MillValleyLit

HOME | THE LITERARY LATTÉ - Stories & Poems | ON MY NIGHTSTAND - Books reviewed |THE SCENE - Lit Events | REVIEW - Writing and Arts|SALON - Interviews, Submission, Contacts

Woodstock in Woodacre?

No rain, no rain...

A MILLVALLEYLIT EXCLUSIVE

Cool chicks.

Woodstock to Woodacre, with Love from Volkswagen. Photos and story by J. Macon King.

Don't eat the brown acid, man...

Woodstock Festival was recreated in Woodacre, Marin County, CA with a cast of hippies and vintage vehicles. Mid-September, stage towers and a camp were set in West Marin's Dickson Ranch for VW's upcoming TV commercials. 1/2 of the 60 second spot aired during The Voice Oct. 30 oddly without showing any new vehicles! In the full commercial part of Rancho Nicasio, Fire House, and St. Mary's Church in Nicasio, CA are visible in the beginning.

The soundtrack is Joe Cocker's rendition of "With a Little Help from My Friends." After a rainstorm hippies push the old microbus out of the mud, and a classic VW Beetle appears. A voiceover plugs the new warranty, saying, "VW drivers have always put others first, now we are returning the favor." We suspect more ads to come, as we saw firsthand the big production behind the scenes, for their new 2018 Microbus. The minivan, as it was commonly known, was embraced by hippies, musicians, travelers and young families as fun, inexpensive, easy-to-work-on transport.

^^^^^

The new one will be electric powered and more-rounded retro version of the iconic original. Announced at the Pebble Beach show in August, time will tell if the new generation will get "this van a'rockin" as the sixties and 70's bunch.

Peace & Love? Yes, please!

Groovy pants, dudes!

 

Freedom, a-yeah...

VW "Rain" ad available at copy and paste link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=342QpEFmRpU


Gary Topper: Photos in Texture and Landscape

Gary Topper: photo by Richard Martin

See Gary Topper landscape photos in our Gallery.

 

The texture of Oaxaca

About Gary Topper:

.

Tent Rock National Park, on the Cochiti Reservation, south of Santa Fe. 

 

Short Stories by Don Anawalt

TAKING THE WRONG TURN

UNWARRANTED ALTERATION IN MADNESS AND VIOLENCE

           

            Jack Roberts was at the end of a long adventure. He had been traveling alone throughout the United States for seven weeks. He had left his home in Eugene Oregon against the advice of friends and family. He had planned to travel and write in his journal. Upon returning he would write a book about it. Friends told him, "its all been done before and traveling alone across the country is dangerous." He would have none of it, climbed in his car and drove away.

            He had purchased a used Mercury Grand Marquis with only 20,000 miles on it. "What a buy!" He boasted. He persuaded his parents to cosign on a car loan and took out a gas credit card. Not a good way to start an adventure, one of his professors at the university told him. He would not listen. Off he went, driving down the highway, red flags flying.

            Now his adventure was coming to an end. The last part of his trip was spent traveling through the "deep south." He began to realize what the term meant as he left the larger cities and traveled through rural communities. He was surprised at how many times he had been called a Yankee. At times, he felt like a foreigner. He explained to a man in a bar one night in Atlanta he had reached a point of saturation. He could no longer tolerate seeing another monument or new city. It was time to go home. The man told him of a shortcut he could take when he was going through the Montgomery area in Alabama. It would save him a hundred miles. Jack's last stop would be New Orleans.

            As he approached the Montgomery area and saw the turn-off he was looking for. There were a few little towns along the way, but soon the highway became desolate with only a farm here and there in the distance. He worried if he was on the right road. His concern increased when he came to a split in the road. Which turn should he take? He looked for signs, anything, north or south, miles to a town, nothing. He arbitrarily turned left. He was getting low on gas and if he did not find a station soon, he would have to turn around and head back to the freeway. He was about to turn around when he saw a roadside sign - Gas & Food - 1 mile. He was in luck. Soon the station appeared, a single small building with one pump for gas. A small hand-painted sign propped up in the window read open. He thought it was odd to see just one building. Usually a gas station and a store would have a few other supporting buildings, tiny towns one often refers to as "wide place in the road." It did not matter. He filled his tank and went inside to buy a sandwich. The man behind the counter was not friendly. Jack thought, out in this no-man's land, he might be happy to see somebody. The man glared at him, then craned his neck to look out the window at his car like a mindless stork rising out of a southern swamp looking for something to eat. Jack paid and walked out the door quickly. If the little town he imagined did exist it would be called the town of Anywhere. He had noticed when he approached the station, the landscape up ahead was bleak. Off in the distance there were hills rising out of flat surrounding farmland. The hills had an out-cropping of trees that appeared to be scrub-oak, not beautiful to look at.   

            The sun was reflecting off his car windows and for a moment he was not able to see there was a man sitting in his car on the passenger side. He was stunned and also frightened. Nothing was right about this place.

            "Hey buddy, mind if I bum a ride?"

            Jack opened the door to tell the intruder to get out of his car. The man slid into the driver's seat and grabbed him by the arm pulling a gun from beneath his coat. 

            "Just get in kid! You want to see the light of another day, you do just as I say, all right!"

            Jack looked up and down the road. No one was in sight. A thought flashed through his mind: If I take off running this guy could shoot me, or just take off with my car; then I'm stranded, standing here in nowhere. He stood looking at him for a moment. He was a big, strong looking man, well over two hundred pounds, with a couple days growth of beard. He seemed to fill the whole car, like it was confining him and he wanted to burst out of it.

            "Don't get any ideas kid'o. You take off and you're dead; got that?"

            Jack's first urge was to run. But where would he run? He had  not seen a car on this road since he made the wrong turn back at the intersection. The man might be crazy or on drugs? It is easy to speculate on what he should have done. Had he run, he might have escaped, but then, this crazy, evil person might shoot him, wrapped his body with stones and thrown him in a nearby swamp and sell his car on the black market for a few hundred dollars. It happens. None of this could be apparent to Jack in that frightening moment. He thought he had no choice and got into the car.

            Just as he closed the door, the man inside the store came out and walked over to the car.

            "Hey Joel!" The man inside the car yelled. "Looks like I got myself a new friend here!"

            "Well I'll be go'd straight to hell. Looks like you sure do. Hey, nice look'in car too," the man outside said. He stepped back and looked over the car as if it was something he might buy. He did not walk around the car. He just stood to one side and admired it.

            "Good look'in car there, nice!"

            Jack shuddered. He was the epitome of evil. These two men knew each other. Their clothes were dirty and their ambiance was foul.

            "You're gonna drive kid, and I'm gonna keep this gun pointed right at you all the way. Just go on down the road, I'll tell you where to turn."

            Jack started driving and noticed a car was following him. He thought it must have come from behind the gas station.

            "There's a car close behind us," Jack said.

            "That's Hilda, Just keep driving."

            Who's Hilda?" Jack ventured to speak, being afraid to say anything for fear of what the man might do.

            "That's my wife. And it's none of your goddamn business. Just keep driving!"

            Jack took several turns, which he tried to keep track of, but it was difficult, especially with a gun pointing at him. He could see they were headed for the hills in the distance with the growth of trees. He went through a gate, that had a chain and padlock, then drove up to a large old farmhouse. There were outbuildings in the back which appeared to have a chicken coup and stable for livestock.

            "This place is gonna be your home for awhile. Do what you're told and I'll be let'n you go when the works done. Screw up and I'll blow your head off and bury you out there in the pasture and nobody will know a goddamn thing. Ya got it? Or do I have to slap you up-side the head!"

            He stood in front of him with a maniacal stare in his eyes that told Jack he would be lucky to get out of this alive. He had noticed there was no sign of livestock behind the barn, only a few chickens and two horses. Why would the man let him go? He would go to the police. This man was both crazy and stupid. Why would he say something that was so obvious. He was lying. There was a Hummer behind the house with the top taken off so it could be used for hauling. How could he afford such an expensive vehicle? 

               They gave him a room on the second floor of the house. There were four rooms and a bath. All the rooms were empty except for Jack's, which had a bed and a small dresser. They let him take his suitcase to his room after opening it and going through the contents. The man rummaged through his car, obviously looking for a weapon. How stupid, Jack thought again. If he had a weapon it might be hidden, and if he had a gun how would he get to it? This man watched every move he made.

            The woman served dinner and Jack was allowed to eat on the front porch. He thought of running away. But, where would he go? He was miles from the highway and was not sure how he could reach it. He knew it was south, but that was as close as he could come for directions. He was a prisoner and they knew it. Wait! He thought to himself. There would be an opening, a moment when he could attempt to free himself. He was shaking with fear, but he told himself to be patient. These people were crazy, insane and stupid. They will make their big mistake. He was sure of that. Best to be conciliatory. Jack had no doubts now. This man would kill him if he did not do exactly what he was ordered to do.

            That night it was impossible for him to sleep. He heard them arguing in the kitchen below his room. He crept down the stairs and pushed the door open very carefully only a few inches. It was chained shut, but he could still hear them talking. He was astonished by what he heard. He also wondered, "don't these people know I might be able to hear them?" Again, how stupid he thought, brainless fools.

            "So you'll do him like you did all the others! Right, Heinrick?

            "You goddamn bet I will. But I'm gonna get some work out'a him first. We'll sell his car to Joel. He'll snap it up!"

            "Someday it ain't gonna work Heinrick. Someday you're gonna get it!"

             "Shut up bitch, you're in this too. Go to your fucking bed. We got stuff to do in the morning. Listen, we did it right this time. Those plants are just about ready. Those buds are beautiful. Joel and that cop friend of his will buy it all. Ain't it nice to have the cops on your side? You just don't understand. We're gonna make a pile-a-money. We're gonna be standing in high cotton. You just wait'n see."

            "You better watch that kid. This time you got yourself a smart one. He's a college student. You better watch him all the time. Keep that fucking gun loaded. You told him we're growing corn? He'll see through that the minute you go to work in the morning."

            "Listen now, listen up real good. I got him scared shitless. He will do what he's told. Believe me; or I'll blow his head off. We gotta clear more land. This soil is perfect for weed. Next year will even be better. You wait and see. We gotta gold mine here. We just gotta do it right."

            The next morning Jack was given breakfast. He helped Heinrick load the Hummer with tools, a chain saw and other items needed for cutting and clearing trees. There were two crowbars Jack assumed were used for prying logs apart. He placed them on the passenger side close behind the seat. Heinrick did not notice this. They headed up a hill and Jack could see a large area where the clearing of trees and brush would be done. Off to one side there was what appeared to be a large stand of corn. Then he saw it. Large green pointed leaf plants growing in between the corn. "Christ almighty." He thought to himself. It's a marijuana farm, serious stuff, trouble . . . . big trouble. No wonder this man was half out of his mind.

            Jack noticed how Heinrick kept a certain distance form him. At times he had an axe in his hand, and other tools that could quickly turn into a weapon. He had his pistol strapped to his side. They worked all morning and then stopped for lunch. Heinrick sat several feet away and said little.

            "That's good eat'in, ain't it boy. Eat up now. We got work to do."

            During the afternoon, he would occasionally go to the Hummer and take out a bottle of whiskey. He would take a swig or two, spit and wipe his mouth, then put it away. The man was a drinker. When it was time to go back to the house he seemed angry and impatient. Jack was scared. One false move and who knows what this drunkard might do.

            They headed down the hill but Heinrick was driving too fast. He hit a bump that caused both of them to bounce up in their seats. He laughed; it was a drunken outburst of sound, erupting from the filth and sweat of this repulsive man. Jack noticed in that moment, the crowbar he had been using to pry logs apart was thrown forward next to his hand. He grabbed it just as Heinrick turned toward him. He hit him in the forehead with all the strength he had. The bar sunk into his scull and he lurched forward into the steering wheel. The man was dead instantly, like a steer you shoot at a slaughterhouse that falls in a heap on the ground. Blood shot out of his mouth and he slumped against the car door. Jack put his foot on the break and pulled the emergency. He jumped out of the Hummer and stared at Heinrick. It happened so quickly, he could not believe it. Then he saw something that made him gasp. Heinrick's body went into a spasm. It shook violently for a few seconds and a terrible sound came out of him. Jack would remember it later as the sound one hears out of a clogged sink drain or toilet. Then he was still. In that moment Jack felt locked into this vision of death as if Heinrick might suddenly come to life like a blood soaked monster and attack him. Then silence. He was stunned at how silent everything was. He could not know it in the moment, but it was the indescribable silence of death. Nothing was audible to him, not even the wind. He stepped back away from the car.   

            He went around to the driver's side and opened the door. Heinrick fell out on the ground like a huge sack of grain. The blood was still oozing from his scull and mouth. Jack sat down on a nearby  stump.

            "You dirty bastard! You dirty bastard!"

            That's all he could say. He sat for awhile recovering from what had just happened. What next, he thought. My God . . . what?

            "I've got'a get back to that house and at that woman before she knows what's happened."

            He took Heinrick's gun and looked at the bullets. He knew a little about guns. He had gone to a shooting range with his father when he was in high school. He was familiar with this pistol. It was a 357 magnum. Then he saw the bullets. They were hollow tip oversized shells. My God, he thought. If you shot anyone with this it would blow them to pieces. He found a towel and wiped the blood off the seat. He got in the car and started driving down the hill toward the house. This was the moment. "If she sees me coming I've had it."

            He was lucky. He quietly opened the back door. She was at the sink with her back to him. She turned and her mouth dropped open in surprise.

            "Where's Heinrick!"

            "He's dead, and now I'm going to kill you!"

            "Kid, you ain't got the guts to kill nobody. Now you just hold on, you just hold on a minute there. I'll get your keys and you just drive right on out'a here!"

            She stepped over to a cabinet as if going to get the keys. She turned her head as if looking at Jack to know if he had moved. He knew instantly what that meant. He watched her pull open a drawer and reach into to it with two hands. That was a sure sign; she was not reaching for the keys. She whirled around with a gun. Jack was ready. He shot her three times. The first bullet went through her chest. It blew a hole out her back four inches in diameter. She was a huge woman, probably two hundred pounds. She lay like a heap of protoplasm, surrounded in a pool of blood. He was astounded at how instantly this living, talking, person was suddenly a lifeless hulk of flesh and clothing. There was a large splash of red dripping down the white wall directly behind her, as if some had filled a glass with blood and splattered it against the surface.

            Jack put the gun on a table and sat down in a chair. He put his face in his hands trying to recover from the shock. He threw himself back against the chair and stared at the ceiling. His ears were ringing from the shots. His right hand was momentarily numb from the kick of the gun with a slight pain that ran up his arm an into his chest, a pain that went through his nervous system causing him to shiver as he sat trying to regain his composure.

            "Jesus, I shot her three times, three fucking times. I had to do it. Those dirty bastards, those horrible, crazy excuses for human beings. They were gonna kill me! It was self-defense. I don't care. They're gone . . . gone!"

            As Jack recovered from the shock of killing two people in thirty minutes, he realized he was free. Then a second thought as he struggled to regain his rational state of mind.

            "That Joel, or somebody else, is going to come up here, maybe even today, tomorrow, sometime soon. Who knows? . . . . They are going to see this whole mess, even if I clean it up, they will find out. And that Joel character, he probably knows half the state troopers in the area. In this state, this little provincial area, if they arrest me I wouldn't have a chance. They would send me up the river and not even think about it. Jesus Christ, boy did I take the wrong turn! How did it happen? Well . . . it happened. Dam it, it happened. Now what? . . . . What! What am I going to do. My God . . . what am I going to do?"

            He wanted to find his car keys. He walked over to the cabinet, stepped over the woman's body, being careful not to slip in the pool of blood that was now working its way under the base of the cabinet. He pulled open the top drawer. He was horrified. There were wallets of several other people, all young men. Most of them had pictures on their driver's license. He counted five, there might have been more. His keys were not in sight, but that was not a problem because he had always kept a spare set in a magnetic box attached to the frame under his car.

            He sat down again. He was exhausted, and suffering from lack of sleep. His body was running on nothing but adrenaline, energy coming from the reservoir of his youth. A thought came to him. It was not a logical thought. It was a distorted and frightful observation, a remnant left behind from the terrible storm which had come upon him. Ah . . . of course, he thought, destroy everything. He thought of writing a note and putting it in the mailbox, letting the authorities know what happened here. "Authorities!" He chided himself. "Stupid, stupid, stupid! Use your fucking head! Leave a note and they'll come looking for the guy who wrote it. No, no, destroy everything, all the evidence!"

            But how? He walked through the house then went outside observing the whole area. Over by one of the outbuildings there was a large gas tank. He estimated it to be about two hundred gallons. Heinrick brought his gas in bulk to service the several pieces of equipment he operated.

            "That's it! It's right in front of me!"

            He was stunned by his idea, but there was also a strange satisfaction, a deep feeling of revenge that welled up in him. There might have been a vestige of Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment. He was getting rid of "vermin."  

            "I'll blow this place up. There will not be a thing left!"

            The question was how? How could he do this so it went up in flames after he was back on the highway and headed out of the state? It was impossible for Jack to think about the repercussions from what he was going to do. He was simply plugging a hole in a dyke that would be holding back the swirling waters of the truth, the realities of police, investigators, insurance companies, courts of law, attorneys, prosecutors. All might be waiting? For now, denial was survival. How could he save himself in the moment.

            He went back into the house and looked at the gas stove.

            "That's it! That's my fuse!"

            He went back up the road and loaded Heinrick's body into the back of the Hummer. He was so heavy Jack had to use a 2x12 plank as a ramp. More blood came out of his body. The blood made the plank slick so he could slide his huge corpse into the bed of the car. He could not believe he was actually doing such a thing, but it had to be done. He had to survive it all.

            He drug Heinick's body into the house. Next he pried the padlock off the barn doors so he could remove his car. He drove it to the large gas tank and filled it with gas. He drove it around to the front of the house, opened the gate so he could leave quickly. Heinrick had horses. He did not want them near the house when it went up in flames, as he knew it would if his plan worked. He opened the far gate and let them out into the adjoining pasture. He parked the Hummer next to the house under an adjoining carport.

            Now: The grand finale. He found a 2x4 that he could place on the kitchen cabinets so it was several feet above the stove. He tied a rope to a bucket and slung it over the 2x4 so the bucket was suspended in air about five feet above the stove. He nailed the rope to the wall behind the stove. It sloped down about two feet above the stovetop. Under the rope, he placed a large cardboard box full of newspapers on the back edge of the stove. It was about ten inches from the stovetop burners. If the burners were left on, and the oven was also on, he was reasonably sure they would eventually become red hot. Over time it would set the box on fire, which in turn would set the rope on fire holding the bucket. The bucket would be filled with gasoline just before he walked out the door. When it fell on the stovetop it would explode. The question was, how long would it take for the box to burst into flames. It was a chance he would have to take. The gas stove was run on propane and it could burn for hours. He was certain the stove would eventually become a red hot mass of metal.

            He went to the large gas tank with a bucket. He filled it with gas. He poured gas in several places in the barn. He soaked Heinrickes Hummer with gas. He went upstairs and poured gas on the bed, on the floor and down the stairs. He opened all the windows upstairs and left the door to the upstairs open. He left all the first floor windows open. When the house caught fire, it would act like a chimney. On the ground he poured a trail of gas from the house to the large gas tank. He was careful not to have any gas on the main floor of the house for fear of igniting it when he lit the stove and burners.

            The last thing he did was fill the bucket above the stove. He used a stepladder and filled it carefully one quart at a time until it was full. He worried about the weight of the bucket against the rope, but it was strong enough to hold it. He stepped back to observe what he had built. It seemed like a strange spring-loaded mousetrap, ready to snap shut and blow this horrible place into oblivion.

            An idea struck him: All those wallets in the cabinet? He did not want them going up in flames. It was a thought that was in part logical, and partly born out of fear and hatred for this terrible event in his life that had consumed him. He might escape. They never escaped. He put them in a paper bag and hid them in his car. He was not sure why he did this. It was a distant feeling that possession was power. He might need them later. 

            He walked back into the house a through the living room. There was a large mirror on the wall. He looked at himself and could not believe what he was seeing. His shirt was spattered with blood. There was a smear of blood on his forehead. His hair was a mess. He saw spots of blood on his shoes. He went back to the car and put on clean clothes, wiped his shoes clean, went to the bathroom and washed his face and hands, then combed his hair. He went back to the mirror.

            "There! I'm looking like myself again."

            The view he had seen of himself a few minutes before was disturbing. He looked like a half-crazy young man that had just done something so terrible it was beyond belief. He was returning to himself, without knowing that he would never return to the person he was only twenty-four hours ago. He put his dirty clothes on the floor next to the oven.

            Jack stood by the front door, looking at the kitchen, living and dining rooms before him with the two blood soaked bodies, his pile of clothes and the strange contraption he had built above the stove. His mind took a picture of it. It was involuntary, but the lens in his eyes took it anyway. It would stay hidden in his subconscious until, sometime in the future it would come into focus, like a print from a Polaroid camera, the blurred image slowly developing into the bright colors of reality.  

            He lit the oven with the door open and then lit the four top burners and walked out the front door. He was so scared he felt weightless as he walked down the porch steps, afraid he might fall for some unknown reason. What if the rope broke too soon when he was driving away?

 

            He had trouble finding his way out on the country roads. Finally, he drove by the little store. He knew he was going in the right direction. What if Joel saw him? He would know something was wrong. He drove by and there was no sign of him. Now he saw a car. It must be headed for the highway he thought. At last, there it was, four beautiful lanes. He was almost free. He just had to make it to the state line, which he thought was about three to four hours away. Suddenly, two fire trucks were coming in the opposite direction. They were followed by a state trooper. Now, there was another fire truck behind the first two. He noticed cars stopped at an observation area.

            Off in the distance, coming out of the hills, was a huge column of smoke. The man next to him said,

            "That's one hell of a fire!"

            "Yes it is," Jack said. "That is one big fire, it sure is."

            Another fire truck went by as he got into his car. Within three hours he was at the state line. There was a small line of cars. He crossed his fingers. "Relax, he told himself. They will not get near that place for days. The officer at the gate asked where he was headed and if he had any fruit in the car.

            "Have a good trip," he said, and waved him on.

            Jack was now having trouble keeping his head up from lack of sleep. The shock of his last two days was turning into exhaustion. He made it to the town of Gulfport Mississippi and checked into a hotel. He had dinner and stumbled to his room. He slept for twelve hours.

            He did not go to New Orleans. He headed straight for home. As he drove he began to think more rationally about what happened. His plan had errors. The more he thought about it the more flawed it became. He remembered that his father owned a rental in Eugene that had burnt to the ground. He thought of how thorough the investigators were. Everyone connected to the property was a suspect, even his father who was an upstanding business man in the community. He remembered how the police referred to his father as "a person of interest." He was not accused of anything. His father was upset. Jack recalled what the officer told his father.

            "We will find the cause of the fire. Don't worry. We are very good at this. These people are experts. They have seen it all before."

            Jack began to think about the whole affair in more depth. He thought to himself: In a few days, when it all cools down, those same investigators will be going over every piece of evidence connected with the fire. They will know it was arson. The big gas tank in the back, the way the house went up in a ball of fire. Houses don't burn that way. No, no, he thought. A fire starts somewhere in a house then spreads. And the marijuana field: That's a dead giveaway for trouble. Even the stove, they might find all the handles were turned to the on position. But then, maybe the stove was burnt to a crisp. Who knows what they will find? Jack shuddered. The police would see it was more than arson. Two people were missing. Even if Hilda and Heinrick were cremated, there would still be evidence of their death. The fact that it was self-defense would not matter. It would be viewed as a homicide. Whatever they find, they will know someone did it and come looking for me.

            "How will they find me?" Jack reflected. He kept going over every detail he could remember until it became a constant irritation. Every frightening minute was burnt into his brain like a brand on a steer-hide. The key was Joel. Did he look at his license plate? Jack remembered how he stood at the side of the car. He did not walk around to the front or back. He just said "nice car." He must have known it was a Ford, but certainly not a Grand Marquis. If he saw it had an Oregon license plate he would be done, no way out. They would find him. If he did not take note of the license, he had a chance of never being discovered. On one of his stops going home, he stood behind his car just to see how far away you would have to be to read a license plate. At thirty to forty feet you could read the numbers but the state name up at the top of the plate was not readable. And then, Joel was deep into the marijuana business. He might be forced to keep his mouth shut. Then he might hate Jack for ruining his business with Heinrick, and make up stories about him that were false.

            It was Jack's habit to send cards home, telling people what he was seeing on his trip. He had not sent a card from the south. He had not used his gas credit card; it had been canceled due to lack of monthly payments. No one knew he was there. He was careful to look for a camera when he crossed the state line. There were only two attendants, one sitting at a desk in a cheap looking kiosk, the other checking cars. If there is a camera, they are always in plain sight. Jack had crossed many state lines, sometimes there was a camera, other times there weren't any. He was reasonably sure it was the same situation when he entered Alabama. The state can't take pictures of everyone crossing the state line unless they are alerted to do so. It was too soon for that. 

            He would drive, then stop and have coffee and think about what he should do. Slowly he formulated a plan. It was his only  hope for survival. If he was caught and sent back to Alabama to stand trial, he was certain his life would be over. He would not stand a chance at proving his innocence.

            He chided himself. "Why didn't I run that day and take my chances. Look what I got into! Well . . . I didn't; and that's that."

            First, tell no one about what happened, not family, friends, girl friend, no one! He would not even reveal he was in the south. When he got home he would sell his car. Certainly, if the authorities caught up with him, they would discover he had sold the car. But, better to not have it sitting in front of the house. Do not write the book and maybe destroy the journal about the trip.

            He thought previously, he should save the five wallets that had pictures and drivers licenses of Heinrick's victims. He looked at the pictures and it brought tears to his eyes. He thought of the families and their loss and loneliness. He would drive to Nevada to mail them. No! It hurt to say no. But, he could not do it. If he did he would be implicated. Parents would go to the authorities.

            He considered going to a landfill when driving through Boise Idaho. He would throw all the evidence, wallets, journal, all of it, into a great pit and stand above on the dumping platform watching the caterpillar scoop it up and bury it with the rest of people's trash.

            No! He said to himself again. He had to think of all the ramifications of what he had done. If they did not find him, he was home free. If they did, what would be the best way to defend himself? He remembered what a lawyer friend had said to him once.         

            "If you go to court, and you're faced with a judge, jury, prosecuting attorney; and you are sworn to tell the truth under oath, and if you know the penalty for perjury: You will tell the truth."     

            "I rest my case." Jack chuckled to himself. It was not funny, but he was just trying to think through it all. If it all happens, he will tell the truth. To lie about it would make things worse. That is why he knew he should keep the journal and wallets. He would put them in a strongbox at his local bank. They would need a court order to get at them. He would tell the whole story from beginning to end and hope the jury would find justice in their hearts.

            He felt a forsakenness for the five victims and their families. He read a newspaper that night at dinner. On the back page there was a typical add for finding lost people. Most of the pictures were of children. But some were of adults. As always, the caption read: "Have you seen me?" Jack stared at the picture of a young boy.

            "Yes, yes I have. But I'm sorry, I'm so sorry; but I can't help you."

            Jack arrived back in Eugene and tried to live a normal life. He did exactly what he had planned to do. He kept the secret to  himself and lived in constant fear there would, some day, be a knock on the door. Every time the door bell rang he opened the door in fear. One day it was the postman. He was shocked for a moment seeing a man in uniform. The postman said, "just sign here sir," and went on his way. He hoped that time might pass and someday he could lead a normal life and stop looking over his shoulder everywhere he went. But there would always be the haunting vision of crushing Heinrick's skull or blowing a four-inch hole out Hilda's back splattering blood on the wall behind her.

            Oddly, he felt no guilt whatsoever for killing these two people. At times, he even thought he had done humanity a service, albeit, he had no right to do such things. But then, it was self-defense. He might have spared the lives of other innocent young men. Maybe there was a metaphysical dimension to it he did not understand? For now, he simply did not want to get caught. 

            At night when he tried to sleep, he would occasionally imagine looking through the door spy-hole and seeing two men in dark suits. He would open the door and they would say, "Mr Roberts, we would like to ask you a few questions." They would make it clear, he was not a suspect, but simply a "person of interest."

 

                                                                        Don Anawalt, January, 2016

                                                   

 

NIBBLES AND SNACKS

            The only thing Maynard Schrumpf hated more than his neighbors was the neighborhood dogs. He said he hated them, but his wife would say he did not hate anything, even the dogs, which any sane person would admit were a nagging problem. Maynard said a lot of things he did not mean, words that were out of proportion to the small middleclass world of Arborville that had been his life for the last twenty years.

            He was not a habitual drinker; but he had a penchant for, what he called, his weekend martini, which actually was three or four martinis on occasional Saturday nights. It was his way of escaping the hole he had dug for himself, a life in the suburbs doing a boring job that in a few years would end in retirement without any significant creative or financial achievement. He had a good mind, especially for martinis. He was one of those rare people who could be drunk yet appear sober. It took a while for one to realize his conversation was not altogether rational; though, he seemed to be making excellent sense.

            He did not like positive thinking and made no attempt to hide his negative feelings. He believed negative thought was simply a way of looking at the truth. If the truth hurt, as it did for poor Maynard, his face turned red and his blood pressure went up. Yet, he remained obdurate in his point of view. He once told a friend at a conference for self-improvement that if he saw Tony Robins coming down the street he would run in the opposite direction. One of his favorite routines was to say to his wife: "There's so much to hate and so little time, my dear." If questioned, Joan would come to his defense. He was just grumpy, she would say, a curmudgeon whose bark, like the neighborhood dogs, was worse that his bite. For the sake of his own success, it would have been better if the reverse was true. It was not to be.

            At forty-nine, Maynard was puzzled by his lack of success. He had received his masters degree in biochemistry and had started his doctorate when suddenly he found himself married with a second child on the way. He had a conservative bent that had haunted him all his life. It was out of this need for security that he decided to take the job at the water treatment plant in Arborville.                                                                   

            "Better to keep a low profile, to live within your means."

            He planned to go back for a doctorate, but as the poet says:  "Way leads on to way."

            He never finished. To justify his position as something more than just another county employee, he became the neighborhood eccentric. He still dressed as if he were in college, wearing the same tweed sport coat with leather patches on the elbows. He drove an old Ford station wagon. Late into the night, he did peculiar scientific experiments in his garage. He built a geodesic dome in his back yard. The first signs of age were beginning to appear, a receding hair line, shoulders diminishing, as if the inexorable force of gravity was pulling the weight downward and depositing it around his waist. He wore small rounded gold-rimmed glasses, which he peered over like a cantankerous professor scolding a student. However, when he took the glasses off, there was a kindness in his eyes that betrayed this sternness.       

            His children reflected his mannerisms, getting good grades in school while being antisocial. Joan complained, pushing him to direct his intelligence toward something more productive. She felt herself being consumed by the trappings of suburban motherhood. In time she gave in:

            "You have to play the cards you are dealt," she said to herself on one of her long reflective evening walks.

            She endured. Maynard would never change. She cooked and cleaned, looked after the children, the neighbors gossiped and the dogs barked.

            The older Maynard became, the more he complained about the world around him. Tiring of his histrionics, Joan called his outbursts "chirping." Yet he went on like an unruly mocking bird in the Arborville twilight.

            "Why so much inhumanity? It's obtuse, an existential pile of dog crap."

            It is possible that his subconscious was whispering an ineffable truth: that the world he was complaining about was partly of his own making. A more honorable endeavor might be that he should, even in some small way, do something about it; but, denial was alive and well in Maynard Schrumpf.

            His current complaint was the neighborhood dogs. Over the last eight to ten years, the dog population had grown until it seemed that every other neighbor had a dog in their back yard. Every time the local fire engine responded to a call, every time a police car went by on Jefferson Street two blocks away with its siren on, the

dogs began to howl. First one, then two, then the whole

neighborhood sounded like a huge kennel. Even when the siren was gone, the dogs kept howling at each other. This could happen several times during the day and into the night.

            "Listen to that, can you believe it? For Christ's sake, what the hell is going on, night after night," Maynard blurted out at two in the morning. "It's like that swarm of bees we had in the back yard. They just come of their own volition. We got rid of the God-damn bees. Those asinine dogs are another matter!"

            He would lay in bed at night, half asleep, half awake, looking at the ceiling. This was his crazy time.

            "Maybe we could somehow introduce chickens. The dogs could chase the chickens and the neighbors could fight among themselves. How about a dog guillotine."

            "You wouldn't hurt a flea," Joan mumbled in her sleep.

            "No, no, it wouldn't be a blade, just a huge balloon full of water. Splat - people and dogs running everywhere. Beautiful!"

            He once had a dream about a concerto composed for barking dog and orchestra. One by one the musicians left, leaving only the conductor directing a howling dog. Finally, the conductor exited, leaving one dark brown Labrador retriever in the center, barking his heart out, while the audience looked on in adulation.

            "There's nothing you can do about it," Joan sighed to herself, pulling the covers over her head and going back to sleep.

            "I'll think of something, those damn dogs; I'll think of something. You can count on it. Why can't they keep their dogs inside or something? Why so many? Christ, some of people have two. Turd-brain down the street has four. Cro-Magnon idiots! . . . Philistines! Last of the troglodytes; that's what they are!"

            "Maynard," Joan mumbled, reviving herself with one last thought before escaping into sleep.

            "Listen. Try lowering your expectations just once, just one time . . .  O.K.? Your neighbors don't know a troglodyte from a trilobite and never will. They're just hard working people trying to get along. Do your hear me?"

            "Hard working people trying to get along with their dogs, you mean."

            "Forget it, just forget it," she sighed.

            His anger intensified when Joan was knocked down by a huge St. Bernard puppy that came bounding out of a house when Joan

was on her Sunday morning walk. She bruised her spine and severely skinned both knees. The owner came running to see if she was hurt, helping her back on her feet.

            "He just really wanted to play you know. He's such a rascal. You big lummox, you," she said jokingly leading him back to the house.

            After going to the chiropractor for two months, Joan thought it was no joke. With Maynard's encouragement, she sued the neighbor for damages. This did little to help their standing in the neighborhood.

            There was a large black dog that lived two doors down that decided, somewhere in his doggish brain, to use Maynard's front lawn as a crapping ground. No matter what Maynard did, the dog kept coming back. He kept a large stick by the side of the house to be used as a club; but, could never get close enough to the dog to deliver a blow. The neighbor caught Maynard chasing the dog down the street one day as he drove by in his pickup. He rolled down the window.

            "Hey Schrump-head, he's only trying to establish his territory!" The man yelled at him as he drove by.

            "Hey! Listen ass-hole. My front yard is not his territory," he screamed; but the man was half way down the street and out of hearing range.

            The dog sat complacently, panting comfortably, as it watched the normal activity of the curious two legged creatures that lived on his block.

            Maynard developed a phobia about dogs. He noticed how dogs often had a resemblance to their owners, both in looks and mannerisms. The heavy-set contractor down the street had a bull dog. He often saw them sitting on the front porch together, their bull necks pushing both of their flat pug-nosed faces slightly forward with their mouths turned down with a grimace. Maynard thought it might be more appropriate for the dog to be reading the newspaper while the contractor sat quietly by his side.

            The stylish hairdresser on the corner had two Afghans. She often tried to walk both dogs at the same time. The dogs would go in different directions, entangling her in their leashes. The sight filled Maynard with a devilish satisfaction. Perfection: The dogs were walking her.

            Mrs. Hullsibus, their fussy and nosey neighbor next door, had a Pekingese. It did not bark. It yapped. And, as it seemed to

Maynard, it yapped all day long at nothing. He could hear it inside the house and wondered how anyone in their right mind could own such a feisty little bitch.

            He began to see the world of dogs with more clarity, or at least what he thought was clarity at the time.

            "All the neighbors are there in the dogs," he said to Joan one Saturday evening, as he was starting on his first martini.

            "You've got the yappers, bullies, wheedlers, sly foxes, schizos, dummies, smart asses . . . it's obvious," he said, sipping with one hand and tapping his nervous fingers on the table with the other.          With his second martini, his observations became more expansive.

            "I bet you've even got fundamentalist Christian dogs out there, or aggressive business dogs that bark about your loss being their gain. Who knows? It's all there, you just gotta see it."

            After dinner Maynard sank back in his chair and continued to think about dogs. He was silent for several minutes then suddenly straightened up. He bolted out of his chair.

            "That's it!"

            "What's it?" Joan replied looking back at him from the kitchen.

            He continued.

            "It's kind of like a Chevy Chase movie. I mean the dogs, the neighbors, our whole life. It's like we're going to turn the T.V. off and everything is going to return to normal"

            Joan came out of the kitchen and stared at him for a moment. She had seen him in this state before and she waited for the next expletive to come tumbling out of his inebriated brain.

            "I have a plan," he said, as he shored up his courage with a fourth martini.

            "I'm going to give them full satisfaction."

            "Give who satisfaction?" she said in a puzzled voice.

            "I'm going to the town meeting; it starts at eight. I still have time."

            "No, no!" She looked upward clasping her hands together. "Oh mother of God, please put a sock in it! Maynard, just stay home! Don't make a fool of yourself. I beg you."

            "I'm going!" he said.

            She knew there was no hope.

            "All right, but you're walking not driving."

            "I'll walk, but I'm going. I have a plan."

            He kept chuckling and murmuring to himself as he walked out the door. She watched him go off into the night. At this point, she did not care what he did as long he did not get run over.

            Town meetings occurred on the first Saturday of every month. They were run by the mayor and four council members, that dealt with any problems people might have with running their small unincorporated city of 10,000. A constant problem for Arborville was to gain notoriety, to attract attention to the town in order to bring in business. It was within this guise of notoriety that Maynard planned to make a proposal regarding the dogs. His motives were not as clear to him as he might let on. If his neighbors thought of him as eccentric, he would let them know what a fool he really was. It was possible he wanted to say something about the dog problem which he knew bothered others as well as himself. It was possible that in his strange negative way he wanted some contact with his neighbors, even if it meant getting drunk to do it. He thought what he was about to do was mostly a cathartic joke.

            He waited for his time to speak, which he knew would come at the end of the meeting when new business was introduced. He stood up, grabbing the chair in front of him for extra support, and to the astonishment of everyone said:

            "I have a proposal . . .  in regard to the dogs . . . and I guess it's no secret how I feel about the God damn dogs . . . excuse me . . . dogs . . . O.K. . . . anyway, I think what this town needs . . . is a fast food restaurant for dogs."

            There was a moment of silence, a subtle Maynard's at it again quietly filled the room. But people listened as he went on to explain his idea. As his explanation developed his joke had a peculiar logic to it. In his innate ability to fail, he was now beginning to destroy his joke with logic. He could not just tell it and sit down. He had to explain how the restaurant might work.

            He described, in a rambling, incoherent rhetoric, how the dogs might find their way to the restaurant by means of training or being driven, or with some computer device. His point was, if it worked, Arborville would be on every local and national news cast in the country. He added in closing, that it would give the dogs something to do instead of being locked in their back yards, howling, crapping, and tearing up people's gardens.

       He sat down with his usual feeling that he had screwed things

up again. He had not been funny, negative, constructive, or very logical. To his inebriated state of mind, he had just prattled on for awhile and sat down. There was a moment of silence in the room.

            "I like the idea!" Someone spoke from behind him.

            "I like it a lot!" said one of the council members.

            Other people began to give their opinions, most were positive.  Maynard sat with his mouth open. He could not believe what he was hearing. Someone even proposed the restaurant could be built at an abandoned gas station on Elm and Jefferson. The mayor pounded his gavel for silence.

            "You know what this is! . . . It's a job for Big Bill Kauzniak."

            "Oh Christ, anybody but Kauzniak . . . anybody!" Maynard muttered to himself as the discussion went on around him.

            "I withdraw my proposal!" he said, suddenly standing.

            "No, no, it's a great idea," said the mayor. "It's the best thing you've said in years." He thought for a moment. "It's the only thing you've said in years," he added with a conciliatory smile.

            His friends called him "Big Bill," because of his six foot four frame. He had a sanguine complexion with graying hair that tended to stick straight out of his scalp, as if he had stuck his finger in an electrical outlet as a child and never fully recovered. Occasionally, he slipped into a slight southern accent. One sensed a touch of the preacher in him that gave his brilliance as an electrical engineer an added dimension. He was a computer wizard. Being in the right place at the right time in the Silicon Valley, he had made millions on his inventions. He was a great exponent of positive thinking. Asked how he was as he walked into the town hall meeting the following month, he expounded in a loud voice,

            "Positive, very positive!"

            Maynard said he hated certain people, which truth be known, he did not mean. Kauzniak was possibly the one exception. He had succeeded in all the ways that Maynard had failed. What he despised most about him was he seemed to know everyone in the room. He had a habit of recognizing people by pointing his index finger at them. If you were really special, he would point, nod is head and give a little wink. It is fair to say, Maynard hated him upon all sight and sound.

            He could see Kausniak's house from his back yard, with its grand view of the river. There was a constant flow of activity in and

out of the house and Maynard wondered how one family could sustain so much activity. He thought if wealth had an odor it would be a blending of onions and Polo after-shave. That was the odor he detected coming from Kausniak as he strutted into the Arborville recreation hall to present his plan for making the dog restaurant a reality. He loved games. He liked taking a risk and winning. Above all, he was adamant about having control. This challenge was perfect for him.

            He explained designing the restaurant was no problem and using the site of the old service station was easy because he owned it. Getting the dogs to come and go in an orderly fashion was another matter.

            "But don't worry I've already done some work on this. Have you ever seen my dogs leave my property? Do you ever hear them howl at night. No!" He smiled pointing his big index finger at the audience. "And there's a reason!" He gave the group a sinister smile and said, "Relax. I'll have this problem solved in a few weeks."

            He bounced out of the room saying:

            "Have a good one."

            Maynard was furious. He hated that expression. What the hell does that mean? He hissed under his breath. Have a good what? It could mean the same thing to a robber as he kindly took your wallet.

            "And don't tell me to relax. You piss-ant."

            In six weeks Kausniak was back. The restaurant was done and people began to peer into it and wonder how it was going to work. The news media was already covering the story. The city council had picked a name:

            "NIBBLES AND SNACKS."

            The "Big Dog Food Company" was delighted with the free advertising for their number one product called "Nibbles And Snacks" and gave their approval. Kausniak had obviously pulled a few strings. Big Dog was one of the few companies that produced a dog food of high nutritional value and they welcomed any notoriety available to them.

            A sign was to be installed showing a large neon circle. In the center was the name "NIBBLES AND SNACKS." A dog's head protruded from the left of the circle, a tail on the right, with feet at the bottom. All went into motion when the sign was turned on.

            But still, there was the big question: What about the dogs? Kausniak was confident as he made his final presentation to the city. He displayed a collar that had a small computer chip imbedded in it. He refused to explain how the collar worked because of what he

called patent infringements. He only demonstrated what it did. His system required that a small electronic device be installed at the corner of each block.

            "That keeps them on a straight and narrow path," he joked, with a mischievous little laugh.

            The collar had a small plastic case that required a camera battery the size of a dime to activate it.

            "Just put it on and push that tiny button and your dog will not only go straight to the restaurant, he will cross the street when the light turns green. He will wait for traffic. He will go to the booth at the restaurant. He will not pee on your shrubs; and he will be home promptly within about thirty minutes, depending on how far he travels."

            There was a silence that followed his brief explanation and Kausniak bristled in his aggressive manner as he looked at them.        "Listen folks, I can make your dog do just about anything I want with this collar. It's a stroke of genius, if I say so myself. Pavlov would be proud. Believe me it works; and I'll use my own dogs to demonstrate . . . O.K? Put the collar on when you want the dog to go; but, don't forget to take it off when he comes home. That's important. I'll bet you that after a few months that dog will go to the restaurant without the collar. Who knows? Yes, it costs $20.00. Not a bad price, not a bad price at all. And of course we all pay the small monthly fee for restaurant overhead."

            Kausniak's dogs performed perfectly. They left home and headed for the restaurant with the intent of an employee in a hurry getting to work on time for his first day. They sat at their correct place in the restaurant, while an electronic arm served them a fresh bowl of NIBBLES. They ate, drank some water, and went straight home. They did everything but leave a tip. People lined the streets and watched in amazement.         

            The success that followed was more than anyone could have imagined. The large sign on top of the restaurant was now on twenty four hours a day blinking: NIBBLES AND SNACKS . . . NIBBLES AND SNACKS.  There was another small sign above the door that pleased Maynard even more. It read: No People Allowed.

            Even citizens that disapproved would occasionally let their dogs go out for a NIBBLE. Arborville was shown on national television. The town was featured on "60 Minutes," with a ten minute segment which ended with Mike Wallace saying:

            "Here is a little town where every dog really does have his day."

            It would be unreasonable to think that every day went by without problems. There was the incident when the main computer at Kausniak's house malfunctioned, sending the dogs to El Torrito's fast-food drive up window. Eventually, these problems were solved.      

            Real estate values began to rise in the business district. MacDonald's and Burger King purchased land close to the restaurant to serve the constant flow of tourists. Maynard became a  celebrity with locals that knew how it all began. Kausniak made plans to sell his collar throughout the nation.

            Then . . . at the height of success, something unsuspected happened. As we sometimes say, there was a fly in the ointment. The "fly" was the diminutive animal rights activist Mary Jane Melmihey. She was the quintessential meddler, a shameless compulsive passive aggressive. She had attended every council meeting and had been against the restaurant idea from the beginning. Overruled and out-voted, she did not give up.

            She took the Kausniak collar to a scientific testing lab and then took the results of these tests to court. Although they did not understand all the elements of the collar, they did prove the collar caused the dog pain in its hearing when it refused the collar's demands. She also made a case based on what she called, "the engineering of animals," which the court ruled had other diabolical implications. One of these "diabolical" functions was dramatized by the tearful testimony of little Jimmy Fitzgerald who said his dog had become addicted to the NIBBLES-RESTAURANT routine and would no longer go fishing with him.

            "I want my poochie back!" he sobbed.

            "You see!" The prosecuting attorney exclaimed, his hand gesturing toward the crying child. "I rest my case!"

            Kausniak threw up his hands in dismay.

            "Another guilty tree-hugging liberal who can't stand progress!" He bellowed forth at the hearing as he glared at Ms. Melmihey. "You are going to close this whole thing down because it might hurt some dog's ears? Outrageous! Impossible! . . . something this profitable, this productive? Unbelievable!"

            Mary Jane Melmihey not only held her ground, she chuckled to herself with a wry smile on her face.

            "Is it money we are talking about here, Mr. Kausniak, or is it filthy lucre extracted from poor suffering animals?"

            Now furious, Kausniak's southern accent boiled to the surface.        "My dear, talking to you is like sipping from a cup of rancid ignorance."

            Maynard's opinion of Kausniak suddenly went up. Any man that could be so beautifully insulting must be doing something right.

            Mary Melmihay was incorrigible. She even solicited political backing through the governor's office. The Republican governor seized the opportunity for political gain. He referred to Arborville in his state of the state address. The Democrats labeled his address as the "Let dogs be dogs" speech.

            The governor fought back calling the Arborville incident an example of social engineering.

            "Let the democrats control my dog, and soon they will be controlling my cat!"

            The audience loved it, and he made the most of it, but, at Arborville's expense. The restaurant was closed and the collar system abandoned.

            Always the positive thinker, Kausniak refused to be defeated.         "Turn defeat into victory," he insisted. "And I know a way to do it."

            He replaced the restaurant with an elaborate series of bronze sculptures of the neighborhood dogs. Arborvillians were invited to have as many of their dogs represented as possible, all at Kausniak's expense. There was an Akita, Doberman, Great Dane, Mastiff, Rottweiler, St. Bernard, Siberian Husky, working dogs, herding dogs, terriers, toy dogs, hounds, sporting dogs, and of course, Kausniak's two Pit Bulls had the most prominent spot. Mrs. Hullsibus's Pekingese was placed on a bronze pillow where it sat as if yapping at everything that moved on Jefferson Street.

            60 Minutes, which had retracted everything good it had said about NIBBLES AND SNACKS, now came back a second time for a brief follow up feature. The title:

            "How Arborville Turned Defeat Into Victory."

            Tourists still came but in smaller numbers, which was a relief for the town. The city council felt the restaurant was creating more activity than the town infrastructure could handle.

            "We are not freaks around here," the mayor said. "We just wanted a little notoriety."

            Maynard took umbrage at the mayor's statement about freaks, but had the sense to keep his mouth shut. The episode of NIBBLES

AND SNACKS had not changed him much, except for two extraordinary events that happened after the restaurant closed. To the astonishment of neighbors and family: He became friends with Bill Kausniak. Secondly, he bought a dog, a Golden Retriever puppy that he named Finnigan.

            Joan was used to his weirdness, but these two events left her dumbfounded. It's possible Maynard's change of attitude was triggered by Kausniak's phrase, "Cup of rancid ignorance," which became a standard phrase in his venomous vocabulary. He liked Kausniak's sense of humor, which was something Marynard sorely needed. He found that in spite of Kausniak's positive posturing, he actually did not have many true friends. He referred to Maynard as "The old curmudgeon." Maynard called him "Mr. Positive." One evening they had a long discussion about quadratic equations. Without a doubt, no two men in Arborville could have such a discussion but Kausniak and Schrumpf. 

            Kausniak always took the lead when it came to selling. He began to see the bronze dogs were not enough to bring the curious to Arborville in the numbers he thought were possible. He devised an elaborate fountain system that suddenly came to life for five minutes on the hour, with music and carbon dioxide fog like one sees in the movies. Kausniak was inspired by Maynard's dream of the barking dog and there was a section in the music that featured a barking dog chorus. The show began with the main nozzle shooting water fifty feet. This was followed by a series of little bursts of water calibrated to hit various sculptures. Children loved the fountains and would often run through the water at the chagrin of their parents.

            It would not be accurate to say Maynard now liked the neighborhood dogs, but he was more tolerant. The reason was partly due to his Golden Retriever. After the dog was grown, it had a habit of walking up to Maynard at the kitchen table while he was reading the morning paper and laying his head softly on his knee then looking up at him.

            "Get the hell out, Finngan." He would say looking down at him.      But the dog would not move because he only responded to Maynard's tone of voice. Maynard would reach down and scratch him behind the ear. Far off in the center of town, one could faintly hear the music playing and the chorus of dogs barking as he complained to his wife about all the crap going on in the world.

 

Copyright Don Anawalt

 

 

    HOME | THE LITERARY LATTÉ - Stories & Poems | ON MY NIGHTSTAND - Books reviewed |THE SCENE - Lit Events | REVIEW - Writing and Arts|SALON - Interviews, Submission, Contacts

Author photos, this issue, from the authors.

Gary Topper: by Richard Martin

uncredited photos by J. Macon King.

© MillValleyLit. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material without permission is strictly prohibited.