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Topics - Secoura

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1
Your Stories / Captain Cal
« on: 06:21 AM, 10/18/22 »
There weren’t a lot of children’s shows that I could watch when I was growing up.  We lived in an isolated Nebraska farming community so there was no cable television, and satellite TV was too expensive according to my parents. We had a DVD player and the postal service managed to get the Netflix DVD’s to us.  Remember when Netflix would mail out DVD’s?  My parents had internet access at their job to order the DVDs.  The movie theater in town was only open on Saturdays for two showings, and they just ran old movies that were at least 30 years old so Netflix was worth the money to them. 

That’s not to say that we were cut off from the civilized world.  We had the required radio to get weather alerts and there was an aerial antenna on the roof that received three channels - ABC, CBS and NBC.  If the weather was clear we could get the channel out of Colorado that carried FOX.  Sadly, on Saturday mornings there were no cartoons; the channels carried the local farm report instead.

There was one odd channel that didn’t carry any network programming and only seemed to be on the air for a few hours between Friday night and Saturday morning.  My parents worked odd hours and weren’t ones to get up early on weekends so I was free to watch television until the sun came up Saturday.

Maybe it was a community access channel.  At the ripe old age of six I didn’t really understand how channels work, but there didn’t seem to be any commercials or network logos. I don’t remember even a title card identifying the show so I couldn’t tell you what the name of it was. It was always just a guy in a cornfield, lit by what looked to be the headlights of a tractor. I don’t really remember what he looked like, but I remember his voice.  “Hey there, it’s Captain Cal!” he would start each show, always using a sing-song tone.  Then he would stand there talking about all the magical creatures that lived in that cornfield.  Elves, fairies, unicorns, griffins, and even talking puppies and kittens, all waiting in the cornfield for a boy or girl brave enough to venture out there in the moonlight.  He always said the magic only happened at night when the moon was shining high overhead.

Remember, I was only six.  I still believed in Santa Claus and cooties.  I also lived in a place where the main reason for locking your door was so the wind didn’t blow it open. The biggest crime I can remember happening was someone keying a new car at the Ford dealership. This was autumn of 2000, when there was less to worry about. I don’t think I even knew what ‘stranger danger’ was at that point because there weren’t any strangers.  The only danger to my safety was that the cornfields were massive and it was easy to get lost among the rows of stalks that were twice my height.

I wanted so much to meet the elves, the talking kittens, and all of the other wonderful things that Captain Cal promised were waiting for me, and finally I decided that I would be brave and risk the dark.  I can clearly remember Captain Cal holding up a little kitten and saying that she was so lonely and just wanted me to come and find her. I crept to the door and undid the slide bolt, opening the door and stepping onto the wooden porch in just my nightshirt.  It was cold and damp, and so dark that I could barely make out where the rows of corn started.  Countless days exploring the property had given me a pretty good memory of where things were so I made my way to the cornfields that I loved to run through during the day. At night in bare feet, those same cornfields were not much fun to wander in.  I was cold and quickly lost my sense of direction with only moonlight to see by.  I soon began to cry as I walked the row, believing I would be lost forever. 

“Kitty!” I called out.  “Kitty, I’m here but I’m lost and I’m scared.  Kitty, are you here?”

This happened about four months after selective availability had been switched off for GPS, and the new accuracy meant farm equipment began to be more automated.  Joe had purchased one of the tractors that could be programmed to follow GPS coordinates, running day and night without a driver and even able to cut patterns for a maze.  The software would send a message to a pager if the sensors detected anything in its path and shut the tractor down.  The only reason he had been there at such an early hour on Saturday was because he got a message on the pager that the tractor was stopped.  After finding nothing around the tractor he walked across the field towards our house, afraid that one of the neighbor’s horses had gotten loose and been hit and injured.

On the way towards the house he found me curled up on the ground.  I had managed to get close enough to the end of a row that my pink nightshirt caught his eye.  I remember him picking me up and carrying me back to the house, yelling for my parents as he sat me down on the sofa. I told them about Captain Cal and the show that was on every Friday night, and how he talked about all the wonderful, magical creatures that came out at night to play in the cornfield.  They were angry with me, but they were mostly scared.  The sheriff even came to the house, and he listened while I repeated everything I could tell him about the show and Captain Cal.  He said it must have been a pirate broadcast.  I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but after that night I never saw that show again.  My parents took to unplugging the television and making sure that I was in bed instead of staying awake until sunrise.

In time the memory faded since it seemed to be a case of “no harm done”.  I eventually believed it had just been my overactive imagination or a weird dream that led me to venture out that night in search of a kitten.  I was 24 and living in Colorado when my parents decided to sell the property to one of the commercial farms.  I came home to help them pack up and reminisce about my childhood home.  My dad joked that in all the years the land had been in the family, only about one-third of the 1,240 acres had ever been used.  Only so much land could be irrigated when you were only allowed one well for water and land that can’t be irrigated isn’t worth clearing.  My friends had referred to it as the “back woods” and we often dared each other to venture beyond the tilled ground and see what the overgrowth was hiding.  None of us were ever brave enough or stupid enough to. 

Now that the opportunity to see what was back there was disappearing, I decided to join my dad when he said he was taking the truck out there to get a look.

The tilled land ended at a line of pine trees and beyond them we found a heavily wooded area overgrown with trees, brush and bushes that were home to a few raccoon dens and at least one coyote that we saw.  There was also an old hunting blind that had to have been there for close to a century.  It faced a section of the pine trees that offered a clear view of the cornfield since one of the pines had for whatever reason been cut down long ago, leaving only a stump.

We both felt compelled to explore and see if there was anything interesting or valuable.  What we found was a small diesel generator, the remains of broadcasting equipment and a video camera that still had an old VHS tape in it.  Apparently someone had been trying to do a show from there but abandoned the location to the elements long before we found it. 

Hanging on the wall were blue coveralls.  They were falling apart from deterioration but still recognizable as what the mechanics wore at the small airfield for the cropdusters.  On the front the name “Calvin” was stitched above a pocket.  Dad grabbed my hand and said “Let’s go” as he pulled me outside. We never said a word about it after that since there didn’t seem to be a point to telling anyone.  No harm done, after all.

2
I had no idea what to expect when I got to my brother’s storage unit.  I’d been paying for the unit since 2015 and I still considered it to be his storage unit.  Truth be told, if not for the emailing saying I had until October 14th to get what I might want out of the unit, I wouldn’t have been there rolling up the heavy metal door and wincing at the god-awful noise it made in protest.  Two years of non-use had taken a toll apparently.

The first thing I saw was an old console television.  I recognized it as a Curtis Mathes just like the one my grandparents had in their home.  All that worked on it was the turntable but there was something magical about listening to Elvis Presley records on it.  Why Scott would have one, I had no idea.  It couldn’t be the same one that my grandparents owned and it made no sense for it to be here.

I looked back at the black Bronco and Mr. Whiskers who was curled up on the dashboard.  He was already sleeping so I assumed it was still warm in the vehicle despite the chilly air outside.  There was no way the console was going to fit in the vehicle so if I wanted to take it, I’d need to rent a U-Haul.  I walked past it, hoping I hadn’t paid just to shelter an old television for two years.

There was a large yellow tub with colorful pictures of LEGO bricks.  It even proudly proclaimed to hold 607 pieces and I thought that I would have loved that when I was a kid.  Next to that was what I first thought was a kid’s radio.  I picked it up and set it on top of the console for a better look, finally seeing the cheap microphone clipped to the side.  It was a karaoke machine.  I laughed at the idea that young children would be into karaoke and leaving the machine where I’d set it, I kept looking around.  There was no light in the unit and my phone didn’t provide enough light to really see.  Not eager to trip on something or come face to face with a spider, I picked up the LEGO tub and began to walk out when I thought to look inside the console.  There were two doors, one at each end, and my grandparents would store their vinyl records in there.  I foolishly expected to open one of the doors and be greeted with the sight of old album covers protecting the records inside.  Instead, I found a small black portable safe that looked large enough to hold a laptop inside.  There was no keyhole, just a keypad and nothing to indicate the combination. 

I carried out the safe and the yellow tub to the car.  Mr. Whiskers had decided to sit in the driver’s seat, paws on the door so he could stare out the window at the other people who I imagine were there for the same reason I was.  I wonder how many of them were there only because of the dead body that was found.  Sad that it took another death to get me to Havre when Scott lived here for ten years before he died.

The door didn’t want to close but one of the officers was kind enough to pull it down for me.  He looked like he would have been more suited to football than police work, honestly.  I was tempted to ask him if he knew Scott but realized that it would probably sound stupid.  The town wasn’t small enough for everyone to literally know everyone so instead I thanked him for getting the door down, moved the cat to the passenger’s seat and left with the LEGOs and the safe on the floor.

If you’re wondering about the cat, Mr. Whiskers is 12 years old and loves to ride in the car with me.  Luckily a Best Western in Havre allows pets so I brought him with me.  He’s all I have left now.  No family, no friends, just a cat for emotional support.  Obviously I made some wrong decisions in my life to end up here.

The warmth from the heater vents felt good as I drove back to the hotel.  I wanted to get something to eat but I also wanted to get the safe open.


3
Your Stories / Jenny (Lovepasta Entry)
« on: 03:57 AM, 05/ 7/17 »
I never associated sex with love until Jenny.

Jenny wasn’t the first woman I had sex with.  That honor goes to my college roommate who one night got drunk and told me all of the things she wanted to do with me.  I agreed and it was the best sex that I had experienced.  We continued to enjoy each other for the rest of the year until her father had a stroke and she dropped out to help her mother care for him.

My bed was rarely empty.  It was casual sex at its finest and I felt nothing for them. I enjoyed being with women more and more, mostly because the men tended to be interested only in sticking their dicks into a warm hole. 

Jenny and I met at a bar.  She wasn’t what I would describe as ‘hot’ but there was an aura about her that instantly attracted me.  She was intelligent, funny and easy to talk to.  We left the bar together and spent the rest of the night at her apartment talking before exchanging phone numbers.

Two days later we got together for dinner and went to see a movie.  It was so easy to be with her and I felt something that I hadn’t felt with anyone else.  I cared about her.  Sex with her was beautiful but I just wanted to be in her company.

When she told me she had met a guy and that she wanted me to meet him I wasn’t really surprised.  I may have loved her but we’d always agreed that we were both free to date other people.  At least she cared enough for me to want my opinion about this guy.  When I saw them together it was obvious that she cared for Carl.  I wanted to like him for her sake but all he wanted to talk about was how great it would be if we could have a threesome.  I agreed to it for Jenny but I was afraid he was going to take her away from me.

Jenny’s birthday was coming up and I called Carl to discuss the present I had in mind – another threesome in a remote location.  There’s a wooded area with some cabins that are used for the 4-H summer camp.  I told him we should see which cabin would be best suited to our plans.  Since there was some light snow on the ground we used his truck but when we left the marked road I took over driving as he was unfamiliar with the area.  I’d brought a thermos of hot coffee and he took the opportunity to drink it.

It was his own fault for trusting someone he didn’t know.  All it took was one cup of coffee and he was barely able to hold his own head up.  A few zip ties was all it took to secure his wrists to the steering wheel and bind his feet together.

I may have failed to mention that the camp was abandoned after the area flooded.  Carl told Jenny that he was going out of town for the weekend, ensuring that no one would look for him right away.  I had previously left a motorbike there so I had a way back home and I left while he was still more or less unconscious.

It wasn’t until I went back the next day that what I had done sunk in.  Carl begged me to let him go but I knew that there was no going back.  The second day it looked like he had tried to amputate his hands to get free but zip ties are no match for bone. On the third day he mumbled about not being able to feel his legs and asked me to kill him.  I didn’t go back anymore since I had a birthday party to plan. 

No one has reported finding his body so I guess I chose a good location.

Jenny started seeing a new guy last week, but Alibaba.com still sells pharmaceuticals so I’m not worried. 

4
Your Stories / 12/31/2016
« on: 02:03 AM, 01/28/17 »
Why do I feel compelled to write this down? A handful of people may read it and none of them are going to care. Hey, the great pity party of 2016 continues! Everyone grab a drink and join me for the grand finale.

I was on my way to the liquor store to stock up (because what is an end of the year pity party without a shitload of alcohol in which to literally and figuratively drown your sorrows?) when I saw a handmade sign for an estate sale. At first I thought it was an old sign because who would have a sale on New Year’s Eve? At the bottom it read “11AM-4PM 12/31/16” so it definitely wasn’t an old sign. I used to love going to garage sales and estate sales so I decided to stop and see what they had. It’s not as thought the liquor store was going to be closing soon as it was only one o’clock.

I followed the signs to a house on an old street that looked as though it hadn’t been maintained in decades. Unfortunately that’s how most of the streets look around here but this one still had open ditches because the county never bothered putting in sidewalks. Not that it’s important to what happened but I just felt like throwing it in there.

The house was straight out of the 1950’s and the woman having the sale had opened up the entire house. She literally just put a price tag on everything in the house exactly where it was. I’m still not sure if it was the height of laziness or utter brilliance. Surprisingly, or maybe not given it was New Year’s Eve, there was no one else there and it didn’t look as though anything had been purchased. Before I could put voice to my thoughts the woman came over and said “You’re the only person to stop.”

I replied that people were too busy getting ready for New Year’s Eve but she shook her head and told me to take my time and that anything not permanently attached to the house was for sale. There was a lot of stuff in this house and I felt a bit like a voyeur going through the personal effects of someone I didn’t know. The items in the house all had a story of their own to tell and I fell into a habit that I hadn’t indulged in for a long time – I began writing a story in my head about the former occupant of the home.

The living room spoke of a woman with a large family. The table was large enough to seat eight and the hutch behind it held dinnerware to serve twice as many (yes, I looked inside). The kitchen had a stove that had to be from the 1960’s at the latest. Everything in the house seemed to be at least 50 years old yet in excellent condition as though just installed a year or two prior. Off of the kitchen was a large porch enclosed in glass to make a greenhouse. There were dozens of pots with all types of plants growing in them. I thought about how much I would love to have lived in this house. It was like a picture from a catalog. It was perfect, and life here had to have been just as perfect. My house was not perfect. My house was a filthy mess with dirty dishes and a broken kitchen window held together with duct tape. I thought that my life was a filthy mess as well but duct tape couldn’t fix any of my problems. It was New Year’s Eve and I’d been on my way to a liquor store so I could get drunk alone because I had pushed away every person who might have become a friend.

Then, in the midst of my depressing thoughts I saw it – an old typewriter. I mean old, like really really old. It wasn’t even electric. It was a Royal KMG manual typewriter. I was instantly in love with it. The woman having the sale came back and must have seen the love in my eyes because she said I could have it for $10. It had to be worth so much more than that but she said that she wanted it gone. I gave her the $10, got the typewriter inside the case that was beneath the desk it sat on, and headed back to my car. I was thrilled with my new purchase but wondered why she was willing to sell it so cheap just to be rid of it. Liquor forgotten, I hurried home to set it up and see if it worked.

I made short work of moving the crap off my dining room table and onto the floor so I could set this beauty up. I fed a sheet of paper into it, pressed a few keys and was delighted that not only did it work but the ribbon wasn’t dried out. It had the dual black and red ribbon and while I couldn’t tell what might have been typed using the black ribbon, the keys had left an impression on the red ribbon.  I’d seen an episode of NCIS where someone got a hold of a character’s typewriter ribbons and was able to tell what the story was before it was even sent to the editor. It seemed like as good a way as any to pass the time and the thought of what stories this old typewriter had been used to tell was too great a temptation. What letters had been written out? What manuscripts created with its keys?

Carefully I started to unwind the spools, getting ink all over my fingers in the process. I didn’t care. I felt somehow dirty, looking at the words that someone probably meant to remain private, but I had to know. Curiosity drove me and so I used pen and paper to write down each letter as I went through the red ribbon.

JELLAV7339OTENOEMOSDNESESAELP,RETTELSIHTSDNIFENOYNAFI.LLEHS'TI.LLATATCEFREPT'NSITI.T'NSITITUBTCEFREPOSSKOOLLLATI.EMITNITNEMOMREHTONANISTSIXEESUOHEHTFOEDISNIEHTEBYAMRONOISNEMIDREHTONANIM'IEKILS'TI.EMOHSIENOONEKILTCAYEHTSWODNIWEHTNODNUOPDNAMAERCSINEHWTUBEDISTUOELPOEPRAEHI.NEPOT'NOWROODEHT.KROWT'NODSENILENOHPEHT.DEPPARTEMSPEEK--EHSAYLETINIFEDSITIDNA--EHS.OGEMTELT'NOWESUOHSIHT.LLEHGNIVILAEMOCEBSAHEFIL

That’s all that was on it. I’m not sure what I was expecting to find. A typewriter ribbon would be just random gibberish letters, right? So now it’s almost midnight and this is how I’ve wasted my evening. At least the liquor store is still open so I’m going to head there and grab a bottle of something to end this year right. Tomorrow maybe I’ll see if I can find out who lived at that house and what happened to her. I can’t remember the address but it was Vallejo Street.


5
Story Critique / The Tiny Things
« on: 11:01 PM, 09/24/16 »
I can’t remember what my father looked like. It bothers me sometimes that I can’t remember something that should be so important. I can recall memories of being by a river and sometimes I can hear his voice telling me that I’ll be all right. My mother told me that before he was deployed to Bagram Air Base we went camping and I stepped on a shard of glass.  I don’t remember the injury or the camping, only my father holding me and saying “you’re going to be all right” over and over.

I can remember the casket that he was buried in. There was no viewing of the body, and all I recall of the funeral was the 21-gun salute that scared me.

We lived near the air force base and a lot of other military families lived in the neighborhood. It meant I had other kids to play with but then the base was scheduled to close and those families moved away. Home prices dropped from all the houses being sold and what had been a quiet neighborhood became one known for loud parties at night, the squealing of tires and regular gunfire. 

Then one of the boys in my class was killed at the park that was a block from my house. My mother said he was in the wrong place at the wrong time when there was a shooting.  I don’t remember his name. I don’t even remember him. What I do remember is not being allowed to play in the front yard anymore, and not being allowed to go to the other kids’ houses. Mostly I remember lying in my bed on Christmas Eve wondering why there were so many blue and red lights coming through my bedroom window and bouncing off the walls.  I think I convinced myself that it was Santa's sleigh and that the voices I could hear outside were Santa's elves.  At least my last Christmas in that house wasn't marred by the ugly truth. 

I wish I could say that I remember all of the houses we looked at but I don’t. It’s not as though I had any say in the matter, and my mother was mostly interested in finding something close to decent schools. The house she finally settled on seemed cursed from the day we moved in. First, the college students that were helping us move didn’t show up until well past noon. Then the garage door wouldn’t open because the springs had broken; the sellers solved that problem by using railroad spikes to nail the garage door shut.

I spent the day playing in the walk-in closet of what became my mother's bedroom.  I knew she wanted me out of the way.  I had a coloring book and a box of crayons and I guess I was content enough to stay where I was and color.  I couldn't play in the backyard because the grass and weeds were up to the window sills.  The neighbors later confirmed that in the time it took for everything to close escrow, the old owners had abandoned the place so it sat empty for at least six weeks.

There wasn’t time to get all of the furniture assembled so I slept on just my mattress on the floor.  I took a flashlight with me as the light fixture had been removed from my room. The window was covered by an over-sized heavy shade that allowed only the faintest of light to enter from the outside. I had never been afraid of the dark before but being in an unfamiliar place had me seeing monsters everywhere, mostly in the closet. I swore the clothes hanging inside were moving on their own, but I was too scared to get up and shut the closet door. I don’t think I slept at all that night, terrified of what was in my closet but unwilling to leave the safety of the covers I was hiding beneath.

When the sun finally illuminated the outside world, there was barely a glow of light from around the edges of the shade. Not long after the sun rose, my mother came in to check on me.  I told her there was something in my closet but she assured me that it was just my imagination.  It was too dark to see anything so she went to the window to roll up the shade, pulling it down until the mechanism activated to roll it up and let in the sunlight.

The window was encased in spider webs that had partially stuck to the shade and ripped apart.  The motion of rolling the shade up caused spiders to spill from the window, joining dozens more now visible on the walls, ceiling, and floor.  The most terrifying were the ones that were already on the covers and were just a few inches from joining me beneath them.  My mother grabbed a corner of my blanket and threw it away towards the window, grabbing me and carrying me out of the room, down the hall and out the front door.  I was surprised she was able to carry me that far but she just said that she didn't want me stepping on one of the spiders in my bare feet.  Once I was in the driveway I started bawling.  I didn't even know why I was crying; I just was.  I'm sure I made quite the impression on the neighbors although only the people directly across the street were curious enough to come outside and find out why a child clad in pajamas was loudly sobbing in the driveway at 9AM. We spent the next few nights in a cheap motel while the house was fumigated and the weeds were cut down.

If you're wondering what the movement in the closet was, it turned out that my father's heavy jacket got hung up in there along with his shaving kit.  There was some confusion about which closet his things were supposed to be stored in.  The weight of the jacket was too much for the flimsy hanger and it bent until the jacket started sliding off.  I didn't worry about the monsters in my closet anymore.

I did refuse to sleep in that room until the window shade was removed and my mother agreed to let me keep my father's things in the closet.  In his shaving kit was his Old Spice and that smell made me feel safe. It brought back the memory of him telling me that I would be all right.

Also, spiders smell with their feet and will avoid the smell of Old Spice.

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