Would you like to be immortalized? Who wouldn't? Well, a century from now, when your great-grandchildren are vacationing on Mars, they'll look around their living room. And as they notice THE HEALER on the bookshelf, they will gaze out the window at a huge crater - and know it was named after them! How? Because way back in 2015 the author of THE HEALER told you about Uwingu.com/Mars. Now go get immortalized! Do it for "A Talespinner", for Mars - for the spirit of exploration!
Here's a strange and thought provoking question, my friends: if you had the power of God for just twenty-four hours - what would you do? How would you use it? Answer me on my contact page, and let me know. I'd be curious to see your thoughts. Would you use your God-like power for personal betterment - or to change the world? Hmmmmmmm?
A new magazine has come on the scene which promises to provide food for thought - the SCI PHI JOURNAL. Check them out at http://sciphijournal.com.
To all my friends, and those who enjoyed my novel THE HEALER, I request a favor. Reviews are the lifeblood of any book; particularly works of fiction. Though my book is available in various retailers and online, the majority of its reviews are on my book page at Amazon (http://amzn.to/ZDv24p) and Barnes & Noble (http://bit.ly/1uw2YbA) If you enjoyed my book, please tell others? It's easy to do, at the bottom of their page. OR- you could send a favorable sentence or two to me, on my contact page on my website here; or my Facebook fan page, at https://www.facebook.com/atalespinner.
And look for my fantasy novel, "In The Shadow Of The House Of God", due out by the end of the year! Thanks!
Travel is enlightening. It broadens your horizons. You get to meet people you've never met, see wondrous things you've never seen, and do things you've never done. This is something I've always aspired to do - except on Wednesday, September 24th, 2014. That day turned out to be on my Bucket List from hell; right under getting a root canal without anesthesia. No - wait: the root canal would have been ABOVE Wednesday, the 24th.
But I digress. My good friend Fernando is also my United Health Care agent. His territory is most of Southern Arizona, and our road trips to potential clients provide me a wondrous opportunity to see a small part of Arizona's 114,000 square miles.
Aside from about half a dozen large cities, most of this 114,000 square miles is magnificent desolation; natural wonders that take your breath away. But every Yin has a Yang; every rose has a thorn; every Hawaiian luau has poi. Wait- that's not relevant. Anyway, we had an appointment in Benson, Arizona, a pleasant little town of 5100. Nice people. My friend always uses a GPS on his phone; in such a large state it's indispensable. And it directed us to leave the main highway, and drive down a dirt road; a long dirt road; a very long dirt road; a very, very long dirt road. Without looking at the GPS, I instinctively knew we were East of nowhere and West of oblivion. Surrounded by mountain ranges 360 degrees, and a million miles of prairie, the only homes were many miles apart, up in the hills; owned by folks who seemed to have a penchant for living on the main thoroughfare of Mars.
Well, on we drove, unerringly guided by Mr. GPS, down the boulevard of the moon. Within a few miles the ruts became more pronounced, my kidneys were vibrating at levels hitherto unheard of, and I was by now quite certain that either Rommel's Panzer Division - hopelessly lost - had rolled through here, or Hannibal's elephants, even more hopelessly lost, had pounded along this Mystery Trail.
Eventually, the hard-packed dirt insidiously morphed into loose sand - no doubt imported from the Sahara. But thankfully, after almost 10 miles of having a majority of my internal organs shaken loose from their organic moorings, there, at long last, was a gate across the road. The elusive client was now within reach!
So we stopped the car, got out, and went to open the gate - only to find it locked. No problem- we'll just call him to open it. Surprise - no cell phone reception! OK - we'll just drive ALL the way back to the junction of the main highway, where we had cell phone reception.
Until we realized, after starting the car - that we were stuck fast in the sand! No amount of coaxing, cursing, or digging would convince the little Chevy Cruze to free itself. Hmmmm- what to do? Luckily, about a mile away we spotted a house in the foothills; probably the closest one this side of Bulgaria. So, with no hats to protect us from the 90 degree sun, and in our dress shoes, we walked all the way up to it. Maybe they had a 4-wheel drive truck, with a tow chain? Well, the owners weren't home, but workers remodeling it agreed to help. And they didn’t have cell phone reception, either. What did people up here do to communicate – smoke signals? One of the construction guys drove us to the car in his pick-up - and promptly got stuck, as well! But after a few minutes of gunning, pushing, and jumping up and down (in the truck bed, not the sand) he was freed, and offered to drive us to the junction of the highway, so we could at least call a tow truck service. By now, my insides were hollow, like a bell without a clapper; all organs having been piled up towards my toes, so it didn't matter.
"Sure, we can tow you out of there," the towing service said. "But our 4-wheeled drive truck isn't in Benson right now. It's in Tucson. Can you wait?" Of course we could. What choice did we have? Well, in about an hour he arrived, with a tow truck the size of an M-1 Abrams tank. (Which is what we should have traveled to here, in the first place)
Well, we got in, and drove the roughly 10 miles back to the little Chevy Cruze, dislodging any vestiges of remaining organs that had not been rattled loose in the first two treks.
The chain was hooked up - until Fernando noticed that there was zero air in the right rear tire! Right about now I was sorry I had not brought a harmonica with me. Isn't that what the hapless victim does in those grade-B movies, when he knows he's about to die? But thank God he had invested last month in a set of run-flat tires. We could drive 50 miles with no air in these babies! Whew! By now we realized that neither of had eaten or drank anything in about 9 hours. I kept hallucinating that the few lone cows I saw out on the prairie had buns above and below them. I could dispense with the special sauce, and rough it. I scanned the sky for buzzards - and wished I had that harmonica.
Eventually we were on our way again, thank God, and pulled into a gas station to use their air pump, and put 38 pounds back into the run flat tire, for the trip back to Tucson. But, as luck would have it, the pump was out of order. Finally, we managed to find one, and the little Chevy thanked us.
Oh, did I fail to mention the tow company charge? Are you sitting down? $436.00!!! What a bargain, huh? Yeah, if you're Great Britain!
But finally, after a 12-hour day, most of it stuck in Sahara-imported sand, we made it back to Tucson - dirty, smelly, dusty, thirsty, and hungry. At least some good came out of all this, though: there's no more sand in Benson, Arizona. We brought it all back with us in our hair, our shoes, our skin, our underwear; use your imagination. Now they can put asphalt on that trail, like normal 21st century folks do.
The moral of the story? There isn't any. Except - check the classified ads on "Tanks R Us", before you plan on trekking the back roads of Benson, Arizona.
PS - My friend Fernando later found out that his GPS lied to him: it directed us to a completely wrong area. We needn't have gotten stuck at all!
WINTER WONDERLAND IN MY FRIDGE
By Jeffrey G. Roberts
I live in a beautiful apartment in Tucson, Arizona. No complaints, but I have an old-style refrigerator – not the frost-free kind. The kind that begins to resemble a ski resort over time. And I’d noticed over the months it was developing a lot of ice in the freezer. Any day I expected to see a Yeti in there! So I asked maintenance for instructions, and they suggested that I get a big pot of boiling water and put it in there. Do this several times, they said, and the mountains of accumulated ice would all melt. Well, it took about six cycles of re-boiling the water – but it worked! I used so many towels everywhere to sop up the melting ice, my floor looked like a linen factory warehouse. When I moved in 3 years ago, I could put a whole turkey and more into that freezer. Now- I’d be lucky to squeeze in a hot dog! Now I knew what a cholesterol-clogged artery felt like. But in fact, it was quite picturesque. I was thinking of taking a picture of this frozen landscape and submitting it to the Alaskan tourism bureau. No one would ever know the difference. I’d always wanted to visit the Alps. Now I wouldn’t have to! I did manage to rescue a couple of lost German hikers on their way to the Matterhorn, right near the condenser coils. They were amazed that they could have been so far off course! Looking back at my freezer, I said it was understandable.
Then began the arduous task of boiling more pots of water. I did it so many times I was thinking of opening up my place as a mid-wife birthing center. “More hot water!” Well, I certainly had enough of it. And steam? Oh my God! My apartment looked like the smoky back rooms in the Capitol, where dubious deals are made amongst the puffing of expensive cigars! I had put towels everywhere, but leaking was also everywhere – like an old Russian submarine. I kept thinking of that old song, “Three Coins In The Fountain”, but there were no coins in this fountain, only drippy cheese and soggy bread. I eventually ended up having enough towels to cover the head of every holy man from Bangladesh to Abu Dhabi!
So I closed the door on my stalactite replica, while I waited for the pot to cool down yet again. And every few minutes I could hear a loud crack, only to open the freezer door just in time to see a slab of ice shear off and careen down toward the vegetable bin. Maybe I could charge for tours! I was reminded of those National Geographic specials on the Arctic, where icebergs would crack off and send massive sheets into the water. I dismissed this comparison out of hand, until I saw two Icelandic sailors slide off one piece, and careen into the mayonnaise. I sent them off toward Reykjavik, with a hearty “Skolna borka!” I actually have no idea what that means, but it sounded good, and the sailors seemed happy anyway. After about seven cycles of boiling the same water over and over again (plus bringing 10 babies- 7 boys and 3 girls, into the world!) the freezer was “unfreezed” for the first time in over a year! I have to remind myself to call the Smithsonian, because under all that ice I found part of the missing Dead Sea Scrolls and an artifact from Atlantis! Lucky me! I’m beginning to think maintenance knows something I don’t! Either way, I’m keeping the Atlantean artifact. Maybe I can sell it to the Smithsonian. With any luck, I’ll be able to afford a new refrigerator! Anyway, I took all the soggy towels, and carried them to be dried off. Unfortunately, the combined weight of them caused our building to list permanently two degrees to starboard. Now I knew how they felt in Pisa, Italy! So now, instead of a freezer the size of a cigar tube, I have one the size of a C-5 Galaxy transport jet! So next time, I’ll be prepared! Never again will I let it get this far. Besides, the sound of muffled Germans chattering, “Vas ist los! Mein Gott!” was really beginning to get on my nerves. Maybe I’ll follow the instructions better next time! If there is a next time!
But I’m cleaning my skis – just in case!
These are stories, articles, and weird things of the world to amuse, amaze, and wonder at. Maybe you'll laugh, maybe you'll cry. Hopefully - you won't be bored!