Table of Contents

Halloween 2001



"Jolene" told by Ptah
"Ghost Town" told by Carter
"A True Tale related by SamWise


Ptah says, 'How many of you have been to one of these before, perhaps in another life?'

Romeo cheers at having found a blazing campfire.

Jacob says, 'or me all 7 i think'

Masha begins to twitch nervously.

Jacob says, 'oh me'

Kae raises her hand.

Masha says, 'okay, i'm here.'

Romeo breaks out a bag of Marshmellows.

Masha sits down and rests around a blazing campfire.

Mertjai says to Ptah, 'you know I've been to em all.'

Licerio pokes the spectre in the tummy and points out we're already there

Ptah says, 'some vets huh?'

Ptah chuckles politely.

Ptah says, 'OK, who has never been to one before?'

Moonshadow says to Ptah, 'you know how old my butt is'

Mertjai says to Ptah, 'why do ya think I was first one here?'

Licerio raises his hand.

Licerio cowers in fear!

Moonshadow says to Ptah, 'I know for sure I the oldest non imm here :P'

Ptah says, 'So is Licerio the only newbie here?'

Ptah says, 'Wow.'

Licerio chuckles politely.

Romeo says, 'Ive never been to a storytelling before am I gonna pee my pants?'

Romeo ducks to the ground.

Masha says, 'my first one here too'

Licerio says, 'now they come out of the woodwork :P'

Ptah chuckles politely.

Ptah says to Licerio, 'they just wanted you to the one to have to stand up and bush first'

Licerio chuckles politely.

Ptah says, 'well, you can come sit around the campfire if you like'

Ptah says, 'it's not as cold'

Licerio nods solemnly.

Carter sits down around a blazing campfire.

Mertjai hugs a blazing campfire.

Licerio says, 'plus you get ta sit by Mertjai if you're lucky ;)'

Masha nibbles on a blazing campfire - she must be hungry.

Masha grins evilly.

Mertjai blinks.

Licerio says, 'and a few others sitting around it now too'

Kae hogs that seat.

Mertjai says, 'how'd my name come up?'

Mertjai nods her agreement with Kae.

Mertjai says, 'Kae's sittin beside me!'

Romeo says, 'Did I hear the word virgin, Where?'

Romeo peers around the room intently.

Romeo throws his head back and cackles with insane glee!

Ptah says, 'OK, one of you oldbies wanna explain it to xpolain it to Licerio and Romeo and Masha?'

Masha says, 'not me, i'm not one'

Mertjai shakes her head.

Carter says to Licerio, 'They tell stories, I reckon'

Romeo says, 'I love this place'

Ptah says, 'This has been going on for eight years here--but I missed 1998, so this is only the 7th annual storytelling.'

Ptah says, 'So welcome. :)'

Ptah says, 'The first year, we had a group of people tell stories, and the stories were short.'

Ptah says, 'After that, I did the lead-off story, and then after my (huge, long, verbose) story, others could tell their own'

Ptah says, 'The key thing is that the story you are about to hear is improvised.'

Licerio smiles happily.

Ptah says, 'I have done no prep work. I am not pasting it in.'

Ptah says, 'I am writing it on the spot as I type'

Masha cheers for Ptah - huzzah!

Ptah says, 'One year, I took elements from the audience.'

Ptah says, 'They suggested a spork, a bowling alley, a mirror, and a few other things, and I made sure the story got everything in it'

SamWise giggles.

Masha grins evilly at Ptah.. wonder what she's thinking...

Ptah says, 'But I am not going to do that this year, because frankly, that story came out the worst of all the years. :)'

Moonshadow giggles at Ptah.

Ptah says, 'Now, some things I'd ask.'

Ptah says, 'We log this, so please keep chatter to a minimum.'

Ptah says, 'Sending me tells in the middle is very distracting. :)'

Moonshadow hangs her head.

Ptah says, 'At the same time--it IS live storytelling, so if you hear something that makes you sigh, go ahead ans sigh'

Mertjai says to Ptah, 'turn off tells?'

Kaige isn't sure imms can

Kae shakes her head.

Mertjai says to Kaige, 'need ta fix that for next year then'

Romeo sighs loudly.

Mertjai giggles.

Kae can't choose to ignore players that way.

Kae sulks in the corner.

Carter says to Kaige, 'how come I can see yer if I'm not 51?'

Mertjai says, 'use your client to block out all tells?'

Ptah gets a distracted look on his face.

Mertjai says to Carter, 'you're in room with em'

Nanok comforts Kae.

Carter says to Kaige, 'well, why dunt he do that then?'

Tanya sits down around a blazing campfire.

Ptah says, 'The sttory gets better when people react to it, because then I know when I've struck a false note'

Moonshadow sits down and rests around a blazing campfire.

Kaige says, 'because he's also reminding the people HERE too'

Carter says, 'EH?'

Moonshadow says to Ptah, 'so if it sucks I should ack?'

Licerio smiles happily.

Carter scratches his head in puzzlement.

Ptah says, 'Please don't emote at me, talk to me, whatever. :)'

Licerio pokes Moonshadow in the ribs.

Ptah says to Moonshadow, 'it won't suck.'

Ptah rolls his eyes heavenward.

Moonshadow nods her agreement with Ptah.

Ptah thinks, 'And she said she'd been here before... Sheesh.'

Moonshadow says to Ptah, 'I know'

SamWise waits with eager anticipation.

Carter says to Nanok, 'I]m a seeloon keeper. whatcha want}'

Moonshadow is completely boggled.

Ptah snickers softly.

Ptah ruffles Moonshadow's hair playfully.

Ptah sits down around a blazing campfire.

Ptah rummages in a pocket and pulls out something.

Ptah tosses it on the campfire, and sparks rise to the skies! And also, an old movie stub and a dollar bill catch fire and burn up.

Romeo points at a blazing campfire.

Carter chuckles politely.

Mertjai giggles.

SamWise screams with terror

Masha grins evilly.

Licerio snuggles up near the fire.

Ptah says, 'Welcome all... I think this one is going to be called "Jolene."'

Ptah begins to tell the story...

It's been a hard year. I mean, I reckon 1967 was hard, what with the winters here in Chicago, and of course there was 1962 when I caught the flu so bad. But durn if 1968 wasn't the hardest. I look around and I see the news and I think about what's gone on and I think about who we've lost, and it's just been a hard, hard year. Sometimes my heart feels empty, empty as a lard bucket on Sunday, as my Auntie used to say.

Up here in Chicago nobody knows from lard. They don't know about how you use it to make the good cornbread, and they don't know about the smell of honeysuckle on a summer evening, when it wafts warm and fragrant across the grass. And I miss that smell of honeysuckle, I do. Yes'm, I miss it. When I was a boy, that smell would greet me as I traipsed over the red dirt road down to that fallen tree by the hollow. The hollow was where we played stickball, of a time. The white kids, they would chase us off sometime--never ones to share the hollow, not them, not with what their parents taught 'em. I'd always have to sneak a look sly like a rabbit, see if the coast was clear for any play under the arching branches.

Auntie used to say, "Now, Able" -- that's my name -- "Able, don't you go messin in that hollow and get in a scrape with the white kids." She's rub her hand over my nappy hair and tug my ear, saying "You know as well as I, those folks all high and mighty, and we know what they like to do when the liquor gets into them." And me, sitting there thinking, what's she on about, the kids don' drink no liquor? I didn't know what she meant, at the time.

But down in the hollow, most days, weren't anyone. 'Cept this one time, there was Jolene.

Now, I figure, I was maybe fourteen, and maybe man high. Old enough to get a thinking of the grownup things, you know. There I am creeping like a rabbit round the cedars so I can see if the hollow is open for maybe a little stickball, maybe a little smoking of a nut pipe, and I see her there. You gotta understand--there's NEVER any white girls down in the hollow. They aren't there after their church socials where they talk about the plight of the benighted Negro. They aren't there in pinafores or Sunday best. They aren't there in overalls and tomboy mud on a school afternoon, either. Oh, maybe when they are young, when they might as well be boys. But not once they, well, you know. Develop. The only girls come into the hollow are the ones with a big voice, sometimes black, sometimes white, and a willow switch, ready to shout. And whooee did they shout, "BillEEEEE! HOOOORace, you get your backsides back into these dinner chairs and the dirt out from behind yore ears before I turn them cheeks tanner than a dead cow's hide!" And then the boys did scatter, because boys may be boys, but we ain't stupid.

But Jolene--she was there. Slender, brown hair like bark, eyes a bit too far apart, dust of freckles across her face and shoulder. Just a plain print dress, like the ones that Auntie stitched for my cousin Honor, cloth bought by the yard. She looked sort of lost. When I came into the hollow and bold as a jackdaw said "what're YOU doing here?" with no as you please or m'miss'm or pardon me, she like to shrieked. She looked like she'd seen a ghost, and even after she saw me, plain as day a black boy right in her face daring her to say why she was in the hollow, she still looked scared. me, I'm thinking, hell, I done it now. What parent from town is gonna say some kid went and harassed his daughter in the woods. But no, she got this curious look in her face, and said my name, clear as a bell, "Able" like that, and that was when I saw the glint of cat eyes in her face.

I hain't been back there in many a year, you understand. Auntie and the rest of the family, they lived in that old collection of wood shacks in the cedar for a long time. But I was the one who made good. I was the one who made it all the way through high school, traveling north to get a college degree. I have the piece of paper says I am a CPA and can be trusted with figuring your money. I still remember the day I hung out a shingle here in Chicago, wore my hat and tipped it at everyone, brown tie and brown suit, not too uppity, but spectable enough to be trusted. My point being, I'm not much a tale-carrier. I get paid to be sober. Boring, if you like.

Auntie--her real name was Faith, and I still have a dusty photo here somewhere, in another floral print and a bonnet in her hair ready to hear the preacher rant on a Sunday--Auntie always tried to make a man of me, she said, and I think she did, though sometimes on nights like these I wonder. The shack is gone now, she lived out her last days in a small apartment in Tuscaloosa, rocking her nights away listenbing to the radio. She didn't have no truck with Jolene. To her, Jolene was just a tolerance, if you know what I mean, someone who was around but not accepted.

After that first day, Jolene ran into the woods. But later days, she came peeping around the shack, came out and startled us all when we were pumping water or hauling wood for the stove. We'd see her under the broad leaves of the curly dock, peeping out, and herself all curlied like the plant itself, folded up. After a time, she'd come out. My cousin Honor and her, they hit it off. They'd sit on the porch stoop, white and black side by side and never a thought in the world. Not something we saw much in those parts. They'd giggle over the young fellas who came back from working--there was a paper mill, the stink of it clear on windward days--and hide their faces behind their hands.

Me, I kept an eye on Jolene.

I didn't catch a glimpse of those strange eyes. She seemed like a quiet girl--didn't talk much, but also seemed like an innocent not put on this earth by God. One who doesn't know all about all. I remember when she first had a slice of that cornbread, or when she first tried some spicy smoked pork, and her eyes widened like she had never eaten in her life. And when Auntie's latest man--I want to say it was old Hack-a-Jack, the one who spat tobacco streams sideways and gave me quite a hoot--when he slid mournful notes on his beat up guitar, sliding a knife on it, she'd sit like a dog waiting to be fed, mouth open and eyes fixed on the vibrations of the strings, like a hypotized rube in a carnival.

Sometimes we'd sing, maybe "Wade in the Water" or "I'll Fly Away" and she'd ask, "why so many songs about death?" And what do you say but shrug? You know, the paper mill was alright, I suppose, but the fellow at the boiler, wen it blew up every once in a while, and people came away red as lobsters or raw meat... it's not like it was far away.

And there was the time--we all remembered it, because he'd been a kind man for all he was a little crazy-- the time we found old Hector Smithson, who'd buttled and kept house for many folk in town, was found strung up near the rail trestle. His tongue popped out and the knot at his throat was tight and we coudln't read the sign hung around his neck but Auntie said we didn't need to know nohow.

Where was death supposed to go? It was our dinner guest. 'Cept for Jolene. I think death warn't kissing cousin to her, and if a fellow with a dark cloak and a scythe showed up at her door, she'd say curious as a three year old, "You got corn to cut, mister?"

Hard to think that now. After all, I seen on TV, the way that Kennedy boy got shot--and him after his brother, oh Lord. And the goings on at that university in Ohio. How many dead, they say now? Four? I don't know. It's hard to watch. Or brother Martin. I heard him preach, once. But never you mind, and never did Jolene.

One day, when she was past the strange pauses in her speech like she was learning herself to talk, she told me her family was out there too. "Past the hollow," she said, and this was by the time she'd gotten herself a tongue like Honor's, so she went on and said, "And never you mind looking for them, young Able, or I'll have to call Auntie on you! My folks are liking their PRIVACY." Which of course me being fourteen and all, was like the idea of dribbling sweet honey on fresh-baked bread. Completely irresistible.

I'd sneak around there, and I followed Jolene home one day, and never came it to anything. I like to wore out shoes, and shoes--brown leather ones Auntie had gotten so I could make a good impression in school--were not something I could afford. But Jolene, she came to that hollow, and went around a few trees, and past the blackberry bush without even a scratch, and then she was gone and her phantom cat eyes with her, and I never saw where. Plumb gone. I thought about attaching a bell to her skirt, but she'd hear it and take it off right quick. I thought about putting a bit of fishing line down, maybe she'd trip before the blackberry bush and I'd see where she went so fast... But she was over it in a trice and gone like the sound of clapping hands. I took good flour--and had to chop a peck of wood once Auntie figured out where it went--spread it in the hollow, but it sure fell off her bare feet in a hurry.

And one day she came back out and she had with her a man she said was her pappy. He was a hard man, I could see it. I couldn't truck with him, he only wanted to talk to the men at the boiler and the men at the paper mill. He didn't come out with curious eyes and a witless tongue, but like a man of business. He scared me, some. He scared many a folk.

Honor thought he was quite a fellow. She would twitch her skirt at him, she would make mooncalf eyes. I am guessing, though I never heard, that Jolene told her that her mammy was dead and gone Maybe Honor thought she could work her way into the family, maybe she thought that any hard-eyed man from the blackberry hollow and waving cash at the boiler and paper mill men was a suitable prospect.

Auntie did NOT approve.

I was sitting by the shed where you do your business, putting off the job of cleaning it off some, when I heard Jolene talk straight with her. I stayed behind the shed, naturally.

"Honor," Jolene said. "You cannot be flirting with my da that way."

Honor giggled, like she was caught reaching for an extra cookie, and said lightly, "No, whatever ever do you mean, Jolene?"

But Jolene wasn't going to be put off. "I've seen you--what you do with him. It is what you call flirting, yes? Don't you go polishing someone else's silver, Honor."

"Nonsense, Jolene. I--"

"Listen, Honor, you don't know what you are doing. We are not like you folk. We are not what you think. He will not give you money and fine dresses and a trip to Birmingham to step out and see the theatre." Jolene grabbed her wrist and squeezed it and I know it hurt because I saw Honor dig her toe into the ground "Stay away, and stop what you are doing, Honor, or it will go poorly for your family."

And Honor, she was never so bright and the ribbons in her hair had gone to hear head, because she stood up and said "Well, I NEVER" and waltzed away, nose in the air. Reminded me of seeing them schoolgirls in their peach and lilac dresses coming out of the girls school, not that I ever peeked much.

Now, I don't know from girls. I mean, I married--fine woman, my Candace. She's asleep right now, and here I am up with the babe, the babe I don't understand why I have here, now, in 1968. And the babe--well, she's a girl too, and like as not she'll baffle me until I am gray.

I thought Honor was a damnfool. And I paid close attention to Jolene after that. She'd watch me chopping wood, and me without my shirt, and she'd smile, I swear, secret little smiles like she wasn't the one who knew little about the world. Why, I tried to explain baseball to her for nigh on two weeks before giving up. She'd always say she was there to learn, and learn she did, I guess, and she'd carry back her tales and tell them back in the blackberry bush. back beyond the hollow. I never did learn why exactly there were her folk there so powerful ready to learn about us.

Now, her daddy, he with the flashing cash and the men at the boiler plant, he wanted something from them, and he asked many questions about the tolerance of the gauges or whether he could buy a few barrles of the acid they used... I never did follow none of that, not being of a scientific bent. He'd go to town, and white feller he was, he'd buy things and mail order things, some things I don't think they have the Sears catalog even. Once or twice he paid me a few quarters to help him carry that stuff, some in long boxes, some in small boxes, some in big heavy ones, and we'd ferry it to the hollow, and he'd ask me to leave it there, and then I'd have to skedaddle or else he'd just wait and wait until I about turned myself into a pumpkin and his eyes on me, those cold eyes--I never waited.

Next time back, the hollow empty and clean as a whistle, no sign of the boxes. Jolene just said that her folk were building.

"Building what," I said, "A spaceship?" A rocket to the moon like in those magazines?" Then I'd roll my eyes. I coveted those magazines, of course, but never did get one.

And that's where we were, the day Honor vanished. She didn't come home for supper. It was just stew, Auntie had a rabbit from a trap and it made for tasty meat, I still remember that.

We had to fan out. I got to walk the train trestle. I remember still, my bare feet on those railroad ties, and some of them rotted clear through and falling into the creek--you could see the great big shadows of catfish sliding through the muck as careless as you please. I remember thinking, "Maybe she fell in and one of those things swallowed her whole!" I was still kind of mad, at that moment, that she was gone and we were all traipsing around in full moonlight looking for this damnfool cousin of mine when there was good rabbit stew to be eaten. I remember wandering by the tree where we found the lynching, and wondering if she got herself in trouble. I remember nicking my hand on blackberry bush and realizing I'd wandered in a circle, and seeing the torches and kerosene lamps of other searchers.

It was two or three in the morning, when they'd roused the ill-tempered men from the boiler plant and the roughnecks from the paper mill, and they were all settled around the fire in front of our shack, our good rabbit stew shared out, their shirtless backs muscled and glistening with sweat, and a sense of anger rising from the frustration. And that's when Auntie said the one downright stupid thing I ever heard her say in her life.

"She always was a flirt, that girl. My own daughter, shameless and flipping her skirts and men the like of that fool Jolene's daddy."

The search party did go out again, but by that time I was scared. The mood was uglier. People were talking about old Smithson and people were talking about how some boys from down Leaf Creek way had gotten some stones tossed at them for carrying schoolbooks on the open road like upstarts. SOme of those men from the boiler plant were yelling about how they weren't allowed no union card when the damn Irish from up northwards had the right to take their breaks on the hour, goddamn. Some of the womenfolk were telling stories of snubs in front of churches on Sunday, and of the preacher getting the cold shoulder when he offered so kindly to share his collections with the white Baptist church on occasion of their church fire, when it burned down that winter.

Me, I ran to the hollow. I turned around and around in the clearing there where we played stickball, and I could see the skeeters zooming around me from the stagnant water in the puddles.

"Jolene!" I cried. "Jolene, come out, come out!"

I shouted, knowing I couldn't shout for long because voices carry on moonlit nights and those men were in no mood for some idiot kid to be ruining their good head of anger.

"Jolene, I need you, somethin BAD is going down!"

And in between one spin and another, she came, from out the blackberry bush, like there was thorny catch there, like there were no juices mashed to stain her floral dress. I didn't dwell none on her appearance.

"Jolene," I said, and I told her how Honor was missing, and she nodded like she knew. By then, damn if she didn't sometimes seem like she knew everything.

"She's not here, Able," she said smug as can be.

"Damn fool girl, you think I don't know that? LIke it matters, when there's a mob coming your way to burn down this damn blackberry patch and you in it, looking for my damnfool cousin?"

Then she got it, finally, and she looked around in a panic, because she had heard the stories about the mobs, of a time. Then she suddenly calmed. and said, "No, Able. No, because look! I have studied, and I know how it is, you see?" and she held out her arm and held my arm bbeside it, and pointed at her skin. "See? Light. And yours, dark. I am safe, Able," she said, naive and I wanted to shake her. "The light skinned folk here are safe, safe as kittens in a knitting basket," she said gaily. "You, Able," turning serious, "You have dark skin, you should go away."

The look of confidence in her eyes was such, what could I do, there was no way I was getting through to her. I ran, because I could hear the fire and the torches and the trampling of many men. I pulled at her arm, tried to drag her with me to the trestle, to the creek, where we could hide in the mud sinkhole and stay out of sight, where she'd be safe. But she was strong, and she pulled her arm out from my fourteen year old hands.

"Go, Able. Hurry. I will be safe. You have to run. I will keep them here."

So I ran.

Now, here I am, rocking a cradle at three o'clock in the morning. That was--my Lord, what year? I'm late to be a daddy, that was maybe 1949? Maybe 1952. Hell if I know. But I still hang my head at the thought of it. Wasn't I man high? Wasn't I strong enough to pick up a slender slip of a girl, be her white skinned and brown haired or not, and sling her across my shoulder and carry her to safety? Sometimes strength isn't in our arms, where it matters.

Next morning none of the boiler men would meet my eyes. None of the paper mill men would show, because the scratches in their arms from the blackberry bush they hacked and burned stung in the air of the paper mill. Auntie wouldn't say a word 'cept to speak of the Devil and how he does his work through both idle hands and angry, and I got a willow switching for running into the woods when the search was going on.

I never think of that tree as Smithson's no more. Now it's Jolene's to me. I didn't go look, though I had a powerful curiosity. I could dream it well enough. There's that curious look in the eyes, when you're dead, how you stare out like you don't know a thing int he world anymore. And I guess you don't.

Honor saw her though. Honor, who came back traipsing along the train trestle skipping as happy as you can please, all proud of herself for having slipped her domestic chains and gone off to Birmingham and the big city for a night, she came back and saw Jolene there on the tree, and she described it to me with her voice all in pieces like a plate dropped on the floor. The words don't bear repeating. What's to say?

I don't correspond with Honor enough, I ought to drop her a letter times other than holidays, invite her here to Chicago. she's never seen the baby. Bare met Candace the once, at the wedding. But listen to me ramble.

Listen. Here's this babe, staring out like she don't understand anything either. And here's my damnfool self, having named her on her christening Jolene, like another girl she called to my mind. and here's this awful year of 1968, and the world don't make no more sense to me. I see what looks like armies in the street. I see that there ain't nobody who wears a hat and brown tie like a gentleman no more. The memory of going to an outhouse in the woods is way past me now, and I daresay the idea of lynchings in a hollow in Alabama is far from anyone's mind.

But I think of Jolene, and her silly notion that you can be safe because of the color of your skin, or the length of your hair, or the planet you hail from, for all I goddamn know. And white on black, or black on white, and more bodies strung up doesn't seem so strange to me anymore.

All I know is this. I look at this, my daighter Jolene, who'll make me gray as a dusty old owl someday. And I see the look in her eyes, like she's been put here to soak up everything about us, and like she's blank and empty like a jug of water ready to be filled. She stares past me and it makes me shiver. For all I know babes are like this always. But when the light come in through the window catches her eye right and they glint, red like a light shone in the eyes of a cat--

Hell, sure as my name's Able, I think that we come into this world as otherworldly as we leave it, and that's a fact.

Ptah bows deeply.

Moonshadow cheers for Ptah - huzzah!

Oxymoron cheers wildly!

SamWise cheers for Ptah - huzzah!

Licerio cheers for Ptah - huzzah!

Mertjai blinks.

Romeo cheers for Ptah - huzzah!

Tanya shows her approval by clapping her hands together.

Mertjai claps for Ptah approvingly.

Carter cheers wildly!

Oxymoron claps for Ptah approvingly.

Romeo wakes KAe.

SamWise says, 'good story'

Ptah sits down around a blazing campfire.

Oxymoron nods his agreement with SamWise.

SamWise pokes Sandro in the ribs.

Licerio nods his agreement with SamWise.

Sandro shows his approval by clapping his hands together.

Romeo says, 'Great story Ptah!'

Ptah is now exhausted.

Licerio says to Ptah, 'you have a real talent'

SamWise giggles.

SamWise nods solemnly.

Licerio chuckles politely.

Ptah says, 'Thanks :)'

SamWise says, 'very descriptive'

Oxymoron nods solemnly.

Sandro nods solemnly.

SamWise giggles.

Ptah says to Carter, 'No, haven't been trying to get published'

Moonshadow says, 'great story, but I gotta run'

Moonshadow waves happily.

Licerio mumbles something about way past his bedtime and being tired at work and it all being someone's fault.

Ptah says to Carter, 'I AM in a workshop now though, with Bruce Sterling and a few other writers'

Moonshadow hugs Ptah.

Licerio nods his agreement with Moonshadow.

Licerio smiles happily.

Licerio says, 'Again, nicely done :)'

SamWise says, 'u should expand and use that story to write a book'

Carter blinks at Ptah.

Licerio waves happily.

Oxymoron nods solemnly.

Oxymoron waves happily.

Ptah says, 'Nah, it's not enough to carry abook'

Ptah says, 'But I could flesh it out into a real story.'

Romeo says to Ptah, 'or make a dozen short stories'

SamWise says, 'bah with the expanded details of days gone by it could be'

Romeo nods to himself - he must be getting senile.

Ptah says, 'But hey, not everyone has to leave--you can stay here and tell each other more stories'

Ptah says, 'Still not the witching hour yet :)'

Carter says, 'It's mighty hard ter follow yours'

SamWise nods his agreement with Carter.

Romeo doesnt know any stories :P and it is the witching hour here :P

Ptah chuckles politely.

Carter says, 'though I reckon I could tll yer one... but it ain't very serious'

SamWise says, 'i have a true one but i am not as good of spinner as ptah'

Ptah says, 'After that one, not-serious might be a good thing'

Carter says, 'well, I reckon I'll a tel it then'

Romeo cheers for Carter - huzzah!

Carter's Tale: Ghost Town

Carter says, 'heard this from a coupla cowboys who came inter my seeloon, white as sheets.'

Carter says, 'seem they were out riding in the desert, runnin low on water and food'

Carter says, 'perty lost as well.'

Carter says, 'Well, they subled upon a ghost town, and began to search it for something they could drink or eat'

Carter says, 'But what they found was one of the last residenced, grizzled-type.'

Carter says, 'He invited them to stay with him. seems he had a well set up in the desert aways off.'

Carter says, 'now, these cowboys were in a mighty sorry state, so he insisted on them stayin' fer a week or so'

Carter says, 'the town was in perty good shape still - had only gone bust round bout ten years ago'

Carter says, 'so they were given the rooms next to his, and after he had gotten them fed and watered, he went to his room.'

Carter says, 'looked like entrails and such, and glassware in strange shapes, and that sort of stuff'

Carter says, 'well, a few minutes later, they heard the strangest noises coming from his room next door'

Carter says, 'woke the other feller up'

Carter says, 'they were plum scared, but nothing more happened, and they fell back asleep eventually after gazing with horror fer a coupla hours'

Carter says, 'but their fears seemed perty silly in the morning, and the feller seemed like a perty good critter, so they stayed the next night'

Carter says, 'and though they didn't see him carrying the stuff, they still were awoken by the noises!'

Carter says, 'now, yer might ask why they didn't just get out of there or shoot the feller, but they were perty moral cowboys, and they were perty sick. They figgered the best thing was not to say anything, and keep watch'

Carter says, 'so, they alternated watches the next three nights, and every night the strange noises happened, and 'cause they were keeping watch, they got a perty good view of what he was carrying, but they still couldn't tell what it was.'

Carter says, 'on the last night, the feller's pardner couldn't stand it any more! he hopped out of bed, knocked on the door of the old feller's bedroom, kniwing what he risked, but he just had to know'

Carter says, 'the man opened the door a crack, and asked him friendly-like, what he wanted, and the cowboy said "We've been hearing strange noises coming from your room every night, and we've seen you carrying strange things. Please, tell us what's going on'

Carter says, 'and the old feller replied, weell, I reckon I can son, but yer have to promise not to tell anyone. And the cowboy agreed.'

Carter says, 'so, who,s next?'

Romeo peers at Carter, looking him up and down.

Carter says, 'what? he never told anyone, did he?'

Ptah chuckles politely.

Ptah ruffles Carter's hair playfully.

SamWise giggles.

Romeo whaps Carter across the back of the head - your ears ring in sympathy.

SamWise says, 'ok i have a real one'

Romeo says, 'Had me all interested'

Ptah says, 'Good job, you did that exactly right. :)'

Carter says, 'mighty sorry'

Carter grins evilly.

SamWise giggles.

Carter says to SamWise, 'well, tell us yer story. It'll go in the archives, anyway'

SamWise's True Tale

SamWise says, 'ok remember this is real i awear it'

SamWise says, 'when i graduated from high school, i went to college at Kent State University which as you all know is where the shootings took place'

SamWise says, 'i made many friends there who were always ready to have a good time with trying some scary things.'

SamWise says, 'we were all sitting around in the dorm rooms one night, i reckon about a week before halloween'

SamWise says, 'jen a fat little black haired girl who was kind of a tag along to us all, mentioned we should take a ouija board out to the memorial at midnight on halloween'

SamWise says, 'she was self proclaimed as a witch, but no one ever payed her no mind. Oh there were times when she hosted ouija board parties and i was present but i always felt she moved the piece willingly across the board to scare folks'

SamWise says, 'so i never believed in all that nonsense'

SamWise says, 'after a few minutes of consideration we all agreed to go and try it out'

SamWise says, 'so on hallows eve we krept out to the memorial and set up in the grass under where the students were shot.'

SamWise says, 'everyone took their turns at the board except me, i sat back and laughed at the whole situation.'

SamWise says, 'erik a good friend of mine took his turn and it was the normal nonsense stuff'

SamWise says, 'the same for pat mandy(my girlfriend) and kim(eriks girlfriend)'

SamWise says, 'i was growing bored when they asked me to sit at the board.'

SamWise says, 'i sat there giggling at their foolish attempts to scare me and i sat down. The ussual questions were asked and some silly answeres were given until the spyglass began to move to spell out my name.'

SamWise says, 'i was sure jen was moving the piece, but she looked scared as if it just started moving on its own.'

SamWise says, 'i told her to stop it and the spyglass flew off the board on its own.'

Carter gulps nervously.

SamWise says, 'i have never seen anything like that before, but i still didn't believe it'

SamWise says, 'i let someone else sit down pat if my memory recalls right and the board spelled my name again>'

Carter says, 'was everyone touching it, or just the person sitting down?'

SamWise says, 'so i blew it off and i said fine then how much change do i have in my pocket.'

SamWise says, 'only two people at a time'

Carter nods solemnly.

SamWise says, 'the board said i had 56 cents in my pocket and when i counted it that is exactly what i had.'

Carter gulps nervously.

SamWise says, 'so i began to get a little freaked out, but i couldn't let them see this.'

SamWise says, 'after all i am a big tough guy'

SamWise says, 'so we all left the memorial at about 2:30 am. I took mandy back with me to Pat's house because i was using it for the night hehe.'

SamWise says, 'When we walked in the door i say a person move in the shadows in the corner of the room. My heart skipped a beat and i heard a thud behind me. When i turned on the light noone was there and mandy passed out.'

Carter gulps nervously.

SamWise says, 'i searched the house and no windows were open and noone was there. Mandy awoke almost instantly and was freaking out. She said there was no doubt someone was there.'

SamWise says, 'we did not stay there that night and went back to my dorm room.'

SamWise says, 'i couldn't sleep for days, and about a year and a half later i was taking a shower and a shadow passed in front of the light. I just figured Mandy had come into the bathroom.'

SamWise says, 'but the door was locked and no one was in there but me. I have since then seen the shadow on several occassions, and everytime i do i try and dismiss it but after about 10 times you get visited it is hard to blow it off.'

Carter says, 'Does it appear to any cause?'

SamWise says, 'i have lived in three houses since that day and in every house i have seen the shade. I lived in a country house and in the middle of the night i heard a tv blaring a womans voice, sounded like some talk show or something.'

Carter says, 'I men, does it appear, ansd ten you brak your leg, or are suddenly prevented from harm'

Mertjai says to Carter, 'let em tell it'

Carter says, 'sorry'

Carter gulps nervously.

SamWise says, 'then the sound was gone, Mandy heard it too. we stayed at my parents that night. The house i moved into town, i had a glass vase in the middle of the table. We were sitting in the living room no kids, no pets and the vase fell to the ground and shattered.'

SamWise says, 'We were in the car and i was backing out of my garage, I slammed the breaks because someone walked behind me as i was backing into the street. Whe i looked no one was there'

Kaige shivers uncomfortably.

SamWise says, 'and the last time i saw the thing was about 6 months ago. My new house. I thought i had rid myself of this thing, but i was wrong.'

SamWise says, 'i was awakened in the middle of the night to a dog barking in the shadows, in my front lawn. I walked outside and the barking stopped. When i went back inside it was there in my kitchen. Maybe a trick of the eye but i had seen this'

Mertjai raises an eyebrow inquiringly.

SamWise says, 'i believe in ghosts now, i am not the only one who has seen this eerie thing, i have witnesses to my sightings.'

Carter nods solemnly.

Carter says, 'is it friendly, or?'

SamWise says, 'i don't know why it has chosen me but i have come to accept it as long as noone gets hurt.'

Carter nods his agreement with SamWise.

SamWise says, 'in a way it is scary yet comforting to know it is around watching me and my family, as messed up as that may sound.'

Kaige nods solemnly.

Mertjai giggles.

SamWise says, 'i feal it will be there upon my death, and maybe finally i can be introduced to this nameless faceless shade.'

Mertjai goes EEK! at SamWise in distress - isn't SamWise an awful person for teasing?

Carter says, 'have you tried to communicate to it hitherto?'

Mertjai says, 'g'night folks.'

Mertjai thanks Ptah heartily.

Mertjai hugs Kaige.

Mertjai smiles at SamWise.

SamWise says, 'but until then oh well. Remember a ouija board is real'

Mertjai smiles at Carter.

Mertjai says to SamWise, 'boy are they ever'

Carter tips his hat to Mertjai.

SamWise says, 'i believe it now thanx'

SamWise smiles happily.

Ptah says, 'Night all!'

Carter says to SamWise, 'A perty good tale!'

Mertjai waves happily.

Carter says, 'Ayup, I'd best sleep as well'

SamWise says, 'oh it is true'

Ptah no longer looks quite as distracted.

Kaige says, 'yeah those things are just freaky.'

Carter says to SamWise, 'I know, but what do yer call it? a good truthtellin?'

SamWise nods solemnly.

Kaige says, 'tale?'

SamWise says, 'believe it or not it is the acual truth'

Ptah believes it, given all he's seen.

Ptah shrugs helplessly.

SamWise crosses his heart

Carter says, 'after all I've experienced, I reckon I'm 'bout the last to try ter deny something mundane like that'

Carter says, 'it's mundane fer my life'

SamWise says, '10 years ago i would have laughed at myself for even thinking this way'

Carter nods his agreement with SamWise.

SamWise says, 'my wife still flips when she is in a dark room by herself.'

SamWise says, 'remember it is true'

Kaige nods her agreement with SamWise.

Kaige smiles at SamWise.

SamWise says, 'thanx :)'

Kaige waves happily.