Shannon’s Gate

{Shannon’s Gate is an incomplete short story. We’re not sure when Ray J. was working on it and have included it here as a small part of his total output. Maybe someday one of us will tack on an appropriate ending. Ray was quite fond of the Sci-fi genre as you will see when we publish his novels here at a later date.

Please enjoy this bit of fancy and see if you can add an appropriate outcome for yourself. rdh, ed. }

 

SHANNON’S GATE

 

I had gone out the back door to the south side of the house and was about to turn north at the corner.  This is where the yard is the narrowest with just thirty feet separating the house from an old stone wall.  That’s when I noticed the sign.

It was about the size of a number plate, stuck on a thin rod.  It had a shimmering quality to it, a vibrating blue back ground, with fluorescent orange lettering.  The message was etched in rather odd graphics.  It read DO NOT PROCEED NORTH OF THIS POINT!

Must have been dropped by one of the local kids.  I thought to myself.  I reached down to pull the sign up and was amazed when it bent away from me on its thin wand and began to blink.  The message changed suddenly.  CAUTION!  DO NOT REMOVE THIS SIGN!

“O.K.,”  I said out loud.  — good joke.  I wonder how it does that?  I reached again and almost had my hand on it when it now shifted color to a bright, pulsing red.  A new message:  CAUTION THIS SIGN CONTAINS HIGH LEVELS OF BETA RADIATION.  DO NOT TOUCH!

I didn’t touch.  As a matter of fact I was sure that I could feel heat radiating from it.  I moved rapidly back.  The sign returned to its original position, stopped pulsing, and once more read:  CAUTION!  DO NOT PROCEED NORTH OF THIS POINT!

Now, I was really interested.  The sign marked a line directly between the south-east corner of the house and the stone wall.  I walked closer to the imaginary line, a yard or two to the left of the sign.  There was definitely something very different here.  It wasn’t a shimmering really;  it was more like the optical haze you get from rising heat waves or old, leaded glass.  I reached out with my left hand, cautiously exploring.  There was nothing to touch.  I moved my and slowly into the hazy area, fingertips just brushing against it.  I held them there for a few seconds and the fingers of my left hand began to feel cold. I drew back quickly and took another look.  There was really nothing to see.  My next move was to stick my whole arm past the sign.  Definitely colder, much colder. . .Well, let’s see just how far this joke goes.  I wouldn’t do  that if I were you.  I took a cautious step past the sign, and that’s how the polar nightmare began.

 

I was at the point of panic there in that Arctic nightmare, when I felt the tugging.   I knew I was being dragged, but by what, and where?

. . .back into my own back yard.  I was being pulled to safety by a skinny, little kid about eleven years old.  He was puffing hard at the exertion, and when he had me completely clear of whatever it was that I had stepped through, he collapsed onto the lawn beside me.  He had freckles, brilliant, flaming-red hair, and old, very old looking, green eyes.

“What the hell was that?”   I said panting, my breath coming in spasms.

“To me,”  he said, “it’s a reciprocating, recursive mobius; to you, it’s a time gate.”

“A what?”  I gasped.

“Can’t you read signs, mister?”  He ignored my question.

“Of course I can read signs.  Whoever heard of a time gate in a guy’s back yard.  It just isn’t done.”

“Oh, they can pop up anywhere.  That’s why we have the signs and gatekeepers.  That’s me;  I’m a gatekeeper.  We try to keep fools like you from walking through them.  That’s a particularly nasty once,”  he said, nodding his carrot top toward the offending gate, “But it should be shutting down pretty soon.”

“That’s nice,”  I said, “but it you’re the gatekeeper or whatever, why in hell did you let me go wandering in there like that?”

“I didn’t see you coming.  I was over on the other side of the stone wall, watering the flowers.”  I was fascinated with the way the kid talked.  He had some kind of accent that seemed vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it.  “So, now,”  I said, “It’s just going to vanish all by itself?  Suppose one of my neighbors comes wandering down from that side?”  I pointed to the yard beyond the shimmering gate.

“Doesn’t work from that direction.”

“You sure?”

“Take a walk around it, and check it out for yourself.  When you get back, we’ll talk about payment.”

“Payment?”

“Yeah, payment, rent, finder’s fee, whatever you want to call it.  You catch us at work like this, we have to pay you  for your time and trouble.  Go ahead, take a walk around the house, and give some thought as to what you’d like for payment.  We don’t carry currency, but I’ve got all kinds of exotic metals:  silver, gold, zirthium bars–I don’t think you’ll want them.  No way you’re going to be able to spend them.”

Our neighbors on the west side of the house are the Johnsons.   Mr. Johnson is among the missing.  He had gone down to Foxboro to watch the Patriots in their season’s opener and had never been heard from again.  That was three years ago.

O.K., I walked carefully up to the back of the sign.  There was no writing visible on its back.  My freckled-faced visitor was sitting on the grass just beyond it with his arms wrapped around his knees, grinning at me.  “See, I told you there was nothing to worry about.  Step on down here, and we can get to business.”

I stepped cautiously past the sign.  No discernable sensations.  I looked back.  Sure enough, it was still shimmering.  Before I could say anything, the kid flipped a coin that had suddenly appeared in his hand.  “While you were gone, I took the liberty of deciding for you.  This day and age, gold is your best bet, wouldn’t you say?”

I caught the coin at the end of its glittering arc.  It lay heavily in my hand, almost the size of a half-dollar.  The date was 1850, and on one side it had a Liberty-head, and on the other, an eagle clutching a shield.  USA and Twenty-dollars were stamped on it.  It was mint condition.

“It says Twenty-dollars, but if you shop around, you’ll find it’s worth a lot more.”  He was sitting cross-legged on the lawn, regarding me with a penetrating stare.

“Nice,”  I said as I pocketed the coin.”  Now, about this time gate. . .”

“Sure.  What would you like to know?”

“Whatever.”

“Well, I work for a company that specializes in time travel, you see.  You pick your favorite time and place in history, and we get you there.  Guided tours.  Someday, after I finish gate-guarding, I’ll work up to tour guide.  That’s a great job.”

“If I hadn’t seen those polar bears, I’d just cross you off as a pre-adolescent fruit-cake.  You’re telling me that a group of Golden Agers is going to pull up in a tour bus, march down here, and go through that thing?”  I pointed to the shimmering veil.   “They’re going to take a walk into the Arctic Circle on a polar bear hunt?”

“Now you’re being ridiculous.  Of course not.  Most of our trips originate in another century.  You people aren’t really ready for this.  The problem is that the gates lose stability after a while, and they jump.  Likely to pop up anywhere. We gate keepers go with them, keep people like you out of trouble, and when the gates shut down, we bring them back to the organization center.”

“When is the Aurora Borealis there going to shut down?  I don’t like the idea of that thing in my back yard.”

“I don’t blame you.”  He flipped a second gold coin in my direction.  I still couldn’t figure out where he got them from.  One second it was there in his hand, the next second it was arcing towards me.

“This one should shut down or shift in about–”  He pulled out an elaborate gold watch, flipped the cover and announced with the serious demeanor of a 19th century station master– “four minutes.”

“You said something about shifting?”

“Yeah, sometimes they shift instead of closing.  I think this one is setting up for a shift.”

“No!”  I said.  It sounded ominous.

“Yes…ah, but by the way, I have a very delicate nose, and it seems to me that I can detect the aroma  of 20th century distilled spirits.  By any chance, would you happen to have a bottle of whiskey lounging about your house, doing nothing but collecting dust?”

“It just so happens that I do.”

“Ah, well, now, would it be Irish?’

“No.”

“Scotch, then?”

“Not really.”

“Then it must be good, old, aged-in-the-cask, American sour-mash bourbon!

“It is, but there’s no way I’m breaking it out at 10:30 in the morning for an eleven-year old kid.”

Suddenly there were three more twenty-dollar gold pieces sailing through the air.  “Look,”  he said “you have to stop thinking of me as an eleven-year old.”

“Well, that’s what you look like.”

“Of course.  How would you react if you walked out and found a forty-year old guy sitting in your back yard.  You’d think he was a wino or a pervert, and you’d call the cops.  If you look like a kid, you can get away with almost anything.”

“So you’re really not a kid?”

“Not by a hundred years.  Now, go fetch that bottle of corn Squeezin’s.”

I got to my feet slowly, feeling the weight of the gold coins sitting in my pocket.  I really didn’t like the idea of supplying booze for a little person who, in spite of his disclaimer, didn’t really impress me with his maturity.  I walked into the house and got the half-gallon of Jack Daniels, or 750ml., whatever, two glasses and a bowl of ice.

“Kevin’s my name,”  he said as he re-filled his  glass for the third time.

“You can call me Bob,”  I said.  I hadn’t quite finished my first glass, but I was already feeling the effects.

“Not as good as a nice Irish ouisquebach, or a good Scotch, but it’s got its own character and flavor.”  Kevin held his glass up to the light to catch the sun’s rays in the amber fluid before he downed his third glass.  He reached for the bottle, but was interrupted by a high-pitched, beeping sound.

We both stared at the sign.  The letters were blinking rapidly off and on, becoming almost indistinct as the colors changed.  Suddenly,  the blinking stopped and a new message appeared:  DO NOT PROCEED WEST OF THIS POINT.

The polar bears are gone.”  I said.

“I think I’d better take a quick look,”  Kevin said.  He got unsteadily to his feet, staggered a few steps and disappeared beyond the sign.  Poof!  Gone.

Before I had time to really examine my situation–sitting alone on the grass in my back yard, drinking bourbon before noon (Pat would kill me) he was back with an ear-to-ear grin.

“Now, here’s a piece of luck for you.  Shifted she did, right into one of our most popular tours.  Would you like to take a look lad?”

“No polar bears?”

“Oh, no, not in this one, Bobbie.  But you’d better hurry, since it isn’t set to last for more than a few minutes.  Come along now.”

I got up and stood beside him in front of the gate.  One step, and we were through.

DSCN1564
Past, Present, Future

 

It was unbelievable.  A sky of pure amethyst, a beach of silver sand, sloping down to the green waters of a lagoon.  Far out at the edge of the world where the sea met the sky, a line of surf moved and broke in slow motion against the outer reef.  There was a warmth and fragrance in the air that stirred the palm fronds, whispering soft melodies of another time, another place, a dream world of the soul.

And from the beach, walking to meet us, her eyes locked on mine, was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.  As she closed the distance between us, her waist-long, black hair framed her heart-shaped face and high cheek bones, and swung in counter rhythm to the undulations of her hips.  Her black eyes glistened, and beads of water like diamonds, reflected flashes of Light from her bronze skin.  She was wearing a necklace of coral-colored shells, a smile, and absolutely nothing else.  I couldn’t tear my eyes from her.

“Where are we?”  I managed to stammer.  Kevin was at my side, staring intently at the goddess.  She was less than twenty yards away now, still smiling.

“We’re on Tahiti, somewhere around the turn of the last century.  Look, out there, beyond the reef!”

I glanced in the direction he pointed.  Beyond the fringe of surf, almost beyond the range of sight, I could just make out the gull-white sails of a square-rigged clipper bearing off in the distance.

“That’s one of our tours just leaving.”

“Great, but who’s this coming to greet us?”

“I know who she is, but we don’t have time for me to introduce you.”  He was checking his watch again, “We’ve got less than a minute, so take a quick look and follow me.”

The girl was quite close now.  She was speaking to me and holding out both hands.  A greeting, perhaps.  Kevin tugged at my sleeve.  “Wave by-by now.  No time to waste.”

Reluctantly, I turned my back on the dark-haired Tahitian beauty and followed Kevin as he stepped unsteadily, tow paces back, pulling me along with him into my back yard.

Tahiti and the wonder girl were lost forever behind that shimmering veil, “Is there any way she could follow us out?  I mean, we just walked through it;  couldn’t she?”

“No way at all, lad.  We’re from here;  she’s from there.  The only way she could get through would be for her to hit the gate just as it’s closing.”  As he said this, several things happened at once.  First, the shimmering intensified, then cleared with a loud pop.   At the same time, the dark-haired lady stepped through into my back yard.  There she was, my raven-haired beauty, in all her sum and substance, and, of course, still stark naked.

“My god,”  I stammered.

“Geeze,”  said Kevin.

“Wheesky!”  Ms. Tahiti said as she spotted the half-gallon.  She grabbed it and downed three good-sized gulps and wiped her lips on her arm before we could get to her.  Kevin took the bottle from her and took a good-sized belt himself before passing it to me.

–Better stay sober, I thought, as I took my crack at the bourbon bottle.  “O.K.,”  I said aloud, “so much for your we’re-here-she’s-there theory. Now let’s get back through the gate.”

“Can’t,”  Kevin said.

“Can’t!”  I shouted.

“Khant?”  my naked lady asked.  She had the bottle back again.

“What do you mean, you can’t?”  I asked as I tried unsuccessfully to wrestle the bourbon away from her.

“The bloody  gate’s closed, it is.”  Kevin reached down for the sign, which was now perfectly blank, picked it up, folded it, and calmly stuffed it into a pocket of his baggy trousers.

“Well, then, open the fucking thing!”  I screamed at him.  “We’ve got to get whatever-her-name-is back to Tahiti.  If my wife comes home and finds a naked broad and a drunken kid in my back yard, I’m a dead man.”

“Well, now, you see, the problem isn’t that simple.  I can open up the gate again, but not for at least–let’s say, about two hours.

I started to protest, but again he did that slight of hand trick and dumped about six more of those gold coins into my hand.  “This should cover your time, and now might I suggest we take Wandaleli into the house and find something to cover her.”

“Good idea.”  Wandaleli didn’t want to go at first.  Actually, she didn’t want to let go of the jug, but when I slipped my arm around her slim waist and began to steer her toward my porch, she laid her head on my shoulder and began to mutter soft, musical syllables.  Her hair was filled with the scent of tropical flowers, the essence of the sea and sky, and intoxicating dreams.  Kevin and I managed to get her into the house and into the bedroom.

“Now, how does one go about this?”  Kevin asked, as we dropped her into a sitting position on the bed.  She shook her head to clear the hair from her eyes.  I  noticed that her eyes were showing a definite tendency to cross, but she was still keeping a tight grip  on the bottle.

“Kumali hara, okinoe mori,”  she said, or something like that.  Her speech was slightly slurred.

“She says she likes you,”  Kevin explained.  Thinks you’re cute.”

“Caneha,”  she said.

“That’s your new name, Bobbie, lad, Caneha.”

“Let’s get some clothes on her,”  I said, ignoring my new name, along with the fact that this little piece of Polynesian fluff thought I was ‘cute’.

“How?”  Kevin asked.

“Good question,”  I said as I rummaged through the top drawer of Pat’s dresser.  No-man’s land.  I had never done this before.  The first thing I found was a lavender bra.  It looked as though it might fit, a little tight, perhaps, but better than nothing.  I tossed it to her, “Here, try stuffing them into that.”

“Takini Caneha,” she said.

“She thinks it’s lovely,”  Kevin translated.  I wondered just how he knew so much about the language, and how he knew her name was Wandaleli.  He was searching a lower drawer and came up with a pair of pantyhose.  “What in the world, are these?”  he asked as he held the coffee-colored trophy aloft.  In their natural shade, they were about a foot and a half long and six inches wide.  I glanced at Wandaleli who was trying to fasten the bra around her neck.  She was muttering ‘Takini’ or whatever.

“Give me that,”  I said, taking it away from her.  I stuffed it into my back pocket.  She pouted.

Then I saw what Kevin was trying to do.  “Oh, for god’s sake!”  I shouted.  He was trying to get her feet into the pantyhose.  It wasn’t working.  “You can’t put them on like that.”

“They do look a bit on the small size.  Tell me, Bobbie is your wife a wee person?”

“You have to roll them up first, I think.”

“Can’t you just step into them like a pair of britches?”

I tossed them back into the drawer without answering and grabbed a pair of panties.  “Here, get these on,”  I said to her.  Then I began pawing through Pat’s closet.  I knew there was an old, wrap-around skirt in there somewhere.  At lest we’d be able to get that on her.  When I finally found it and turned around, Kevin was watching in fascination as Wandaleli was pulling the panties on over her head.  That’s when Veronica, next-door Johnson, strolled in.

“Well, hello!” she said.  There was a stunned silence.

There we were, a half-smashed eleven-year old, a half-smashed, naked Polynesian with my wife’s powder-blue panties dangling around her neck, and me with my wife’s plaid, wrap-around skirt dangling from my hand and a stupid look on my face.  What could I say?  I looked like a damned pervert.

“Are we having a party?”  Veronica asked.  She had a martini in her hand and one arched eyebrow indicated more than just surprise.

“Well, not exactly,”  I stammered.  “This is Kevin, and this is Wandaleli, Wanda for short.  We’re trying to get her back to Tahiti.”  Wanda was now on her feet, glaring at Veronica.

“Sure, you are,”  said Veronica.

“Can I taste that?”  Kevin asked, pointing to her martini.

Kevin took a goodly-sized sip of the clear liquid, made a strange face, choked and sputtered, “Boy, that’s good!  Is that all you’ve got?”

“Yes, but Bobbie should have some makin’s.  Why don’t I mix us up a batch?”

“A capital idea,”  Kevin said.  He was beginning to say strange things.  “I’ll help.  I want that recipe.”

With Wanda on her feet, I managed to get the wrap-around skirt wrapped around her.  She was muttering strange words in Veronica’s direction.  They sounded like threats or curses.  I glared at Kevin and hissed, “You get your ass out in the back yard and start setting up that goddamn gate!”  I grabbed one of my shirts from my dresser and began stuffing Wanda’s arm into the sleeve.

“It’s going to take a while. . .”  Kevin began.

I turned and grabbed him by the front of his shirt and began shaking him.  “Listen, you goof-ball, we’ve got to get this South Sea sweetie back to her sandy shores before my wife gets back or I’ve had it!”

“That’s for sure,”  Veronica added.

“So get on it!”  I pushed Kevin in the direction of the back door.

“It will take–”  he began.

“Go!” I yelled, “And you,”  I snapped at Veronica, “keep your mouth shut about this.”

Veronica ignored me.  She had put her glass down and was fixing Wanda’s shirt.  She had all but the three top buttons done and the tails tied in front.  Wanda looked delicious, but my mind was racing on to other things.

“Come along, Wanda, ”  Veronica said  “Veronica’s going to give you martini lessons.”  Veronica led her into the kitchen and opened the fridge.  Wanda let out an exclamation of delight and began exploring all the goodies while Veronica got the ice and a jar of olives.

I glanced at the kitchen clock–Quarter to eleven.  With luck I had a least an hour and a half before Pat returned.  I counted the gold coins that Kevin had given me, and then I stuck them in the drawer with the silverware.

“For God’s sake, hurry up!”  I said to Veronica, “And when you’re through, get her out into the back yard.”

“Oh, yes, O great Polynesian slave master,”  Veronica said as I slammed through the screen door.

Kevin had the sign back in the ground where it had been, only now there was no printing on it, no shimmering.  He was sitting in front of it, playing with the knobs on a little, black device that looked like a transistor radio.  “I’m getting it,”  he said as he heard me approach.  “It won’t be perfect, but it won’t take as long as I thought.”

“Good,”  I said.

“Are you sure you want to take Wandaleli straight home?”  he asked.  “That blonde is a knock-out.  You and I and those two could spend a couple of days at a quiet resort on the Riviera, or on a deserted island in the Bahamas.”

“That blonde would eat you alive. Forget the impromptu vacation.  I want things back to the way they were, and just as fast as you can do it.”

“O.K., O.K.  Ah, here it is.”  The sign began to pulsate, and I could see the lettering starting to form.  “Get the girls, and let’s go,”  he said.

Veronica was coming down the porch steps, leading Wanda, and holding a silver shaker and four glasses.  Kevin couldn’t take his eyes off her long, shapely legs as she descended the stairs. I took a good look at Wanda, and as I watched those luxurious breasts straining against the seams of the shirt, I momentarily considered Kevin’s idea of taking the long way home.  Then I shook the thought off.  There was no way I was going on an extended orgy with my next-door neighbor, a drunken Polynesian, and a horny eleven-year-old, or whatever he was.

Kevin tore himself away from whatever fantasy he was having with Veronica, and announced, “We’re ready.  Let me run through and check it first.”  he disappeared for a moment or two, during which time Veronica poured us each a martini.  When he popped back into view, he said, “There may be some complications, but we’re close enough.”

“How does he do that?”  Veronica asked in amazement.

“What do you mean, complications?”  I asked as he took his glass from Veronica.

“Takini,”  Wanda said as she sipped her drink.

“Where are we going?”  Veronica asked.

“Tahiti,”  I said.

“Sure, we are,”  she said and winked at me.  “At least I’m dressed for it.”  she added as she adjusted her halter.

“Overdressed,”  I added.  Then the four of us stepped through the gate.

We were almost at the very same spot as earlier, only I noticed that the light was different.  It seemed to be much later in the day.  Kevin never did tell me what he meant by complications;   he didn’t have to.

“Wow!”  Veronica exclaimed, “you guys weren’t fooling.”

But there were complications.  There we stood, three tourists and Wandaleli, each with a martini glass in hand, staring at a reception committee of five of  the biggest, meanest-looking guys I had ever seen.  As they approached, one of them pointed first at Wanda, and then at Kevin, and said something to his friends.  It sounded nasty.

“I think we’re in trouble, ”  Kevin whispered.

Veronica sighed, and I heard her mutter, “Just look at the muscles on that big guy!”

Which big guy?  I thought.  They were all big guys.  The only item of clothing they were wearing were Hollywood-styled loin cloths.  Each of them was carrying a three-foot long war club with dangerous-looking knobs on the end.  The one with the nasty mouth was still yammering away at Kevin.  It appeared that they knew him.

Kevin had stepped forward to meet them with one hand held out, palm up like a traffic cop, the other held his martini.  The idea was, I suppose, that even an angry aborigine wouldn’t clobber an eleven-year old kid without giving him a chance to talk things over.  The five angry men huddled around Kevin.  Nasty-mouth kept pointing at me with the business end of his head-knocker, and I was beginning to get a little worried.

“What are they talking about?”  Veronica asked Wanda, evidently forgetting that, in spite of the fact that Wanda was taking this all in and giggling, there was no way that she could explain it to Veronica.  But then it should be noted that Veronica wasn’t exactly sober at this point.

Kevin turned to me and said, “We’re in deep shit, Bobbie, my lad.  This one,”  he indicated nasty-mouth, who, incidentally, was the largest of the lot, with a face decorated with purple tattoos, “is very angry with all of us, especially you, for having spent the last four days and nights with his woman.”

“What is he talking about, four days and four nights?  Little Wandaleli has only had enough time to get half plastered.  We haven’t had her for more than an hour.”

“I forgot to tell you.  It doesn’t work like that.  That hour in your time cost us a couple of days here.  Can’t be helped, lad.  You wanted me to set this up in a hurry.  That’s the way it is.”

“Great!  So, what does he intend to do?”

“It seems the other guys are his cousins, and they’ve taken an oath to help him avenge his honor.”  As he said this, the four avengers took up  positions encircling our little group.

“Pay him off.  Flip him some of those gold coins of yours.”

“Can’t.  Against company regulations.  Besides, they aren’t interested in gold coins.”

“No?”

“No, they’re more interested in your golden-haired neighbor.”

“Oh, my,”  said Veronica coyly.  Then she giggled.

“Great,”  I said again.  “Anything else?”

“Yeah, I’m afraid there is. The husband insists on fighting a duel with you.”

‘A duel?   You’re crazy.  Look at the size of that bastard.  I’m fighting no duels with anybody that big.”

“Don’t worry;  I’ll help you.”

“Oh, you’ll be a great help.”

While this was going on, Veronica was looking over the four hulks like a kid in a candy store.  Nasty-mouth was still running off with the bad words aimed in my direction.  His speech was punctuated now and then by grunts from the cousins.  Veronica sidled up to the biggest of the four and ran her fingertips down his biceps a couple of times, and then she tangles her left hand in his hair.  The guy seemed to melt right before my eyes.  Veronica took him by the arm and began moving off toward a thatched hut on our left.  Before she had gone half way, she turned, smiled at the other three who were watching in fascinated disappointment, and crooked a finger in a general invitation to the party.  The three looked at each other, and I could see the question marks over each head.  Then the question marks changed to exclamation points, and they started rapidly after their companion.

Nasty-mouth was now jumping up and down, twisting in mid-air in a strange, rhythmic dance while waving that awesome war club in intricate circles around his head.  At time it was just a blur.

“What’s this act?”  I asked Kevin.  Wandeleli was holding a one-sided conversation with her whirling husband.

“Psyching himself up, I guess you’d call it.  He’s pretty mad at you.”

“Why me? Why not you?  You’re the fuck-up in this operation.”  Wanda picked this as the time to stagger off in the direction of another thatched hut.  “Now where’s she going?”

“She’s going to change into her widow’s clothes.  She just told the chief here, Kulimaka, that he was a no-good.  She also told him that you are a great warrior who has killed many enemies and keeps his food in a magic cold-box.  She also said you were better in bed than he is.”

“Oh, great.  Now, he’s really going to be mad.”

We watched in fascination while Kulimaka vented his anger in wild variations of his spinning dance.  The guy was quite good, actually.  Finally, Kulimaka, the great  chief, the outstanding war-club-wielder, the angry husband, stopped his pre-game warm up and glared at me from across the twenty-yard space that separated us.  He held his head-basher in one, oversized hand, while he slapped it menacingly into the other:  slap, slap, slap!  Then he shouted something that sounded like, “Mataki tiko, poliohena, pakahani!”  (Incidentally, don’t go running for a Polynesian-American dictionary.  I’m just writing this stuff phonetically.  Besides, languages change in a hundred and some-odd years.)

We had a brief ceremonial moment of silence.  From the first hut I could hear Veronica moaning in ecstasy.  The poor girl was having the time of her life.   From the second hut, I saw Wandaleli emerge, wearing a feather boa, a wreath of white flowers around her hair, and a short grass skirt.  I wondered if Pat would miss her wrap-around.

Kevin brought me back to reality.  “He wants to know why you haven’t done your ceremonial dance to your favorite gods.”

“You mean if I jump up and down for a while, we can delay this slaughter?”  I started a few steps, waving my hands above my head and chanting, Help! Help! Help!”

Kevin was disgusted with me.  “I suppose if you want to do that, you can, but I really think we ought to get on with it.”

“Great idea;  you fight him.”

“A little confidence, lad.  Together we can do it.”

Wanda had approached the clearing, and I noticed that she was carrying  a coconut  shell with a clear liquid that was spilling over the side.  She walked past her husband, ignoring him, and knelt in front of me offering the cup.  “What do I do with this, Kevin?”

“Try it.  It’s supposed to make you invincible.”

I took the cup and swallowed.  Whatever it was it was good.  It had an after-taste like jet fuel, and it hit my central nervous system before I had a chance to return the cup.  “Wow, was that ever something!”   Immediately, my vision doubled.  Two Kulimakas.  “Bring on some more,”  I shouted.  My vision returned to normal, but my brain was still reeling.

“What am I supposed to use for a weapon?”  Kulimaka fidgeted.  He was getting impatient.  I was about to panic.

Wanda sat on the sand between her husband and me.  She tilted the cup back and finished the last of the happy juice.  The long, sensuous moans continued from hut number one.

“David and Goliath!”  Kevin was jumping up and down.

“Huh?”  I replied.

“You drop that big Philistine with your sling!”

“With my what?”

“Sling.   That weapon you’ve got stuck in your back pocket.”

I reached behind me and drew my weapon, my wife’s lavender bra.  “Sure.  Now what do you suggest I use this for?  Pistol whip him unconscious with my thirty eight?”

“Isn’t it a sling?”

“Even if it were, what would I put in it?”

“Here,”  Kevin said as he pulled out of thin air two stones about the size of sea gull’s eggs and dropped one into each cup of Pat’s bra.

Kulimaka evidently took this as a sign that the combat was about to begin.  He began to stomp across the clearing toward me, twirling his war club in an intricate series of moves that told me that he had a lot more experience with brain-bashing than I had with bra twirling.  Nervously, I began to circle to my right, holding both bra straps in my right hand and twirling it rapidly in a short arc.  I also tried to look mean.

By the time we had made one full circle, sizing each other up, I’m sure that Kulimaka had already figured out that the strange new weapon in his opponent’s hand wasn’t really worth shit, and he was ready for a quick frontal assault.  He charged.

“Now, let him have it!”  Kevin shouted.

I let him have it.  I let go of one end of the bra strap, and those little projectiles shot straight up into the air.  I could see the grin on Kulimaka’s face as he got some good centrifugal force going on his skull-smasher.  It was like watching the play-of-the-week in slow motion.  Kulimaka’s feet plopping down as he closed the distance between us, the two useless rocks arcing up into the sky, death approaching me on a South Sea island, while my next-door nymphomaniac sated the native population, and my faithful guide, Kevin lured me to my doom, and the voluptuous Wandaleli reveled in a drunken orgy with her. . .

And I realized that Pat would never know what had become of me.  I would be buried here on this tropical island paradise, more than a century before I was born.

Still in slow-motion:  Kulimaka closing, war club at height of back-swing, stones at top of arc–now descending, Wanda, left foot beginning to slide out toward advancing warrior. . .

There were two splats:  Splat!  Splat!

They weren’t even rocks that looked like sea gull eggs;  they were sea gull eggs!  My little friend, Kevin, my nemesis, had loaded my thirty-eight with sea gull eggs!

“You little shit!”  I screamed, “why didn’t you at least give me rocks?”

“Look around ye, Bobbie, lad.  Where, now, would I be likely to come up with rocks in all this sand?”

Both eggs had landed on Kulimaka’s forehead, dripping into his eyes, blinding him temporarily, but humiliating him forever, just as his loving wife stuck her dainty foot into his war path.  He went down like a tall tree in a tornado.  His club bounced twice and landed at my feet.   His head bounced twice, mixing the eggs with sand.  He looked like a man in  a white mask.

“Pick up his club, put a foot on his back and say, ‘Makini wahini marka,”  Kevin shouted in glee.  I did.

Veronica had appeared in the doorway of her hut.  She looked like a cat who had just eaten four canaries.  She had a silly, self-satisfied smile on her face, and she was clapping her hands in appreciation of my combat valor.

“Well done, Bobbie,”  she called.

Poor Kalimaka began to cry.  This brought a wail from Wandaleli, and she flung her arms around him and began to wipe the soufflé from his face.  I guessed from the sound of the things she was saying to him, that all was forgiven.

I grabbed Veronica who gave a big sigh and said, “Not again!”

“Come on,”  Kevin said, grabbing both of us.  “We’ve done what we set out to do.  You’ve got Wandaleli back where she belongs;  let’s get out of here.”

“Good idea,”  I said.

“Let’s wait one little minute, now,”  Veronica said.  “Since you’ve defeated the chief in combat, doesn’t that make you the new chief or something?  Bobbie, we could live here.  You the chief, me the princess or whatever.”  She glanced at the hut where the four worn-out warriors were emerging.  “What a life!”

“No deal,”  I said.

“Right, lad.  Against company policy.

“Couldn’t we stay for a week or so and then bounce back to the time we left?”

Now, I’ve had some fantasies in my life, what person hasn’t?  Admittedly, some of them did concern the golden-haired Veronica, but staying around this island for a week or so, and then depending on little Kevin, the screw-up, to get us back before Pat came home from shopping, was not a gamble I was about to take.

“Let’s get through that gate and home.”  I said.

“Righto,”  said Kevin, and he started pushing Veronica ahead of him and through the gate with me right behind them.  I didn’t even look back or wave goodbye.

So  far Kevin had managed to get me into one problem after another.  The trip home was no exception.  Instead of stepping through the gate from Tahiti and into my back yard, we walked into complete chaos.  It was like stepping into a world where the horizontal hold is slipping while someone keeps flipping the channels.  At one point I thought, I recognized Red Square in Moscow.

Two men armed with sub-machine guns were moving toward us.  They were not happy to see us.  Luckily,  the scene shifted, and we narrowly missed being run over by a Roman chariot.  When the dust cleared from that, I looked up to see a 12th century knight in full armor, riding a horse the size of a Sherman tank, bearing down on us at full gallop.  Sir Galahad, or whoever he was, had his lance leveled at a point that I figured should impale me somewhere between my belly-button and my rib cage.  I closed my eyes and tried to dive for cover, but now we were flipping end-over-end down through fog and static.   I could see Kevin fiddling with the dials on his little transistor radio.  Veronica was screaming.  I mean real, high-terror, Let-Me-Out-of-Here, gut-wrenching screams.

I heard Kevin mutter, “Oh, now I’ll never get to be a tour guide.”

Finally, he did something right, and we were tossed out onto the grass in my back yard.  Veronica had stopped screaming, but she was visibly shaken.  Kevin looked dazed.  I just sat there, trying to move all my vital parts one at a time to make sure that they were still there and working.  Veronica staggered to her feet and muttered, “I think I’ll go home now,”  and she tottered off, weaving slightly, in the direction of her house.

When I was through with my self-inventory and reasonably sure that nothing was broken or missing, I reached out and collared Kevin.  I shook him until his face was a blur.  “A  leprechaun!  You are a bloody, cheating, good-for-nothing, screw-up, real life, living Irish legend, aren’t you?”  He couldn’t answer because I was still shaking him.  “Now, I suppose you’ll try to cheat me out of all that gold you gave me.  It’s ……………………//

 

 

No further pages found on this story.

 

 

 

 

 

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