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It is a whirlwind in here

Author

Dale Estey

I owe my life to Hitler, though I never met the man. My father was paid to stop Hitler, so there is no conflict of interest. I was given a thunk on the back o' the head by God when I was fifteen, and within a week began to write. I haven't stopped. My first novel was accepted 'over the transom'. My first editor/author luncheon in New York included a naked man with roller skates at the next table. For the sake of research I have lain on Kafka's grave, but I did not weep. I wish upon my own gravestone the phrase "Thank God He Didn't Die A Virgin". There is truth in every truth - so watch out. My published novels include the popular fantasy A Lost Tale and the thriller The Bonner Deception. I also have two editions of humorous and spiritual short stories, The Elephant Talks to God, which are appreciated by both young and old. My manuscripts range from stories about unicorns and druids in the 'Passing Through Trilogy' to the 9/11 destruction of New York. I have filled in the missing diaries of Franz Kafka; recounted the first person dementia of a serial killer; explored the outrageous lifestyle of the famous; and listened in while an elephant and God converse. I currently switch my attention between the saga of a family of onion farmers, from Fourth century Italy to the present day, and a contemporary NATO thriller. I live in Canada and make Nova Scotia my home. I prefer to travel by train, but embrace the computer age with passion. I am always on the hunt for unique onion recipes.

HMS Styx And The River Raise A Question By The Almost King

HMS Styx hove too afore my dock,

And dispatched a boat containing,

HRH Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales,

Destined to be our rightful king –

Eventually.

I had on my grand uniform,

But paled in comparison to the amount

Of gold braid upon HRH.

He had arranged this meeting

By the last naval ship,

That came through the port.

So I met him, and presented the

Only other loyal subject

Upon Partridge Island,

Paw, my cat/kitten,

Black as ship’s tar.

With one white mitten,

But absent any braid..

HRH was quite pleased,

And asked to hold the cage.

And then he asked me

(Which was the reason for his visit)

How these Reversing Falls worked,

For he was to take a boat up river

To the Capital.

He did not want to appear ignorant

To the locals so,

He wanted someone local

To explain it to him.

So I told him how the

Power of the ocean,

Pushed back the flow of the river

At high tide.

“So the river really

Reverses?” he asked.

“It does”royal,royalty,cat,island,poem,poetry,history,navy,ocean,river,nature,naval,, I assured him.

With that, he then asked

If he could pat the cat,

Which Paw appreciated.

Then back to the HMS STYX

Went HRH,

And departed to the

Awaiting crowds.

I doubt I’ll be made

An Admiral,

But Paw . . .

Oh, dear, will I have

To salute him?

I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2022 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report}

DE BA. UEL

It Was Friday 13th Two Years Ago And COVID Was In The Air

In my manuscript, There Was A Time, Oh Pilgrim, When The Stones Were Not So Smooth  I finished a chapter about the ‘elderly Dutchmen party with Alison Alexandra’ on Friday 13th. I took a trip and, on 19th March, began what turned out to be nearly a full year of Pandemic writing.The next chapter of the novel begins “In times of Pandemic, one of Alison Alexandra’s greatest worries is being bored.”

I started planning to write about the Pandemic the day after I heard that China was constructing hospitals solely devoted to COVID patients. I knew then the world was going to be in a lot of trouble. I was proved right.

 This is how that chapter began.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In times of Pandemic, one of Alison Alexandra’s greatest worries is being bored. And though she doesn’t want to test the theory, she believes she would rather be ill than bored.

“I’d step lightly there,” says R/Jane-the-Ghost.

“You would?”

“I would,” says R/Jane-the-Ghost. “And I know what I’m talking about. Yes – I do.”

Within the week of Wuhan City in China being shut down, and the building of emergency hospitals to house the sick, Alison Alexandra knew this would inevitably become the fate of the world. It might have intruded a bit more quickly than she has anticipated, but not by much.

Alison Alexandra of course thinks about the Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times”. But she also knows that this is a phrase in English that has no Chinese equivalent. The closest curse in Chinese is “Better to be a dog in peacetime than a human in time of war”.

“I won’t argue with that,” says R/Jane-the-Ghost.

And she doesn’t.

So, it was at the beginning of the Chinese curse that Alison Alexandra sets her plan into motion. It is simple, though dependent on circumstance.

Alison Alexandra arranges to get those with whom she’d like to share the End Times – if End Times they prove to be – to join her at her house and wait out the famine with a feast or two. Or three.

“I don’t think the End Times are supposed to be good times,” says R/Jane-the-Ghost/

“Not to put too fine a point on it,” says Alison Alexandra. “But aren’t you supposed to know?”

“Point taken,” says R/Jane-the-Ghost.

A Right Royal Time On Partridge Island

Shiver me timbers

And call me Aunt Hattie,

Prince George of Wales

Is coming to the Island.

He requests (that is – orders)

A look-around

On his way into port.

I know not why.

Maybe to adjust his sea legs.

Before he meets his Loyal subjects.

At any rate, I must

Tidy and fuss and putter,

And wear my fancy uniform,

And present

(This is my own idea)

The one other loyal subject

Of this whole domain,

Paw, my cat/kitten

Black as Davy Jones locker

With one white mitten.

I’d best spruce up his cage

Yes – I must.

I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2022 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report}

DE BA. UEL

Kafka And His Mother Understood Each Other

Franz Kafka is famous for many things.

He wrote a story where the central character  “. . . awoke one morning from uneasy dreams [and] found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”

He wrote “The Trial”, where a man was arrested one morning while (again) still in bed. He was accused of a crime, but was never told what the crime was. Throughout the novel, the man tries to find out his crime. but never does. His quest does not end well.

In the real world, Kafka invented the first safety helmet for workers.

And then, there is arguably his most famous written work, his “Letter To My Father”, detailing his father’s rough and uncaring treatment toward him.

Franz gave the letter to his mother to give to his father.

She never did.

Which is why Franz gave it to her. He knew she never would.

DE

The Sky Turns To Anger And Danger

It is one of those strange skies.

Strange morning light,

Not silver,

Not copper.

But both at once.

And the morning started so sunny,

Promising a fine fine day.

But now,

Even Paw, my cat/kitten,

Black as a midnight sky,

With one white mitten,

Is backing up

With a hiss.

Is the ocean going to throw,

And pound,

Our island and our lighthouse,

With storm and waves,

Wrack and ruin?

Or will it pass us by,

Like ghostly ships in the night?

I’m going to take Paw in

And give him meat.

I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2022 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report}

DE BA. UEL

Dead And Drowned And Waiting To Go Home

It was another body,

Washed up,

On the rocks.

There are a number every year,

Coming in on the waves.

A fisherman by his garb.

You can’t tell anything

From his face,

Or extremities.

Food for fishes.

I put up two flags,

For assistance

And for death.

Some incoming boat

Will heave to,

And take the remains

To port.

I used the  peavey, 

To get him out of the water,

And rolled him in a tarpaulin,

And left him in the trench

I’ve dug

For just this reason.

Then I sang

Nearer, My God, to Thee“,

Because,

What else can I do?

I wished Sister Darling

Was here,

To say proper prayers.

I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2022 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report}

DE BA. UEL

Happy Birthday, Shakespeare the Bard

The stage is as bare as my lady’s ass in his lordship’s bedchamber.

Rough-hewn in the most knockabout way, leaving splinters in the palace lawns

of the imagination.

There’s many a dip ‘twixt the trap and the lip.

It fares little better than hastily strewn boards covering parched ground, and barely enough elevation to keep the understanding masses at bay.

Were one fool enough to come from out the wings, and at centre front begin a soliloquy about the beauty of the wretched arena on which he stands, to fight the resulting and justified spontaneous combustion, there would not be found one drop of piss from any a Thespian’s hose.

For who could allow this sacrilege to be spoken? Even the flag atop the pole knows that the magic is not yet arrived.

A stage without commercial trappings:

without solid doors and thick drapes,

uncluttered by pillars,

and arches,

tables and chairs,

windows and fireplaces;

sans orchestra, sans balcony, sans pit.

A stage revealing all its secrets.

Profound as emptiness.

A stage in wait.

For in this world writ small (as in the globe around)

the audience

has nothing to know/ nothing to learn,

until the actor makes an entrance and prepares

to fight through our eyes and ears

to battle with those thoughts and fears

that lurk in sheltered halls.

What’s Hecuba to him?

Why – nothing.

Merely a name on a page of script,

A cue at which to turn his profile thus.

It is what Hecuba becomes to we who wait,

That turns the key upon the heavy gate.

A Feast From The Earth On EARTH DAY

I saw a sight that I believe I have actually never seen, though it is fabled the world over.

Standing on the front stoop to test the air I saw a robin on the grass. Robins are rather skittish and usually, when a human presence is so close, it will make them hop (and they truly do *hop*) away. But this one stayed put.

My understanding is that birds ‘hear’ the worms under the earth – that is how they detect them. I assume that is why they so often have their head in a cocked position. However, for this robin, the listening part of the chase was over.

As I watched the robin made a strike into the earth with its beak. It was then that an almost cartoon-like image occurred. The bird had a portion of the worm in its beak and began to pull. It pulled and pulled and the worm stretched and stretched. It made me think of someone pulling a threaded needle from the fabric they were sewing. The length of the worm became even longer than the robin’s body. With this constant and slow tug, the worm finally popped out of the earth.

Then the robin had a go at it.

The bird took at the long, brown earthworm and began to snip off pieces with its beak. It could not have been more effective if it had a pair of scissors. Substantial, beak-sized pieces which it swallowed quickly. The long earthworm became shorter and shorter, giving the robin less to hold on to. In under two minutes the worm became one remaining morsel hanging from the robin’s beak. It was only then that the robin began to hop across the grass. The last piece of worm disappeared inside the robin and the robin quickly took off.

One satisfied predator.

One less worm.

HM The Queen Graces My Humble Novel – Happy Birthday To Her

HM The Queen is ninety-six years of age, and this year she celebrates the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne. In my novel, More Famous Than The Queen, I follow the life of ST, so famous he is only known by his initials. One of his friends is the Queen of England. They have the occasional meeting.

Here, written a number of years ago, is an abridged account of one of his meetings with Her Majesty, in the gardens of Buckingham Palace.

I wish her Gracious Majesty the best of the day, and for tomorrow, the top of the morning.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ST walks half way along the lake without seeing anyone else. He assumes he will quickly be notified when the Monarch is ready to receive him. He knows his progress is being monitored by sensors and security devices.

He slows his pace. He is past the turn in the path, and nearly to the head of the lake. He can not be more obviously present as he stands beside the glistening body of water.

ST absently gazes at the ground in search of a skipping stone. The lake is so narrow, he will have to throw along its length. It seems he won’t get to practice his rusty skills, for the earth is totally absent of suitable stones.  Crushed, white pebbles border the lake. All of the strategically placed rocks are too hefty – some even large enough to sit upon. It is apparent the area is regularly raked.

He pushes his shoe through the pristine arrangement, hunting for an errant rock which might have missed a ground keeper’s eye. Not a particle of dust accumulates on his highly-shined toe.

****************************************

ST’s hunt is futile, and he begins to search in earnest around one of the large rocks. Instead of using his toe, he carefully reaches forward to push the polished pebbles out of the way. He even picks some up, hefting them in his palm.

“Is it your intent to stone our fish?”

ST is so startled he drops the pebbles. He has heard not the slightest sound behind him. He turns with much surprise and shock, prepared to rebuke whichever ground keeper or security person he confronts. His angered preparations are for naught.

“They will prove adept at avoidance.”

“Your Majesty.”

“They have survived many a grandchild.”

ST stares at the small woman, and actually feels a twinge of reverence. They have met before, and had conversations – not just two minutes of “chat” during some reception. Even though ST knows all about the smoke and mirrors employed by fame, there is always something at the core to be obscured and reflected.

A small woman in black, glancing at him while squinting into the sun. It is not who she is, but all the things people believe when they meet. For the first time, he realizes what others may be seeing when they come to look at him.

“Skipping stones, Ma’am.”

“A poor choice here.” She turns from the sun.

****************************

It seems to ST she would like to be alone, but for him to leave in any direction would be acutely apparent. Startled by royalty at the beginning, and offending royalty at the end, is not the way he wants to remember this encounter.

He stands his ground, keeps silent, and watches the small woman’s back, as if he were a faithful yeoman of the guard. Give him a halberd and pike, and he would be the most diligent defender the kingdom has ever seen.

She is staring into the water, which reflects the blue sky and the trailing white clouds. The surface is so calm their reflections sparkle. “Do you know they call this the Queen’s weather?”

“Yes.”

“That seems rather a lot of responsibility to us.” She takes an unhurried look into the sky, then points to a huge swath of blue. “As if we could command such a thing.”

“It’s just as easy to take the credit.”

“Then credit must be taken for the poor weather. To be accorded jurisdiction over fifty percent, demands a responsibility over the other fifty.” She turns and looks directly at ST. “And so much more, beyond our expertise.”

“I understand.”

And although ST does understand, he speaks because he is spoken to. And he does not speak the first words which spring into his head, which would be impertinent.

“You hesitate.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” He has forgotten how perceptive she is.

“Many do.” She is waiting.

“`Heavy is the head that wears the crown’.”

“Our Mr. Shakespeare knew his Royalty.” Her eyes definitely change, ST will swear to it. “Although we suspect he would prefer a correct rendition. `Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown’.”    “Henry IV, Part 2.”

“Are you playing catch-up?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“It is to be commended.”

********************

She glances toward the palace, and then looks into the sky. “In the country, we generally tell time by the sun.” She again walks toward the lake, and stands so close her toes seem to touch the water.

“This conversation must never have taken place.”

“Ma’am. My plan is to make my memoirs a tissue of lies.”

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