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BS: The Mother of all BS threads

Rapparee 06 May 10 - 04:19 PM
Rapparee 06 May 10 - 04:07 PM
Amos 06 May 10 - 03:55 PM
Rapparee 06 May 10 - 01:44 PM
GUEST,Eiseley 06 May 10 - 01:33 PM
Rapparee 06 May 10 - 01:01 PM
Rapparee 06 May 10 - 12:07 PM
Amos 06 May 10 - 11:41 AM
MMario 06 May 10 - 10:59 AM
Rapparee 06 May 10 - 09:20 AM
Rapparee 06 May 10 - 09:09 AM
Stilly River Sage 06 May 10 - 08:33 AM
Amos 05 May 10 - 11:49 PM
Eiseley 05 May 10 - 11:00 PM
Rapparee 05 May 10 - 10:42 PM
Rapparee 05 May 10 - 09:38 PM
GUEST,Eiseley 05 May 10 - 08:29 PM
Amos 05 May 10 - 08:08 PM
Rapparee 05 May 10 - 07:24 PM
MMario 05 May 10 - 11:47 AM
Amos 05 May 10 - 11:27 AM
Rapparee 05 May 10 - 10:50 AM
Eiseley 05 May 10 - 12:59 AM
Amos 04 May 10 - 10:50 PM
Amos 04 May 10 - 07:31 PM
Rapparee 04 May 10 - 05:43 PM
Rapparee 04 May 10 - 05:17 PM
Amos 04 May 10 - 02:58 PM
Rapparee 04 May 10 - 02:56 PM
Amos 04 May 10 - 02:47 PM
Rapparee 04 May 10 - 02:26 PM
Amos 04 May 10 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,Eiseley 04 May 10 - 12:37 PM
Stilly River Sage 04 May 10 - 12:19 PM
Amos 04 May 10 - 10:48 AM
Rapparee 04 May 10 - 10:46 AM
Amos 04 May 10 - 10:44 AM
Eiseley 04 May 10 - 10:44 AM
Rapparee 04 May 10 - 10:36 AM
Amos 04 May 10 - 10:02 AM
Rapparee 04 May 10 - 01:22 AM
Eiseley 03 May 10 - 11:35 PM
Amos 03 May 10 - 11:22 PM
Rapparee 03 May 10 - 10:07 PM
Rapparee 03 May 10 - 10:05 PM
Rapparee 03 May 10 - 10:01 PM
Amos 03 May 10 - 08:21 PM
Rapparee 03 May 10 - 07:29 PM
GUEST,Eiseley 03 May 10 - 07:22 PM
Rapparee 03 May 10 - 07:01 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 06 May 10 - 04:19 PM

Please choose the effects you'd like from this menu. Choose as many as you wish:

1. Rocks and other hard things being thrown at random times day and night.

2. Freezing cold spots in all bathrooms.

3. Ectoplasmic appearances at inconvenient times.

4. Bloody heads and/or body parts appearing on the roof or in hallways.

5. Duets for ghostly bagpipes and banjos.

6. Blood spots which can't be washed away.

7. The Cóiste Bodhar.

8. Ghostly trumpet solos.

9. All of the above.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 06 May 10 - 04:07 PM

Just for that, Amos old man, when (and if) I make my final quietus, I shall let my spirit run riot in your abode no matter where that might be.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 06 May 10 - 03:55 PM

I guess he's only retired in the flesh, not in the spirit, if you see what I mean.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 06 May 10 - 01:44 PM

Don't forget the Chorus:

Since Rapaire went away, YEE-HAH!
Since Rapiare went away
But now the days are cold and bleak
Since Rapaire went away!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,Eiseley
Date: 06 May 10 - 01:33 PM

Snow in May, a paradox
Earth should be growing warm
But now a great big winter storm
Is bending down the phlox.

The sun, it used to shine all day.
We'd bask in balmy heat
But now the days are cold and bleak
Since Rapaire went away.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 06 May 10 - 01:01 PM

The sun, this bleak and leaden day
Shines cheerless on the SNOWS of May.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 06 May 10 - 12:07 PM

Yeah, but that means she knows what the ending is and when. You'd think she could at least let me know so I can get whatever affairs I'm having in order.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 06 May 10 - 11:41 AM

Rapaire, she just SAID not to give away the ending. C'mon! Rules is rules...


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: MMario
Date: 06 May 10 - 10:59 AM

I thought this would be appreciated here at the MOAB....

I stole this from an SCA e=list poster who stole it from an un named e-mail source.

The fundamental particle of confusion is the jargon.
If a jargon and an anti-jargon collide, they annihilate
each other, with the emission of a pair of high-energy
grammar rays.

Brilliant, yes? I wonder if they have a duck-dog?

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 06 May 10 - 09:20 AM

So don't anyone give away the ending.

WHAT ending? Do you know something I don't? You know when and how I'm going to end? I don't want to end! Not until I can go to Confession and do penance (okay, forget the penance, I do that every day). A clean breast of it all before I Check Out, okay? Not like my Uncle Herman, who cashed in his chips flagrantly delicious, so to speak, and caused my Aunt Maude all sorts of trouble covering up the scandal. What ending? Let me know so I can sleep in that day!

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 06 May 10 - 09:09 AM

Moms run fast both day and night
Deep in the heart of taxis...

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 May 10 - 08:33 AM

I've started the Rapaire saga, but am only one entry in so far. So don't anyone give away the ending.

All sorts of kid running around today, MOM. You'll have to just toss anything you want dropped off in the back of the truck and tape a note on the dashboard telling me what goes where. This isn't just Mom's Taxi, this is more like Mom's FedEx truck.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 05 May 10 - 11:49 PM


Good stuff, Rapaire.

Thanks. This changeup has been delightful.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Eiseley
Date: 05 May 10 - 11:00 PM

For today.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 05 May 10 - 10:42 PM

Well, that's enough of those.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 05 May 10 - 09:38 PM

It's yours.

Well, yeah. They gave me the Silver Star. But I left it at the Wall. I was trying to give it back to the guy who earned it. I guess it's in the Smithsonian or somewhere, where ever it is that they keep the stuff guys leave at the Wall.
        See, it was like this. Me and Charlie Edelson enlisted together -- we went in on the "Buddy Plan" and the Army said that we'd be training together and all. And we did. We went through Basic together, down at Fort Knox, and we went through AIT at Ft. Benning to learn to be in the infantry. And when that was done we went to Jump School together, too, and learned to jump out of perfectly good airplanes. All along it was me and Charlie, Charlie and me. We were like brothers or something.
        Anyway, after Jump School the Army decided that they needed a couple more grunts in the Nam and Charlie and me got our orders.
        We had a couple of weeks of leave at home, but neither me or Charlie really enjoyed it much. I mean, you know that it's gonna end and that something awful might be waiting.
        So we reported to Ft. Lewis like we were supposed to and only a couple of days later we got in a big silver bird and were on our way.
        The heat at Tan Son Nhut airport was like a blast furnace when they opened the door. We didn't get to think much about it, 'cause they had us off the plane and into trucks and buses double quick. Before we knew what was going on, me and Charlie had been assigned to different units. He was sent down to the Delta and I was sent up North to 156th Airborne Brigade.
        Oh yeah. We told the folks at the replacement depot that we'd enlisted on the Buddy Plan and that we were supposed to serve together. I think that that might have been the best laugh they had that day. Then a Captain told us that the "Buddy Plan" only applied to training, and training was over.
        When you don't have any choice you just eat what's served. Charlie went South and I went North.
        We wrote back and forth, and we met a couple of times in Saigon and once in Cu Chi and had some beers and talked. Charlie was doin' just what I was: grunt stuff out in the bush.
        Then one day, after I'd been in country for about six months, I got a letter from Charlie's mom. Charlie had gotten himself greased -- he'd tripped a booby trap when he'd been walking point and he came home in pieces. Not that Mrs. Edelson said it that way; she just said that Charlie had been killed on patrol and that she knew that I'd like to know. I found out what happened later from some other grunts who had known Charlie.
        So I was kind of down for a couple of months, but by Tet '68 I was gettin' short and Charlie Edelson was a memory.    Then Charlie -- Victor Charlie -- stomped all over us and I got a Purple Heart and the Silver Star I didn't earn.
        It was like this. We were out on patrol, and the Six -- that is, the CO, Captain Walters -- and the First Sergeant and all of the HQ folks were out with us, 'cause it was supposed to be a skate. Well, it was to start with.
        The Captain and the First had been cadre at the Jump School at Benning and they had the idea that everything in the bush had to be done the Benning Way. Now, lots of that is fine but some of it can get you killed in the bush when people are shooting real bullets at you and doing their very, very best to hurt you instead of you hurting them. Like, the Captain insisted that we carry our gas masks on patrol -- but only one canteen of water! And we couldn't roll our shirt sleeves up, much less take our shirts off! But most importantly, he only let us carry the "basic load" of ammo.
        See, usually we'd carry ever piece of ammo we could carry. Ammo and water and food and insect repellent -- I mean, it got really basic out there. But not when the CP staff were with us! Nope! Four grenades, eighty rounds in magazines and twenty more in the rifle -- that sort of thing. Stuff that could get you killed.
        But like I say, the patrol started as a skate. We were bedding down no later than 1600 each day, diggin' holes and makin' bunkers, pullin' guard duty and listening posts just like we were back at Benning. And all the time the Top and the Old Man riding you for dusty boots or a limp uniform. It was a skate, but not a happy one.
        Then Charlie pulled the cork and it really hit the fan!
        We were humpin', following the Captain's route, and we were crossing a clearing when the point went down from a 12.7 mm machine gun.   Then a bunch of mortar rounds chewed up the rear and those of us in the middle were cut off.
        See, that was Charlie's plan: cut off the point, cut the middle of the column off from the rear, shoot up the rear and finish off the center whenever they wanted. Naturally the Captain, the First Sergeant, the RTO and the machine gunner were taken out first.
        Me? I was about four people behind the Captain and saw him go down with what seemed to be about a hundred bullets in him. It was a quick look, too, 'cause I was trying at the same time to dig a really, really deep hole to get into and pull over me.
        Then the mortars started on us and I felt something tear my legs up and rip my helmet off my head.
        I was shooting back, of course. Everyone still able to was shooting back. But we had been there for a while and nobody had any delusions about our chances. We were in it really, really deep, and it wasn't a hole!   There was little chance that we were going to get out of this alive, and we knew it.
        I remember that I noticed that the radio was still working, and I remember that I thought that somebody had better call for help. I was closest, so it was up to me, and I crawled to it, pulling myself along by my elbows -- my legs weren't working very well at all right then.
        Then a piece of metal hit my head and the next thing I knew I was in the hospital back at Quai Nhon.
        The Colonel came in about a day later and told me that I'd saved the patrol and possibly LZ Furrow, where the 156th was headquartered, and that I was in for a medal.
        Well, I asked him what I'd done and he told me. It seems that I had called in one of the pre-planned artillery barrages that Captain Walters had arranged for before the patrol. It was just the right one, too, for it had messed up Charlie's troops bad while it had saved our skins from being cut to shreds.
        In fact, the Colonel had wanted me to get the Medal of Honor, but there weren't enough witnesses.
        I told him that I hadn't done anything of the sort.
        I guess I got kind of wild about it, too, 'cause he said quietly that I was to come to see him when I out of the hospital and he left and a medic came in then and gave me a shot and that was all I knew for a while.
        Anyway, time went on and I was going to be transferred to a hospital in Japan. I asked the Doctor if I could go see the Colonel before I left, 'cause the Colonel had asked me to, and he said it was okay. So I did.
        The Colonel didn't make me salute or stand at attention. Shucks, I probably couldn't have done it if I had to. Instead he pulled up a chair and told the Sergeant Major to get me a beer -- a cold beer -- and that I could smoke if I wanted to and would I like one of his cigarettes?
        I told him that I'd recently given up the habit and he chuckled. Then he told me that I really was a hero and I disagreed again. And then he told me that he could prove it, because he had taped the radio traffic and he had me on tape. And he played it for me.
        It was a weird, really weird experience. I could hear the "Whump!" of the mortars hitting and the shots and the yelling and all, just like it had been. And then there was the sound of the microphone being fumbled with and then, really, really faintly, just on the edge of hearing, I heard
        "Stone Eight Six, Stone Eight Six, Stone Three One . . . our Six is down . . . Top too . . . it's bad . . . we need . . . arty . . . fire Mike Mike Two Three . . . hurt bad . . .
Mike Mike Two Three . . . fire it now . . . tell Momsy I love her . . . ."
        "You see?" said the Colonel. "Concentration MM23 was preplanned fire. You were found with the microphone in your hand. You were badly hurt. Obviously, although you don't remember it, you called Stone Eight Six -- we here at HQ -- and used your radio call sign, Stone Three One. You asked for the supporting fire, we could hear the problem, and we delivered. Son, because of your actions only five were killed and twelve wounded -- and you were the worst! Basically, your actions saved your company. You deserve a lot more than a Silver Star and the thanks of everyone involved!"
        I couldn't say anything. You see, I couldn't tell him that I had no idea of what the preplanned fires had been because Captain Walters never had told us. And I really could not tell the Colonel that I never, ever called my mother "Momsy" -- but that Charlie Edelson always had, and that it was his voice on the tape.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,Eiseley
Date: 05 May 10 - 08:29 PM

Rapaire once had a deluded red-headed man accost him in his office and talk to him for what seemed like hours. When the man finally left, he gave Rap a holy painting. I saw it, and wanted it, and took it from his office when he was in Ireland. But, even though Amos says Rap's brain is divine, I don't want to add to its sanctity by returning the holy work of art.

Can I keep it?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 05 May 10 - 08:08 PM

Oh, dear. I hope this unaccustomed dose of praise has not rotted his divine brain.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 05 May 10 - 07:24 PM

I can do better, bwahahahahaha!

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: MMario
Date: 05 May 10 - 11:47 AM

MOM gone through an entire box of Kleenex reading that last post of Rap's.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 05 May 10 - 11:27 AM

Pretending to be a varlet does not obscure your sensitive, thoughtful, intuitive, poetic, and mild-mannered inner self. Your brassy facade is a thin disguise.

Funny--most people go at it the other way 'round and put up screens of good conduct to hide their inner rascals...


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 05 May 10 - 10:50 AM

See, I like to toy with people's emotions....

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Eiseley
Date: 05 May 10 - 12:59 AM

Oh Mike. Now you've gone and made me cry. That is absolutely golden. It's an honor to read. Thank you.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 04 May 10 - 10:50 PM

It is very comforting to see your light burning brightly, Mike. It didn't make sense that this streak was absent.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 04 May 10 - 07:31 PM

SHazam, Mister R. Pure-dee shazam!!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 04 May 10 - 05:43 PM

Here ya go, Amos. Get wrecked.

        The old Emil Schletter place burned fifty years before I was born. Emil and his wife Leona had both died in the fire, and the property was, in the phrase of the country at that time, "tied up in the lawyers."
        It was a marginal eighth section, and poor farming methods hadn't helped the productivity of the soil. All in all, no one was anxious to settle the ownership of the land and by the time I came along it was generally felt that either "the lawyers" now owned the old farm or that it belonged to some cousin in New York city who didn't care about it and only used it for a tax break --opinions differed.
        It didn't matter to my friends and I. The thrill of trespassing (if anyone cared about it) added to the zest of playing among the ruins of the old house and outbuildings. It became for us land to settle, war-torn towns to liberate from the Nazi hordes, the landscape of some distant planet, or a place to escape to when school, parents or life itself began to close around us.
        Marginal for the Schletters, unwanted by the legal owner, the weed-grown pastures and fields became for a group of growing
children a playground unequaled anywhere.
        We smoked our first cigarettes there and were duly sick. In the pond we skinny-dipped in summer and slid on the ice in winter. We hunted rabbits with our .22s during hunting season, and sharpened our marksmanship against the high clay creekbank year-round.
        I'm sure that the deputy sheriff who lived only a half mile away knew what went on. At that time and place he would have done nothing unless a complaint was filed, or if someone were injured. Otherwise, he (and our parents) knew where we were and (usually) what we were doing. I'm also sure that certain of the grown-ups -- especially my Uncle Mathias -- knew when we were doing what we were doing. It was Uncle Mathia, after all, who was waiting for me at the gate the day I started walking home, green and ill, after trying chewing tobacco for the first time.
        His advice on that occasion, offered as he walked beside me and I tried to keep up a conversation and keep down my breakfast, was simple and is with me yet. "When you chew tabakky," he said, "it's best not to swaller the juice."
        I was a newly-minted Infantry second lieutenant, under orders for Vietnam and home for a thirty day leave when I last visited the Schletter place. Of those with whom I had grown and played with there, two were dead and the others scattered. Visiting the place, walking along the barely discernable trails and poking among the ruins of the burned house and the tumbled barn, was to relive for a moment the joy of the past.
        Neither I nor anyone would ever visit the place again, for the Government was damming the creek, creating a man-made lake for flood control and recreation.
        In two days, I had to report to Travis Air Force Base.
        In three days, I would be at Tan Son Nhut.
        In a week, although I didn't know it then, I would be with the Americal Division at Chu Lai.
        Uncle Mathias was waiting for me, sitting on a rock by the old milk shed.
        "Not much doin' out here today," he said.
        "No," I agreed. "Not much doing."
        We waited there, he on the rock and I standing, for a few minutes, each knowing that the other was thinking of the future and neither knowing whether or not to speak of it.
        Finally, Uncle Mathias broke the unstrained silence.
        "Yes, I am. I suppose everyone going to war worries."
        "Yes." I said it flatly, a statement of fact.
        "Good. I'd be worried if you wasn't scared. Fact is, I'd do my damnedest to talk you into runnin' off to Canada if you weren't scared. Ain't nothin' quite so disturbin' or downright dangerous to a dogface as a fearless second looey."
        I couldn't resist asking: "Do you speak from experience?"
        "Fact is, I do. Back in '18, when I was a sergeant with the Big Red One in France, I had a second looey put in command of my platoon who was fearless. I was just a youngster myself, of course, and like all the others in my platoon and all the others of my age, I thought that I'd live forever. Other people got themselves killed -- I was too darn smart.
        "We was in the trenches -- near some God-forsaken village which had been shelled first by the Germans and then by the French and then by the British and over and over and over and now by the Americans until it looked like the walls of Jericho must have looked after Joshua finished up. Lieutenant Doaks -- that was his real name, Daniel Doaks -- called me into his dugout late one afternoon and told me that me and him were going to go out with a patrol that night. We were goin' to get some "filthy Huns" for prisoners -- those were his words, 'filthy Huns.'"
        "What happened?" I asked.
        "We left the trench about moonset. Lieutenant Doaks had told me that he wanted only 'fearless warriors' (that's what he said, too) on this, his first patrol. I was green then, but I did want some of the old salts along -- Narbeth, or Smith, or maybe Oltanger. Fact was though, none of the experienced people volunteered and I was too green to order them to go along. I know now why they didn't want to go, but back then I just put it down to funk.
        "Anyway, like I was sayin', we left the trench about moonset, which was about midnight or one a.m. We crawled out to the wire and passed through, closing the wire after we left. About fifty yards out into no man's land, we reached a shell crater which we had marked as an assembly point and the final jumpin' off place for our little raid.
        "Right away, the looey started to screw things up. First thing he did was that he had brought a telephone with us and unrolled the wire as we walked. Nobody did that sort of thing in those days, 'cause the phones were not at all like the ones you have now -- and radio was limited to Morse code with a telegraph key. Now, as we were sittin' in the shell hole tryin' to look like nothin' was out of place, the damned phone rang.
        "It was the Captain, and he should have known better. The looey took the call, and all I could hear was what was said at my end. The looey told the Captain that yes, we were in the shell hole, our first point, and that yes, we would be going in right quickly to get the prisoner, and no, nothing had gone wrong, and finally one of the boys whispered to me, 'Yes mother, I'll be home directly" and it was all I could do to keep from laughing.
        "After he hung up, he gathered us together and repeated our mission. Of course, by this time I figgered that the Germans not only knew that we were there, but had figured out who we were, what we was goin' to do, when we was goin' to do it, and probably knew the maiden names of our mothers to boot.
        "But the looey wasn't afraid! No sir! Not him! He was going to lead his men into battle with the Hun and save Western Civilization with this one raid.
        "Then the mortars hit.
        "We were about as safe as we could get right then, bein' on the reverse slope of the front wall of a pretty damned deep crater. But the looey, he jumped up, drew his .45, and shouted "Follow me!" at the top of his voice.
        "He jumped up on the lip of the shell hole and looked just like that statue at Fort Benning -- the one of the Infantry leader.
        "Germans saw him up there and came close to cuttin' him in half with a machine gun. He fell back into the hole and died in my arms.
        "The brouhaha was gettin' wilder. The Germans had now brought in artillery fire, and flares, and me and the boys in the hole were seriously thinkin' about leavin' the party and goin' home. Problem was, there was a hundred and fifty feet to our wire, a short eternity to open the gate in the wire and maybe another seventy-five feet to our trench. Say maybe two hundred and fifty feet, it could be done in maybe eight minutes walkin' and that time includes openin' the gate in the wire.
        "Crawling, and every inch of the way seemin' to be already occupied by a piece of unfriendly steel or lead, it would take considerably longer. Maybe forever.
        "And the Germans, they weren't fools. There might be a patrol right now gettin' ready to come out and catch us instead of the other way around. They knew that nobody went out into no man's land alone; they knew we were there.
        "And I had the highest rank in that hole. Six other guys were depending on me to have the right answers. And I had never been in such a predicament before -- hell, I'd only come under fire in training, just like the others.
        "Two of the boys messed their pants. I didn't, but it took some control, let me tell you!
        "A fifty-nine shell lit real close to the right; it tore up the lip of our shell hole. I figgered that another wouldn't land there (don't believe that, 'cause it ain't so), so I carefully peeked out around the newly rearranged dirt.
        "Sure enough, there was a patrol of about twenty Germans at the German wire, about two hundred yards in front of us. And we couldn't back up, go forward, go sidewise, shit, or go blind.
        "I slithered back down into the hole and told the others what I'd seen.
        "They were unhappy with the news, you might say. I must admit that I'd had better myself in my time.
        "Then I banged my knee against the telephone the looey had dragged along.
        "I picked up the handset and rang the crank. I thought that the wire had probably been cut by the shelling, but it was just possible that I was wrong.
        "I was wrong. The Captain answered on the first ring.
        "He was glad to hear from us, and told me that they were being shelled. I told him that I knew that, and that we had been getting shelled for some time too.
        "He asked to talk to the looey, and I told him the looey was dead. He asked me if I was sure. I told him that I felt that being ripped up with machine gun bullets probably did that to a man. He told me that I'd better come back and that I'd better bring the looey's body with me.
        " I mentioned to him that we would probably be leavin' the shell hole soon, but that we'd be goin' the other direction due to the approaching German patrol.
        "Man was pretty excitable, for an officer. He asked me where the Germans were and how many there were and told me to tell him quick so that he could call in some artillery on them.
        "So I told him. And then he hung up or we were cut off, because the line went dead.
        "I slid back up the slope and peeked out again. The Germans were through the wire and about fifty feet inside no man's land. Soon, unless something was done, we were going to have visitors."
        Uncled Mathias stretched, and stood up. He filled his pipe, lit it, and blew a great cloud of smoke skyward.
        "Just then," he continued, "Our artillery arrived. Only it was targeted on where the Germans had been instead of where they were now. Just the same, it made them take cover.
        "But the thing was, the Germans had been in those trenches in that sector for a long, long time. They were veterans, and fine soldiers. They knew every gully and hummock like I know my backyard. They just started to move out of the impact zone of the artillery, and towards us.
        "Now, remember that during all of this the mortar, machine gun and artillery fire from the German lines was goin' on. They were out to get us, and they wanted us bad.
        "I knew then what a tennis ball feels like.
        "I tried calling the Captain again, but it was no go. The phone was damaged, or the line cut, or something.
        "There was nothin' else to do. I gathered the boys together and told them that we'd either have to fight or run, and that either way it was touch-and-go about makin' it.
        "We put what was left of the poor lieutenant on a gas-cape, what you'd call a poncho today, which somebody had along, and pushed him up the slope of the crater and dragged him toward our lines. We left the phone.
        "About twenty yards away was another, smaller, crater. We pulled in there and regrouped.
        "The seven of us were unhurt, but scared to our toenails.
        "Then I had an idea, and put it to the group that we were in a good position to ambush the German patrol who was out looking for us. They'd be coming pretty soon to the crater we'd just left, and from where we were now we'd have a good shot at them. Might even be able to take a prisoner or two back, which was the whole reason we were out there in the first place.
        "Three of the boys said that they felt that it would be just as well if they continued to mosey on home. I said that that was fine, but would they leave those of us remaining behind most of their spare ammunition and grenades, take the looey's body with them, and tell the Captain where we were and that we'd be late coming home and so not to leave the porchlight on.
        "They quietly left us, and Bill Reynolds, Alvin Sharp, Fred Wood and me slowly pushed our '03s over the lip of the crater and into the direction we'd just come. For luck, we each put Mills bombs where we could get them quickly.
        "Then we waited. We knew that the Germans would come slowly, and that the shelling would probably lift just about the time they reached our old hole.
        "The shelling did lift, suddenly, and the silence was as scary as the falling shells.         "Then, a flare went off right over our old crater. It threw the whole thing into sharp light, just as if it were day. And it also showed a patrol of twenty Germans suddenly leap up and surround what was now an empty hole.
        "They tossed a grenade into the hole, and we started shooting and got at least half of them with our first volley. Sharp grabbed one of his Mills bombs, pulled the pin and threw it. He was a good pitcher, and it landed right where it would do the most good. They were hurt, no doubt of it, but they were good veteran troops, like I said, and they ducked down and began to return fire.
        "It was just a matter of time before the Germans in the trenches figured out who was who and started dropping things on us.
        "I signalled, and we each grabbed a Mills bomb, pulled the pins, and threw them together.
        "The four explosions sounded like one, they were so close together. We jumped up and charged, no command or anything, just that it was the right thing to do and the four of us were readin' each other's mind.
        "To tell it quickly, we took four of the Germans back with us to our lines -- one apiece. They were so rattled from what turned out to be our crazy charge that all the fight had gone out of them.
        "We left the other Germans, the dead and wounded, in the hole. We figured that their stretcher bearers or someone would come to help those who could be helped.
        "Captain was mighty proud of us when we got back. Apart from scratches and bruises, nobody except the lieutenant got hurt, which was a pure miracle considerin' the effort which had gone into trying to do just the opposite. Sharp and Reynolds and Wood and me each got a medal out of it. And a weeks' leave in Paris!"
        "Uncle Mathias," I said, "what medal did you win with this engagement? I have never before heard you speak of this." Uncle Mathias, you understand, was not above making a long story out of a short one.
        His eyes grew lonely, deep and very, very sad. I would see eyes like that later; then we called it the "thousand meter stare." There is a photograph in which I have it.
        "Those who have been there seldom, if ever, talk about it," he said slowly. "Reynolds was killed; he took a large fragment of metal in the stomach. Wood lost both legs to a mine. Sharp, the best pitcher I ever saw, bled to death in the Argonne when a shell ripped both of this arms off. I was with each of them when they were wounded or died. I still write to Fred Wood, but I don't think that he'll be with us much longer.
        "I received, for my part in this minor engagement, the Medal of Honor. Each month, I receive from the government of the United States the sum of one hundred dollars. If you doubt the truth of this, you will find it easily checked at the public library or by reading the orders you will find in my briefcase at home." Uncle Mathias, who could speak as correctly as I, did not forego his regional language unless he was quite annoyed. And he was annoyed with me.
        I tried to apologize, to tell him that I had never doubted him. Verbally falling all over myself, I tried to make amends for a slight I never intended to someone I loved.
        Suddenly, his face lit up in a huge grin. "Oh hell," he said. "If somebody told me the story I just told you, I'd think they was lyin' too!"
        "But that wasn't why I came here today. I wanted to tell you somethin' before you go to war.
        "When I came back from the war, everything was changed. Our old house was too small and the town was, well, tiny. I had to leave again, only this time I wasn't forced out but was leavin' of my own free will.
        "That's what I wanted to tell you. When you come back, nothing will be like it was when you left. This place will be under water, and you'll find that everything is a whole lot smaller. Maybe you'll have to leave like I did, and if you do I'll square it with your mother for you. And one more thing: if you ever find that what you went through was more than you can take alone, I'll listen to you. What I didn't tell you in the story I just told you was what I haven't told anyone else, except that Sharp knows it, of course. It is this: when we charged those Germans, they were dead, wounded, or in shock. Except one. One grizzled old Sergeant, I guess he was, popped up in front of me and knocked my '03 away. I don't know how I did it, but I grabbed him, wrestled him to the ground and choked him to death with my bare hands.
        "And I still relive that, some nights.
        "If you need to talk, when you get back, to someone who's been there, well, I'm here. Your war'll be different from any of mine, but killin's the same. And that's what it is about, when you come down to it."
        Uncle Mathias sighed and stood up.
        "Here. Got a couple of presents for you. Keep 'em to yourself."
        He reached into his jacket pocket, took out a small automatic pistol, and handed it to me. "It's only a .32, but it'll do for a backup if you need one. This was mine, I carried it in Europe during World War II."
        From inside his jacket he took a knife with a blackened metal handle and a double-edged, diamond-sectioned blade. "This was your father's. He got it during the War; it's called a Fairbairn-Sykes stilleto and it was issued to the British commandoes and the OSS. He sent it along to me in the last package I ever got from him. He said to save it until he got home. Since he didn't make it back, I kinda thought that you should have it now. You might need it."
        I was a newly created second lieutenant of the Infantry, and I was very close to tears.
        "Now you listen," Uncle Mathias continued. "Both of these are mine. Your daddy gave me this knife, and your Aunt Thecla bought me the pistol before I was sent to Europe. She thought that it might be handy to have if I was goin' to war again. So, you can have these two things as a loan. Use 'em, but you've got to bring them back.
        "Then, maybe, if you have any kids, and they have to go to war, God forbid, I'll lend these out again.
        "Right now, if you will please put those items in your pocket or somewhere else out of sight, you and me can stroll over to the house and see if Thecla's got some pie and coffee around."

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 04 May 10 - 05:17 PM

Because I like to see folks wrecked upon the shoals. Then I can loot the wreck and rob the corpses.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 04 May 10 - 02:58 PM

THen why have you been so slow at revealing your uncharted shallows?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 04 May 10 - 02:56 PM

Amos, I have depths which you wot not what of.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 04 May 10 - 02:47 PM

Man, I see a hot collection heading for the NYTs list.

Nice work, Mister R.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 04 May 10 - 02:26 PM

Eiseley doesn't know the half of it.

        "I dunno," said Uncle Mathias. "I've seen a heap of strange things in my time. Some of 'em you might call magic, I guess. Some of 'em I'd just call unexplained -- might be an explanation comin' someday."
        We'd paused for rest in one of our rabbit hunts, those wonderful hunting trips when Uncle Mathias and I would roam the woods and fields for hours searching for the elusive rabbit. Mind you, we never shot one -- at least, Uncle Mathias never shot a rabbit when I was with him on these hikes. "If we was to shoot somethin'," he'd say, "they'd have to call it somethin' besides huntin'."
        I suppose that I'd started the conversation by asking Uncle Mathias what he thought about the current flying saucer craze. Saucers had been reported over several towns in our vicinity, and I wondered what Uncle Mathias thought about it all.
        "A heap of strange things, yes, I'd say. I ever tell you about the strangest thing I ever experienced?" Uncle said.
        I allowed that he had not. Even it he had told the story before, I would have allowed that he had not. No matter that you had heard the story before; Uncle Mathias' stories were like the stars: each time you beheld them they were different and wonderful.
        Uncle Mathias scrunched around, breaking his Parker double open and ejecting the shells. He leaned the shotgun up against the tree, poured a cup of coffee from the Thermos, filled and lit his pipe and in general made himself comfortable for a long stay.

        "It was up in Alaska, when I was workin' at the mine up near Juneau -- the Treadwell it was. I was a tad then, 'cause I left school before I finished the eighth grade you know. Must have been in, oh, let's see -- 1917, I guess it was. I was 16 at the time.
        "Now I come up to Alaska on a freighter; worked my way up from Seattle the year before. Thought that I'd try gold minin' in the Yukon or somewheres -- I didn't know that the gold rush up there was pretty much over.
        "I'd crossed the White Pass from Skagway. Only I took the train instead of hoofin' it over the mountains like the original folks did. Dawson and the rest was pretty dead when I saw 'em, though if you had an imagination you could picture what they'd been like just a twenty years or so before.
        "Anyway, I was muckin' out in the Treadwell. It wasn't much pay, and the work was outrageously hard, but I'd been schooled in some hard times since I'd left town here some few years before, and I had muscles and stamina on me then that I don't have now that I'm an old man."
        At this I objected, and I think rightly so. Uncle Mathias could better my time at running any distance you cared to name, lift a three hundred pound granite tombstone onto a truck without a hoist (I'd seen him do it), and shoot straighter at a target five hundred yards away than anyone I knew of.
        He scoffed at my objections, and repeated that he was an
old man.
        "Anyway, this fella named Rowdy (I never knew any other name for him) and me were muckin' out at number 17 pithead. Somebody'd blast loose the face of the pithead, and we'd shovel the resultin' gravel into ore cars. Them ore cars would be taken to the crusher, and the whole process of extractin' the gold from the rock would start.
        "I guess, though, that it really started with us miners underground.
        "Anyway, Rowdy and me was muckin' out that day when there was these three knocks which seemed to come out of the face of the pithead. Ol' Rowdy, he looked at me and asked me what I thought I was up to. I told him that I was shovelin' rock, just like him.
        "Then we heard these three knocks again.
        "Ol' Rowdy, he turned pale. I could see it by the light of the carbide lamp on my cap. Rowdy just turned pale and then he started up the slope to the lift.
        "Well, we couldn't leave like that. We'd get docked, surein' heck. And the way the pay was set up, I wouldn't make anything if Rowdy left.
        "So I yelled at him, an' grabbed him, and asked him what he was doin'. He just shrugged off my hand and kept on goin'.
        "I clamped onto him hard, then. He whirled around and looked at me, and what was in his eyes I hope never to see again.
        "His eyes were kinda, you know, blank. He was lookin' right at me and not seein' me. What we called in the War the thousand yard stare, what guys who had seen too much had in their eyes.
        "Suddenly, his eyes focused on me.
        "'Mathias,' he said. "'Mathias, get out of here. Those knocks were warnings. There's something bad, real bad goin' to happen here, and if you don't clear out you could get killed.
        "'Pshaw!'" I said. "'Them noises were something hittin' on an ore car somewhere around here. Echoes do funny things down here, we both know.'"
        "'Mathias,'" he said, "'Come with me and get out. I ain't stayin' down here any longer.'"
        "Well, you just don't let your partner walk out like that. You depend on him and he depends on you down there. Your pay depends on his work, just like his depends on yours. Some ways, you're closer than if you were married.
        "I drew back to sock him and bring him to his senses, but he grabbed by arm and twisted it behind me. Just then, the pit boss ran up -- I guess we was kinda loud -- and separated Rowdy and me.
        "'All right,' he said, 'get your stuff and off we go. You're both finished here. You know the penalty for fightin' in the pit.'"
        "Rowdy started to say somethin', but clamped his mouth shut, picked up his stuff, gave me mine, and we walked off to the lift behind the pit boss.
        "The boss rang for the lift, none of us sayin' anything and the other muckers pretendin' that nothin' had happened, like people do when something unpleasant has occurred and they're just dyin' to know all about it.
        "We got into the lift and rode up to the next level. We got off to change and suddenly I was smacked down by blast of air smellin' of the sea.
        "Rowdy and the pit boss grabbed me and threw me into the lift car -- thank goodness it was there! -- and the pit boss rammed the control so hard I thought it would break off.   
        "Those lifts didn't move very fast, and we'd barely made the next level when we could see water climbin' up the shaft below us. We knew that the lift'd never get us out in time.
        "It's strange what you can do when you have to. The three of us left the lift stage and yanked open the damp door to the shaft. We scrambled up, runnin' as hard and as fast as we could, sometimes stumblin' and the other two helpin' you get up and keep runnin'. I don't remember bein' out of breath, all I remember about that climb out of Hell is bein' afraid that my carbide lamp would go out. That and thinkin' that I was goin' to get docked for the shovel and the other gear I'd left behind.
        "After most of an eternity we busted out the topside doorframe and into the clean air of Douglas Island. We ran about ten more steps and the three of us collapsed on the ground, just like somebody'd knocked the legs out from under us.
        "There was a lot of commotion up there. That blast of air had knocked the door off the frame, just pushed it out like a man had set off a powder charge behind it. It was near to shift change, and most of the next shift was there, millin' around, and the clerks and bosses from the office, and the whistles hootin' and alarm bells clangin' -- I wish I'd been in shape to enjoy the excitement.
        "A man in a suit came up to us and asked in an officious voice, 'What has happened? Has there been an explosion? Has there been a collapse?'
        "He was askin' the pit boss, who just looked up at him, and I noticed that he was black -- his face, all of his skin was just black, and I guessed then that I was too.
        "It was Rowdy who answered. 'Gastineau Channel's knocked in the head. Water's fillin' the works, if it ain't already.'"
        "That man turned pale, swallowed a couple of times, turned and ran off to report to his boss, I guess. There was a bunch of other shift miners around us, and they helped us up and gave us some water -- I didn't know I was thirsty, or how very good water could taste, 'til then.
        "Those miners were askin' us questions, but with their eyes. Everyone had friends down there.
        "We sat down, our heads between our legs, tryin' to get our thoughts in order. Pretty quick the Chief Engineer came up and started to question us. We told him what we knew, what had
happened as we saw it, and how we'd managed to get out.
        "'Knocks, huh?' he asked Rowdy.
        "'Yeh. You know what that means. I didn't have time to explain to the kid here or the pit boss. I hoped we get to the light and then I'd explain. Didn't have time for explainin' after the air hit us.
        "'First time I heard of them up here,' said the CE.
        "'First time for everythin',' said Rowdy.
        "The CE left us, then, and went off to plan what rescue efforts could be made. Pretty soon some of the other men handed us coffee in tin cups, coffee with whiskey in it.
        "We drank it, and then we were taken to the Company doctor, who pronounced us fit but exhausted. I thought the diagnosis was accurate.
        "We went back to the pay shack, where they were startin' the rescue efforts. We were asked to stick around, but that we wouldn't be goin' back down as part of the rescue team. We went into the back room and sacked out on the floor; I guess we were asleep inside of seconds.
        "Sleep's a great tonic, you know. We only slept maybe a couple of hours, but when we woke up it was like everything that had happened had happened a long time ago, or to somebody else and you had just read about it. It was when we went into the next room that everything that had happened came back to us.
        "They got almost everybody out okay except those other
fellas who had been workin' down on our level, right at the minehead. When the water came in, they went out. I heard later that some of their bodies floated out of the mine and were found as much as a year after the collapse.
        "Some of the boys who got out were in bad shape, both in their bodies and their minds. Some tried to go back down, down to get out their friends who had been workin' at the head. They had to tie some of them up and give 'em a shot to quiet them down.
        "Some of the boys were brought up pretty well broken up. There were broken arms and legs, some skull fractures, one or two broken backs when that blast of air had thrown them against the timberin'. Not all of them made it, and some others were crippled for life.
        "There weren't any pensions, then. You got hurt, you were out of luck. Some said you were better off if you got killed. They were probably right.
        "Anyway, the pit boss told his story, and then said that he had misunderstood what we were doin' -- that we were not fightin', but that we had been workin' to free a shovel that had gotten jammed from under the ore car.
        "The big boss looked like he didn't believe the story, but there was nobody to contradict it -- Rowdy and me would have had the pay due us docked for the tools we'd dropped if the fightin' charges had been brought. And after what Rowdy'd told the Chief
Engineer, the pit boss hadn't said anything much to us about fightin'.
        "So I got out okay, and so did Rowdy and the pit boss. The three of us got a bonus of five hundred dollars from the company, and it was sort of understood that the money was so that we wouldn't mention the knockin's. You see, the Ready Bullion hadn't collapsed and if the word of the knockin's got around it would have been hard to find miners to work it.
        "Miners are a superstitious lot, you see."
        Uncle Mathias stopped and emptied the dottle from his cold pipe. He refilled it and patiently coaxed it alight, using two matches as he always did.
        "And then what happened?" I asked.
        "I went back to the States. I'd had more than my fill of gold minin'. I had my pay, that five hundred in bonus money and a share of the subscription raised by local citizens, all in all I had a little over a thousand dollars. More than that, I was still alive. So I took the boat outside, and one of these days I'd like to go back up to Juneau -- I hear that it's a right pretty place now, and Alaska's a state and all these days.
        "I lost track of Rowdy; 'course, I never knew his right name so it's not surprisin'. The pit boss, man name of Olaf Hannsen, took the money he got and bought a bar in Haines -- told me that I had free drink, food and diggin's whenever I was there. Last I knew, he was still alive and still runnin' that bar. 'Course, that was twenty years back."
        I thought over what Uncle Mathias had just told me. It was
an exciting story, but I failed to see what relevance it had to unexplained things.
        "The knockings!" I exclaimed. "The knockings you heard, which warned you about the coming collapse! That must have been spooky."
        "Tosh! Those knockin's were caused by water pressure -- what the engineers call 'hydrostatic pressure'. 'Weren't nothing mysterious about them at all. Only superstitious fools would think otherwise.
        "No, when I said I had seen a strange thing, it had nothin' to do with the knockin's. What I saw was one of the bodies brought up out of the mine. A little fella, about five feet tall. Only his eyes were different from ours -- sort of slanted, but not like an oriental's. Slanted in his head, like his skull was different. He had a sort of silvery skin, and was wearin' a blue, one peice suit -- his boots were part of it. And he had six fingers -- two thumbs with four fingers between 'em -- on each hand.
        "He (I guess it was a he) was dead. Nobody knew where he came from, though some thought he'd been sucked into the mine when the head collapsed. Anyway, everybody was too full of grief for their friends and loved ones to give much thought to this critter. We buried him in the cemetery along with everyone else. Just put 'unidentified' on the death certificate.
        "It's gettin' too late in the day to hunt any more rabbits.
Pick up your truck and let's head on home."

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 04 May 10 - 01:51 PM

Definootly. I have no idea why he has been hiding his light under a bushel all these years on MOAB, making do with drivel and stolen goods when he had such fine stuff right in his mental garage. Perhaps it is retirement that has made the difference. If so this gives me hope.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,Eiseley
Date: 04 May 10 - 12:37 PM

Well, they're not cataloged, but I have collected all that Rapaire has deigned to share. I can see a published collection in the future. I hope!!!!

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 May 10 - 12:19 PM

Rap, you'd better start another thread and park your stories over there also so they don't get lost here in MOM's house. I haven't had time to read them this week and I'm going to have to wade back through to find the first when I do get time. Or maybe Eiseley is collecting and cataloging them, like an efficient library person? :)

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 04 May 10 - 10:48 AM

Idagator is a sports drink, isn't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 04 May 10 - 10:46 AM

...the overseer, the quarters....

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 04 May 10 - 10:44 AM

Ah, I yearn for my balmy childhood days in Alamba, I do. The sunshine, the myrtle and honeysuckle, the banjo music, the smell of fresh mown tobacco...

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Eiseley
Date: 04 May 10 - 10:44 AM

Will and I saw an Idagator as we were going up to school one day. It was buried up to its eyes in the trail dust, but as it saw us coming it shivered a few times down its spine and started to come after us. We barely made it up the hill to safety. They're more dangerous here because they can climb trees.

You just THINK it was a windstorm that broke the branch off your tree that time, Rapaire.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 04 May 10 - 10:36 AM

Amos, alligators are found in Alamba, so obviously illigators were found in Illinois. QED.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 04 May 10 - 10:02 AM

Bravo!! Long live the Illigators!! Whoops. Too late....

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 04 May 10 - 01:22 AM

Just for Eiseley:

The Glorious Fourth had come and gone, floated away on a full day of rain. Some people — our Uncles and Aunts and cousins — came over, but nobody stayed long. It was too wet to even shoot the city's fireworks off, and the big display was postponed for a week.

        The fifth was hot and steamy, and by the seventh everyone said that the Dog Day were upon us even though they usually didn't arrive until August.

        Martha asked what Dog Days were and Tony told her that was when dogs got hydrophobia and went mad. Ted asked what they were mad about, and I explained that they were mad because they had rabies. Tony said that they didn't have rabies, they had hydrophobia, and I said that they had rabies and the "hydrophobia" was the only big word Tony knew and that was why he said that the dogs had hydrophobia. Tony said that he knew lots of big words, like "haphephobia" and "fusee" and "trinitrotoulene" and "dekastere" and "chalcedony" and I said that "fusee" wasn't a very big word and Tony said that it was, and Mom said to stop arguing this minute.

        So we stopped arguing and started fighting, and Mom told us to get out of the house and go outside and play or something.

        So we decided to go to Cedar Creek.

        We had Martha fill the canteens and make some sandwiches because Mom hadn't thrown her out to play. Of course, she charged us and when we paid her she stuck her tongue out and said that Dog Days were called that because Sirius, the Dog Star, was high in sky at that time and we weren't as smart as we thought.

        Ted threw an old tomato at her and he got thrown out for the rest of the day, too. (He missed.)
        So the three of us trekked off to find whatever adventure might await us at Cedar Creek.

        There wasn't much, to tell the truth. The remains of the old Civil War ironclad were still rusting away, just as they always had as long as we knew. We fished for a while, but only caught a couple of small five-pounders, which we threw back as they were too small to keep.

        It kept getting hotter and muggier. Finally, Tony announced that he was going swimming.

        "It's a long way to the pool in South Park, even though it's a good idea," said Ted.
        "I shan't trouble your nascent mind with the whereabouts of proposed natatorial exercise," replied Tony, "except to say that the present venue will suffice."

        "What? What'd he say?" Ted asked me.

        "He said that he's gonna swim here and that your mind is underdeveloped," I replied.

        "Well put, old bean," Tony said. He was starting to annoy me, and Ted didn't understand at all. And with that Tony started to take off his clothes. At our quizzical looks, he said, "One cannot dampen one's vestments, now, can one?" Then he jumped into Cedar Creek without even any clothes on at all!

        Tony swam around, diving at times and coming up nearby and splashing us with water. He was having a great time and urging us to join him. And truthfully, it did look refreshing.

        Ted and I had just about made up our minds to join him when it happened. We probably saw it about the same time — several pairs of eyes sticking up above the water, moving slowly and deliberately toward Tony.

        Ted and I lookd at each other. We knew what they were, and Tony was in deadly danger. And when he came to the surface again we shouted the words of warning:

        "TONY!! TO THE ISLAND!!

        To his credit, he believed us. He looked like a motorboat as he swam to the little island, which was closer than either shore.

        He made it, too, and was about four feet up the island's only sapling by the time the first illigator waddled ashore.

        There were eight of them — brownish-green relatives of the alligator which were, except for snapping turtles and water moccasins, Illinois's most dangerous aquatic reptile. There were each no less than nine feet long, and each seemed to have a dozen rows of long, sharp, pointed, yellow TEETH. They gathered around the foot of Tony's tree and sort of snapped upwards at him. The sounds of their jaws and teeth closing together was frightening to hear.

        By this time, Tony was at the very top of the tree, about twenty-five feet up. The tree was wobbling a little from side to side from his weight.

        "Assistance! Expeditious assistance! Succor!" Tony shouted.

        "I'd say he was a sucker," Ted observed.

        "Tony!" I yelled. "You want help? Is that what you're trying to say?"

        "In sooth!" he replied.

        "Okay, hang on!" I cried. "We'll go get help."

        "Don't get help! Help me!" he yelled.

        "I'll go get Mom and Martha!" I shouted.
        "I'll go get the nuns from the convent!" Ted shouted.

        "I'm en deshabille! I mean, I'm bare!" shouted Tony.

        Ted and I were rolling on the ground laughing.   Finally, I gasped out, "Yeah! We couldn't help but notice!"

        Ted gasped out, "Let's get the game warden 'cause there's a bare in that tree!" and he started to laugh again.

        "Your ends are in view if I get out of here," Tony threatened.

        "No, your end's in view," Ted and I replied and laughed some more.

        Tony was upset. We could tell.

        Finally, I said, "I know how you can get away and be safe."

        Tony: "How?"

        Me: "Well, if you're really, really fast you might slide down the tree and outrace the illigators to this shore."

        Tony: "That's a REALLY stupid idea."

        "Just a thought. Besides, the poor illigators look hungry. But since you don't want us to go for help and you're too slow to beat the illigators, why not go by air?" I asked.

        "Ted!" Tony hollered. "Mike's gone crazy! Watch yourself!"

        "No," I responded, "Shift your weight back and forth at the top of the tree just like pumping up a swing. When it's going really good, let go and you'll fly over here. You might break your arm or something, but the illigators DO look both hungry AND patient."

        "Well," Tony decided, "I'll try it. Maybe I'll land in some nice soft mud. Fetch my clothes and watch where I land, okay?"

        Tony started pumping. Slowly, slowly the tree started to respond. Back and forth, forth and back, and for Tony, up and down, too. The illigators got more and more excited as the bending tree brought Tony's heels and feet and legs and other parts closer and closer to their ready jaws. Back and forth, back and forth — and then, just at the point where the illigators could nip his heels on the next go, Tony released the tree and took flight!

        In the history of flight there have been many great moments. From the legends of Daedelus to the first tentative flight of the Wright brothers, to the exploits of Beloit, von Richtofen, Doolittle, Lindbergh, and Earhart — to the heroics of Colin Campbell, of Alan Shephard, and Yuri Gargarin, of Christy McAuliffe and of thousands of other aviators, deeds great and small have been writ on the pages of the sky. Tony's flight, done arms and legs akimbo, cannot be said to be among them.

        To his credit, let it be said that he neither screamed nor broke anything.

        Ted and I dashed after him, carrying his clothes. Tony had gone MUCH further than we had thought that he would. We were concerned because we didn't know then that he hadn't broken anything, and we thought that he might need help.

        Help he did indeed need! But we couldn't give him any right then, for his plight was desperate in the extreme!

        It was also amazingly funny. Tony, you see, completely unclothed as he was, had finished his airborne antics in the exact center of a large, dense, stand of blackberry bushes!

        True, we could rescue him. And eventually we would. But at that time a troop of Girl Scouts were picking blackberries from Tony's stand.

        You would have thought they would have noticed when a bare boy landed in the middle of the blackberry patch, but they didn't seem to. It was a good thing, we thought, that Tony hadn't yelled something.

        Ted and I stopped on a small rise about a hundred yards away to watch the ensuing spectacle. We were, to say the least, hypnotized by the unfolding drama — and torn between laughing quietly and laughing out loud.

        Quickly the Girl Scouts picked, working closer and closer to the center and a very revealing discovery.

        I glanced down and then looked again. "Ted!" I whispered. "Ted! Tony's clothes are gone!"

        "Clothes? He's gonna need clothes in about three minutes," Ted chortled.

        "PSSSSSSSSSST!" came from behind us. "PSSSSSSSSSST!"

        We looked back and there was Tony.

        We knew it was Tony, because only someone who'd tangled with a blackberry patch could look like that.

        He was scratched all over. In addition, he had spots all over his body where blackberries had been crushed when he fell. True, he now had on most of the clothes he'd quietly taken from my side, but there wasn't any place we could see that wasn't either spotted or scratched or, most probably, both.

        "Oh, darn! I mean, how are you? You got away, I see," Ted exclaimed.

        "Crawled between Girl Scouts. Out of bushes. Let's go home," Tony said, and he tied his last shoelace and stood up. He took a step and fell face down into some mud, as he had inadvertently tied his shoelaces together. Again.

        He got up, wiped the mud from his eyes, and we all started home. As we passed the Girl Scouts they looked at us and made some comments about Tony's condition. I told them about the illigators and said that they should be careful because one had chased Tony and he had only escaped by hiding in some blackberry bushes. All of which was, of course, true, but sort of slanted.

        We got home in time for Tony to clean up before a supper, and really enjoyed a repast of anchovies, avocados, aubergine aspic, and asparagus. There was ambrosia to drink, and BOTH auf lauf and snitz kloes for dessert. It was a good ending to a good day, except for Tony, who spent the next two week covered with calomine lotion. You see, there had also been poison ivy in among the blackberries.


Note: The very last illigator died on April 17, 1969, at 7:32 p.m. Being mostly teeth and appetite they ate 'most anything, including each other. The last one, which had been kept in the Quincy Zoological Gardens, started biting its toenails and couldn't stop.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Eiseley
Date: 03 May 10 - 11:35 PM

Those are wonderful, Rapaire! Remember, the titles and subtitles are worth reading also. Do the one about the Illigators, please, please!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 03 May 10 - 11:22 PM

Well l are a piece of work, Rapaire. I am just hornswoggled at this fine BS you are putting out.

Actually, I don't swan, but I know someone who does. But it sounds good when one is up a gum stump.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 03 May 10 - 10:07 PM

Amos wanted some quality BS....

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 03 May 10 - 10:05 PM

        Before he died, our Dad was an actor. He acted with the Quincy Little Theatre, just like Ted does sometimes and Tony and I have.
        Ted's acted in a lot of plays: Antigone, Hamlet, . . . Red Ryder, The Death and Life of Sneaky Fitch and lots and lots more. He's even won awards for acting!
        What is generally unknown or forgotten is that Tony and I, skulking around in the Boogie Swamp, started Ted down the path to ☆ stardom ☆ and association with theatre greats*.
        A long time ago, even before Ted was in Golden Fleecing and we played in Androcles and the Lion together, Tony and I were eating lunch in the Swamp. We'd finished our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and small bottles of milk and were gathering our stuff for a hard afternoon of fishing.
        Suddenly, from the direction of the railroad tracks, we heard a lady crying "Save me! Oh, save me! Is there no hero to answer my cry for help?"
        Then a man with a nasty, oily voice said, "Quiet, my beauty! Your hero (he said this with a sneer) is in prison, where my false evidence put him!"
        "Then alas! all is lost! But I will never succumb to your foul desires and marry you!"
                *Like Leonard Slye and Robert T. Hope and Junius Booth and Sarah Bernhardt and the Duke of Bilgewater.         Tony and I were sneaking closer during this exchange, and when we peeked through the bushes we saw a man in a cape and top hat trying a beautiful lady to the railroad tracks!
        "She'll be killed if a train runs over her," observed Tony.
        We grabbed big, thick tree branches for clubs and yelling "We'll save you" ran out to club the bad guy and untie the lady.
        We got only halfway there when a bunch of people grabbed us, took away the clubs and held us tight!
        The man in the hat came over to us looking annoyed. He turned to another person who we couldn't see because the person was behind us and said, "HOW can we rehearse in conditions like THIS?"
        "Jeffrey, Jeffrey," a lady behind us replied, "They're only children! And besides, you wanted to feel the part by tying Rosalee to an active, real, railroad track! Now everyone, take it from 'Save me! Oh, save me!' and you kids come here, sit down, and shut up."
        Tony and I came, sat, and shut up next to the lady who had been talking.
        I whispered to Tony, "I see. It's only a play and they're practicing. Boy, were we fooled, huh?"
        And Tony whispered back, "You were fooled, not me! I just went along with you to see what you'd do!"
        "Shhhhhhhhh!" said the lady.
        And we watched the beautiful lady get tied to the tracks and the villain (that's what they call the bad guy in the theatre) watch and wait for a train to run over the lady (who is called a heroine) or for her to agree to marry him.
        We saw the good guy (or hero), who had been freed from jail, rescue the heroine and clobber the villain, who was taken away by actors pretending to be police.
        It was good, and even though we hadn't seen the whole play we clapped and clapped.
        But the lady with whom we were sitting (who we learned was called the Director) didn't seem to think it was any good at all, and made the actors do it over and over and over.
        At one point we mentioned to her that a train was, really, about due and the heroine might get hurt for real. She told us that they'd made arrangements with the railroad and no trains would be using the tracks that afternoon.
        Finally she said, "Okay, everybody. I've still got problems with this scene, but tomorrow's final tech rehearsal, Wednesday's first dress and blocking, Thursday's final dress and we open Friday."
        Suddenly a man ran up and handed her a note. She read it and said, "Darn! Miranda's sick -- she's in the hospital. We don't have anyone to play her. It's only one line and some blocking (which is what theatre people call moving around on stage, you know) but it's a crucial role. Anyone know who we can get?"
        All of the actors and actresses thought and thought but no one answered.
        Then Tony said to her, "Maybe my Mom will do it, if its not a hard part. Mom can do almost anything, and besides my Dad used to act in the Little Theatre."
        The lady looked surprised and asked us our names. When she found out who we were she said our Dad had been a good actor and she'd call our Mom about the part.
        The Director told us that Miranda, the name of the lady in the play, was the heroine's mother. All Miranda had to do was come in at a certain time and say, "You'll not have her while there is breath in my ancient body!" The villain would then shoot Miranda, who would fall dead on the stage.
        Tony observed that we certainly didn't want Mom killed! But the Director told him that it wasn't a real gun, but a fake gun used on stage, so Tony and I agreed to tell Mom.
        To our surprise, Mom like the idea of being in a play and she talked to the Director and agreed to do it if we kids could come see the play on opening night for free.
        The Director agreed, and even gave us seats in the "boxes" above and close to the stage.
        For the next few days we were excited! We talked about plays and played plays. We probably tied Martha to pretend railroad tracks twenty times a day.
        One day we forgot to untie her in time for supper and when we finally did she just lay there. When we asked her what was wrong she said she'd been run over by a pretend train and we were some pretend heroes! Ted started to shovel dirt on her and she jumped up and yelled and ran to Mom. Mom got mad at Ted, but Ted explained that if she had been run over by a train she was dead, so he was burying her.
        Finally, Friday came.
        We talked theatre all day, and late in the afternoon we got dressed for the play. We boys wore white shirts and ties and Martha put on her best dress.
        Mom had gone to the theatre early because she had to get into her costume. We four walked to the theatre and were shown to our box by an usher (who is the person who shows you where your seats are).
        We were early, so we watched as the seats filled with the audience. Tony wanted some popcorn, but there wasn't any for sale. But we each got a lemonade and drank that.
        The theatre was beautiful. It was the old Orpheum, and there were golden lights and if you looked at the highest ceiling it looked like stars and moving clouds. The seats were red velvet and the part you sat on folded up. Our box was only about a meter above the stage, so we'd be able to see and hear very well.
        The play was called Caviar For The General, or, The Revenger's Tragedy. We thought that it was a funny name for a play.
        The people in the audience were all grown up, and when they saw us in our box they pointed. So we sat up real straight and behaved ourselves. After all, we did have very good seats.
        Finally, the lights dimmed, the music started, and the play began!
        It was a really great play, about a poor family and a railroad owner (the villain) who wanted the family's farm for his railroad. When he found out about the beautiful daughter he wanted to marry her, even though she was in love with Jack, the poor but honest hero.
        Finally the villain had Jack sent to prison by making up some things he said that Jack had done.
        Ted was watching with great interest. Sometimes he'd whisper to us things like, "Boy! He's a bad man!" and "I'd like to punch him for that." He didn't like the villain at all.
        The Mom came out wearing a dress we'd never seen before. The villain had been trying to carry the heroine off to marry him and Mom grabbed her and said, "You'll not have her while there is breath in my ancient body." And the villain pulled out a pistol and shot her and Mom fell into a heap on the stage floor.
        The villain turned to the audience and, still holding the smoking revolver, sneered.
        Ted yelled, "You skunk! You shot my mother!" and leapt onto the stage.
        He grabbed a chair and hit the villain over the head with it.
        Now, the chairs used in fights on the stage or in the movies are specially made. They break apart very easily: this looks really good and nobody is really hurt.
        The chair Ted used wasn't one of these, and the villain fell to the stage, out cold.
Then Ted picked up the villain's gun and shot him five times!
        "That'll teach you!" said Ted.
        "Put the gun down. It's not real," Mom said to Ted.
        "Mom!" yelled Ted. "You're okay! Are you hurt? I've really fixed this snake good!"
        "You've also fixed the play," murmured Mom.
        Well! You can only imagine the audience. People were fainting and yelling and screaming and laughing and Mom was mortified!
        Finally a doctor came on stage and checked the villain. Except for a cut on his head and being knocked out he was all right. Ted surrendered the pistol and walked up to the front of the stage.
        He said very loudly to the audience that he was sorry he'd ruined the play, but he'd never seen a play before and he thought that Mom had really be shot and all.
        It was no use. The theatre had to give everyone back their money and Mom never acted again. She was afraid that the next time the villain might have a sword.
        The next summer she sent Ted to Children's Theatre to learn about acting and things, and when Ted finally got into college he earned a Bachelor's degree in theatre and he even toured around the country with a theatrical group.
        But after the theatre that night we had a light supper of mock turtle soup, mock steak, mock chicken legs, mock bisque and mock angel food. We had powdered orange juice to drink.
        We never did get to see the heroine tied to the railroad tracks on stage.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 03 May 10 - 10:01 PM

Even when my paternal grandpapa was busted for moonshining during Prohibition it wasn't an illegal act. He just didn't pay off the right people; if he had it wouldn't have been illegal. Likewise for my 3-g uncle who lead slave out of The South and into the free state of Illinois, then over to Missouri where he resold them -- funny thing about him was that after he popped into his sister's place one night nobody ever heard from him again (something about some people, including the local sheriff, looking for him).

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 03 May 10 - 08:21 PM

Aw shucks, and here I thought he had gotten over that reality-distortion thing when he retired. Guess it takes a while to spin down...


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 03 May 10 - 07:29 PM

MY family (of course, I can only speak for those out to 32nd cousins) never has done or will do anything illegal.

Hmph! The very idea!

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,Eiseley
Date: 03 May 10 - 07:22 PM

Did you also write a poem about the first deer he shot illegally?

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 03 May 10 - 07:01 PM

And now, Amos, a little poem I wrote to celebrate the first deer my nephew John shot (he was hunting, legally).

                     John's Deer

                It was mid-November of ninety-two --
                Deer season, opening day --
                John was sitting on a southern slope
                With Ralph fifty yards away.

                Ralph's my brother's oldest
                And John is squeezed between
                Ralph and niece Elizabeth --
                Someday John may be fourteen.

                Yes, Ralph's John's older brother.
                And I wasn't there to see
                When John dropped his first buck deer,
                But Ralph told it all to me.

                "Dawn broke nice and quiet
                It barely brushed the sky with pink
                We'd been on stand for half an hour
                Or thereabouts, I think.

                "Suddenly shots were all around!
                It sounded like a heckuva fight!
                But when I poked my head up I found
                They were fifty yards to the right.

                "Those shots just kept on coming
                But when I looked around I saw
                John putting shot after quickly aimed shot
                Downhill, into the draw!

                "And then he tossed away his weapon,
                And in the early morning light
                John lit the fuse and tossed downhill
                A stick of dynamite!

                "It exploded and I started toward him.
                He was yelling to beat the band!
                And then suddenly he jumped off of the ridge
                Clutching a knife in his right hand.         

                "When I got to the ridge I saw him
                Crouching in the blasted wood,
                Stabbing and cutting a little spike buck --
                John saw me, waved, and stood.

                "'I got him, Ralph!' he hollered,
                But I think he's still alive!'
                And over the cliff John tossed that very dead deer
                In a two hundred fifty foot dive.

                "When we finally got down to him
                That buck was as dead as dead could be.
                He carried a rack of two or three points,
                But John swore thirty-three!

                "To get that deer out of the creek
                Was a job and a half, I'd say!
                It took us all day and half the night
                And my back still aches today.

                "We stuck two four wheel drive pickups
                Broke a winch and an ATV.
                Finally Dad brought in a D-9 Cat
                And moved the hills away.
                "We had to build a road to that old deer
                We built three bridges and filled in two bogs,
                Leveled mountains and drilled four tunnels
                And lumbered out five thousand logs.

                "We butchered at last that old deer up
                (John wanted to mount the head)
                We got seven pounds of meat from it,
                And eighty pounds of lead."

                Now, I don't believe Ralph for a minute!
                He stretches the truth some, you know --
                'Cause I've seen John's venisonburger,
                And the bullet holes hardly show!

I don't want to hear no criticism of my potery no more, ya hear?

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