Moon Madness - 16, Copyrightę 2001-2006 By
Larry K. Hockman, "All RIGHTS RESERVED"
Vince's Cabin EXPLODES!
watched the detailed broadcast intently, paying particular attention to the close-up shots of the ferocious cat. She turned to Andy, asking if he had examined the animal's face while it was drugged. He told her he had, and admitted to have found what appeared to be cigarette burn scars beneath each eye. Stacey clutched the pendant beneath the sheets and muttered, "That bastard!" The station abruptly switched to a scene at the airport. Anna and Vince had just stepped from a helicopter. Several uniformed police officers looked around nervously and surrounded them. One elderly man dressed in a plain gray suit stepped between the camera and the couple. His hand reached up to cover the camera lens and was the last thing seen before the station abandoned the scenario, switching back to a film of the lava-flooded valley where Wongton Ming's house and zoo had resided.
Andy stated, "Well, my friends, looks like the cat is out of the bag, . . no pun intended! Anna didn't look too happy with the police in her face. I wonder how long ago that was taken." Before anyone else could speculate, someone knocked lightly on the door.
Stacey's film had arrived. Earl paid the man and handed the packaged prints to Stacey. She laughed at the first few on the stack, "These must have taken when you pulled up from the dive." All were blurred save one of the night sky. Andy turned the picture various ways trying to recognize the star pattern. Finally, he stopped and muttered, "Well, I'll just be damned!" He handed the photo to Earl asking him if he recognized the constellation. They both turned to Stacey when Earl confirmed, "Looks like Leo, the lion, to me." Stacey hadn't heard them. She was engrossed with the detail revealed by the rest of the shots. They clearly showed the chain around the cat's neck. She now had proof to justify her decisive actions. Stacey handed them to the pilots. Andy peered at them, frowning and shaking his head with disgust, "Nobody would have ever known."
A uniformed policeman stuck his head in the door and peered silently at the trio before retreating back outside. Stacey wondered if the action had something to do with leaving the other man on the ground in their haste to take off at the airport the night before. Earl and Andy shrugged as if saying, "Shit happens."
Seconds later, Anna's voice rang with the decisive air of executive authority, "Get out of my way, young man! They are my employees and I'll have a word with them before any of you do!" Vince's voice backed her up in the background, "I'm sorry, but you'll just have to wait a minute. We'll be more than happy to listen to whatever you have to say after we've spoken to our friends." A gruff voice answered him impatiently, "Okay, but make it quick!"
Stacey wanted to slide under the sheet tent when Anna entered the room, followed by Vince who quickly shut the door behind them. She stopped for one brief moment to silently examine the new cast on Andy's arm, shaking her head in amazement. Stacey feared the worst was coming. Anna looked her up and down before stating her case in a tone of voice that commanded total attention, "Seems as though you've made a dashing entry into the executive world, young lady. You somehow managed to get your name and picture plastered on the front page of EVERY newspaper from here to Siberia! In case the fact slipped your mind, we came down here to get AWAY from the damn media! Furthermore, your orchestrated rescue stunt almost cost us a five MILLION DOLLAR JET, according to the radar tracking trace from airport, not to mention of course, one of the best PILOTS this side of the Nile River! I suppose I should thank Earl for salvaging that particular piece of company equipment as my senior pilot was obviously NOT at his designated post when the Horizon decided to literally FALL out of the night sky to check the tonsils of a damn fire-breathing dragon of STONE!" Andy tried vainly to defend his position, but Anna cut him off with executive ease, "You're GROUNDED, Mr. Mitzhoff! No explanation is necessary. Earl will take over your duties as senior pilot and I sincerely hope you had the INSIGHT to arrange him the luxury of a co-pilot!"
Andy meekly informed her that Rex was on his way to fill that position. She pivoted gracefully on her ankle cast and turned back to Stacey. "In addition to costing our very understanding supporters a major expenditure of several THOUSAND dollars in jet fuel, TOASTED equipment, emergency room and various other hospital fees, a chopper STANDBY fee which one of you obviously forgot to cancel in the HEAT of the moment, and even one DEFENSELESS TV remote drowned in a hot tub full of WINE, which I don't even care to speculate on at this time, and OTHER expenses of which I'm quite sure I haven't been informed of YET, but which I will expect to be accurately accounted for on your travel and expense accounts down to the very last PENNY, it seems that now we somehow have attracted the very persistent attentions of the local POLICE department as well! I suppose we shall ALL be privileged to hear that bit of gossip as soon as I am through HERE! We might get to add some LEGAL fees to the tally, too! Now, MISS HOLDEN, what do you have to say for your actions?"
Stacey was torn between the urge to cry and the justifiable anger building from Anna's untimely re-evaluation of her abilities. She drew strength from Andy's previous lecture concerning her professional position and aptly decided to fiercely defend her corporate stand on the matter. Stacey wiped the single tear from her cheek and cleared her throat while sliding herself slightly higher up the pillows to defend herself. Her voice reflected the same confidence Andy had noticed when she spouted instructions over the phone, "Dr. Fontain, I only did what I thought was RIGHT at the time. I fully accept the TOTAL responsibility for my actions. Andy and Earl were only following MY orders as I deemed necessary to accomplish what I justified as a WORTHY endeavor, not only to the FOUNDATION and its loyal SUPPORTERS, but to MYSELF as both a professional and as a compassionate human being. I would not jeopardize the LIVES of either myself or my employees for an unworthy cause, nor would I ask them to do ANYTHING I wouldn't do, MYSELF. All points considered, it is my opinion that the end result MORE than justified the nominal expenditure of time and money and I would do the EXACT same thing again given the same set of circumstances. If this incident is causing second thoughts on your part concerning the power you have bestowed upon me to think and act as I see fit during the cramped time-frame of a crucial situation, then I respectfully submit that you make a FORMAL request in writing for my immediate resignation and deliver it personally to MY desk, so I might have the PLEASURE of telling you to your FACE that you are not corporately secure enough to handle ANY threat to the MONOPOLY of authority you have enjoyed for so long! Before you make your final decision on the matter, I strongly URGE you to look at these photos in your professional capacity."
Anna limped over to the window in silence while everyone but Vince held their breath. Stacey figured she was to about be fired. She could not believe what she had just said. Anna had not looked at the pictures. Instead, she grinned at Vince over her shoulder as if they had discussed the scenario before and simply said, "That's my girl!" Vince added with a chuckle, "She cooks, too!"
Anna thumbed through the pictures, singling out one shot before turning to address Stacey. Her entire appearance transformed in an instant back to the cool, confident psyche of simply Anna. Her tone of voice mirrored the transformation, "Stacey, my dear, you have just made the corporate leap I was looking for. I'm damn proud of you, . . all of you!" She turned to Earl and Andy, "Gentlemen, I appreciate you showing the same loyalty to Stacey as I have enjoyed." Waving the photo in the air, she continued, "She could not have accomplished THIS without a combined, cooperative effort. It was a HELLUVA piece of teamwork! Stacey managed to do in one short HOUR what I've been trying to do for ten damn-frustrating YEARS! This one photo is the PROOF we needed to have that quack poacher of a naturalist, Mr. Ming, prosecuted on charges of cruelty to animals and keep him from getting the leopard back to CONTINUE his torture of it. The cat has endured his wrath over ten years. His wife killed its mate and cub, and would have killed him as well, had she not tripped and fell within his reach. The bearers informed me that only one of the cat's feet was not in a steel trap. She told her husband that she wanted to look the cat in the eyes when she told him she was going to make a fur coat out of him and his family! She justly tripped on her own vanity and he broke her skinny neck instantly with a single swipe of his free paw! Wongton Ming let him live only so he could torture him the rest of his life. I take it the cat is in good hands now?" Andy informed her of its location. She turned back to Stacey, "I watched the extraordinary film of the leopard protecting you. What made you feel like he wouldn't kill you when you released him?" Stacey pulled out the pendant from beneath the sheet for them to examine and told about the carved box with the inscription and her translation. Anna informed her that it was crafted from obsidian, a natural black glass formed when lava is cooled quickly. Everyone was amazed when Andy pointed out the fact that the red teardrops matched the pattern of the burn scars on the leopard's face. They continued to discuss the night's events well into the afternoon.
The conversation was abruptly interrupted by the uninvited entrance of the police commissioner. He was a burly man, obviously a native Hawaiian from his facial features. He apologized for bursting in, explaining that he had urgent business to discuss with all of them, and they exhibited an uncanny ability to somehow evade him whenever he was about to catch up with them. Anna asked him if they had broken the law. He told her they had not and asked them to please sit down so he could explain the situation.
The commissioner introduced himself as Mr. Wahua as he started, "Within an hour after the three of you left Mr. Casey's cabin, it blew up!" Vince jumped up immediately with a thousand questions. The commissioner begged him to just sit down and let him finish what he had to say, and then he would answer all their questions as best he could. He started again, "Naturally, the county Sheriff's department investigated the explosion. At first, they thought you might have had a gas leak which a pilot light could have set off, but that was not the case. An unexploded bomb, quite sophisticated I might add, was found in the woods among the debris. Evidently the timers weren't synchronized properly and one timer was blown off by the first blast. The police ran background checks on all of you to see if it might have been done in the interest of insurance fraud, but as you all seem to be financially in good shape, that line of thinking was quickly abandoned. That leaves only one other possibility. Somebody tried to kill Mr. Casey, Miss Holden, Dr. Fontain, or all three of you!" Anna interrupted him correcting, "Dr. Casey, now, if you please." He apologized for the oversight and continued. We have just about eliminated Miss Holden through our ongoing investigation due to the simple fact that she doesn't have an enemy in the world, except maybe Mr. Ming after last night. She would have simply been killed along with the intended victim, whichever of you that may be.
The only clue at the scene was a set of footprints in the snow from the cabin to the main road via the right-of-way for the power lines. The imprint in the arch bears the name of a Canadian boot company. We think there is reasonable evidence to suggest the attempt was aimed at Dr. Casey. One of the men she sent to prison by her testimony was paroled in Maine less than a month ago! We've been unsuccessful in our attempts so far to locate him. We even have an APB out on him in the islands, but it is unlikely that he could have found out you were here, given the trouble we went through to track you down. However, he might find you now with all the publicity Miss Holden stirred up during the night. This killer obviously has no regard for life if he would ruthlessly murder innocent people to get to the victim he was after. We know that Mr. Casey probably has an enemy resulting from the death of the boy who killed his sister, but after questioning
his remaining family, we don't really think they are connected. Both the father and mother have rock solid alibis. The size of the footprints were smaller than either of their feet as well. So, that points us back in the direction of Dr. Casey being the intended victim. Vernon Riply, the man on parole, might possibly have knowledge of explosives as his father worked as a blaster in a copper strip-mine for several years. Prison records show his foot to be about the same size as the prints found at the scene. I have taken the liberty of having your things moved to a remote villa on another island for the sake of safety. As long as you stay on the islands, I would suggest you keep an extremely low profile. We have used this villa many times in the past as a safe-house. The people who live around it are very nice and will help you any way they can. I don't believe your pilots are in any danger, so send them out to get whatever you need in the city. We will have armed guards outside Miss Holden's door until she is released from the hospital. Only the doctors and nurses, besides the people in this room, will be allowed in. Your company jet will be guarded as well. You will need to make a trip back to your home town to talk to the local authorities and see if there is anything you wish to try to salvage. They will be happy to provide an armed escort at your convenience. My department will fly you to the other island whenever you wish to go.
Everyone was stunned at the news. Vince pounded his fist into his hand, "Damn it! I built that cabin with my own two hands." Anna comforted him, "We'll just have to build another one together."
The following silence was broken by the resident doctor's timely knock on the door. He entered, followed by a young nurse's aid. He proceeded to check Stacey's vital signs and reflexes while the girl recorded his findings on the chart. After checking her pupils with a small flashlight and asking her if she had experienced any blurred vision or had a headache, he told the aid to remove the IV.
Anna asked the doctor when Stacey would be released. He told her she could leave whenever she wanted. The concussion wasn't serious. They had already given her a tetanus shot and antibiotics to ward off infection of the abrasions. He chuckled and told Stacey she would have a gorgeous tan on her belly if it didn't all peel off, and added that she would be wise to wear something loose for the next couple of days. Stacey asked where her clothes were. The aid politely informed her that they had been cut off in the emergency room. The mere thought slightly embarrassed her, even though she had seen the same thing done hundreds of times when she worked at the hospital back home. She timidly asked, "All of them?" The girl giggled slightly, "Every stitch except your panties and those cats around your neck!" Stacey continued her query, "In front of a doctor?" The doctor interjected, "Three doctors and two nurses, to be exact!" Stacey blushed deeply, exclaiming, "Damn!" while pulling the sheet up over her head. The nurse confided, "I don't know what you're worried about. If I had a knock-out body like yours, I'd be modelin' instead of nursin'!" The statement reminded Stacey of herself a scant week before.
Andy couldn't help teasing her, "I guess that proves it, Earl. You always said there was more than one way to skin a cat! Cat-women fall under the same category, I suppose."
The joke produced a chuckle from everyone except Stacey, who retorted, "Let me remind you, Mr. Mitzhoff, that you are grounded. We wouldn't want to add the word "permanently" into that statement, now, would we?" Still laughing, he answered, "You're right there. My wife would probably love it, though!"
The doctor intervened, "Well, I'm certainly glad to see you all in such good spirits." He pulled the sheet down from Stacey's face, "As for you, young lady, I'd be willing to bet one of these able-bodied gents could round you up something to wear out of here so we can give this bed to someone who really needs it. Earl turned to Andy, "What do you think, Andy? A tuck here and a fold there, with a couple of knots over her shoulders would make a fine sheet toga for any goddess!" Even Stacey was grinning when she playfully threw her pillow at Earl, "Y'all make me sick!"
A heavy thump on the wall behind Stacey's head squelched the horseplay. Sounds of a struggle in the hallway snapped the commissioner to attention, "Everyone stay in here!" He reached for the door and drew his gun simultaneously. Tense moments passed as everyone waited. After several minutes had ticked off the clock, the commissioner stuck his head in the door, asking Anna if she would step outside a moment to identify someone. She expected to see Vernon Riply face-to-face and mentally prepared herself. She was shocked to see Rex handcuffed face-down on the floor with one officer's foot planted firmly between his shoulder blades to keep him from getting up while they went through his wallet. One of the officers had cut open a stuffed cat he had brought for Stacey and proceeded to rip out the stuffings to extricate a square box which produced a
drawn-out meow when inverted and turned back up.
Anna commanded the man to get his foot off of Rex. When he didn't respond to her wishes immediately, she kicked him in the shin with her cast and helped Rex to his feet! The officer glared at Anna, informing her that he could arrest her for assault on a peace officer. She told the officer who had ripped open the cat to get his damn handcuffs off of her pilot and turned back to the first officer who threatened her with the arrest, "If you want to arrest me you little incompetent FOOL, you just go right ahead, whereupon you'll find the most BLOODTHIRSTY pack of corporate lawyers you could imagine in your worst nightmares descending on you like a flock of vultures to charge you with false arrest, harassment, police brutality, stupidity, and unwarranted BLATANT destruction of a tax-paying citizen's personal property!"
The commissioner stepped between them, "I don't think I have to add anything to that except that I want to see you in my office at seven sharp in the morning Mr. Mercan. You're dismissed for the day." Rex reached around Anna to snatch his wallet from the hapless officer's hand, "I'll take that back, now, if you don't mind, CHUMP!" The commissioner apologized for his men's behavior, saying they were just trying to carry out his orders and he didn't know another of Anna's pilots was to arrive. The other officer had frantically replaced the box and stuffing in the cat as best he could, handing it to Rex with, "I'm sorry, Sir." Rex turned the cat over and let it meow an answer. Anna told him if he wanted to make things right, he could go get her suitcase down at the admitting desk so she could clothe her employee and get her out of that hospital. He wasted no time complying. The commissioner told Anna to have him paged when they were ready to go.
Rex followed Anna inside and explained what had happened. He was surprised that Stacey wanted to keep the ripped cat. The doctor wrote Stacey a prescription for antibiotic cream and instructed the rest of them to keep an eye on her. They were to call him immediately if she experienced any visual problems at all. He and the aid left as the cop returned with the luggage. He set it by the door and politely excused himself. Anna ran out the men so they could pull guard duty while Stacey slipped into a pink sun dress of Anna's. Anna asked her who the roses were from. Stacey told her she hadn't had a chance to see the card yet and asked Anna to read it aloud. It said; A tribute to the Lion Goddess, a priceless, golden jewel in the sky which overshadows even the sunset and causes the brightest stars in the heavens and the flying dinosaurs of Earth to weep for her speedy recovery! It was artistically signed, Sincerely, "T-Rex." Anna remarked, "Sounds like Rex might be romantically inclined to you!"
Stacey did not comment, but mischievously grinned as she selected a shade of red lipstick to match the roses and pinched off a delicate blossom to adorn her hair and accent the pink dress. She applied the lipstick flawlessly in the mirror. Without her bra, she noticed the spaghetti-strapped dress did little to hide the curves of her voluptuous figure and asked Anna if she had one she could borrow. She told Stacey she was more than welcome to wear one of her's, but since Stacey was about a half size larger than she, it would probably look a little overstuffed and attract even more attention. Stacey turned back to the mirror and assessed her overall appearance while talking to herself, "Well Stace, if you want to make an impression on Rex which he won't soon forget, this'll probably do it. You can always explain the lack of class by saying the hospital destroyed your clothes!" She pinned the rose by her temple and asked Anna how she looked. She told her she looked far better than most of the men in the world deserved to see.
On the way out, Stacey scooped up the card and the roses from the vase, cradling them like a baby in her arms to cover the stark silhouette of one breast. Anna commented, "Classy try, Stacey, but somehow I don't think they're going to focus on the roses." Stacey said she wanted to check on the leopard on the way to the airport. Anna did, too.
The pair of women stepped out of the room to wait on the police escort. Andy was questioning his brother regarding his unusually fast arrival. By his calculations, the feat would have been impossible on a commercial airline. He proved to be right. Rex had transferred an F-16 fighter from a Florida Air Force base to an aircraft carrier in Pearl Harbor. When he had finished explaining the details, Stacey walked right up to him and planted a kiss on his cheek with the explanation, "Thanks for the beautiful roses. Until I read the card, I had assumed Earl and Andy had sent them. I must say, Mr. Mitzhoff, you do have a beautiful way with words." Rex smiled, "I could say the same concerning you and cats from what I've seen on TV. Words come easy when they are being directed at such a lovely lady, and please call me Rex. Beauty begets beauty. At least that's what Dad used to say. You're very welcome for the roses." Rex glanced at Andy, then leaned over to
whisper in Stacey's ear, "Andy doesn't have enough class to send a girl roses." Rex knew he could get a rise out of his brother. Andy spoke up immediately, directing his question to Stacey, "He told you I didn't have any class, didn't he?" Rex started laughing when Andy scolded, "I've got news for you, Little Brother. My wife happens to think I have plenty of class, and if anybody gets roses from me, it is gonna be her!" Rex still chuckled, "I've got some news for you, too. You'd best be sending her some 'cause today is your's and Angie's anniversary in case it slipped your mind while you were hangin' out in the trees!" Andy's attitude changed entirely with the revelation, "Damn it, you're right. Thanks for reminding me." Rex replied, "What are brothers for?"
Anna told Andy he was free to catch a flight back to Florida to be with his family since he was officially on medical leave now that Rex had arrived to co-pilot the Horizon. He thanked her and bid everyone farewell, asking Earl to keep up with his flight bag when they left for home.
Stacey stopped Andy when he started to leave, extending her hand in gratitude, "I want to thank you for all you did. I couldn't have made that jump without your expert guidance. I'm sorry your arm got broken in the process." She leaned close to whisper, "Thanks for setting me straight on the beach, too." She hugged him and told him to have a safe flight home and that she was looking forward to meeting Angie.
Andy adjusted the rose in her hair and told her he thought she did one helluva job for her first time out. He stepped into the elevator and waved as the commissioner stepped out. Anna informed him they would be making a stop at the zoo to check on the leopard.
Two patrol cars took them to the zoo, followed by the commissioner in his personal car. The officer driving Stacey, Rex, and Earl asked Stacey for her autograph. The three cars were allowed to park inside the perimeter fence.
The zoo doctors were about to feed the great cat when they arrived. They gave Anna a complete run-down of the animal's condition. He was being held in an isolated quarantine cage, a standard precautionary procedure to protect new animals and the residents from unknown infections.
The great cat growled defiantly when Earl came around the corner behind Stacey, evidently remembering him from the previous darting ordeal. Anna asked him to remain out of the cat's sight. Stacey took the large bowl of meat from the doctor and said she would feed the cat while Anna looked him over and checked the paperwork they would need to legally transport him to Florida.
The keeper gasped when Stacey unlatched the cage door and casually stepped inside with the food! Stacey kneeled down, placing the bowl beside her and called softly to him. Even Anna was amazed when the massive hulk of rippling muscle padded silently over to nuzzle cheek-to-cheek with his savior! Stacey put her arms around his neck and scratched his ears, beaming with pride. Anna could feel that the animal was totally secure with Stacey's presence in the cage. The leopard ignored the meat as she smoothed his fur and rubbed under his chin as she addressed Anna, "Isn't he great? I'm going to name him Midnight." She turned her attention back to the cat, speaking softly, "You can't be mad at Earl. He had to put you to sleep so he could get us both out of there. Understand?" The cat dropped his head and emitted a low growl. Stacey spoke to him, "You need to tell it to him, not me."
Stacey stood up and walked over to the bars where everyone seemed overwhelmed with the astonishing display of her power over the awesome beast. Stacey requested that someone tell Earl to come back in. Again, she called the cat to her, but by his name this time, and proceeded to tell him that Earl was on his way back in and to be nice to him.
Stacey called to Earl when he came around the corner, "Come over here, Earl. I want you to meet Midnight." Earl stopped dead in his tracks. Stacey commanded, "Come on, Earl. He's not mad at you anymore. Let him get a good sniff of your hand and say something to him so he'll know your voice." Earl approached slowly, not feeling particularly comfortable with the situation. Cautiously, he raised his hand to the bars with a sincere plea, "Don't bite me, Midnight. You and I are the same color, you know." Earl's troubled expression shifted to a grin as the leopard tentatively sniffed his hand, then licked it with its rough tongue.
Rex commented from the background, "I'll just be damned! I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes." The rest of the group shared his feelings. Stacey told Midnight he needed to eat to regain his strength for traveling. He obliged her request by gingerly plucking the meat offering from her hand. She set the entire bowl in front of him and told him she would be back for him when the travel arrangements had been made. He continued to eat contentedly as she exited the cage and secured the latch. The zoo informed Anna that a transport cage would be available in a day or two. She thanked them for their timely help.
A few minutes later, the party arrived at the airport. The patrol cars were ushered through a gate leading to a special landing pad on which a large helicopter adorned with police insignia waited patiently with its rotors keeping pace with the low idle of its engine. Since Earl was not involved in the alleged murder attempt, he volunteered to round up Moon and Crip. The airport manager was more than glad Earl had returned for the cats. Seemed his employees were mainly interested in keeping the cats entertained instead of doing their normal jobs! He gladly directed Earl to the restaurant to collect them. Earl wasn't surprised to find the pair surrounded by an adoring audience of pilots, flight attendants, rental car personnel, ticket agents, and other various people connected with the airport. They all hated to see the cats go and made quite a fuss with their good-byes.
The cats were greeted with enthusiasm by all at the chopper. The policemen sat silently during the reunion of animal and human comrades. The chopper took to the air with a mighty hum after everyone was finally settled. The commissioner subsequently revealed their destination, the privately owned island of Niihau, also called the Mystery Island. Special permission must be obtained to even land on its soil; therefore, it is effectively isolated and provides a sanctuary of security within the boundaries of a large cattle ranch which spans most of the entire island.
The sun was setting when then the chopper left Kauai in its wake on the final leg of the journey to the villa. Anna and Vince thanked Stacey and Earl for their wonderful stay on the island and proceeded to fill them in on part of their activities while there. They both were obviously very pleased with their special gift from their friends.
The quaint island villa seemed to have its own special effect on everyone. There was something to interest all. Anna and Stacey's presence alone spawned a great interest among the humble villagers. They tried every way imaginable to please their honored guests. The group extended their stay for two days. Stacey, Rex and Earl were treated to a reef fishing trip in a native, hand-made boat, complete with outriggers to handle the pounding surf. Anna and Vince elected to devote most of their time to exploring the mysteries of the new island, aside from each other! The cats stayed with them on their excursions around the island, obviously having missed the couple during their honeymoon absence.
Stacey and Rex spent most of the last day swimming, beachcombing, and exchanging their life stories. The exotic setting set the stage for romance between the pair and before the sunset, a first kiss had been exchanged.
Earl went horseback riding on a native cattle round-up with a newly acquired island friend named Lanu. Earl had grown up on a southern ranch and was quite proud of his prowess with a rope and a horse. He proved his skills to the natives throughout the day, and by nightfall, had earned the nickname of "Midnight Cowboy."
The Caseys helped their hosts prepare a farewell feast for the last evening, answering questions about Moon and Crip and learning something themselves of traditional Hawaiian recipes and the basics of the native tongue. Moon and Crip were content to spread their natural charm to all of the curious island children.
Word was sent to the commissioner that, regretfully, they would be leaving the islands at dawn to enable them to take care of their business in Texas later in the day. The zoo was also contacted after many sad good-byes.
This space RESERVED For LATER USE--LKH
Author's Note: Feel free to copy/paste the text contained herein to build your personal copy of "MOON Madness". As this is COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL by ME, the ORIGINAL AUTHOR, please DO NOT copy for UNAUTHORIZED DISTRIBUTION in any form or fashion. "ALL RIGHTS RETAINED & RESERVED" by Larry K. Hockman! Please don't hesitate to E-Mail me for permission to use my works in the classroom, etc. ThanX for Visitin'! I hope you enjoyed the story and pass it on to your friends. LKH
Defender« [[$$$$]];;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;>« Take Care! :-)