“Harmie Jones, Moses Scott, Walter Barndt, Annabelle Rand, Peter Cocklin, Preston Gough, Franklin Johnson and Michael Knightly– decided the only place they hadn’t tried sledding–besides, of course, the steps of the White House–was the State, War and Navy building.

It began as just kid-talk. Children with sleds, who lived in a city, with limited places to use their sleds: “Dare any of you,” said Harmie (short for ‘Harmond’), “to take your sled down the steps.” Harmie said this as they were pulling their sleds past the Public Library.

A concert of enthusiasm surrounded Harmie. “Great Idea!” then, “I will, if YOU will!”
Finally, one of the bunch declared, “You, FIRST!” It was that smarty-pants, Annabelle. The girl.

Of course, Harmie had a bit of an obligation to be first. It was his idea, after all. And, if he didn’t at least try, especially after being challenged by a dumb girl, well…how would that look?

Harmie Jones picked up his sled, a very nice one, with brightly painted, sturdy runners, sure to take the beating they’d no doubt endure, going down the steps of the public library.
Inside, he was frightened. Harmie was certain that his mom would be weeping into a hankie, blowing her nose, crying, “why?”, while he lay in a coffin neatly, dead, from a broken neck. Fortunately for Mrs. Jones, fate did not favor her son’s imagination, and Harmie lived through it.

One by one, the others followed suit: Annabelle Rand was next, followed by Johnson. Then the others took their turn down the steps of the library, and managed to live to tell about it.

The sledders saw their neighborhood with new eyes: Every building, especially buildings with ample steps, were possible challenges.

They really wanted to go down the White House steps. Of course, that wasn’t going to happen.

The next best thing, however, was the State, War and Navy building. The State, War and Navy building, was far more accessible, and certainly the most challenging.

Harmie Jones had much trepidation about this attempt. They were not just going down the flight of steps, from the landing closest to the street. That would be easy enough. No. They were going from the very top!

That Annabelle, the only girl in the bunch, declared that she would be first, and, she was going to start at the very top! Seemed she was always showing them up. And they were guys! What was she trying to prove?

The others were secretly afraid, every bit as Harmie, but did not admit it. Harmie ‘hmm’d and hawed’, offering reasons why they should not start at the top. The sleds might get broken, or they could get in trouble.

But Annabelle wasn’t buying any of it. “TRIPPLE-DOG-DARE YA!” She shouted, and dragged her sled to the very top, yelled, “Tally-Ho! Look out, below!” and conquered the steps–all of the steps–of the State, War and Navy building.

The only thing any of the boys could do, was cross their fingers, say a prayer, and hope they didn’t kill themselves. There was no way a girl was going to show them up. They’d die sledding before dying of embarrassment. Harmie hoped his Ma had plenty of hankies.

Harmie broke his right arm in three places, and was never again permitted to sled.
Everyone survived, and Harmie was the only one injured. His sled was messed up pretty bad, too.
Annabelle grew up, and became a hot air balloonist.

Not one of the children regretted that day. That was the day they flew.

see: http://dcwalkabout.com/blog/sledding-old-executive-office-building/

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“Acid Reflux, it wasn’t!
He should have known that it was about ‘that time of the month”–the crankiness, restless legs at night, pillow damp from drool, in the mornings. Not to mention the tinnitus and migraines. The heartburn was killer-bad, this time. Always the most painful part.

Well, there was not a thing Silv could do about it.
Nothing at all, but pray.
He clutched his rosary, mentally recited the prayers, visualizing the Stations of The Cross, as he did so. He preferred praying silently, and given his state of change, that was a good thing. The transformation had begun, and when Silv ‘s jaw changed, trying to man-talk was not going to happen.

He managed to get out of his clothes just in time. At least 7 or 8 times a year, he ruined perfectly good clothes during shape-shifts.

The sun disappeared, and full moon was out.
It was time.
At least he prayed before he preyed.”

Image  —  Posted: February 14, 2014 in RICHSTINE'S THE STORY, Take A Peek!, THE STORY: RichStine's "The Story" (also on Pinterest)
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“Little Lizzie survived WWII, and would have, without this ridiculous-looking contraption.
And, she witnessed and survived many wars.

She spent her entire life as if a caged bird: for, once they put this thing on her, they could not get it off!

It was said, that up until she died in 2000, she could quote from memory, Dumas’ “The Man In The Iron Mask.”

Image  —  Posted: February 11, 2014 in RICHSTINE'S THE STORY, Take A Peek!, THE STORY: RichStine's "The Story" (also on Pinterest)
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“Garrett loosened the grip of his mother’s arm only slightly. He did not want her dashing into the street again. Her loud mumblings, sharp scoldings, were drawing further unwanted attention.
He said nothing.

She did all of the talking.
When she finally stopped, she cast eyes of hatred, resentment, hurt and pain at him. Garrett kept his eyes straight-ahead. He did not have to look. He FELT her glares.

It was Mother’s Day, of all days. All he wanted was to get Mother out of the house, have a nice, quiet lunch, maybe even have a semi-normal conversation. Didn’t happen.

At first, things went well.
Then, she started. The waitress was “too round” (this she said in front of the waitress, who fled away in tears). Then she began shouting obscenities, “fucking” everything and anything, in excruciatingly familiar, angry voice.
He could not drag her out of the cafe` quickly enough. The manager almost called the police. Happy Mother’s Day.

Garrett was the only of her children who remained to care for Mother.
He resented his sisters and brother for this, sometimes. They just wouldn’t–perhaps couldn’t–deal with Mother. Part of Garrett understood this.

Mother had always been irrational, with brief periods of what looked, well, “normal”. She had shock treatments, spent time in a sanitarium, was given lots of different medication over the years.

It was not his fault, or anybody’s fault.
It wasn’t her fault she was like this, either. Not really.
Yes, it would be helpful if she cooperated, listened to brain experts, took her medications, and refrained from misusing them, or alcohol.

But if she were okay, if her brain functioned right, she would know and do the right things. Mom was not okay, and never was okay.

She suffered. Daily.
Unfortunately, that meant those around her, suffered, too. Sometimes dearly.
The damned voices in her head, tormenting her since a young woman, would not go away. Their father left them, long ago. This, Garrett resented, most of all.

Now, Mother was becoming much more than Garrett, alone, could handle.
As soon as they returned to the flat, he would make the call he so dreaded.
He loved her as best he could.
Nobody seemed to understand that.

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“Now,” said Petey, “…the way I see it, that dang old fox waited ’til we was eatin’ supper last night.” He lifted up his knitted cap, made special for him by his ma, scratched his itchy head, and pulled his hat back down.

“Or,” he continued, ” …maybe the fox sneaked in, when we was listenin’ to the baseball game on the radio.” Petey kicked some dirt. He thought, hard.

“I didn’t see any new holes,” he said, giving his head a shake towards the chicken pen, behind him. Petey and his dad fixed the pen three times, this week, alone!

The kid was more than a little perplexed. Another bird was missing.
A few feathers, but no Cluck-a-Luck! (Cluck-a-Luck was Petey’s favorite of all the chickens.)

“I-I just don’t know what we’re gonna do about this!” The boy said. His voice carried less assurance. His lower lip trembled a bit.

“Hush, now,” Petey’s dad said to him, patting the boy on the top of his knit-hat. “Maybe he’ll turn up.”

Petey sat down on the ground beside the chicken pen, pulled his knees to his chest, and had a good cry over Cluck-a-Luck.

Just as he dried his tears, manned-up, and decided to go to the house, he heard a familiar sound. An almost-purring sound, that chickens have been known to make, when they are happy. Petey ran around to the south side of the fence, and there was Cluck-a-Luck! How he managed to get outside the pen, Petey didn’t know. It really didn’t matter, now.

Petey scooped the chicken up in his arms, and hugged and squeezed the bird tightly. “Dad!” Petey shouted, “Dad! Dad! Cluck-a-Luck’s home!”

Image  —  Posted: February 3, 2014 in RICHSTINE'S THE STORY, Take A Peek!, THE STORY: RichStine's "The Story" (also on Pinterest)
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“The boy and the dog are very photogenic.
Both boy and dog were eager to don boxing gloves, climb into makeshift boxing-ring, and have a go at it. At first, it was fun. All just play.

As word spread that the two were sparring in Johnson’s field for a traveling photographer, schemers and ne’er-do-wells came around.

More and more people came to watch.
Money began to exchange hands.
Everyone wanted more, more, more! More action. Blood.

They tormented both boy and dog, trying to turn one against the other, to make matches ‘More Real’. More exciting. Adults who think they are so good and kind, have a deeply rooted penchant for violence as entertainment.

That this simple bout of diversion for both boy and dog was turned into a twisted, despicable, bloodsport-sideshow, was beyond sad. Stupid “Adults” always had to ruin things. Adult Humans were the most insane, inhumane, self-serving creatures on the planet.

The boy and dog would have no more of it. They ran away together. Hopped a train just outside of Jersey, and went out west. And yes: they truly did live happily ever after.

Image  —  Posted: January 31, 2014 in RICHSTINE'S THE STORY, Take A Peek!, THE STORY: RichStine's "The Story" (also on Pinterest)
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“It saved their marriage, the masks. They could no longer look at each other. Turns out, their faces were never what attracted them, in the first place. It was all just sex. Pure, unadulterated, sex. Hey. Whatever works!”

Image  —  Posted: January 28, 2014 in RICHSTINE'S THE STORY, Take A Peek!, THE STORY: RichStine's "The Story" (also on Pinterest)
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“Charles, a moderately successful vaudeville ventriloquist, was fortunate, yet miserable.
Fortunate, because he was handsome, witty, clever, and moderately successful.
Miserable, because, well, his dummy was with him, 24/7. Had been, since birth, too.

His dummy, Waldo (“Wally”)– the grotesque thing upon his lap in the photograph, was not at all, an ordinary prop-side-kick. Wally was Charles’ twin. Partially absorbed twin.

Charles was born a “freak”…the term now is frowned upon, but back in his day, it wasn’t always used to injure or put-down another. Charles and Wally came into the world as one, not unlike Eng and Chang Bunker, perhaps the most famous of all Siamese Twins. But Charles and Wally were not like the Bunker brothers. Wally was a hideous protrusion with a head, one full arm and hand, and a single, deformed right-leg, jutting out from the otherwise perfectly formed Charles. Wally, unlike Eng or Chang Bunker, did not have mostly independent body parts. Charles and Wally shared everything. Way-too much of everything.

Charles’ parents, aristocrats not given to shrinking from challenges, educated Charles with creative ideas to ‘deal with’ Wally, his kinda-sorta-there brother. Everything was about Charles. Wally was merely something that had to be dealt with. From an early age, it was determined that Wally would make Charles as normal as possible.

A stroke of genius turned Wally into a stage-prop, as if Wally were only that.
Since Wally didn’t have much say in the matter, he went along with it.

But a man can only take so much.
If Charles thought he was miserable and unfortunate because of Wally, it would have done him well to consider Wally’s position in all of this.

Imagine the shock, the headlines, when Charles was found dead–and Wally, too!

Wally swallowed a bottle of pills Charles’ lady ‘acquaintance’ left on the nightstand. He did not want to exist any longer.

Of course, since Wally died, so too, did Charles.

Fate can be cruel.

Image  —  Posted: January 28, 2014 in RICHSTINE'S THE STORY, Take A Peek!, THE STORY: RichStine's "The Story" (also on Pinterest)
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–Arthur Fellig, aka, “Weegee”, crime-photographer extraordinaire, took this photograph. Not his typical subjects, however. These are just two Carnies, playing around.

If you know what a Ouija Board is, or have an inkling, you will appreciate Arthur’s nickname, “Weegee.”

Weegee got his nickname, because he liked Ouija Boards, and because he was a crime photographer without parallel. Weegee was ALWAYS at the right place, at the right time.

Same could be said for his subjects, who were mostly murder victims. Get Murdered? Weegee would be along, straight-away, clicking his camera, immortalizing gouges, gaping wounds, disfigured, mangled bodies, faces of death.

While some were jealous of Weegee, most did not possess the stomach for his specialty, anyway. Which added to resentment.

Weegee’s uncanny knack for always being on-scene,  fed suspicions: did he have something to do with the deaths?

Most unsettling rumor, was that Weegee was in cahoots with Beelzebub himself, via the damned Ouija Board.

The Weejster simply gave those around him the Heebie-Jeebies.

This photo is not the usual Weegee shot. Taken at a carnival, the subjects are two performers, billed as “Amazing Spacetronauts”.  Here, they are, goofing around for the camera. Cute!

It is not this photograph that is terribly  interesting.

What’s interesting,  is, as Weegee’s camera flashed,  capturing this image, another bright light..consumed the couple, right in front of him. Presto! Gone-zo!

Nobody’s seen or heard from these two, since.

Police reports record that the incident gave Weegee the heebie-jeebies!

seehttp://museum.icp.org/museum/collections/special/weegee/

Image  —  Posted: January 24, 2014 in RICHSTINE'S THE STORY, Take A Peek!, THE STORY: RichStine's "The Story" (also on Pinterest)
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[thanks to Google Translate:]

L’HISTOIRE:… “Robes et draperies seraient d’aucune utilité Il y avait assez de vinaigrette temps, au Cercle Pour l’instant, pour passer à travers la cheminée, et sur ​​la cheminée – à la hâte, était assez chasseurs ont été porte-vont à-porte, une sorcière-recherche. les cris de terreur d’innocents étant arrachées à leur sommeil causé des frissons à voyager de la colonne vertébrale. “Nous devons nous dépêcher!” exhorté safran, “les chasseurs approchent!”

——————————————————————

THE STORY: “Robes and draperies would be of no use. There was time enough for dressing, at the Circle. For now, to get through the fireplace, and out the chimney–with haste, was enough. Hunters were going door-to-door, a-witch-seeking. The shrieks of terror of innocents–being dragged from their slumber, caused chills to travel the spine. “We must hurry!” urged Saffron, “The Hunters approach!”

Image  —  Posted: January 20, 2014 in Take A Peek!, THE STORY: RichStine's "The Story" (also on Pinterest)
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