveling with us were injured. Those people included My Father, Mother, Sister Jane, Our Aunt Louise Patton, Close Family Friend Cicely Clarke, our Cook Samuel Toole, and Waiter Mel Hartsfield.

My Brother Tom and I were fortunate to escape injury.

I was awake in the rear of the car’s observation lounge that morning reading a comic book. Immediately I knew something was very wrong. Through the windows I could see gravel being kicked up. The train began to shake and rock from side to side, throwing me back and forth across the car from chair to chair, I was bouncing from floor to ceiling finally landing upright in a chair with not a scratch. My father and brother were asleep next to me in a couch that opened into an upper and lower berth. I watched as my father bounced off the top berth onto the floor followed by my brother from the lower berth.

From the front of the car I heard screaming of My Mother, Aunt and Sister. hurtling forward completely off the tracks at this point, the car fell on it left side throwing furniture and bodies throughout. The dining room table landed on my sister’s head, My Mother and Aunt were both trapped in their bedrooms pinned underneath furniture.

After the derailment My Father would tell Newspaper Reporters the tale of what occurred.

The story making Front Page News in both The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Suntimes dated January 4th 1965.

“I had the most peculiar feeling that I was going to die-the first time I’d ever had it. As the car slid on its side in a ditch. The sensation continued to get worse until we stopped with one final jolt. Thanks to the car’s 180,00 pounds of steel, our lives were preserved.”

Dad also told the press. “He doubted that it would be worthwhile to repair the car, which lost some wheels. it’s interior trim, of vermilion wood lined with mahogany, would probably be too costly to replace.”

Injury settlements were reached with The Louisville and Nashville Railroad who would agree to pay for repair of the car.

In April of 1966, The Hogan Party would roll on. Completely repaired the car’s exterior was now Kelly Green.

Many stories were written over the years about our private car. Newspapers included,  The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago SunTimes. My Father treasured them all. 

My personal favorite might be this one.

From The Wausau Wisconsin Record Herald July 3rd 1965

By Dewey Pfister.

Robert T Hogan an Oak Park Insurance claims investigator, his wife, their two sons and daughter were the envy of Milwaukee Road passengers and residents in the Depot area Friday night as they prepared to sleep aboard the car before journeying to Manitowish this morning by auto to spend the weekend with friends.

“He has a horn and sits on the observation platform at the rear of the train and toots at everyone as we go by,” Mrs Hogan related, explaining her husband’s pleasure with open air rail travel.

The trip to Wausau Friday brought back memories for Hogan.

“It was 43 years ago that I came to Merrill to visit relatives who lived there. It was my first train ride.”

He expressed a sadness that passenger service no longer goes into northern Wisconsin on the Milwaukee Road, a feeling probably shared by many and to be missed by many more who will never experience the thrill of going to the depot to see the train come in.

Then in 1971 Amtrak was created.

President Richard Nixon signed the Rail Passengers Act in October of 1970. Amtrak began operation May 1st 1971.

My father had enjoyed dealing with the various private railroads during the years 1965-1971. no longer would he be able to deal directly with railroads, The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. Union Pacific. Great Northern Railway. Louisville and Nashville (L&N) just to name a few.

We road The Super Chief, El Capitan, The Chief, The San Diegan, The Great Northern Railroad, The South Wind, The Rio Grande Royal Gorge Route, The Hiawatha. and many, many other routes.

He made the decision to sell the H&H 98.

Looking back, I realize I saw parts of the United States that are no longer accessible by rail.

Saw many of the Grand Old Train Stations before they were torn down. 

Many of the routes we covered are still there. Though many are gone, too costly to maintain.

We travelled on tracks over and through Mountains. Across Deserts. Through Forests and Farmland. Over Bridges and Around Lakes. Up and Down the Coastlines. Into and Across Canada.

Privileged to see this country in a way many never will.

I survived a train wreck.

I lived the life with my family.

Thanks to My Father and his love of Trains.

I was indeed, A Lucky Little Boy.

It’s All Gravy



Takes a while to get here.

It doesn’t happen overnight.

The journey is different for us all.

You’ll know it when it happens.

It’s a feeling. an understanding. an insight.

There is appreciation. There is awareness. There is knowledge.

It washes over you, you well up with compassion, empathy, humility.

Age brings it on, youthfulness must be patient in its expectation.

One day you’ll wake up and look at your life.

It’s been a good life. you’ve accomplished many things. maybe travelled, perhaps achieved, discovered.

It has been a grand journey.

In it, you found talents, mastered, performed, practiced and polished.

You feel contentment, pleasure and happiness.

If your lucky? peace, tranquility, and comfort flow through you now.

You’ll see others experiences vary from your own. the path is different, everyone’s qualifications are acceptable. there is no right or wrong. it’s beautiful.

Everyone arrives in their own time, at their own pace.

Witnessing it unfold Educates you. Enlightens you, Delights you.

In my mind’s eye I saw this all unfold recently.

Cashier: “Did you find everything you were looking for?”

Me: (unloading full cart.) “First of all, I wasn’t looking for any of this.”

Yet it happened, and for that? I’m so eternally grateful. thankful, appreciative.

Life, Love, Enthusiasm comes at the speed of light. or is it the speed of sound?

I have a friend, born with a tremendous artistic gift. he raised a family, inherited his family’s business, I’m not sure his heart was ever in running the company? He possesses the soul of an artist. In time the company closed.

He Endeavored to Persevere.

Along with his bride, they raised six children. every one of them a success or are on their way to it. lately in speaking with him I see and hear the immense pride he has in putting them in the right place to succeed.

What more can a human being ask for? he did right by his family, sacrificed much to get them in a position to succeed. he worked so incredibly hard. and now for him? he has the good fortune to look at the fruits of his labor of love, savoring all of it.

Finding a peace that I earlier, either didn’t see, or missed as we grew up. He has more work to do. he knows this, better than anyone. and yet? no one can ever take away what he’s created. what he’s shaped, what he’s produced. What a great life he’s lived. I look in his eyes these days and see it. I hear it when he tells me stories of his family and how they’re doing. the pride and the joy is a wonder to me. an inspiration. I’m so incredibly proud of him.

As I stated earlier, the journey is different for us all.

Everyone’s qualifications are acceptable.

Enjoy your ride.

Whatever it may be.

It’s a Beautiful Thing.





Tommy Doyle, mid-sixties

Jimmy O’Leary, mid-sixties


Pub in Ireland.

As the evening sun goes down.

Two men sit at a table, coupla pints between em.

Jimmy Who found him?

Tommy Da Kelly widah. on da side of the road.

Jimmy Was he already gone already when she got to him?

Tommy Dead as a dodo.

Jimmy Tis Fierce Warm.

Tommy It’s Fierce Early. Ya?

Jimmy Aiye.

Tommy I was going to mow the lawn today. Maybe I’ll just wait until it burns?

Jimmy Ders no sign or notice of Muldoon’s funeral. Are they incinerating him?

Tommy Dunno.

Jimmy Would ya be buried or burnt?

Tommy Buried.

Jimmy Why’s tha?

Tommy What iffa we find hundreds of years from now, some advanced Alien race comes to Ireland ta resurrect those poor old souls whose lives were cut short too soon?

Jimmy How’ll they do tha?

Tommy Dunno? Der intelligence has to be far superior to ar’s.. My point is…iffing yar burnt, they have nothing to work with, do they now?

Jimmy Hundreds of years being buried? what’s left of ya to work with anyways?

Tommy Dunno? old bones mostly. Shar, they’re still pulling up dinosaurs bones n’ mummies from time to time.

Jimmy Dinosaurs? Ya fooking Eegit. Why is it them aliens haven’t resurrected the dinosaurs or mummies yet then?

Tommy Dunno? Perhaps they have a reason? Upsets the natural balance of things. Could happen. who knows wha’s out there? certainly something smarter.

Jimmy Well? Ol Muldoon wouldn’t be first choice to be bringin back now would he? He wouldn’t give ya da itch if he had twenty bags of it.

Tommy Ar ya goin to da mass.

Jimmy Shar, Shar.

Tommy  Even wit da guitars?

Jimmy The day they let the guitar in the mass was a bitter day for us all.

Tommy ‘Twas.

Jimmy What was da name of da nun when we were lads?

Tommy Ehh? Sister?…eh…Sister? Sister……Placenta!

Jimmy Placenta? No you!  Ya eegit. She had bad eyes. Wan lookin at ya, and wan lookin for ya. Use to fall asleep in class. Narcoleptic.

Tommy Was it Sister Innocenta?

Jimmy Innocenta…..That’s her!

Tommy I threw an eraser at her wan time when she went inta her trance. Tree months cleaning da blackboards as punishment. She had it in for me.

Jimmy They all had it in for yas.

Tommy A wild size of a woman. She couldn’t clap hands. She was that fat. Use to hit herself in da side a da face with her wan hand.

Jimmy I can smell the rain coming. Shame about Muldoon. Don’t like the idea he was alone.

Tommy Ah, Here. We all go dat way.

Jimmy On da side a da road?

Tommy Alone…..ya eegit.

Jimmy Will da brother be coming in for the funeral?

Tommy Doubtful? he’s in Iceland.

Jimmy Iceland Ya?

Tommy Got himself a job milking polar bears in Reykjavik.

Jimmy Hows tha?

Tommy For the zoo ya EE-git. He’s not doing it for kicks. He’s helping with the breeding of em.

Jimmy Wha?!? Breeding em?

Tommy Assisting….he’s not…..look…stop saying tha…….Jaysus!

Jimmy It’s none of me business wha he’s doin. I Just Hope he’s being careful?

Tommy Last time I saw Muldoon. He had a big ol hearing aid on. I’d swear it had a diesel engine on it. you’d want good hearing to hear through that fucker.

Jimmy His Maam and Da ar long since gone. is der any other family?

Tommy Sister named Sharon? awful tongue in her head. The family was blighted. Ahh Poor Ol Muldoon, He was a man you don’t meet everyday.

Jimmy Knew exactly how many grains in a bushel of wheat.

Tommy A well known agitator. Was proud to call him my friend.

Jimmy He couldn’t stand the sight of ya.

Tommy There’s the rain now. That’ll keep the dust down.

Jimmy It’ll be as wet as a duck’s foot soon.

Tommy Damp as an otters pocket.

Jimmy Passed a wild pile of wimman on da way over.

Tommy Wha’s that?

Jimmy Wimman I said. didn’t spare the varnish either. Had he been ill?

Tommy Who?

Jimmy Who? Muldoon!

Tommy Looked healthy to me, who can tell? feeling awright one minute, eternally resting on da side of da road da next.

Jimmy Aiye. until they come to collect ya.

Tommy ‘Tis awful, poor ol Muldoon. I’ll miss him.

Jimmy What about his former Missus?

Tommy Moved to Galway. Muldoon told me she blamed him for not getting her pregnant. never could accept that it was her that prevented them from having wee wans.

Jimmy So?

Tommy So? She left him. Fell in love with some professor fella, moved to Galway where they live today wit der 2 adopted children.

Jimmy ‘Tis Awful.

Tommy Destroyed him. takin to the drink fierce. Renouncing the church, after they found him to be at fault by the tribunal hearing da annulment.

Jimmy Wha? Is that all then?

Tommy It is.

Jimmy Jaysus.

Tommy You’ll remember? Ol Muldoon didn’t work t’all.  4-5 years ’twas. And him not on the dole? Fierce proud man. Wouldn’t accept any charity. His Mrs had enough of em. What, Wit da fertility issues and him not workin? provided just the out with da church allowing her to remarry.

Jimmy Poor Ol Muldoon.

Tommy Ah well? he got over it. was quite popular with the ladies for a time.

Jimmy Aiye Ol Muldoon…..find a clitoris in a haystack.

Tommy Not anymore.

Jimmy No, Never no more.

Tommy I’d like to find a clitoris. doesn’t have to be in a haystack either. have ya seen any about?

Jimmy I told yas, wild pack of em. headed this way. fix yer face princess.

Tommy I Wish he was here, I’ll miss him.

Jimmy Aiye, I will as well.

Tommy Poor ol Muldoon. Gave her everything he could for as long as he could. Til he had nothing left ta give her. right big sap, the sacred vows meant nothing. Sad, Never liked her.

Jimmy She felt da same way bout ya.

Tommy Wha’s tha?

Jimmy Sad I said.

Tommy Aiye.

Jimmy Well? best be gettin home then. Cowld as an eskimos arse out.

Tommy It’s as cowld as a ministers visit.

Jimmy Cowld as a trouts hole.

Tommy Cowld as a hoors heart.

Jimmy Goodnight to ya. Go right home ya squint.

Tommy Where else?

Jimmy Stay off da side of da road.

Tommy Words to live by.



It wasn’t my first. I have had three before this one.

Technology is a fascinating thing.

I don’t understand a lot of it. the science of how it can help in medicine has always been of interest to me.

I arrived early. the requisite paperwork needing to be filled out.

They ask you for a complete run down of your medical history. allergies, medicines you might be taking. past surgeries, any possible medical devices permanently installed in or on your person. metal specifically I guess? best way to understand it is. you don’t put metal or any foil in a microwave do you? no, you do not. same thing applies here. it messes up the functionality of the machinery.

The paperwork is about two pages. I’d reckon 40-50 questions. needed by them for no other reason than to make you aware of what you need to do, how you need to prepare.

MRI or CT scans come in all different types. all three of the prior ones I’ve had, focused on taking a look-see inside my noggin.

This isn’t some? you got a splinter you can’t get out. it can be serious. hopefully, it can confirm you are ok.

You can’t be treated if they don’t know what’s wrong with you?

Best you can, you put your faith in your doctor and go with the request.

This is done to give them, and your goodself the best look at what might be going wrong?

Maybe? Hopefully? it’s nothing.

Doctors have to cover all the bases and check you out before they assess what is happening inside of you.

The Day arrives.

After you arrive at either the hospital or medical center.

You check in for your appointment.

They ask you your name and your date of birth.

Confirming with you, your Doctor’s name and the specific procedure you are having done.

Then you head to the locker room, where they have you remove your belt, take out your keys and other metal you might be carrying. since they were focusing on my head. I only had to remove my shirt, this was done so they could give me an IV before my procedure. the test being run required that they inject a dye the name of which I could not pronounce.

The IV now in place. I headed into to the room to begin the MRI. Inside is a large circular contraption that is standing on its side. A table or gurney is attached to it.

There you lay on a table. where they position your head inside a brace to hold you steady. you will need to remain still throughout the procedure. some take a few minutes. some take longer. mine was about 45 minutes long.

My technician Lynn was incredibly nice, she answered all my questions prior. making me feel more at ease with what was being done. they’ll ask you if you are claustrophobic. because the machine surrounds you. If you begin to panic. you are wasting your time and theirs. lastly, they’ll place comfortable headphones on you. The MRI is loud when in operation. this will mute the noise, letting the technician communicate with you on the headphones.

So there I was. all prepped, questions answered. IV in. dye injected. noise reduction in place and ready to be slid inside for the MRI

As I looked up at the ceiling two thoughts came into my mind. one was the placement of a portrait of tall trees above me on the ceiling. this is the last image you see before you head inside. The second was a tingling feeling in my feet.

The table I laid on slid slowly inside for the MRI. I followed my instructions, keeping still as possible.

The technicians voice came on my headphones to let me know that we would begin the tests. I would have a series of them some lasting 3 minutes, some lasting 8.

Once inside, I had trouble finding that meditative landscape I so often escape to.

Yeah, yeah, it’s my happy place. Go ahead, poke fun. It works for me.

We hear what we want to hear. life is too short for some questions. things are either revealed to you or they’re not. if they are? Great!

If they’re aren’t? well? nothing you can do about it, so try not to waste too much time on it.

In the end that’s all the counts, all that matters. believe what you will.

After the test…? life might never be the same. life is like that. things change. life changes. sometimes control is no control at all. Just hold your breath, then exhale…and step forward.

The MRI ended, the table I laid on slid out. I sat up and looked at my feet.

They were enormous.

How was I gonna get my shoes back on?

How would I drive home?

How would I explain this to my wife?

I panicked.

I don’t do panicked well, admittedly.

Things get loud and things get busted.

What The….? Look at My Feet? What Did You Do To ME?

A  Mars light began to spin. Loud sirens sounded. My technician Lynn bolted from the room.


I gotta drive home.

I gotta work in the morning.

I reached for the door handle.


I heard a voice over the intercom.

Mr. Hogan, Are you OK?

No! I’m Not OK! Look At My Feet!

I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror on the wall. My face was beet red.

Shit! OK! OK! OK! I want to speak to someone right now! Someone in Charge.

The doors to the room flew open. Guards rushed in holding tazers. “Don’t move!

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! I Want to Speak with Whoever is in Charrr…

The tazer hit me in my mighty left foot.

I flopped on the floor like a fish out of water.


The guards pulled me to my feet. restraining me.

I Want My Lawyer!

Calm Down. A voice said over the intercom.

Calm down? Calm DOWN! Look at My Feet. Look at My Face! You Calm Down! Next guy who shoots me with a tazer is gonna regret it.

A Man and Woman wearing lab coats entered the room, The Man held a clipboard. they immediately began speaking in low tones to each other.

After a brief discussion, they looked at my feet, then up at me.

Mr Hogan. I’m Doctor Leake. This is Professor Funt. The woman nodded to me. We’re here to help you.

Is that why you shot me with the stun gun?

That was an accident.

A regrettable mistake to be sure.

Mr Hogan, we are going to remove your restraints. Can we count on you to remain calm?

Get these things off! What the hell is wrong with me? What did you do to me?

Please, if you can’t remain calm…

The Professor nodded to a guard who took off the cuffs.

I’m calm. calmer than you are.

Mr Hogan, have you recently had an encounter with a being not of this earth.

You mean the Squirrel? Yeah, I know him. I mean, I’ve seen him. Couple times. He’s not from another world? Is he?



Have you begun to have dreams and exhibit behavior for which you cannot account for?

Boogie man been paying me a visit lately. But I’ve been dreaming about him since I was a kid. He’s not very fast. so I always get away or wake up. What’s this have to do with my face and feet?

Sir we want to help you, but you need to sit down and let us examine you.

I’d heard enough.

I kept asking questions to which I was getting no answers.

The exit was a mere few feet away.

It was now or never.

I yelled “Look Out!” Pointing to the back wall.

Works every time.

The minute they turned to look?

I bolted for the door.

In the hallway. I ran headfirst into an older woman who screamed at me.

I pushed past her.

Outta My Way Grandma!

I kept running through double doors marked Lab.

Inside the room, an operating table. people were dressed in scrubs, everyone’s face covered in a surgical mask. all eyes turned towards me.

I ran back out.

Someone yelled Hey You!

In the Hall, Three more people ran by me with massive feet?

A young woman shouted.

C’mon This Way!

I fell right in step with them.

Our Feet on the cold floors made a loud slapping sound.

We sounded like a team full of flat footed basketball players running the floor in an empty gym.

Three guards rounded the corner of the hallway.

Let’s Go!

One of the three, whose name I found out later was Knut dove head first out a 2nd story window.

Without questioning, the other two followed.

The sun had just gone down.

I looked out and saw them rolling in the grass below.

The doors to a van opened and a woman and a boy jumped out. yelling DAD!

Knut hugged his son. everyone climbed into the van.

The woman in the passenger seat looked up at me and said. Come with Us, It’s your only chance.

So…..I jumped. thankfully I didn’t break anything.

I dove in the back of the van.

They slammed the door and the kid driving punched the gas pedal.

We sped out of the medical center parking lot.

Looking at the others in the van you couldn’t help but notice, our giant feet and red faces.

Still out of breath, Knut hugged his wife. And put his hand on his son’s shoulder.

The rest of us were struggling to get more room. It was tight inside the van and had a really funky smell.

I asked them to let me out at the next corner.

The kid looked at his dad.

You could be a bit more grateful you know? Knut said.

No one else said a word.

I kept quiet. I had no idea who these people were.

We drove for a bit, making sure we weren’t being followed. satisfied, we turned down a dirt road. the kid killed the lights and pulled over.

Knut got out.

I was as confused as I’d ever been in my life.

And Manny? I’ve been confused a lot.

Can someone tell me what’s happening? I went in for an MRI?

So did we.

Who are you? what did they do to us?

They lied to you. they lied to all of us.

The third man who extended his hand introduced himself as Tom.

This is Sally, Knut you’ve met.

The woman extended her hand.

I looked at her feet. Umm.

And she glanced at mine. Yeah….

Bunch of army types. Kept us locked in cages. Cameras on us. guards watching us round the clock. We’re Guinea Pigs! Nothing more.

Heard a couple of guards talking last night. Some kinda experiment. Testing some vaccine. We weren’t suppose to get out. Knut here smashed a guard in the face with his food tray, We grabbed his keys and made a run for it.”

As I was talking to Tom and Sally.

Knut came over and said we needed to spilt up. He was taking the van and heading to Canada.

The rest of us? Would have to fend for ourselves.

What about my wife? Surely they have contacted her. Do I dare try to reach her? Are the phones safe? What if somebody’s watching our house?

Knut had to go. We shook hands, wished each other luck. And they left.

The three of us stood in the road watching the vans tail lights fade from view.

I think Knut is right. We need to spilt up. One of us needs to get to a newspaper or someplace with internet access.

Screw the internet. I want to talk to someone and find out if they can correct this?

Look? people disappear all the time. Best get it on the web first.

North is taken. I’ll head east. Sally?

South, I guess? Right…

Yeah, our best chance to get some help. We can’t hide forever like this.

I said, I’d head west. Although that was BS. I was heading home. Who knows what the hell they told our families? Maybe I’ll call from the corner. Make sure the coast is clear.

We shook hands and set off into the woods.

Overhead helicopters circled. I could hear loudspeakers.

They had someone. Maybe both of them cornered?

I kept moving, fast as I could, given the circumstances.

They caught me climbing a fence on the highway. There was nowhere to run.

You’d think with big feet I’d be able to run faster?

I was put into a helicopter and flown back to the medical center where I was put into a cage.

Back where I started from.

The next morning.

I woke up and my feet were back to their normal size.

Whatever they did to us? was temporary.

I was interviewed by a mysterious man in a black suit, after which I was given paperwork to sign.

I was told if I signed? and kept my mouth shut? I could go home.

If I ever divulged any piece of what happened? I would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

I have no proof this ever happened. No paperwork, photos. nothing. Just a piece of paper with a phone number that’s been disconnected.

I had no case. no one believed a word I said.

Not my family, my friends, not even my doctor who had ordered the test to begin with.

Something about the man’s tone, told me it was best for me and my family to keep quiet.

The man in the black suit had disappeared. Like he never existed.

Numerous attempts were made to contact someone, anyone, who could give me answers.

I tried locating the others, to no avail, all I ever had was their first names.

My Doctor tells me he has no knowledge of what transpired the day of my test? they claim I was a no show. informing me, I would be required to pay for the missed appointment.

There is no record of any technician named Lynn working at the medical center. No Doctor Leake or Professor Funt on the buildings staff directory. No one had ever heard of any mysterious man in a black suit. nor did they employ any security guards with tazers?

All I got? was the run around.

I couldn’t get any help, no information.

To this day, the government refuses to acknowledge anything of the experiment I underwent.

Why talk now you ask?

Well? I decided to come forward mostly to warn people.

We are cattle, people take advantage of our nature. Our belief that we’re all in this together.

Take this story to heart.

I have a feeling I’m being followed.

I think my phone is bugged.

The people I thought I could count on? Have urged me to let it go. To quit goofing around.

Thankfully the neighbors dog still listens to me. He’s not much help mind you? But it’s good to have someone to talk to.

We speak every night, and sometimes in the morning at the fence after he’s done his business.

I’m not sure what my next step is?

I haven’t gotten any results back from the MRI I took. my doctor claims I never took it, and that we need to reschedule.

I don’t relish the notion I have to go back to do it again.

Would you?

My doctor tells me they still don’t know what’s wrong?

Apparently? he wants more tests done.

What can you do?

You get the tests done right?

What’s the alternative?

Cross your fingers, Hope for the best?

This is my life we’re talking about.

Without your health you have nothing.

The man in the black suit is a worthy adversary.

If you see or meet him?

Act accordingly.


Trees up and down our block were filled with toilet paper.

Garbage cans overturned in the street. grass bags gutted. mailboxes knocked off their hinges, lawn art destroyed.

An old woman wearing rhinestone rimmed glasses stood in her front yard weeping into her hands.

The remains of a bird house lay in shambles at her feet.

Someone had knocked it down?

She and her father had built it when she was just a little girl.

Now? it was gone. with it, a sweet memory of time spent together.

Lois Ahnya removed her glasses and rubbed her eyes.

We all knew who did it.

It was those Macgillycuddy Bastards.

I’d dealt with these two before.

Troublemakers. make no mistake about it.

Rocks, bottles, bricks, boards and bats were the instruments of their trade.

If you had a son or daughter the age of these boys? You spent the better part of your day dodging em.

Not an easy thing to do when you’re from a small village.

Timmy Macgillycuddy , younger of the two boys. Shifty eyes, mean, cunning. I wish I could say he was highly intelligent. but that would be a lie. he was trouble, a weasel. equally adept using his feet or fists to inflict damage . His preferred weapon of choice was anything he could get his grubby little paws on. Didn’t matter. rock, stick or garbage can lid. anything he could throw at your head.

Billy Macgillycuddy, the older brother. When he looked at you? It felt like he wanted to chew on your face. something was just not right about that boy.

First time I saw them. they were standing in the middle of the street throwing rocks at a mailbox.

Our mailbox.

Their family moved onto our block a few years before we did. people felt helpless. some gave up, moved out.

Surely it can’t be as bad as that?

You got a minute? My neighbor Monty Asked.

When they first moved into town, the boys were invited to a birthday party for one of the local kids. You know the Monahan’s? Their son Finn?

Well, At the party……One of the other children made the mistake of telling Timmy to…Stop chewing with your mouth open.

Timmy took it up to ninety. flipping the table over on top of the birthday boy. His older brother unaware of what was happening, having just come out of the bathroom, picked up a chair and threw it into the melay. both boys grabbed an armful of gifts. and fled out the front door.

Nobody knew what to do? call the parents? they’re just kids after all. kids being kids.

They’ll grow out of it. right? isn’t calling the parents a little excessive? You want to do it? go ahead. The Mother is a Nut. The Husband? a hardchaw not to be trifled with.

I asked if anyone ever saw them at parent teacher conferences?

Responses varied from. “Oh Thank God, No!” to “Holy Jaysus, I hope not?” to “No? Is She Here?!” I said good morning to her once…..she told me to go shit in my hat.

The entire neighborhood had their fill, it was looking like the next incident would push good people too far.

We all wanted these little hooligans gone.

We just didn’t know how to do it? the coppers weren’t being much help.

Garaging was rampant in the neighborhood. Items reported stolen included, tools, balls, bats and bikes.

Most of the handy work having been done after dark. no one saw a thing. people were installing security cameras, The town locksmith was working overtime. One of my neighbors suggested we dig a pit in his backyard and try and trap em.

Lois had reached her limit. enough was enough. from then on? anytime the boys made an appearance on the street. they got the hose. playtimes over now eh?

When the boys hit or kicked a ball onto her property. she’d burst out the front door, grab the ball, stare the boys down, and return with it to her home.

If they tried to enter the property from the rear? she’d sick her dog on em. German Shepard, Named Doug.

Something was gonna give. a few bets were made on the side. everyone had their money on the boys.

I wasn’t so sure.

Weeks passed. things quieted in the neighborhood.

Tuesday Night turned to Wednesday morning.

A favorite pastime of the boys was ghost riding bikes.

Our street has a slight grade to it, which makes it the perfect test track.

Ghost riding a bike is an art form. you have to know exactly when to dismount. when to release. and a general idea where you hope to have it go.

One judges a good ride on the length. the longer it travels un-piloted, the better the rush is.

Lois was backing her car out of the driveway.

The bike had been released. rolling on its own accord. Riderless.

On impact the back tire rotated over the front. striking the passenger door window shattering it.

Broken Glass flew every which-ways.

Lois catching most of it in the beehive.

Thankfully she was wearing her glasses.

Bridie Donovan out watering her porch plants shrieked. she had witnessed the whole diabolical thing from across the street. barreling inside to call the police.

Billy and Timmy scattered.

Ducking between the Mulligan and Kelly’s straight home to establish an alibi.

At The Macgillycuddy residence.

The boys were questioned by our village finest. One Officer Fink. followed by a trip with their mother to the station to fill out some paperwork. their attorney apprised of the situation would meet them to assist.

Malicious mischief, destruction of property were the charges. all misdemeanors. sadly? not a felony to be to be found.

They claim to have only borrowed the bicycle. and were on their way to return it when it jumped up, took off and plowed into Lois car.

This wasn’t the boys first trip to court.

“No Boy is Bad If Given a Chance?”

Father Flanagan of Boys Town obviously had never met these two. Pah! What did he know about good boys? No boy is bad is it?

Well aware of who was in front of him. The judge sighed and shook his head.

A warning was not going to suffice this time.

1500-2500 to fix the damages estimates provided the court stated.

In Addition, Her attorney asked the court for compensatory damages to her bird house.

The judge, while being sympathetic to her testimony. was unable to indict the boys on the bird house destruction. there were no witnesses after all? unlike the ghost ride.

Seated nearby, Lois enjoyed the proceedings immensely. leaning forward cupping her hand over her mouth while she listened intently.

The judge heard the case as put forth by the attorney’s representing each party. after which he remanded the boys to juvenile detention for 30 days.

What started as a giggle turned into uncontrollable hysterics.

Rising from her seat. she exited the court room laughing all the way out.

The Macgillycuddy’s glared, watching her in silence.

A month? that’s it, is it? Well?

Better than a sharp stick in the eye.

All anyone knew or care, was they were gone. for now.

Everyday is a gift.

I’m excited to find out what’s next?

You never know what tomorrows going to bring.

The Skunk


The town I live in has been over run by skunks.

They’re everywhere. if you own a dog? The chances are its been sprayed by one.

I was told that if you encounter one and it’s getting ready to blast you? You’ll know it because the tail raises right before it releases its stank. if you can move fast enough and pin its tail down? you just might avoid getting blasted.

I tested this theory out recently while taking care of my mother in laws dog.

I’m gonna refrain from using his name here, I’m not sure he’d like me involving him.

Upon coming across a skunk on a walk with “the dog.” I startled it.

Now a skunk moves slowly. The don’t run away. More like waddle away.

I should mention I was as scared of it, as it was of me,

I wasn’t looking for any trouble.

We were minding our own beeswax.

Try explaining that to a frightened animal with a brain the size of a pea.

I panicked dropping the dog’s leash as the rotten little stinker raised its tail.

It nailed me mid charge squarely in the chest.

Stunned me. can’t describe it. it was awful.

The skunk took off between a couple of houses.

I looked over at my mother in laws dog.

I swear it had this look, like, “What the hell were you thinking?”

I was, after all? only trying to protect him.

I ran home dog in tow, thinking….how am I going to explain this?

Why didn’t I just leave it alone?

It’s a skunk.

My wife bathed me in a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and liquid dish soap. which? trust me on this, sounds a lot better than it is. The concoction is supposed to lessen the smell. it did help a little. I guess? Though not enough to be let back into the house.

I had to throw out what I was wearing, and sleep in the garage.

My mother in laws dog got an apology in the morning. me? I got nuthin.

He had to sleep in the garage with me. We didn’t say much to one another.

I’m not going to have to dog sit anymore, I’m pretty sure.

I was told by my wife and mother-in-law I can’t be trusted.

And if we do get to watch the dog?

My wife can walk him. I’ve been asked to stand down. I’m out. done.

Too bad really, Cause I love the little guy. We were friends once. maybe we can patch up our differences someday and move forward. people do it all the time.

Skunks? really? getting to be no ones safe outside after dark. take heed.

They’re out there you know? waiting. watching.

I’m just lucky none of my neighbors saw the exchange. This kind of stuff is not what I want to be known for around town. I’ve already made a few bad judgement calls since we moved in according to my wife. I’m trying to fit in here, honest I am. but we’re talking about a wild animal. and they can be unpredictable. you never know what they’re thinking.

If I could have somehow communicated with it? I would have told it, ramble on little friend, the dog and I mean you no harm. he’s just got to take a leak, and I’m only out walking him because my mother-in-law is out of town.

Alas that would not matter. no words or hopes or prayers would save me on this evening stroll. I was dealing with a force of nature. one that could not and would not be reasoned with.

If only? I had not panicked.

If only? I had not listened to my co-workers advice.

Maybe, I would have avoided the ordeal?

I really am not the monster I appear to be. I love animals. its true animals sense something inside of us. they have a sixth sense. this animal like other animals I have come into contact with in my life decided that enough was enough. he must pay. there is a bill that must be paid. a debt that must be settled.

I’m not going out after dark anymore. let them tangle with someone else for a change.

I’m through with the animal kingdom for a while. at least for the time being.

I cannot look back on a life of achievement anymore, or of challenges met, or competitors bested.

This obstacle was not overcome. I was.

Raking Leaves


Leaves were falling. the village was beautiful. the richness of colors, stunning. you don’t get this living in the concrete jungle. or if you live in an arid landscape. We deal with cold temperatures Bub.

The beauty of the changing seasons is our reward. something to embrace.

The doorbell rang. I opened it.

They thought I didn’t recognize them. It was The Macgillycuddy Boys.

Billy and his younger brother Timmy.

Both boys ran with the gang that would throw snowballs at my car last winter.

It was them. make no mistake about it.

The older brother was doing the talking now.

Mister? do you need someone to rake your leaves?

I locked eyes with the little one. he was giving me the stink eye.

Is there something wrong young man? he wouldn’t answer me. Is this your brother?

Un-huh, Billy responded.

Are the two of you registered to rake leaves in this state? they looked at each other.

Are we what? Billy asked.

Registered. are you Registered? Do you boys speak English?

Un huh. Billy said.

So, let me get this straight? You two are Brothers. You live in Illinois, You speak English. You’re here today to ask me to rake the leaves in my yard for money. Are you boys Troublemakers?

The younger one rolled his eyes. I looked at him. Do you remember me Timmy?

No. Timmy said.

You Don’t? I asked him very directly.

No. he said. I stood there staring at Him. Timmy starting tugging at his brother’s coat, he cupped his hand whispering something in his ear.

Billy spoke up. Mister we gotta go.

Go? but you just got here? wait a second, you came here today with a business proposition and now you want to run off before you get an answer to your question?

Umm? we…Umm? Billy stuttered.

Young Man ask me your question again. they exchanged glances.

Billy softly asked  Umm…Would you like somebody to rake your leaves?

Somebody? Who?

Timmy rolled his eyes again. exasperated he blurted out, Us.

I shook my head from side to side like I was being offered something that smelled rank.  No Thank You. closing front our door.

I woke the next morning and looked out our window. the nine bags of leaves I had left out on my curb for pick up were spread all over our front lawn. the bags were missing and so were the yard waste stickers you are required to purchased from the village. no sticker? no pickup. someone was sending me a message.

It was The Macgillycuddy Boys.

Standing in your yard trying to clear it of leaves while more leaves drift down on you from the trees above can wear on you. Last year I raked 47 bags of leaves. a few of my neighbors were quite amused at the eager new guy on the block who thought he could stay ahead of Mother Nature. Mother Nature wins every time. don’t even try to take her on. she’ll kick your ass pal. Imagine trying to keep snow off your driveway in the middle of a blizzard? That is the feeling you get on my street when the leaves start to fall.

Why don’t you hire a couple of kids from the neighborhood? My neighbor Nancy asked me. Why are you putting yourself through this?

I smiled and almost bit through my lip. I wanted to throw her in her bushes.

Pay someone to tend our land? Never!

Never say Never……Ever.

I woke up and felt like a hundred year old man. My Back was killing me. my left shoulder ached.

I went over to take a look at the community bulletin board at our grocery store to see if I could find someone to handle the leaves for me. Tacked on the board was a piece of paper. It read in bold print.

FALL CLEANUP. We Rake Leaves.

At the bottom of the page was a phone number.

I called the number, a woman answered.

I’m calling about the Fall Cleanup.

She said, Sure, hold on a second. SHAN….NON it’s for You!

Shannon? a few seconds later a girl’s voice on the other end said, Hello?

I introduced myself.  Are you the person to speak to regarding the fall cleanup?

Yes. she said. My friend Eileen and I will rake and clean up your yard.

Great, How do we get started? she informed me that they could come out tomorrow after school for an estimate. I gave her our address. we arranged to meet at 4:30.

4:30 on the dot. I was out in front of our house when two young girls with rakes walked up. Shannon the young woman I spoke with on the phone said  Hello. then introduced me to her friend Eileen.

I showed them the yard, Ladies? what’s this going to cost me? they gave me three options. once a week 40 dollars, twice a week 60. and for the season 160.

I’d like you to handle the season. When can you start?

They looked at each other smiling.

Right now? If you’d like?

They went to work. no smirking, no shuffling of feet, no stink eye.

They raked both the front and backyard. bagging about 17 bags of leaves all neatly stacked at the curb. Once they finished they knocked on our door, still smiling. telling me they would be back on Saturday.

Ladies? before you go? do you know the Macgillycuddy Boys from down the street?

Yeah, We Know Them. Shannon replied.

I sensed an edge in her voice.

Ladies? I’m worried that Billy and Timmy won’t be happy with you taking their business. I have it on good authority that these two boys are known troublemakers around town, it’s possible they might try to undermine your business.

Undermind?  Shannon inquired.

Yes, undermine, They want to try to keep all the business to themselves. we’re not all bad ladies. but these boys? The Macgillycuddy’s? I just don’t trust them. Billy told me that if you want a Woman to do your work for you? go ahead hire one, see what kind of job they do? they’ll take your money and never show up. they also said you two ladies had been in trouble with the police?

Police?!? The smiles disappeared.

Yes, The Police. I also suspect that they might try to sabotage your work by dumping the leaves you worked so hard in raking on the ground.

Eileen looked at me and said, They better not.

Yes.  I pointed at Eileen. They better not, keep an eye out for them.

They told me they would, and to not worry.

Want to be treated like a professional? prepare like one. project yourself as one.

It was clear these girls knew the score.

In the business world today. when you look to provide a service to someone. you better be able to provide the customer with the factual information they need to make a well-informed decision that is best for them. You can’t stand in front of someone during a sales pitch and say, Umm? and Roll your Eyes at the potential customer. You sure as shooting can’t give them the Stink Eye and then expect them to give you money?

Tell that to your little brother, The Eye Roller.