Saturday, June 17, 2017


Bear Burr as Dr. Bear Burr

Gary Farmer, Native American actor
as Dr. Bear Burr (Vince Edwards was out sick)
 dreaming about curing Miss Voo in his teddy bear bed…….

Aachoo Voo, Private Eye
Episode Six

       I awoke at 6 a.m. to the sound of rain. It was a funny kind of rain that sounded like laughter. And it was wet. Most rain is, I realize that, but this rain was falling inside. On me. And I didn’t like it. I rubbed my sleep laden eyes and pulled myself up in bed. Where was I? Oh, right, the hospital. Of course! (Didn’t I usually wake up in the hospital?) I blinked and pushed my long hair out of my face. I looked up. There was some kind of a round cobwebby looking contraption hanging over my bed. There appeared to be a big bug caught in the middle of it. I frowned, thinking I must still be asleep. “Good morning, Miss Voo, how are you today?”

 I looked over to my right and saw Dr. Burr standing there in the faint morning light holding a bowl of water and a feather. He dipped the feather into the bowl and shook it across my face. I jerked back and pulled the covers up to shield myself. “Hey!” I complained, “What gives!?” He smiled and said, “Well, I thought I’d give you the rain dance effect without the Rain Dance. You know, cheer you up? Or wake you up. You’ve been talking in your sleep for about an hour. Some mighty interesting stuff too, I might add. What’s a Bilbo?” he ended with a whisper.

“It’s a… I’m sorry, but it’s none of your business!” I snapped and straightened myself in the bed, pulled my knees up to my chin and shook back my hair. “What did I say, anyway? Did I mention coal or dragons or a man named david?” “No, I don’t think so,” he replied, pulling a stethoscope out of his pocket.”But there’s no call to get indignant. I’m indigenous and I don’t get indignant. It gives you diverticulitis.” Then he smiled, “Most of the words were not familiar to me. You were speaking in some kind of foreign language for the most part. But I remember you kept saying something about “The Eye, the Eye!” What was that all about?”

 I shrugged. “Just a nightmare, I suppose. Do I have a concussion?” He bent to check my heart beat and remained silent for quite a while. “What is it, doctor!?” I said, alarmed. I reached out to grab his wrist and accidentally pulled the end off his stethoscope. It fell on the sheet between us and we both looked at it and sighed.

The doctor cleared his throat and swung the ponytail back over his shoulder. “Uh, actually, Miss Voo, that’s the thing. When I came back on duty this morning and did my rounds, I heard you talking and moving very restlessly in your sleep, so I put one of my little dream catchers over your bed and you quieted down considerably. It’s an Indian thing, I know, but it sometimes works on you Pilgrims.” And he grinned and blushed and looked down at the floor. ”I appreciate your concern, Dr. Burr,” I said, “But, really, I’m sure that modern medicine…”

 But he shook his head and said a few words in his native tongue. “Not in this case, miss. Grandfather Storklegs told me that you needed strong medicine to pull you through this one. So I listened to the wind and consulted the rain and put my ear to the floor to determine….”

Grandfather Whatlegs !?” I interrupted impatiently. “What are you talking about? Am I going to be alright? What about my head w..w…wound?” And I put my hand to my head and felt around frantically trying to find the goose egg I’d gone to sleep with. Apparently, it had hatched and flown the coop. I was incredulous! “But…?” I asked, puzzled, and the doctor smiled at me and threw another feather full of rain on me. “Strong medicine.” he said very solemnly, tapping the side of his head. “Grandfather knows.”

After checking me out further and finding nothing more unusual than a bruise or burn or scrape or stab wound, (so far I had never been shot or dynamited but had come close on several occasions) the good and wise Cherokee medicine man told me I could expect to be checked out of the hospital shortly but to take my time and to lie there and reflect on my good fortune and miraculous healing. (For which he totally took credit.)

I didn’t know what to think. It was a miracle, I supposed and yet…something in the back of my mind kept hearing, “You’ll be well in the morning.” Who had said that? Had I dreamt it? The satchel! Where was it? I looked around the bed and the perimeter of the room. It was nowhere in sight. Had it ever even been there? I stretched out in bed, yawned and sighed and wondered what it might be like to live a normal life. I kicked my leg out to one side and connected with some kind of lump in the bed. It was soft. And hard. “Soft and hard??” I thought crazily and sat up and threw the covers back. There, lying on the white sheet was a little purple velvet bag with drawstrings pulled tight.

 I picked it up and felt the weight of it in my hand. A distant memory ran through my mind like a flash and disappeared. I pulled open the bag and poured about three dozen shiny gold coins into my lap. They were beautiful and cold and real. I put one to my teeth and bit it. Yep, they were real, alright. Solid gold coins. From what country, I had no idea, but who cared about that? I was looking at a small fortune. “Mr. Arehte!” I said softly and snuggled down against the pillows in amazement. “I didn’t dream you up after all.”

And I laid there happily thinking of all the wonderful things I could buy for my pets and my friends and all the new high heels and paint thinner and sand paper and…..And that, of course, made me think of the late Mr. Si and his mysterious demise and of the terrible tall man in black with his awful red eyes and his horrible plans to take over the world, or at the very least, his grandfather’s coal mines.  But then I wondered if that had been real and not a result of my now non existent head knot. It was all so confusing. I decided to take a short nap. I put the coins back in the bag and hid it in my own purse with it’s additional fortune of five thousand dollars. And the exquisite piece of jewelry from my small and generous client in his hideous sandals.

“Darling,” I said to myself sleepily, “Tomorrow, we are going to go shopping for a new convertible! And lots of insurance!” And just as I was about to drift off to dreamland, I looked up at the ceiling and saw a movement in the dream catcher above my head. “Help me!” a tiny terrified voice called and I imagined that I saw a miniature figure in black with long hair and awful red eyes struggling there in the strings of the Indian art object. I pulled the cord and turned off the lamp over my bed, threw the pillow over my head and shut out the light that peeked in through the blinds. “You’re not real,"  I muttered, “You’re only a dream! A dream, dammit, do you hear me? You’re only a dream!” From somewhere down the hall or out of the air vents, I don't know which, there came the lovely and soothing sound of flute music and it calmed me and took my imagination to lovelier scenes.

 And I fell into a deep and much deserved dreamless sleep and when I awoke, I made up my mind that I would hunt down poor lovable Andy and take him a truckload of flowers, fix the dent in his Studebaker, pay his hospital bills, and convince him to give me another chance. My luck had changed and I was determined that so was my life!

(Note to self:  Enroll in a Charm and Etiquette School and learn how to go on a date without killing somebody!!) (Also, investigate J.R.R. Tolkien and see if he actually exists.) (Ask MiMi Voo if hallucinations run in our family on the Voo side, not the Paramore side, I already knew her opinion regarding the Paramore side) and lastly, get Dr. Burr’s phone number in case it didn’t work out with Andy or worse, they had not been able to remove my high heel from his head and he had succumbed to…..well,  a bad case of…

Grandfather StorkLegs

TO BE CONTINUED……….in episode 7

special thanks for the use of the names:  Paramore, Si, J R R Tolkien, Burr, Andy, Gary Farmer, Vince Edwards

                                Spirit Flute music


Hallmark Moments
that never were

I had a Hallmark moment once
With my dad....................
The trouble is, I don't remember it
And looking at this photo here
We both looked scared too death
Of one

What is it
I am supposed to remember
And would I want to remember
Anything if I could?
And I wonder what it was
That he remembered about me
In the long icy years 
Before he passed from this life?

I remember my Pa, my daddy's daddy
And how much fun we had together
And how he laughed at all my antics
As we went fishing or riding
Or  just to the store
Where he'd buy me Grapettes and candy 
And I'd always want more.

I remember horses and cattle barns and sawdust at auctions
And how excited they'd be cause they thought it was slick
When I'd run down and do my "horse whisperer" trick
Coming home with a truck full and most of them, free
Cause they couldn't be tamed by nobody but me.

I remember playing cowboys and indians
And robbers and cops
Setting the sawmill on fire with my little friend, Eddie
 And how bad we felt
When the whole thing went up.

I remember I loved all the animals
And they all loved me
But I really loved horses
And I hadn't a care
I would sneak out and sleep in the stables beside them
And Mama would scream when she found me there.

I remember Mama's song writing
And singing and ironing
Her fried chicken and biscuits
And Ma's apple cakes 
The country way Ma talked
Calling asparagus "Sparegrass"
And it was embarrassing to us kids
But boy, she could bake!

I remember the creek and the bridge
And the swimming hole in summer
Sitting on the stock-gap and up in the trees
Playing circus and clowns
With my brothers and sisters
Writing poetry for hours
'Bout the birds and the bees.

I remember sharing Ma's secrets
And going through her treasures 
Stealing chocolate covered cherries
That she thought I couldn't see
And how she would rail then
But she knew it was me.

I remember pet cats and dogs 
And squirrels and horses
Rabbits and pigs
And geese and goats
Cows and chickens
That Pa sold me for pennies
Like peacocks and turtles
But I hated the guineas.

I remember Mama dressing up
In outrageous costumes
Coming round to the door
And fooling our dad
Who thought she was a stranger
And how we all laughed
But he never saw funny, he always got mad.

I remember  gallons of ice cream and Ma's baby brother
Visiting the kinfolk that lived far off a ways
Working hard in the summer and sneaking off on Ole Dan
Riding up in the hills and staying all day.

I remember a lot of things
And some of them good
But most times were bad
Just because of my Dad
And to make a bad rhyme here:
That is so sad.

I wish I could remember him loving me 
Like a daddy should love
His own little girl
And him making me giggle
And buying me toys
But all I remember is his sad, angry world.

And in light of that memory
I've tried to make all my life
One big Hallmark moment
In the joy and the strife.........
And sometimes, I failed
And sometimes I succeeded 
But there have been many and I'm proud of that.

©By Voo 
June 17, 2017
10:47 p.m.

dedicated to Fathers everywhere
Please make happy times
For your kids to remember
For after all,
what else is left of you when you go
but the memories?

                                                         Remember by Sarah Mc Lachlan

Giving Away  Laughter by John Trudell



Aachoo Voo, Private Eye
Episode Five

(is it five already? lemme see, 1,2,3, 4, yep, it's 5! holymolyravioli!)

(Big david's favorite expression)

     I awoke to feel my head pounding and the back of my eyelids feeling like they'd been used for Picasso canvases. I didn't know where I was. I didn't know who I was or what I was. Oh, wait! Yes, I did. I was that ditsy private eye dame that was always getting in and out of scrapes that would have killed smarter people. Aachoo! Yeah, yeah, that was her name. I mean, my name. Aachoo Voo. For a minute there, I almost wished I had woken up with amnesia so I couldn't remember that name. Damn my Grandmother Voo and her little practical jokes!! Of course, it wasn't much better than the name my mother was gonna give me, but still....But that's a story for another time and place. I tried to open my eyes but they were all rusty and cranky and needed some machine oil to cooperate. Where the heck was I?

"O si yo, a ta. Do hi tsu? Ga do de tsa do a?" My eyes flew open at that. What the.....? "Oh, rats!" I thought, "I've had a stroke! I've died and gone to some underworld place where they don't speak English! That weird guy in black put a spell on me and I'm a prisoner in one of his grandfather's coal mines!" All manner of thought flooded my mind and I sat up and groped around until my sight became clear. I was in a hospital bed, covered with white sheets. It was dark outside the window. The moon was making funny faces at me. No, wait, that couldn't be right...."Hello, young lady. How are you? What is your name?" My vision focused and I beheld a huge tall man standing at the end of my bed holding a chart. He was smiling. He was wearing white. He had a ponytail.

"Where am I?" I said, pulling the sheets up to my chin and scooting back as far as I could. The big man stood patiently waiting for me to get my bearings and then he said, "You're in St. Chuck's Hospital. You had an accident with a drug store. You've got a knot on the top of your head as big as a turkey egg but no cuts or wounds and though I know it hurts, you're going to be alright." I looked up at him with painful eyes and tried to comprehend his words. Oh, that's right, that building ran out in front of me as I made my escape from Ole Creaky Fingers. I had had my head down and wasn't looking where I was going but trying to keep up with what was behind me. The cops had got him, right? I stiffened. "My bag! My purse! Where is it?" I looked around frantically. "Don't worry. " the man in white said. "It's right here. It took four of us to pry it out from under your arm even though you were unconscious. Boy, you had a grip on that thing!" He gave me a dazzling smile and continued, "I was just about to open it up and see if we could find someone to notify about your accident but thankfully, you came out of it and now here you are, all alive and kicking."

Then he stuck out his big brown hand. "I'm Dr. Burr, by the way. Dr. Bear Burr. And yes, I'm an Indian. Not a East Indian, mind you, but an Indigenous Indian. Born in Ohio, thank you very much, but left the corn fields for big city lights and fixing up broken white people." "So nice to meet you, Dr. Burr. Tell me, are you related to Raymond Bur.....?" "Nope." he interrupted. "Aaron Bur.......?" I asked. "Definitely not!" he grinned and I withdrew my hand. He had a gentle handshake for such a big man. "Just call me Bear," he said, checking my heartbeat. "Everybody does." "Alright." I said, hesitantly as he looked in my eyes and ears and under my tongue. "Whaaaizmmmypuullss?" I asked before he had taken the tongue depressor out of my mouth. I had to know everything was safe. Especially that five thousand dollars. "Be patient, Patient." he said, taking my pulse.

"No one has disturbed any of your powders and paints. Not that I haven't had a hankering to put me on some war colors and do a little rain jig around the room while you were out!" I could tell he was joshing, I think he was, but I needed that bag in my own two little hands. "Here it is." he said, handing me the black satchel. "What on earth do you have in there? A ton of coal?" "You might be surprised." I murmured and held the bag against my chest. "Well," he said as he walked towards the door, "I have some rounds to make so I'll eyeball you again later. I think you should stay overnight just to make sure your brains aren't scrambled and your bells and whistles are still in working order but otherwise, I'd say you can go home tomorrow and look for other buildings to demolish." And with that, he shut the door and let me be.

Before I had a chance to look in the bag, there came a commotion outside the door. It sounded like two guys arguing. "I tell you, that's Rita Hayworth in there!" said one. "No," said the other, "It's Ava Gardner!" Or...or maybe Rhonda Fleming or Hedy Lamar!" and just then, two heads peeked around the door, eyes all wide and faces all flushed. "Sorry to disappoint you fellas, "I said, fluffing up my hair, "But I'm not a movie star, I'm a ticket taker down at the Wanda Roma WonderRama." Their faces fell. "Ah, gee," said one, "I wanted your autograph! I've already told all my friends that we had us a celebrity in here tonight." "Well, I can give you an autograph." I smiled. "I'm sure I'm famous in some circles of the rich and notorious." (And I was, but not for the reasons they thought.) "Really???" they exclaimed excitedly and rushed into the room with their little autograph books out and wearing little orderly uniforms with St. Chucks on the pockets. One was named Alec and one was named Martin.

 Aachoo Voo. I signed with a flourish and they looked at me with puzzled faces and then blushed and said, "Thank you, Miss Voo, oh, thank you very much!" And ran out of the room backwards, knocking over tables and wastepaper baskets and doing a fair imitation of me in a hurry. "Whew!" I sighed and slid down in the bed and wondered what the world was coming to when a fake femme fatale couldn't even find peace in a hospital!

"Hmm ." I said to myself, gingerly feeling the knot on my head. "St. Chuck's, huh?" The one hospital in the city that I hadn't been rushed to, till now. I kept a running tab at most of 'em. They didn't even ask me my name, just waved me back with a "Yeah, yeah, go on back, Miss Voo " kind of greeting. I'd never had an Indian doctor before. Usually a stiff upper lip bluenose that thought he was the cat's meow, but never a Cherokee. He was kinda cute, too. I slid further down in the bed and made myself comfortable, thinking about that ponytail. I wondered if Andy was in this hospital somewhere. It wasn't far from the movie theater we had gone to that afternoon. Had it really been only four or five days? I lost track of time so easily. I didn't think the relationship was over but the third date had not gone as planned. A shame, too, cause I was having a swell time and starting to feel at ease with the guy. He'd taken me to a Marx Brothers Marathon and we'd laughed and laughed and laughed. I loved to laugh at other people. Other people were always laughing at me and it kinda evened up the score.

So, we're sitting there laughing and Andy's worked up enough nerve to put his arm up on the seat behind me, hadn't put it around me yet but he was working on it, when this size 32 Hungarian woman decides she's got to get out of the aisle right then, right that second, and before I can stand up to let her out, she sidles through there with her butt right in my face and steps on my foot and I let out a scream you could've heard over in Tangier and Andy leaps up and lets her out but not before her big brown purse had ripped two or three gashes across his face. "Are you alright?" he asked anxiously, ignoring the blood streaming down his cheek and leaned down to tend to me. "Oh, my foot!" I moaned and took off my high heel to see if all my toes were still there. "Poor Ducky." he said and took the shoe from me and sat there holding it while I massaged my bruised but unbroken digits. After a few minutes, I was feeling a little better and I took some napkins that were not too badly butter stained and began wiping his face. "Here, let's get you cleaned up." I whispered because the whole audience was shushing us at this point and I was getting annoyed. "Oh, shush yourselves!" I told them more loudly than I meant to. "You want to go now, Andy?" I asked quietly. I think Andy was more than ready. His romantic mood had been spoiled by Hungary anyhow. I stood up and dropped my purse and Andy and I both dipped down at the same time to catch it and knocked our heads together in a resounding Crack! Then I slipped in some spilled popcorn oozing with butter and fell and well, do you really want to know what happened next? You do? Sigh.

Long story short, then. I tried to right myself, flailing wildly to hold on to anything I could, (which turned out to be the hat of the chrome dome in the next row.) Andy tried to help, bless his heart, but there was nothing much to do. It was dark, Harpo was playing his harp solo, people were hissing, yes, actually hissing and somehow, the whole row of seats came crashing down and fourteen people hit those sticky floors doing some pretty good screwball comedy routines. The whole time Andy had been holding on to my high heel shoe and I was trying to grab it and put it back on my buttery foot when the crash occurred and one thing led to another and the heel of that shoe ended up broken off in the top of his head and his leg was caught under the dismantled seats. The house lights came up and the ushers and managers came running and it was just chaos and utter mayhem, you know, the usual? I helped Andy limp out to the lobby and I was limping too, you know, because of the Hungarian lady and having only one shoe and I told Andy to sit down while I got him some water and called an ambulance.

He insisted that he didn't need an ambulance, that he was okay to drive but looking at that heel sticking out like that, I doubted it. (And those were my favorite pair of shoes, too!)  So I escorted him outside and practically carried him to the car across the street. He was moaning pretty loudly and attracting attention. But when that movie audience tore out of the theater with murder in their eyes and running towards us like a tar-and-feather mob on a Saturday night, I shouted, "Give me your keys!" I propped Andy up on the side of his dented Studebaker. He fumbled in his pocket and fished out the keys, but they slipped from his buttered fingers and as I dove for them, I let go of him and he screamed and fell under an oncoming bus. So......... that's pretty much it.

"I bet he's here." I said out loud and made a mental note to ask the doctor to check on that for me when he came back. Oh, why, oh, why did men have to be so fragile? I covered my face with my hands and tried to put Andy out of my mind. The bag! I reached for the satchel and set it in my lap and opened it with mounting excitement. I removed my own purse, saw that everything was as it should be and breathed a deep sigh of relief. "There is a God!" I said thankfully and reached further into the bag. There was the manuscript wrapped in brown paper just as Mr. Arehte had described it. It smelled slightly of potatoes and gingerbread. Then I pulled out a...a...thing that could only be described as a...thing. "What is this?" I asked in amazement. It was like a gigantic eyeball. It was glass-like and extremely heavy but appeared very delicate. Like something you'd see at Madam Rose's Tea Leaves, Sheep Entrails and Reflexology Shop down on Metanoia Avenue.

I'd gone in there once looking for one of my best friends, Carol. She'd been despondent over the tragic accidental death of her uncle who had left her half a million dollars in his will. She wanted to contact him and ask him what happened to the other half a million and I'd told her to keep away from those kind of shysters but she wouldn't listen. (Let's just say, she went in to get her fortune and came out without her fortune.) I set the glass curiosity aside and reached in again. Hmm. Toothpaste, a razor, toenail clippers the size of hedge trimmers, barbed wire, an autographed 8x10 glossy of Boris Karloff, a blue bathrobe, a teddy bear, some pepsin gum, a piece of coal, blueprints for some kind of laboratory and a stuffed aardvark. In the very bottom, I found three marbles and a round trip ticket stub and boarding pass for the S.S. Blackbird. There was a To Do List scrawled in what appeared to be dried blood and I could barely make it out.

It read something like this:

a. lure villagers into mines b. turn them into mindless slaves with poor hygiene c. become rich beyond my wildest dreams d. retrieve the Tolkien book e. destroy the Arehte clan f. build my own tower g. overthrow Grandfather Saruman h. clone myself i. buy a pony j. propose to Joan Blondell k. learn how to turn dwarves into fairies

Oh, it was giving me a headache! What kind of asylum did this guy escape from? Did he really think he lived in the middle of the Earth for crying out loud? Isn't it hot down there? Wasn't that where Grandmother Voo was always threatening to send my mother!? Perhaps I'd better read that manuscript, I thought and put all the other disgusting paraphernalia back in the satchel. I untied the string on the parcel and very carefully began turning the yellowed pages of the old book. I have met a hobbit, the first page said, and his name is Bilbo Rodger Arehte. A what?!

I kept reading until my eyes were so heavy that I couldn't read anymore. Sometime in the the night I dreamed that Mr. Arehte came into the room and stood by my bedside. He had packed the manuscript back in it's brown paper wrapping, thrown the black satchel out the window, placed a velvet bag full of gold coins under my blanket and gave me a very soft and very sweet kiss on the cheek. I dreamed that I opened my eyes and looked into his and he smiled a funny little smile and said, "Thank you on behalf of my family and my village and coal miners everywhere. When this scandal breaks and justice is restored, you'll know that you played a very, very big part in it. May you find your one true love and may the elven moon always shine upon your path. Now I leave you, my good gumshoe, and in the morning you will be well." My sleepy eyes followed him to the door and he stood there quietly in the dim light, a comical character, but almost beautiful in his small majestic way.

"Amvanya heri nartyƫ," he whispered. "A very beautiful lady are you."

TO BE episode 6

Andy from myspace 

                            & Ray Milland as Andy

Andy in the hospital after our movie date

Bear Burr from myspace


 Dr. Burr in conference
            with one of his adoring nurses.
Vince Edwards 
as Dr Bear Burr


                           Bear Burr, cowboy and Indian

With special thanks for the use of the names:  Rose, Metanoia, Boris, Blackbird, Harpo, Wanda, Carol, Alec and Martin from the webs and oh yeah, my very good friend, Chuck and of course Rodger 'Arehte' Ashton


Aachoo Voo, Private Eye 

Episode Four

     I made an appointment to go see Big david. I wanted my money.  I needed my money. The rent was due on the apartment and the cat needed a new pair of shoes. Of course, to get in to see Big david,  you had to contact Big Tony who had to contact Big Louie who had to call Big david's secretary, Candy, who then put in a request to Big david's bodyguard, Little Guido, who, if he felt like it, maybe mentioned it to Big david when he found him in a mellow mood. Then, depending upon whether or not he was in the right frame of mind to see a real live human, maybe  the message was passed back down the grapevine to the lucky (or not so lucky) seeker of favors. It took two days but I had evidently found favor with the notorious gangster. "Hey there, doll." Big david said, looking up from his plate of ravioli. "Sit down, take a load off. How you been? Some Chianti?" And I shook my head and slid into the booth opposite him at Sterling's Silver Palace Saloon and Restaurant. I'd heard there were gambling tables in the back and call girls and moonshine stills, maybe even movie stars and organ grinders and I was a bit nervous. I didn't want to be caught dead or alive there if the place got raided.

"Everything alright, Big david?" the owner of the joint asked anxiously, leaning on the back of my booth. "More wine? Ravioli? Some dessert,  perhaps? What can I get for your friend here?" Indicating me. Big david swallowed a huge forkful and said, "I'm fine. Tell the man what you want, Sweetheart. It's on me." I turned to look at John Sterling. He was movie star handsome, with a scar that ran from his right eyebrow down to the bottom of his cheek. It didn't ruin his looks like you might think it would but made him even more attractive. There was a palatable fear in his eyes, though, an anxiousness to please that led me to suspect that Big david might have had something to do with that scar. "Black coffee, thanks," I said, meeting his eyes, "With two sugars." "Coming right up." he smiled and hurried away.

I turned back to my host. "About my money....." but he waved his hand and said, "Not while I'm eating ravioli. I never discuss business while eating ravioli." So I waited as he ate and when the coffee had been served, I sipped it quietly and observed the patrons of the establishment. It was an elegant place in a mildly gaudy way. Almost full even at three in the afternoon. Ladies sipped tea, some,  beer and wine. Some were eating pasta and laughing at one another in that semi-high society piety that I so detested. A few of them glared at me as my eyes swept the room while their male companions looked me up and down and nodded their approval. One idiot held up a wine glass and toasted me just before he was struck with a heavy  alligator purse. I was amused and also relieved that it wasn't me getting slugged this time.

 Several tables away, I caught the eye of a dark haired handsome waiter and he turned pale and rushed off into the kitchen like he'd seen a ghost. Then I realized that he was a guy I had dated a couple of years back. I think his name was Mario. The relationship had not ended well, (very few of mine did.) I seemed to recall accidentally knocking his car out of gear as we sat atop Lover's Leap Hill, snuggling then arm wrestling as he tried to get fresh. Somehow, the passenger side door had flown open, I had probably kicked the handle with my foot, and I had fallen out backwards and righted myself and looked up just in time to see the car going over the side of the cliff, Mario's eyes wide as saucers and his sensuous mouth forming a gigantic O.

"I forgot just what a gorgeous dame you are." Big david said, trying to get my attention. He had finished eating and pushed the plate away from his sizable belly. He was a huge man, tanned and tall and muscular. He had short dark hair and eyes the color of bones. Eyes you couldn't look into or you'd die of fright. He was wearing an expensive suit and a unique ring on his right ring finger. It had some sort of odd crest on it. I found myself staring at it, trying to see what it was. He cleared his throat and covered his hand with the other. "Like I say, you sure are a good looking broad. Have you ever thought of going into show business? I have contacts in Hollywood and on Broadway. I could make a few in a few favors......"

 He paused to see if I was biting the bait and I shook my head and said, "No thanks. I appreciate it but I'm not very talented, I'm afraid." Silently, in the back of my mind, I was thinking, Lord knows that's the last thing I need:  to go out to Hollywood and run Jimmy Stewart down with my car! My mother would never forgive me. She idolized Jimmy Stewart. Kept trying to fix me up with Jimmy Stewart look-a-likes. It never worked out. I was a 'Robert Mitchum, Marlon Brando' kind of girl. I liked 'em big and bad with not much to say but a whole lot to do. 

Big david was getting antsy. "Let's take a walk." he said trying to get to his feet. "Go down by the waterfront and catch some rats." I tried not to look dismayed so I powdered my nose and said, "Well, as tempting as that offer sounds.....I think I'll have to take a rain check. I have an appointment at five and besides, I already have a pet  mouse named Manny. He and the cat play war games a lot and keep me busy cleaning up. So, I guess I'll just have to say no thanks and run. So....if you could write me out a check....." Big david leaned back in the booth and gave me a strange look. "You turning Big david down, doll? You shouldn't oughta turn Big david down. Big david don't like no rejection, you know?" I swallowed hard and put a fake smile on my face and reached out and touched the mobster's hand, much to my distaste. 

"No, no, nothing like that. I just...I just need my money.... to pay the rent. I did a good job for your sister, didn't I? I found her husband, didn't I? By the way, whatever happened to those two?" I really didn't want to know but I wanted to distract this romeo from his lame-brained ideas. His face lit up. "Oh, yeah, yeah, you did a good thing, there. We was really, you know, appreciative of all your good work, me and Prudence. You know I don't deal with checks, right? But yeah, I got your money, honey. Maybe I just held off paying you so's I could get a look at that sweet puss of yours again, you know?" Oh, geez! I smiled wider, pretending that I was flattered by his revelation. "But what happened to the....husband and the girlfriend?" I drank the dregs of my coffee and looked around to see if anyone was close enough to overhear our conversation.

"Well, let's just say that those guys took themselves a permanent vacation!" Big david grinned proudly. "They bought themselves some beach front property down in old Mexico!" I gulped and reached in my purse for some gum. "Gee, that's nice." I said, feeling horrible that I had had something to do with that real estate transaction. I had hoped for a messy divorce or something along those lines, not this. But I had been fooling myself. This is the way mobsters solved their problems. It always involved real estate.

 Suddenly, Big david pulled out a huge wad of hundred dollar bills and threw them on the table. "Here, doll, help yourself to whatever you think you deserve!"  I almost fainted. What was I going to do? If I took too many, he'd probably kill me. If I took too few, he'd be insulted. Rats! I couldn't fail this test. It could be hazardous to my health and career. I leaned over and took $2,000 and put it in my purse before I changed my mind.

 I looked up into the gray eyes and a small smile flickered across the big man's face. "You're quite a dame, you know it?" I shrugged. Then he took three more thousand out of the pile and put them in my trembling hands and closed them around the money. "Here's a tip from Big david. You're a good girl. I like you. I might need to ask another favor of you sometime. Now you run on to your appointment and don't worry. Me and you'll go walking down on the waterfront some other time." And he got up, grabbed the rest of the cash, left a hundred dollar bill on the table and signalling to three of his henchmen seated at other tables, walked out with a swagger in his step.

I sat there trying to get myself together as other patrons stared and whispered behind their hands and menus. I heard the term gun moll several times as well as "Do you think Big Sophia knows?"  Oh, good Lord! I looked around for the restrooms and spotting the doorway to the back, hurried in retreat from spying eyes. I touched up my face, combed my hair and washed my hands then made my way down the dark hallway past the phone booths on the left. Something caught my eye. I looked sharply, then slid into the phone booth next to the one in question and left the door cracked. Pretending to use the phone, I inserted coins and rang my own apartment. The man in the next phone booth was dialing frantically with his left hand and tapping a black cane on the floor outside the booth. He was wearing a long black coat, an ugly scarf, had very long wildish hair and I couldn't see his eyes but I was pretty sure they'd be bleary and red. I turned a little bit, nonchalantly, you know, and saw what appeared to be a black bag or satchel on the floor at his feet.

 My heart fluttered in my chest. No, it couldn't be! Could it? "Grandfather Saruman, I've got it!" the strange man suddenly cried out upon reaching his party. "The book! I've got the book! Our secret is safe! Wipe out the rest of those Arehtes and I'll take care of this one and be on the next plane home! I've followed this creature halfway around the world and I'm tired and longing for the fires of Middle Earth!" It was! It was him! The thief I was looking for! Oh, it couldn't be that simple, could it? My cases weren't solved that easily. There was always bloodshed involved, usually mine. I hung up the phone and walked back down the hallway. I waited until the crow-like man turned his back to the door of the booth laughing maniacally at something particularly funny (or heinous) that old Grandfather Saruman had said and then slipped by and caught up the black bag, slung it on my shoulder and practically ran out of the door, across the restaurant and was almost at the exit when there came a terrifying shout. "Stop, thief!"

I ran as fast as my high heels could carry me. The tall figure in black tore out of the restaurant with a disbelieving look on his ugly face. I looked back at him once and then crossed the street in the middle of traffic, darting in and out, ignoring curses and wolf whistles. The man in black was not so fortunate. They didn't think he was that cute. They tried to hit him. He shook the long cane at them and screamed in rage. The sky suddenly became darkened and a peal of thunder seemed to shake the ground beneath my feet. I was almost a block away when he appeared practically behind me. "No way!" I thought and ran faster. There were six people between us. One of them was a cop. I hurriedly slid my own purse inside the black bag and kept stepping. "Stop that woman!" the villain yelled at the policeman as he gained on us. "She's a thief!"

 The cop started running after me, the macabre figure close behind him. Then the cop stopped and looked at him, startled. "What did she steal....your purse?" The man stopped and composed himself. "Y..y...yes." He said, pointing his nose in the air. "Yes, she did." He sniffed like he couldn't believe he was being confronted by a mere mortal. I crossed the street again and shouted back, "But I only stole back the purse that you had first stolen!" And I ran like the wind. When I looked back, three more cops had joined the first one and they had the figure in black down on his knees with his hands behind his back. He was sobbing. "Noooooooooo!" he cried with that terrible face looking in my direction. "Nooooooo! It cannot be!" And I laughed and held up the bag, "Oh, but it is!" And then I ran into the side of a brick building and knocked myself unconscious.

TO BE Episode Five

david from myspace...

                                                                                      Big david the mobster

                    Boris Karloff as Sauron

Gary Cooper 
as John Sterling       

John Sterling                                                                                

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Aachoo Voo, Private Eye 

Episode Three

     I was sitting in my office filing my nails when there came a soft knock on the door. My office was on the first floor of my apartment building, situated between a cafe/sandwich shop/dirty ole man hang out called Clapsaddles and The Sit and Spin Automated Laundry Mat and Lost Sock Depository  and somewhat adjacent to the Alaskan Relief Charity foundation thing. (What kind of relief Alaska needed, I wasn't quite up to par on yet) (more blubber, perhaps?) but I dropped the occasional quarter in the donations bucket shaped like an igloo out in front of their door. There was rarely anyone ever in the office as far as I could tell.  (They were probably up in Alaska, delivering the quarters, no doubt.) But I believed in the sowing and reaping principle myself, and only hoped that should the occasion ever arise, that Alaska would be there for me.

Getting to my office was like running through a maze, everything was at all angles, the elevator rarely worked, washing machines flooded the hallways on a regular basis, little old ladies got mugged bi-weekly for their dimes as they sat waiting for the dryers to stop and hoping their flannel undies didn't catch on fire.The wastrels that frequented Clapsaddles roamed around at all hours trying to catch some girl wandering in the maze looking for a way out. (And let's face it, it was usually me.)  All that whistling and pinching and groping got annoying after a while and I'd let out a good scream and the little old ladies would run out of the S&S and beat the hell outta them with their dime filled purses.

 I kept complaining to Harold, the manager/cook/under the counter bartender/pt time therapist/owner of the dump but he just grinned and wiped his hands on an apron that had seen it's share of battlefields and did nothing. (Imagine my face when I was eventually told that he gave free buttered toast to anyone that could make me scream the loudest.) They said he actually kept a graph.

The one small window my office boasted faced a lovely alleyway with a breath taking view of trash cans and cats of every size and description. In fact, that's where I had found, excuse me, rescued, my own crazy feline pet, Wiener. I had noticed a commotion one day while sitting at my desk doodling and moseyed over and discovered that a veritable gang of hoodlum-like kitty cats was mauling the stuffing out of this one skinny orange character and screaming like a pack of seagulls after a meal with gills. He was lying there holding on for dear life to this long, red frankfurter, fur was flying, people were throwing pails of water down out of windows trying to shush the racket, trash cans were overturned, whistles were blowing, winos were halting in the middle of their hangovers to watch. I swear, if they could have, those cats would have been wearing black leather jackets and carrying switchblades. They were that mean.

 "Shoo!" I yelled at the mob, waving my arms and kicking at them with my high heels. "Stop it, you pack of rat eaters! Leave him alone!" And I swooped down and picked up the poor little guy and ran back to my office with him, wiener and all. And you know the rest of the story. (Don't you?) I named him Wiener. Duh!
But I digress, as usual..............

I was supposed to be working on my filing cabinet that day but I just couldn't get into alphabetizing and opening drawers and stuff. It seemed like too much work. So I had pulled out a nail file instead and began working on my long sharp nails. I was going for the scratch-your-eyes-out look. The knock came again. "Yes?" I said, perturbed at the interruption. "Come in." And in walked the strangest little man I had ever seen. He was barely three feet six if he was that, he had shaggy dark hair, big ears and enormous blue eyes. He was wearing short pants and a heavy coat and his huge feet were shod with the most bizarre furry sandals. At least, I thought they were sandals. I couldn't stop staring. I sat there in amazement, nail file suspended in the air, my mouth open. The little man was holding a brown bowler hat in his hands and his bottom lip trembled with emotion. He looked at the floor and waited for me to get over my astonishment. (He seemed to be familiar with the reaction.)

"Hello. What may I do for you, Mr....Mr......" and I stopped. "Arehte," he said softly, "Mr. Bilbo Arehte." "Mr. Arehte!" I smiled, "What an unusual name! What kind of name is that?" "It's Elvish, ma'am." he answered and he looked up and his big blue eyes were brimming over with tears. "Elvis?" I asked, puzzled. "No, ma'am, Elvish." he replied."Oh!" I said, "Of course. Elvish. R.r..right........" And I put away the nail file, clasped my hands together and sat up straighter in the swivel chair. "Please. Have a seat, Mr. Arehte." I offered, pointing to the tall, velvet chair to the left of my desk. "And then you can tell me how I may be of service." For some ten long minutes or so, I watched as the little man attempted to get up into the chair and seat himself. It was quite comical, at times alarming, and finally, he gave it one more shot and jumped up and turned himself around and gave me a look that said, "A small triumph! And it is mine!" and then looked down at his feet in humility. I was strangely touched and ducked my head and pretended that I hadn't seen a thing.

"What seems to be the problem and why do you have need of a private investigator?" I asked as seriously as I could. "Because the police won't help." he said matter-of-factly. "I've begged them and all they do is laugh at me and refer me to Children's Services!" Then he huffed. "Madam, I am muchly aged ! I have been robbed and I mean to have my possession returned to me!" I tried not to widen my eyes but they did anyway and I cleared my throat and leaned forward in what I hoped was a compassionate pose. "And what was the item that was stolen from you, Mr. Arehte?"

He looked at the floor again and then at the ceiling and then again at the floor before finally meeting my eyes. Then he kind of whispered and I had to listen very closely to hear what he said. "It's an original unpublished J.R.R. Tolkien manuscript." And when I didn't respond, "It was his first book, written when he was a mere child in West Midlands. Way before The Book of Lost Tales. Long before Lord of the Rings! It's titled "Saruman and the Coal Truck! And it's priceless!" And when I still didn't respond, he shouted in his high pitched little voice, "Don't you know who Tolkien is?!"

 And I had to be honest. I said, "Sorry, I've never heard of him. Is he a big band leader?" And he gave me a disgusted look and then fidgeted on the chair for a moment and then apologized and said in a controlled manner, "I'm sorry, ma'am, I  keep forgetting that humans cannot see into the future." And I said, "What?!" And he jumped down from the chair and put his pudgy hands on the desk and looked me straight in the cleavage. "Are you going to help me or not?" and I kind of looked around helplessly for a moment, totally taken aback and stuttered, "Sure. I'll do my best. I mean, it's only a book, right?" And he gave a small groan and said, "Right! And the Taj is only a Mahal!!

So I ran next door to Clapsaddle's and bought him some milk and a cookie and tried to calm him down as best I could. I was sure that I was interacting with one sick puppy in desperate need of medical attention.  (Of the shrinky kind.) But I was fascinated. He ate the cookie very politely and drank the milk slowly and deliberately like he was trying to decide how much to tell me. When he had finished, he looked at me from where he had seated himself on a box of paint thinner that I had neglected to take home. The milk mustache was distracting but he wasn't aware of it and began giving me details concerning the case so quickly that I had trouble keeping up and jotting them down in my notebook.

 My shorthand was not very short but I was using my own personal scribble that no one but myself could decipher (and sometimes even I had to run upstairs and ask the parrot to interpret the squiggles.) He waited patiently for me to finish writing and then asked again in a much softer voice, "So, Miss Voo, can you help me or not?" "I think I can, " I answered, "You've given me a lot of information, which is always helpful. When did you say the theft occurred?" "Day before yesterday at my hotel." he said as he got to his feet.
 "I'm positive that it was Saruman's grandson, Sauron. He followed me from New Zealand when I booked passage on the ocean liner. I never saw him on board but I caught a glimpse of him as I checked into the hotel. My neighbors had seen a strange man in black, with long wild hair and reddish eyes lurking about my garden back home and I knew then that they had somehow discovered my whereabouts. The Sarumans, that is."

 "You see, they own all the coal mines in England. They are very wealthy, very despicably evil people. John Ronald had found them out and wrote about them in his book. Reuel, ( I called him Reuel,) and I were very close as children. His family lived near mine, all the boys and men in the village worked at the coal mines, you see, and eventually we began to notice that many of them would go to work and never come back. Reuel and I would sneak away and watch the coal trucks going to and fro, with all those strange letters on them, and wondering why our friends' fathers were vanishing like that. Well, Reuel found out why!"

"Why?" I asked breathlessly, hooked line and sinker now.  The little man paced back and forth, holding his hands behind him and told a story that was half fairy tale, half science fiction and half.....oh, wait, you can't have three halves, can you? Okay, let's make that a third fairy tale, a third science fiction and a third, uh...a third, um...... Oh, rats! Whatever it was, it made my heart-pound and I almost half believed it. Apparently, the Saruman empire was huge and their lavish but gloomy estate was laid out in the isolated countryside,  yet not a great distance from the boys' humble lodgings in the village.

 My client's description of the gigantic black castle with it's high towers and loud and fearsome furnaces was quite terrifying, even if it were fairy-tale-ish. (Actually, I found him a better story teller than The Shadow Knows play actor on the radio drama.) I found myself wishing I had some popcorn. "One day I heard the sad news that my friend and his family was moving away." Mr. Arehte continued. "His father had passed away in South Africa and my old dad and granddad had kind of taken him under their wings, so to speak and we were all quite fond of him. He had such an imagination, he did! I was very distraught to hear the news.

 The night before the family left, Reuel came knocking on my window at midnight and when I opened it, he appeared very agitated and frightened. He produced a brown paper wrapped bundle out from under his coat, tied with string, (the bundle, that is,) and handed it to me and told me to hide it where no one could ever find it. He said that the Sarumans could never know about it and must never find out what he had discovered about their evil empire. Then he shook my hand and said to me, "Don't ever grow old, Bilbo." and fled into the night." 

"Uh- huh." I said, enthralled and motioned for him to go on with my nail file. Unfortunately in the doing,  I poked myself in the eyebrow with it and then caught it in my hair. I tried to extract it gracefully and he tried to pretend he didn't notice but we both failed miserably in our attempts. Embarrassed, I dropped a pencil on the floor and dropped down behind my desk and fought valiantly to get the nail file out of my hair without making too much noise. Victorious at last, I popped back up holding nail file and pencil, plopped back down in my chair and clasped my hands under my chin and murmured, "Do go on, Mr Arehte."

Moments later, I glanced at the window, caught my reflection and to my horror, saw that my usually neat and wavy hair now resembled a movie werewolf's in mid transformation!  I grabbed a comb out of the desk drawer and went to work frantically on my coiffure. Mr. Arehte had been busying himself inspecting the paint thinner box and my paperback detective novel collection, all the while hiding a tiny smile as best he could. Finally he turned and continued. "The package contained a manuscript. The one I now ask you to retrieve for me. It contains a complete expose on the goings on in West Midlands and thereabouts. A complete history of our village and the townspeople. It's written in novel form but believe me, miss, it's really more of a biography about my family and our friends."

"I had no idea that Reuel was writing it in his spare time or that we had inspired him so. It's a wonderful book and one that probably gave birth to all his other books and stories but one that, up until now...... was probably never meant to be published. At least, I've never thought that J.R.R. would want it published. I don't know. Maybe he's forgotten that it even exists. Maybe it was meant to be a gift to me and nothing more. At any rate, I think the time has come to act. That's why I came to this city seeking a publisher and a journalist who could help me expose this corrupt family and all their heinous deeds. There is a young lady, an old family friend, who works at one of your largest newspapers here and she's promised to help me. I was bringing the book to her to read. That's what....." And he stopped and let the tears fall down his face, washing away his little white milk mustache and looking so forlorn that I wanted to put my arms around him and hug him but I was afraid I'd break him.

"I will help you, Mr. Arehte." I assured him, wondering if that were true. "I promise!" "Thank you for your kindness." he whispered and wiped his face with a small white handkerchief. "After losing my parents last year in the mountains, I've been at a loss as to what path my life should take. Now, I've just recently learned that my cousins and nephews back in the village have gone to work for the Saruman Mining Company and several of them have gone missing....I must do something! I know what is happening to them and I have to stop it! I must!" "There, there." I comforted him in my most soothing voice as he stopped and stood before my desk in the late afternoon light.

 "Tell me, what happened to your parents? Was it a mountain climbing accident?" He was silent for a long time and then turned thoughtfully to look out of the small window while standing on his tippy toes. "No. It was dragons." he said barely above a whisper. I shook my head twice. I could have sworn he'd said....dragons but that was ridiculous. "Did you say....?" I gulped but he combed at his mustache and gave me a sweet and curious smile. Then he handed me a sheaf of notes and papers out of his pockets and said, "This should help you find the fiendish Sauron and get my manuscript back. And this is for your trouble."

 And he withdrew a beautiful shiny object out of a small velvet bag and laid it on my desk. It was exquisite. A long silver chain with a pendant shaped like a vine and flower. In the center of the flower sparkled a jewel more brilliant than a diamond. I had never seen anything so beautiful. I took the object in my hand and electricity ran through me and light and joy and visions of riding through the forest on horseback with my long hair blowing in the breeze. The moon was full and shining and I was laughing at a man who rode a silver horse running in front of me. There was a stream and a bird and a........

"What did you say?" I asked pulling myself out of the fantasy. I suddenly felt very lightheaded. More so than usual. The little man was standing in the open doorway about to depart, turning to look at me, smiling that curious smile. "I said, thank you, Miss Voo, for accepting this quest. I knew I had chosen wisely and I know you'll find my precious treasure and return it to me. You know where to reach me." And he put the little bowler hat on his head and said softly just before the door closed, "Namaarie..... Amvanya heri nartyĆ«." And he was gone.

TO BE CONTINUED in episode four...........
           Mr Arehte   

Rodger "Arehte" Ashton-Smith
                                from myspace and New Zealand
                         (Tolkien fanatic like myself)

 (my apologies to my beloved


btw: Arehte is pronounced Ar-uh-tay which
 psst!!!! Rodger??? What does it mean???
*********************************************** Points for those who find the reference and/or references to another of my online stories in this episode!!!! 

Special thanks for the use of specific names:

CLAPSADDLE, Harold, Tolkien, Bilbo


(you know who you are!!)

Tenna' ento lye omenta

(until next we meet in Elvish)

The Quest by David Arkenstone