Sunday, December 4, 2016

Short Story Sunday

I have decided that posting bits of a short story is not going to work - I will be posting completed stories only.

Have a great sunday~

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Let's try short stories

here is the beginning of my first ever short story ---- whatcha think?

            Louise struggled to get out of her seat and headed for the door before the bus driver closed the door and continued his route. It was the same everyday of the week, every week of the month and every month of the year. Same routine, same pain, same panic to reach the door. Why she didn’t sit closer to the door remained a mystery to the driver.
            Louise did not know the driver’s name and he did not know hers. They were compatible strangers. He always watched as she struggled down the three steps to the curb, never offering to help. He knew she always panicked about him leaving before she disembarked, but he would never do that.
He drove away as she ambled down the street to her door steps. Once again struggling up three steps she would open the front door to hear, “Mama’s home! Mama’s home!” at which point three children as tall as Louise rushed up to hug their mama.
It seemed as if they were all talking at the same time, “How was your day?”
“How is your back?”
“Did you bring us any treats?”
“I’m starving, how soon is dinner?”
Louise gently smiled at her three loves and calmly said, “My day was good, my back is fine, I didn’t bring any treats and I will start dinner in five minutes.” She looked longingly at the overstuffed couch against the wall and breathed a heavy sigh. Oh if she could just have ten minutes of peace when she walked in the door.
“Where’s your father?” She asked the group in general.
Her youngest, Larry, shrugged his shoulders and said, “I haven’t seen him. Is he supposed to be home?”
Camille, her eleven year old daughter, said quietly, “Mama, I don’t think he’s here. When we came home from school the house was empty.”
Last Darryl, her eldest at thirteen, responded, “He isn’t here and we don’t need him!”
“Now now Darryl, you know you don’t mean that.”
“I sure do!” he said stomping his foot for emphasis. “What’s the point of him being here? He doesn’t talk to us, he doesn’t sit with us, he doesn’t seem to even like us.”
Louise looked at her son, who was already three inches taller than her and said, “Daddy works very hard to put food on the table and clothes on your back. When he gets home from work he is tired, that’s all. I know he loves all three of you very much.”
“If you say so.”
Louise went into her little kitchen only to find a dish full of dirty dishes, crumbs all over the counters and an open milk container on the table. “How many times do I have to ask you all to clean up after yourselves?” It was as if she were speaking to deaf ears.

After cleaning the clutter she went about the task of making dinner. It was not much but she made do and the children ate every last drop. “Now, who still has homework to do?”

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Bruce's Story - Epilogue


July 15, 2020: Bruce looked in the mirror and stared at his fifty year old face. There were fine lines around his eyes and mouth. His skin had been permanently frosted and hardened by the sun.  He lifted his gaze from the mirror to outside. His morning view of the lake still amazed him after fifteen years of mornings. That lake had provided him sustenance and tranquility.  He knew that his solitary life was the only way he would ever live. His partners in life had four legs and he was settled with that. At the current moment there were three members of his household. He was never quite sure how they found him. His infrequent trips to town for supplies managed to attract all the strays.

Being self-sufficient, those trips became less often and less frequent. There was nothing that he needed that he couldn’t find from the land around him. Buying all the prime land around a lake afforded him the ability to build on each shore. Some of the houses were bare minimums and others had a few luxuries. He found himself most comfortable in those with minimal amenities.

Bruce knew that his lifestyle was not for everyone and that he would end up dying alone, but the truth was that he had lived his life alone since the day the boat set sail. The events that occurred thereafter set his destiny. Simplicity and serenity were all he sought.

For all of you who have witnessed this story unfold, it will be available in a pdf version under the title of the The Mirror.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Bruce's Story - chapter 40

Bruce looked at himself in the mirror and all he could see was contempt. "Looks like we're stuck together forever," he said out loud to the image.  “It’s time we make an attempt to get over the past and today is as good a day as any.”  He walked out of the hotel room and went across the street to grab some breakfast.

Upon entering the diner, Shirley’s face lit. “Well good morning Bruce! I hope you had a pleasant night. What can I get you for breakfast?”

He ordered the special and sat quietly in the back booth looking over the newspaper. He didn’t remember the last time he’d woken up with absolutely nothing to do; no people to find, no clues to uncover and no plans. It was an oddly peaceful feeling. When Shirley brought his breakfast he asked her, “What’s there to do around here?”

“Nothing really,” she answered. “We are isolated from any of the big city events. This town is basically a truck stop or a map dot. There’s not a lot of activity. There aren’t a lot of folks living here and those that do are heavily into hunting.”


“There’s a wild game preserve not too far north of here, hunting season is round about October through December. Before the season opens you can hike and observe all the wildlife. Lots of folks spend their time there. There’re deer, elk, wild birds, rabbits and who knows what else. It would be a good place for you to get to know yourself.”

“Sounds interesting, how would I get there?”

“It’s about three miles from here – not sure if you’re much of a hiker.”

“Oh, you’d be surprised. After living on an island for so many years, it was no longer hiking, it was surviving.”

“Do you want me to pack you a lunch?” Shirley asked.

“That’s a great idea! I’m going to have to go find a backpack and then I’ll be back.”

Bruce set of on his adventure around ten in the morning. He hadn’t actually been walking long distances in quite a while and it felt really good. He made it to the preserve way before noon and started walking through the forested area. It wasn’t long before he saw rabbits hopping in the underbrush. Not far off from them he noticed a couple of deer drinking from a stream. Not wanting to disturb them we sat under a tree and observed. Once they’d walked away he headed towards the stream.

The fish in the stream were stunning to look at. He felt more relaxed sitting by that stream than he had in eons. He felt like he was at peace. It was in that moment that he knew what he wanted to do and where he wanted to go.

Finishing his lunch he ambled further along the trail. He headed back towards the town around four and get back to his hotel just before six o’clock. He really didn’t feel like communicating with anyone, so went to the local store and grabbed a few things for a light dinner. While he was there he grabbed a novel off one of the shelves and headed back to his room. He spent the evening reading a book and relaxing; something he couldn’t remember ever doing before. Bruce slept soundly and in the morning he checked out of the hotel.

Bruce Patterson walked over to the gas station and was told his car would be done by 10 o’clock. He went over to the diner. Shirley again greeted him with a large smile and asked what he wanted. He ordered a cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich and sat at the counter.

“You look determined today Bruce,” Shirley said, refilling his coffee.

“I am,” he said. “I’m ready to get on with my life.”

“Good for you! The hike must’ve jarred something loose.”

“Not sure about that,” he laughed, “But it was great.”
Shirley smiled and said, “I wish you all the things you wish for in life.”

Bruce paid his tab, gave Shirley a hug and said, “Thanks for listening.”

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bruce's Story chapter 39

Bruce Frederick Patterson was a very wealthy man with no need to work. He had his whole life in front of him and felt that he had no purpose. In the months that had passed since the discovery of the bag in the bus station, he had sold his parents house, sold cars and jewelry and found himself not feeling at home anywhere.

He had spoken with Monica on several occasions, met with Amanda and had met his half sister. But he did not feel at all settled in his life. He had no idea where he wanted to go, what he wanted to do or what he expected out of life.

Nick (or whatever his name was) had warned about seeking out the other families, but as Bruce got more and more restless he felt that he had to find the rest of his siblings and find out if all the other families had the same experiences his family went through.

Starting off with the list of names provided, Bruce got busy looking up his father’s alter egos. It took several months, but when he was done Bruce had discovered that he had 5 half sisters and 7 half brothers. All in that meant his father had fourteen children. He found that all families had similar experiences and all were taken care of financially. That made Bruce determined to discover all the scams his father had pulled off. How many people had been hurt by his deception? How many did not even realize they’d been deceived?

By Bruce’s thirty fifth birthday the idea of finding all the scams became an immeasurable task and he realized that his father had done too good of a job covering his tracks to ever have been discovered. It was time for Bruce to put Bruce first and starting living his life, rather than recreating the life of the man who was a habitual liar.

Nebraska was no longer home to him. He had a degree in business, but had never really used it.  Resolute not to waste the rest of his life Bruce Patterson set off on a personal quest. Packing his car with everything he owned he headed west. He felt that he would know where home was as soon as he saw it.

Heading west on Highway 80, Bruce took time to enjoy the scenery. He had really never been to south west Nebraska before. As he headed west his surrounding changed. He went from farmland to the northeastern corner of Colorado; an area that caused him to be amazed. His original intention was to continue on Highway 80 through southern Wyoming and then head south through Utah, but when he reached the Colorado border he chose to continue through that state and changed his route to pick up Hwy 76. Little did he know that one decision would be the turning point of his future.
He had traveled no more than two miles into Colorado when his car hit something on the road and punctured his tire. His car broke down on the side of the road and he had no option but to walk. He continued walking west until he got to the junction of the 76 and the 59 where he headed north and found a gas station. Explaining where his car was, Bruce arranged for a tow truck to pick up his car and headed over to the local diner to wait.
The city he landed in was Sedgwick, Colorado. It was a small town with less than 200 residents. There was one diner, one hotel, one gas station and all the locals knew each other. The diner was nearly empty when he entered. The only waitress smiled at him and asked him if he wanted a seat at the counter or a booth.  The booths were covered in cracked naugahyde that must have been installed in the early 60’s.  The counter looked like it had seen better days and the stools were rickety at best. He chose the booth.
Shirley, that was the waitress’s name, told him that the menu was on the chalkboard and he could take his time. She must have been in her late sixties. He ordered a chicken fried steak and watched as Shirley yelled to the cook in the back. He stuck his head out to see who he was serving and it was obvious to him that this was Shirley’s husband.
“What brings you to our little slice of heaven?” Shirley asked. “You just passing through?”
“Flat tire brought me here,” Bruce responded, “and I’m not sure if I’m staying or not. I really have no plans for where I’m going.”
“Now how can a nice young man like you not have any plans?”
“It’s quite a long story, ma’am.” Bruce answered, realizing that he really never told anyone the story. The only people who knew anything about it were also affected by it.
“Look around son, I’m not too busy to listen to a story.”  Shirley smiled kindly at Bruce as she slid in the seat across from him. “I’m a great listener.”
Bruce looked into the face of this older woman and suddenly understood how all alone he was and had been. He had not had a conversation with anyone in a long time, except about what he was trying to accomplish at that moment. He had been so consumed with learning, surviving, creating a life and determining who he was that he had not been living. Now that the opportunity to live as he wanted was in front of him he had no idea which direction to turn.
Bruce told Shirley everything. His story went on for hours and during that time he ate his chicken fried steak and proclaimed it to be, “The best thing I’ve ever eaten.”
Shirley brought him coffee and pie which he immediately devoured as he continued with the story. Shirley listened respectfully, nodding where appropriate. When the story was finished the sun was setting. The diner was getting more customers and the mechanic entered the diner. “Sir, we have your car, however we have to order that particular tire. It is going to take at least two days. Were you in any kind of rush to leave?”
Bruce shook his head and told the man, “That’s not a problem. I really don’t have any immediate plans.”
“All righty then, come on by the garage on Thursday and you should be good to go. In the meantime the hotel across the street will make you feel like you’re home.”
Bruce paid his tab.
Shirley said, “We’ll be busy until around eight and close shop at nine if you find yourself getting lonely. And we make the best breakfast in town, well actually we make the only breakfast in town.”

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Bruce's Story - Chapters 37 and 38

Chapter 37

My Dearest Nicole,
If you are reading this than it means that I am no longer by your side. I have loved you since the day I met you and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. Unfortunately I was not the man you thought I was and I had no right to marry you as I was already married. In fact, my name is not actually Nicholas Patterson. The truth is that I really don’t know who I am or where I came from.
My earliest memories are from a church home for unwanted children. My personal space consisted of a bunk bed and a box I could keep under the bed. As there were two of us on the bunk, the box could not be very large. All I really remember about that place was being cold all the time, even during the summer. I really didn’t have any friends. Most children that are raised that way become loners. Every once in a while one of the boys would go home with a family, but never me. Finally when I was fed up enough I just left. At first I thought someone would come looking for me, but that didn’t happen.
            I know I was born in 1947, but no one knows exactly what day. The home celebrated it on November 12, as that was when they figured I was a year old. That is what I had always used as my birth date until I went out on my own. The year was 1961 and social security cards were available. I didn’t realize how easy it was to get one until after I got my first one. You only needed to appear in person, state your name and age and a number was issued. The home called me Joe and I knew that I didn’t want to keep that name anymore, but my first social security card was issued to Joe Smith. I then went to several different offices, after all I had no home and eq   traveling kept me busy, and registered myself as Sam Patterson, Nicholas Patterson, Jason Flint, Frank Brewster, Fred Williams, Tom Stanford, Aiden Grant, Brandon Grant, Carl Roman and Lester Hunt.
            I cherished each identity and kept all the cards in a safe place. By the time I met you I was already married; twice in fact. My days were spent conning people out of money so that I could support my family(ies). I literally ran into you on campus after I had managed to gain a massive grant from the college to do research on the social behavior of ants. Of course I had no intention of doing that research, and in fact the grant was given to Brandon Grant, who for all intents and purposes did not exist anywhere but on paper.
            I had no intention of falling in love with you, but you were beautiful both inside and out. I realize now that I have done you a great disservice as I was never and could never be completely honest with you. Please understand that I did love you and the children you gave me.
            I do not think it would be wise for you to try and seek out my other wives (of which there are 4 more), as this story is fairly implausible.
            My last con was by far the largest. I used my name Tom Stanford and flew to San Francisco and managed to get twenty three million dollars from the trust fund set up for all living heirs of the Stanford family. I had managed to make my story solid and had all of the proper documentation to prove it. If I were to get caught for this I would never see the light of day again.  I cannot go to prison. The one year expedition is really just another rouse as I will not be returning home with you.
            I have made sure that you, Bruce and Adriana are set for life. The house is completely paid off and there is another envelope in this box that has a key to a safe deposit box that has money in it.  
Chapter 38

Bruce re-read that letter several times, each time garnering more questions. He could not believe that his father had done all of those things. But there was a part of him that was in awe of this man who had managed to created separate lives for himself with several families.

He had met one of his set of step-siblings, were there more?

Did every family get one of these letters?

How many people had he conned out of money to be able to afford five families?

Why had he done this?

His head was spinning as he went through the rest of the contents in the box. There was an envelope addressed to his with the Deed of Trust for their home. The deed was in his name.  There was an envelope addressed to Adriana with bank statement in her name with a balance of $785,000.00, and that was years old. And there was an envelope with a key in it.

He put all of the contents from the original box into his pocket, as best he could, and went in search of the bank manager.

“I would like to close out the account on this box,” he said handing the manager the key. “And I would like to open this one.” Bruce showed the manager the second key he had.

“I’m afraid that key is not for our bank,” the man said. “I can possibly help you locate what bank that is though.”

“That would be great!” Bruce had the beginning of a headache and all of the twists and turns in his father’s life were making it much worse. Why would he provide a key to a bank box that was not in this bank?

“I believe I have located your bank”, the manager said interrupting his thoughts.

“That’s good,” Bruce smiled at the man, “Where is it?”

“It appears to be in Las Vegas, Nevada, and it is not a bank key, but a bus locker.”

“A bus locker?” Bruce asked.

“See the number on the side of this key?”

Bruce nodded.

“That is the locker you will be looking for and it’s in the main Greyhound terminal in Las Vegas.”

Bruce took the key back and said, “Thank you very much. I really appreciate all of your assistance. I have one more thing I need to accomplish and perhaps you can help me with that.”

“Certainly Mr. Patterson, what can I do?”

“I just returned from a very long expedition and have over three hundred thousand dollars in cash. I was hoping you could assist me to open a couple of accounts.”

“I can help you with that. Were you thinking about an investment account or a simple savings and or checking account?”

“I’d like to definitely open an investment account for much of it and then I would like a checking account and perhaps a credit card. I have found it difficult to do much business with cash only.”

The manager nodded his head and said “I could see where that might raise some eyebrows. Do you have all that cash with you right now?”

Bruce shook his head, “No, it’s in a safe place.”

“I will get all the paperwork put together for two accounts and a credit card. Come back tomorrow around this same time and bring in the money and we will get you rolling.”

“Sounds good,” Bruce said.  “Thank you.”

Bruce went back home and opened the safe again and decided it was time to go through everything that was in it. Both his and Adriana’s birth certificates were there, the pink slips to all the cars, jewelry, and fifty thousand dollars in cash.

He booked the next flight to Las Vegas and drove over to the airport. He decided as he was driving that all four cars needed to be sold and that he needed a more modern vehicle. “Just put that on the list too!” he thought.

Standing in front a row of lockers in the bus station, Bruce felt completely lost. This was not an uncommon feeling for him anymore, but this was a different experience entirely. He looked around and saw people going in every direction; each one with a purpose. What was his purpose? Did he really want to spend the better part of his life chasing down a ghost of a man he did not completely understand?

He placed the key in the appropriate locker and found a large duffle bag stuffed inside. He pulled the duffle bag out, determined not to open it until he returned home, left the key in the door and went back to the airport for his return flight.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Bruce's Story - Chapter 36

Six Months Later:

Waking up in a familiar but strange room, Bruce tried again to clear the cobwebs from his head. He had moved into the home that he had occupied as a child. The house was exactly the same way it was the day the family left over nine years before. He had left the home as a grown child and returned as a broken adult.

Upon arriving in D.C. with the team he had immediately booked a flight to Nebraska. He had no identification so it was difficult to rent a car. He managed to get to his home via taxis. Remembering that there was a key under the brick in the front walkway he tried the door, only after knocking and getting no answer.

It was odd returning to this place after all that time and finding that nothing had changed. He knew the first couple of things he needed to do was get himself some identification and get the money had earned into a safe location.

All four cars were still in the garages and even though his took a while to start, it did eventually. He drove over to the bank that the whole family had always used to see if he could find some information in the safety deposit box. Entering the building he realized how much had actually changed since 1992. He asked to speak with the bank manager.

“I’m the manger, what can I do for you?”

“Bruce looked the man straight in the eyes and said, “My name is Bruce Patterson and I need to get into our family safety deposit box.”

“No problem Mr. Patterson. Do you have the key?”

“What key?” Bruce asked dumbfounded.

“Every safety deposit box requires two keys to open it. One is held by the bank and the other is held by the owner.”

Bruce asked, “Is there any other way to get into it?”

“I could check you identification against that which is on record.”

Bruce just shook his head, feeling hopeless. “Let me go back home and see if I can find the key.”

“Mr. Patterson, do you want to tell me what’s going on here? Most people that are trying to get into their own boxes know all of this information. Are you sure you even have a box?”

“Yes, I am sure. But it has been a very long time since anyone tried to open it. It is critical that I get into it as I am hoping it has all the information I’m looking for.”
“And just what exactly is that?”

“My birth certificate.”

Bruce left the bank and headed back home to see if he could find the key. He doubted if either one of his parents kept that key on their daily set of keys. He started in their bedroom and began looking through their drawers and closets. He did not find anything there, but as he was leaving their room he wondered if perhaps there was a safe somewhere. He started moving the pictures on the wall and right behind their wedding picture was a small wall safe.

Not knowing the code he decided to try their wedding date. That worked!  He opened the door and pulled everything out. There was some jewelry, some documents and a key. That key had to be the safety deposit key. But why would you need a different box if you had a safe?

He read through some of the documents. There was nothing of significance that Bruce could see. He hadn’t realized how long the search had taken. The bank was already closed. He went into his sister’s room, having decided that there was no point in keeping any of her clothes, shoes and other things. He threw away over half of the things he found and neatly stacked the things he was going to donate.

Early the next morning he set off to go back to the bank and begin making a life for himself. This time when he walked into the bank he asked to go to his box and was immediately led to the vault. He placed his key in the box and the bank manager placed his key in the other keyhole. Opening the door and pulling out the box was the manager’s job. He placed the box on the table and left the room.

Bruce opened the lid to the box and the only thing in the box was an envelope. It was addressed to Nicole. He pulled everything out of the envelope. There were a few smaller envelopes inside. The paper on the top however was a letter to his mother.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bruce's Story - Chapter 35

The only way that man could be their father is if he had lied to Amanda and had really been an orphan since birth.  Knowing now all the lies that he had told, there was no doubt that Sam/Nicholas Patterson was the baby that had been born on Jul 1, 1947. The rest of his story that Lillian Patterson had been his mother was completely made up.  It was quite difficult to track a boy in the system when they really had no idea what name he used then. The reality of all of this is that no one really knew who the man they called dad really was.

By the time March arrived the entire crew was ready for a change. The end of their contract was in May and many really wanted to go back to civilization. Others however, like Lyle and Stuart had no one to return to and loved the ship life.

Matt and Bruce took off on March 1, 2001 to find Nicole and see if they could get any information from her. They had packed enough supplies for two weeks and knew that this was their last chance. Knowing what the coordinates of the island made the trip much shorter.  As soon as they were on the island, Bruce knew something was wrong. All of the markers had had set up were gone. His humble hut had been removed and nothing looked familiar.

“Are you sure we’re in the right place?” He asked Matt.

“These are the coordinates we wrote down when we left, so it has to be the right spot.”

“But nothing looks the same.”

The two men began to walk toward the location they had known was the village. The path had been destroyed and was completely covered with discards from the trees above. There were large boulders in the way as well as dead animals. “I didn’t even know that animals lived on this island,” Bruce commented.

As they reached the peak where they could look into the village they were stunned. What once was a thriving community was now destroyed and abandoned. “What could have done this?” Bruce asked Matt.

“I’m not sure,” he responded, “But whatever it was it used deadly force.”

“Could it have been a storm?”

“Not sure,” Matt answered, “It seems like this would have had to have been a hurricane, not just a regular storm. The fact that it is this far inland means it would have been a catastrophic hurricane. We’ll have to wait until we get back to look up weather patterns.”

“I think we should go down and explore,” Bruce suggested. “Maybe there’re clues down there that will give us more understanding.”

As the men gingerly approached the village, they had both been expecting something or someone to dart out at them. Nothing happened.  They approached the first building and found that all of the walls had been damaged, some more severely than others. What once appeared to be a building with several rooms looked like a series of misaligned walls and brick debris.  The continued walking through and discovered more buildings in the same disarray. What was not seen was any sign of life, or death.

Going from building to building extracted the same results: destruction of the buildings and no sign of life.

“Do you think they all escaped?” Bruce asked. “Or did whatever happen here take all the lives elsewhere?

“Not sure,” Matt answered. “But whatever it was, it was cataclysmic.  We can either continue to explore the island or ask for an early pickup.”

Bruce dejectedly replied, “I don’t see any point in exploring further. The truth is my mother is either dead of somewhere on this island. If she is here it would take more time than we have to find her.”

Matt radioed the chopper and asked for a pick up. The men had only been on the island for three days.

Upon arrival Matt and Bruce both headed down to the charts room and asked Lyle and Stuart to find out anything they could about weather activity within the coordinates of the island. What was revealed was devastating. There had been a hurricane in the area, but the eye of the hurricane was right over the tiny island. There would have been no way for any survival as the winds were in excess of 150 km per hour. As Lyle said, “Anything and everything in that area would have been lifted off the ground, swirled around and spit out hundreds of kilometers away. I would be amazed if any tree survived that kind of attack!”

Bruce had to resign himself to the fact that his mother was lost from him forever.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Thursday's post

T      Thoughtful
H   Hopeful
U    Up
R    Resourceful
S    Steady
D      Diligent
A      Aware

Y      Yes!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bruce's Story - Chapter 34

Chapter 34

Both men realized that they had run out of time. Their supplies were almost gone and their pick up point was a day’s hike away.  Matt had taken note of the coordinates for that point on the island and they determined that the next time they came they would drop down closer to that point and have more time to approach Nicole.

Returning to the ship, Matt set about getting a map charted and placed the island itself on the bigger maps as a new uncharted island that had just been discovered.

Bruce’s task was more difficult.  He had to convince his sister that going back to the island was imperative to finding out t more about their father, when in fact he had no idea if that would even work.

Monica was sympathetic, yet wary of the plan.  Although here original intent was to locate her father, the expedition had been funded to do something completely different. She would have to justify the cost of the helicopter and the time involved to send the men back.

After two weeks of deliberations, Monica gave the okay. Matt and Bruce were all set to leave the ship for the island the next morning. But a sudden storm approached and they cold not fly.  September was the beginning of hurricane season and the reality was that they might not have safe passage for another six months.  Bruce did not want to take the chance to be stranded again and he agreed to wait until March. By then it would have been more than a year since he actually talked to his mom.

While waiting out the hurricane season the team set about the task they had been commissioned to do. They slowly made their way further down the Amazon river, encountering all the jungle had to offer. Bruce saw piranhas destroy a full length boa constrictor. He saw a boa constrictor squeeze the life out of a monkey. He saw a black caiman destroy an entire school of piranhas, he saw a giant otter and was scared to death when he saw the huge anaconda swimming next to the ship.

Nothing in Bruce’s past had prepared him for his present state. He no longer had a plan for his future. He was completely unsure about his here and now. He spent a lot of time, as it was available, speaking with Monica and Steve. He wanted to know more about the man they all called dad. Strikingly familiar were the stories of his being gone for long lengths of time. It became so normal that none of the kids thought life should be any other way.  Also consistent with all the stories was their mother’s undying love for their father and her defense of him at any cost.

Amanda Patterson did not seem to be the same personality type as Nicole Patterson. Where Amanda was independent, Nicole was dependent. Where Amanda was self-sufficient, Nicole relied on others for everything. How could a man love such diverse women at the same time?  The only place to find that answer was to learn more about the man they all called Dad.

Amanda found out that Sam Patterson had been orphaned by the age of ten and never really knew his father. Nicole only knew that Nick Patterson had no family. Monica, Steve and Bruce could not believe there was not more information about their father available somewhere. The World Wide Web had become very popular and with the satellite on the ship they should be able to access the internet.

All three agreed that his birthday was somewhere in 1947. Amanda heard that he was born to an unwed mother. In 1947 that was a crime and there were only specific places where he could have been born, if he had born somewhere other than a dirty alley. That was a dead end.

Was there any way they could come up with his social security number and perhaps they could track him that way?  Monica was not sure if social security numbers were required for high school back then, but she figured that was good place to start. She contacted the school that her mother and father attended together and introduced herself as his daughter and wondered if they could provide any background information on him. It took almost three week for a response to come back and all the school could provide was his birth date was June 1, 1947. His mother’s name was Lillian Patterson and his father was unknown. They provided an address that was on his record.

The three grown children were elated. That gave them somewhere to start looking. They looked up Lillian Patterson; they looked up Sam Patterson DOB. June 1, 1947, and they looked up Patterson in Nebraska in and around 1947. The only information they received was from a hospital in Azusa, Nebraska. It stated that an unknown woman had come into the emergency room and given birth to a baby boy. When it was time for them to be released, the woman was gone and the boy was turned over to the state. Could this be their dad?

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sunday Journal

I am sitting here in front of a blank screen and now realize that the idea of setting myself up to post a chapter a week and a journal entry a week is just setting myself up for failure.

I have been writing the rest of Bruce's story in my head and I now know where it is going and how it is ending, but when I sit down to type it the words just aren't coming.  I am sure the book will be completed by the end of the year and I will post as it is being written.

My journal was a place for me to explain - for later reading - what I am doing, feeling, etc....but it turns out that I am not so willing to share that with whomever decides to open this blog.

I am seriously thinking about just creating a journal blog that is locked from outsiders.  That way I know my word will be kept safe.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Bruces Story - Chapter 33

When Bruce was discovered, it was really quite by accident. The helicopters had been concentrating on the Amazon riverbanks. But when they saw a glimmering light from beyond their normal purview, they sought it out. Unfortunately the first time they saw it they were not able to hone onto it. The second time was the same, but the third time they were successful in locating where the signal came from. They managed to shine a beam down and therein found Bruce. Unfortunately they had been so far out of their realm of normal charter that they had not identified the exact location of the island where Bruce was found. 

Joe and Matt were recruited into the recreation of Bruce’s location and all of the charts, graphs and location points were identified for the night in question. The coordinates were obtained and Bruce decided that he wanted to go back and find his mother. That was really his only hope at finding out his history as well as Monica’s.

The team decided that it would invest one day to search the coordinates and see if they were indeed the island Bruce had been stranded on for seven years. The helicopter took off right before dawn and made the trip to the location indicated. Once they were above the landmass Bruce and Matt launched them out of the helicopter towards the island.  Once on shore Bruce tried to get his bearings and determine if this was in fact the correct island. Looking towards Matt he asked, “How long ago did you rescue me?”

Matt thought about it and answered, “I think it has been over six months, but certainly not a full year.”

“What month is it now?” Bruce asked.

“August 2000.”

“Wow!” Bruce exclaimed. That means it’s been nine months since I was here. I wonder if any of my markings are still intact.”

Matt asked, “Does anything look familiar to you?”

“Not really.”

The two men had brought enough gear with them to spend a week on the island. The communication device between Joe and Matt had been set up and Joe would check on the two men three times a day.

Bruce led the way to where he thought he had set the fire those many months before.  By the end of the second day, after many hours of walking, Bruce thought the expedition to be hopeless. But as the sun rose on the third day and the men turned the corner, they saw what looked like the remnants of Bruce’s shelter tucked way into the cove.  They apprehensively approached it and once entering the tiny enclave Bruce ascertained that it was indeed his. This discovery turned Bruce’s doubt into hope.

That night, the two men crept to the other side, where Nicole had last been seen, to see if there was any sight of the tribe or Nicole. The first night proved futility as no one appeared; however on the second night a group of people appeared on the beach, as Bruce had seen in the past, and started dancing and singing. Bruce was disappointed as there was no sign of Nicole.

Quietly following the natives back from the beach Matt and Bruce advanced to their home camp. Bruce was amazed at the structures and civilization that lay in front of him. He had expected some sort of primitive civilization; but what he saw was houses, roads, gardens and structure.  This was definitely not a primitive or temporary society. Although the dress was primitive, the people did not appear to be.

Uncertain of their next move, the two men stayed on the periphery and just observed. This was their fifth day and they needed to make contact and get back to the pickup point within two days.  The next morning Bruce saw a woman make her way to the water near the center of the village. It appeared as if this area was set aside for bathing and washing. Bruce recognized his mother immediately, but he could not comprehend that she was carrying a baby. Was she watching someone else’s child or was this her own?

Sunday Journal 7/24/16

I have come to many conclusions this week:

1.  If people are reading this blog they are not commenting - and that's ok
2.  I have to appreciate all that I have and stop worrying about the future.
3.  My life is much better than others and I should be grateful
4.  My job is just that - a job! A means to an end and I should not get persoannly involved in it.
5.  Destiny has a way of proving itself.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Bruce's Story End of Ch 31 and Chapter 32

“Bruce,” Lyle said, “It’s critical that you tell us what time you left, what day it was and which port you sailed out of.”

“I know for a fact that it was the 14th of July, 1992; and we left out of Galveston. As for the time we left I’d have to guess and say around 11:00 A.M. I remember thinking life was good and nothing could be better than sitting on a boat with my family and enjoying the views. But that didn’t really last very long. It seems like we lost power the next day and just started drifting. I remember my father saying that someone would come looking for us soon and that we would be missed.”

Lyle responded, “Great! That’s where we will start then. Stuart, I need you to pull the current charts for the Galveston area beginning second week in July 1992 and then move slowly through the Gulf of Mexico. If the boat lost power within one day and drifted, I doubt it even managed to get to the Atlantic.”

“Bruce, do you have any idea how long you drifted before the storm hit?” Monica asked.

“I remember that it started off as just part of the adventure. We were swimming and fishing and eating as if we were on a vacation; but after a week of that dad realized that no one was coming and he suggested we start rationing our intake. I have to say that we drifted for close to two months.  The weather had definitely started to turn and days were getting shorter; but I’m sorry, I can’t give a definitive answer.”

Stuart chimed in, “Not a problem, I’ll look at storm activity for September and October 1992 after we plug in the currents.”

“How big was the boat?” Lyle asked. “That’ll give us a better idea of how much damage the currents could do.”

“It was around thirty feet, I think.”

Monica chimed in, “It was thirty two feet long.”

All heads turned her way. “How do you know that?” Stuart asked.

“I asked the charter company. I also found out that they’d recommended sending a seasoned sailor along and your father refused,” Monica aimed her response towards Bruce.

“That makes no sense to me,” Bruce said. “As far as I know he had never been on a boat before in his life. He told us that he knew how to commandeer the boat and it was as easy as driving a car. He had taken a course on sailing and it was just common sense. I had no idea that he turned down an experienced sailor. That seems rather odd to me.”

Lyle looked towards the siblings and said, “This is going to take a couple of hours for us to pull charts, currents, storms and geography. Do you want me to come find you when we get it together?”

Bruce nodded, “Yeah that would be great; thanks Lyle.”

Chapter 32

Monica and Bruce headed towards the deck in silence. Bruce leaned against the rail and stared off into the distance. All he saw were riverbanks and trees; lot of them. Every so often something would come to the surface for air and then disappear. The landscape had an eerie feeling about it as if death was just around the bend.  Monica was also examining the riverbanks, but her mind was focused on what lay beneath the water.

She’d told Bruce the purpose of the expedition was to study and chart indigenous tribes, and that was mostly true. Her goal however was to study the life in the water. Her Marine Biology studies had led her to seek out the lesser known species that inhabited the earth’s waterways. That was how she was given a government grant, but what she had said about her mother funding this was also true. When Amanda discovered ‘Sam’ was missing she became frantic, calling her children to come home immediately. Monica had been in Florida looking for a job and Jack had been in Oklahoma working in the oil fields.

They spent about a month investigating the comings and goings of Sam Patterson. What they discovered changed their lives forever. Sam Patterson did not have a job, he did not have clients and he had been lying from the beginning. It turned out he was a successful grifter, managing to con many people out of large sums of money. As soon as a con was completed he would come home and then go work on another mark. They discovered this when they put an ad in the local, state and national papers with a picture of him and the caption, ‘Do you know this man?’

The first response to come back was from the actual charter company. They not only knew him, but wanted him for stealing a boat of theirs. Digging into that more they learned what size boat, where it was taken from and when it was stolen. Amanda was obviously in denial as she knew that her husband would never steal a boat. She just figured they had the wrong man.

Then more and more responses came in, all with the same story. They knew that man. Each one identified him with a different name and told a very similar story. He had entered their lives looking for work and as they got to know him they found how easy it was to talk to him. They would tell him their life stories, their joys, their worries, their problems and all their personal information. Soon thereafter he told them he had a family emergency and had to go back home to California. A day or two after he left all of them discovered that he’d wiped out all of the family savings and any other assets they had. He had even managed in some cases to get his name on the property deeds and then put massive liens on the property.

The response that came back that was the most disturbing was from a family in Nebraska who claimed that man was their son-in-law. Amanda lost it. She had learned in a very short time that the man she married was not really the man she knew at all.  He had been lying to her since the day she met him and that their life together was a sham. She also found out that he had another family and he had stolen people’s life savings. How could she have been so blind? She wanted answers and the only to give them to her was missing.

Monica and Jack became worried for her well-being and that of their new baby sister. The two of them started with the charter company and gathered as much information as they could. The boat had a GPS system that was attached to the radio but it had been disabled on July 15, 1992. That was where their journey began. Jack was an engineer and he tried to reverse engineer the steps that boat had taken. It led him back to Galveston. Between the two of them they looked at maps and charts and tried to figure out where a man on the run would hide with a boat. Their best guess was that he would try to make it to South America.

Monica did not take long before she had submitted a grant to the United States Oceanography society seeking funding and equipment to identify living species indigenous to the Amazon River basin. There had not been any research recorded from that area in over seventy-five years and the society gave freely. She hired the best crew available and set off on their journey on May 31, 1995.

It took almost six months for her equipment to get to the mouth of the river. They had left from Galveston, as her father did, and traveled through the Gulf of Mexico into the Caribbean Sea and down the eastern most portion of South American until hitting the Amazon. All the while she had been sending her helicopter team out to take topographical images. She could see where marine life was residing, as well as if there were any ships in the area.

By the summer of 1996 Monica’s exploration team was doing what they had set out to do. They were charting the Amazon, sending cameras into the water to identify new species and sending the helicopter up for imaging. The Amazon is over four thousand miles long and the goal was to complete the task by June 1, 2002.