Pepe-Part 2

Here is a short story I wrote awhile back and recently updated. I’ll run it in three parts. Let me know what you think.

Pepe (part 2)

By

Rich Allan

Just outside of our Texas town is the Monahans Sandhills State Park, featuring nearly 4,000 acres of sand dunes. When I am feeling particularly depressed, I go there with my one and only best friend, Harry, to “surf” the dunes. Some students use a real surf board, but being poor, Harry and I share a cut up cardboard box we swiped from behind the grocery store.

The dunes average 70 feet high so it takes awhile to wade through the deep sand to the top, but coming down only takes a few minutes and is a lot of fun, unless you go on a windy day because the fine sand really stings when it blows against your face and body.

Anyway, we had made several runs, and were getting tired, when I slipped off my cardboard sled, and plowed into the sand, banging my knee into something hard. I figured finding the only rock in all this sand was exactly the kind of luck I should expect from living my life at the bottom of the food chain. As I sat there lamenting my injury, something metal reflected the sun and caught my eye. I reached down and dug out of the sand an ancient-looking brass teapot, similar to the kind they sell to tourists at the roadside stands near the Tex-Mex border.

Harry joined me to see why I was still sitting in the middle of the dune. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. Look what I found.” I held up the teapot.

“What a piece of junk. The lid is rusted shut and the whole thing is tarnished. Throw it away and let’s do another run.”

“We might be able to get a few bucks for it. Let’s see if I can shine it up a little.”

I pulled out a corner of my shirt and began polishing the sides. The teapot started shaking as if it was alive, while smoke poured out of the spout, billowing upward like a miniature tornado. Next came a flash of lightening, accompanied by the rotten egg smell of sulfur, and then poof, out of nowhere, right in front of Harry and me, appeared a swarthy-looking man of Mexican descent, sporting a chipped tooth, three-day growth, baggy pants, and a traditional red serape.

“Gracias, Tom,” he says, “for setting me free.”

Harry and I stare at the apparition in front of us as he pulled off his boots and poured out the sand.

“I hate sand. Two hundred years crammed into that teapot; it gets in your hair, your ears, up your las nalgas, and worst of all between your toes…very difficult to scratch.”

I managed to stammer. “Who the hell are you and where did you come from?”

“From the teapot, mi amigo…and you can call me Pepe.”

I turn to Harry to confirm what I was seeing and hearing, but he had passed out on his back in the sand and a dung beetle was crawling across his face.

Pepe says, “Let’s get down to business. What are your three wishes?”

“Excuse me?”

“Didn’t your mother ever read the classics to you? Here’s how it works…you rub the magic lamp, the genie appears, and you get three wishes.”

“This is a teapot and you don’t look like a genie.”

“You want the wishes or not? I can always give them to Harry when he wakes up, although technically he wasn’t the one who rubbed the lamp.”

“Hang on.”

My imagination kicked into overdrive. Three wishes! I pictured all the usual dreams…big house, fancy car, millions of dollars, rock god, but then I thought about my miserable school life.

“For my first wish, I want to be big.”

“You mean famous like a movie star, captain of industry, or president?”

“No, physically big. I’m tired of being the smallest kid in high school.”

Pepe lit up like a migrant worker on a Saturday night and produced a multi-paged contract and a pen from thin air. “Just sign your name at the bottom of page five.”

“What’s this?”

“Standard genie contract that defines rights, warrants, representations, indemnifications, fornications, and so forth. Don’t worry about it, just sign.”

I didn’t hesitate. Harry, who had regained consciousness, watched me write my name with a flourish. As soon as I did, Pepe, the contract, and the teapot disappeared in another puff of lightning and smoke.

We looked at where Pepe had stood, and then back to each other.

Harry said, “What about your other two wishes?”

I shook my head. “I don’t think he’s coming back.”

Harry looked around. “If he was ever here at all.”

As we walked back into town, we decided not to discuss what just happened, since we had no proof, and knew our story would only result in more teasing. We wrote off our experience to the hot sun and bad cafeteria food.

 

Copyright Richard Allan Jones 2018

Pepe

Here is a short story I wrote awhile back and recently updated. I’ll run it in three parts. Let me know what you think.

Pepe

By

Rich Allan

I don’t know how much time I have left. Doctors say they can’t stop it and my skin is already stretched to the bursting point. I resemble a hydroponic tomato filled with enough water to reach pumpkin status. Last time they weighed me, the truck scale read 1200 pounds.

The bomb squad used a crane to place me in the middle of our little league baseball field and taped off an area large enough to keep people at a safe distance. If I squint my eyes, I can make out my crying mother surrounded by the curious and several fellow students from Monahans High School. The number of people who have showed up is amazing; a bigger turnout than at the Jaycee’s July 4th fireworks celebration. Maybe I should hold a flare in each hand to make my demise, when it comes, more entertaining?

I know I am to blame for my current situation, but I just couldn’t stand it any longer. The kids at my school picked on me constantly. Teasing me online as well as right to my face, with comments like, “Hey runt, stand up when you speak to me,” or “When did they start letting second graders attend high school.” With my tiny frame, bullies had no problem stuffing me into wall lockers or tossing me through the basketball hoop in the gym. I grew tired of always being the last one picked for sports and having girls laugh in my face when I asked for a date.

Jimmy, the bomb squad leader, who helped bring me to my final resting spot, assuming there won’t be enough of me left to scrape up and bury, asked, “Tom, how much longer? I’m due at my bowling league in twenty minutes.”

My stomach gurgled and my circumference increased four more inches. A button popped off my tent-sized shirt, flew toward the crowd, and almost put out a spectator’s eye.

“Any minute now, Jimmy,” I assured him.

Before I leave this life…let me share with you the story of how I got in this predicament.

 

Copyright Richard Allan Jones 2018

50 States/50 Countries-Big Island Hawaii

PICT1545 (2)The 50th State…the big island of Hawaii…Volcano National Park. You’ve heard about it in the news, the recent eruption of Kilauea, homes destroyed, people evacuated. The destructive power of molten lava. Thought you might enjoy a tour in more peaceful time and learn more about this force of nature.PICT1500There are three main volcanoes on the big island (six all together), Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Kilauea, the most active, has a fire pit called Halemaumau. This is where most eruptions occur, but a vent can open up anywhere in this region.PICT1585 (2) You can see the steam, feel the heat, and smell the sulfur…truly Hell on Earth.PICT1577 (2)

Mauna Kea (tallest mountain in the world measured from the ocean floor) is dormant for now and is high enough it gets snow in winter and you can ski on it when it does. Volcano National Park is located near Kilauea.PICT1584 (2)Look close and you can see the Park’s lodge sitting right on the crater’s edge…and yes, they have had to evacuate but the Volcano House has never been destroyed. http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/PICT1578 (2)PICT1574 (2)Walking through the crater…PICT1579 (2)PICT1569 (2)PICT1588 (2)Halemaumau…the fire pit!PICT1587 (2)Lava Flows after it cools….PICT1583 (2)When hot lava hits trees, the wood burns to ash, but the sap in the tree can cool the lava enough to leave strange formations…a forest of “lava” trees…PICT1597 (2)PICT1598 (2)As the lava heads toward the sea the outer portion of  the flow can start to congeal, creating a lava tube.PICT1573 (2)Inside Thurston Lava Tube…PICT1592 (2)Finally when the lava does reach the sea, it cools down to large chunks of volcanic rock which wears down over time from the ocean waves to create Hawaii’s famous black beaches…PICT1590 (2)The big island is still growing and every time there is an eruption, it creates more land. The rich volcanic soil (in due time) is perfect for growing things and plants, trees do come back eventually other than in the crater itself…

Aloha & happy travels!  Rich

 

 

50 States/50 Countries – Windsor Castle

PICT0731 (2)Everyone is getting excited about the upcoming Royal Wedding (week from Saturday) and the site of the wedding in Windsor Castle, so I thought I’d share a few photos of my visit there during Queen Elizabeth’s 25th Anniversary celebrations…

PICT0713 (2)Notice the date on the banner 1977!

PICT0714 (2)Queen Elizabeth the First (The Virgin Queen)

PICT0720 (2)A busy weekend at Windsor…

PICT0718 (2)Four Musketeers?

PICT0728 (2)When this flag is flying the Queen is in residence…

PICT0716 (3)MAKE WAY!

PICT0717Most folks don’t realize Windsor Castle is huge! (William the Conqueror built it starting in 1017 in the town of Windsor, high above the Thames River, and completing construction 16 years later in 1033 AD).

PICT0726 (2)Inside the walls around the castle keep…

PICT0727 (2)Arrow slots to defend the castle…not today, but a good vantage point to see and hear the band…

PICT0723 (2)Statue of a heraldic symbol…

The marriage chapel is inside and off limits to the general public, so I might as well just cruise on down the Thames to London…

PICT0712 (2)Good Day, Guv’ & Happy Travels!  Rich

 

 

50 States/50 Countries – Hawaii

The 50th State…Hawaii. Four main islands — Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island. I was fortunate enough to visit here a couple of times and then live on Oahu from 2006-2008. Hawaii is truly paradise. I have so many favorites but here are a few photos of things you may not have seen before.PICT0099This Buddha is on the island of Maui just outside of Lāhainā. Photo was taken right after a rainstorm.PICT0021 (2)Lighthouse on the island of Oahu…fun hike to go out to see it.PICT0124Japanese cemetery and temple.PICT0196The official bird of the state of Hawaii, the nene goose is exclusively found in the wild on the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai, and Hawaii.PICT0202 (2)Surface of the moon?  Nope…the interior of the Haleakala volcanic crater on Maui.PICT0055 (2)Wedding site…Kaneohe’s lush Haiku Gardens, just down from the restaurant Haleiwa Joe’s on Oahu…

I’ll post more later. Just wanted to send you a sample. Aloha & happy travels!  Rich

 

 

Humpback Whales

I recently watched Star Trek IV, “The Voyage Home,” directed by Leonard Nimoy, a story about how we hunted this magnificent creature of the sea to extinction, then had to travel back in time to capture a pair of Humpback Whales, return them to the future and save the planet. PICT0292 (2) - CopyAt the same time while converting old 35 mm slides to digital I came across a series of photos of these mammals that we photographed off Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1983.PICT0250 (2)Some pictures are not a sharp as I like, but were taken from a rocking boat in the Atlantic Ocean with a hand held film camera and a large lens.PICT0281Yes, Virginia, once upon a time people took pictures with a camera, not their phones…come to think of it (shudder) in 1983 nobody even had a cell phone, we had to stop the car, get out and find a pay phone to make a call.PICT0282 There was no “selfies” or Instagram. It’s true, look it up on the Internet…hey, we had no Internet or personal computers or tablets in 1983 either! I know, right, the stone age, where people had to talk to each other in person. Can you imagine?PICT0273But I digress…As Scotty once said, “Aye, Captain, there be whales.”PICT0280 (2)PICT0278 (2)PICT0279PICT0284 (2)PICT0267 (2)PICT0268 (2)PICT0355The Author…