Monday, August 25, 2014

The Whine of the Dentist Drill

August 25, 1965

Jocie Brooke reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky, after a grueling day. Can you guess where I was from the picture? Right! The dentist. Do you like going to the dentist? Not me. Sitting in that chair gives me the shivers. I want to put my hand over my mouth and say no thanks. But Dad said I had to go and I was old enough to go by myself.

Of course, I've done lots of thing by myself since my mother split in the middle of the night when I was five. Not that she did anything for me before that. That was always Dad or my sister, Tabitha. I probably missed her more than I missed my mother when she split in the middle of the night with Mom. 

Anyway, back to the dentist. That's where I was, but not where I wanted to be. I HATE going to the dentist. I HATE it when Dr. Herschell sticks that drill in my mouth and it makes that awful whiney sound. I HATE it when he says the drill will be so quick I won't feel a thing. I HATE having a cavity in one of my teeth. No fun. Zella says I wouldn't have a cavity if I didn't want to buy a dime's worth of candy every time I pass the ten cent store. She doesn't know what she's talking about! I don't have a dime every time I go by the ten cent store. 

But today I had to go to the dentist. By myself. I had to march in there and say here I am ready to hold my mouth open and get a filling if that's what I need. Dad usually goes with me for moral support or to keep me from running the other way, but he had to cover the city council meeting. I told him I'd go to the meeting and he could take my place at the dentist. Sigh. Guess it is kind of hard for somebody else to take your teeth to the dentist for you unless you have the fake kind of teeth.

Enough about teeth. Let's see what Bailey is up.  That sounds like lots more fun.

Bailey's Bug - Chapter 4
by Jocie Brooke

    "I must have had a mental lapse." A low growl nothing at all like a purr rumbled through Lucinda. "But I'm here. So yank that crazy leash under the bush before somebody spots it."
    "You're going with me?" Bailey couldn't believe it.
    "Since I'm out here hiding under a bush with you, that's obvious, don't you think?" Lucinda climbed up in the bush without rustling a leaf. "Now be quiet, for heaven's sake. And take care of that leash."
    To Bailey's relief, the leash didn't put up a fight when he jerked it under the bush. Then he hunkered down and tried to be small and not move a muscle, but he was so happy that Lucinda was going with him that his tail began to flop back and forth.
    The bush shook and Lucinda hissed. "Stop wagging."
    Cats didn't understand about dog's tails. Lucinda had complete control of her tail, but Bailey's tail did what it wanted. When it wanted to wag, it wagged. He could tell it to stop all he wanted, but it would keep slapping back and forth. Finally he put a paw on the end of his tail and mashed down hard.
     He was still holding it down when Lucinda climbed down. "The car's past. They didn't see us. Time to decide what next."
     "That's easy." Bailey was in such good humor he didn't even think about supper. "We find Reid."
     Lucinda's sigh shook the bush. "You can't even get out of the neighborhood. How do you expect to find Reid in another state?"
    "How far is it to that other state? Will we be there by supper?"
    Lucinda looked heavenward. "Whatever did I do to deserve this? I could be asleep in the sunshine right now."
    "I'm sorry about your nap."
    She looked down at him. "What's done is done. Unless we go back inside and figure out a way to get back in the Robinsons' good graces." 
    "I'm not going inside. I'm finding Reid."
    "How? That bug in your ear." Lucinda spoke through clenched teeth.
    "It's not a real bug." He was going to say more but Lucinda's snort stopped him short.
     "Whatever it is, it led you in a circle right back to the Robinsons' house. And we both know Reid is not there."
     Bailey peeked out of the bush. Lucinda was right. He had gone in a circle. He tried hard to think of something to say that would make Lucinda stop making those weird growly noises that meant she wanted to swat something. That something might just be his nose.
    He couldn't think of anything but the truth. "I forgot to listen to the hum. Mr. Robinson was yelling and there were cars and a dog barked right in my ear." Bailey swiped his ear with a paw. "And the leash grabbed my neck."He scratched his neck.
    "Are you listening now?"
     Bailey put down his paw and closed his eyes. The hum was steady inside him again. He scooted around under to bush to look every direction until the hum felt warmer in his ears. He was just about to say that way when  Lucinda let out a yowl.
    "This is ridiculous. Forget that bug in your ear and let's go wait on the doorstep for the Robinsons to come back." Lucinda softened her voice to a near purr. "Mrs. Robinson will probably give you a double dip of food."
    The thought of food made Bailey's mouth water. He shook it away. He wouldn't think about food. He had to think about his boy. 
    "Reid's that way." Bailey pointed with his nose away from the Robinsons' house.
(to be continued next week) 
(Earlier story can be found on the page link in the menu at the top of this post under my picture. This in the future stuff is weird.) 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mushroom Spotting and Bailey Makes His Escape

August 18, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. What do you think about these toadstools? Aren't they something? Dad says he might put the picture in Banner if news doesn't pick up. 

News never picks up in Hollyhill. Never. The most exciting thing that happened all summer was Mr. Wallace's cows got out day before yesterday, and were in the middle of the road. When Miss Harley who lives down the road, came around the corner and saw that big old black and white cow in the middle of the road staring at her, she slammed on the brakes. She said it looked like that cow wanted to play "chicken." If so, the cow must have won. Miss Harley ran her car off the road and smack dab into a fencepost. Dad went out and took a picture. The cow was gone by the time he got there, but Miss Harley's car kissing up against the post was still good. She wasn't hurt, but Dad said she was mad as a wet hen. Seems like we can't get away from chickens here. Ha! Ha!

School will be starting next week. They used to wait until September, but I guess the teachers got bored. Not me. I keep busy out hunting mushrooms. They are sort of pretty, aren't they? In a decaying type of way, Zella said, and it would be best if I stopped wasting film. She gives out new rolls of film from her supply cache like it was gold. But a newspaper has to have pictures. Dad says the pictures sell papers.

Zella says she doubts if mushrooms will sell anything. Car wrecks maybe. Zella never likes anything I do. I could take a picture of that Jupiter spaceship Wes says he came on and she'd tell me I was wasting film. But I'm pretty sure that would sell papers!!

But I can't worry about Zella. Time to write some more about Bailey.  See you next week.   


BAILEY'S BUG by Jocie Brooke - CHAPTER 3 (earlier chapters in page link to Bailey's Bug in menu above)

     The next day was Saturday. That meant Mr. Robinson didn’t go out to his car and drive away in the morning. It meant sausage for breakfast and even one for Bailey. I meant Mr. Robinson might take him for a walk.

     They did that on the street. Outside the fence. But Mr. Robinson always hooked the leash on Bailey’s collar before he opened the door.

     The leash was a terrible thing that jerked at Bailey’s neck and made it hard to breathe if he wanted to run. It grabbed and held tightest whenever he needed to jump at a bird or sniff out an odor somewhere off the sidewalk.

     Even when he ignored the birds and smells, the leash still attacked and tied up his feet. Then Bailey had to stand still while his people freed his legs and called him a clumsy old dog. That hadn’t been so bad when Reid did it because he would laugh and hug him too. But Mr. Robinson never hugged him. Worse, he always blamed Bailey instead of the nasty leash for getting tangled up.

     So Bailey barely managed a half-hearted thump of his tail when Mr. Robinson got out the leash and talked in the booming voice he saved for Bailey. “Time for a walk, old boy. You’re getting fat.”

     What was wrong with being fat anyway? Bailey gave him a look and wanted to lie back down on his rug instead of letting the man hook the leash to his collar. But Bailey was an obedient dog. If Mr. Robinson wanted to walk, then he’d have to walk.

     Lucinda raised her head as he passed her chair. “You can’t get away. Stop thinking about it.”

     “You could help me.”

     “I told you. I like it here. Sunshine and food. That’s all I need.”

     “But don’t you miss Reid scratching under your chin and rubbing all the way down your back, even your tail?”

     For a second, Lucinda looked as if she might admit that she did miss Reid. For a second. Then she turned her head away from Bailey. “I can scratch my own chin and rub my back on the table leg.” With that, she put her head down and closed her eyes.

     At the door, Mr. Robinson jiggled the leash as though it were a doggy treat. “Come on, Bailey. Day’s a wasting.”

     Bailey couldn’t keep from shuddering when the leash grabbed on to his collar. That made his ear itch and he sat down to scratch it. The leash came alive and jerked him up.

     Before they even got out the door, the leash wrapped around his front left paw. When Bailey tried to high step away from it, the thing grabbed his other front paw. Out on the porch, Mr. Robinson fussed as he took control of the leash.

     The leash didn’t care. Instead it reached and grabbed Mr. Robinson’s feet to pull loose his shoestrings. The man sat on the porch steps to tie them back. Bailey hadn’t figured out shoestrings, exactly. Big people were always worrying if they came loose and little people like Reid didn’t care if they stayed loose all day. Even so, Bailey was used to waiting while shoelaces got wrapped up in bows. Even the leash waited quiet as anything at times like that.

     In fact the leash was extra quiet right now. The loop end that Mr. Robinson usually held onto to try to make it behave was loose on the steps. Mr. Robinson didn’t seem to notice as he wrapped the ends of his laces just so.

     This was Bailey’s chance. The leash needed somebody or something holding on to that loop to be powerful. Once a long time ago, Bailey dragged the leash across the park before he let Reid catch him. The leash had run along beside him not doing a thing. Just bouncing on the ground.

     Bailey hesitated. He was already feeling a little hungry in spite of gulping down that sausage. And it didn’t seem right to run off without saying goodbye to Lucinda whether she wanted him to or not.

     “That should hold them.” Mr. Robinson jerked on the laces. In a second, he’d be reaching for the leash to make it come to life.

     The street was in front of them. No fence to stop him. The hum got louder in Bailey’s ears. GO!
     The first step away from Mr. Robinson was hard. The next one wasn’t much easier, but by the time he reached the edge of the yard, he was running. Nothing was choking him, and his feet felt fine.

     Mr. Robinson yelled at him. “Stop, Bailey.”

     The word bounced after Bailey and almost jerked him to a stop. But he kept going. He had to find Reid.

     The front door opened and Mrs. Robinson was wringing her hands. “Oh my! What if he gets run over?” She sounded so worried Bailey felt bad.

     “I’d better catch him,” Mr. Robinson said.

     Bailey didn’t hear any more. The blood was pumping in his ears and he was getting out of breath. He hadn’t had a good run since Reid left. Mr. Robinson didn’t throw the red toy and when he walked Bailey, the leash choked him if he tried to run.

     But he wouldn’t stop now. Even if they got in the car and came after him. Even if the leash did turn on him. So far it just clattered along the sidewalk beside him, not causing the first problem. But that might not last.

     Mr. Robinson called, all happy like he had a handful of doggie treats. Bailey could almost smell those treats, but he didn’t stop running. Reid would have doggy treats for him. And even if he didn’t, what was a doggie treat to his boy’s hug?

     Bailey shut out the man’s voice and concentrated on the hum in his ears. He could hear it. And it sounded like Reid’s whistle.

     He crossed one street, then another, without any screeching around him. He raced through strange backyards and past a fence where a dog lunged against the wire to get at Bailey. He ran under some bushes to get away, and the leash jerked him off his feet. But when he backed up, the leash came along peacefully again.

     Bailey didn’t know where he was going, but he kept going. When he absolutely couldn’t run another yard, he slowed to a walk. A man yelled at him, but it wasn’t Mr. Robinson.

     He turned around a corner and knew the houses. He stopped to get his bearings and saw the Robinsons’ car coming toward him. He couldn’t run faster than a car. They would catch him and he’d never find Reid. The hum burned in his ears.

     “Hiss. Over here.” The sound came from under the bush beside him.

When Bailey hesitated, the voice got louder. “Hurry up, you dumb lummox of a dog. They’re going to catch you for sure.”

Bailey scooted under the bush.

“Stand still. You’re shaking the bush.”

“Lucinda.” Bailey stared at the cat. “What are you doing out here?”

Monday, August 11, 2014

Cloud Pictures, What Do You See?

August 11, 1965

Jocie Brooke here, reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. Do you like trying to see things in clouds? I do sometimes. I took this picture. Well, not really on purpose. Zella would have a fit if she thought I was wasting film on clouds, but I slipped when I was trying to take a cow picture for the paper and took the sky instead. I don't know why people wouldn't just as soon see clouds as a cow, but Dad says they wouldn't. That farmers like pastoral scenes in their paper.

Anyway, once the picture was taken, it was taken. Wasted film or not. Now I'm seeing an angel in the cloud. Wes says I'm using more imagination than eyesight, but if I want to see an angel where there's nothing but fluffy puffs of white, then that's fine. He says a person should see things they like to see when they look at clouds. I asked him what he saw. He looked at the picture a long time and then said he saw race tracks for invisible sky racers. Zella said we were both wrong. That anybody could see the lion's face in the middle of the cloud. Plain as day. 

Dad said he saw clouds. Said he liked clouds just the way they were, that he spent so much time under the ocean in that submarine during the war that he was always blessed by the sight of blue sky and clouds. 

So what do you see here?

Poor Bailey in my story doesn't like dark clouds, but sometimes the storm clouds come.  Right now he's having trouble figuring out a way to get out of the fenced in yard. Remember the part of the story that I've already written is on the Bailey's Bug link at the top of my report if you want to catch up.  I'm thinking I should have cut out some of the beginning and jumped to the action faster. I think there's going to be some action. I think. Anyway, here's the next couple of pages.

BAILEY'S BUG (Continued) by Jocie Brooke
     The fence wasn’t so easy to conquer. Bailey couldn't jump it. His legs weren't long enough or springy enough. He pushed his head against it, but all that did was pinch his nose between the wire links. With a yowl, he plopped down in the shade with his paw over his face.
     After a while, he started walking around the fence again looking for a weak spot. In the far corner a little hole showed up under the bottom of the fence. He began pawing at it to make it bigger, but Mr. Robinson ran out, grabbed his collar and gave him a shake.
     “Stop that, Bailey. No digging in the yard.”
     Bailey backed away from the hole that was too little to fit his head through, much less the rest of him. Even if he could sneak around and dig when the Robinsons weren’t paying attention, it would take a lot of digging, and his toenails where already sore. There had to be a better way. Bailey went back to the middle of the yard.
     He didn’t have much time. Mr. Robinson was headed toward the back door. Maybe the gate wasn’t fastened tight. Bailey took off and banged into the gate. It gave just enough for him to squeeze his head through, but then the gate bounced back and caught his neck.
     All he could do was make a strangled whiny sound until Mr. Robinson came to rescue him.
     “What’s the matter with you today, Bailey?” Mr. Robinson pushed open the gate to let Bailey get his head free. “You got someplace you want to go?”
     Bailey hopped around Mr. Robinson and then jumped up on the gate. He wagged his tail as fast as he could. Maybe Mr. Robinson understood what he wanted to do.
     But then the man laughed. “You silly old dog. You don’t really want out there. Nothing but trouble out there for a dog like you.” He took hold of Bailey’s collar and led him toward the back door.
     Bailey had to go back inside. Lucinda looked up from her nap with her I-told-you-so look. He didn’t wait for her to say it out loud. He said, “I’m going. Tomorrow.”
     She raised up and stretched, grabbing her claws on the back of the recliner. “Don’t bother waking me to say goodbye.”
 (to be continued)

That's all I got written this week. When I wasn't at the newspaper, I had to help Aunt Love with the green beans somebody at church gave her. Stringing beans takes forever. But I'll figure out how Bailey gets out of that fence sooner or later. Do you have any ideas?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Can You Give Me a Name?

August 4, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. It's hot. Really hot. In the nineties. Aunt Love says it's supposed to be hot like this in August. I guess she should know. She's been around for a lot of Augusts. Wes, on the other hand, says it's never this hot on Jupiter - too far from the sun, he claims. Says if it wasn't for all the moons they have up there that there would be icicles everywhere. Green icicles. 

Seems snow is green on Jupiter. Sometimes Wes gets carried away with his Jupiter stories. Like as not, snow will be pink on Jupiter next week. But I love listening to his stories. One thing sure, he didn't disagree that it was hot down here on good old Earth. It's always especially hot in the press room, but the paper has to be printed and folded and delivered. Folks in Hollyhill want to know the news, what little there is each week in Hollyhill.

Do you like the dog? Did you ever see such eyes? I think they are at least four colors. Blue and brown and black and white. Amazing eyes. You remember I'm writing that story about Bailey the dog, and Lucinda the cat. Well, I might add another dog and if I do it might look like this guy. 

Tell me. If you were writing a story about a dog that looked like this one, what would you name him? It is a him. But we could maybe make it a her. That's the great thing about writing a story. You can change things and make things up. Now if I could just change the temperature to a little cooler. 

I took my notebook out under the oak tree out back and wrote the next scene. I'm finding out it takes a long time and a lot of words to write a book. 

All right two questions for you - 
What would you name the dog? 
And have you ever wanted to write a book?

Now here's the next scene of Bailey's Bug. (Remember, we left him hiding under the bed after Lucinda made him think about storms and thunder. And also, if you haven't read the first parts of the story, you can click on the link above to the page about Bailey's Bug. I have no idea what any of that means, but maybe you do.)

BAILEY'S BUG by Jocie Brooke

As Bailey cowered there in the dusky darkness, all the awful things Lucinda had told him might happen marched through his head.
     He wished he could believe none of it was true, that Lucinda was just trying to scare him into not going, but he had been out beyond the fence with Reid. He’d seen things.
     There was the time two dogs were fighting the park, all gnashing teeth and growls. Reid had held Bailey’s collar as if to keep him from joining the fight, but Bailey had wanted no part of it. He’d been relieved when someone had doused the dogs with water. That had made them forget their fight soon enough.
     Those kind of dogs were out there beyond the fence. Dogs ready to fight any other dog. Even Bailey whether Baily wanted to fight of not. Bailey shivered and thought about how fast he could run. Not very fast because he had a way of stumbling over his own feet. The faster he tried to go the more his feet got tangled up.
       And what about that time he was chasing the red toy, and a car making a terrible screeching, honking noise had bumped against him? It hadn’t hurt all that bad, but Bailey’s ears had rung for days. 
     It was not safe beyond the fence. Lucinda was right about that.
     Worst of all was that last warning? What would he eat? Bailey liked to eat. People put food in his dish. First Reid and sometimes Reid’s mother and now Mrs. Robinson. Somebody filled his dish every day. But if he left the Robinsons, he wouldn’t even have a dish until he found Reid. That might take days. 
     Just thinking about it made his stomach rumble and had Bailey trembling just like a real storm was shaking the windows of the house. But the hum didn’t get lost in his trembles. Instead it got louder until it was almost as if Reid were just on the other side of the bed’s dust ruffle, trying to coax Bailey out of hiding.
     Bailey jerked up and banged his head on the bedsprings, but he barely noticed as he crawled out from under the bed. Reid wasn’t there, but he was somewhere. Bailey could find him if he only had the courage.
     Courage. He’d never needed courage before. He didn’t know whether he had any or not. He wanted to have some. At least a little bit. But would a little bit be enough?
     He padded back into the living room and sat down in front of Lucinda’s window seat. He was ready to stay there as long as it took for her to open her eyes.
     Slowly one of her eyelids went up. “What now?” she asked.
     “I’m going.” He turned without waiting to hear what she might say and went to the door to wait for Mr. Robinson to let him out.
     Lucinda raised her head and whispered, “Best wait until after supper. It might be a very long time before your next meal.”
     “Even if it is, I’m going.” Bailey pulled up to his highest height. But he did decide to wait until after eating time. When Mrs. Robinson filled his dish, he ate every chunk of food and nosed around on the floor to make sure he hadn’t missed even the smallest crumb.
     Then Bailey went out in the yard. He would find a way through or over or under the fence. He would. That night!

 (to be continued next week.)